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

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i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. rowing disclosure. let's play "hardball." when someone under the spotlight only tells you something when they're caught doing something. last friday, governor chris christie's appointee to the george washington bridge authority, david wildstein said that there was evidence that the governor knew about the infamous bridge lane closures while they were happening. wildstein thereby challenged christie's assertion he didn't
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know what was happening until, in his words, after it was over. well, guess what? last night the governor who told the world on january 9th that he didn't know nothing about the bridge problem until after it was over admitted that people might have mentioned to it him before that, which is pretty much what he had denied until wildstein said evidence exists that he did in fact know about it. so christie now admits someone may have mentioned the bridge situation to him earlier after he denied that he knew about it when it was happening. by the way, what is the difference between someone mentioning something to him and someone telling him? well, the difference is the way the governor now admits the truth. when it does no more good to deny it, a classic case of rolling disclosure of what we already know, but not a mention of anything more. an msnbc political analyst and the co-author of double down, and brian murphy the managing editor of politics nj where he worked for david wildstein and as a reporter, and he also is
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friends with bill baroni, another figure in this case. i want to start with my friend john who covers politics. it seems to me that this governor is not telling what's he knows. i only say that because when someone brings up something, makes an assertion, he then makes himself available and basically admits to what the guy is saying. he did know more about this. and then afterwards he knew more around the time. apparently things had just happened or were happening still. it's still a bit foggy. but that line of defense of his, which seems like the maginot line has been moved a few feet back, quote, to the period before this. this is rolling disclosure. this is what politicians do. they're glad to tell you what they know if you already know it. >> yes. that is certainly true, chris. i still think that he still is sort of -- it's a very -- the thing he said yesterday on the radio about this period of time
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is very fuzzy. and it's certainly not as unequivocal as he had been in the past. but he is still saying well, i might have heard traffic reports about it. somebody might have mentioned something. >> what does mention mean rather than tell? what an interesting word you're using there. >> and i don't know what something about the traffic. he doesn't really say specifically about the lane closures or about the motivations of the lane closures, who was involve order why or anything else. so he has moved the line just a little bit. but he has certainly moved it. and no one knows what wildstein has. and there is no doubt, if you look at the way christie has behaved since friday, if you look at the sequence of events from the initial response they had on friday afternoon or early friday evening to the attacks on wildstein over the weekend to then his decision to go on the radio show on monday, this is the look of a group that is scrambling to try to deal with the unknown and with an unknown that carries almost no positive potential upside. it's all danger for them. and i think you're right. he is trying to say as little as
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he can, to create a little bit of wiggle room, but is really operating in a darkroom right now in terms of what is to come. >> and we're to believe that he has been looking for the real killer, if you will, to use another old crime case, that he has been looking for this information with his staff, that he has been dramatically out there, you know, keel hauling his staff for information, and yet when he comes on tv last night, he tells us nothing we don't know. he never tells us anything we don't know. and yes to believe, this is the story as of today, the christie story. "i didn't know what happened to the bridge last september until i was blindsided by the news this january." brian murphy, knowing what you know about the governor, knowing baroni, knowing wildstein, having worked with them, knowing the new jersey culture, watching this guy in action, is it credible that for four months chris christie saw the largest traffic artery in the world stopped for four to five hours
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for four to five days and never got to the bottom of what was going on? because why? he didn't want to officially be heard asking or he already knew or both? >> chris, i think you just answered your own question, didn't you? it seems extremely unlikely that that's how this played out. and one of the news items that the governor told us yesterday was that early on he asked his chief of staff and his chief counsel to begin looking into this. so he was clearly aware that something had gone very wrong here early on, more so than he led on when he did his press conference in december and joked about moving the cones. and much more than he let on when he talked about this again in january and claimed to have been totally blind side by it. >> what do you buy this notion that he hardly knows wildstein? that broken si another guy he can throw under the bus. he can throw the woman he calls a liar, bridget kelly out the
