tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 29, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
appreciate your report from out there. wish everyone a safe return. you can find me on twitter or find us tomorrow on msnbc at 3:00 p.m. eastern on "the cycle." >> muscle from trenton. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. mistaken identity? how else do you describe the polar difference between the new jersey governor described in today's "new york times" from the man who said he didn't know nothing? in today's times" piece, we read christie was intimately involved in his town by town campaign of pressuring targeted mayors to endorse his re-election. we're told that christie's people sharpened their attack on each mayor's pressure points.
their big dollar contributors who get them elect and re-elected to offers and their big dollar development deals that give them economic sway locally. as we can see in this office layout in the times, the christie political operation was just across the press room from his own office, not the huge distance he portrayed in that press conference he gave. that's bill stepien, christie's one-time deputy chief of staff and later his campaign manager with an offices in christie's suite outside the governor's office. bridget kelly took that same office when she succeeded stepien as deputy chief of star. the story also pointedly reports governor christie made a practice of not using e-mails but instead relying on texting and his cell phone. the paper said his reason for this was his discovery as u.s. attorney that it's easier for prosecutors to collect e-mails. meanwhile, there are new accusations including christie awarded hurricane sandy disaster
funds to a mayor who endorsed him even though the beneficiary in this case may not have even been a casualty of the disaster. bob ingle writes about politics and is co-author of "chris christie, the inside story of his rise to power." kendall coffey is a former u.s. attorney and msnbc legal analyst. today's great article in the times" as i said bass about christie's office operation. it shows a leader both intimately involved yet connie distant of leaving no praise behind. "a close look at his operation, how intimately involved he was in it, described in interviews with dozens of people democrat and republican including current and former administration officials, electioned leaders and aides gives credence to the puzzlement expressed by some republicans and many democrats in the state who question how a detail obsessed governor to have been unaware of the closings or the effort over months to cover up the political motive at george washington bridge. as a former u.s. attorney, christie knew how to operate below the radar "mr. christie
tended to the smallest details and personally oversaw au appointments to the board of physical therapy examiners leaders said and when he wanted to discuss somethinging with lawmakers he texted them himself. he will told one he had learned from his experience as u.s. attorney, not to e-mail. texts he said were harder to trace. let me go right now to bob ingle and this pattern here. a lot of homework, a lot of reporting by the "times" today in a catchup piece that basically paints a picture of the intimacy with which the governor of new jersey, christie, engaged in the statewide town by town pressure on the mayors using their big contributors and focusing on their sweetheart deals they really cared about where they could either bring money in or hold it up. either the money going to the mayor or the money going out for the mayor so they could stop his or her operation in their tracks if they didn't play ball. the governor saying in his exonerating press conference i don't know nothing. it doesn't square.
your thoughts? >> i read the times story this morning and i thought it was a very good article. i don't think there's anybody in trenton who covers this administration who thinks there was anything going on the governor didn't know about. >> let me go to kendall coffey. thank you, sir. i'm looking at this trying to look at it through your eyes. if you see trail of entanglement by the governor where he seems to be in charge of this elaborate plan to hit 100 cities and townses in new jersey, put the pressure on the clinters, put the pressure on the local project that's important to that mayor, squeeze them and get an endorsement. and then it turns out that one of the mayors he's squeezing is in ft. lee, another in hoboken and harrison. can you tie all of that together into a criminal matter if you're a prosecutor. >> i think prosecutors are going to find this fascinating because it does suggest that there was a system in wilsome of the
allegations that we've been hearing about could very well be connected. if true. the other thing that you just described it's very, very important is that if indeed prosecutors are convinced that christie was a micromanager, micromanagers don't do a great job of playing the card of hear no evil, see no evil. from a prosecutor's standpoint, if somebody's constantly getting down in the weeds just maybe they're also getting down in the dirt. >> so when you go around and collect witnesses as they're doingen an collect e-mail, are you looking for a general pattern or looking for specific information tying christie to particular deeds? >> well, ultimately, you've got to get specifics that make the connection. because even if there's a moral or a political or other kinds of responsibilities for what your office does, if you're going to get to the top of the pyramid, you need a ladder that personally implicates whoever might be the individual you're focusing on with personal knowledge and complicit. that so far has not been reported except for sort of the
double hearsay allegation made by the mayor of hoboken. obviously prosecutors are now seeing perhaps a culture of friends and enemies list, a system for following up on it, and i think they're fascinated with what they're learning. >> let me talk about the possibility, ient an to get back to the -- to i'm sorry, ba can to bob in a minute. but i want to ask you about there's so names in this case. bob, you're one of our stars. i always were told if when you're a kid, don't lend your card to somebody because if you lend your card car to somebody and they hit somebody, you're civilly liable because it's their use of the car. if there are people going around new jersey saying if you don't do this the governor's going to come at you, getting paid by him, using his phones and e-mail saying i'm here for the governor, you'd better do this, is he civilly culpable for those behaviors?
