tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 13, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
outrageous. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. two big stories tonight. the irs and benghazi. the president called one outrageous, the other a sideshow. let's start with the outrageous. taxes, if you're honest and pay them, the best feeling you get after april 15th, is, well, that's over with. you try to believe the system is basically fair, that those progressive rates really mean something, that those irs people who go over your returns really are looking to keep people honest and they're fair about it. how else can you deal with this? this is if you don't have some basic faith in the system, you can't even do your return. so this, my progressive independent reasonably conservative friends, is how we live in this country.
how we try to be good citizens. and we are the ones, we are the ones most furious about this irs story that's just come out. do those people know what they've done to undermine the basic civic faith we've all got about not being chumps, being honest at tax time? to they know what they've done to the faith of this republic and what it can do to keep us who we are? there are the right wing people out there. they love this story. this baby. they always expect the worst. they get up in the morning figuring, well, they're about to be picked up by the fema workers and taken to concentration camps, or the black helicopters of new world order, they're coming to take their guns. yes, this expect the worst crowd just got an earful of what it goes to bed at night agitated about. i can only guess what they're saying about the news that some in the irs have decided to target right-wing groups. knew it all the time, they're muttering. this is the government. they're telling everyone they can listen to. and they ought to abolish the darned irs to start with. anyway, mr. president, i have advice for you. this is going to demoralize the
good people. it's going to give firepower to the far out. don't talk about being outraged. i can say that. do something. remember what reagan did back when the air traffic controllers broke fait with their oaths and went on strike. guess what, you might not like the rough treatment, but that's when we realized he was president. that's when the bad guys in the soon to be soviet union knew this country has a leader. you can act. find a way to get rid of whoever did this, or your enemies will ride this baby right through 2014. find a way to get rid of those people or mitch mcconnell, himself, will ride this right through re-election. and talk about preparing for the worst. howard fineman is the editorial director for the "huffington post." and joe is a columnist for "time" magazine. joe, you've been writing over the weekend about this and you've been tough. >> i thought what the president said today was appropriate, but you're right, people have to get fired over this. the problem is this, we have
civil service laws in this country that are 150 years, or 130 years out of date at this point. and it's really hard to fire people down in the bureaucracy who make mistakes. i mean, that's why the veterans administration is such a mess. >> what do you call mistakes? >> what do i call mistakes? >> why do you think this is is a mistake by somebody? it looks to me like partisan prejudice. you don't have to be elected to be a partisan person of prejudice. somebody went out against the right wing. singled them out by name. >> i think what they're trying to do is this. there are very complicated tax laws that, you know, that pertain to partisan policy advocacy groups. and in this case, they were trying to figure out, you know, sometimes policy drifts into politics. and it's illegal to use those groups for political purposes. so they had to check it out. it's a new law. this was 2010. the most activist partisan
groups were from the right. they took a shortcut. it was really mega stupid wrong. and, you know, this is a problem that's coming from the bottom up, not the top down. in other administrations like franklin roosevelt and richard nixon, it came from the top down. the president wanting to investigate his opponents. in this case, it's going to turn out -- >> i don't think you're right yet, joe. i don't think we know it comes from the bottom up. what i'm hearing is these orders came -- they have a special situation where cincinnati, the office out there, the big irs operation that was tasked with this job, it's the main facility of the united states for doing this. it was its job to look around for these non-profits that were abusing the law, especially on the right. and they did it. they did it their way, which got them into trouble. they were tasked with doing it, right? >> that's absolutely right. and what's going to happen, now, chris, is going to be, you know, the same sort of thing we're seeing with the benghazi case. we're going to look at all the e-mails and we're going to see how far up the food chain this
went. >> yeah. >> issue, i predict, is going to be whether the white house had any hand in keeping this silent in 2011 when it became known to the leadership of the irs. >> president obama spoke for the first time, as i said, today, an this story. most important, perhaps, is when he said he first learned of it. this is he, personally speaking. not his white house staff. hard statement by the president today which made me very happy. here he is. >> i first learned about it from the same news reports that i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday. and this is pretty straightforward. if, in fact, irs personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on, and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. and there's no place for it. we'll wait and see what exactly
all the details and the facts are, but i've got no patience with it. i will not tolerate it. we'll make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this. >> there's two issues here, whether he was involved in it personally, howard, apparently not so because he didn't know about it. the larger issue, he's head of the united states executive branch. he is responsible and he's also leader of the democratic party. and this is fire water for his enemies. this is dine miynamite. they can use this against him through the next five or six elections. this is going to be part of our history. you know, the irs is out screwing the right wing all the time. >> the fires on the right are going to be there, regardless. there's no reason to pour gasoline on them by what i thought was a touch too lawyerly approach here today. i wrote that. the white house people were mad at me for saying so. and i understand what joe is saying about civil service and so on. the president learned about it friday. he doesn't necessarily have to wait for a report to find out who did what down in cincinnati.