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door. >> bridget kelly. >> all these people are getting basically dropped as credible people by him. >> right. >> and yet he is the odd man out. he is the only guy that didn't know what was going on. >> right. you know, the thing that strikes me about their appointments to the port authority in general, right, the port is a big multibillion agency that deals with infrastructure. it was meant in its creation to take some of the patronage and the politics out of infrastructure development in the new york and new jersey metropolitan area. bill baroni and david wildstein are both very intelligent men, but they didn't have a background in transportation policy at all. they're very skilled, very smart operators. the reason they were put in that position, the reason the position was created for david wildstein by the governor is because they were meant to be there to make, i think, based on what we know, to make the port authority an extension of the political operation of the christie administration. so the idea that suddenly he had no idea about what wildstein's
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background was or he didn't know that baroni would be involved in something like this just doesn't -- doesn't square with what we know about why they were put there and what they did while they were there. >> but there is an understanding of why, a motive of why he would say i wutz the class president, i was a jock, and this guy was a nerd on the chess team. >> right. >> let me go back to john. this culture war between the coolest kid in the class saying anybody that testifies against him is either a liar like bridget kelly. he has called her a liar, or stupid. he has also called her that, or wildstein in the chess club that had nothing to do with the cool guys in class. what weirdness here, attacking a guy with experience in high school at the time he is just trying to defend his butt. >> well, yes. and of course it's been pointed out by many people since then that it's rather damming for the christie administration to trash this guy the way they did over the weekend. this is the guy that they appointed to this job. so it's been many people that have made that point. but it's pretty weird. and, look, you know, you get in
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trouble when you start casting aspersions on people. it tends to get their back up. whatever loyalty, whatever shreds of loyalty they might still have tend to go out the window. >> slime them. slime them before they testify. let's go on here. i want to give you something there, john. here is what is so hard to believe. when you think about christie's explanations. >> yep. >> just look at the timeline here. christie says he first realized there was a problem with the lane closures incident when he saw in the newspaper, that's "the wall street journal," that the port authority's chief, that's patrick foye, a new york appointee had written a scathing letter to christie's appointees in the agency. and here is the big lead from "the wall street journal" story october 1. the abrupt closure of local access lanes to the george washington bridge last month triggered a pointed private response. who said the move likely broke state and federal laws and could have caused deaths because of snarled traffic. then on december 6th, christie's appointee to the agency, david
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wildstein resigned, specifically citing the ft. lee issue in his resignation letter. just a week later on december 13th, his other top guy at the port authority, bill baroni resigned. during a press conference, governor christie publicly acknowledged that mistakes were made at the agency. and he says he is bothered by what is going on. but christie is then shocked when the bergen record blows the story open on january 8th of 2014. so we have to believe that through all of this, from september through january, four months, that christie never wanted to truly figure out what the heck was going on. does that square with your knowledge of the culture of his office, his governorship, brian murphy? >> no, it doesn't. not at all. christie is -- christie has a reputation as a very hands-on manager. the thing about this that gets even more confusing is when you dig into those documents that were released, there were many people in the governor's office who knew not to take the ft. lee mayor's call during that week.
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so it begins to -- and early on after there was a problem identified, an e-mail is forwarded to someone on the governor's counsel's office who is charged with having relations with various agencies. that woman was slated to be the incoming chief of staff until this whole thing blew up. so it's not just the four people. >> let's go back to that bombshell you just dropped, at least to my ears. >> okay. for a week the people working for the governor in his office knew not to take the phone call from the ft. lee mayor's office. >> right. >> tell me about that. how do you know that? >> because it's in documents released by the assembly committee. and one of the women who resigned over the weekend, she resigned last friday in advance of the subpoenas being answered, her assistant. >> renna. >> right. >> so there is a guy, i don't want to call him a kid, but a guy, evan ridley who works in the governor's office who is a very junior level staffer. during the -- i believe it was during the asbury park fire, the
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boardwalk fire, the mayor of ft. lee called trenton, called the governor's office, called from his secretary's number. somebody inadvertently. they were under orders not to answer his call. but he called from a different number, a number they didn't recognize on their caller id. they put it through. evan ridley took the call. after he takes the call he sent an e-mail to christina renna and says i made a mistake here. i took a call from the fine mayor. i just thought you should know. here is the detail of his complaint. what is clear from this, though, that everybody in the governor's office knew enough not to take a call from this guy during this particular week, right. and the guy is mayor mark sokolich from ft. lee. everybody in the office knows about this. so it becomes difficult to believe that everybody in the office except the governor know was in on this. >> if that's the case, that everybody in the governor's office knew this, let him scream, but don't listen to the
