tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 30, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST
forward unless there are additional actions with respect to the debt. >> so you can't let it default. >> well, you can, but you shouldn't. >> former treasury secretary robert ruben agrees as do a number of his successors in that position, including larry summers and former treasury secretary paul o'neill. paul o'neill said it is hard to make a rational argument for the debt ceiling. is it the minority can use it to extract policy concessions from the majority as republicans did in 2011. in other words within the argument for the debt ceiling with s that we should enter the american economy into a becau majo v that i argument. it is long past time to get rid of the debt ceiling and the modified mcconnell/obama plan is as good a way as any to do it. it gives lawmakers a way it avoid a fiscal cliff or fiscal curve. it can end flirtations with fiscal suicide. that the last word. i'm ezra klein in for ed o'donnell. the president has returned from his trip. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. a no-brainer for boehner. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me the start tonight with this. somebody has got to break it to mr. boehner, your side lost. romney, remember him? he's the guy who ran on the rich man's platform. the hands off the big boys' ticket. he's the guy who said his fellow
2%ers have your back. mr. boehner, ye of limited memory, the voters looked this issue directly in the eye, they heard your guy, romney, playing palace guard for the plutocrats, and they said i think i'll vote for the guy who is looking out for the middle class. i think i will let that guy go back to bain or whatever. time for mr. boehner to stop protecting the rich. joy reid is managing editor of the grio, and david corn is washington bureau chief for mother jones and the author of the ebook "47 percent." today the president took his pitch to a factory in the philadelphia suburbs, and he made clear the rich must pay their fair share. obama's job number one, a tax cut for the 98%. the rest of the people. let's listen to him. >> it's not acceptable to me and i don't think it's acceptable to
you for just a handful of republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up. all right? that doesn't make sense. the senate has already passed a bill to keep income taxes from going up on middle class families. that's already passed the senate. your members of congress, like allyson and chaka, other democrats in the house, they're ready to go, they're ready to vote on that same thing. if we can just get a few house republicans on board, we can pass the bill in the house, it will land on my desk, and i am
ready, i have got a bunch of pens ready to sign this bill. >> 30 minutes after the president was finished, house speaker john boehner held a press conference, and he left unanswered the president's call for decoupling that 98% from the richest 2%, and he gave a pessimistic assessment of the situation. let's listen to mr. boehner. >> there's a stalemate. let's not kid ourselves. when i come out the day after the election and make it clear that republicans will put revenue on the table, i took a great risk. and then the white house spent three weeks trying to develop a proposal, and they send one up here that calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, calls for a little -- not even $400
billion in cuts, and they want to have this extra spending that's actually greater than the amount they're willing to cut. i mean, it was not a serious proposal. and so right now we're almost nowhere. >> let me start with -- let me start with joy on this thing because you and i often agree. if we don't, we don't, and we'll live with that. but this whole thing here, i think boehner has never accepted the fact that the rates have to go up at the top. there's something about deductions and all this finesse. they lost the debate. if there's any issue that came out of the campaign, the president is dead right on this, he made his case clear. the polls show it. the public wants to have some tax fairness. they don't want the top 2% to hold this thing up. boehner doesn't want to hear that. why not? is he unable to hear it? does he not want to hear it? is he afraid of the people in his party that won't let him do what he wants to do and has to do, which is cut a damn deal before christmas? >> i think it's the latter. i think john boehner is in a
nightmare situation. it could not be a cleaner case for republicans defending only the tax cuts for the top 2%. this is very clear. mitt romney tried to parse it and say, well, maybe we'll get revenue from capping deductions. maybe we'll go after the mortgage interest or some other deductions. that was litigated. they lost. it's simple and clear to everyone that 98% of the tax cuts could go through tomorrow, today, any time if boehner got out of the way. but he still has the rejectionists in the lame duck caucus, and i think he's a little afraid the right flank might come at that speakership he has to reup for in january. he has to talk the tea party, talk even though he knows it's a losing proposition. >> i know you're a progressive, and that's why i love you. but let's talk politics. why does a political party that hopes to get 51% of the country in the next election put all its stock in 2%? >> well, you're dealing with reality. the reality -- >> yeah. >> the tea party caucus of the house went from 55 to 51 --
