tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 7, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST
senator schumer says he trusts ray kelly to be able to provide the right security for this. let's listen to senator graham. >> this is being sneaky. it is being too clever by half. if they think that we are going to sit on the sidelines and sit that you are not going to take them to guantanamo bay? >> he sees this as evading guantanamo bay. >> the evidence has been collected in a way that they cannot be presented in a villain court.
this man went on television multiple times and openly proclaimed his desire to kill americans. so as far as that goes i don't think you need a secret agent to testify to that. he is so dangerous that he cannot be held safely here in new york. this guy is not the birdman of alcatraz. he is an old fat guy. he had to flee to iran. when they picked him up he was staying at a luxury hotel. he is not going to pose a violent threat to others. he was a danger to this country and he deserves his day in court but this is no reason to put someone like this in gitmo. >> evan thank you for joining me with the latest on that.
>> drone ranger. let's play "hardball." ♪ >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. people here get the greatest, most well-guarded rights in the world and there's nothing i'm prouder of. life, liberty and the pursuit of happy nsz. we have debates. debates about the most central questions. these questions, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. those words are the ones that jefferson gave us. >> senator diane finestein on
intelligence. anyway, late this afternoon, john brener was confirm today be the next head of the c.i.a. the final vote was pretty strong, 63-34. brennan's nomination reignited the fight against the use of drones used overseas. can the government kill americans here on u.s. soil? well, last night, he states a nearly epic 13 hour filibuster. earlier this week, attorney genric holder reported that the scenario was entirely hypothetical. let's take a look. >> does the president believe he has the thr toy the kill americans that are not engaged in combat with drone strikes. the answer is no.
well, they vnt given us that answer. >> a new letter answering that question. let's listen to that comment. >> this is from the letter. "does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an american not in combat on american soil. no. the answer is no. that is a letter signed by the attorney general. >> hooray. for 13 hours yesterday, we asked him that question. them that question, and so there is a result and a victory. under duress and under public humiliation, the white house will respond and do the right thing. so now after 13 hours of filibuster, we're proud to
announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed americans on american soil. my next question would be, why did it take so long? why is it so hard? and why would a president so jealously guard power they were afraid to say this? but i am glad, and i think that answered that question -- the answer does answer my question. >> senator feinstein, thank you for joining us from capitol hill. was that a reasonable demand by your colleague, senator paul, or is this sort of a story built up by him, hyped up? >> well, i think it's built up, i think it's hyped up, i think it's cleared up. it was cleared up yesterday when senator cruz asked the question in the judiciary committee, and, you know, it can be a complicated question. when it's reduced down to the basic simple fact of what it was said, the answer is clearly no. and no drone is going to be used in the united states against an american citizen walking down a
street or sitting in a cafe. and, you know, and then there was a stupid example of a drone being used against jane fonda. i mean, i don't think this is befitting the senate floor. having said that, clearly senator paul got the answer in writing signed by the attorney general, which is very definitive. >> yeah. here is your colleague, john mccain. he took to the senate floor today and attacked senator paul saying he's giving credence to people who fear the government -- that fear that the government is out to get them, sort of the black helicopter crowd. let's watch your other colleague, john mccain, in action here. >> to somehow allege or infer that the president of the united states is going to kill somebody like jane fonda or someone who disagrees with the policies is a stretch of imagination which is, frankly, ridiculous. we've done a, i think, a
disservice to a lot of americans by making them believe that somehow they're in danger from their government. they're not. >> do you think, senator, that technology, and you and i have grown up with the dynamic, almost unbelievable exponential growth in what mankind can do with technology, is that playing to the paranoia in people? they think if we have the capability, we're going to use it against average citizens who are of a different political persuasion? is that why the far right is so nervous? >> well, i think the drone is a new technology. in some respects it's the perfect assassination weapon. it can see from 17,000, 20,000 feet up in the air. it is very precise. it can knock out a room in a building if it's armed. it's a very dangerous weapon, and right now we have a problem. there are all these nations that
want to buy these armed drones. i am strongly opposed to that. we have no regulation of drones in the united states in their commercial use. you can see drones some day hovering over the homes of hollywood luminaries violating privacy. this question has to be addressed, and we need rules of operation on the border, by police, by commercial use, and also by military and intelligence use. so this is now a work in progress. we are taking a look at it on the intelligence committee trying to draft some legislation. the administration is looking at a rules playbook as to how these won't be used and how they will be used. so it's a very complicated subject of new technology, and i think we have to take a pause and get it right. >> it's great to have you on, senator dianne feinstein who chairs the senate intelligence committee. thank you for joining us.