>> yeah. >> and i think a little more urgency would have been politically warranted today. >> why doesn't he say whoever did this is going to get canned? >> he should. >> by the way, remember george bush, even in the midst of the whole scooter libby thing -- >> okay. suppose he doesn't fire anybody. five months from now, six months from now. he will be the head of the irs which includes all those people, joe. they will still be there part of obama's irs. you heard of obama care, this will be obama irs. it will be his. >> the supervisor who knew about this in 2011, she should be writing her resignation letter right now. if not, they should can her. the inspector general's report on this is coming in a matter of days. i think we should wait for that. he has to take aggressive action here. you know, it really is an egregious -- >> exactly. >> -- act. >> you know, if he would say something that everybody who's progressive would understand, you know, if i heard a right
wing administration had done this to my progressive supporters. then our groups, any one of these new groups was being targeted for audits or harassment, i'd be furious. as president, not just democratic or progressive leader, he should speak the same way. >> the real audience for him, chris, is fair-minded people in the middle. exactly. that's what i'm responding to. he did say at some point there's going to be another republican administration. but he put it in a conditional term. he wasn't saying it in a personal way. he didn't sound that personally outraged, at least -- >> who are these headless nails he can't get out of the government when they commit this kind of malfeasance? i don't buy this idea that civil service protects people who do this kind of stuff. >> well, but he said, again, one of his top aides e-mailed me right after i wrote my piece on "huff post" and said, we have to wait for, in fairness to the president, this guy said, we have to wait for the inspector general's report. >> it's a matter of a -- i'm always ahead of him in termings
of getting agitated, joe. i agree i'm always more agitated than the president. that's why he's president. the simple fact is, if he doesn't get rid of these people, they're going to be thinking about getting rid of him. senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell, who's on fire with pleasure over this, he's up for re-election next year. this is probably his ticket to ride. he tipped his hand today regarding how he and the republicans plan to use this baby to club democrats. he told "bright beitbart news" appropriately, "the recent irs revelations were just the beginning of the story. this is no little thing. this is a big thing. the big news about it is they timely got caught. they finally messed with an agency everybody fully understands when they try to quiet the critics through other agencies, it doesn't get attention. this does. everybody understands the irs and how powerful they are. this is just one example of an administration with wide efforts to silence critics." joe, here he is saying this is an example of the united states government at its worst, but it's also a typical example. >> well, yeah. i mean, it's no secret that this
hasn't been the best managed administration that we've seen come down the pike in a while, although the president really is proud of his record of noncorruption which this, you know, kind of destroys. >> wow. >> but i do believe -- >> he's not connected to it personally, at least. >> i do believe that in the end the big issue here isn't going to be the mistake and the stupidity of the mid-level employees who launched this, but it's going to be how much did the white house know and when did it know it? was this scandal, you know, submerged for electoral purposes in 2011/2012? >> right. that's what joe said, i think joe may have used the word over the weekend, nixonian. >> yeah. >> and rightly so. but what -- joe's right. the test of whether it truly is nixonian is yet to be seen. what we know about the white house. let me tell you one other thing, chris. i was just duown in kentucky ovr the weekend where mitch mcconnell is running for
election. no democrat wants to challenge him. they can't get anybody in the ring against mitch mcconnell. this plays into kentuckians resentment of government. they're taking up the guns. it's the evil irs. it's the revenuers and all that stuff. you hand that to mitch mcconnell, it's an extra 50,000 votes in rural kentucky. it just is. >> so the president, what can the president do, joe, right now, to meet this concern? i think it's a big one. i think this has got some legs. what does he do about the fact he's got, perhaps, bureaucrats, perhaps somebody at the high level of bureaucracy of the irs knew about this two years ago and had to flak it? remember they were denying it a year later after they knew about it in '12. knew about it in '11. denying it in '12. the pr person may have talked to the pr person in the white house. they're always circling the wagons, joe. you know how it works. we have a stinker coming here. you better be ready for it. >> in the military, you're
