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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 20, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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interview, including robert de niro's reaction when he met christian bale on the set. a lot of great stuff in this interview. bridge jam-up to last a month? let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let me start tonight with the big new developments in the chris christie bridge scandal. number one, according to logs at the ft. lee police department, there is reason to believe that the scheme was to have the bridge block-up last a full month. not four days, four weeks. these guys nuts? number two, we know that a well placed police authority or bridge authority police officer, the one who drove david wildstein around that day knew exactly what was going on, knew it was some kind of bridge study or traffic study. a four-week jam-up of traffic of
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the busiest bridge anywhere and it was all a traffic study. what this adds is a plan to jam up the traffic and blame on it a month-long traffic study was known to the christie appointees, the union chief and the same port authority police officer chip michaels who told the ft. lee chief of police that day that the jam-up was going to last a month. every day we're learning that more and more people knew about this plot, including key people in christie's own office. everyone we are to believe, i suppose, but the man in whose name they were doing all this. from the port authority to the governor's office people knew no one was to take a phone call from the ft. lee mayor. they were to maintain radio silence for as long as the traffic jam-up lasted. that could be a month. there were several traffic accidents caused by this bridge scheme, delays of emergency vehicles, and at least four cases where ambulances were held up, all for the purpose of putting some punishing squeeze
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apparently on the mayor of ft. lee, a squeeze that lasted only four full days, but was planned as we know now to go four weeks. if that's what it took for the man in ft. lee to get whatever message was being sent. you have to wonder about the basic iq of the people involved. they were going to carry out this crazy campaign, this battle of ft. lee, if you will, for week after week after week after week until what? heather haddon is a report were "the wall street journal" and brian murphy was a report were politicsnj.com, is now a professor at baruch college in new york. let me ask you about the development. this month-long plan we're hearing about today. it seems to me that suggests, if you try to figure out political calculation, they must have assumed that whatever message was being sent would be responded to in that time, and they wouldn't have to go the full month, because four months of five days a week of traffic jam-up for four to some hours every single day would be almost ballistic in terms of what it
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would do to the drivers. >> yeah, this was an interesting new development. we had never really heard before how long the supposed traffic study was to last. it was aborted prematurely by pat foye, the executive director of the port authority who said we need to put a stop to this. there could be serious consequences in terms of, you know, people getting stuck on the bridge or ambulances getting delayed, which does seem to have occurred. but in this log, this hand-written log from the ft. lee police chief, he wrote that chip michaels, the lieutenant that you referred to earlier on, had informed him on the first day of the traffic study, supposed traffic study that it was to last a month. now in testimony that bill baroni, the christie appointee to the port authority gave when he was discussing the traffic study, he had never said how long it was supposed to last. so it seems like they really meant business, i guess, with this traffic study.
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we still don't have a lot of details, exactly how they planned to implement it. was it going to be every day for the month? we don't really know. i mean, that month would have really taken a toll if it had lasted for that long. >> what do you make of the fact that the official, chip michaels, the uniformed officer on the bridge that was driving wildstein, david wildstein around that day apparently, that he is in contact with the police chief from ft. lee telling him all this. what does that tell you? that he would serve notice? what does that tell you? >> well, i mean, the police chief from what i understand was inquiring about what exactly this new traffic pattern was on that first day that it went into effect. and that was the limited amount that the police chief was told. i mean we have a lot of new question now about exactly if he was given more details. i mean, this handwritten log was really bare bones. he was recording his observations of those five days of the traffic study, including all the various delays that was
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caused. he said in that log that there were many incidents of road rage. there was a car crash that he observed and that there was a lot of phone calls that he placed to port authority officials that weren't returned when he was really urgently trying to get information about what was going on there. so, again, we don't really know how much more information he was told about that. >> well, we're getting a lot of information. >> we still have a lot more questions. >> look at today, yesterday. in fact, officials in ft. lee released more than 2,000 pages of new documents relating to the bridge scandal including notes the ft. lee police chief made about conversations with the port authority officials during the lane closures last september. one of the notes tells us about the full extent of this political punishment operation that we're now piecing together. at first glance, the police chief's notes might look a bit cryptic. chip michaels month last relieve route 95 from executive jersey city.
