tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 19, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PST
the sort of last several years of, republican cuckoo caucus than we will the iraq vote. not that it may not be important to some voters. i don't think it is again going to have the same kind of potency that it did back then. it can't be the only thing. you would have to make a much bigger vote. >> thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. grabbing the rebound. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. president obama is facing some tough challenges right now. but when you think about it, we've been here before. remember in 2007 when he was 20
points behinds hillary clinton in the polls? 20 points. and people like me were worrying outloud he was letting his rival get too far ahead, so far ahead he couldn't catch her. how about after that first disastrous debate when mitt romney had the better of him. remember how people felt watching that debacle? i remember him saying he caused me a stroke with that performance. me. i remember his quiet confidence when he told people like me to calm down that he had the 2012 race under control. well, now he's facing a tough one. not just the ridiculously fouled up role out of his reality. but the subtler reality that he's not been as exciting. the boredom that regularly sets in with any politician long in office. the big question as we all take a break across the christmas and new year's holiday is this. can this president in this environment pull a big comeback? can he get the wind at his back
like in 2008 like he did winning the later debates last year and then the re-election. mike tamaski for the daily beast and jonathan capehart for "the washington post" and msnbc contributor. thank you for coming in. since you're smiling, jonathan, i want you to go first here. perspective. we've seen him drive us crazy before in the past, those of us who rooted for him and his policies. that he's ran a different kind of game if you want athletic references here, a different pace, his own clock. and we've been very scared he wasn't catching up. in fact, that he was falling so far behind that he'd never catch up. here we are again and probably the biggest test since 2007 when he was behind. since 2012 when he was getting murdered in that first debate. here he is again. can he come around? >> here's the perspective. we have a president who takes the long view or plays long
ball. here's a guy who doesn't worry himself about the ups and downs of "the daily news" cycle. he looks at the end game. and everything else that happens in between, i don't care. but we around the country watching what's happening, we focus on the steps in between. and that makes for a weird dynamic where you have a long -- a president who thinks in the long-term but is leading a country that's filled with short-term thinkers. they don't care about point "z." they care we started point "a" and we're at point "b" and he's way behind. that's not to say that the rollout an i'm going to use the healthcare.gov situation as an example. >> i know. >> it's horrendous what happened. it should never have happened especially because it was the president's signature legislative achievement. getting the website was something he told them had to be done right.
the fact it wasn't done right is disappointing. but the overall thing, the affordable care act, that's the big deal. and i think for him and his administration, getting that working and making sure the american people know what it does and how it's helping them right now as we speak that's more important. >> you can't unpeel a banana. it's done. the unkindest cut against this guy and i think too ferocious is to compare him to "w." "w" took us into a war that was a war of what'd he say, choice? bad choice. it was based on the idea that somehow we were threatened by weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons. blah blah blah blah blah. and only later did we learn or during the course of it, that was no way to get the europeans aboard. there were bigger reasons. nobody thinks that was a good idea. nobody thinks the most recent president "w" showed any empathy for the mostly african-american people in new orleans during katrina. that wasn't, like, a slipup.
that was a social character flaw if you ask me. to compare obama today because of the screwed up rollout of a program to a guy that took us into a war and killed americans. i don't think that's fair. >> and you didn't mention the worst problem in "w"'s first year which was the social security privatization. i have political capital and i intend to use it. >> i had forgot. >> i remind you he said that. then he comes out in january and tells us social security privatization is how he's going to use that political capital. >> wouldn't we be in great shape during this? right now it looks good to have the stock market paying for our social security. >> anyway, it failed. it failed by memorial day of that year. and his own party wouldn't go to bat for him. his own party snuffed his top legislative priority. and that was really devastating for bush's credibility as president and leader of his party.
what obama faces has been very tough. but this can be rebounded from in a way. >> that was like taking all your money and putting it on number 13 on the roulette table. on the right it has been repeal, repeal. here was john boehner last month. obviously he is making obama look relatively safe here. if you're offering nothing on the other side, even a pathetic performance is better than not even getting to the starting blocks. here he is. >> let's be clear. the only way to fully protect the american people is to scrap this law once and for all. there's no way to fix this. >> meanwhile, a pro-mitch mcconnell outside group is running an ad in kentucky highlights how much of a fight they're putting up to get rid of the health care law. let's watch.