eugene robinson is a columnist for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst. the great thing about having you on, you know washington theater. you have seen "mr. smith" a thousand times like most of us. you know how this is done. did paul score a big point on the right or even across the country by standing out there for 13 hours in a real filibuster? >> i think he did, and, look, my column for tomorrow is the first and probably only column i will ever write that's kind of complimentary to rand paul in that i think he did a service by making us focus on drones by making us focus on this new technology for all the reasons that senator feinstein enumerated. they're very precise, they're very deadly. she called it the perfect assassination weapon, and that's kind of what it is. and even if you -- if it's ridiculous to think that a president of the united states is going to assassinate a citizen on u.s. soil with this technology, even if that's far-fetched, if it served -- if raising that question served to
focus us on what's happening, not what's going to happen, but what's happening now on the fact that there are reasons to use these things domestically -- >> are you concerned that we have to have this kind of debate publicly. that there is a possibility somewhere out there on the edge that -- not going to say he did it, but somebody on the far right like dick cheney, who has pushed waterboarding and things, will push this thing that far? do you think it's possible that a jane fonda could be targeted even by the most right wing american politician we can imagine? >> i don't think anybody is going to target jane fonda -- >> or any american -- unless they're carrying a gun. >> there are police departments across the country that have filed applications to be able to fly drones for surveillance or for whatever. we had this situation in -- outside of los angeles the other week where the rogue cop was --
had killed all these people. potentially you could have used a drone to do surveillance there, and if you decided the cabin wasn't approachable and he was putting lives in danger, would police departments have wanted to have the option -- >> what would be wrong with using that technology rather than a bomb thrown in the window? >> good question. good question. >> we've had experience in philadelphia when they blew up a whole bock. >> philadelphia, as usual, ahead of its time. >> in all seriousness -- why is using the drone worse than, say, smoking out the house or killing the guy. >> it's killing the guy, and there is a certain antiseptic, creepy, at-a-distance quality -- >> stand back weapons. >> -- to drone warfare that i think we need to deal with. we're going to use them in various ways, and we need to figure it out. >> i think you're right, and i think hemingway used to write
about that, it's tougher to be an infantry man than a tank driver because you have to do the walking into the fear, physically walk into it. look at this point lindsey graham made about the republicans who joined with senator paul in that filibuster yesterday. let's listen to graham. >> to my republican colleagues, i don't remember any of you coming down here suggesting that president bush was going to kill anybody with a drone. you know. i don't even remember the harshest critics of president bush on the democratic side, they had a drone program back then. so what is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every republican so spun up? to my party, i'm a bit disappointed that you no longer apparently think we're at war. >> you know, this is the fascinating thing about the right wing, and people watching this show are students of it, maybe in danger of it. you have the neocon people like lindsey graham and john mccain who are ready at the snap of the fingers to go to war. that's the first solution. let's go to war. they always have one ready.
