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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 26, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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10-year-old christian lavelle was a at a marine base when the president showed up for a morning workout. he signed an autograph for her. she wrote christian, dream by dreams. signed barack obama. nice move, mr. president, and what a memory for her. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. will the new year bring new and improved fortunes for president obama? let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, 2013 was one hell of a year for president obama. when the country turned the page on 2012, there was an expectation that the president's resounding re-election victory
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would mean a path forward. it was the president's own re-election slogan. an idea that despite the ugly battles of the past four years, there was hope yet. for something. but gun control failed, immigration reform stalled, the government shut down, and embarrassments plagued the irs, nsa, and affordable care act. call it his amus cobelius which was described on sunday's "meet the press." >> i would say this was the worst year of the presidency that beats out 2011. well, and especially given sort of where he started given the fact that the first year of the second term is historically the most productive of the second term. >> the worst year of his presidency which has been compounded by the far right's war of obstruction and political destruction. aren't about moving forward. they're about embracing the suck. that's a phrase that nancy
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pelosi used to describe the ryan/murray budget deal. but if you're one of president obama's allies, there's more than enough reason for optimism, even confidence. the economy is rapidly improving. enrollments in the affordable care act are up, and picking up strength. and the tea party fringe, the self-described wacko birds on the far right which have blown up every major piece of the president's agenda are finally seeing real resistance from a tag team that includes republican house leaders and the spenders who bank roll the primaries. there will be opportunities for the president to triumph over his political enemies in 2014. to defeat the tea party fringe to ring up major legislative victories like raising the minimum wage and passing reform, he just has to find them. and there's a lot more at stake than just policy. it's a battle over the concept of what government, what we as a
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nation can do. clarence page is a columnist for the chicago tribune. michelle bernard is part of the women politics and policy. look forward into 2014. you know some of the milestones that are about to unfold. state of the union address in january, march will bring on enrollment deadline for the affordable care act, in the summer a deadline with regard to iran, et cetera, et cetera. where do you see opportunity for president obama to right this ship? >> you know, it absolutely starts with the state of the union address coming up in january. it is by far going to be the largest audience that is going to sit down and watch anything the president has to say for the rest of the year. he has to take that and lay out his legislative map, his policy map. i think just as importantly, he has to lay out for the country what his vision is for the future of the country and what his vision is for the people that feel they no longer have a voice. most people are not just upset with the obama presidency, but
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they're also, like, very upset with congress and the fact that our government does not function. as the american public has been the big losers in 2013 and president obama needs to remind the public who he was, who is the obama that people fell in love with at the democratic convention in boston many, many years ago. he needs to revive that person and give us trust that he can right the ship. >> clarence, i've often wondered if a president, any president would be better served giving an overview in the state of the union. but then using that time, using that bully pulpit moment to drill down on a single priority for the coming year to sort of put all the chips in play on one issue. too outside the box, you think, for this president? >> well, i think you're onto something. the three words i would have the president remember are get out more. get outside the white house and washington. talk with the american public more. certainly he has to now usher
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the affordable care act into full enactment. there's still bumps ahead, and he has to get ahead of that issue. i think the whole nsa controversy, this is one where he agrees they've gone too far in the past really testing the outer limits of the rules. some kind of rollback, safeguard, new regulation in that regard would show he's an activist president. really actively involved in protecting freedoms as well as security. and the congress right now, you know, you touched on something earlier that's been a puchback now of the so-called wacko birds. the donor community is divided. you've got some donors that are backing the tea party faction. you've got others, more establishment republicans that want to see more reason, compromise, more forward movement. so i think there are opportunities ahead. >> you know, there's a major bright spot for the president. and i'm speaking of the economy. look at the headlines. in today's wall street journal,