>> >> for mitch mcconnell and rand paul, fighting obama care isn't about politics. it's a fight for the kentucky families who are losing their coverage. mcconnell and paul are working together to stop obama care. mcconnell and paul say repeal this law and cut costs, not choice. tell paul and mcconnell to keep working to replace obama care. >> how's that for abrasive geese. those two guys. anyway, "the new york times" and cbs poll show the majority of americans disapproval of the handling of the health care. jonathan, again up against nothing. again i want to go back to -- let's go back to how obama comes back. proactively. you're sitting in the corner with the people around them.
and you got a whole team. what are they advising him? how does he get back? hit some singles, hit some doubles. what are we doing here? >> they have to do it all. the problem has been people don't know or maybe they don't realize. but the law has been up and running pieces of it since it was passed. and several things have been in place for a long time. what they need to do is get out there and make sure people know about what's in the law. but also to remind them that when republicans want to repeal the law and replace it to force republicans to say replace it with what. because what they're doing with the repeal talk is take advantage of the fact that people don't understand it. they don't like it. and then when republicans get into office, let's say they
succeed in taking over the senate. the pressure will be on them to now what? you've repealed it. what are you going to replace it with. so far even in that ad, they say replace obama care but they never say with what. >> speaking of replacement, there's a phrase that a zealot is someone who won't change their mind or the subject. but it's the president's job to change the subject. look at this. in the latest nbc news wall street journal poll, only 39% approve the president's handling of the economy. 58% disapprove. what's the reason for this number? they don't make sense. the economy is getting better. we've got a decent growth rate. 3.6% last quarter. unemployment has reached a five-year low of 7%. not 4% where it should be. the stock market is roaring right now. the dow just hit its 13th high of the year yesterday. everything at least -- if a republican were president right now, they'd be putting off fireworks. they'd be having tom donahue of the u.s. chamber hanging around the white house. 7% got reagan re-elected. the stock market is double what it was when this -- "w" left him with it. double. people are twice as rich at the top than they were because of this lefty socialist commi president. explain. >> middle class people with 401(k)s took a big hit in 2008. >> we're talking about a comeback. this would be a comeback. how about if i double the stock market and reduce unemployment down to where reagan got it.
why doesn't this president brag on the economy? because he's got working poor constituents that would be offended like that. that's how al gore lost the election. he wouldn't brag on the record. he said that might offend somebody. tell me why democrats don't know how to brag. >> there's something in that, chris. there's something in this idea that the democrats represent, you know, the bottom half of americans. about the bottom 85%. >> if you're right and the middle class has done a little better under this, why doesn't he say so? >> i think he does sometimes. >> jonathan, explain that to me. a friend of mine says if you don't enjoy the good times then you don't know the bad times. look at what's working well. there's no sense in just you can't repeal -- or unpeel the banana. you can't keep going back how we
had the bad rollout and bad this. hand wringing is a waste of time. >> you raise a good point about why the president doesn't brag about his economic record from, you know, economic performance to -- >> from the crap hole it was in in the spring of 2009. >> right. and you raise a good point that maybe it's because the bedrock of the democratic party is worried about income inequality and the unfairness of what's been happening since 2008. that's where in another life i used to be in big bad corporate pr. one of the things we'd tell clients is you need a third party validater to go out there and say the things and to cheerlead what you're trying to do. and also to say things that you can't or shouldn't say yourself. the president can't go out there and be his own cheerleader. he needs to have other people from outside the administration, from credible groups and organizations -- >> why aren't all those guys that join him in these big pow wows do it?