is it like borrowing a car when you borrow the authority of the governor himself to do something and pressure somebody or is that a legal theory that won't hold up? >> it's not a legal theory that i think the prosecutors are focusing on. sure, there is every day legal responsibility in some context when people who are your representatives go out and do things acting on your behalf. but prosecutors are focused on the criminal law and the criminal law is going to require that there be personal knowledge implicating and incriminating whoever might be the target. so all this interesting for prosecutions, but what they're especially interested in is some witnesses or some e-mail text message documentation that is directly and specifically incriminating. >> let's talk about the crew it calls the people around christie. calls them the christie crew. the times article. "the new york times" article points to dow distinction groups among his loyalists, those from his time working as a u.s.
attorney and political people who generally came to christie from the offices of other politicians included former new york mayor rudy guiliani. among the trusted aides from his u.s. attorney days, kevin o dowd and mckenna, another lawyer. the political people included bill stepien, the former deputy mayor with whom he severed ties, deputy chief of staff and also broke bridge yet ann kelly who was deputy chief of staff after stepien and who christie very publicly fired and maria ca mel la who used to work for rudy giuliani. bob ingle, tell us, is this second group or the is of a booster rocket you cannion away and say well, i only deal with the lawyers around me and i have -- i have what do you call it a code of trust with them. but these other people i'm sort of cutting them off and letting them drift, in fact, calling
them liars and stupid on the way? >> i think both groups had a direct line to the governor's office. you notice that the first person to come out to defend the governor when all this first hit was rudolph giuliani. that wasn't a coincidence because so many of the people who are working for christie now worked for giuliani in the past. so i think they had -- i think they had equal standing. >> what's your hunch? the people who know the law around christie would be the most averse to breaking or doesn't that seem to fit with your hadivity? i'm going to go to kendall with the same question. you get all these lawyers, all the work in the u.s. attorney's office and yet all this questioning whether what they did or not was criminal. you would think they would know what was criminal and try to avoid it. first you, bob, and then to kendall. >> well, one of the things that we have been amazed about is because there were so many people who came from the u.s. attorney's office and how
anything like this could possibly happen. and the only thing that those of us who follow it daily can come up with is maybe it's the arrogance of power you. get there, you think you can't be defeated. you have a lot of people following you. and they just do stupid stupid things. >> let me go to kendall on this. are you surprised some of these guys it looks like they're taking the fifth, just not talking all these guys around the port authority. apparently the people around him are all lawyered up right now. how did they get in this mess if you're all so familiar with prosecution and what the law is? >> well, it remains to be seen which individuals will be implicated the most. but certainly almost anybody that's in close proximity to this mess ought to be lawyered up and ought to be talking about fifth amendment before they see how it plays out. but i think what people that know the system from the inside that understand the criminal investigation and prosecution system are going to do, some of the things you're going to see clearly, not a lot of e-mails or fingerprints from folks who truly understand the system.