>> they're not rich people. >> it doesn't matter. they are against taxes because they think it fuels government, and they're against government. they're against compromise, particularly against compromise with this particular president for a whole host of reasons. and we have the same dynamic we had back in 2011 when john boehner i think left to his own devices would cut a deal within five minutes with the president -- >> let's talk about -- we disagree about the importance of the cliff. i think it's damn serious business because who knows what the world is going to react -- >> the market is not going to like it. >> we don't know. forget the market. the world economy -- my question is would the republican party like to go over the cliff hanging onto that 2% of rich people and say that's why they did it? can they live with themselves if they do that? >> in some ways the politics for boehner becomes easier, i don't like calling it a cliff, after you go down the slope or whatever you want to call it. >> why? >> because if nothing happens between now and the end of the year, all the tax cuts, poof, they disappear. you come back the first week in january and you pass a bill. then the tea partiers, boehner
can make the argument to them if they want to be reasonable, now you're voting for a tax cut. not for everyone, but for 98%. before that happens, the tea party people will say we're voting to raise taxes on the rich. if you let it happen on its own -- >> do you buy this, joy? that people don't get what's going on? they know what the mechanics of this thing -- >> let me finish one second. the tea partiers have to worry, some of them, about being challenged from the right if they vote for anything resembling a tax hike. if you wait until after the slope hits, you can say it's not a tax hike. so that may help -- >> you're really playing down the intelligence of people on the right, that they don't know -- >> i'm not giving a lot of credit of intelligence to tea partiers. >> they know what a tax increase is, and they know what a fiscal
cliff is, and they disagreed on that, and they do worry. if this market crashes in the world and every country in the world is -- >> they were willing to do this -- >> we disagree on this. the country goes down, and the rich republicans are blamed for it. that's why i think a lot of rich people on wall street are saying to boehner, stop it already. we can live with a little tax increase. we're loaded up here. just move on and don't screw up the economy because we'll lose a lot more money if this market crashes to a second great recession. >> chris, i think to some extent the market has priced in the notion we would go over the fiscal cliff -- >> you're wrong. no. everybody -- who you talking to? i keep talking to people and they -- who you talking to? >> i actually spoke with a source the other day who is in washington, he's an attorney, who said, listen -- >> a lawyer? >> a lawyer but speaks to a lot
of folks that are wall street type who says the market could take it for a couple of weeks. >> the cake is baked and they think the intelligence of politicians is up to this challenge. >> but wall street doesn't really have a lot of faith in this process to be able to get done. they have priced in just a little bit that this could happen for a while. maybe not for months, but you wouldn't see the market necessarily crash like the next day. you'd have time. i think if they came back on january 3rd and they didn't have a deal, you would be able to sustain it for a while because they'd do a deal really quickly -- >> this isn't an ideological difference. this is a matter of perception and world view. i believe if they don't have a deal by -- as we approach the 21st of this month, three weeks from now, if they don't have a deal by then, the thing starts cracking. it's going to start melting, and you're going to see that market
going down and down every day -- >> no, it's not a joke and it may happen -- >> the question is who gets blamed. >> you have to remember back in the summer 2011 the tea partiers in congress, some were advocating for that. others were saying we don't care if it happens. boehner has this same problem. the markets may scream. the wall streeters may say don't do this. it doesn't mean it's going to have an impact -- >> we're getting back to something we all agree on. equity. article on "the new york times" front page, "complaints aside, most face lower tax burden than in the reagan '80s." it reports the richest americans, the people of the top on this chart making more than $350,000, were by far the greatest beneficiaries of the tax cuts over the last 30 years. at the bottom the least fortunate, those making less than $25,000, barely saw any tax cut at all. it's interesting to see an objective study here, david, that shows what most people think, which is the top has gotten a really good deal from these tax cuts. >> don't bother us with facts. again and again -- >> it's very timely. >> the president has been arguing for the last two years that the rich can afford to go back to the clinton rates, and we see that with many studies. we see also that when you cut rates at the top, it doesn't always correspond to economic growth. the data is not there to support the right's position, but they believe it as if it's theology. >> let's go to politics we also agree on. i think boehner is playing a dangerous game. boehner says we're not only going to face this fiscal cliff, we're facing endless fights over debt ceilings from now on. there's going to be this regular
thing, this, you know, veg-o-matic. we have to go through this whole thing. he's saying to the liberals who might be willing to go along with the deal, even if you go along with this, there will be more to pay in two months in february, then more a few months after that. he's making it very difficult for the president to convince his progressives, maybe we ought to give a little. if i give here on medicare, i'm going to have to give again in a month and another month. it looks horrible. the other side he's saying, this is going to be fun. maybe he's playing to his right wing crowd saying if we don't get a big apple bite this time, we'll get another bite next month. who is he playing to when he says we're going to have more trouble down the road? >> you have to remember the cross currents facing boehner include not just the tea party crazies but the right wing donor