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economy entering new year on a roll. in usa today, gdp surprise. economy expands at 4.1% rate. the turnaround since the president took office has been pretty dramatic no matter how you cut it. for example, look at the stock market when the president took office in january of 2009. the dow was below 8,000. today it's well over 16,000. the unemployment rate has dropped significantly as well, but nearly a full percentage point. and the economic growth rate, the pace of growth in the gdp has undergone a turnaround. it was contracting at a rate of around 5% now it's growing at a rate of over 4%. none of this is lost on the president. the economy was front and center when it came to looking at next year's agenda. >> when i look at the landscape for next year, what i say to myself is we're poised to do really good things. the economy is stronger than it
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has been in a very long time. our next challenge then is to make sure that everybody benefits in that, not just a few poke folks. and there's still too many people who haven't seen a raise and are still feeling financially insecure. >> michelle, he addressed obviously the economy in the statement you just heard. but i don't think he sells his success in this regard all that often. and i can't help but wonder if maybe part of the reason that he doesn't is because he knows it brings forth discussion about income inequality, something that obviously bothers the president. do you think he's been an effective salesman for those achievements he can claim credit for relative to the economy? >> not in the sense -- not in the way you're describing it, michael. i think he could go out and toot his horn and say his vision for the country and how we sort of got out of the mess that he quite frankly inherited from the bush administration when he came
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into office in '08. but i don't want necessarily believe that the people who would completely appreciate that argument are the people who are going to actually go out and vote for democrats, for example, in the midterms and are trying to figure out who to vote for in 2016. i believe that the strategy of focusing on to a small extent the way he's doing it for the economy but on the fact he knows the way forward. when he talked about income inequality being the most pressing issue of the day, if you go back and look at the numbers and look at the people, at the demographics of the people who put him in office and are going to be important in the midterms and in 2016, those are the people that want to hear he knows the way forward but also that they're paying. he's got to talk, i think, continually. he's done b a good job talking about the black unemployment rate. talking about fair wages and comparable worth for women. i think over the next couple years although he's not running
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for president again, he is running for his legacy. and i think the president needs to be on a two-year-long campaign to talk about the america that is and the america that should be. and he has the president and chief that understands how to get us there and using how we are today to understand he can do this for all americans. >> something else michelle and clarence. the president is facing a tall order when it comes to limiting the damage in the midterms next year. according to a recent cnn poll, republicans have taken a five-point lead in the generic ballot. that's 49% to 44%. that's a big turnaround compared to a couple months ago when the shutdown sent republican favorability ratings plummeting. historically the sixth year of a presidency is poison to the party in power. since world war ii, the party in charge has average d a 29-seat loss in the house and a six-seat
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loss in the senate. how does he get around that curve? >> he's facing a crisis here. comparable to 2010 when you saw the republicans a tick the house. he's got to work both externally and internally. externally with limiting the damage with the public. his polling numbers began to plummet when the affordable care act launch after october 1st right during this government shutdown knocked him on his heels. and he is still recovering from that even as obama care continues to roll out. he also has to work with his fellow democrats in so far as getting that spirit together that enabled him to get elected and re-elected. that whole apparatus has fallen apart between presidential elections. now is the time to work with the people around the country who can help the democrats to be able to hold their ground at least in the house and the senate. >> quick final thought -- >> i was just going to say quickly bill clinton in his
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second term, the democrats picked up four seats in the house of representatives and maybe president obama needs to go back and look at what clinton did and use that strategy and do everything he can. >> when you look at all that data since world war ii. thank you as always. coming up, nsa leaker edward snowden takes to the airwaves saying the government's surveillance is far worse than anything george orwell imagined in his book and that for him his mission's accomplished. and a "hardball" exclusive. talking points memo is talking about the biggest scandals of 2013. and for the winning politician, it was a bit of a runaway. and chris christie seems to relish his tough guy image. but as he plans a possible presidential run, does he run the risk of coming off like a bully? and let me finish tonight with why i think phil robertson should keep his show at least for now despite all the horrible things he said. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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former new york governor eliot spitzer and his wife have ended their marriage after 26 years. the spitzers announced the news in a joint statement. she was by her husband's side when he resigned from the governorship in 2008 after that prostitution scandal. but she did not campaign for him earlier this year. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." on christmas day, a greeting came from an unlikely source. nsa leaker edward snowden. he sent out what he called an alternative christmas message to the uk's channel 4. here's a portion of it. >> privacy matters. privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. the conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it.