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here's what it means in english. according to two journalists familiar with those logs, chip michaels, a port authority police lieutenant informed the ft. lee police chief on day one of the political punishment operations that the bridge lane closures were going to last for an entire month. well, that's what those words meant. in other words, ft. lee was going to be told that their city was going to be turned into a parking lot for the entire month of september. brian murphy, come in on this. it seems to me there is a lot of information being shared here. it seems like everybody was in on this punishment operation to send some kind of message the mayor of ft. lee, whether it had to do with trying to get them endorse or trying to get them go along with something or not go along. we don't even know yet. >> right. we don't know. it looks to me like they're building -- it's inconceivable that you would be able to do this for four weeks. i just don't see how. >> are they crazy? >> when pat foye finds out about it on thursday, or early friday morning, thursday night, it is
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shut down by friday morning, right. i don't know how they ever thought they would keep him from finding that out for weeks and weeks on end. >> they told me they wanted to do it long enough to get this guy's attention. they're saying all the time no radio contact. radio silence meaning he is going to call and beg for help here. let's make sure he really comes through and really begs and gives what's we want apparently. >> and they want him to think that it's going to go on for four weeks, right? that's the important thing. you need to make him think this is going to go on forever, and that he'll never get an answer to those calls. >> well, heather, i don't know how your reporting stacks up with that, but does that does make in this crazy world some kind of sense. at least there is the notion of apply pressure, make him hurt, make his commuters call back to city hall as the police officers were telling them on the bridge that day. call your mayor, complain to him. let the word get to him. all that pressure against him until he breaks and does -- and this is the big question mark, does whatever the christie people want him to do. >> yeah. what is interesting also that
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was released in the 2,000 pages of documents was a phone call log from the borough hall of ft. lee to various numbers during those days. and you see repeated calls from borough hall to bill baroni, the deputy executive director at the port authority and another aide to him. it was something like almost a dozen calls made to the port authority. you know, the officials were frantically trying to get some information about this. it seems they had very limited information beforehand. and then on the flip side, they were getting calls from angry drivers. so they were really getting barraged from both sides but not getting a lot of questions answered. >> this is adding up. not only do we learn today they were going to do it for a month, we also know from past history here that baroni and wildstein were all mad at this guy patrick foye who blew the whist, the director over there said you got to stop this.
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they were mad at him for stopping it. does that mean they were mad because they wanted a four-day jam-up to last four weeks and it was ruining their plan? that's what it adds up to. brian? >> there is a line that david samson has when they're angry with pat foye is that the line they say is that he is playing in traffic. he is playing a dangerous game, playing in traffic. that's the line that the chairman of -- port authority chairman. >> you have to put these things together like we all do. it seems like everybody is in on this political intrigue. everybody know what's the game is about generally. we're going to put some kind of pressure on ft. lee. and the only one that doesn't see it is the boy scout here. >> right. >> patrick foye, who was appointed by governor cuomo. and, again, i go back to my favorite question. what happened on the phone call between governor christie and governor cuomo. >> yeah. >> when apparently, according to "wall street journal" report, reported later by "the times" that in fact it was a call from christie for help, right? >> right. maybe. >> get your guy off my punishment campaign. why is he interfering with this
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thing. >> the thing about pat foye is, though, yesterday there was a port authority board meeting. steve kornacki was there and asked pat foye a question during a press availability he had. what did you think david wildstein's job was at the port authority. because they created this job for him when wildstein left, they didn't renew the job. it's gone. now. >> right. >> they asked him what did he do here. and foye said my understanding was he was here to do politics. >> which means? >> he is there to be christie's eyes and ears, right? he is the guy who is there as the christie appointee. >> and who said that? >> pat foye said that. >> well, there you go. what do you know about the relationship, heather, in reporting this that what the connection is between the christie team, wildstein, baroni, all the rest of them, bridget kelly, whose name hasn't been popping up lately, stepien, that whole group of people that are all christie people, all involved, we know this now from e-mails and other indications. they're all involved in this traffic jam-up, deliberate jam-up.