maybe they should be doing it. all these guys, the big shots. >> they should be out there constantly all the time praising -- >> i hope he's listening. i hope somebody at the white house is listening. maybe we have an educational role here as well sometimes. jonathan, as you know in your columns. thank you. happy holidays to both you guys. coming up, the latest helpful suggestion from a conservative on how to improve the lives of poor children. we're being very sarcastic here. remember the phrase no work, no food. yeah for school lunch grab a broom and start sweeping. it's from what you'd call a regular republican. plus the biggest hurdle facing hillary clinton is hillary clinton. hillary he says and he has a prescription how she can fix her image if she wants to and help the democrats hold onto the white house in 2016. also how did an epa employee so-called convince the agency the reason he wasn't showing up for work two and a half years was because he was away on a cia
mission? this is unbelievable. and how did he wind up living in the guest room of another epa official. this does not build confidence in government. finally, the "duck dynasty" star who got a bit too graphic about why he's against homosexuality. well, this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ mom ] with my little girl, every food is finger food. so i can't afford to have germy surfaces. but a fresh sheet of bounty duratowel leaves this surface cleaner than a germy dishcloth. it's durable. and it's 3 times cleaner. so ditch your dishcloth and switch to bounty duratowel. [knock] no one was at home, but on the kitchen table sat three insurance policies.
president obama's choice of the retiring u.s. senator max baucus to be the next ambassador well, he made the mere suggestion that letting the aca fail would not be the responsible thing to do. those were his words. now it looks like kingston is out to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that he can talk the tea party talk. so how do you prove your loyalty to the hard right? you attack the poor apparently. just a few days ago cranking the crazy up to 11. this is what he told a group of supporters on the subject of school lunch programs for poor
kids. >> one of the things, why don't you, you know, have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them there is in fact no such thing as a free lunch. or sweep the floor in the cafeteria. yes, i understand that would be an administrative problem and it would probably lose you money but think of what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their heads as there is such a thing as a free lunch. >> this is something to get used to on this program, bad sound. this is not an official recording. this isn't going out to the local affiliates like nbc affiliates. this is a guy picking it off with a cell phone. it gets stranger. this is what the spokesman said when he was attacked for this comment. quote, it is sad that when trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a
strong work ethic in the next generation of americans goes into partisan hysteria. donna edwards a democrat from maryland and john feehery. congresswoman, it seems every time we get inside a meeting, that's been lately the case with the hard right, we catch them at it. they didn't broadcast this in press releases. let them sweep the floor for the sandwich, but here he is caught doing it. what is your view of the politics of a regular conservative like jack kingston thinking the best way to get re-elected in georgia is this thing about making sure the poor kids raise their hand and say i'm the poor kid in the class. i'm the one sweeping up while you're having lunch. your thoughts. >> well, i thought jack was not the crazy in the crazy group. and so it's really disappointing, frankly, to see that and especially from someone who purports to come from the mainstream of the republican party. what it demonstrates to me is
the republican party fundamentally does not understand what it means to be poor in this country. and to punish kids because of their parents' poverty is ridiculous. it's enough that we've been fighting republicans tooth and nail who want to cut $40 billion from food stamps for poor kids that fund things like our school nutrition programs and food pantries and meals on wheels. but here we have a stall running that wants to punish poor kids for being poor. it's disappointing. >> i don't know much about public schools, but i know there's a certain equality as part of the culture. you go to public school, you get a meal. they don't graduate according to income level. you go sweep the floor, you get it for free. go ahead. >> i did go to public school. >> did you get free meals? >> no, but i worked throughout high school and i think working is an important part -- i think the congresswoman is right though. you don't want the separation
based on in the classroom. you want to make sure all kids are working together. i think the basic job of a child is to learn. that gets them to the next level. i like jack kingston he is rational. >> who's he playing to here? >> i think he was just trying to have a deeper conversation. >> why'd he bring it up? >> because he probably talked to the department of agriculture vilsack about this. and the idea is not a bad one wanting kids to work because you learn valuable lessons when you work. it's an important thing. the fact of the matter is you cannot have this division with kids in a classroom. it's a bad side. >> so you're with the congresswoman on this? >> i think she makes some sense. >> here's a bit of tea party derangement syndrome when it comes to attacking the working poor. this is lee bright rallying the base with the attack on the so-called welfare queens. that was the reagan term. this is where he stands playing to a certain crowd, apparently people with money. let's listen. >> here's a problem.