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>> and snowden made news again in a new interview published christmas eve in the "washington post" that said for me in terms of personal satisfaction the mission's already accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work everything i had been trying to do was validated. because, remember, i didn't want to change society. i wanted to give society a chance to determine if it could change itself. i'm joined by "the washington post" reporter who interviewed snowden, barton gelman who's also a senior fellow at the century foundation and harvard law professor allen dershowitz who has written a book called "taking the stand." how can he say he won where the programs he protested against and leaked about all continue at least as of this moment? >> well, it's the second half of the quote you just read. he is not saying he wanted single handedly to change society or undo the nsa's
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programs. he wanted the public to be able to take part in the decisions about how much domestic surveillance there's going to be, for example. he believed that there was an unlawful program taking shape, that it was all being decided in a secret world that the public would be disturbed if it heard, that courts might say it's unlawful. in the last sourt of ten days of december, both those things have happened. >> but where you've got both the house and the senate under leadership of different parties and all sort of still in disagreement with snowden and pursuing those policies, how is that anything but a loss for snowden? >> look, i'm not going to declare him a winner or loser. he said he wanted to launch a public debate. if you think that sort of putting something out on the table and having six months of intensive conversation internationally which is picking up momentum as the year comes to
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a close and a federal judge has found the thing he criticized most to be almost certainly unconstitutional, if you think that's failing, then you're entitled to that view. i think he's done a pretty good job of putting it on the table. now it's up to us collectively to decide what we want to do. >> professor, the federal judged it to whom mr. gelman referred call z thee orwellian and probably unconstitutional from a con law point of view. how do you read the judge's opinion? >> he's right as it relates to american citizens. it almost certainly is unconstitutional. we were taught in elementary school that the ends don't justify the means especially when the means are criminal. to me there are three criteria for evaluating somebody who engages in criminal civil disobedience. first, it has to be a last resort. second, he has to cause the least amount of harm consistent with making his point. third, he has to take
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responsibility and remain there and pay the consequences. and snowden has failed all three of those tests. number one, it wasn't a last resort. he could have easily gone on "60 minutes," disclosed the existence of the program without disclosing the contents. some of which is extremely damaging to our national security. second, he did far more damage than was necessary. for example, the fact we intrude and overhear foreign leaders may raise some questions, but it's not unconstitutional. we have an absolute right under our constitution to listen to the prime minister of israel, to listen to the prime minister of germany, the chancellor of germany. that is not a constitutional issue, and yet he disposed or people acting on his behalf disclosed the fact we are usie ing surveillance outside of the company. and third, he ran away. he didn't face the consequences. he should have stayed home, gone on trial, and made his point.
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so for me he's a deeply flawed hero who has taken with him millions of items of secret material in order to bargain for his release and to try to receive amnesty. that's very, very selfish. >> mr. gelman, and you were just with edward snowden when you were in moscow. how does he respond to the points that professor dershowitz just raised. chiefly he could have worked in the system rather than the route on which he traveled? >> well, i've been reporting on security for 21 years. i'm not familiar with any case of a national security whistle blower ever in my 20 years covering this stuff who was able to make an impact inside or who wasn't crushed by the system for bringing his complaints. he did, by the way, talk to four superiors. two in each of two divisions about his concerns. and 15 coworkers. and showed them specific programs on the screen and he
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said he thought they were unlawful. and that he thought the american people would react badly to the disclosure. which is a fairly brave thing to say when you're about to leak it yourself. so his view is that he brought it to people's attention inside. but he had watched previous whistle blowers carefully. he watched the case of tom drake who had disclosed just speaking about them some of the same programs he was talking about. they were dismissed and weren't believed because the intelligence committees and the president said not true. >> in your "washington post" interview, mr. snowden also talks about where his allegiance lay. quote, standard form 312 is a civil contract. he signed it but he pledged his fealty elsewhere. that is an oath to the