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we know they knew about this cover-up story. they're all in it together. what was their relationship with the cuomo people? were they at odds or what? because the cuomo guy blew the whistle and stopped this thing. >> really, the nature of the port authority is it's a bi-state agency, and there is always tension between the new york side and the new jersey side because each are competing for resources to buttress their own projects. each side wants a piece of the pie. so this tension has always existed. and it does seem from reporting this that heightened to some degree when david wildstein was appointed to the port authority that he really ruffled some feathers there, including on the new york side, including with the port authority police from what i understand because he was involved in lots of aspects of the agency and in trying to advance it seems new jersey's interests in them. so there was a lot of tensions
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around him between the two states. >> they wanted him to be a director level appointee at first. he was going to be paid over $200,000. and the new york people rebelled and said absolutely not. you can't do it. they bumped him down to 150. >> he is gone now. thank you so much, heather haddon. everybody has heard here expect the governor. brian murphy, thank you as well. get ready for the unearthing, the exhuming of all the old clinton conspiracy stuff. whitewater, filegate, prostitution, drug money, laundering, murderer. it's hating a democratic president is nothing new. and as we know so well and hasn't gone away either, the latest example of hating president obama first and then figuring out why later as marco rubio blasted the president for apologizing to an art history professor in this same tweet in which he agreed with him. and that's tricky with just a few characters to work with. plus, there is some unwelcome focus on governor scott walker of wisconsin. e-mails released yesterday
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detail how people in his office when he was county executive in milwaukee mixed government and campaign business on the public's dime. it's hardly unique in politics, mixing politics with government. hardly unique at all. but when laws do get broken, it does cause unwanted headlines. finally, this one involving two of our nbc colleagues, brian williams and lester holt. ♪ so far you've heard my voice but i've brought two friends along. and next on the mic is my man hank, come on, hank, sing that song ♪ ♪ check it out, and the west fly, you see i go by the these reasons, i'll tell you why ♪
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new poll numbers on the president's race in the key battleground state of ohio. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new quinnipiac poll, hillary clinton has a nine-point lead over congressman paul ryan out there in ohio. 49-40. and ryan comes closest to
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hillary among all the republicans. ohio governor john kasich is the next closest, but he is down 12 points to hillary rand paul trails by 13, 51-38. chris christie is sinking fast. he is down 13 points after trailing by only one point in november. it's clinton, 49, christie, 36. clinton tops marco rubio by 14, 50-36. she beats jeb bush by 15, 51-36. and the republican who fares worst, ted cruz. he is down 17 in ohio, 51-34. and we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." two years before the iowa caucuses for 2016, the far right is beginning to attack on the clintons. it's called shaping the battlefield, if you will. the chairman of the republican national committee, reince priebus, started this week with a tweet. remember all the clinton scandals? that's not what america needs
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again. anyway, today on the mother jones website, david corn, our pal, with help from national memo's some of the tales including the vince foster suicide, which some on the right still say could have been murder. watergate, the million dollar search for wrongdoing but the clintons in an arkansas land deal that ended up proving nothing except that the clintons lost money. travelgate, an exhaustive investigation that found no intentional wrongdoing by hillary clinton. filegate, accusations proven untrue that hillary clinton had ordered up fbi background files to target political opponents. years later, a reagan-appointed federal judge dismissed the lawsuit based on those allegations saying there was no there there. it doesn't matter a lot to the right. as david corn writes, there is still life like ordnance left over after a war, he wrote, this ammunition remains ready to be used by conservatives who recoil
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at the thought of another clinton in the white house. it doesn't matter that these bombs are duds. well, david corn is here with us, washington bureau chief from mother jones, and michael steele, both msnbc political analysts. michael, i think you're in the barrel again on this one. i don't know what is going on with your party. but let me go with you first, because i think you're in the party. you were chair before this genius, reince priebus came in. it seems to me that if all your party has is the old compost pile, if you will, of stuff from 20 to 30 years ago, that's your stuff, it will open up the republican candidate for hillary clinton to say there you go again. because that's exactly how reagan killed my old boss jimmy carter. not being inaccurate, but being so old and all the old crap he pulled ow. >> right. >> he said ask that all you've got? your thoughts. >> you know what? that's a song sheet. i don't know why anyone is pulling it out.