it's not politically correct to say this, but we've got a lot of people that won't work. and they won't work because we're providing them food, and we're providing them housing, and we're providing them spending money. think about it. we've all seen it. the folks in line that are used i guess they call it wic here too. yet they got the nicest nails and nicest car and we're getting the bill. how many times do they turn around and say thank you? never. able-bodied people, if they don't work, they shouldn't eat. it's just that simple. >> congresswoman, that is so loaded with vitriol. first of all, to get the nicest nails. that's all ethnic stereotyping. most of the people with food stamps is poor white kids in the south. he's going after them in some stereotypical fashion that has nothing to do with food stamps as an issue.
but he decided let's go and tax somebody's that's vulnerable. it seems to be pure politics and racial politics. i don't know what you think. nicest pocketbooks. nicest pocketbooks. this is ethnic stereotyping. >> it's not stereotyping and it doesn't bear any relation to reality. the fact is most people who receive that kind of assistance do work for a living. they work for a living. they just don't make enough. and so on the one hand you're talking about a group of people who don't want to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour so people can make at least a decent wage. and on the other hand, they want to take away their food benefits. this is ridiculous. and it's poisoned. >> the logic of not helping people that they think aren't working to not trying to help out people who are working. why would they be tough if they are consistent about the work ethic and they think some people are free loading and watching tv.
whatever their image is. why would they want to screw a person who's out there catching the bus at 6:30, okay making hamburgers. how would you like to make them from 8:00 to 6:00 every day. all day long in a hot oven. all day long. it doesn't have quite an appeal to it. but if a person wants to make 10 bucks an hour doing that which comes out to what? 15 or 20 k a year after taxes. why are they against that person? that's my wonder. why don't they want to give that person a break for getting to work and working all day to the extent of the job that they can get their hands on. congresswoman. >> you know what? i can't explain it, but i'm going to tell you something. what is the knock on them for people working hard and trying to get something for their families and need a little assistance. that is something we should value. and yet they seem to fight against it. and it really is -- if it's a war on anything. it's a war on poor people. a lot of those poor people are women. >> and they're black too. let's face it. when i heard that about nails. what else could he be talking
about? what kind of lingo is that? we know. it's tribal talk. it's ethnic talk. it's what one group says when they're mad about another one. >> i think we have to have a full discussion. i think paul ryan is doing it about poverty and making sure people are working. there are a lot of people and this is not a racial statement. there are a lot of white people ripping off the system. there's a lot of people not working. they're on disability. we've got to make sure we clamp down on people who have the ability to work. and they need -- >> how about the epa in there -- >> we need something to get people out of poverty and in the middle class. >> the trouble is the people who are the bums you talk about, the few that are bums that play the system, they're not watching this show. the ones watching this show are the people trying to make it. thank you. thank you u.s. congresswoman donna edwards for coming on an john feehery. merry christmas. some on the right including sarah palin seems to forget that freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to be on tv.
we'll talk about that. this is "hardball," the place for politics. my mother and my grandmother are very old fashioned. i think we both are clean freaks. i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff.
next up, it's not often that reality tv drama becomes real life news. but this story has become so politicized it's got everyone talking today. "duck dynasty" star phil robertson is in hot water with a & e after making some anti-gay comments. he was asked to describe what is sin you feel. and robertson responded with this. quote, start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. and quoting corinthians, he said don't deceive yourself it's not right. it has set off a cultural fire storm on the right. amongst those defending robertson is sarah palin who says it's a & e that's being intolerant, not robertson. she tweeted today that free speech is endangered species.