responsible for everything that goes on during your watch. that means the director of the irs at the very least is responsible for this, and i think the president really has to make a show of force at this point and just, you know, lop off the head of that agency and move on it because i'm telling you, this is going to be big. even if it doesn't turn out to be significant. but if it turns out that there was any degree of white house knowledge of this, that is going to be a conflagration at a time when we have serious business to deal with in this country like the budget. >> we do have more serious things, but on the other hand, go back to the campaign. in that year, or the year before when the head of the irs is up on the hill saying there's nothing going on here. all the tea party groups are complaining. they're all complaining. conservative groups are complaining. the guy comes on to the hill and says, you know, there's nothing to this whatsoever. there's absolutely nothing to this whatsoever. it's hard to imagine that that testimony did not pass the radar screens of the white house.
and certainly of the obama campaign. i mean, it's just hard -- >> your trade craft is showing. this is what you know as a journalist. >> those guys are watching that. they're saying, oh my god. >> i didn't think the president was as angry about this as he should have been. not just his wording, his body language. when it came to benghazi, he was furious. the difference between his eye set, the way he looked at that "ap" reporter today when the issue was this, was totally dig different than when the issue of benghazi came up. we're about to go to the hottest show you're going to see tonight which is what we're going to talk about for the next ten minutes. this president is furious at what he calls the sideshow of benghazi. up in a minute with that. thank you, howard. thank you, joe klein. great reporting and great reporting over the weekend. coming up, we're going to talk to someone who says her conservative group was personally targeted by the irs. then later, the other big story, benghazi and what it could mean. president obama, secretary clinton, or the republic chance who spend so much time focusing
on it? we'll see who gets hurt. and this is "hardball." the place for politics. you'll s written by people just like you. i love my contractor, and i am so thankful to angie's list for bringing us together. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. we're not in london, are we? no. why? apparently my debit card is. what? i know. don't worry, we have cancelled your old card. great. thank you. in addition to us monitoring your accounts for unusual activity, you could also set up free account alerts. okay. [ female announcer ] at wells fargo we're working around the clock to help protect your money and financial information. here's your temporary card. welcome back. how was london? [ female announcer ] when people talk, great things happen.
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if you don't have something important to say? gestarting may 20th atts participating bay area stores. ♪ welcome back to "hardball." more on the irs scandal that outraged so many across the country. to recap. the agency has admitted to unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking tax exemptions as non-profits. congress, the treasure re department's inspector general and the irs, itself, are among those investigating the matter. those that were unfairly targeted are weighing legal action. how the irs looked for groups it thought might be violating the
rulss. it did so with an apparent political motive, essentially hand picking groups that had terms like "tea party" or "patriot" in their application. of the 300 groups the irs singled out for heightened review, about 25% of them featured those words in their paperwork according to agency officials. in the end, none of them were found to have violated any rules. in fact, not a single one of them have had their applications turned down to this point, although some reviews are still ongoing. if the words "tea party" and "patriot" are what you're screening for, it's hardly a surprise our next guest was one of those targeted. joining me now, jenny beth martin. also with us, joy reid, msnbc political analyst with the grios.com. let me just get your personal -- how did you know you were targeted for review by the irs as a patriot group, as a tea party group? >> thanks for having me on, again, chris. and we saw in -- well, we saw it was taking months and months and months to get answers from the
irs, and they've been stringing us along for years. in 2012, the beginning of 2012, we got, like, an eight-page letter from the irs, several other groups did around the country, asking for things like our facebook posts and comments on our facebook page. all the e-mails we've ever sent. the names of congressmen and senators that any of our supporters from around the country have talked to. a lot of the information that they were asking for was completely -- really none of their business and completely intrusive. >> well, tell me about it from your point of view. are you a political organization? >> we are a non-profit organization designed to do grassroots lobbying. that means we do legislative action. that's what a 501c4 is for. we applied for 501c3 status to educate on things like the constitution and bill of rights which this irs report was -- they're saying they don't even want us to do that. >> do you take sides in