class is very hard right on this ideological issue of never seeing any tax increases. and the republican, just the campaign committees, if you compare the republican congressional campaign committee with the dccca that raises for the democrats, the republicans are more reliant on the big donors. republicans really do have to constantly cater to a very hard right wing donor class that wants to hear this message. they don't want to hear boehner capitulate. if you read a lot of the right wing sides, not the crazy ones, they're already teeing up to say boehner is a failure, he gave into obama. they want to hear him talk the talk. while he still has the rejectionists in hand in the lame duck caucus and while he has that donor class that wants to hear this conservative rhetoric, he's still got to play the game. behind the scenes i think republicans understand they're going to lose that top rate fight. they're going to lose that, and i wouldn't be surprised if they wound up putting the debt ceiling into the deal at the end, but up until the moment they make the deal, he's got to talk the talk. >> if i was only interested in right wing money and money at
the top, i would say that's all true and, therefore, the faster they make a deal the better because if they're going to raise the rate anyway, get it over with. >> it would be better for the republicans if they make a deal now. >> boehner can make a better deal now. the question is whether anyone in the party will let him do that. >> thank you. we agree on almost everything except it is a cliff. coming up, seriously, haven't they learned anything? tonight, how their own polls fooled the romney campaign into thinking they had this baby won. also, did republicans lose the election because voters rejected mitt romney or did they lose because voters rejected what romney was saying he believed? we'll ask the strategists. and leave it to congressman louie gohmert to suggest that the obama administration is in league with the muslim brotherhood. for an old birther like louie, the election is never over. let me finish with my memory of when americans really had, believe it or not, two political parties that were modern and moderate. that was a long time ago. we'll talk about the days of eisenhower. this is "hardball," the place
one of his chairs in the 20 house committees he oversees. congresswoman candice miller of michigan will chair the house administration committee, it's a big one. the republicans took a lot of heat after announcing the other 19 house committees will all be headed by, there they are, men. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." there's a reason mitt romney's team seemed confident in the days leading up to the election. remember how they were? their internal polls showed romney on the brink of victory. the electorate they told themselves existed bore little resemblance to the people who showed up to the polls. "the new republic" obtained the internal poll numbers from the romney camp in the days leading up to the november 6th election. in iowa the campaign's numbers showed them tied with obama. in reality obama beat romney by about 6 points. in colorado romney's team thought they were up by 2.5.
they actually wound up losing by 5.5. excuse me, i'm burping here. in new hampshire they had him ahead by 3.5. the reality, obama won by 5.5. these are like 9-point differences. his internal numbers were off in wisconsin, pennsylvania, and minnesota. a closer look shows more clearly why their confidence peaked right before the vote. over the last weekend there, the romney numbers showed romney gaining strong momentum in these key states. in wisconsin, obama lost 4 points in the polling just as romney gained 4 tying up the race. in new hampshire obama lost 4 while romney gained 3. the magazine quotes a romney aide on election night talking to romney's son tagg as the results were coming in. he looked like he was in a complete state of shock, as if these numbers cannot be real. to make matters worse, their polling told them florida and virginia, two states that romney lost, were in the bag. the republican party is left
asking itself what went wrong and how they fix it. john brabender is a republican strategist and top adviser to rick santorum, and robert shrum, democratic strategist and columnist for the daily beast. john, you're on the inside. you know something about this. do you understand how somebody would think that the electorate that's going to participate in 2012, in a general election with barack obama, an african-american, a democrat, and a relatively popular president, would create a different electorate than the one you saw say in 2010 or in a primary situation? >> well, i think -- as you know, every poll starts with an assumption. here is who we think is going to show up and vote. therefore, that's who we ask the question of. republicans, and not just the romney campaign but republican pollsters all across the country, guessed wrong. we didn't see the intensity that
there was there for the president, particularly among young voters. we oversampled male white voters. and, you know, you add all that together, and you're going to see two, three, four-point differences. plus, the assumption always is that the incumbent is not going to pick up any votes on election day. i think this time -- >> i think that's right. bob, you're a pro. let's go through the first one. perception is about the enthusiasm level. we were watching the last election. you could see well before the election of 2008 the excitement for obama. i felt it myself obviously at the rallies we'd go to. all the speeches. this time around it was an effective excitement. it wasn't we love this guy's speeches. the speeches weren't that great this time by obama, but it was effectively excited because they decided to vote for other reasons. how come it wasn't palpable that