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constitution. that is the oath i kept that keith alexander and james clapper did not. how do you react to that? >> he didn't keep his oath. he constitution does not forbid surveilling foreign leaders. and he disclosed thousands and thousands of items that were perfectly permissible. and it's nonsense to say he signed a civil contract. it is a crime. and he knew it. otherwise he wouldn't of run away. of course it's a crime to disclose confidential, classified material. and he had to know that. i'd be interested in asking your other guest, how does he justify disclosing the surveilling of foreign leaders which is constitutional? why didn't he simply disclose the existence of the program on "60 minutes" then say i'm prepared to give you my million pieces in a debriefing in congress. he would have had the same result, it wouldn't of caused the enormous damage to our national security, and then he could have faced the
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consequences. you know, you say people were crushed. but that's the price you pay when you are in civil disobedien disobedience. >> did you raise that issue with mr. snowden and what did he say in your most recent interview? >> well, he's got a broader set of concerns than just domestic surveillance. he was looking for a big national debate about any kind of mass surveillance, any kind of surveillance of people without specific reason to believe they've either done something wrong or that they have -- that they're a legitimate target of foreign intelligence. >> but that's not the law. >> he doesn't say it's about the law. he says it's a matter of policy. [ overlapping speakers ] i thought you wanted an answer. >> thank you, both. to be continued. up next, when it comes to "duck dynasty," sarah palin shoots first and asks questions later. and don't forget if you want to follow me on twitter, you just
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need to figure out how to spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
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back to "hardball." time now for the sideshow. the first family spent christmas in hawaii yesterday where president obama took the opportunity to thank u.s. troops stationed at the marine base at the bay. it's been the traditional destination for the obamas for the last five years. and it's no surprise that buzzfeed celebrated their presidential christmas in their typical fashion. with a list titled the 17 most excellent presidential christmastime photos. the compilation included offbeat images from administrations going back to ford and carter. here's the one that buzzfeed clearly overlooked. yes, that's former first lady nancy reagan with mr. t dressed in a sleeveless santa claus
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costume back in 1983 as part of the just say no to drugs campaign. and here's how tom brokaw portrayed that scene years ago. >> what happens when you team up mrs. reagan and mr. t? you get the a couple of course. mr. t made a menace b santa claus at the press tour. >> who been bad. >> we don't know what mrs. reagan asked for, but mr. t got something a little extra from her. >> all right. oh. wow. now that'll start of scandals. >> next up, it's a case of shooting first and asking questions later. sarah palin was the first and perhaps the most vocal defender of phil robertson after he was suspended from "duck dynasty" for the anti-gay comments he made in "gq" magazine. as it turns out, palin never bothered to read the article at
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the center of the controversy. her admission came on fox news with greta van susteren. >> there's a rather offensive zrings of it. there are two ways to say different things. and his in the article and i know he's a graphic type guy, but do you have any objection on the manners aspect, how he said it? >> i haven't read the article. i don't know exactly how he said it. he was quoting the gospel. so people who are so insulted and offended by what he said evidently are offended by what he was quoting in the gospel. >> if she had read the interview before defending robertson, she'd probably know that some of the language he used in the interview was a bit more graphic than what she'd consider gospel. finally, everybody knows reindeers are symbols this year. but also for iowan steve king
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they were also dinner. he spent christmas in norway where he had christmas dinner of meal of reindeer meet. up next, the biggest scandals of 2013. we'll reveal talking points memo's award for political scandal. we'll do that next. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ [ male announcer ] what kind of energy is so abundant, it can help provide the power for all this? natural gas. ♪ more than ever before, america's electricity is generated by it. exxonmobil uses advanced visualization and drilling technologies to produce natural gas... powering our lives... while reducing emissions by up to 60%. energy lives here. ♪ [ male announcer ] welcome back all the sweet things your family loves with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. ♪ welcome back
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i'm craig melvin. here's what's happening right now. fedex and u.p.s. are both under fire for failing to deliver packages that were supposed to arrive in time for christmas. those delays blamed on weather and high volume. a computer glitch at delta had some travelers smiling. they were selling for less than $50 online. they will honor the low prices.