elections? >> we have only stood up for our issues. we've never endorsed any candidates. in the primary, in fact, the vast majority of the work we do, the vast majority is related to the issues like obama care, the debt, the overspending. i've been on your show talking about it. >> obama care, in opposing obama care, do you think that was a political move? >> it was about the legislation. it wasn't about a political move. it was about what we thought was happening with the bill and the law moving through congress. >> i understand that. once the bill was passed, did you stop attacking obama care? since it was a policy question, it wasn't political? if you kept attacking obama care after it was the law of the land, then i'd question whether you were doing it as a campaign issue. >> no, it wasn't a campaign issue. we were out there in front of the supreme court when it was being heared out in front of the supreme court. again, that's what we're allowed to do as a 501c4. it wasn't for campaign purposes. it's because that is what -- how you appeal laws if you want to in this country. >> once the law was approved
by -- went through and was approved by review by the supreme court, did you continue to attack obama care on through the november election? >> we have focused on obama care, and, of course, going into the elections last year, it was not as large of an issue as we would have liked it to be. >> why did you -- if you're not political, why did you keep hitting the issue going into an election? if it had already been approved by the supreme court? >> it's legislation. we're legislatively focused. and that's what we do. we weren't talking about candidates. and, in fact, when we talked about the law going into the election, we didn't even call it obama care. we said the president's health care law. because our attorneys said that if we used obama, the name obama, that would cause problems for our pending status. >> joy reid, thank you for joining us tonight. my concern, i've voiced to loudly, this is catnip for the hard right. it says the government's the enemy. the government's out to get you. the helicopters are next. we're going to come get your guns. confiscate what you have and perhaps take you away to a concentration camp.
it's not just paranoia if you have this kind of evidence. i think it is paranoia most of the time. if this thing gets out to be fact, if it's clear they were going through returns like this young lady, this lady's returns, her organization's returns, if they're going around systemically looking for the right wing, it could be the left wing next year. that's my view. i think the president was right. i think he should have been tougher. >> well, chris, you know, there's a couple things here just to impact. first of all, obviously the people in that cincinnati office -- we're not talking about people in washington. we're talking about people in cincinnati, ohio. >> cincinnati was tasked with this nationally. they had the -- you can't pigeon hole it in cincinnati. this was the national effort to go through the review of these organizations. this is where it was tasked. one place. cincinnati. you can't say it's a local operation somewhere. go ahead. >> these were low-level staffers in cincinnati. i think that the problem here is the attempt to immediately go from that to the white house. and say, well you know what -- >> i'm not doing that. >> not you. >> let me ask you a question. lois learner, who looks at these
non-profits, knew about this a year before. according to the record now. you knew about this a year before they were denying it was happening. why didn't she fire the people who did it? why weren't steps taken to seriously discipline those who had done it? i'm concerned people weren't taking responsibility on behalf of this republic within our government, not being responsible to the organization of the irs, but being responsible to the country. that's the question. >> first of all we haven't gotten the final report yet. the report that i've read, the "ap" report, lerner ordered the review process be -- >> whabts the people who did it? >> that's a decent question. asking whether barack obama was using the irs to go after his political -- which i'm starting to see on the right -- >> i'm not going to go after the straw dog. i'm concerned about this government. the president is head of this government. if there are screwups, if it's down in albuquerque at the lowest level of a government, if somebody there is speaking for uncle sam, he's got to deal with
it. >> of course. doug shoalman, the head of the irs at the time, i think the idea he was engaged in some kind of conspiracy to go after tea party groups on a political basis when he, himself, is a republican and a george bush appointee, who had already told the president he was resigning from one of only two appointed political positions in the irs, that he was resigning in november. so the idea there's some conspiracy, doug shulman being the head of it doesn't make sense. >> let me go back to jenny beth. your view, i believe, what i've been able to understand of this, the national effort to review these kinds of applications like yours, the national effort was tasked to the cincinnati office and they were handling all this across the country. this wasn't some little pigeon holed operation. this was the effort to do this fairly. apparently they weren't doing it fairly. they were targeting the right. your thoughts. >> they weren't doing it fairly, and is lois lerenr a low-level employee? she knew about it last year, and in 2011. on friday she was saying it was low-level employees involved. is she a low-level employee or