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if that is the game plan, and if that's the ultimate strategy of the party writ large and certainly our nominee, then we will lose there is no doubt about that, that america does not want to retry 25, 30-year-old information, certainly, as you laid out, those indictments were long since thrown out. and i think the fact of the matter is looking at hillary's service in the senate, looking at her service as the secretary of state, that you can shape an argument about what she supported in this administration, a continuation of obama policies, those types of things, that's a battleground that i think the party can stand on. but if this is the fight, then i think we're going to be sorely disappointed with the outcome. >> well, let's go back to the first lady, who is going to be the target of all this. it's all about beating her. it's not about getting even with bill clinton, or it is, david? my question to you is could it be brain soup, as we say? could it be that the republicans aren't just being strategic as they may be boneheaded about this. it's in their being that they
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love this stuff. they want to go back into the old vince foster stuff because they have these theories. remember dan burton, the congressman shooting cantaloupes in his backyard to prove somehow vince foster didn't shoot himself. normal people don't do that. >> i feel like this is a pot of boiling water with a lid on, and they're just waiting for the pressure to build up and come out. people like rush limbaugh and sean hannity have been talking about vince foster for the last ten years. every time something happens with hillary, you go well, remember what happened to vince foster. >> what did happen? what do they believe happened? the guy was really hurting and he went out on the potomac river and shot himself to death. it was a horrible story. why do people want to bring it back? >> when you take a step back and look at it, what people on the right have done has just been disgusting. he was a victim of depression. he killed himself. and yet they have come up with all these schemes. kathleen willey, who was booked on fox news just a few days ago
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has been out there in the past making sort of a convoluted suggestion that hillary clinton and bill clinton were involved in the death of vince foster. why? maybe to cover up something for white water. others say it was to cover up his relationship with hillary clinton. it's all a lot of trash and rubbish. but let me take one issue -- >> first of all, there is no reason to believe there was a relationship. but secondly, one way to bring attention to a relationship is have the guy shoot himself or kill the guy. this stuff doesn't even add up to its own purposes. it doesn't make sense even to the arguers. >> it doesn't make sense. let me take one issue with michael steele. i think if the right starts relitigating the particulars of these scandals, it won't work. and he is right about that. but i think what the smart ones will try to do is make it seem like there is just some kind of taint to the clintons. and you don't want to go back to the past. if they can have people thinking that she is a candidate of some tainted past. >> yeah.
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>> and that's it, that might help them in 2016. >> i'm not going to disagree with that either, david. but we saw that with democrats in 2008 in hillary. >> yeah. >> so there is enough there for the clintons as a package to go after. the question, and i think this is really the rub of what chris is talking about, is this smart politics going into what will be a very charged presidential election. i don't think so. >> i think they got to be very careful. and what is the right word? clinical there are things you can go after the clintons on. first of all, month california. you don't even have to mention, as everybody knows about it. people that know about it, it bothers them or it doesn't. they already made up their minds you. don't have to remind them of it. the way the clintons raised money, the old motel 6. that's a good thing to go after, i think. anybody should go after that. here is the first rumble about the clinton conspiracy machine revving up again. in november 2012 just after president obama was reelected, the national enquirer published a special issue on the clintons. it was entitled "love, lies and betrayal." with this ominous headline,
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their dramatic plot to win back the white house. it's always good fob the tabs. michael, back to you. how do you go after the clintons in a way that marquis of queensbury, at least close enough to it people don't feel bad hearing about it? >> i think you just touched on it, chris. i think there are issue there's that are still unsettling for folks. they don't have to get into monica and vince foster and all of that. just talk about the clintons, their style, what they have brought to politics. sort of the way you feel about some of the dealings that they have had. that aspect of it. a lot of what we have seen people trying to do with chris christie and bridgegate, well, you know, it's the tone, it's the attitude that he sets in the office and how that infects people and how that affects the process. i think that that's a legitimate area to talk about. and certainly, benghazi will certainly be on the table. we know that. and there is still legitimate questions there to be asked. but all of this kind of rolls into a package that i think is a better and stronger package than