>> and do you think those could have been removed since this story broke? that's legal, isn't it? are you allowed to delete or more than delete, and delete again. i don't know if you can ever actually permanently delete anything these days. is that illegal to do that before the subpoenas are issued? >> i think people who understand the investigative system are not going to get crazy enough to wander into the zone of obstruction because right now, it's not clear what the provable crimes would be against who with respect to the federal jurisdiction. you start deleting e-mails on strucking an investigation, you can be toast. and i think if there's anything that people that have been around the federal system understand well, it's the risk to finish up this conversation on basic journalistic end of this. bob ingle, you read that story in the times today. i recommend everybody get it online, take a look because it has great detail about those
following this matter. it shows how office is set up, where the political people sit. it shows you where the governor has his press conferences. walks in one door, his people would walk in one door. except the day of the big press conference, he fired them all. you said it sounds like it was a good story. now, my question is, is anybody reading that today saying chris christie is not involved in the day to day politics. he's sort of like barack obama. he's above it all. he's a professor type. is anybody going to say that? >> i think some people will say that. what the newer polls are showing is that democrats and independents are starting to have grave questions, republicans are not so much. but the more of in that comes out and the drip drip drip thing, the more people are going to believe that that's the case. >> well, you previewed my next segment. thank you. and thank you kendall coffey for the legal advice. coming up, the drip drip drip. stories that look bad for chris christie. did the governor use hurricane sandy money for political gain? did he spend it elsewhere? plus catch this lingo, commandant in chief, imperial
presidency. dictates from a king are some of the incoherent bab lings about president obama's speech from the loony right. let's enjoy the folks in the clown car. that was a mild mannered speech by the president last night. i thought debonair, smoothing over differences, trying to get a few new allies and yet the enemy is riled up. wait till you hear what they had to say. you've surely seen this scene from last night in d.c. in washington. let's watch. >> why? it's a valid question. >> no. you are not man. >> that was a bit off camera. we'll get to what happened there. that's michael grimm, a republican from new york city offering to give a local reporter a very quick trip to the ground floor of the u.s. capitol. got a little tricky there.
politico is reporting that house republicans are giving up a serious fight over the debt limit. the most senior figures in the republican conferences are privately acknowledging they would almost have to pass a clean debt ceiling increase in the next few months, abandoning the central fight that has defined their majority. the reason, it's not good politics to hold the economy hostage during an election year. the treasury secretary says the debt ceiling will be raised next month february to avoid default.
chris christie's appointee to run the port authority, david sampson approved a quality project that benefited a client of his brother's law firm. it looked like christie's brother may have benefited from the same deal, todd christie loaded up on real estate near that station on the path rail line before that huge deal was approved. todd and his business partners then sold those homes for triple what they originally paid. todd and his partners denied any improper dealings saying "having done business in harrison most of our lives we have been well aware of plans not only to improve the station but to grow and redevelop many areas of our hometown." but it doesn't end there. we've also told you about hoboken mayor's dawn zimmer's claims that is christie used sandy funds as leverage to win support for a real estate development deal in hoboken. now it looks like christie gave millions of that money to a
mayor that didn't deserve it. the new york star ledger is reporting christie personally helped secure $6 million in hurricane sandy money to finance a development deal some say had very little to do with sandy recovery. and more to do with securing an endorsement for his re-election from the town's democratic mayor. well, christie officials and the mayor denied their allegations both of them. steve kornacki is the host of up with steve kornacki" and richard ben-venista is currently a partner with the law firm of mayor brown. thank you so much. let me go to steve. if you could tie together this. what was in the times," i'm sure it's familiar to you, the manner in which the governor is intimately involved in this campaign of muscling or pressuring, whatever terms you want hundreds, 100 mares going around to them one at a time finding out who are the big contributor, where can they squeeze the money coming in or going out of the mayor's office to get these men and women to play ball with his election
campaign and the stories you've been working on the one regarding hoboken and harrison and now the one in bellville with the senior citizens whose home apparently benefits for hurricane relief where there was never a hurricane. tell me how it all fits together in a coherent behavior pat fern, if you will. >> let's take belleville. if you're not from new jersey and don't know what belleville is, it's a blue collar town about 35,000 people just outside newark. like everything in north jersey, it was touched by sandy but it wasn't decimated the way hoboken was. where is belleville in the political geography of the state? it's part of essex county, newark and its surroundings. the top political player in essex county is a guy named dodi vin shen zo. he's a democrat, the product of the old northward of newark political machine and that man are and have been two of christie's top democratic allies.
a huge reason he's been able to get things through the legislature. joe endorsed chris christie for re-election last year. probably not the most prominent democratic allies for christie in the state. belleville is in his county. could you look at a mayor of belleville, a town of 35,000 endorsing christie in his town getting the senior project but you're looking at something i think bigger at work potentially which is this town sits at the epicenter of the christie crates if you will of north jersey. this town is in joe's backyard close to the northward political machine. all of that is right around here. you're talking about $6 million in sandy money getting steered towards a long-planned project. the key to understanding this senior project is -- >> what's your understanding? is it a proper use of money which people from the federal government and other forces are giving to people in a disaster area? is it disaster relief or not? >> you can make a case.