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screams. just shut him off. at the same time the governor says in december he went into his office, told all the people you got an hour to tell me if you were involved in all of this. by your account, they were all involved because they all knew not to take the call. they were all in the cabal to punish the guy. so everybody knew about it. so this was sort of like a cartoon, opera boof. the governor says to his people, look, i know you all knew about this. but just for the record, none of you knew about it here. that what went on here? >> we don't know the answer to that question. but look at this always somewhat strained credulity that the number of people in the office who knew not to take the call from the mayor and the number of people in the office who we know from the e-mail and text evidence that we have that were kind of high-fiving over the lane closures. >> yeah. >> that they were doing -- that they had done this. they clearly did not do it because they thought it would displease their boss, right? they wouldn't have taken this stop if they thought christie would be mad about it. they did it because they thought
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it would be a good thing, that this was how politics should be played. so the idea that no one in the office was high-fiving about this, because they were high-fiving in the e-mail traffic and they were high-fiving in the text traffic, that no one in the office was talking about it, no one was slapping anybody on the back, no one was taking credit for it, it has always strained credulity. >> i love that theory, except for one thing. brian, back to you. last question to you guys. this ises from a nating. if they are all in on this and all knew not to take the take the call from the mayor they are punishing and everybody is in on this thing, how come they can't say to the governor, how is your day? i guess they're having a nice time in ft. lee today. no are remarks except for these things he now calls mentionings. in other words, a wink, a nod. whatever they were calling him that week, croatian, whatever they were knocking him as in their weird little wars.
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in other words, they were like did he countenance the possibility that somebody was winking at him, pulling his leg, having some fun. saying you know what? that little bastard is getting screwed the way he ought to. isn't that fun, governor? and he says they may have mentioned to it me. is that what is happening here? your thoughts. >> i think we don't know yet. and the reason i don't mean to be slippery on that answer. >> but as you said, the cabal was widespread. >> right. >> that everybody in the office knew about it. >> i think the question, the million dollar question in my mind, or maybe the billion dollar question is why. and we don't know the motive of this yet. what is funny the governor at that december press conference knew enough to joke about moving the cones, which suggested to me when i heard it that he had a certain operational level of detail, detailed knowledge. >> because that's what they did, they moved the cones. >> that's right. and just by reading the press accounts, and i had been following the story by then, i didn't really know until i got a
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look at the area, i didn't know that cones were being moved. i didn't know that was kind of how you did this. and it turns out that's exactly what you did. you moved the cones to change the lane configuration. how did he know that? >> you know what this squares with? again speculation that he had given a general order or people knew their m.o. was to take care of people who were difficult, like the mayor. and he didn't get down to doing the cone work. he was at the level, will no one rid me of this meddlesome mayor. the polaroid picture is starting to develop, to use an old phrase. thank you, john heilemann and thank you brian murphy. >> thanks, chris. coming up, how long can chris christie keep up his sergeant schultz defense, i know nothing, i see nothing. right now it looks like his strategy is to fight and hope the worst is over. i don't think so. also, the latest case of obama derangement syndrome, lindsey graham, who can be sane calls the president's comments on fox on benghazi the lie of
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the year, although it isn't. james imhoff, the senator from oklahoma says it's the greatest cover-up in history. and he didn't even see the interview. he goes to great lengths to trash the president. i guess it's safe to do it down in the patch. plus, is hillary clinton repeating mistakes she made in 2008? she hasn't even begun to make mistakes. how can she be accused of making mistakes? that's what some obama folks are saying. i don't buy this. i don't think she has done anything wrong yet. it's all in the record. and it was 49 years ago that bob dylan was booed by purists for playing electric guitar. now the purists are booing again, this time over a super bowl commercial. it's hard to beat bob dylan. this this is "hardball," the place for politics. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order. good news. i got a new title.
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so what i can tell you if people find that hard to believe, i don't know what else to say except to tell them i had no knowledge of this, of the planning, the execution, or anything about it. and that i first found out about it after it was over. and even then, what i was told was that it was a traffic study. >> welcome back to "hardball" that was chris christie on january 9th. did you catch what he said? he didn't know about the lane closures until after it was over. well, last night christie changed his story. listen to him now. >> what's going on now with all this other stuff is just a game of gotcha, you know.