this guy was going to get the same turnout he got last time? >> well, it was clear to joel benenson who was the obama pollster and who got it right on the money. it was clear in the average polls. i think john is right about this, there was an assumption inside the party that there was going to be a different electorate. >> did you see it, bob? did you see the excitement this time we both saw in '08 for obama? >> of course you didn't see the same level of excitement, but i saw a level of determination that was intense. i saw people waiting for hours in line in the polls. i'll tell you one other thing. you cannot explain simply by your conception of what the electorate was going to be those crazy momentum numbers that you showed over that last weekend. there was something else wrong with that polling. >> what do you think it was? >> well -- >> was it the getting together with governor christie and that
great show of bipartisanship? was it the fact your side couldn't push the benghazi issue? what changed the last weekend toward obama? >> certainly i think sandy changed things. it let the president be president. >> it changed the subject from benghazi. >> i would also say this race was more of a referendum in some way on mitt romney than it was the president, and that's unusual -- >> does your side -- i know you're a true believer, and i respect that. do you think -- i mean it. do you think they didn't really believe he believed? >> no, i don't think that was the problem. i think the bigger problem was two things. they never personally connected with him. they never felt this attachment, and they didn't see him as -- >> personal. >> second of all, i think we failed middle income blue collar voters who feel we no longer understand their life, no longer are fighting daily for them, and
they think what we're about are just the social issues and fighting for tax breaks for the wealthy. that's not what we're about, but we sure let that perception happen. >> my dad is a regular republican, not a right winger. he used to say the trouble with my party is they care about the big corporations too much, like ge he used to point to. romney senior adviser stuart stevens defended his campaign and his candidate in a big article he wrote. he said the campaign had the right ideas but failed to do a better job -- oh, my god -- communicating to women and hispanics. they communicated all right i would argue, quite well. >> i think we should have done a better job reaching out to women voters. the governor has a great record on women's issues. we should have done a better job articulating that record. we should have done a better job reaching out to hispanic voters. we should have done it earlier
and in a more effective way, and i think looking forward those are questions for the party. i think we have a very good message there. we just have to do a better job with it. >> bob, i would argue that the message got out from akins, got out from mourdock. i think a lot of -- especially the numbers show single women were really turned off -- they like the looks of romney in that first debate. a lot of numbers showed they like what they saw out there, strong performance on economics, but then they go, this other stuff is scaring me away. >> i don't think the structure of the race changed even after the first debate, and it wouldn't have unless the president turned in the same kind of performances the second and third time around. look, romney did reach out to hispanics. he reached out and pushed them away. he talked about 11 million people self-deporting. he used the phrase illegals. he did everything he could to make sure that -- rove and bush understood that constituency was critical for them. he said our ideas carried the day. they didn't carry election night. >> i think voters are very aware
what the issues were and what side both sides took. speaking last night at a gala, senator-elect ted cruz, a real hero of the tea party from texas, gave a postmortem on the election. he said, do you want to know why barack obama won 70% of the vote? tone on immigration contributed, but i think far more important was 47%. republicans nationally, the story they conveyed was that the 47% are stuck in a static world, we don't have to worry about you. >> i think part of it is we did let the other side define us -- >> was it the thinking about looking down on people or was it the words? >> i think what happened was early on the obama people did a good job with the perception mitt romney was george bailey, he was mr. potter. and then we said narratives that -- >> lionel barrymore. >> we can't do that as a party. as a party we have to let everybody know we're fighting for them, understand their lives, and, frankly, we failed this time, but we did well in 2010, and we can do well again. >> the banker's eye, right? i mean, tip o'neill used to say the guy who had an eye missing, the glass eye, that was the warmer one, the banker. did he just look like an elitist, cold-hearted guy? >> i don't always agree with john. i seldom agree with john, but he's right. what happened in the summer was that the obama campaign brilliantly went out and defined mitt romney. they defined him with the bain ads. 18 years after he lost that campaign to senator kennedy, he wasn't ready for those bain ads. i found it inexplicable they didn't have a comeback. they defined him on the auto bail out, on tax returns.