look, there was damage to i think the case here is what this illustrates is how much discretion the administration has. the administration can make a case that this project was worthy of funding, it's shovel ready. it wasn't untouched by sandy. but when you compare belleville and when you compare this particular facility in belleville to the images you see to the city that's submerged underwater, the station damage, all of this stuff you saw out of hoboken it raises the questions of priorities. why was this is worth $6 million? why was this worth not just that. when the governor appeared at the ground breaking ceremony for this, for the remodeling of this facility he talked how he was on the phone personally every day to top level people in his administration doling out the sandy aid telling them this project has to be a priority. it raises the question, why is $6 million for this project such a priority and for instance, something in hoboken isn't, something in hoboken doesn't get na. >> richard, you did go around as
a governor. he's not counting on the polls that come in or the good tv ads, the new jerseyan or new york and philly or his personal dynamism. he's pressuring people saying i need local swag. i'm going to squeeze you. i'm going to squeeze you hard and favor you or hurt you. so let's talk turkey. is that illegal? >> it depends. the devil's in the details here, chris. we have to separate politics as usual to the victor go the spoils. and putting somebody who's a sporter at the head of the line and putting somebody who's a detractor, an opponent at the bottom of the line. but the question is, was there the use of some illegal method extortion, the threat whether made good for not of withholding legitimately identified funds for the purpose of relief of sandy hurricane damage or was this something else.
i think it's important to make that distinction. i don't think this is an investigation, a criminal investigation of politics. this is an investigation. >> let's go to the sharpest case. i'll go back to steve on in. the sharpest case me much waing and learning from steve's reporting is the mayor zimmer, dawn zimmer comes out and says i was in a parking lot. somebody causes me aside and say i know this sounds terrible, if this is a true account, i know this shouldn't be the way it is, but the governor just told me this last night, if you don't play ball with this, you're not getting the federal relief funds. is that criminal? >> it could be. but i think a prosecutor who is careful will not bring a case simply based on that, even though he's now been corroborated by individuals to whom she made prior consistent statements, contemporaneous with the event more or less, i think you've got to look for actually pulling the trigger, not just a threat.
and see whether -- na she didn't get the money. >> we don't know what money was allocated properly. we need to know that. we need to know what the right was of the town or city involved to get the moneyen allocated and then you need to look at whether there was an intent to deprive of legitimately authorized funds by the federal government to distribute them to of this city, hoboken or other places. and then under the circumstances, make that determination. >> if you see a pattern here where you do have witnesses that. could forward and i'll be back to you in a minute, steve, you have a pattern here of a mayor who comes off as a very credible witness, the mayor of hoboken, she comes out and talks about this threat. and then you look at the e-mail from bridget kelly that says time for traffic problems in fort lee and you've got a lot of evidence. how do you walk away from that as a prosecutor and say, isn't
there a pattern of something worse han "hardball" politically, something like muscle. >> absolutely you don't walk away from it. in fact, i expect in a few months that e-mails, witnesses will be questioned under oath, some may be immunized. >> right. >> and compelled to testify those hose have asserted a fifth amendment privilege which is their right to do. maybe immunized. there may be further documents that come forward to spell out improper use of power of the government's office. >> reporting on this steve, you're doing the best work, where are we on this case in terms of that process, in terms of collecting e-mails and texts if we can, collecting all kinds of memoranda from all these people around the governor? and eventually i guess going to him, where are they in terms of getting to something that might leak that you can use and get on the air? >> that's the big question right now. the date that looms is february 3rd. that's when the subpoenas are
going out. the 20 subpoenas are due back february 3rd. the question that hangs over all of us, subpoenas from the legislative committee. the question that hangs over all of this has there been some kind of communication between the special council on the special committee and the united states attorney's office where the united states attorney office, has the attorney's office told them wait a minute, we're not going to have a mass dump of all the information. you're only going to leak a certain amount. so the question is, all of this information is due back next week from these 20 subpoenas that entwithout. it's an open question how much of that we're actually going to get to see and beyond that, right now, we know that the u.s. attorney's office has subpoenaed records from christie's re-election campaign. how many more of those subpoenas go out? at this point, now that the u.s. attorney is involved, nobody expects any of the people
subpoenaed are actually going to testify before that committee. they'll respond to the document requests. nobody expects any of them are going to testify. >> i'm waiting for it to get to the governor himself and waiting to see him subpoenaed under oath. thank you, steve and richard ben-venista. this is "hardball," the place for politics. we use this board to compare car insurance rates side by side, so you get the same coverage, often for less. [ rattling ] that's one smart board. what else does it do -- reverse gravity? [ chuckles ] split atoms? [ whoooosh! ] hey, how is that atom-splitting thing going? [ rattling ] [ electronic whistling ] oh! [ zap! ] a smarter way to shop around. now, that's progressive. call or click today.
