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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 13, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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my mother picked up the pieces when her and my father broke up when i was nine years old. we went from a comfortable middle class existence to being in the middle of brownsville, brooklyn, trying to make it. and we had all of the social maladies you could face. but i never knew i was underprivileged until i studied sociology at brooklyn college, because my mother never raised me as to what i didn't have. she raised me as to what i could be. and a lot of single mothers compensate by giving double love. and they ought to be congratulated, not castigated. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. this will not end well. let's play "hardball." >> good evening.
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i'm kris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with the hard, unexplored core of this chris christie story. it's a question, really. a question from the heart. in all this bridge mess, who was looking out for the people of new jersey? who was demanding to know why those thousands of commuters found themselves marooned in their cars on the home side of the george washington bridge? the drivers used to taking a half hour to get into the city who found themselves heading into work four hours late, the school bus driver, the wife who wanted to be there with her husband while he underwent stem cell transplant, but couldn't because of christie's crew and what they were up to. how about the guy who had been out of work for a year, but again because of these jersey devils, the real ones in this case, got this new job, trying to explain to his new boss why he was so darned late. or the police looking for the lost 4-year-old. the newspapers are full of these stories today, and they are as i said the core of the story whom. was looking out for the people of new jersey? we know who christie's tough
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guys were looking out for. they were looking to hurt the guy who wouldn't play ball with them that would be the mayor of ft. lee. but again the question. who was looking out for all those and all those who had things wrong done to them, things that were killing the people in those traffic situations. it sure wasn't governor christie. if we believe "the wall street journa journal"'s reporting, he was on the phone trying to get governor cuomo to get people to stop asking questions. how about that? to stop asking questions. steve kornacki has been on the story from the start. he is a tiger. he is the host of "up" on weekend mornings. i've been listening all weekend. and linda stender. i want to start with steve who has been hot as hell on the trail. it seems to me that the reporting and the evidence and the facts are going to decide this, not the match between whose pr is best or who holds the most celebrated press conferences that you've got. committees investigating this at the national and local level.
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you have newspaper reporting out there, and possibly investigations by the southern district of northern and the state of new jersey's federal u.s. attorney. what is going to break this story, do you think, in tend? >> well, right now subpoenas. i mean, the most important thing that happened over the weekend is the incoming speaker of the assembly, the new state assembly that is going to be seated this coming tuesday agreed that he is going to extend the subpoena power of the state assembly looking into this. not only that, now there is a special committee. they announced today that there is a special committee that is going to be chaired by john wisniewski. you have seen him around the last couple of weeks. he has been leading the transportation committee's investigation into this. he is now going to have a special committee. it's going to have its own counsel. it's going have subpoena. starting imminently, i would expect bridget kelly, the deputy chief of staff who was thrown overboard last week. i would expect subpoena there's. i would expect a subpoena of bill stepien. there are others.
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there are others we have learned from the e-mails and text who are closely connected to chris christie who i believe and i strongly suspect will be subpoenaed too. you're talking about a woman named regina egea. she is somebody chris christie would like to be his chief of staff. on the 13th of september last year, when the new york side on the port authority issued a memo, a scathing memo that said hey, possibly federal and state laws are being broken here, that memo was forwarded to her on last september 13th. and at that time, she was running governor chris christie's authority unit. that means she was in his office. she was forwarded that e-mail. she had it last september 13th. that raise as ton of questions what did she do when she got that e-mail. did she talk to chris christie about it? and what did he do when he found out? all we have right now are some texts and some e-mails that involve wildstein and baroni with hints of people in the christie administration. when you start getting subpoenas involving records from people inside the christie administration, thing is a potential for this thing to get a lot wider, a lot fast. >> let's bring in one of the
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people. you're talking about the vice chair of the transportation committee in trenton, assembly woman linda stender. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> i watch how your governor, the republican governor has created a certain climate now. he puts out the word that bridget kelly is a liar, says it over and over again. so you guys aren't supposed to believe her. so he is obviously afraid of what she is going to say, right? and somebody in his office went around saying everybody starting in september, don't tell the governor to his face what is going on here. who is the ring lead they're cauterized and shielded him if that's what happened from any involvement in any conversation with anybody about the closing down of the major traffic artery into new york city? >> there are so many people that we know that are close to the governor, that are involved, that have already been named, that that's why it's so important that we continue this investigation, beginning on thursday with a new special committee. >> well, do you think -- >> because we simply don't know. >> are you going to immunize some people?