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you know, when did i first learn about this or that. well, the fact of the matter is i've been very clear about this. before these lanes were closed, i knew nothing about it. i didn't plan it. i didn't authorize it. i didn't approve it. i knew nothing about it. thereafter, and i've said this a number of times before, it became clear to me this was an issue i had to have somebody look into when the foye e-mail came out. so in the period of time before that, there were press accounts, you know. things could have been mentioned to me about traffic at any point in time. none of it was memorable to me, eric, because i didn't know there was any issue. >> well, things could have been mentioned to me about traffic. well, that's different than his flat-out denial that he first learned about it only after it was all over, i think. what difference does that make? well, this story continues to hurt christie. this story keeps moving forward. new disclosures emerge. new denials from the governor, and sometimes acceptances of the
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new information. and as long as it keeps moving the business of governing for christie and potentially running for president of the united states in 2016, it's going to be very difficult. and yet that is what christie is actually signaling and is doing right now, ignore the story as much as possible, i guess a la bill clinton and keep busy. basically, a campaign organization. but the question is how much will his, christie's problems back home in jersey be a distraction for him and the republican governors he is raising money for? at what point if ever does the scandal ever overtake his own 2016 ambitions? jonathan capehart is an opinion writer for "the washington post" and an msnbc contributor, and john fehr a republican strategist. thank you, gentlemen. i want you to take a look at numbers here which are fascinating. you see chris christie now basically well behind hillary clinton, 16 points behind nationwide. before the scandal they were basically neck and neck.
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now look at the rundown in the republican party. there are no leaders by the way right now. huckabee, who was basically forgotten is 14 in the cnn poll, and rand paul at 13. jeb bush at 10 tied with chris christie. and then the rest, ryan, et cetera. where is the party right now? >> they're undecided. >> 10%. >> ironically, this chris christie, this attack, this scandal has helped him with some conservatives. if i were him, i would go to every tea party organization in the world. >> let's look at the facts, though. i know that's a good argument, except it shatters the numbers. he is at 10. you say conservatives are moving toward him? >> which is the irony, right? >> how do you go from 24 to 10? who are these people that are bucking? >> i'm not talking some of the talk show host, rush limbaugh, people like that, they see him being attacked. it could be good for them. it could be good for him. it's like when nixon was attacked, he was seen as a liberal, attacked during watergate and people loved him. >> i remember that barry
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goldwater walked in the room to nixon and told him to quit. this idea that the right wing swung to him is just not true. maybe, i don't know who, maybe somebody from down south. but the republican party gave up on nixon. that's what happened to him. >> keep something in mind here. when chris christie at the height of his popularity, he was viewed with such suspicion by the republican party base, the conservative base of the republican party that folks who really know how this stuff worked looked and thought there is no way chris christie will get the republican party nomination, because he is viewed with suspicion, because of what he did at the republican convention, what he talked about himself, because of what he did in the final days of the presidential campaign, putting his arm around president obama when his state needed help after super storm sandy. >> it reminds you of john mccain, doesn't it? john mccain back in 2000. he had great media support. he used to call my base the
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media. and nobody had bigger support among the media, including around here than christie had because he has always been good copy. in good times and bad, chris christie is great copy. >> the most interesting man in politics. >> he is. he is. he is far more interesting, i'm sorry, name another interesting republican out there. >> the thing about chris christie has been -- >> scott walker? couldn't identify him in a lineup. >> chris christie's strength going into this, the big money guys liked him. the question for chris christie, will the big money guys continue to like him or they shop elsewhere. that's why i say it's undecided. >> still sort of rubbing up against him. >> they're still not sure. i think that's why they're undecided. >> it is aversion to the other people on the list? i still think there are some center right candidates out there that could emerge, certainly jeb, and certainly scott walker, i did disparage. and certainly who else there can be reasonable? kasich. >> rob portman. >> yes. >> he is the senatorial committee right now. he is raising tons of money. it's all about at the end of the day who is going to have the big
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money. you know why george bush beat john mccain? because he had the money. that's the most interesting thing about this. who are the big money guys and who do they support. >> let's go to chris christie. i know he is in the spotlight. i'll admit. i put the spotlight on him. i think he is a spotlight story. i think he is the best story in the country right now because he is smart, he is a big, he is a smart lawyer. he's got the good lawyers on his side and he's got great lawyers against him, and he's got people all around him who are fighting for their own lives to keep out of prison. and that is going to be a big story in the law, in the courts and in the legislature for months to come. it's a huge story about the biggest guy. by the way, new york is news, by the way. have you noticed? if you're near new york or play for a new york team, it's news. >> of course. >> by the way, how come the super bowl was in new york but it was actually in jersey? new york hasn't claimed christie i noticed. >> said on the radio show yesterday the game was played in jersey, it wasn't played in new york. look, the thing about chris christie that has made him popular not just with the media, but with moderates and