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just the recurrences of old stuff. >> i think every politician comes with their own style and you either like the slickness or you don't. >> right. >> but one thing about bill clinton, he wins. what i think the crazy part, this is what the right tends to do more than the left, i think, but you can check me on this after david gets through with me. and that's this idea of character. it is a familiar meme is the new year. bill clinton had a character problem. barack obama is evil. it isn't we disagree with them. it isn't we have different ideologies even. it's the person is somehow a dark, evil presence in our world that must be removed. and anything touching him comes out of him is part of him is evil because of it. anything goes in bringing him down. and this is the part that gets to me, david. if you spent the fact that that guy we're looking at, bill clinton, is the prince of evil, i don't know who does, but some people on the right do, or barack obama, then anything you do, you can justify to yourself
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and say damn it, i have to do what i have to do. all is fair in love and war. and that's what i think you get into with this clinton chronicle stuff, the accusation that he murdered people. all this stuff, it just keeps getting more and more to the soul of the man. it's not his politics, it's his soul. and that justifies all the worst kind of politics. your thoughts. >> i think the argument is bill clinton and barack obama now are not legitimate. they're illegitimate. and they have plans to destroy or harm america. a lot of people -- >> where does it come from, david? where does that argument come from? where is that born in their souls? he is just a politician. these guys are all just politicians. let's not turn them into demi gods of evil and good. there are politicians on both sides. >> i think it comes from a fundamentalist view that barack obama and bill clinton represent the other america, and it's almost unbelievable that they could somehow become the elected leaders of this country. i know a lot of people, myself included were critical of george w. bush.
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but i never thought he had an active plan to destroy or weaken america. i just thought he was wrong. but a lot of people believe that barack obama has secret plans. >> what about cheney? >> same thing. >> what about cheney, david? >> i think cheney was very wrong. but i do believe that he believed he was doing what was best for the country. people who attack barack obama or thought bill clinton was a manchurian candidate from the soviets believe these guys -- >> trying too hard a case here. we're going to do a whole hour on. this i can't go further than w. not knowing what he was doing. but i think cheney knew exactly what evil he was up to. >> my last point, chris, character still counts. >> oh, yeah. >> i think that's a big part of the discussion about the office of the presidency. and that's going to be on the table come 2016. >> everybody who runs as a democratic has a character problem because then people think you're crying wolf. people come along the last democrat who had character would be, hmmm.
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thank you, david corn. you guys have to go way back. lincoln, maybe? i'm not sure about some of the dixiecrats in your party. up next, you can now get your own souvenir from the chris christie bridge scandal. this is "hardball," the police for politics.
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back to "hardball." time for the sideshow. last night was just jimmy fallon's third night as host of "the tonight show." but thankfully he is up to some of his old tricks. here is his latest mash-up. this time it's nbc's brian williams and lester holt singing the hip-hop classic "rappers delight." check it out ♪ so far you heard my voice but i brought two friends along and next on the mic is my friend hank, come on, hank, sing that song ♪
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>> check it out. ♪ you see i go by the doctor of the mix and i'll tell you why ♪ i'm 6'1" and tons of fun and i dress to a tee ♪ ♪ you see i got more clothes that muhammed ali and i dress so viciously ♪ ♪ everybody go hotel, motel, what you going to do today ♪ >> say what? ♪ everybody go hotel motel holiday inn, say if your girl starts acting up, then you take her friend ♪ next up, if you ever visit rest stops along the jersey turnpike, then you have surely seen the wide range of garden state souvenirs at these gift shops. but if you're in the market for something more creative, you can buy your very own chris christie bridgegate action figure. the governor who sarcastically joked that he was the guy out there moving the cones on the
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george washington bridge is depicted here in a crossing guard uniform complete with a stop sign that reads "traffic study." they're produced in florida using a 3-d printer. christie is trying not to show the pain of course. a supporter asked him about his idol, bruce springsteen who famously parodied the governor in a performance with jimmy fallon last month. here is how that exchange played out. >> but when you go home tonight, would you please destroy all your bruce springsteen cds? he is not a friend of yours, governor. >> the cds can be destroyed. i have it all on my iphone now. i still live in hope that some day, even as he gets older and older, he is going to wake up and go yeah, all right, he is a good guy. it's all right. we could be friends. he told me we were friends a few -- a year and a half ago. >> got to get an update on that one. up next, what all those e-mails might mean for wisconsin governor scott walker.