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are you going to give immunity to people? can you legally let a woman like, for example, if i were bridget kelly, i would be thinking these people out there have had problems with traffic there is hospital situations, kid situations, they're going to be suing me, me, bridget kelly, unless i get this straight that i was under orders or under clear guidance from my superiors. are you going to bring her in and immunize her? >> we're going bring her in and we're going to question her. we're going bring in her documents and examine them. i don't see us doing immunity for anybody right now. but that's why we're going to bring on special counsel, to help guide us through the process and to make sure that we leave no stone unturned and every piece of paper examined. >> isn't he a leading indicator of the problem you face? wildstein is a smart guy. he has the big job at the port authority. he was asked to talk and his lawyer said he'll talk when he gets immunity. >> well, he -- he made the plea for immunity, but the documents show that there is a trail. what we're going to continue to do is to follow that trail and
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to see who else was involved. because clearly, we know that we have come into the inner circle of the governor. but we have a long road to go to flesh out all of what happened around this terrible circumstance and the pain and suffers that were inflicted on the people in ft. lee. >> well, a quick look at the the headlines this morning shows that the christie story certainly has legs, as we say in journalism. front page legs. the "new york times" today, a bridge to scandal: behind the ft. lee ruse. "the wall street journal" front page. "christie aides pressed hard for endorsements." and then you have the jump page, playing "hardball" for endorsements. and a usa today headline, "new jersey lawmaker: christie impeach a possibility." and michael isikoff reports newly obtained documents from the mayor's office of nearby jersey city show key meetings with him were canceled, four or five of them right after word that the mayor wasn't endorsing christie. along the lines, "the wall street journal's" article on
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"hardball," "hardball" politics says, quote, interviews with mayors and other new jersey democratic officials show that mr. christie's allies in conversations that swung from friendly to persistent fostered a perception of better access to the governor's office and state commissions for those who cooperated while a few who stayed neutral or endorsed mr. christie's opponent said they felt locked out. others suffer nod harm. steve kornacki, steve, i'm reading in "the wall street journal" and reading it replayed in the "new york times" there is a phone call. to me is overwhelm leg important, if it's true. governor christie according to the report called up governor cuomo of new york. he has a good working relationship with him, and basically he says call off the dogs. stop all the investigating. play it down, whatever. now there is a real dispute whether that happened or not. but i think the two papers are basically reporting this together now that it did happen. and of course, christie now denies it, which he would, because if it ever gets out that he told cuomo to shut this thing down, he would look like he wanted it shut down. >> reasonable assumption.
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>> that would be completely consistent with the behavior that chris christie exhibited in november, in december, right up until last wednesday. again, we have talked so much about whether chris christie was in on it from the beginning or whether he just had -- he put two and two together in his head and he had an inkling of it and he figured it out and didn't want to know. whichever one of those versions that you accept, i am pretty sure he was thinking ahead to january 14th, and can i just get to january 14th when that assembly power expires, and i can move ahead, i can move ahead past the story. i think there were pretty clear signals that were being sent to him by the incoming democratic speaker of the state assembly, right up until last wednesday that you know what? it's a whole new ball game starting on january 14th, and i am not going to extend the subpoena power. making a call to andrew cuomo to try to keep this quiet would be consistent if that comes out. a couple of things that really jump out at me are deeply, deeply disingenuous.