then you have the very conservative old pat buchanan breed, people like rand paul who are very suspicious of our power being used for any purpose besides basic national defense. >> yeah, right. that's the split in the republican party, and they're going to have to deal with that. the other thing he was driving at i think is, look, i personally, like a lot of democrats i guess, i have confidence -- i know that president obama thinks about the use of drones, and i know that he and -- i have confidence in him -- >> suppose cheney were president right now. >> exactly. >> right now. >> he's only going to be president for another 3 1/2 years. others are going to follow, and unless we kind of think about what sort of limits, if any, we want to put -- >> you remember cheney's speech about the shadow lands and the gray areas of the world and the hallways and the back halls. >> exactly. >> he talks like that. i'm glad -- my son michael has been tough on me on this. he's a very civil libertarian guy. i've become less of a skeptic.
i think rand paul probably did something good for the country in the last two days, and i'm sure he hates to hear me say that. >> he's going to hate my column tomorrow. >> look, a broken clock is right twice a day, as i have said before. thank you. you can all remember that one. thank you, eugene robinson. coming up, if there's one coming up, if there's one thing we learned from rand paul yesterday is if senators want to filibuster, they ought to stand up and talk in the old way. jimmy stewart, get out there and talk. he did it for 13 hours. the republicans have filibustered the president's choice for the d.c. court of appeals even without doing anything. they didn't have to do a thing. up next, hand it to arkansas. now has the most restrictive abortion law in the country on the books at least. republicans, of course, passed a law setting a limit down there at 12 weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be heard. well, this is because some on the right feel the country isn't moving fast enough to ban abortions. maybe that's because most people are pro-choice. president obama followed up his dinner with a lunch today with the very important guy, paul ryan, who is chair of the budget committee. is it possible the republicans
have decided that opposing the president at all costs is no longer worth the price? let me finish with how republicans and democrats can actually compromise. it's doable. this is "hardball," the place for politics. she knows you like no one else. and you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing,
stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. no surprises here. hillary clinton's leading the pack for president 2016. let's look at the "hardball" scoreboard. secretary clinton would beat new jersey governor chris christie by eight points, 45%/37%. beat congressman paul ryan by 12, and against senator marco rubio, hillary's lead is 16, 50% to 34%. her head-to-head poll numbers against those three republicans are stronger than fellow democrats. joe biden and andrew cuomo trail.
welcome back to "hardball." there they go again. republicans in arkansas this time yesterday overturned their democratic governor's veto and the human heartbeat protection act it's called which bans most abortions after a woman's 12th week of pregnancy. and that's three months before the usual viability standard and before some women even know they're pregnant. governor mike beebe called the bill unconstitutional. already the aclu has planned to challenge the law in federal court. cecile richards is president of planned parenthood and sarah weddington here with some of her arguments to legalize abortion in the fall of '72. >> we are not here to advocate abortion. we do not ask this court to rule that abortion is good or dishonorable in any particular situation. we are here to advocate that the
decision as to whether or not a particular woman will continue to carry or will terminate a pregnancy is a decision that should be made by that individual. that, in fact, she has a constitutional right to make that decision for herself. >> sarah, thank you for coming on so much. i have great respect for your historic role, of course. let me ask you this, what does it mean for a state to just all by itself like a cowboy go out there and say we're going to cut the term from six months to three months in which you can have an abortion, you can make that decision. what could they possibly attempt to do knowing it will be declared unconstitutional? >> i think there are a number of things. one is sometimes you use an issue just to try to put together support for your position. it may be that they're just trying to start a movement, a parade as it were, of other states to pass the same kind of law, but if you look at the roe versus wade decision, this is my copy with all the judges' signatures, it clearly says, no, you can't do that. in fact, yesterday in idaho