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welcome back to "hardball." scott walker seen as a potential contender in the crowded 2016 republican field for president. but a trove of newly released e-mails and court documents in a year's old case is causing embarrassment for the wisconsin governor. in 2012, a former aide to walker during his time as milwaukee county executive plead guilty to misconduct in public office. she was charged with mixing political activities with her official duties as an employee of the county, violating wisconsin's very strict campaign laws. well, the e-mails released yesterday show that kind of activity was common in his office. walker even directed his separate county and campaign staffs to hold a daily conference call to coordinate strategies. importantly, the investigation is closed and found no wrongdoing on the part of walker himself. in a statement, the governor spokesman said, quote, the recently released communications of a county staffer from several years ago are part of a legal process that was completed early last year. governor walker is confident during that legal process these
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communications were thoroughly reviewed by the authorities. well, the political stakes are clear. with the bridgegate scandal continuing to hobble chris christie's prospects, establishment republicans have been looking for a 2016 candidate capable of taking on tea party forces like ted cruz and rand paul. some found the prospect, in fact i thought they did in governor walker. they may still have. john nichols is washington bureau chief for "the nation" magazine. he has been combing through the newly released documents already. and john heilemann is co-author of "double down" has been an msnbc political analyst of great worth. i do respect the law obviously in every state. i guess for somebody like myself, who has been around politics for 40 years now, i am not, what should i say, mortified at the notion that people working for politicians who are running for reelection are running for higher office, are deeply involved and engaged in helping them win. you spend every day helping them politically. you help members of congress get reelected every day.
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it's part of the job. wisconsin's got these big -- they've got a big firewall there. you can't do this if you're working for the county of a county or a state. you can't get involved in campaigns. i get it. but politically speaking, is this going to be a impediment, snag will stop him, governor scott walker from being a credible candidate for president in 2016? what is happening? i'm going to go with john first. >> i find it sort of hard to believe that this is the kind of thing to believe, what we currently know would be a major impediment to walker. what they say in their statement, the prosecutor investigated this, looked at the e-mails and decided that walker was not guilty of anything and he was not punished. and they have that as a pretty strong line of defense. i think most people think that david plouffe, when he was the senior adviser to barack obama in 2012, that he was doing the people's business and he was also deeply involved in the reelection effort. when chris matthews worked in the carter white house --
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>> as a speech writer. i was writing campaign speeches. >> you were writing campaign speeches. >> but we were going through a very elaborate thing. listen to. this to obey the law then, we made a point of take off a day a week, a certain amount of hours of working for government as presidential speech writers, certain amount as working as writers for candidate carter. so we were very deliberate about observing the law. >> and of course president carter was not making fundraising phone calls from the oval office there are obviously bright lines over which you step you're in real serious trouble. it doesn't at this moment look like governor walker has done that. if that's the case, where we are right now, i think this is something that if he handles it well, we can get around it. >> john, you've been covering this. you know the guy well over all these years. give us a calibration of how important this is politically first, or maybe legally first and what that means politically, however you want to do it. >> well, we can go both ways. let's start with legal. it is true that these revelations coming from 27,000 pages of e-mails as well as 400
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pages of legal documents are rooted in a case that played out a year or so ago several years ago. but it's an ongoing case. this woman is wrangling over her conviction. and there is another investigation going on. and so the notion that everything settled and every i has been dotted and every t has been crossed is simply not true. governor walker has ongoing problems as regards how he has mixed politics and governing. now, let's go deeper though on this core question. >> wisconsin, as teddy white said years ago, he used to say if there is a vote, where someone wins by one vote in wisconsin or minnesota, you know they won by one vote. it's a clean as a whistle state, wisconsin. so is minnesota. there aren't that many. but those are two of them. clean as a whistle. is it particularly pristine in terms of that firewall as i called it between politics and government in your state?