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one is when he talks about he makes a point of saying i would not have been able to pick the mayor of ft. lee out of a lineup. i didn't know who this guy was, blah blah blah. we have heard that so many times now. just a mayor of a town of 35,000 people. one of the things we showed on our show this weekend he is not just the mayor of the town of 35,000 people. mark sokolich is the mayor of a town of 35,000 people that is currently in the midst of a $1 billion redevelopment project at the foot of the george washington bridge on some of the most coveted, valuable real estate in all of new jersey. that is -- there are not many $1 billion redevelopment projects in all of new jersey. this is an administration that has been extremely hands-on when it comes to redevelopment. the governor of new jersey, this governor in particular is going to know the name of the mayor who is sitting on a $1 billion redevelopment project. that's just deeply disingenuous. and chris christie continues to talk, he talked about it in his december 2nd press conference. he had his guy bill baroni from the port authority say this in his appearance in the state assembly committee they keep talking about these lanes they
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closed as all they were doing is closing special access lanes that only the town of ft. lee got. it's the special treatment for ft. lee. nobody else has it. and that's unfair. chris christie reiterated that as early as december 2nd. that is deeply, deeply disingenuous. if you know anything about the traffic patterns of north jersey, those lanes are used by people from all over north jersey. they happen to be in ft. lee because the bridge is in ft. lee that is the kind of explanation, the kind of intentionally disingenuous explanation that you put out there if you're a politician, that you put out there if you are doing something for a different ran that you don't want people to know about. it's clearly disingenuous. >> it looks to me like he put up a shield. he obviously spent 24 hours in mock court, or 48 hours in mock court getting ready for that press conference where he put out his shield. he said he quizzed his staff in december. he never asked them if they knew anything. a general question would have gotten a lot more answers. if you know anything that happened here, put it in this box. you don't have to give yourself
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away. he made it very difficult for his staff to say i did it. then he said everything that happened between the time of the bridge closings and that day, he believed in the bridge survey, the so-called traffic study. and then he says basically, i only had two reports. my counsel, who may protect him under a lawyer client, and then the other thing was my chief of staff, o'dowd. it seems to me, assembly woman, that he has set up construction here very cleverly to prove that he had nothing to do with anything, and that if he did send signals through his behavior or leadership, that's not really criminal. he wrote it like he was defending himself against a u.s. attorney, which he was. your thoughts. >> well, clearly, nobody believes that he knew nothing about this. based on what we have seen so far. what we know is that the evidence that we have that the documents that we have received, even as limited as they are with all the redactions, that there is a pathway that we now have to follow. it defies logic. all of the explanations, including the fact that he did
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not even bother to question directly bridget anne kelly as she was being fired out the door. we are going to continue this process because where it goes, i don't know the ending to this, but every question begets another 10 or 12. and we're going to continue on that pathway, which means we're going to have to not only subpoena the people that have been named, but this will probably lead to further people being brought in to be questioned. >> you might bring in governor cuomo, had a conversation with the governor of your state in which the governor of your state shut this thing down that would be very probative. thank you, steve kornacki, the tiger on this case for msnbc. and assembly woman linda stender. thank you. there was a time many analysts thought the following, chris christie and the republican nomination, perfect together. not so much anymore. we have two heavyweights, and they are big shots in this business on mine. howard fineman, both coming on to survey the damage of the
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gop's prospects for winning after hurricane bridgegate. plus, it's become a verbal tic. you see the republicans say benghazi, benghazi, irs, irs, whatever, fast and furious. they say obama. never mind that none of these wrote responses that make any sense. the republican fog machine keeps fogging up the screen. anyway, also, the best political movie of the year just won three golden globes last night. i stayed up for them. and the man behind them, the director, david o. russell joins us, all about abscam in south jersey and philly where i came up. this is "hardball," the place for politics. is your tv powered by coal? natural gas? nuclear? or renewables like solar... and wind? let's find out. this is where america's electricity comes from. a diversity of energy sources helps ensure the electricity
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we need is reliable. take the energy quiz. energy lives here. take the energy quiz. life could be hectic. as a working mom of two young boys angie's list saves me a lot of time. 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. when it rains, it pours. the office of the inspector general at the u.s. department of housing and urban development, hud, has opened an audit into how the state of new jersey spent relief funds after
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hurricane sandy. at issue, a series of commercials aimed to jump-start tourism on the jersey shore, which prominently featured guess who? governor christie during an election year. the ad makers charged the state about $2 million more than the next lowest bidder whose ad campaign wouldn't have featured the governor. a christie spokesman told reporters today that the campaign featuring the governor was, quote, approved by the obama administration. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work. and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up
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welcome back to "hardball." the political ramifications of bridgegate, if you will, could stretch far outside new jersey, of course. governor christie was seen by many, including me as a potential front-runner for the 2016 republican presidential run. he was the only republican last month to actually beat hillary rodham clinton in a hypothetical matchup. he was ahead by two points, according to a cnn poll. all that could change now. of course, the past few days is likely his opponents in the race have demurred about the scandal.