there was a law that banned abortion basically after 20 weeks, and a court ruled that unconstitutional. now, so, first, it could be they're just trying to get a parade going, lead people. the country overwhelmingly does not agree with that. second is they may be thinking, well, right now this court would hold roe -- would hold the arkansas law unconstitutional, but what if there's a new president and some vacancies and we get some new people on the court? maybe they would approve it. and, third -- >> right now where do you stand right now on roberts or kennedy deciding votes? do you think they might go with something as extreme as to cut the term in half where a woman would be allowed to choose? >> i don't see kennedy doing that. roberts i don't know. >> well, let me go over to cecile, my friend. let me ask you about this to your cause, women's health and reproductive rights. what's it going to say to your
members, women out there, most of whom are pro-choice, to hear some state is going out on its own and saying we're going to cut the time down, let's make it three months. just out of nowhere. where do they get this number from? >> look, chris, what we're seeing, as you said, this country was so clear in this last election. the biggest gender gap ever in the history of gallup polling saying people in this country and particularly women do not want to go back. roe has been, thanks to sarah and a lot of other good folks, roe has been the law of the land for 40 years now. never had stronger support. the thing that is really frustrating is it's not only attacks on a woman's right to make decisions about her pregnancy. the same politicians, in fact, the same politician in arkansas is introducing a bill to end women's ability to get birth control at planned parenthood. so it's a much bigger assault. i think women, frankly, are sick and tired of being the target of politicians. >> let's talk about politicians, sarah. i know you're an attorney. i don't know what your politics are, maybe you're a democrat,
maybe you're a republican. here is the story, the republican party still holds to the fact its latest platform, it's very specific on the topic of abortion. it reads, quote, faithful to the self-evident truths enshrined in the declaration of independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. we support a human life amendment to the constitution and endorse legislation to make clear the 14th amendment's protections apply to unborn children. here is a national republican party saying in its latest document of belief that the unborn child at any stage of development from conception on has the right to property, has the right to life, and to liberty. what can they possibly mean by those last two and what are they up to except to say you shouldn't have any abortions in this country and arkansas is only being somewhere in the middle here? >> well, i'm going to tell every -- and by the way, i'm a big democrat. i'm going to tell every group
that i speak to about what arkansas has done and what the republican platform has done. because every time this issue has been presented to the voters where a legislative mandate to make life begin at conception, the constitution says all persons born or naturalized. every time you present that to the public, they say no. >> that's right. >> and part of that is because so many -- >> even alabama. >> -- couples rely on in vitro fertilization. sorry, go ahead. >> no, sarah -- i was going to say you're exactly right. and we even saw the state of mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the country, overwhelmingly reject this kind of ideology, and i think the sad thing is, chris, this is not where most republicans are either. i feel like that the republican party is being held hostage by some folks on the very, very furthest end of the spectrum of the issue. frankly, the american people say we want to get the economy going, get people back to work, and for goodness sake, make sure women can have access to birth control in this country.
>> 70% -- both of you, although you may both be democrats and be progressive, the fact is 70% of the country agrees with you. leave roe v. wade alone. no one can forget the comments during todd akin's crazy campaign, that women who are victims of legitimate rape, he called it, can simply make their bodies prevent conception. akin lost a gimme election, and in indiana richard mourdock's campaign went belly up when he said a pregnancy resulting from rape was god's will, but republicans keep talking about rape. phil gingrey, a potential senate candidate, followed up on akin's assertion this january. catch this. it continues. >> i'm an ob-gyn doctor. i've been an ob-gyn doctor for a long time, since 1975, and i've delivered lots of babies, and i know about these things. it is true, we tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving
because of not -- the woman not ovulating, just relax, drink a glass of wine, and don't be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate. so he was partially right, wasn't he? but the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you're not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. >> well, the reference -- this guy's metaphors are beyond imagination. i'm thinking of john riggins talking to sandra day o'connor, lighten up, judge. let me go to you, sarah, you have the history behind you. what do men talk about -- they talk about rape. why do republican men talk about rape? what is it in the water supply or the barn leaving the dog or whatever the stuff, why are they talking about rape all the time? your thoughts.