back to "hardball." time for the sideshow". everyone has their own reaction to president obama's state of the union. i liked. but as jimmy kimmel pointed out you didn't need to see it to have an opinion about it. his crew hit the streets of los angeles to ask pedestrians what they thought about the president's address yesterday well before the speech happened. >> what did you think of president obama's state of the union address last night. >> it had different effects on different people and you know, i just feel those effects affect everybody you know, like you've got to stay positive and not focus on the negative. >> he was addressing what everybody was talking about. >> which is what? >> actually i don't know. i didn't see it. >> did you think there was too much product placement in the state of the union? >> yeah, that kind of surprises me. kind of cheapens politics a little bit. >> do you think that joe biden
embarrassed himself last night? >> very much so. >> so what did you think about obama faking the heart attack at the end? >> i think that was more for shock value, not you know, simp think or what have you. >> as gore vidal said, nobody knob says no to sex or being on television. they wanted to just be on television. next up, hillary clinton revealed monday she hasn't and the driven a car since 1996. that's because the secret service provided her transportation when she needed during her first time as first lady and as senator and diplomatic security provided while she was secretary of state. jimmy fallon had a lot of fun with that last night. >> speaking of hillary, she said she hasn't driven a car since 1996. pretty incredible if you think about that, but she's found some alternative ways to get into work. for instance, she's been spotted et basketing. interesting. she's also been seen knieveling which is very dangerous. people have seen hillary
hipstering, which i don't know what that is, but this last one is probably the most common way of getting to work, she's been teen wolfing which is very interesting. >> teen wolfing. michael j. fox. up next, that other state of the union last night. not the one president obama gave but the one the far right swears they heard him give. they're in another universe some of these people. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." did you catch the state of the union last night? not the one in which the president laid out a center left agenda and avoid using red meat language, no the other state of the union, the one right wingers were apparently listening to, the one where congressman paula brodeur heard the president's hostilities toward our functional principles or where michele bachmann may think he's a king and declare himself king. all that happened last night in their alternative universe. randy webber didn't wait for the speech to start. he tweeted as follows -- on floor of house, waiting on common dant in chief. that commandment dant with a "k." the socialist tick dictator feeding the u.s. a line or is it a lying?
his colleague tim huelskamp tweeted about the new imperial presidency doing everything without legislation to advance his radical agenda. did you hear the radical agenda last night? missed that one. "first release of obama's speech reads like dictates from a king. all orders he will do to bypass congress #lawless. after the speech, my colleague rachel maddow asked huelskamp about the tweet he put out. >> the release of the speech reads like dick tas from a king #lawless. >> it does. >> what did he say in the speech that was lawless. >> 14 different points where the president said i don't like the american people who they elect. that's what the president was saying. he said i don't like congress. i don't like the american people that sent these people here pep listed 14 different dictates. >> dictates. >> executive orders. >> or executive orders are they lawless? >> an executive action without authority is lawlessness. >> executive orders by presidents are lawless? >> if there is no authority.
>> well, perhaps not surprisingly, the most hysterical reaction of all came from steve stock man who got up in the middle of the speech and very dramatically walked out. he said in his statement "i could not bear to watch." as he, the president continued to cross the clearly defined boundaries of the constitutional separation of powers. even worse, obama has openly vowed to break his oath of office and begin enacting his own brand of law through executive decree. this is a wholesale violation of his oath of office and the disqualifying offense. which speech did you see last night? chris van hollen was on the floor, a congressman from maryland. what is it about the water up there on the hill where republicans don't talk like republicans? they talk like crazy people. some, not all of them. peter king didn't walk out in a huff. some of the normal ones didn't walk out. i thought that was it the most mild mannered, it was certainly
mild in his presentation. it was center left. it was reasonably pro government agenda, do some things to get some things done to add to opportunity. not a safety net, nothing for poor people, just people that want to work. where was the radicalism in it last night? >> there wasn't any. look, this president could come before the house of representatives before the congress and say, let's cheer for mom, apple pie, and baseball, and house republicans would say it was part of a socialist conspiracy. strange thing is the same people then turn around and say why won't the president work with us when anything the president proposes they immediately oppose. so look, the president put forward a very straightforward agenda when it comes to specific actions on jobs and the economy. and he said to congress, i'd like to work with you, but if you refuse, there are areas where i do have executive authority where i'm going to take action. we're not going to have the country move as slow as the slowest boat.