>> bob, you taught them the lesson that first time. they should have been ready -- bob shrum, i'm out of time. always an honor to have you on. and john, you're always welcome here, sir. up next, something else that won't help republicans out of their mess, u.s. congressman louie gohmert is out there suggesting the obama administration is in cahoots with the muslim brotherhood. who is buying this malarkey? malarkey is a good word. this is "hardball," the place for politics. back to "hardball."
to cameras, but we have some footage of governor romney arriving to the white house. i believe that's him there, and then he's getting out, and then -- the campaign is over so he doesn't have to pretend anymore. he can finally wear that serengeti lion sash he hadn't been wearing. also we've heard from republicans who are ditching grover norquist, but how one of them freed himself without admitting he was backpedaling. from chris gibson, representative gibson signed the pledge as a candidate in 2010 for the 20th congressional district. regarding the pledge moving forward, congressman gibson doesn't plan to resign it for the 19th congressional district which he now represents. well, as msnbc's joy reid said yesterday, that's like breaking up with someone by changing your phone number. also, tonight the apps weigh in. during the campaign the smartphone super pac app provided fact checking
information and let viewers rate political ads. which ad came out on top? for the democratic governor's association think obama care pants on fire and yosemite sam. here it is. >> not going to be a part of again socializing health care in the state of texas. ♪ >> the ipb, what that is will be a board that will tell you, bob, whether your level of productivity is worthy of receiving the rationed care that will be the result of obama care. ♪ >> anyway, the ad that got the most votes in the fail category was the one called join the fight to repeal obama care from conservative super pac restore america's voice. finally, this week in conspiracy world, it's texas congressman louie gohmert and this sugar plum about how the obama administration is in cahoots with the muslim brotherhood. here he is in a radio interview with neocon frank gaffney. >> i think it almost makes a prima facie case when you look at the decisions made by this
administration over the last couple of years, or actually all four years, but you look at the decisions its made especially in the last two years in going through the revolutions in northern africa and across the middle east and to the far east, and the only way you could explain the horrendous decisions that were so completely wrong headed would be if this administration had a bunch of muslim brotherhood members giving them advice. >> he represents 600,000 people. unbelievable. gohmert was among the gang of republicans who suggested earlier this year that one of secretary of state clinton's closest aides was a mole for the muslim brotherhood. why not? is the problem with the republican party the messenger or the message? this is going to be great. i love the conversation. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. i'm milissa rehberger with your market wrap.
stocks ended virtually flat. there was one big decliner today. yum brand which slid nearly 10%. the company's 2013 guidance was below expectations due to soft sales in china. speaking of china, apple will soon be able to sell his newest version of the iphone there. as for the economy, consumer spending fell slightly last month due to disruptions from
welcome back to "hardball." republicans have spent the past three weeks at least doing an elaborate and very public autopsy on the 2012 election. asking what went wrong. good question. like democrats before them after losing an election, they're focusing on the usual suspects, we didn't have the right candidate, didn't get our message out, didn't get our voters out. when you lose the popular vote of five or six elections, you have to consider the voters just didn't reject your messenger, they rejected perhaps your message. we have two strategists back with us. one democrat steve mcmahon and
republican rick tyler. rick, you first because you guys lost, and i don't mind saying this because i'm heartened by this. i didn't know it was going to happen. i thought the first debate, as i said clearly on the air -- the president said i was having a stroke over there -- i thought there was an opportunity to win if you stayed on that line, we can create jobs, but somehow you got into something else. what happened in this election on issues? >> i was telling steve earlier in the green room that i started to believe it after the first debate also. i didn't believe it all the way up. i was on this program being probably the number one critic of mitt romney, and we tried everything. we tried tim pawlenty and michele bachmann and herman cain and rick perry. i think that was inverted, but we tried newt gingrich and rick santorum, and we arrived at the inevitable mitt romney.