>> well, i have no idea, but there was a great cartoon during the last election, and it was a big button that said vote, and it was a woman's finger on it saying we know how to shut them down, and that's what happened in the last election. >> who was the guy that said put an aspirin between your knees and all this -- cecile, you know this stuff, too. why don't you just tell them in the interest of political success, stop talking. >> well, chris, you said it best at the end of the last election is when someone asked you did the rape guy win and you have to ask which one, you know it's a disaster. the fact someone is still defending todd akin and this guy is running for united states senate. >> gingrey is one of the hot shots down in georgia the democrats are praying to run against. cecile, always nice to have you on. i don't think this is a big threat. sarah, great honor to have you on. i did know you were a democrat. i was letting you explain that to us instead because you did work at the white house when i was there. thank you. rand paul brought up adolf
hitler -- another phrase, adolf hitler and rape. while the logic was tortured, it's a reference he's made time and time again. i have an explanation. he's a little off the loose end sometimes. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] this single scoop of gain gives more freshness than a whole box of this other stuff... and that much freshness is gonna take some getting used to... [ sniffing ] yep. it's amazing what a single scoop of gain freshness can do.
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." steve colbert had some thoughts about the hoopla over the snowstorm in washington this week, the one here in d.c. and how it somehow got lumped in with talk about spending cuts. >> they're calling it the snowquester. >> snowquester. >> the snowquester. >> snowquester. >> they're calling it snowquester, which i think is great. isn't that cute? >> of course, the word snowquester is a combination of snow and the sequester. i think we should name all of our weather events after what
kind they are plus whatever people are talking about on television at the time. today washington is blanketed in the snowquester. tomorrow a storm covers new york in drone-sicles. or a freak blizzardashian. as we speak, oklahoma is still suffering the effects of pope been a drought the xvi. the snowquester was only one way to dub yesterday's mishmash of events. rand paul went with fili-blizzard. as i told you yesterday, somewhere towards the beginning of that filibuster he dropped a reference to hitler. >> out of that chaos hitler was elected democratically. they elected him out of this chaos. the point isn't that anybody in our country is hitler. i'm not accusing anybody of being that evil.
i think it's an overplayed and a misused analogy, but what i am saying is that in a democracy you could some day elect someone who is very evil. that's why we don't give the power to the government. >> well, senator paul went on to say that he was by no means comparing anyone in today's politics to hitler, of course. only warning of what could happen down the line if we don't cut government spending. you may have been surprised to hear the warning we're on the road to naziism, but here is the thing, rand paul and his here come hitler warnings have a long history together. talking points memo kept track. >> what happened in germany when they printed up so much money you carried it around in wheelbarrows. there was a collapse and they voted in a hitler. you could get something like that in our country if we're not careful and vigilant. the danger is, i think, runaway inflation where the money becomes worthless. i fear more a time like the
weimar republic in 1923 where the germans carried their money around in wheelbarrows. the pictures in our history book, most people have seen them, money in wheelbarrows. people burning their money for fuel, and out of that came chaos and came hitler. hitler was basically elected in his first election, but he was elected because there was chaos. people actually democratically voted in a hitler, and i worry about that again in our country if the money is destroyed in our country, could we get a time where a strong leader comes forward and says, we just need security. i'll make you safe, but just give me your liberty. >> repetition is the mother of memory. rand paul's obsession with 1920s german inflation is probably rooted in his love of the gold standard. fact check, prices in the united states rose 1/6 of 1% in january. hardly a call for more wheelbarrows. finally, representing the nra without a rifle? you might think the nra would want its field representatives to be an ideal reflection of responsible gun ownership here in the u.s.
that's not quite the situation for richard d'alauro. he has been barred from owning and purchasing firearms since last year according to "the daily news." the nra's field representative -- it's in the paper today -- is forbidden from owning guns under an order of protection stemming from a confrontation with his wife in the their long island home. at the time the police confiscated 39 pistols, shotguns, and weapons d'alauro kept in their home. the judge continued an order of protection for one year banning him from owning or purchasing firearms. he pleaded guilty to a harassment charge, and he will apparently get his 39 firearms back in october. his lawyer says it's of no significance whatever that his client cannot own a gun while representing the nra. up next, the one thing we learned from rand paul is if senators want to filibuster, they ought to do it the way he did it, talking until you can't talk anymore. he had to go to the bathroom apparently. and that's ahead.