those intolerance hating and taking on "duck dynasty" patriarch take on us all. and phil robertson gets suspended. well, it's not the first or last time they will politicize pop culture. but ben white of politico might have put it best in a tweet earlier today. i don't know why we have to constantly relearn that the first amendment does not include a right to a cable tv gig. finally, this one takes the concept of dirty campaign to a new more literal level. steve stockman of texas, the tea party challenger to john cornyn has come up with an obama-themed barf bag. he's offering them as thank you
gifts to his contributors. it features an image of the president of the united states and reads socialism makes me sick. speaking of a mess, stockman's campaign office was recently closed by a fire marshal there because it was so ill kept it was deemed a safety risk. now new photos reveal just how disgusting it was. taken during an inspection in november, the images there show the makeshift office inside a rundown former motorcycle shop. anyway, stockman campaign workers used to work and sleep in this place which officials have described as unsafe for habitation. up next, hillary clinton's biggest obstacle may well be according to this writer, hillary clinton. that's according to one of the country's top political reporters. he has a prescription for it. he thinks she can win. and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
about 700 people were in the london theater that collapsed at the time. aim-sex marriage is now legal in new mexico. and dennis rodman is in north korea meeting with kim jung un. now back to "hardball." ♪ welcome back to "hardball." you know, i love it when somebody writes a column that everyone else has been thinking about and someone puts it in print. hillary clinton was named the most fascinating person of the year by barbara walters last night.
and this exchange makes it clear she could be the most fascinating for 2014 and headed forward. >> i have to push for the answer about whether or not you might run for president. >> i haven't made up my mind. >> you really haven't? >> i really have not. i will look careful at what i think i can do and make that decision some time next year. >> does your husband want you to run? >> he is very respectful. he knows that this is -- >> he does want you to run. >> well, he wants me to do what i think is right. >> if you ran and you became president, what would they call your husband? first spouse? >> first mate. i don't know. >> anyway, today in national journal, ron fornier gets more into it with a memo with people who spoke on the condition of keeping their names out. here's the consensus of opinion, he said. your biggest hurdle isn't your age, the president's record, your husband, or even benghazi/whitewater.
it's you, hillary. you're the problem. that is if you once again show yourself as an institution of washington awaiting a political coronation. to win, you must be the anti-hillary. you must blast the public's caricature of you and replace it with what we know as the real hillary. steve mcmahon a democratic strategist who does this all the time with democratic candidates. let's look at what he says hillary needs to do. i'll read a portion of each bullet point. first of all, accessible. be a constant presence on twitter and facebook and other social media. you, not your staff. two, be honest and authentic. take tough stands and take them clearly. number three, be vulnerable. remember choking up in new hampshire, you look human. and people like humans. be flexible.
be quick to change your strategy, your message, your staff. number five, be small. travel light and run a lean operation. number six, be competent a model for your 2016 campaign would be you're going to hate this, no drama obama. number seven, be a populist. income disparity and declining social mobility are cliches in washington. but in the rest of america, they are facts of life. amy, you know, this is fascinating stuff. it's always hard to play the role of doctor when no one asks you to be a doctor. you're making a house call right here by somebody who hasn't exactly opened a door for you. in good faith if you were in her ear and helping perhaps future presidents hillary clinton to get ready for the campaign, what would you do? would you accept these ideas? >> i think these are good ideas, but i wonder how much of them -- how much they can be changed
just by sheer force of personality. you know, for instance, with the small. you know, the idea of just being against institutions, running against big institutions. one of her first moves after leaving the state department was to join another institution. the clinton foundation. to add her name to that and bring on a lot of its questions and structures. that gets to the first question about accessibility. it seems to be about visibility. but one of hillary's problems might be a little -- or the clintons' problems may be being too accessible for example to donors, to insiders. so i wonder if that's going to be read in the way that, you know, the author hopes it's going to be read. or if it's -- or if what she's
been doing so far is getting away from where she needs to go and getting herself in more trouble. >> i think i like the way you said that. your thoughts, steve. let's go to the question can you change somebody. can you change their public face in a genuine way. our producers come up with the idea look at how bobby kennedy changed became a softer person than the nastier joe mccarthy guy. and of course jerry brown, 28 years later, came back as a grownup. lost the propeller on his head. i liked him but he's come back as an authentic leader in california. >> that guy was always there, but you didn't always see it. i think for hillary clinton, the key here is to come out from under the bubble. and if you think every problem she's had whether it was the 2008 campaign, where she was in a bubble surrounded by all the old operatives from the clinton years. or the accessibility or lack of accessibility. it coms from being in the bubble. i think ron who you know came to washington with the clintons, he knows her better than any reporter. is giving good, sound advice here.