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that's smart. here is marco rubio just yesterday. >> we don't know all the facts. i think this is a story that is still developing. and we should reserve judgment. >> that's smart. and senator rand paul cracked a joke when asked about it last week. >> i don't know who e-mailed who and who works for whom. i have been in traffic before that. i know how angry i am when i'm in traffic. and i'm always wondering who did this to me. >> you like the way they both put the knife? the one guy said this story is still developing. it's getting ripe. the other said i get mad when i'm in traffic. despite the political damage done to christie so far. chris cillizza still ranked him as number one in the republican field for the most likely to win this thing, with the best shot of capturing the 2016 nomination. according to cillizza. he is smart. here is a quote here. a sign of both the considerable strengths he retains in the race and the lack of an obvious challenger to his dominance. assuming that no other revelations emerge linking him to the closure of several lanes of traffic. this is one of those caveats. of course, this pill makes you
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arms fall off and everything else on television, the exception of possible florida governor jeb bush whose best position to build the coalition of major donors, party activists and gop elites necessary to win the nomination. howard fineman is editorial director of "the huffington post" and both are at prized msnbc political analysts. i want to start with howard. by the way, you guys take all the time. i'm going to listen for once. i'm really curious about what you both say. that is this. how does it change the field any thought christie was the only guy that could go in the race head to head with hillary clinton. in other words, from the beginning to the end. anybody could beat anybody in the business we cover, politics. he would come in equal, even steven with her. they don't have anyanybody like that right now. >> no, they don't. it does a few things. first of all, it emboldens the conservatives. and they are going to attack him. once they get done saying let's wait for all the facts to come in and complaining about the traffic, they will go after him with everything they've got. in the conservative web media is much more active and much more
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involved now than it was even a couple of years ago. that's grown up as a force on the right on the web. and that's important. and they will go after christie from the very beginning. so it's no cakewalk for him anywhere. secondly, i think a lot of traditional republicans symbolized by henry kissinger who just a month ago was giving a big foreign briefing to chris christie. i can assure you we're not talking about bridge traffic. they were talking about high minded matters of foreign policy. that's all off the table for right now. and democrats in new jersey who are sort of intimidated into silence about christie are now going to be attacking him from behind and below in new jersey. all those things i think are going to slow him down considerably. >> judd, your view about what this does to change the field. you're probably already working on your next book. i'm sure you're on top of this baby. >> i think that howard and chris cillizza are right there is no question this is his big debut on the national stage. you think about what happened
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when he won the big reelection victory. it elevated him and put him in the position you said, chris, made him in some sense the punitive kind of front-runner in waiting. and now he is getting the national scrutiny that he has never had before. and this is the first instance of that. and it's not looking particularly good. but i also think that what chris said is also right. there are not a lot of other formidable challengers around who have a chance to both unite the donor wing of the republican party the establishment republican party with the grassroots part of the party. if you set jeb bush aside, it's hard to see who comes in and takes that mantle away from chris christie. he's got a lot to work to do, and he's got to hope that there are not a lot more stories like this coming over the next 12 months he is still in a not totally horrible position as of today. >> okay, john, you first. if somebody comes forward who is
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credible and says i have a conversation with the governor, i knew damn well he knew about the bridge closing, is he dead politically for president? >> i think if it's proven that christie has lied. if he went out and said those things he said at the press conference, and it's proven that those are false, that he has lied, i think he can't win the republican nomination. i think at that point the establishment wing of the party will abandon him. they haven't yet. but i think they would pretty quickly if that became absolutely concrete fact that he had lied in that press conference. >> bridget kelly says i walk with him everywhere i go. i'm never more than ten feet from the guy. he knew all about it and i knew about it. >> then i think it's over. i totally agree with john heilemann. but, yes i think so. that's the problem he's got. there are four people who have left his inner circle under less than ideal circumstances. the two guys from the port authority and bridget kelly and stepien. >> they all have reason to talk. >> they all have reason to talk
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if they're squeezed by the u.s. attorney. that's got to be something christie is worried about. >> former new jersey governor tom kean was a mentor to christie. on the one hand, i think he's got a lot to offer. i think he is the most able politician since bill clinton. on the other hand, you look at those other qualities and ask do you really want that in your president? that's pretty strong stuff. meanwhile, yesterday conservative comment compared the scandal to watergate. let's listen to george. >> this is not a phony scandal because as the principle watergate scholar nose, john dean sent a memo to mr. higby who was the assistant of chief of staff alderman who said we should use the machinery, the federal machinery of government to screw our enemies. that's what this was about up there. >> and the question, howard, who is going to be the john dean here, the one who was part of this perhaps, that's the most likely person to squeal, the person who has been involved in the skulduggery says we were involved in something bad we
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shouldn't have had. >> there are a couple of other people too including his hand-picked guy who is running the port of new jersey, samson. if there is no smoking e-mail, if there is no conversation that other people are testifying to under oath, if you can't show that the governor knew anything as he said about the planning or the execution of this, then, you know, this will peter out. but we just don't know yet. but if there is -- if there is sworn testimony that he was lying, then there is no way. >> i love the guy who said the other day this will not end well. he said it back in september, the guy on the bridge. actually the guy in charge of bridge and all this kind of thing. thank you, howard fineman and thank you john heilemann. chris christie is fast becoming a punch line for the late night comics. not a good place to be if you want to run for the top job in the country. this is "hardball," the place for politics. mine was earned orbiting the moon in 1971.