i will speak until i can no longer speak. i will speak as long as it takes until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our constitution is important. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, rand paul. he began his epic filibuster, and 12 hours and 50 minutes later there he is, something of a hero. here he is ending it. >> i would go for another 12 hours to try to break strom thurmond's record, but i've discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and i'm going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here. thank you very much for the forbearance, and i yield the floor. >> i don't know why he referenced hitler, now he's referencing strom thurmond. anyway, senator paul's filibuster was old school, the kind of performance people imagine when they hear filibuster and think of jimmy stewart and "mr. smith goes to washington."
without having to utter a peep, senate republicans are able to block president obama's nominee to the u.s. court of appeals, caitlin halligan. the practice has been vilified by democrats and republicans. when you're a minority, it's a potent tool. senator tom udall pushed to end the silent filibuster at the end of this congress and is committed to filibuster reform. michael steele is always for reform. he's the former chair of the republican national committee. senator udall, i applaud completely what you have tried to do. explain, if you can, why any decent person, including a progressive senator, would support this stupid thing where any senator in the world can simply say tell the majority leader i think i'm going to filibuster, and that is effectively a killing off of that legislation. >> chris, nobody should be able to support that. that's the basic idea. one senator holding up the whole show, and i don't think that's
what the american people want, and i don't think it's what most senators want. i think what they want to see is if you have an objection, you have a statement, you have something to put out there for the american people, you go down to the floor and do it rather than secretly block things and hold things up, and that's -- >> what does harry reid say? you're in harry reid's office. imagine you're sitting with harry reid, the old pro. he speaks softly, but he has a big stick. what does he say when you get in there as the new kid on the block to say this. >> when we urged him to do this and he was for this and we were moving down the road, he did the vote count, and he didn't think we were quite there. he didn't think we had enough votes -- >> did you have his vote? >> he wanted to do this. he wanted to do this. he said he wanted to do this, and he said he didn't have enough votes, and that's where we were, but the idea is still a very good one, and it was proven
out in the two situations you just talked about. halligan, secret exception, behind the scenes, people don't realize that court needs four justices, and she was very well-qualified and she was deep sixed. on the other hand, rand paul stepped up to the plate, made his point, got some answers, and we got the brennan nomination done. >> let me talk to michael steele. it seems to me we have a very good system of checks and balances. to get something passed, you have to get it through the house and through the senate, and the president has to sign it. that's enough, but adding to that now is you have to have 60 votes in the senate, which means with neither party ever getting 60 votes, it makes another hurdle and it makes government so much less efficient, and the public is demanding action. they're not demanding stopping things. >> i agree with you. and i applaud the senator for his efforts to try to open up the process to allow more of what rand paul did if the senator really feels that strongly about a nomination or a particular issue. when it comes to -- >> we've just reached the physical limits about the potty here. he had to go to the bathroom. it's one way of saying, okay, you put -- and it worked. >> no, 13 hours.