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independents is that he is not crazy. when his state needed -- when his state needed help, he put politics aside and worked with the president to help the people of his state at a time when the american people are so tired of the divisions and arguments. >> he is also a straight talker. he is also authentic. he is a real american. no one can say he is blown dried. that was the great virtue of chris christie. if he survives this, he'll be stronger than ever. but if it turns out he is lying, he is through. >> and even giuliani i've always defended giuliani because i went to school with guys like giuliani. i sort of like them. giuliani says he is no longer 100% on this guy. so it is up to the courts. i think it's like watergate. it's not a pr campaign. it's not a political campaign. in the end, it's going to be evidence against christie. if there is no evidence, he set this operation up, no evidence he created this kind of m.o. and he didn't know about it, he'll walk. >> i think that's right. >> but also, if other people go to jail, he won't look that
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good. >> legally, yes, but politically he is damaged. >> i think you're right. if a bunch of people ran you all go to prison, that's a problem. thank you -- do you agree with that? >> i do. >> you're a reasonable guy too. up next, jon stewart, another reasonable guy isn't buying chris christie's attack on david wildstein. that's next on the sideshow. this is "hardball," the place for politics. olive garden's best 2 for $25 yet is ending soon!
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the governor's team seems to know a lot about wildstein in high school, and they weren't afraid of using his past against him. here was jon stewart's reaction to the charges christie dug up over the weekend. >> the governor's office went after wildstein. claims that as a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board election. he was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior. >> publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior? what does that even mean? wildstein, stand up! you didn't have to go to the bathroom, did you? you just wanted a hall pass. you [ bleep ]! why can't you be more like star athlete and class president chris christie? >> next up, it was one of the most popular super bowl ads on sunday night, but some bob dylan purists out there aren't only objecting to the music legend's appearance in chrysler's new ad,
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they're taking issue with part of the message as well. here is a clip. >> is made with the one thing you can't import from anywhere else, american pride. so let germany brew your beer. let switzerland make your watch. let asia assemble your phone. we will build your car. >> if critics viewed that as a tacit endorsement of outsourcing, then conan o'brien's version might give them more cause for concern. >> here is the part they edited out for time. >> let france make your water. let denmark make your cheese. let india answer your tech support. let chile catch your sea bass. let mexico make your pinatas. let canada make your dental floss. let costa rica sew your cargo
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shorts. let yemen manufacture your chia pets. we will build your car. at least the parts that aren't built in canada or mexico. >> love that voice. up next, obama derangement syndrome. some republicans out there can't stop crying benghazi. it's their geronimo. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions-- it matters. ♪ or how ornate the halls are. tall the building is, it doesn't matter if there are granite statues,
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i'm milissa rehberger. here is what is happening. the second winter storm in a week is dropping snow in the midwest and it's heading east. 32 states are in its path. a test vote is expected thursday for a jobless benefit extension. the measure would extend benefits for three months. and in alaska, an effort to legalize pot has been put on the state ballot and has gathered more than enough signatures.
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the initiative would allow adults 21 and over to possess the drug, but it would prohibit public consumption. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." president obama, as we said yesterday, punched back at the litany of far right conspiracy theories he was confronted with in the super bowl pregame interview with fox's bill o'reilly. well, in the latest manifestation of obama derangement syndrome, the far right wing has honed in on the president's pushback on benghazi to promote the notion that the president and his administration lied about and covered up what happened there. this despite numerous inquiries and investigations that have found the claim unfounded. anyway, senator james inhofe of oklahoma was told by a local radio host that the president, quote, blamed all this brouhaha on fox for ginning up a
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controversy when there is none. that's a debatable interpretation of the president's comments. but here is inhofe's response, which was worse. >> it's just an outrageous lie, and it's kind of hard to call it anything else. i will say this to my dying day. i realize people don't know it now, but that's going to go down in history as the greatest cover-up. i'm talking compared to the pentagon papers, iran/contra, watergate and the rest of them, this was a cover-up in order for people right before the election to think that there is no longer a problem with terrorism in the middle east. >> well, senator inhofe, a republican from oklahoma gave this emphatic answer, despite admitting to the radio host he hadn't actually seen the president's super bowl interview. and senator lindsey graham, usually a normal person, took issue with the president's comments on benghazi saying, quote -- well, here he is. >> no, i'm telling the president the public misled the nation about what happened in benghazi. last year he got the lie of the year award for saying if you like your health care, you could keep it.
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he is going to have back-to-back titles by saying this. >> anyway, let's look again at the president's super bowl pregame interview. and actually, we did watch it. we're going to watch it again, unlike inhofe, who is never going to watch it. >> your detractors believe you did not tell the world there was a terror attack because your campaign didn't want that out. >> and they believe it because folks like you are telling them. what i'm saying is that is inaccurate. we revealed to the american people exactly what we understood at the time. the notion that we would hide the ball for political purposes when a week later we all said in fact there was a terrorist attack taking place the day after, i said it was an act of terror, that wouldn't be a very good cover-up. >> joining me dana milbank and eugene robinson. gentlemen, there is something here that has become a code for something that has nothing to do with what it is talking about. benghazi doesn't mean benghazi. >> no. >> it means something -- because the bipartisan intelligence committee, both parties said everything susan rice said was accurate. it was caused by that crazy move
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in california which caused the craziness in cairo which was copyrighted in benghazi. that's what we knew then and now. nothing has changed. the president was telling the truth and so was susan rice. why do they keep saying this stuff? >> benghazi means i hate president obama, i hate hillary clinton, and i hate susan rice. >> just like you. >> that's what it says. >> just like you. so i'm okay on that one? >> yeah. >> that's what it means. why lindsey graham, who has a brain? >> we can set jim inhofe aside. >> i really like the guy. i'm watching him, i'm thinking p.o.w. he has to read the statement. >> so inhofe says whenever it snows that's proof that there is no global warming. >> i don't really like him that much. >> lindsey graham has -- he is likely to have a difficult primary challenge. >> seven people running against him. >> and he just gets something stuck in his craw here. the odd thing, though, this isn't even about benghazi. we're not talking what happened, whether there is adequate security, why these guys got
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killed, could something have been done to prevent it. we're talking about things that happen affidavit they died. and did he call it terrorists? did he call it extremists? it doesn't matter if he called it a ham sandwich. >> we're talking about the etiquette of talking points. >> the cia, the intelligence committee wrote the term extremism. that's the word they use for terrorists. >> right. >> it was general petraeus himself ahead of these directives who took out the phrase al qaeda. it's all in the record. >> right. but to have a cover-up, there has to be something you're covering up. >> here is where i think it's slippery. i think you made the point. you hate obama like i do. when lindsey graham switched so quickly to the irs, which is another slithery story we can't get our hands on, which isn't there probably, the fact that he changed subject instantly told me he wasn't really comfortable with the benghazi character assassination of hillary clinton,who he does respect. so let's slip over to the anonymous bureaucrats over there in the irs. exactly. you make the point and kind of dance away. he didn't want to get into any
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substance. i think he believe there's isn't much substance there. that is my -- >> so what is it about american politics? are you crazy? yes, i'm crazy. let's keep talking. >> you to hit those two buttons and also have to hit the obamacare button and a few others, and everybody else out this in the base is saying yes, right. we need to impeach -- >> did you catch the fellow? i don't know the fellow, but he certainly is crazy. two weeks ago i asked him to check his stud book of a record of where he stands in the brain department, i said do you think the president was legitimately elected? i knew you were going to take me down that rabbit hole. well, why is that a rabbit hole? can't we start like high school debating? you define terms. he is president of the united states. let's go on. if you can't do that, what are we doing here? and these guys are not willing to give you that. they're not willing to, as arlen specter said, stipulate. they're not willing to stipulate that he is president. >> there is no stipulation of legitimacy to the obama presidency. and for various reasons.
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>> okay. explain the syndrome. you do satire. what is the obama derangement syndrome? >> it's the idea we're no longer engaged in political debate, that this guy is outside of the political system. if you say you're a criminal, you're lawless, you're outside of the system, you were probably born in kenya, and i'm not engaging with you. you're wrong. it's a way of just shutting it off. >> and also a denial of the fact that the american people elected him twice. to be president. >> oh, you fell for that. oh, gee. you fell for that. >> i have a videotape. it happened. >> that's just a theory like trying to change and evolution. thank you, dana milbank. only here can we have this fun. thank you, dana milbank. thank you, eugene robinson. think hillary is a shoo-in 2016? top obama people are out there warning hillary may be repeating the same mistakes she made last time. i'm not so sure, but this is the kind of conversation we might have for the two years while we wait while she decides whether to run or not. this is "hardball," the place
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president obama's chief pollster on buzz feed, quote, i don't see any strategic value in stories positioning her as inevitable or the preemptive nominee. and i don't think people who are out there are out about this help her. and i think she should make that clear." ed rendell is the former governor of pennsylvania and msnbc political analyst and joan walsh is with "salon." also an msnbc contributor. governor, i don't know, i think there's very little that could hurt hillary clinton. i mean, these nuances about the machine before the message. what tdo you make of it? is this a problem? >> first of all, a lot of the obama campaign hierarchy including jim messina is working for the hillary pac. >> with priorities usa. >> number two, they're trying to avoid the mistakes of the cam page of '08. the campaign of '08 didn't plan, didn't get ready. nobody thinks this is inevitable. everybody is ready for a fight. hillary, if you recall, chris, won the last part of the primaries because she's become a fighter for the middle class. she's not going to lose that
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person. >> joan walsh, that's the question, i guess. i guess there are two critiques buried in this somewhat hard to argue case that somehow hillary can blow this by working too hard at the gibeginning. putting in too much money, getting too many people. two, you get encrusted with the wrong people. the people who come to you two early, crowd people out later on. you couldn't get in the headquarters because the big shots in there wanted nobody to come no. they wanted to run it. they ran it right into the ground. third, if you talk too much inevitability, you lose that magic that hillary got when she ran for senate which is i'm up here to listen, up here to get to know you first. i'm not big footing anybody. i'm coming here to ask for your vote and thinking. does she miss that with all this noise and excitement -- i hate talking about fund-raising anyway. your thoughts? >> well, right. i think to an extent this is a story about a group of campaign consultants and workers criticizing campaign consultants and workers. it's not really about hillary,
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chris, because she's not in the middle of this. yes, people close to her are running some of these things. some people aren't close to her at all as governor rendell said. there's a weird inside baseball consultants criticizing consultants thing going on. however, i do think you put your finger on what the problem -- the potential problem, i want to emphasize, emphasize potential problem is and that is an era of inevitability. there's also real or imagined a sense that she's got to tame that unruly nation of clintonland where she comes with a lot of people, with a lot of baggage and the first thing she's got to do is put those people in their place and run a very orderly disciplined campaign this time. she didn't that so much last time. so that's a real concern. i hope she's not taking it for granted. i see no signs she's taking for granted. at the end of the day or end of this process, there does have to be a candidate who's a fighter with an animating message for 2016 that's not backwards looking. that's her challenge. it's not about all of this machinery on the ground. >> the trouble is a reasonable person would take it for granted
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at this point. i can't think of anybody to beat her or get closer. president obama, by the way, his former national press secretary ben labolt told buzzfeed this article "the further out front the escort, the effort to elect secretary clinton is three years before election day. the greater for the incentive is for the press, perspective opponents and adversarial groups to scrutinize her every move." that's true. "activist donors and voters like to see candidates fighting for every vote. they start to feel like their power and influence is diminished, it could have unforeseen consequences." governor, i know this happens. americans always root for the underdog. that's what we do. there's no underdog here. >> that's right. >> who's running as hillary clinton. >> hillary clinton, 61 points ahead of the vice president who's well known and well liked in democratic circles. that's astonishing. hillary has to -- john made a good point. she has to ignore this stuff, gear up, run a good campaign. your suggestion is a great suggestion. go back to the new york model.
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do listening tours. two lido listening tours in iow. act as if -- not only act, but get feedback from the people all across the country. those are the things that made her successful. >> you're looking at her right now. that's the hillary clinton i know. that woman right there. regular person, laughing, enjoying life, being a normal person. she has to find -- a pretty great tweet. a knock at fox. i wish she would like a lot of candidates in the past would find a way to get across to tv camera. it's a hard thing. bill clinton could do it. she hasn't been able to do it. >> what she did in person in 2008, i was toelling you this camera off camera in marching in the pittsburgh and scranton st. patty's day parade. you would have thought she was a rock star. women were screaming for her, begging for her to come over and sign their books. that's the difference. >> the hardest thing is to get through the tv screen to be the person for people to get to know. thank you, joan walsh as always. thank you, ed rendell, governor. we'll be right back after this. the job jugglers.
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