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and spending pulse says holiday sales were up 2.3% over last year. now back to "hardball." ♪ welcome back to "hardball." for the seventh straight year, talking points memo is awarding its golden dukes awards for the biggest scandals of the year. they certainly had many to choose from. after all, this was the year of weiner, filner, ford, and of paula deen. so how did they choose? first the left leaning website solicited nominations from the public in several categories including best general interest scandal, the achievement in the crazy, and outstanding achievement in corruption based chutzpah. it then submitted the names to a panel of judges including author
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dan savage. the winners have been chosen. in a "hardball" exclusive, we're going to reveal who they are. joining me to go over the winners is josh marshall. he's the founder and editor of the talking points memo. we are ready. we're starting with the big award. best general interest scandal. there were some major competition in this category starting with mayor rob ford of toronto who made this shocking confession earlier this year. >> yes, i have smoked crack cocaine. but no -- do i? am i an addict? no. have i tried it? probably in one of my drunken stupors. probably approximately about a year ago. >> how do you outdo that? joining mayor ford, bob filner of san diego. this year mayor filner was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement for three counts of sexual harassment. that was the tip of the iceberg. multiple women came forward with stories of unwanted sexual harassment at the hands of the
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mayor. irene mccormiack jackson, a former communications director for filner, described what became known as the notorious filner head lock. >> i was placed in the filner head lock and was moved around as a rag doll as he whispered sexual comments in my ear. we did not have a relationship other than work. that is all i wanted. and i never gave him any reason to think otherwise. mayor filner challenged me to give him one example of how his behavior towards me was improper. i pointed out that he had asked me to work without my underwear on. he had no comeback. >> yet another bob, another nominee the former governor of virginia bob macdonald. he was forced to pay back $20,000 in loans from a wealthy business owner and major campaign donor. he said quote, i am deeply sorry
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for the embarrassment certain members of my family and i brought upon my beloved virginia and her citizens. i want you to know that i broke no laws and that i am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. the fourth and final nominee, not named bob, it is southern cooking titan paula deen who admitted this year to using the "n" word. she then went on the "today" show and offered this teary response to the uproar. >> if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. please. i want to meet you. i want to meet you. i is what i is and i'm not changing. >> so to review, the nominees for best general interest
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scandal, bob ford, bob filner, bob macdonald, and paula deen. josh, the winner is? >> the winner is rob ford. and actually more than that, this is the first year where we had basically, like a rob ford blowout. he won in three categories this year and he tied for a third. everybody figured this year that anthony weiner was going to be -- i mean, if you have a sex scandal that actually leads to the production of a important movie based on your sex scandal, it's hard to compete with that, right? you can't do much better than that. but rob ford tied anthony weiner even in the sex scandal category. so in case anybody can see here, this we have commissioned this statuette was put together by a sculptor down in maryland and we
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are going to present this statue in person to rob ford. up in toronto. >> i have to tell you, josh, i'll bet he'll be thrilled to receive it. everybody else on that list would be embarrassed by the distinction. my hunch is you'll get a photo op out of him. >> that's the thing. because this is -- you know, as would be appropriate, you can see that the statuette is a little crooked on the pedestal, and that's on purpose. what is it an award for? and it is actually cast aluminum painted gold. again, appropriate because, you know, a corrupt politician is not what on the inside what he looks like on the outside. but when we were putting this together we were thinking of who might of won, there was a chance the honoree might use this as an attack on the staffer who presented it to them. that could happen in toronto. but i could really see rob ford being into this. >> let's move on to another
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category. because you called the other category meritorious achievement in the crazy. there were five nominees for this one. we'll start with this bizarre outburst from a participant at the c pac this spring. of reeking out to minorities to find new voters at the expense of young white southern males like myself. it didn't stop there. this happened at trump the race card. are you sick and tired of being called a racist when you know you're not one. here's what happened when the speaker at the event tried to engage terry by talking about the abolitionist frederick douglass. >> when douglas escaped from savory, he writes a letter to his former slave master and said i forgive you for all the things you did to me. >> for giving him food and shuttler all those jeers? >> you plucked your is
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educational background from the daily show. don yeltsin. here's why. >> the law is going to kick the democrats in the butt. if it hurts a bunch of college kids that's too lazy to get off and get a photo id, so be it. >> right, right. >> if it hurts the whites, so be it. if it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks, so be it. >> and it just so happens that a lot of those people vote democrat. >> gee. >> the third nominee, congressman louie gohmert who warned the obama administration was under the influence of members of the muslim brotherhood. >> thank god for the moderates that don't approve of what's being done. but this administration has so many muslim brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for america. >> then there's congressman steve king, a long-time opponent of immigration reform this
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summer. he made these comments about people coming over the border illegally. >> for everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that weigh 130 pounds and have got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert. those people would be legalized with the same act. >> rounding owl the group of nominees, steve stockman. he has supported impeaching president obama, questioning whether the president's documentation was fraudulent and compared him to saddam hussein. during his campaign last year, stockman proudly boasted these bumper stickers, quote, if babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted. stiff competition in this category. your victor is who? >> steve king. i was actually a little surprised. i considered him a sleeper for this. i might have gone for the guy who wanted to stand up for oppressed whites. but steve king was the winner and it was almost a unanimous choice by our judges.