and that's appropriate. >> well, the president paid tribute but the last night that dramatic moment to cory remsberg who was severely wounded by a roadside bomb over in afghanistan. let's watch that moment. >> cory is here tonight and like the army he loves, like the america he serves, sergeant first class cory remsberg never gives up and he does not quit. >> that got a two-minute standing ovation as it should have from the american people in that chamber. the president went on to say men and women like cory remind us why we fight for the america we want for our kids. that moment was widely viewed as one of the most inspiring of the night but in the alternative world speech of tim huelskamp, he was watching, and the reality was much more cynical. he said he tweeted "obama politicizes the military to end his speech totally expecting mr.
president -- this is nothing about politics that turns people off left right gronk everyone knows that huelskamp, a republican, if a republican president's done the exact same thing, he would have said it was great. >> well, that's right. look, there's some people, chris, who just came into the chamber determined to tear the president down no matter what. it's a sad state of affairs. and it's the reason it's so difficult for the president to work with congress to get stuff done. and there's no wonder that the american congress is at about 9% in american public opinion down there with cockroaches and other creatures. so as long as they keep doing this, the problem is it tears down the whole institution in so many ways. they don't seem to care. that seems to be the objective. they think if they make these stams, they'll tear down the whole of the government. and as you pointed out many times, they've got an anti-government agenda to begin with. >> yeah, i know.
>> as you say, the cynical part about this is there was a moment where everybody was rallied around and yet, there were some of those people who were just determined to play a cynical card. >> thank you so much. u.s. congressman chris van hollen of maryland. michelle bernard, politics and policy. michelle, thanks for coming on. i'll say what i said. i thought he was mild mannered last night, conciliatory. he said yes, we disagree on things like minimum wage. and continuing unemployment compensation and education policies, some of that stuff and certainly health care but we're in this together. >> yeah. >> i don't see how you can call that radical. >> i can't fathom how they called it radical. i frankly watched the president's speech. i'm a big supporter of the president, big booster. i felt it was almost too conciliatory. i loved the ending of the speech. it was the most dramatic and important part of the speech. but i was sitting there and hoping for more when you talked about the dignity we all deserve and equality and ignoring race, gender and, et cetera, et
cetera, i had hoped that the president would actually stand up at last night's state of the union and say this is what america is supposed to be, but this is what it is not. and talk about how he personally as a black man has been treated as president. >> why do you think he didn't? because david corn was on last night. he took the let's rip the scab off. let's point out what it is. my view was i'm trying to understand the politics of the president. i think he's mild mannered because that's what he is. >> why he. >> and also black men can't yell and all that crap. but i also think that he -- i also think he's calculating saying look, i'm trying to get immigration through the next year or two, trying to get minimum waning through, unemployment through, these things i care about. i might be able to shake them loose but if i go crazy at them and start attacking them personally and saying they're bad guys i'll never get any of them. >> well -- >> he's still hopeful of getting
something done. >> he's still hopeful. is he smart, shrewd, calculating and hopefully, that's what he's thinking he'll be able to shake something out of the trees. but for the rest of us sitting back and i say this really as an african-american woman for the rest of us sitting bang and seeing how he's been treated since day one and i've always said he can't be the angry black man, i wanted him to say here's a problem with voting rights. there's a problem with how you treat women. there is a problem with how we look at immigration and how we treat hispanics. we're supposed to be the shining light on the hill and we are the laughing stock of the world because we treat our people horribly. >> i know. he's never blamed his problems on race, yet they always do this to him. michelle, thank you. >> thank you. >> great to have you on. up next, if you don't like the question, threaten to throw the reporter over a balcony and break him in half. is this new york way? republican michael grimm did it last night and it was all caught on tape at least at this bad angle we're looking at. that was "hardball." that was the place for "hardball." we'll be right back.