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>> it's pretty pristine there is no doubt about that. historically it was. i think it changed a lot about, you know, over the last 15, 20 years as the politics has become more nationalist. but i would remind both you have that will there is another state that has a history of pretty pristine politics. that's iowa, where they begin the presidential process. and that is the important thing to understand here. we are not talking about a politician and his aides talking about politics, discussing politics. we are talking here about the establishment of a sophisticated infrastructure, a secret e-mail routing system so that public employees could work at their desks on political projects so that they could fund raise, so they could help to run a campaign for lieutenant governor out of a public office. we are also talking about a politician, scott walker, who the e-mails reveal micromanaged serious developments, a crisis at a county mental health center, an infrastructure
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collapse in which someone was killed. apparently with an eye toward having the best political playout. we know politicians do that. i understand that. here we saw him doing it not just with his campaign staff, but also a lot of management of the public staff and telling them let's hold this story back. let's not cooperate with that freedom of information act request. >> okay. great reporting. >> this is where the trouble arises. >> talking about all over the country, not just in wisconsin where you're covering. perhaps the most embarrassing e-mails released yesterday had nothing to do with walker yesterday. rather, they were several clearly racist messages being forwarded or endorsed by staffers of walker. one relays a joke comparing welfare recipients to dogs. quote, at first the lady at the welfare office said dogs are not eligible to draw welfare. so i explained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can't speak english, and have no frigging clue who their daddies are.
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they expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care and feel guilty because they are dogs. well, the punch line, quote, my dogs get their first checks friday. well, the staffer responded, quote, that is hilarious. and so true. there is another so-called joke e-mail forwarded by walker's chief of staff at the time. it's about a nightmare in quotes in which an unknown author discovers among other things he is african american, jewish and gay. at the end, the author writes say it isn't so. i can handle being black, disabled, one-armed drug addicted jewish, homosexual on a pacemaker, unemployed who lives in a slum and has a mexican boyfriend. but please, oh dear god please don't tell me i'm democrat. now it's just rancid and they think it's funny.
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now that's an indictment i can share. who are these people in public office, serving a mixed ethnic community of milwaukee, a lot of african americans, a lot of hispanic people there serving under oath, and they're talking about them this way. >> it is not -- it's not a pretty picture. and, you know, governor walker, having those people around him, we talked a lot. i think these two stories between the new jersey story with chris christie and the story with scott walker are dramatically different in terms of their political impact. but one of the things we talked about with chris christie is what is the culture around the governor. and here we have another case that people are going to look at and say what is the culture around scott walker? who are the kind of people employed? what are their attitudes like? >> i like to pick up the rock and everybody watching, white, spanish, african american, whatever, you pick up the rock. you hear what people talk like when you're not there. isn't it fascinating? john nichols, thanks for your great reporting. and thank you, john heilemann, as always. this isn't really an
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apology. it's not really a conversation. but the right wing is going nuts over it. remember the other day he said you take art history, it won't necessarily get you a job, something like that. okay. off the top of his head. if marco rubio had a head, he wouldn't have said a word about it. he did say a word about it. it isn't too smart. he called the president's words pathetic. excuse me. this is "hardball," the place for politics. o, which is funny, 'cause i still do it better than her. you know, i don't think i was meant to sweep. it's a little frustrating. look. [ zach ] i can't help out as much as i used to. do you need help? [ doorbell rings ] let's open it up. it's a swiffer sweeper. swiffer dusters. it can extend so i don't have to get on the step stool. i don't know how it stays on there. it's like a dirt magnet -- just like my kids. [ afi ] this is a danger zone. that is crazy. ah haha! [ zach ] yeah. no, this definitely beats hanging out on a step ladder. good jump, baby.
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"hardball" back with the latest example of the right
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wing's hate obama reflex. you know the knee-jerk? we'll be right back after this.