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christie was furious when they blocked the bridge because he thought they said they were blocking the fridge. what? not on my watch, man! >> christie also said i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution. and went on to say he knew nothing about the watergate break-in, and he did not have sex with that woman. so there you go. >> let's go to cnn. >> the christie administration is under fire for lane closures on the george washington bridge. when asked to comment about whether his office was responsible for the traffic jam, christie said, mmmm, jam. >> time for the sideshow. as you can see, chris christie's bridge scandal has been a boon for comedians out there. while the governor has never shied from publicity, on the late night circuit, this is one spotlight he would probably like to avoid. next up, if you caught the golden globes the over night like i did, you might have also
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seen this. inspiring new ad, i think so from microsoft. it definitely caught my eye. it's a tribute to the heroic women of 2013 and features a diverse group of individuals whose achievement in the face of adversity should push us all. it's a remarkably produced, inspiring video. here is a clip. >> where there is discord, may we bring harmony. >> i absolutely will do this again and run a marathon next year. >> be bold, be courageous. ♪ say what you want to say and the let words fall out ♪ >> antoinette tough worked to convince the gunman to put down his weapon. >> i love you, though. we all go through something in life. ♪ ♪ i want to see you be brave
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>> that woman was having -- that woman was having a double mastectomy. what spirit came across in that. up next, the republican fog machine. if you say bridgegate, they say benghazi. joy reid and jonathan capehart join us next. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. start your business today with legalzoom. who gets the allstate safe driving bonus check. rock beats scissors! [ chuckles ] wife beats rock. and with two checks a year, everyone wins. [ female announcer ] switch today and get two safe driving bonus checks a year for driving safely. only from allstate. call 866-906-8500 now.
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i'm milissa rehberger. here is what is happening. vice president joe biden and other dignitaries spoke at a memorial service in israel for former ariel sharon who died. target ceo's apologizes for the massive data breach. and officials in west virginia have started lifting a tap water ban in some areas following a chemical spill. last week about 300,000 people were told not to drink the water affected by that spill. now back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." desperate times call for desperate measure. as we just discussed, the growing scandal facing new jersey governor chris christie has upended the republican field for president in 2016. chris christie was the only republican who was running even with hillary clinton. the presumptive democratic nominee. and as i mention, according to a new cnn/orc poll from just last month, clinton destroys the entire field otherwise whether it's marco rubio, ted cruz, rand paul, or paul ryan, she beats them all. the only outlier, chris christie, who actually leads clinton by two points in that recent pole. when you consider those numbers, it's hardly a surprise why so many republicans are so desperately rushing to the governor's defense, a tall order when you consider the growing pile of troubles he faces. christie's defenders are drawing up a playbook to fire back with
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everything they have in their arsenal, including smoke screens, diversions and outright misrepresentations. the only problem, you can't beat facts with bs, and i mean it. jonathan capehart is with "the washington post" and joy reid is with thegrio.com. both are msnbc contributors. joy, i want you to look at this tape. this is from yesterday, rnc reince priebus trying to create what i think is a smoke screen for christie by vomiting up, there is a mixed metaphor, the kitchen sink of right wing conspiracy theories against president obama and hillary clinton. this is priebus in his standard operating procedure on yesterday's "meet the press." >> americans are forgiving people, but they're forgiving when you take ownership, you admit mistakes, you take corrective action. and that's what chris christie showed. he stood there for 111 minutes in an open dialogue with the press. now only if barack obama and hillary clinton would give us 11 seconds of that would we find
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out some things we want to find out about obamacare, benghazi, the irs. >> go ahead, joy, i don't know what he is talking about. president obama, whatever you may think about him, but he does hold press conferences. he holds long ones. i don't know what he is talking about. that's a fact. >> and reince priebus isn't exactly the most effective political operative in the world. his rebranding of the republican party isn't going so well. but i think what he is trying to do there is a version of what chris christie did in that endless press conference. it's sort of obfuscation. it's throwing everything but the kitchen sink and trying to distract. i think part of the audience for that really is the media, and trying to refocus the attention of people in the political press. a lot of people have been, let's face it, pretty favorable towards chris christie in the past. and say look at all these other things. in fairness, you need to also talk about these other things and compare them to what chris christie is alleged to have happened, at least around him among his senior staff in new jersey. the problem is all of the things that reince priebus and the republicans want the media and the public to compare the