not? >> she was on the federal election commission. >> i would say that's probably not a low-level job. and it doesn't -- if it was a bush appointee, obama appointee, i don't care who appointed them people. this is not republican, it's not democrat. it's wrong to do, and it's about the people who are unelected who have too much power, abusing the power that they have. we an not have that in this country. >> the one good news, jenny beth, the good news is the i.g. caught them. their own inspector general caught them. >> asking for that investigation to happen. >> okay. actually three quick things. the idea that the tea party pate rae yoots and other groups are nonpartisan is my other point. the 501c4 process attracted every low-level consultant to create the c4 when they saw the tea party coming. everyone who's observed the tea party knows they're political. that's number one. number two, i wonder if the same level of outrage existed back in
2004 when the irs not went after, looked at applications, but audited the naacp and launched a two-year investigation into them simply because the president of the naacp, because one person made comments that they thought were negative toward george w. bush. it's great we're going to look at the irs process. if people did wrongdoing, it was clearly stupid to target groups, they didn't understand the law. yeah, people should be disciplined. make sure we're just as outraged w when the irs goes after the naacp. >> did the irs in 2004 say we're going after them -- >> yep, the letter that was sent to the -- >> it was just as wrong then. >> julian bond's statements about george w. bush in his opposition to the war, that was in the irs letter that went to the naacp. >> okay. thank you, joy. i think everybody understands what you said.
jenny, as well. people at home are going to make a judgment about this. two wrongs don't make a wrong. thank you very much, jenny beth. joy, as always. i agree with you, mostly. up next -- of course you're right. especially about the naacp. up next, turns out there are a few things republicans and democrats actually agree on. coming up on the sideshow. and this is "hardball." the place for politics. leadership. these are skills we see in great actors and great teachers, which america will need more of because in the next decade, over a million teachers will retire. you have what it takes to be a teacher. the more you know. some brokerage firms are. but way too many aren't. why? because selling their funds makes them more money. which makes you wonder -- isn't that a conflict?
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>> that's like going through that bag i tote to and from work with the homework and stuff in it. by the way, seth myers will take over nbc's "late night" when jimmy fallon hosts the "tonight show" next year. it's clear where most of america stands on background checks for gun purchases. several polls out there show nine out of ten americans, as you know, are in favor of wider checks. here's a question. what other issues have nine out of ten of us on the same page? the "associated press" put together a list. the results are pretty basic. things like admire those who get rich by working hard. or believe it's wrong for married people to have sexual affairs. or consider preventing terrorism a very important foreign policy goal. well, backing wider background checks fits right on to that common sense list. also, michele bachmann's
back in the sideshow tonight. seems like she's kept a low profile since her presidential run, such as it was. bachmann spoke at a prayer event in washington last week and suggested that the attacks of 9/11, both in 2001, the big one, and at the diplomatic in benghazi last year were actually cases of, big surprise here, divine intervention. >> it's no secret our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment. it is no secret that we all are concerned that our nation may be in a time of decline. our nation has seen judgment not once, but twice, on september 11th. >> it's our judgment. seems to be a rather stunning conclusion, i'd say. anyway, bachmann had floated the same idea two years ago after hurricane irene saying that hurricane was a sign of the evils of government spending. >> i don't know how much god has to do to get the attention of the politicians. we had an earthquake. we've had a hurricane. he said, are you going to start
listening to >> we're listening. finally, you know the song "space oddity?" how about a twast of that song from outer space. in commemorating his last day on the job, here he is before coming back to earth. ♪ this is ground control ♪ ♪ >> hatfield got a treat there from, actually, a tweet, from david. quote, chris hadfield sings "space atty" in space.
hallo, spaceboy. a rendition of "space oddity." up next, a big political controversy of the day. as i promised, benghazi. president obama called the republican focus of the talks points about the attack on libya a sideshow. he stole our title. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. come here, boy. ♪ there you go. come on, let's play! [ male announcer ] there's an easier way to protect your dog from dangerous parasites.