i'm not sure about the populism because populism can often turn to sounding too angry and coming from a woman -- >> i agree with that. >> coming from a woman, it's especially dangerous. >> amy, let's pull out the gender part of it. it's difficult especially for steve and i as males to be talking about this. i think we're in a totally different environment than we were in the '60s, '70s, and even the '80s where there were fights going on. if you come out as a fighter and try to yell above the applause lines like the clintons do and humphrey did it. i'm telling you it's time for a change. nixon used to do that. that climbing above the applause to make a higher point. i don't think people want that. they look at people like cruz and rand paul, they're not big enough to yell about. i think the country wants performance, effectiveness, a more confident look at the future. it doesn't want more political fisticuffs. i don't think, it may be different in two years. >> your thoughts. >> i have to disagree a bit about populous.
>> you said we disagree with that. who are you fighting with. >> i think that the idea that a woman -- >> who are you fighting with. wait a minute. nobody said we're not pushing populism. that's one of the memo points. who are you arguing with right now? >> just with the idea that for a woman that it would sound too angry coming out -- >> no, no. i didn't say that. i said i don't think the times -- tell me i'm wrong. are the times right for someone to be that combative, i'm asking you? >> i think that they are. i think that the times pretty much demand it. and they demand it of her especially since she has to push against the idea that she's part of a dynasty which is not what the populous moment might demand. she has to push against the idea that she, you know, we might not want to be a country where we have four out of five presidents in a row from two families. she also has to break away from the idea she and her husband have become too associated with wall street, with money, with
everybody who's helped them do good things with the clinton foundation. but those relationships might not help in a democratic primary in a real campaign. and especially in one which she wants to show who she is if she can. >> i agree with that. look at that. brian schwizer just said, in an interview that will air next week on iowa public television, iowa public radio reporter reports that schweitzer said we're a democracy and we don't just choose the royal families. now we're talking about a bush or clinton again. i think in america we're always looking for leadership that takes us to the future. we're not often looking in the rearview mirror for our leadership. >> for the clintons to suggest they're not friendly with the people on wall street would not be authentic. i said it is harder for a woman to be an angry populist.
and being angry and expressing rage about wealthy people making money and taxing them as a way to make up for it. everybody in this country whether they're middle class or less affluent want to be more affluent. they all want to be the rich person. a better message is let's grow from the middle class out. that's the message that hillary clinton needs. >> i agree. every time i've seen a candidate about to lose the election on the democratic side, i've almost always been rooting for that person. they go populist. ted kennedy, you were with him when he lost to carter. they go populist. they want 45% out of this. they're afraid they won't get it. not the way to win though. thank you. the message is right. sometimes it's the clamor. thank you for your thinking here. up next, the epa employee
if you thought washington was defunctional before, wait until you hear this story. the epa's john bill, this fella convinced his boss, government boss, family, and friends that he was a spy for the cia. he the admitted to missing more than 2 1/2 years of work at the epa, in which he claimed to be working on cia missions and defrauded the government out of over $900,000 in unearned pay. he was sentenced yesterday to 32
months in prison. he also got a handicapped parking space for free and for claiming to have a disability. jon stewart and "the daily show" has more on this. >> how far would this man go to get how little? >> biel got a coveted parking space by representing that he had malaria. >> malaria! malaria! he has told people he has malaria so that he may park closer to the job he does not show up for. and, pray tell, how did this gentleman contract malaria? >> malaria, contracted while he was serving in vietnam. >> oh, i almost hesitate to ask, but -- >> he didn't have malaria and he'd never been to vietnam. >> exactly!