he held -- actually i have to admit it was pretty good political television to watch and to hear these individuals get up and speak from durbin to rand to cruz. so that process i think exposed the side of the political expression that a lot of americans appreciate and, quite frankly, miss from the jimmy stewart days. >> back to the senator. mr. udall, can you get this done? will we get to the point you can't have any filibuster unless it's real? >> i think we're going to get there, and the reason i say that, you should see the new senators who have just come on. they are so frustrated with what's happening now. they're talking, many of them and some of the more senior senators are saying, you know, this is a bad situation. we've got some real anger because the place isn't working, and i would hate to see a rule change in midstream, but we could see one with this kind of reneging on deals we thought had been made. >> under the budget act, you get like one time a year when you're guaranteed a vote on
reconciliation, right? otherwise you're never guaranteed a vote on anything, right? >> oh, no, you can get a lot of votes in the senate. and it's done usually through agreements and through a negotiation to -- >> unanimous consent. >> unanimous consent and you can -- >> you have just made your point. if all 100 senators say you can have a vote, otherwise you don't get it. michael, what kind of way is it to run a country? >> it's not a good way to run the country. i think you talked about the silent filibuster. there's a lot of concern, as the senator noted, that a lot of the freshmen senators are frustrated by the process. here is the reality. it's great to push back against the system and want to reform it when you are in the majority, okay? but as harry reid noted, we could be in the minority in two years, and this is a tool, a powerful tool, we would like to have as we saw them use -- >> but this guy, senator udall, you noticed is in the majority, and he's trying to reduce the ultimate power --
>> he's trying to reduce the ultimate power, but harry reid won't let it happen. and at the end of the day you can bring the reforms to the table, you asked the right question, where is harry reid on this? the majority leadership is like we could be in the -- they're always looking down -- >> you know i would like to see a vote on this. i think a vote would be very happy. mr. reid, an admirable man in many ways, should have a vote. thank you very much. you're a real reformer. and michael steele. when we come back, progressives are applauding rand paul's filibuster. up next, dinner with republican senators, lunch with paul ryan, and also joining us is congressman van hollen who is also there today. chris van hollen. have republicans finally decided to sit down with the president? this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ female announcer ] waiting, waiting... feel like you're growing older... waiting to look younger? don't wait. [ female announcer ] get younger looking skin fast. with new olay regenerist micro-sculpting cream.
big news. another democratic retirement in the u.s. senate. senator carl levin, a great guy, democrat from michigan, says he won't seek re-election in 2014. levin is the fourth democrat to announce his retirement this year following iowa's tom harkin, west virginia's jay rockefeller, and frank lautenberg of new jersey. like all these guys. that means democrats need to defend four more open seats as well as seven seats in states that voted for mitt romney. republicans need to net six seats to win control of the senate. it's doable for the republicans next. and we'll be right back.
we're back. the great 19th century republican kingmaker mark hannon once said isn't there something we should look like we're doing? republicans are certainly trying to do at least that. last night the president met with supposedly a group of persuadable republicans to get something done. some of the senators seemed to leave hopeful. >> senator mccain, how'd the meeting go? >> just fine. great. wonderful. >> i am more optimistic just from a personal standpoint. >> it was serious. it was face to face. i appreciate the president asking some of us to come over and talk to him. and we got away from the politics of it. >> he was very open, honest, sincere. general discussion.
>> i do think it was helpful and i think it's the way this country ought to operate, and that is the executive branch sitting down with legislators talking through issues. it was a very sincere discussion. >> well, let's hope i can say maybe it's because of the president's slipping poll numbers. maybe it's because some people actually want to get something done. or maybe like mark hannon they just want to make it look that way. whatever the reason today president obama continued his charm offensive. lunch with former vice presidential candidate congressman paul ryan. and of course joining minimum was chris van hollen, who was the ranking democrat on the budget committee and he joins us right now. so you were there at this tripartite brunch, or lunch. and tell me about the president, what do you think he's trying to get across? >> well, we had a good lunch, a good conversation. good meal. and i think it was a good spirit. i think what the president's trying to do is engage as many people as possible in this dialogue, to try to move the ball forward. we got a lot of big issues we've got to tackle on the budget and of course on immigration reform and other issues. but until we get out of this situation we're in now where
we're going from one manufactured crisis to another, the country cannot be at its full potential. so that's what he's trying to do, get moving. >> but what is -- as you see, it as a democrat, what is the fight about? when people say they're always fighting in washington, there's always dysfunction, there's all this stuff, what is the night. >> the fight when it comes to the budget is about what are our priorities and our values. and the budget document is filled with a bunch of numbers but those numbers say a lot about who we are. so what the president says is he wants to put together a budget that grows the economy and strengthens the middle class, and that means getting rid of wasteful stuff but it means investing in important things like education, research and development, infrastructure, and when it comes to our seniors it means making our -- meeting our commitments to our seniors. and doing it in a fiscally responsible way. so that means you've got to reduce the deficit. so the debate is over how you do that. and the president says everybody's got to participate. that means we've got to make some targeted cuts.