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i'm bertha coombs with your cnbc market wrap. the dow falls 26 points. the s&p 500 finishes flat. the nasdaq which touched a 12-year high earlier. worgt to the "wall street journal" the fed is looking to end its $85 billion a month bond buying program. on the economic front, retail sales rose unexpectedly 0.1% last month, excluding gas
and auto, sales were actually up 0.5%. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." after days of taking ove new disclosures on benghazi, the president pushed back hard today. he ridiculed the idea there was a cover-up coming from his administration. he called it a political circus, accused his critics of playing political games and insists there was no there-there. on friday we learned the cia talking points went through 12 rounds of changes with the heavier than usual previously thought involvement of the state doe apartment and the white house. that it was outlined in a series of e-mails. here's what the president had to say about it all today. >> the whole issue of this, of
talking points, frankly throughout this process has been a sideshow. the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. suddenly three days ago, this gets spun up as if there's something new to the story. there's no there-there. and the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations. we've had folks who have challenged hillary clinton's integrity, susan rice's integrity, mike mullen and tom pickering's integrity. it's a given that mine gets challenged by these same folks. they've used it for fund-raising. >> was the president right? is the issue of how the talking points were changed a political sideshow? u.s. congressman michael turner is on the oversight and government reform committee which held last week's hears on benghazi. congressman, thanks for coming on. what is your view of this whole thing? >> thank you, chris. >> do you think the president has been dishonest? he's saying basically his
ingrity has been challenged. let's tgo to the issue of the talking points. do you think he was involved in cleaning them up, changing focus on them, covering up in some way to get re-elected in what do you think his role was? let's start with him. >> well, first off, the truth is never a sideshow. what we learned in the past week with the congressional hearings is that the narrative that was coming out of the administration from these talking points has no basis in fact. it is, in fact, a fiction. mr. hicks who testified before us said that susan rice hadn't even spoken to him. the lead diplomat on the ground after the ambassador was killed. and, you know, he clearly said that there was no demonstrati demonstrations, this was a terrorist attack. they knew it was a terrorist attack. they knew who perpetrated the terrorist attack. yet the white house and the administration chose to write a narrative that was based on fiction. >> so you know the president was involved, or who in the white house? you said the white house. let's nail you down here. who told susan rice to say what she said that day? was that the president,
personally, deputizing her to say it was a spontaneous demonstration that evolved into a terrorist attack of some form? what do you think did it? was it the president or one of his people? what do you know? >> what we know is susan rice -- >> no, do you know if the president was involved? just tell me. >> and susan rice went on national television and made statements that had no -- >> i watched it. >> -- no basis in truth. >> i saw everything you saw. i want you to them me something i don't know. >> when you have a lead administration official -- >> okay. you're repeating yourself. >> when you have a lead administration official go on television and absolutely not tell the truth -- >> this is the third time you're saying it. i'm asking you, let me ask you another question again. the same question again. i've asked you three times. what did the president know to your knowledge in terms of having her say what she said on "meet the press" that sunday? i watched it. you watched it. did the president have a role in that or not in. >> i think he has a role today. that is as you and i both have
said, we know what she said is not true. >> i agree with that. the fifth time you're saying it. >> -- that it wasn't true. >> okay. you don't know any more than i do. >> it's wrong for the white house to perpetrate this truth. i can tell you that i know from our hearing that mr. hicks, who was on the ground, was not even consulted as the administration, who knows why, perpetrated this narrative that was based on fiction. >> let me ask you, do you know if the secretary of state at the time, hillary clinton, was involved in any way in prepping susan rice for that appearance on "meet the press"? appropriately, you said, didn't give the full or accurate story. was the secretary of state involved? because what's going on here, the big names are getting -- sixth time you said it. >> the administration official goes on national television and says -- fiction -- that's what obviously we're trying to get down to. the president says he has released e-mails only because the congress asked. he's not stepped forward and said, educatixcuse me, i learne