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bridgegate scandal to are in the past. they've already been diffuse and proved to not be scandal. so it's a problem. >> i wonder. let's go to the irs, jonathan. axelrod, david axelrod said this afternoon. you know what? president obama never even knew who the lois learner is. the idea to handpick people. the ones who have all had to quit their jobs or been fired were all people he put in those jobs. obama didn't put these people in the irs. they're bureaucrats. >> and david axelrod said he didn't even know who she was. that's the big difference here. with bridgegate you had people who work directly with governor christie. with irs, you don't have anyone who is directly working with the president of the united states. and you certainly don't have the president of the united states directing the irs to go after tea party people.
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reince priebus and other republicans are throwing up irs, benghazi, and you want to throw in there the foul-up of the healthcare.gov roll-out. >> oh, fast and furious. let's get the whole list here. >> fast and furious. right. well, all of these things are throwing up, trying to, as joy said, you know, get the media to change, you know, focus their attention on other things. but it also is something that the base of the party that absolutely hates the president is also putting out there. i have had on my twitter feed, e-mail, inbox, facebook people saying why didn't the president say anything -- do the same thing as christie did on irs, on benghazi, on healthcare.gov? and the answer is, well, actually, the president has. and so for the folks who hate the president, for the folks who want chris christie to win, this is something, yet another thing that they can say is unfair about the liberal media and its
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attention. >> the other diversionary tactic in the gop playbook right now is this one. nothing to see here defense. here is more reince priebus with his own -- with david gregory. here is he is. >> there has been no direct link made to governor christie. do you think there will be one? >> no, i don't think there will be one, because i think we have a really smart person in chris christie who is a former u.s. attorney, who understands what is out there. and thousands and thousands of documents have been revealed, and not one single link to chris christie has been found. >> well, that logic sounds familiar. it's because reports indicate that christie himself tried to make a similar diversionary defense back in december. according to a "wall street journal" article from early december, quote, chris christie complained to new york governor andrew cuomo that his appointee was pressing too hard for answers. chris christie is denying that report. we haven't heard from andrew cuomo who was on that phone call. i just jump at that one. wait a minute. a dispute over fact between two
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heavyweight governors. when you have one person who remembers the phone call and one who says he doesn't, who do you believe? that there was no such thing, it never happened, or it did happen, and someone obviously didn't want it to have happened, but it did. >> yeah, and in a lot of way, again, i think priebus in trying to diminish, he started with obfuscation and then goes to dimnition. weapon, there are thousands of pages of documents. not all have gone through yet. saying categorically nothing will be found to link chris christie to any of this is really inviting people to dig and dig and dig. because as this bridgegate scandal has gone on, the level of -- the high level has gotten higher and higher and higher. it's crept closer and closer to his inner circle. this deputy, his sort of assistant there in his office, she worked for someone. people want to know well, who is that? the person who is going to replace her, the person who is going to become chief of staff. it's starting to draw in higher and higher level christie aides. and the idea that christie knew absolutely nothing, he was a
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complete tabula rasa doesn't really make sense. when this thing was happening in realtime, you mean the state governor didn't want to know why the lanes were closed, when his top aides resigned a the port authority, he didn't ask them why are you resigning? he didn't have them talked to or spoke to or let them gorge what they knew before they walked out the door? it doesn't make logical sense that he knew absolutely nothing. >> agreed. and look at the pictures of him walking around, strolling around with bridget kelly ten feet from everywhere. the thing he would call her a liar again and again means one thing. he is scared to death of her testimony under oath. that's what he is trying to screw in with in the jury pool. he wants to destroy all his enemies. jonathan capehart, thank you. and joy reid, thank you. the big winner last night at the golden globe, "american hustle." director david o. russell joins us now to talk about abscam, which is at the heart of the story. this is "hardball," the place for politics. uck guys, the truck is everything.