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asked about an investigation into his campaign donations. but what happened next was caught on camera. >> since we have you here, we haven't had a chance to kind of talk about. >> i'm not speaking about anything off topic. this is only about the president. >> all right so congressman michael grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances. we wanted to get him camera on >> later that night, grimm blamed the reporter for lacking professionalism and respect. i doubt i'm the first member of
congress to tell off a reporter and i'm sure i won't be the last. michael scotto of new york one. this is amazing. i don't know if everybody has good eyesight. mine isn't good enough, it was interesting what he's saying there -- if you ever do that again. why is this a valid question? no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. i'll break knew half. like a boy. what kind of language is that? it's pretty primitive. >> break him in half like a boy, and throw him off the balcony, to which he added an expletive. i think a general rule of politics is, if you are going to threaten somebody, you probably don't want to do if when the guy is micced and on live television at the time. the result of all this, we were talking about there being four republican responses to the state of the union last night. this was the fifth and it wound
up eclipsing all others. it's such a horrific thing to actually see. >> governor rendell, you have a right to consider -- a reporter breaking a ground rule, if they had a grounds rule. we don't know that, this was only going to be reaction to the state of the union. how do you deal with the fact that the reporter wants to get on camera on a matter you don't want to talk about. >> the congressman should have stuck to liz first answer and said, i'm only here to talk about the president's state of the un yn speech, we can get to that some other day and sluv it off like that. if he continues to persist, he looks like the unreasonable one. it's true i've yelled at some reporters over the course of time. but i've never threatened bodily
harm, no. >> you've never threatened to break them in half like a boy? i love the reference. throw them off the balcony? >> no, i thought it was amusing. the congressman in his apology today said he wants to schedule a lunch awith the reporter. if that reporter goes to lunch with the congressman, he's not as smart as i think he is. >> anyway, new york 1 reporter michael scotto appeared on alex wagner's show today on msnbc just a few hours ago, let's watch what he had to say about that. >> i think what happened prior to that, is the coverage was just terrible. i mean, you looked over twitter and you would see all these negative tweets toward his behavior, the coverage from lawmakers who were weighing in on what he did was also unfavorable. i think he realized that sticking with that stance of blaming us for asking that question was not going to work. and then he decided to come out and apologize to us. >> we have been trying to ask grimm the questions about this in the city, and here. and he really hadn't been responsive, i saw it as an
opportunity. he was there talking to me, and i thought it was a perfect opportunity to ask him a question that we wanted to ask him for the last two or so weeks. >> govny reminds me of the time that zell miller threatened to have a dual with me on television. i wish we still lived in a time we could challenge a man to a dual. for a while there i thought he meant it. i told the producers, don't push this guy. we'll be standing on the hudson river with confederate dualing pistols. it's over, right? this guy's okay? >> he's fine, he's out at a retreat on the eastern shores of maryland with all his colleagues. they'd like to break him in half at this moment. >> you know what, it's a tough country. your thoughts, governor. >> i think he'll still probably survive, but it's going to make it a lot more uncomfortable for him than before.
what this really did was become the story of the night, and blew away any of the republican responses particularly when you juxta pose this with what governor christie is accused of doing, we have a lot of republicans who are bullying people around. >> i think grimm is a supporter of christies and we can see why. thank you, and thank you zell miller if you're watching tonight. thank you for joining us. we'll be right back after this.
let me finish tonight with this. i greatly enjoyed last night. it was a joy to see the president returning to the american narrative that brought him to his place in the country's contemporary history. it sounds contradictory. but it's true. we do disagree on how to improve opportunity for people. there is a shared value that americans do believe american people should be able to rise up from their beginnings. the son of a bar keep can become speaker of the u.s. house. the son of a single mother can become president. people say the president wasn't tough enough on his rivals last night. fine, we can disagree on tactics, my view is similar to the presidents. if you want some republican compliance on matters like minimum wage, don't spend the state of the union night dumping on them to their face. it just doesn't work. people don't come around even grudgingly if you're mocking them.
let's see if the president's approach works. he needs to get some things done this year for the american people. if he does, he can hold the u.s. senate this november. if he doesn't, he probably can't. for all kinds of good american reasons, let's give these efforts a mush. and that's hardball for now, thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. two new reports give us two new pieces of the puzzle being fit together by lawyers and legislators in the state of new jersey. so so far, allegations and documentation have centered around alleged political retribution. today we have a story of an apparent reward. >> this is an historic day. i can tell you i've watched politics in this state for most