lead administration official on my behalf told a fiction to the nation. that's what he should be focusing on. >> fair enough. in the course of your investigations, mr. turner, have you come up with any e-mail that suggests the president was involved? any mail that suggests that the white house through carney or anybody else seriously changed the message of that performance by the ambassador to the u.n.? >> the -- well, i'm going -- >> any evidence supporting this discussion? >> e-mails show which is why there's an ongoing investigation that there was a dialogue that changed this narrative to a fiction. what we need to find out is who did this, why did they do it, and why isn't the white house coming forward and saying they told the american public a lie? it's a fiction. >> no, you just said you didn't know the white house told the lie. i've been asking you now for five minutes to give me any evidence you have that the president was involved -- >> we are -- >> no, you have to answer this question. you can't skip my questions and end up with an accusation. you just said the president did this.
tell me how you know this. >> what's great is you get to ask the questions and i get to do the answers. you agreed with me that what susan rice said was a fiction. do we agree there? >> yes, i agreed with you five times. i continue to ask you a simple question. what role did the president play here? what role did he play, sir? >> what's wonderful about you asking these questions is that's why congress is doing an investigation. >> so you're investigating whether what you're talking about is -- >> to make certain we get down to who did this, why did they do it, and really where did this fiction come from? >> it's odd to have an investigation to find out if you know what you're talking about. that's what you're saying. i, sir, congressman turner am holding a investigation -- >> you try to fwiind out the truth. >> by the way, watch this show at 7:00 and see yourself saying the president did it. you said the president did it. you said the white house did it. you keep saying -- >> i have never, chris. absolutely. absolutely. there is no question that this administration has told a fiction to this nation. >> now it's the administration. >> while the president says it's
a sideshow, he's never said it's troubling. >> i know you got your points down. i want to ask you one last time, in all fairness, congressman. do you know if the president had anything to do with susan rice's performance on "meet the press" that sunday? anything? do you know anything you can tell me about that? >> he -- he appointed her and he certainly has done nothing since to correct the fiction and to say there's a problem in my administration that someone would go on national tv and tell a fiction. >> i understand everything you're saying, by the way, except the fact you're bringing the president in, the white house in. you admitted now you need to hold an investigation to find out if you know what you're talking about. >> the president is responsible. it's his administration. it's his appointees. it's his administration. he's the one who took out benghazi, gadhafi without a post-gadhafi plan. >> mr. turner, you're doing your job, but you're not answering my questions. >> chris, i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you for your comments on the irs. you're sleuabsolutely right the >> we may agree on some things. >> we do. >> by the way, if the president
has any role in this, let me know, will you? thank you, congressman turner. our apologies to david corn who's sitting here idly with much to say. up next, how should president obama navigate the benghazi and irs controversy? what effect will they have in 2014 and 2016? the "hardball" strategists join us next. this is "hardball." the place for politics. your eyh as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin dedicated to your eyes, from bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite is uniquely formulated to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health. and now there's ocuvite eye + multi. an eye vitamin and multivitamin in one. you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec-d®. powerful relief of nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms -- all in one pill.
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these two big political controversies can be played by both sides. benghazi and the irs. how are they going to affect the midterms in 2014? big question, how are they going to affect hillary clinton in 2016? back after this. you hurt my feelings, todd. i did? when visa signature asked everybody what upgraded experiences really mattered... you suggested luxury car service instead of "strength training with patrick willis." come on todd! flap them chicken wings. [ grunts ] well, i travel a lot and umm... [ male announcer ] at visa signature, every upgraded experience comes from listening to our cardholders. visa signature. your idea of what a card should be.