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and the golden globe goes to "american hustle." >> we are back. "american hustle" won big last night. the golden globes, taking home three statuettes, including best film in the musical category. in the film, an ambitious fbi agent enlists a pair of small-time hustlers to bust corrupt politicians, or at least people he thinks will be corrupt. it's the slightly fictionalized take on the real life abscam scandal of the late 1970s, which took down heavyweight politicians in an expansive corruption probe that ended careers, a lot of them. a popular new jersey governor dub was convicted of bribery, conspiracy. he had been in office 23 years. i liked that guy.
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six members of the u.s. house of representatives were also convicted. including frank thompson, who "the new york times" described as one of the most influential democrats in the congress. others included a committee chairman and a three-term congressman from florida. nearly a dozen other politicians were nabbed, convicted, including the mayor of camden and city counselors from my hometown, some who were crooks. christian bail and amy adams are the con artists. >> you're going to do this because you got no choice. you work for me. >> you keep changing the rules. now you're getting a little power drunk, richard. you want to tell him? you want to wake him up? >> i said we shouldn't do any of it, irwin. now i support richie. he has vision. >> he is the one ruling america, not me. >> how the [ bleep ] am i ruining america? >> because people just got over watergate and vietnam. because you want to be a big shot, get a promotion. >> no. i'm thinking big. this is going to be fantastic. we're doing video surveillance. i'm doing this from the feet up.
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>> you will never do it properly because you have too much government attitude to be small and sleep. i'm like the vietcong, man. i'm in and i'm out. i was there the whole time. you don't know. that's an art, to become somebody who people can pin their beliefs and their dreams on. >> david o. russell joins us right now. this film is so rich, david, so rich in personality and phoniness and ambition. my question to you. against all the odds you made a movie that could well win the oscar, that actually makes a politician look good. you actually pick out this guy, carmine politto. my wife and i watched it again the other night and were overwhelmed by the pathos of this guy, italian american guy from camden, a poor city of blacks and hispanics, and he is trying to do something for the people out there and he gets screwed because he likes some guy. >> i probably in the tradition of frank capra. they're gritty. whether it's the fighters, the
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silver linings. but they always have some romance and hope and enchantment. i was drawn to the character based on angelo of all the politicians because he was guy who was gloved by his community. and the the fbi guys who busted him who a couple months ago tell me they really liked him, they thought he was a really good guy. so that allowed me an avenue to not -- i think i would have a hard time, you know, doing it otherwise. if i couldn't find somebody people with some real hearts in the story. >> well, the funny part was david -- there are so many funny parts. by the way, people really laughing out loud in the theater. i saw it the other night in d.c. again. the screening among the sophisticates, they didn't know how to laugh, later on when the regular people see it. show the lineup of politicians one after the other from jersey, including the senator reaching for the bag, the guy, con man moved the bag of money over toward the politician and just reached their hands out and instinctively grabbed for it. tell us about putting that together because they all get nailed. >> yeah, i mean, they were all different. you, chris, are the master
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detail person about all this. you're the his ttorian. you were there. you lived through a lot of it. >> i did. >> some of them took envelopes, stuffed it inside their coats and it was unseemly. on the other side -- i do think that's a relatively more innocent time than compared to today. hundreds of millions of dollars in our election. i don't know where it goes, what happens to it or what decisions get made. so this was a relatively small amount of money, not that every politician should be very careful and not clip anything for themselves. but -- >> let's show -- >> -- the economy. >> let's show -- >> i love it, it was simple micro. anyway, let's take a look at that, the great amy adams and great jennifer lawrence. two of the women you now how to direct. performance of -- both got credit. they did. let's watch them. >> david, you write such amazing roles for women. thank you so much for letting the world know that a princess can punch and wear a low-cut gown. >> years ago, i watched a movie
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called "i heart huckabees" and so in awe and floored by this completely unchartered humor, and so i google who made it and i saw it was the same director from "three kings" and "flirting with disaster." and i just thought, this is the most brilliant man in every single way, and to think by some weird twist of fate that that's the same man who made my career who it is is so weird and wonderful. thank you. so, thank you. >> you know, what you do is put together these ensembles of the moving cast people from "the fighter" and is t"silver lining playbook" and others. there's something new in movies. the march brothers. i try to go back to when a lot of people were working together that seems to click. >> it's magical. all the actors were inspired to be together on the set. jennifer lawrence are christian ba bale, bradley cooper, amy williams. luis c.k.