but it also means we need to get revenue. and this time revenue from eliminating a lot of the tax breaks and tax loopholes that disproportionately benefit very wealthy people. >> how much money could you raise in revenue that would in any way affect the deficit? i mean, you'd have to raise so many billions of dollars. and how can you do it through reform without raising the rates? that's what i can't understand. >> well, the president has a plan on the table that first of all says for high-income earners you still get to take a bunch of the deductions but your total deductions are going to be capped at a 28% value. right? so if you have a mortgage interest deduction, you get to take it, but instead of 39 cents on the dollar for someone in that tax category you get a 28-cent on the dollar deduction. it limits the value of your deductions without taking them away. that raises a substantial amount of money. getting rid of oil and gabs subsidies. getting rid of tax breaks for hedge fund managers. those are other things you can do, chris. >> but how does that -- you've got a liberal democratic party. nancy pelosi, the speaker. people like george miller and
members of the black caucus. are they going to be satisfied with some kind of tax reform as a justification for then going after medicare, medicaid? will they ever accept the need to do the entitlements based on some reasonable number of tax reforms? i just don't see them as commensurate. >> the president's not going after medicaid. and with -- >> no, the republicans would like to do it. >> they do want to go after medicaid. the republican house budget just wallops medicaid. it did last night. it probably will do it again. on medicare we just have a different in approach. we all recognize we have to have savings in medicare. republicans want to transfer rising health care costs and the risks on the backs of seniors. the approach we want to take is the way we did in the affordable care act. you need to change the incentive structure in medicare. so there's less incentive to have higher bills where no one has the incentive to save costs to one where you focus on the value of care instead of the volume of care. so there are important things you can do in medicare without sticking seniors with the higher -- >> so when you make this point
about reasonable reform in the entitlement programs and the need for some kind of new revenues for reform, i've heard all these arguments with the president and you sit down with the republicans who are reachable or teachable, what do they say? because they're not saying yes. >> well, what they've been saying is that, well, you guys already got your revenue in january. >> the top 1% thing. >> right. but the universe didn't begin on january 1st. we also did $1.5 trillion in cuts over the last couple of years by putting spending caps in place. so what the president says is let's look at the bipartisan commission as a model. they have a lot more revenue than we've raised already and they have some additional cuts. and that's kind of the road map -- >> okay. you're an expert. do you think there's a chance that in this year the two parties can get together even if they have to go around the republican leadership and achieve some kind of grand deal? >> i think there is a chance. there's a chance if people are willing to put the politics aside, focus on solutions, and take that balanced approach. and the public is overwhelmingly in -- >> it started this week. we'll see how far you guys can
go. thank you, congressman chris van hollen, who's my congressman. when we return, let me finish with why republicans and democrats actually can compromise. it's doable. and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ female announcer ] going to sleep may be easy, but when you wake up in the middle of the night it can be frustrating. it's hard to turn off and go back to sleep. intermezzo is the first and only prescription sleep aid approved for use as needed in the middle of the night when you can't get back to sleep. it's an effective sleep medicine you don't take before bedtime. take it in bed only when you need it and have at least four hours left for sleep. do not take intermezzo if you have had an allergic reaction to drugs containing zolpidem, such as ambien. allergic reactions such as shortness of breath or swelling of your tongue or throat may occur and may be fatal. intermezzo should not be taken if you have taken another sleep medicine at bedtime or in the middle of the night or drank alcohol that day. do not drive or operate machinery until at least 4 hours after taking intermezzo and you're fully awake.
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