>> you ended up with a weak candidate. >> in many ways yes. >> do you think any of the other guys or women that you passed over would have been better? >> i don't know yet. you don't know. >> do you actually think so? do you think michele bachmann would have been a better candidate for president? >> i don't know. >> you're being a real -- that's agnosticism carried very far here. i think he beat all the other candidates. >> in some ways he was very good, but in some ways -- >> your best candidates were on the bench. your best candidates even though they had weaknesses are obviously other people that could have ran. mitch daniels, jeb bush. >> there were a lot of people that could have run and didn't run. mitt romney sort of came into the race without -- >> chris christie would have run a better race. >> certainly would have been more interesting. what would they have done at the end when they were walking around together?
but going back to -- they wouldn't have had poultry for lunch. they would have had a much heftier lunch than what they had. turkey -- >> going back to what we just saw, speaking of turkeys, romney came into the race without a firm ideology. >> he left it there. >> he took a firm ideology in the primaries, which made it difficult, maybe impossible, for him to win. he ran to the extreme on abortion, on immigration. he used words and created symbols for himself that he regretted later, and he had, you know, people out there like todd akin in missouri who were creating other symbols that were problematic not just for him but for the republican brand, which actually are problems that endure today. mitt romney has left the stage already. all the problems that the republican party has are front and center right now, which is why there's this hand wringing and soul searching. >> let me try -- this is sort of an iq test for you.
do you think most americans would like to outlaw abortion? you can't have an abortion in this country? >> i think most americans would not like to see abortion. i think most of the left would agree with that. the question is how do you get there? >> would like to outlaw it? >> i think most americans are pro-life. >> this is not the position of your party. your party says outlaw it. >> i'm not a pollster -- >> do you think most americans would live in a society where you have no choice? >> no, absolutely not. even people who are pro-life, catholics who have -- of good faith -- >> the most catholic states are the most pro-choice states. let me go to the iraq war. i believe one reason -- >> abortion to the iraq war. >> -- why president obama is president, because hillary clinton was wrong on the war and he was right. do you think most americans are happy we went into iraq? these are the big issues of our
times, war and peace, freedom at home. >> i think most americans given the information would say that, yes, it was the right thing to do with iraq with what we had -- >> you're hopeless. >> you know what? he's in a tough position because he's here as a republican defending the party. he knows that the views on the iraq war, which by the way 80% of america was at one time in favor of it, but it was because of false intelligence and false -- >> i'm going over the issues. i guess my question -- this is a hard argument you're making. it's not the issues that cost romney the election. it was romney. >> i think in many ways it was romney. and as steven pointed out, he came in with no ideology and no way to communicate. >> you believe he was believed? did people believe he believed what he said? >> no. >> that's what i think was the problem. >> that was one of his problems but -- >> they don't believe he was
saying anything more than what he thought would win the election. >> he got beat by women by 14 points. you cannot win -- when you give big blocks of the electorate away, which republicans are now doing, you can't win. >> ronald reagan was elected president. he ran a powerfully smart campaign. although he was pro-life, although he was pretty hawkish on foreign policy, he focused on jobs. he focused on the economy. and he was disciplined. so people sort of got the message, wink, wink, yeah, i'm pro-life, but i'm not going to change the law. in california he didn't sign a pro-choice position. he wasn't anti-gay. in other words, the emphasis he put on the job creation and the economy is what got him elected. your guy this time, romney, was all over the place getting stuck with positions that the public didn't want. >> but if you watch romney, he basically talked about mostly jobs.
i don't recall him being out there with a great big pro-life position. do you? >> well, i thought he was. >> no. >> your platform said 14th amendment rights for the unborn. >> i think in every speech he gave he talked about jobs, jobs, and jobs. i think in the end -- a couple things happened. one, he didn't have an ideology. two, he ran a scorched earth primary campaign which caused people with all the other campaigns not to lift a finger for him. they might have voted for him, but they didn't lift -- >> they tell us, karl rove conceded he knew a lot of the candidates he supported were doomed. he knew it even as he raised millions for them through his super pac. here is karl on the road to damascus. let's listen. >> i was involved in a group called american crossroads. it was the worst volunteer job i've had in my life. i was in charge of raising money. we raised $324 million. and i got sick and tired of spending money in races where
the moderates and conservatives had gone at each other and made victory impossible, and, you know, i'd rather have somebody who agrees with me most of the time than to do something and to send somebody there who is going to vote against my values and my views. >> at least in the case of bernie madoff, madoff got the money. who got all this money? he didn't even get it. it was just wasted. >> so he says. you really believe karl rove didn't get any money? i don't believe it. >> we like this "hardball" here. karl rove off with the money. [ fema le announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk.