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we're back. here's the latest example of the right wing's anti-obama reflex. the knee jerk. last month president obama made some off the cuff remarks about the job prospects of people who major in art history. that offended art history degree holders apparently. after weeks of receiving angry responses to his comments, president obama apologized in the form of a handwritten note to ann collins john. here's what he wrote. "let me apologize for my off the cuff remarks. i was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. as it is happens, art history was my favorite subject in high school and helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life i
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might otherwise have missed." marco rubio is quick to react, tweeted out, what great word for him, tweeted out that the president's apology was pathetic writing "pathetic obama apology to art history prof. we do need more degrees that lead to jobs." joan walsh is with "salon" and msnbc contributor and alex burns, senior political reporter for "politico." gentleman, and lady, here's the nonsense of this thing. you're limited in the number of characters you can use in a tweet. this guy, rubio of limited availability, was able to do something miraculous to trash the president and agree with him in a number of characters. >> that was clever from marco rubio. >> what was the purpose of the tweet? >> this is an old cultural divide. you know it. basically to say to his followers that obama is a snob. i read that note, probably you
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do, too. i like that guy better. i like that guy who wrote that note. he's saying, this is what liberals say, we want college educations where you're not a cog in the machine but learn about art history. there is a debate right now about we need more science and math students. that is all true. i think he overstepped and he is correcting and it was a lovely note. but he's playing to the haters and it goes back to rick santorum, right? he was a snob because he wants us all to go to college. >> i think that's probably deeper than this already. alex, at "politico," you specialize in the nuances. why did he tweet and not let it go? >> if i can play devil's advocate and defend both of these guys at the same time. >> go with defending the rubio -- >> politics is more unfiltered, more authentic. people who put their own personalities out there, own -- >> what personality is reflected
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by "pathetic obama apology to art history prof." what's the personality there? >> we complain all the time about politicians being too robotic, too scripted. the president makes a comment about art history. there's a controversy we has to apologize for. rubio fires off a hot-tempered tweet. here we are talking about it. >> wait a minute. don't skate on this symmetry nonsense. this is not even steven. what does he mean? i know what the president meant. i'm with joan on that. he made a comment that offended a few people. in public life, you have to deal with the fact you offended people rightly or wrongly. what was tweety up to? what was he up to? you're trying to even steven. >> i am trying to be even steven, chris, that's my job. he was trying to agree with the president and score some points. that's what politicians do. >> he agreed with him, but what was the basis for trashing him? >> because the president -- he saw the president of walking back. i'm not defending the substance of calling him -- he was playing
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to the gallery and making a point, saying, we need to have a serious conversation about getting people more technical education. i don't think we need to call this watergate here. >> i wasn't, actually. i was calling it tweety talks to the peanut gallery. okay. thank you, joan walsh and alexander burns. we'll be right back after this.
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let me finish tonight with this. why does a u.s. senator who has all kinds of press agents around to put out statements, speeches, positions, need to tweet and why if he does does he have to do it idiotically? watching the olympics lately i've come to see all politicians divided into two categories. snowboarders and skiers. snowboarders are the wild ones. fast and loose. they make it up as they go along. if you've ever had one coming up behind you, they make a lot of noise. ted cruz is a snowboarder. can we agree on that? so is rand paul, though he might end up winning the gold medal after all in 2016. the skiers are different from the snowboarders. they perform by strict traditional methods, generations before them, they perfect the craft, run by run. compared to the snowboarder, they're keenly adverse to wiping out their control freaks. mitch mcconnell is a skier. better than him to make few mistakes. if he doesn't win the race, it won't be because he wiped out. marco rubio would like to be taken seriously. sadly, he's just shown himself to be a snowboarder.
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he proved it with that tweet making fun of the president and agreeing with him all in the same tweet. 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. for the first time since his re-election, for the first time since those traffic problems if ft. lee, governor christie went face to face with his voters today. the political strategy here was obvious because there are two things that have made chris christie the national political figure that he is. the first are those town halls. >> i sat here, stood here, and very respectfully listened to you. if what you want to do is put on a show and giggle every time i talk, well then i have no interest in answering your question. so if you'd like to -- [ applause ] with all the important issues that we have going on in this state, you're wasting these people's time with a question on whether we plan questions in the

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