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robert de niro came back. it's a wonderful thing to be on the set, chris. it's my privilege to write for these actors and give them roles that are worthy of them that they can shine and show every emotion in. i'm very proud of the women and i want my guys to get their recognition, too. >> let's take a look at this other and from "american hustle" with christian bale. let's watch. this is great stuff. here he is. >> you know where i was recently? i was in -- all right? i saw your nail polish. he put a canvas bag over my head. are you happy mow? because he is trying to kill me. >> what are you talking about? >> all she did was say there was an irs guy in the group and all of a sudden the mob guys who are more likable in this movie, more likable. jack houston and certainly robert de niro. you like them more than you do the government officials. your thoughts on that, david? >> i mean, this thing, it did
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slide sideways. it's an opera. that's what grabs me by it, chris. such operatic characters. i look for a doozy of a predicament in a great cinema and this is a doozy of a predicament. a mob guy, de niro is playing and were married to a truth. the fbi guy bradley cooper plays brilliantly and in a very original way kept blowing sideways into deeper waters. the con men he put in his service were saying, what are you doing? de niro is so charming. that guy is actually a true character. if i told you that's true, you wouldn't think so. that guy did speak arabic and caught them off guard. de niro loved memorizing the arabic and wanted to shock people with the gangster they've never seen before. i think he did it. >> wow. i think this movie has a little touch of -- i think it's going to be remembered for decades and one of the great films ever made. you watch.
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maybe you won't win everything this time, you might do that, too. long time the road, this is the movie they're going to look to and say this is about our times, not just the 7'70s but now. thank you, david o. russell. >> thanks, chris. >> break a leg. we'll be right back after this. from the classic lines to the elegant trim in each and every piece, ♪ kohler will make your reality a dream. you stand behind what you say. there's a saying around here, around here you don't make excuses.
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you make commitments. and when you can't live up to them, you own up, and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it when you know where to look. anncr vo: introducing the schwab accountability guarantee. if you're not happy with one of our participating investment advisory services, we'll refund your program fee from the previous quarter. while, it's no guarantee against loss and other fees and expenses may still apply, we stand by our word. ♪ ♪ nothing says, "you're my #1 copilot," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪
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let me finish tonight with the flop sweat we're now seeing on the republicans. i believe maybe you do, too, this country's better off with having two candidates for president each four years. we can imagine even voting for.
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that means we get the truth if you're the choosing type between the republican and a democrat to lead this country. chris christie was the best bet out there for this happening. a christie/hillary clinton campaign would have been close from the beginning. perhaps close all the way through to election day. it certainly promised some great debates. maybe we'll still get a race as hot as this. maybe. if the evidence continues to accumulate on governor christie's strong-arm methods i don't think we're going to get the hot close election. people don't want their president to behave like this. let's wait. power hates a vacuum. both republicans is going to jump in there. if christie gets knocked to the sidelines, you can bet on. all the years you and i have watched the republican party it's only rarely bar by goldwater in '64 steered all the way to the right. the reason for that happening is back then the new york governor nelson rockefeller divorced his wife right on the eve of the campaign. so count on the republicans to find a centrist option by 2016.
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if it's not christie, somebody, unfortunately for those who cover politics i doubt whoever fills the moderate gap out there will be as frisky or fascinating to watch as chris none of your business christie. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. a special edition of "all in with chris hayes" and maria shriver starts now. this is a special presentation of "all in." 50 year war. changing face of poverty in america. now chris hayes and maria shriver. >> good evening from new york. 50 years after the war on povrty was launched, america is once again engaged in a great and overdue national debate about the tens of millions of our fellow citizens left behind. but lurking at the edges of that conversation is the premise that the war launched 50 years ago was a failure. we're here tonight to tell you differently. >> this administration, today, here and

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