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candidate to take them to a win. back in the 1950s the moderate wing of the republican party was coming off defeat until general dwight d. eisenhower came in creating what would later be called eisenhower republicans, a group that seems near extinction. evans thomas is author of a new book that is getting great reviews. and david eisenhower, for whom camp david was named, is the grandson of ike. we're back. the republican party, as we just said, is in a soul searching mode right now looking to explain its loss and find a new candidate to get them to win. back in the 1950s, the and by a landslide in 1956. >> your thoughts about his legacy then. rockefeller and create some kind of legacy for moderation? >> well, what he did was he
started a national republican that involved in the new deal the harry truman deal. he's the first in line starting in 1962 and did it by combining, i would say, pro-business conservative principles on one hand but moderation and outlook and in manner and above all, the ability to reach across the aisle. i think this is something that he had. but this was a wartime habit that he developed as general and also as part of the times. the democratic party was the majority party in that period and republicans had every incentive to reach across the aisle which is really not the case today. today you've got republicans and democrats very narrowly divided, which means all of the incentives are to mobilize your own and to maintain the morale of your own side and this is standing in the way of bipartisan cooperation. >> you know, today because of the neocons and george w., you get the field that the republican party is a hawkish
party. and all those people, all that crowd i have really come to love, sarcastically. i haven't read your book but i know it's great because i know your angle. to me, the greatest thing about ike is we didn't get involved in suez. tell me about his ability to bluff, saying i'm not going to go into these wars. he basically said no, no, no to the hawks. >> he had seen war, he ran world war ii on the european side and wanted to avoid one. after he got us out of korea in 1953, he didn't lose anybody in combat. that's a record that no president since him -- >> what were the pressures for him to do so? >> people on his team wanted him to use nuclear weapons against china and -- vietnam. admiral ratford wanted to nuke -- >> how would you nuke in a jungle? >> it's called tactical nuclear weapons. eisenhower threatened to use them. he was good at bluffing. >> is that how he ended korea?
>> historians tackled this and -- >> by the way -- >> threatening something worse? >> well, that's what they say. i want to congratulate him, by the way, on this book. i've really enjoyed it, evan. we had talked about it earlier. this is a -- this bluff that you cover in the eisenhower years is a really critical part of the story of that era. it's also a bluff that, in all fairness, condition continues into the kennedy years. the cuban missile years involved the same kind of stakes that happened in berlin and in korea, indochina. eisenhower was a wartime commander and he understood the difficulties in dealing with the soviets but because he commanded the western front in world war ii, he also understood the possibilities for rough or fundamental, i would say, co-existence or cooperation with the soviets and i think that this was behind this bluff. it was behind the kennedy bluff in cuba. it was the idea -- explain your
buff. explain the buff to people. >> the bluff is that there are political differences, national differences that would justify a general war. i think that that is something that many years, many decades removed from that period, i think we would find it very difficult to justify. but in that period, the idea that -- >> okay. >> the united states and the soviet union would have a general nuclear exchange over differences, say, regarding berlin or cuba was to some degree a bluff. but it was something that rested, i think, on a hard-nosed understanding that the soviets did not, in the final analysis, want war, nor did we. and this bluff reinforced a status quo. it was invoked in berlin. where the apples have fallen. >> i get the point. i think about ike, i think about him as humble and how can a guy from kansas be where i am at right now and some things i really think are great about that guy and you're doing what
david did for john adams. >> i hope so. >> david eisenhower, evan thomas, the new book is called and this bluff reinforced a status quo. it was invoked in berlin. where the apples have fallen. >> i get the point. i think about ike, i think about him as humble and how can a guy from kansas be where i am at right now and some things i really think are great about that guy and you're doing what david did for john adams. >> i hope so. >> david eisenhower, evan thomas, the new book is called "ike's bluff." post world war ii history, it's the best. anyway, we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] we all make bad decisions. like say, gas station sushi.
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let me finish tonight with this. imagine having two political parties that are moderate on social issues, reasonable on fiscal and economic matters. imagine having a republican party that thinks of the big cities, the east and west coasts, capable of working across the country with the democrats and reasonable in its politics and principles. eisenhower republicans they were called in the 1950s, moderate on