>> well, of course that's not a funny line. dana milbank joins us from "the washington post," wonderful at satireizing these things, but this is what people think. the government is a joke, people don't show up. there was once a poll that asked people, do you think members of congress go out every time and steal typewriters and office equipment on their way home? and the answer was yes. here's this guy, this character who is obviously smarter than his boss is, apparently without any documentation, any secret code or anything, convinced his boss, i'm on a higher mission here, i don't have to come to work. >> it's an outrage, but on one hand, you have to admire the man for the sheer depths he went to -- >> you may. some guy who steals a car, he goes away for five years. he steals 900 million, he could be stealing a fleet of cars, and yet this guy gets three years. >> there are charlatans in every line of work. the difference is, we're all paying for this guy to do his shenanigans. i think the only reason this
won't blow up into a major scandal is the republicans would probably like more people not to be doing their jobs at the epa. >> oh, they don't think -- >> they get exactly what they want to. >> they like this story, though. you laugh -- i'm not laughing, you laugh and some people might laugh, and certainly jon stewart is good at it. but it reinforces. i'll play debbie downer here. who wins if they think the government's a joke? republicans. the right wing. they say it's a joke. >> i think the only place i disagree there is there are so many outrages in this government, here's one guy who defrauded them of $1 million and paid it -- >> do you know how he pulled it off? >> he was clearly devious and -- did he have -- did he have a secret -- did he have a cia i.d. card? >> i don't think we know the particulars, but the man even fooled his own family. but the reason, i think, it's not as much of an outrage is, think of all the other outrages. you know, congress is staying in the senate day after day, they're staying in, delaying things right now.
this is costing $2 million a day. this guy defrauded them of $1 million and paid it back. i'm not defending it to any extent. >> you know what i'd do to him? you know that little place up in allentown, pennsylvania. give him ten years up there. that'll sharpen these people up. ten years playing tennis in allenwood. i don't think it's funny. i believe in the government and i don't think there are owe yo-yos like this around. but it's your job to make fun of them and my job to curse them. let me finish tonight with this. after reading all the reviews i know i'm making the right choice. online or on the phone, we help you hire right the first time. with honest reviews on over 720 local services. keeping up with these two is more than a full time job, and i don't have time for unreliable companies. angie's list definitely saves me time and money. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today.
early in the obama presidency, i said i wanted it to succeed. i said it for two big reasons. one, i want all presidencies to succeed, in principle, for the basic reason that failed presidencies normally result from something that's gone wrong for the country itself. successful presidencies normally mean something good has happened, like the end of the cold war became clear in the last months of the reagan presidency. two, i want this presidency to succeed, because i believe this president has done two very good things that needed to be done for the country. he's brought to reality, if imperfect reality, a plan to get health care coverage to people who haven't had it. the tens of millions who haven't had it. and secondly, he's filed the same anti-war course he promised as a young illinois state senator. and as a kennedy for the white house, he's wound down the wars in iraq and now afghanistan, avoided an american war in syria, and is doing his very best to avert a possibly
never-ended war with iran, a war that will start with a bang and end years later after a succession of trouble. we will wish we'd never had the to endure. for these reasons, i hope the president gathers his assets, rallies his staff and cabinet, and gets his act together. for his good, for our good, for the good of those who know. but the only way to sell progressive government in this country is to show that it works. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. republicans close out their year on capitol hill, suddenly invested with a new sense of swagger and braggadocio. everywhere you look, republicans are threatening fights to come. the price democrats will have to pay, for example, for a debt ceiling extension early next year. >> i doubt if the house or for m