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>> we now know any reference to terror, al qaeda, were removed from those talking points and it was done at a deputy's meeting just before susan rice went on television. >> would you call this a coverup? >> i call it a coverup. i would call it a coverup in the extent it was willful removal of information which was obvious. >> well, that's john mccain. now it's time for the strategists to get into this. joining many he is republican strategist john brabender and willy brown. john, the benghazi issue is important -- the republicans can win seats with in 2014, perhaps more the reputation of secretary clinton. how big an issue is this? it's a grenade. >> yes, there is going to be an investigation on this. you saw the word "coverup." those are dramatic political terms. second of all, there's suspicion that something politically happened. and number three -- >> what? you've got to tell me. you think the president of the
united states sat down and -- >> no, i don't. i think there were people in the state department that worried this could be a political nightmare and were very careful in how they crafted it. >> you think they wrote the script for susan rice, hillary clinton's spokesperson? >> i think it's complicated but not that. let's go to mayor brown. i think it's complicated and the carefulness with which they have to walk on that shift. you can never be seen accept shifting blame. you have to accept blame. is this something that hillary clinton has to worry about, benghazi, the word? >> no, i don't think so, chris. simple providing the explanation, whatever it happens to be for most of the american people, they accept that explanation. there is no accusation that there was any improper conduct that caused the death of ambassador stevens and his other
people. the question about whether or not there was sufficient amount of security, whether or not reasonable resources were there, they don't go to the competence of individuals seeking public office in 2014 and it will not even be a spectrum on the whole horizon by 2016. >> i agree with the mayor on 14. i'm not sure about 16. it depends on how your generation generates this issue. >> because it's hillary clinton, if she wasn't involved, it would be off the table. >> hillary has a pretty clean image. let me go to the irs issue, which i think has legs. if it's clean now, clear, rather, that agents of the irs have been singling out agencies and targeting them for audits or whatever, is this going to hurt this administration? >> excuse me, chris. yes, i do think it will hurt the administration if the
administration doesn't move very quickly to eliminate those people from any position of public service. that's a terrible thing to have done. if you did it, you shouldn't be working for government and i think the administration will say exactly that and exercise those people very quickly. >> i think you're right. your thoughts? i think it's jonah and the whale from the bible. as long as jonah stays on that ship, the obama ship, that ship's got problems. >> you have to look at this in the total perspective. you've got benghazi. >> stick with the irs. >> it's the whole story. >> what's the connection? >> we are going to penalize obama opponents and he's still head of the administration. >> we don't even know if it's a political appointee. we don't think it is. >> regardless, it looks bad for the president. >> what does he do here? is the mayor right, fire the bastards?
>> absolutely they should be fired and they should to investigate to -- maybe you were polled. don't know. >> we had a guest that said they have been hit by this and it looks like it's happening. thank you, mayor brown and john braybender. we'll be back after this. just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list, so you can trust what you're reading. angie's list is like having thousands of close neighbors where i can go ask for personal recommendations. that's the idea. before you have any work done, check angie's list. from roofers to plumbers to dentists and more, angie's list -- reviews you can trust. i love you, angie. sorry, honey.
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the speaker of the house says he's committed to it. he's going to ride it as long as he can. what can the president do to protect himself in 2014 when republicans are going to use the issue to fight for control of congress? what can secretary clinton do with it if she runs for president? the president can hit it off to the side. the secretary is not so lucky. benghazi happened on her watch. assuming she did the right thing, she can grab ahold of the matter and stand out there before the american people and explain to all of us minute by minute how she met with the matter. i think she can. you know what? because she really liked chris stevens. you can tell that. she really does care about her diplomats, especially those out in the field. and she's not a callous person. she's had it rough down there in arkansas with the critics and tom delay and the rest but she came through it looking pretty
good. i think she can deal with benghazi because at its bottom line, she didn't do a thing wrong. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, finally some agreement in washington. democrats and republicans are outraged about allegations that the irs targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny. of course, it's wrong. it's against everything this country stands for. but unfortunately, republicans are, once again, playing politics with this report and exposing their own hypocrisy. today, president obama vowed to get to the bottom of this mess. >> if you've got the irs operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan