tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 13, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
it's not just america's history. it's the world history, unfortunately. >> steve mcqueen, tonight's "last word." thank you, steve. chris hayes is up next. more than 6,500 flights were canceled today. and as of this afternoon, nearly 500,000 households were without power across eight states. dragnet. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. let me start tonight with this. up in new jersey tonight, the dragnet is closing. the iron grip of subpoenas now ensnaring chris christie's political army, from trenton to the hudson river. the people who stopped traffic across the country's busiest bridge are now among those caught in a web of investigations that threaten trouble to them and the governor for whom they serve. two nets now extend across the garden state. the first grabbing into its midst all those mentioned in the closing of the george washington bridge last september. the second net, the group of
those engaged in what appears to be the cover-up, the alibi about the whole matter being caused by a traffic study. what is now clear there was no such thing, only the urgent need to find cover by those forced to now testify. and probes in new jersey and washington, the road is filled ahead with menace far worse than traffic cones. the investigators are calling witnesses, demanding evidence, capturing the truth by coming at it from all sides, forcing people to open their drawers and computers, if not their mouths, for fear that a colleague will beat them to it, leaving them stranded and exposed adds culprits themselves. all the while, an enterprising press is looking to further the truth of the chris christie story and the political world he championed before all this came to right, before the rock was lifted and we began to see the bugs large and small squirming in the sand. joining us are bob ingle with the asbury park press and the co-author of "chris christie: the inside story of his rise to power."
and melissa hayes. thank you both for joining us. i want to get into a breaking story right now. earlier this week we got word that state investigators were issuing nearly 20 more subpoenas, dramatically expanding the dragnet that they cast in their investigation into christie and his team. we weren't entirely sure what exactly they were looking for until now. it's not just the bridge scandal. the state's investigative committee has subpoenaed documents relating to massive rail project called the third tunnel that christie supported then killed back in 2010. but this is the key thread. 16 of the 18 new subpoenas are seeking documents that relate to bill baroni's new discredited november 25th testimony to new jersey lawmakers. it was that show where baroni said that this was all a big misunderstanding about a traffic study. if you recall, the port authority's executive director then testified on december 9th that there was in fact no traffic study. and just a few days later on december 13th, baroni resigned. well, these new subpoenas are targeting a port authority's top lawyer, philip kwon, who was the
subject of a "wall street journal" story last week that reported, quote, kwon spent parts of four to five days helping to prepare bill baroni before he spoke to a legislative committee on november 25th. new jersey democrats have questioned why mr. baroni needed so much preparation before his committee testimony. well, in addition to kwon, investigators are demanding documents from lower level staffers, including governors office and the office itself and the port authority. in essence, the committee is pluming the depths of this cover-up. let me go right now to melissa hayes of "the bergen record." it seems to me if you just look at what the prosecutors are looking for, the legislative committee, that they have extended this net, this dragnet out to include anyone involved in what looked to be the coaching of mr. baroni, the preparation of him to say oh, this wasn't what it looked like, this wasn't political payback or revenge. this was about a traffic study. >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, we had lawmakers that told us yesterday that they have seen there were different drafts of what he had prepared to say
to the legislative committee. so they're trying to get to the bottom of who was involved in helping him craft this story that there was a traffic study and not something else going on, and who was involved in these various revisions that were made. so we know that they sent subpoenaed to phil kwon, as you said, they have also subpoenaed a number of people in the governor's office. they're trying to figure out who from christie's staff was involved in this. >> let me go to mr. ingle now. it seems to me a question that obtains or arises on the horizon here, if it was a crime to deliberately cause trouble on that bridge, and it looks to me like it may well be, you're certainly putting people in jeopardy on purpose for political reasons, then there is the question of what is a cover-up. ate crime then to say oh it was some alibi. it had something to do with a study knowing that that was infected that that wasn't the truth. there was no traffic study and in fact it was a coaching job by mr. kwon of mr. baroni. and that's what they're looking at in terms of these subpoenas. that's what they're going after. >> well, you know, the cover-up
is always worse than whatever it is they're trying to cover up. that's definitely what they think. that's why they're going for this. the other thing is when bill baroni testified, he really irked a lot of people. people thought he was playing a game with them. now they got the subpoena power. >> why does governor christie keep saying, at least as late as he has talked about it that there may have been a traffic stop that turned into a political punishment job, or there might have been a political punishment job that turned into a traffic study. give me a surmise. why would he keep backing up. >> beats the heck out of me. we were surprised when he said it could have been a traffic study. the port authority already said there is no traffic study. we can't figure out why he went back. although he has been off his game lately. he also said he didn't know anything about a bill that he had signed the previous month. so he's got a lot on his mind, i
guess. >> well, lawyers always tell you to say you don't remember. if you look at the individuals who have been caught in the dragnet, they fall into two categories. the first, melissa, the people mentioned as being in the act itself, that four-day payback traffic jam. they include of course bridget kelly who gave the order for some traffic problems in ft. lee. david wildstein, the christie appointee at the port authority who carried out that order. christina renna who basically apologized to bridget kelly when one of her staffers apparently broke the embargo not to answer the ft. lee mayor's calls. evan ridley, the low level aide who was on the lookout for the mayor's car to ignore him, shut him out. bill stepien who called mayor sokolich an idiot and flippantly told wildstein you win some, you lose some. and david samson who says he was calling in to help them retaliate when the port authority's chief threatened to shut down their scheme. then there is the second group we're looking at right now. the staffers being mentioned
connected to the cover-up, the cover-up part of this thing. bill baroni who gave discredited testimony to lawmakers about the bogus traffic study that never existed. philip kwon, the port authority's general counsel, who spent five days apparently prepping or coaching baroni on what to say, making up this traffic study thing. bridget kelly, who said she was very happy with baroni's testimony, his performance, according to texts from wildstein. and then nicole grifo, who wildstein also mentions in texts. and mckenna who wildstein tells baroni you did great. melissa, this is fascinating, because this is a large web of people that were involved in coaching or saluting or praising baroni's cover-up claim it was all a traffic study. it's almost growing to be as large as the original number of
people who were in on this cabal to punish the mayor of ft. lee. it's fascinating. and all these people are getting squeezed now by u.s. attorney people and by people in trenton, the legislators, who want to know who is going to talk. >> i mean, that's the question we're all waiting to see what happens here. you know, bill stepien, the campaign manager and bridget kelly, the deputy chief of staff have already taken the fifth with the legislative panel. we don't know what is happening with the u.s. attorney's investigation. but as you said, there is a ton of questions about there about who was involved in what and where there was overlap. baroni left that november 25th legislative hear where he said this was all a traffic study and he immediately texted wildstein and asked for feedback from trenton. and wildstein told him that bridget and nicole said you did a good job. and then later on added that charlie said you did a good job. you have to wonder if these are the bridget and nicole and the charlie that are in christie's office. >> i know you don't have to do this as state reporting, just getting the facts and breaking this. but anybody looking at this right now, what is this, a high
school play? they shut down the traffic, and then they come up with this cover-up scheme of it. it's a traffic study. and then they call around everybody, how did we do? did you like the show? and robert, you have as much maturity in watching these as i do. almost as though isn't this fun? we screwed around with this mayor and came up with this alibi, this cover-up. how did we do with the cover-up? they're all giggling about it? what did bridget think? what did nicole think? what did charlie think? oh, charlie thought it was great. what is this? it's like a high school play performance the next morning at school. >> i think christie is going to have to explain why he has so many of those people close to him. >> good question. christie says he keeps a tight knit inner circle. here is the governor last month. listen for the key phrase. this is him talking to the world last month. >> ever since the time i was u.s. attorney, i've engendered the sense and feeling among the people closest to me that we're a family and we work together and we tell each other the
truth, we support each other when we need to be supported, and we admonish each other when we need to be admonished. i am heartbroken that someone who i permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust. >> melissa, this circle of trust has a lot of sound to it. it could mean a lot of things. we don't talk outside of school, you know what happens there, stays here, like in las vegas. it can mean just, you know, if i make a little mistake or i say something wrong at work, you're not going to rat me out. fine, most people live like that. but what does he mean by the circle of trust? does he mean nobody talks? does that mean everybody comes up with a front, explanation like traffic study? does it mean if we get circled, we all come back with push backing arguments that don't make any sense but cover our butts? do you have a thought on this? what circle of trust means? >> i think now that they've taken the subpoenas in this direction, we're all wondering what he meant by. that the past, christie has talked about having an inner
circle of people he really trusted. stepien was somebody who was in bridget kelly's job before he left to be christie's campaign manager. he was supposed to be traveling the country with him in his role as chairman of the rga. this is a guy he trusted immensely. these are people he has had with him for a long time. they're really close to him. to me that meant that he trusted them to be high-ranking members of his staff and to do some big jobs for the state. i don't know if there was more implied there or not. >> i don't know whether it's implied either. let me go to robert on that question. it seems to me that he has been making nice of his public statements about the people who may testify. have you noticed they were liars and stupid a couple of weeks ago, or a month ago? and now they're all people who are victims of bad judgment. is he trying to soften the attack, make people feel guilty out there like wildstein? i don't think wildstein is in a position to be nice to the governor. he is going to save his life. your thoughts. >> i thought it was interesting that he said someone, it sounds to me like that list that you ticked off, it was someone's
plural. >> boy, a lot of people. >> seems to think that firing one person would fix it. but obviously, that's not the case. >> there is a lot of virgin timber out here for the woodsmen to go after, reporters and probers. a lot of people can talk. and all it takes is one john dean, one person to break the -- what's it's called? circumstance of trust. thank you, melissa hayes. great to have you on. please come back. you're a great guest. >> thanks for having me. >> and bob ingle, we know you've been great. with all the investigation and the subpoenas and the drip, drip, drip reporting out of new jersey by the local press, what is next for kris? plus, ted cruz has managed to pit republicans against republicans. the tea party already had it out for house speaker john boehner after the clean vote to raise the debt ceiling. now they're after mitch mcconnell. that's what it is. the latest stunt by ted cruz. and here is an easy way to keep democrats from voting.
republicans in one florida county eliminated half the polling places in the heavily, guess, what minority district. get the picture? the good news is democrats in other states are working to expand voting rights. anyway, let me finish with this question. is the party of abe lincoln, daring me to be conversational about the guy, daring to become the party of jeff davis? it looks like it in terms of voting rights. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
boy, that kentucky senate race is getting check. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new poll, a republican polling firm, mitch mcconnell has a one-point lead over democrat alison lundergan grimes. mcconnell, 43, grimes, 42. later this month, grimes will be getting a big boost from the big dog himself, bill clinton. the former president will campaign for grimes in louisville. clinton is close friends with grimes' father, former state democratic party chair jerry lundergan. and don't forget, clinton
carried kentucky in '92 and '96, the last democrat, presidential candidate to do. so and we'll be right back after this. which would be fine if bob were a vampire. but he's not. ♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio. and with some planning and effort, hopefully bob can retire at a more appropriate age. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade.
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welcome back to "hardball." no exit. we go from the christie dragnet to the christie calendar. it's been just a few weeks since "the bergen record" blew this story wide open. in that time we've seen nearly 40 subpoenas from state investigators to probes by the way the u.s. attorney is doing there in new jersey, and a whole lot of reports about unethical, possibly illegal activity out of the governor's office itself. christie is out there trying to change the subject in any way he can politically. but it's not hard to see that for the big guy down there in trenton, there is no escape from new jersey. howard fineman is the editorial director at "the huffington post" media group. and jonathan capehart is an opinion writer with "the washington post." both of course are msnbc political analysts. gentlemen, i want to talk what is coming down the road. if you're christie, you go to bed at night, you put your head on the pillow, and you know you're doing all this jazzing,
running around, politicking. but you know that's just like nixon visiting sadat or brezhnev as he goes down the tube in watergate. it's nice pictures for a day or two. what is he thinking somebody hi, is probably thinking about trying not to think about it, because -- because if he were to spend all of his time or even most of his time thinking about the state investigations, the legislative investigations, and most ominously, the u.s. attorneys investigations -- >> why wouldn't you spend all your time doing that? you have to save your life. >> i don't think -- i think he can't do it all or he would never be able to get out on the campaign trail. don't forget, this was supposed to be the year of national triumph for chris christie. the republican governor's association, heavy travel schedule, a big fundraising schedule for other candidates. don't forget that chris christie got on the map politically by being a fundraiser for george w. bush in 2000. he was going to go out and raise money for all the republican candidates all around the country to win chips for himself. he can't do that now.
>> i'm sorry, howard, you are a pro beyond my imagination sometimes. but i think this hyping about the head of the republican governors association, name one other one in history? has there ever being any the head of -- it's a borg position. your thoughts. >> it might be a boring position. but to howard's point, yes. >> it's an excuse to travel. >> this was supposed to be governor christie's two months, his reelection, his inauguration, his state of the state, super bowl, and his heavy travel schedule with rga. but what he is doing, chris, he is taking a play out of bill clinton's book from when he got in to the whole impeachment-monica lewinsky thing. keep doing the job the people elect you'd to do. >> okay there is a problem with that. the problem with that parallel is that bill clinton basically escaped conviction in the u.s. senate politically, because politically they didn't think it was worth convicting a guy and kicking him out of office that was a political decision. it wasn't about evidence. everybody knew he had gotten involved with monica. the blue dress, no.
this is going to be resolved by courts. this is going to be resolved by evidence and juries in courtrooms. all this campaigning doesn't mean jack. >> the campaigning is one thing. i'm talking about him also just serving as governor. remember, he did that -- >> that's one thing. >> where he is talking about, hey, i'll take care of this for you call my office, we'll do that. he is being governor. >> what is the -- >> i agree with you. >> bob ingle, who was on earlier said he is kind of off his game. now he is not remembering bills that he sign and so forth. and that's understandable. i think you're right that the trouble that he is in legally that everyone around him at least is in legally is enough to occupy him full-time. i'm just saying what he had hoped to be doing. >> right. >> which was using the rga job not for its high profile, but to raise money and collect favors from other politicians. >> all this stiff was watching this morning, all this discussion, fair enough, about oh, there is going to be a loft good days and bad days. this isn't like that. this is about the slow grinding
of the justice system and it grinds very slowly and finely. and eventually gets the fact or not the fact of this guy's involvement. it's not hard to see where this is all going for governor christie. you have new evidence being dug up by judicial proceedings. you have an army of hungry journalists throughout up in new jersey to expose anything and everything in the christie state house. you the existing stories which we're just starting to put together into a complete narrative about christie really works and how he really works. then you the net of people around christie. this is the group of regardless how things play out in court, christie will have to answer for. it's not hard to see there is basically no exit here for the governor. that's my question. suppose heavy comes to chris christie world, and somehow there is no prove he ordered the close any of the bridges, this is a heard one, no evidence he encouraged any kind of a cover-up, but all there is this notion he trained this crew of people, of goons in many ways to do this stuff, and they all were well-trained. he created the culture, set up
the automatic system and they did this stuff. he didn't even have to say it. in that way that. >> swing. a couple of convictions, maybe a couple of years in prison for people. does he walk away from that and say oh, that was just the people around me and i'm running for president now. is that feasible? >>, no it's not. christie's problem is twofold there is the legal problem that he has which he very well might be able to walk out without there being that one gotcha e-mail or text message. >> so he is not an indicted person. >> but politically, he is in big, big trouble. because then how do you catapult yourself from drumthwacket to the building behind you. >> you just wanted an excuse to say drumthwacket. >> explain drumthwacket. >> it's the name of the governor's mansion in new jersey. >> that's almost like a lesson you take in speech training, speech impediment. >> i think the other problem that he's got is that it's going to take a long time, chris, for all this to play out. you're not going to know if he escapes without that killer
e-mail for at least a year, i would say. >> it only takes one. >> it only takes one, and you're not going to know for a long, long time. so all the people he is going to be asking to sign up with him over the next year are going to say you've got to be kidding me. i don't know what the u.s. attorney is going to do. you tell me, mr. governor, if you want me to give you all that money, what is the u.s. attorney going to do? and chris christie doesn't know. >> anyway, here is an example of christie egomania which we all closed your eyes when it happened. in he made a cold and calculated move when he chose the date for new jersey's special election after frank lautenberg passed away. mr. christie was defiant in announcing his plan, scowling when reporters asked him about the cost of a special election. i don't know what the cost, and i quite frankly don't care. he said i don't think you can put a price tag on what it's worth to have an elected person in the united states senate. he repeatedly denied political
calculations were at play. but advisers quietly conceded that adding it to the general election risked energizing democrats who outnumbered republicans by 700,000 registered voters in new jersey. so at the time, he had his own traffic study excuse. oh, the reason i'm having a special election in october rather than having them both the same day, saving people's time and money, especially people's time to vote, i'm just going to exploit this and have a separate vote for senate because i don't want all those minorities coming out and voting against me, right? >> that was part of it. but also, this money excuse is something that got him into trouble with conservatives who were upset thinking wait a minute, you're going to waste state resources because you don't want to be on the ballot with corey booker? >> how did he get away with it politically? >> he was coasting to reelection then. he was the golden boy. >> i'll tell you how he got away with it. he basically helped smooth cory booker's path into the united states senate. >> how? >> just by separating it out. just as there would be more democrats turning out in his election, there wouldn't be more
republicans turning out in cory booker's election. >> who won in that trade? >> cory booker did. this is part of the way chris christie operated, which was by making deals with democrats. it goes all the way back to when he was u.s. attorney, deciding whom to prosecute and who not to prosecute among the democratic -- >> does he still have a reach in the prosecuting -- >> no. the democrats who are playing ball with him, and there were lots and lots and lots of them, some of them are going to be under increasing pressure legally and politically to do him in. so the people he was allaying himself with on the democratic side are now slowly but surely moving away from him. that's part of the problem he has gotten in new jersey. >> he is probably going to reach and hold him back. thank you, howard fineman. thank you, jonathan capehart. up next, stephen colbert stakes his claim as the first lady of france. this is the place for politics.
who is he going to bring along as france's first lady? >> as of late last night, organizers here at the white house haven't even decided who would get that coveted seat typically reserved for the visiting leader's spouse. >> so it all came down to who would be seated next to mrs. obama. well, let's see there is the president and there is francois hollande, and there is michelle obama. and who is next to her? it's me! i'm the first lady of france. merci! oh! >> time for the sideshow. that was of course stephen colbert crowning himself the first lady of france last night after checking the seating assignment reserved for the french first lady at tuesday's state dinner. he shouldn't get too excited,
however. as we have seen, it's not exactly a full-time job. anyway, next up, all of washington is count do you think to the release of season two of the netflix hit series "house of cards" tomorrow. it's the ultimate valentine's day gift for folks in this town. with much of the city shut down due to the snowstorm, the timing couldn't be better. in anticipation of its debut, now this news sought out some real congressmen on the hill and allowed them to indulge their "house of cards" fantasies by acting out some of the actual lines from the show. take a look at familiar faces here from both political party, including house majority whip kevin mccarthy and assistant democratic leader jim clyburn. >> as for me, i'm just the lowly house majority whip. i keep things moving in a congress choked by pettiness and lassitude. >> no, the bill is going to come up this wednesday. i never make such big decisions so long after sunset and so far from dawn.
it's still going to come up. >> i have no patience for useless things. >> i have zero tolerance for betrayal. >> power is a lot like real estate. location, location, location. >> well be, sure to keep an eye out for me, actually, if you're binging this weekend. i was lucky enough to have a small role this season in an episode directed by claire underwood herself, the ever gracious robin wright. there we are at the studio right here in this room. up next, ted cruz's latest stunt, this guy is causing trouble for the rs. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
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republican leaders hope to keep their fingerprints off the vote and let it pass with just democrats doing the voting. but cruz filibustered and forced a 60-vote threshold, which meant at least five republicans would have to join democrats. the only problem, none wanted to. according to politico, quote, as the drama grew in the chamber with the vote's prospects in doubt, mcconnell turned to his colleagues and said we're not doing this again. according to a source close to him and his remarks. ultimately, mcconnell and his number two, senator john cornyn voted to break the filibuster. ten other republicans joined them. well, the reaction from the right wing was immediate and ferocious. the consensus, mcconnell now has to go. well, ted cruz showed no remorse when asked if mcconnell should be replaced as party leader, he told reporters, quote, you know, that is ultimately a decision
for the voters of kentucky to make. did they elect a leader? so what should we make of this mad hatters tea party that is ted cruz's republican party? joan walsh is editor at large of salon and msnbc political analyst. and ronald reagan is also an msnbc political analyst. i want to cut to the chase here, joan. i know you're smiling. it is the craziest thing i've ever seen. all they had to do yesterday was let 51 democrats walk the plank, do the dirty work of raising the debt ceiling. nobody wants to vote their debt ceiling. but they were willing to deal with the democrats. instead, crazy ted cruz, crazy the right word? said we need 60 votes because i'm going to filibuster otherwise. which means they had to are have 55 democrats, five runs. oh, five republicans have to vote to raise the debt ceiling. why did he do that? is he cuckoo? then the 60th person, man or woman will be blamed as the 60th person. now i have to come up with a large number, say 12 republicans to make it 67 or whatever so that i don't get blamed.
nobody gets blamed individually, including me. so now hey got more exposed republicans, more to be blamed for, quote, as republicans on the right like to say, raising the national debt. they get blamed for every dollar that is spent. my question, is cruz trying to torpedo the republican party so it will blow up completely in somebody as wildly crazy as him would get the nomination for president. is that what he is up to? >> yes, i think that is what he is up, to chris. but, you know, he wanted to get these people on record saying in some fashion that they support raising the debt limit. and i think this is a totally pathetic charade. i just have to say, i can't give mitch mcconnell a lot of credit for bravery because look at what these guys are doing, and look at what we as americans have let them do. they want to pretend that they don't want to lift the debt ceiling, which, again, means paying our bills, paying bills we already racked up, paying for a dinner we already consumed. they want to pretend that
they're against that. but god forbid that happened. that would put us in default. they don't want that either. so they want democrats to do, as you say, the dirty work of paying their bills and they can be blameless and they can also go on lying to their voters, lying to their voters and saying we don't want to do this. >> okay, you have explained that. but they already had the democrats having to vote for. they were the ones that were going to have to vote for it. then they pushed it and made it 60. at least fife had to join them. why do they want to kill their own people? why do they shoot their wounded or wound them and then shoot them? why does ted cruz want to hurt republicans? >> well, i mean, that is the big question here. what exactly was on ted cruz's mind? what was he thinking about in terms of relationship with his senate colleagues? you're quite right, of course. they could have all voted against the debt limit increase. they could have gone back home to their constituents in kentucky or texas or wherever and say we didn't vote for this thing. but no. ted cruz put his own people in
this impossible, untenable position, many who are facing primaries, many who may face tea party people who are way over to their right. and he forced them to do this. what is on his mind? he seems to want to run for president. has it occurred to him that he might enjoy the help of his senate colleagues if he at least played ball with them? >> i think he is van ackerman, the bad guy. not unlike the wrath they let loose on john boehner earlier this week, right wing activist groups there were quick to pounce on mcconnell himself. brent bozell said, quote, americans deserve better than fake leaders who deliver fake promises and deliver zero results. it's time to dump. quote, between the grassroots frustration with mitch mcconnell and with john boehner, it's the perfect storm. and conservative blogger wrote that republicans had abdicated their responsibility. mitch mcconnell was the deciding vote in the senate to move forward.
john boehner, eric cantor and how gop leaders structured this deal in the house. primaries matter. until you defeat these guys you will do nothing to change washington. so they want to go crazy. here is my question. we're going to cut to the chase now, joan. i know you care a lot. if there is going to be a general election for president in 2016, and i'm betting there is going to be an election. i'm really putting a lot of money on this. there will be an election. and i'm betting pretty good money, though you never know about the future on the democratic candidate who that is going to be, secretary clinton. i believe she will. i can't predict anything. i think that's a pretty good bet right now. why does the republican party want to blow itself up right down the middle between the people who know how to get elected like mcconnell and boehner and know something about government against the crazies out there who want to blow it up? how can they elect a president with a party broken down the middle like this? >> they can't. they cannot elect a president. and they are falling apart. and they are a party that is
about to be embroiled in a civil war. but i just want to say, you know, ted cruz is doing this for a reason. these people are doing it for a reason. they want to remake the party in their own image. they're deluded. they think if they went far right, they would win more support. they will not. they will become a fringe party in the wilderness. but they're sticking to their principles, and they're trying to drive out the rhinos. i also have to point out they suspended the senate rules to do this, chris. it's really quite amazing. there was no transparency. there is usually the verbal aye and nay. they were using, they were putting their hand up. i think somebody was wiggling their nose as a secret symbol that they supported the bill. it's something we have never seen before. and it's really -- i mean, it's terrible for our democracy on every single level. >> ronald reagan, my fellow progressive, i now put this question to you. is the lesson of the 1950s to the republican party, they should have gone with joe mccarthy, not eisenhower? is that the message, oh, we blew
it. we went with eisenhower, the hero that won the war. why didn't we go with joe mccarthy. this is the right way to go. it looks like cruz is mccarthy incarnate. your thoughts. >> ted cruz apparently thinks that somebody has got to rise from the smoking ruins of what is left of the republican party and apparently he feels that that somebody can be him. and so he first has to create the smoking ruins, of course. and he is doing a pretty good job of that. >> what a phoenix he ain't. thank you, ronald reagan. thank you, joan walsh. we'll be right back. >> thanks.
welcome back to "hardball." we made a concerted effort here to shine the light on "hardball" in efforts to suppress the vote, to draw attention to this inherently undemocratic strategy, let's be honest about it. already there are bills to restrict voting that are working their ways through legislatures
in some 19 maps. look at in ohio. a bill to trim early voting moves forward. there is also a movement to end same-day registration and put new limits on absentee ballots. in florida on the state's gulf coast, the commissioners down there have okayed the closing, catch this, of 30 polling places, which amounts to 1/3 of the county's total. the local naacp president said of the shutdowns the more affluent community was left alone. and as far as their polling place, they didn't suffer some kind of closings as poor neighborhoods did. it's no coincidence the right to vote is under assault in two of the most important swing states in the country, especially in presidential election. tim russert, ohio, ohio, ohio, florida, florida, florida. state representative kathleen clyde is in the ohio state assembly. and dale ho is director of the aclu's voting rights projects. i want to start with an elective official. representative clyde, tell me what is going on in ohio with
this effort to make it harder, to be blunt, minorities, older people, who are democrats in many cases to vote. your thoughts. welcome back to "hardball." what's their excuse? just kidding. what is their excuse for cutting down the rights -- the ease with which people can vote? >> they really don't offer good policy reasons for doing any of these attacks on the right to
vote. and whenever they do, they're easily shot down as being false reasons, and at this point, they're coming right out and saying they don't want certain people to vote. one of the leaders in the republican party in the house said that we don't want to cater to these voters who take the bus after church on sunday to vote. so they're just coming right out and saying they don't want certain people voting in ohio. >> so let me go right now to dale. in other words, they're welfare queens because they want to vote on sunday. cater to, what kind of language is that? the government is not paying for the buses. the churches are. people involved with the democratic politics in many cases. >> i think there's a difference of world view here, chris. there are some people who actually are in favor of erecting barriers to the ballot box. i think what they think is we only want voters who are capable and willing to try to overcome those barriers in order to vote. >> that's pretty hamiltonian,
isn't it? >> there's this idea that's the way you get the -- >> plutocrat. >> it's not too far from the philosophy that underlies poll taxes, literacy tests. anything else -- >> property. men of property. >> right. absolutely. now, i have a digit view. >> do they ever voice that, dale, do they ever say we think people with limited income and limited motor transportation really are better off not voting? do they say that? take this some way, we don't want you voting. >> they don't come right out and say it all the time. every now and then someone slips up. you mentioned manatee county in florida, right? supervisor of elections in manatee county, florida, debating early voting cutbacks in 2012 said he wanted to make it harder for people to vote. he wanted it to make it more like africa where people walk 100, 200 miles to a polling place which is absolutely crazy that someone would think that's the way our democracy should function. start with the view that everyone counts equally in a democracy. the purpose of election is not to test the fortitude of voters. >> why don't we pick up on some
of the single party, one-party rule in the countries? have one political party. that would be an african way we could apply things. let me go back to ohio. does everybody know how important ohio is in ohio? representative? do you guys know you're a state i've been watching since i was 10 years old as a key state politically, ohio is the center, for whatever reason, ethnic, history, age-wise, ohio seems to be the state that decides who wins these election. if i were hillary clinton's people, i'd say find an appeal that wins big in ohio and we'll win this thing. if i were a republican, i'd be doing the same thing. >> i think that is their strategy, we had a great voter turnout in 2008 and again in 2012 and see the republicans grasping at straws, desperately trying to reverse that trend and cut back on early voting and
some of these reforms that were put in place after ohio was really an embarrassment in 2004 with four and five and six-hour-long lines for people to vote. we enacted reforms, made things better and these republicans are desperately trying to reverse that. i think democrats are fighting these efforts by the gop and there are citizens groups out there as well who are watching what's going on and are fighting back. so i think we realize that it's important, it's just with the gerrymandered legislature, it's hard to fight. >> let me ask you a tough question. do you think that ohio election was stolen from john kerry in 2004 in your state? >> i think that there were severely long lines in ohio and we will never know how many people, hardworking, middle class, working class, families in ohio showed up to vote, saw a
four or five-hour-long line and couldn't wait. had to go home. and we saw that all over the state. so, you know, i think that it's important that we continue to be concerned about the impact that that could have on our country. >> keep us up to date, and thank you, state representative kathleen clyde of ohio and dale ho of the aclu. we'll be back after this. [ thunder crashes ] [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk.
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let me finish tonight with this. someone should ask reince priebus, himself being the leader of the republican party in this country, why his party is so compelled to deny people the right to vote. wasn't it abraham lincoln who would run the risk of being called a republican in name only today, who won the civil war so people, especially african-americans, could be regular voting citizens? or is this all in the past? is this the republican party of the 2 1st century that's so different from its founders that it can openly spend its time passing laws in the state capitols of this country 19 measures since new year's, grabbing every chance it can to keep minorities from the voting booth? mr. priebus likes to toss off the charge that he's responsible for this, but doesn't the republican national committee have duties to go beyond raising money and showing up on the sunday talk shows? doesn't it have a moral responsibility to tell the parties across the country the party of lincoln shouldn't become the party of jefferson davis?
is that where we're headed? you tell us, mr. priebus. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. kaitlynn farrington, america's newest golden girl at the halfpipe. each day greets us with an amazing olympic landscape from the caucuses mountains. adjacent to that coast line you'll find olympic park here in sochi. as we welcome you inside bolshoy ice dome joining me on the broadcast is jeremy roenick. we've seen men've