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we had one vote for steve stockman. susie bright, one of our judges. but steve king ran away with it. depending on how things go up in toronto, we may try to present one to him down in washington, d.c. while i'm on this, i want to thank all the judges. dan savidge, susie bright, rick hertzberg and also our sponsors this year for the golden dukes which is media matters. they have their own award called misinformer of the year which they're also bestowing tonight to cbs news. >> hey, josh marshall, thanks very much for breaking all this news on "hardball." we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. up next, chris christie's a republican front runner for affordable care act, but will his fuf guy persona sell outside of new jersey or does he run the risk of coming across as a bully? this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ woman 1 ] why do i cook?
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from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, every single day. now tell me, what's in your wallet? we'll be right back with whether chris christie will play in peoria or perhaps des moines. "hardball" after this. ♪
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♪ i know they say you can't go home again ♪ ♪ ♪ i just had to come back one last time ♪ ♪ ♪ you leave home, you move on [ squeals ]
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♪ and you do the best you can ♪ i got lost in this old world ♪ ♪ and forgot who i am (voseeker of the sublime.ro. you can separate runway ridiculousness... from fashion that flies off the shelves. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. (natalie) ooooh, i like your style. (vo) so do we, business pro. so do we. go national. go like a pro. we're back. according to many of the latest polls on the 2016 presidential contest, chris christie appears to be the strongest republican
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to take on democratic front runner hillary clinton. but does christie have an achilles heel? there was a story written on christmas day under the headline stories add up as bully image trails christie. for score keeping and exacting political retribution on anyone who defies him may work in jersey, but it's not clear it will work on a national stage. he's one example cited. she describes in "the new york times" story that in 2011 christie held a news conference where he accused state senator richard codey of being combative and difficult in blocking two nominees. mr. codey who had followed resignation of james mcgreevey responded he had not only signed off on nominations but he held a meeting to hurry it along. he got a call from the state police superintendent informing him that he would no longer be
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afforded the trooper who accompanied him to occasional political public events. a courtesy that was granted to all former governors. will christie's reputation hurt his chances to win the white house? mack katz is a reporter with wnyc who has covered christie. as i read the story yesterday i was thinking this is a portrayal of him as jolly old saint nick. you've covered himd for years. does that comport with what you've seen in trenton? >> it does. there were a number of examples in there. he has referred to it on the record at press conferences as the penalty box. that's what he calls it when those in his circle or outside his circle are not towing the line and are not doing what he thinks needs to be done for him to govern the state properly. that's how he would frame it. >> john, this is a show called
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"hardball." it's apparent he played hardball in the garden state. will it work in des moines and peor peoria? >> no, it will not. it will be highly problematic for him. one of the subtleties of the republican presidential process issubtleties of the republican presidential process is that, first off, it begins very, very early. it begins about now. and secondly, people shuffle. they move their preferences. and for somebody like chris christie, if he moves into iowa or south carolina, and starts making lists and deciding who's on his side and who isn't, that is an incredibly destructive way of going at it for him. because as candidates drop out, as they get in, people move from camp to camp, you don't burn your bridges and you don't let people know that you're mad at them early on if you expect to close the deal in 2016. >> matt katz, one person's bully is another person's decisive leader. maybe there's a yearning for this sort of leadership in the
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heartland. >> i think there might be. i mean, the knock against the president right now is that he doesn't know how to work and maneuver the levers of power. and chris christie has managed to do that. i mean, when republicans vote for a bill in new jersey and christie vetoes that bill and then the democrats try to override that veto, all those republicans ended up changing their votes. because christie knows how to work those people. and i've seen him in audiences. i was at the republican convention last year, and he went to sort of a sleepy breakfast, north carolina republicans, and he, at the end of his speech, he said, listen, you better go out there and vote for romney or i'm coming back jersey style. and he made what was clearly a sopranos jersey reference and the crowd loved it. they mobbed him out the door. he couldn't leave, because they wanted to get a picture with him. so there might be a yearning for something tough. one man's bully, like you said, is another guy's governance. >> john nichols, christie's
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punitive political punishments are not limited to his opponents on the democratic side either. he's taken out retribution on members of his own party as well. in 2010, said the piece, when a blizzard paralyzed the state, state senator sean keene, a republican, told a reporter that one mistake the senate, president, and governor had made was not calling earlier for a state of emergency, which might have kept more cars off the road. mr. christie was smarting from criticism that he had remained in disney world during the storm. when he returned, he held his first news conference in mr. kean's home district shortly before a member of the governor's staff called mr. kean and warned him not to show up. his seat was eliminated in redistricting the following year. democratic assemblyman john wis newsky told "the new york times," every organization takes its cues from the leadership as to what's acceptable and what's not, and this governor, in his public appearances, has made thuggery acceptable.
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and therein lies the divide. some see it one way, some see it another. you can have the final word, john nichols. >> the final word is that the republican presidential process, at least for now, starts in a state called iowa and there's a phrase called midwest nice. the bottom line is that you don't start telling people who can come to the living room or the church basement or the community center to meet you and talk to you. you play games like that, and you're going to find that a gentleman named mike huckabee is going to come sneaking up on you very quickly. chris christie cannot bring this style to the midwest and be a big winner. >> i felt as the if i saw the starting gun truly be fired on christmas day with that times piece. thank you both. thank you, matt katz. good luck in your new venture. good luck, john nichols. when we come back, let me finish why i think "duck dynasty's" phil robertson should stay on the air, at least for now. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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just because i find phil robertson's comments about gays to be appalling, i don't think that a&e should have suspended the "duck dynasty" star. as a cable tv star, robertson is dependent upon fickle viewers for his livelihood. so why can't the court of public opinion render its judgment instead of employers. robertson should lose hi tv show when the public scorn impacts its ratings. now, make no mistake, robertson
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didn't just quote scripture and cast doubt on gay's admittance to the kingdom of god. "we never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven or hell. that's the almighty's job. we just love 'em, give 'em the good news about jesus. whether they're homosexuals, drunk, terrorists, we let god sort them all out later. see what i'm saying?" yes, we say what you're saying. you believe in a moral equivalency between gays, drunks, and al qaeda. but a&e should not put the star on indefinite hiatus from filming. in a statement, a&e said, we are extremely disappointed to read phil robertson's comments in "gq" which are not reflected in the series, "duck dynasty." his personal views in no way reflect the views of the a&e networks who have been strong
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champions of the lbgt community. the network has placed robertson under hiatus from filming indefinitely. that's ridiculous. it's a contradiction in terms to suspend an actor from a program that bills itself has a reality tv show. my hunch is that the hiatus is a calculated move. note, the indignation didn't stops a&e from milking the controversy by running the program on a loop the last couple of i das. i'd never seen the show, but had no trouble finding it while the controversy was raging. and five minutes' worth was all i needed to appreciate was that robertson's faith is not inconsequential so his persona, but rather, a large part of his appeal. how surprised can a&e really be when he's exposed as a rube, or worse. in his own statement offered to fox 411, he continued to, quote, cloak himself in religion. he said, i would never treat anyone with disrespect, just because they are different from me. we are all created by the almighty and like him, i love all humanity. we would all be better off if we loved god and loved each other.
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hey, spare me! wrapping yourself in your interpretation of the good book or any other book, for that matter, can't cloak insensitivity. but fire him? nah. leave that to the rest of us. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. hey, now, america. it's time for the all in, all-star, 3/4 of a year in review show. >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes and welcome to the all in, all-star, 3/4 of a year in review show. so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. >> five, four, three, two -- >> 2013, what a year it was. a president's second term began. the king of all

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