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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 7, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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here here. eugene o'donnell gets tonight's last word. thank you. >> thank you. monica talks. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in philadelphia. let me start with monica lewinsky's new tell all about her time with bill clinton. i've read the story. it's really about her, not so much the clintons. it's about what happened to her in the years since the world learned of her sexual involvement with a married american president. will this encourage the republicans seeking to undermine hillary clinton, that once charged sexual impropriety to go like henry v's band of brothers?
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but there's also a tough part of this article i read today by monica lewinsky. she says the clintons don't care what happened to her, have no regard for what's become of her, what her future looks like. she hits them hard on how they tried to destroy her in order to free themselves from the facts, and this is the tough part of the new lewinsky narrative that republicans could use well between now and 2016. it's this charge how she makes the clintons, before the dna evidence was claimed, tried making her a scapegoat, someone clinton had no personal connection with, some stranger making false claims. that woman, as bill clinton referred to her in his infamous disclaimer, a loony tune, as hillary clinton said, a stalker, as a clinton aide was portraying her. tonight, we discuss whether republicans are the stupid party and go after the story with the same piety or the shrewd party for the callous treatment of a young woman who got in the clinton's political way.
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howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst and nia malika henderson is a national political reporter at "the washington post." howard, how did you see this? did you read the article? when you read all the way through, you have to look, i think, as a political analyst, as you do and i do, and see where there might be ammo. where i see it, it's not again whether bill clinton did something wrong. we all know that, or whether hillary clinton was hurt by it and embarrassed by it and we all know that, and actually how she's prevailed against it herself. but this whole question of whether the clintons were just too damned callous in trying to make her into a stalker and, of course, hillary clinton called her a loony tune, bill clinton said that woman and almost didn't use her name, that attempt to minimize a person in order to get by a problem politically. that might sting. your thoughts? >> chris, i agree with you about the piece. i read the entire piece and the
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bomb shells are buried in the bottom at the end, where i think monica lewinsky allows herself to unburden herself a bit of the bitterness she has about the campaign that was run against her. chris, i lived through all this, i was at "newsweek" at the time writing about it. mike isikoff was our lead reporter on the story. i saw it moment by moment from the inside, and i also saw the campaign that was run against monica lewinsky. as she says in the piece, this was a consensual relationship, and then she was destroyed to the extent possible by the clinton administration. she says in the piece, you know, i was the unstable stalker, a phrase disseminated by the clinton white house. she goes on to say, the clinton administration, among others, were able to brand me, and that brand stuck. and as you say, she says they
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don't care about her fate. i think that's tough stuff. i think it goes to the question of what kind of people the clintons are as political leaders, if they are too ruthless by half, if they use people, even by the standards of politics, too harshly, and really, ironically, the danger to hillary clinton may be as much among feminists, may be as much on the left as it could be on the right, if you want to look at monica lewinsky and the way she was treated by the clintons in those times, and as i say, i lived through them all and saw them. >> nia, seems to me the background has shifted. back in the '90s, it was still sort of sex is bad, if you catch somebody involved with it, you nail them, that's your got ya. today, especially with what's happening over in nigeria, it's about protection of women and nonexploitation of women and if the story shifts, the cosmos shift and instead of talking
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about whether he was naughty or not, which is not going to hurt bill clinton at all or monica lewinsky, or hillary clinton, it's about whether you treat people, especially women, right. and i think the way monica wrote this story, i don't know her, but the way she wrote it was as a victim and as a victim of the clintons. your thoughts? >> well, that's right. you know, here's a situation that was, obviously, a private and consensual affair, had to do with bill clinton and hillary clinton's marriage and, obviously, became very public. i think in some ways that's the way a lot of women look at this. this was something that was between the clintons and their marriage and in many ways, if you look at someone who might be on the other end of an affair like that, they probably would go after sort of the inner loper in a marriage, so i think there's a sort of grand political narrative that republicans will try to stir up around this. >> no, no, no, hillary clinton, the former secretary of state, even back then, never said there
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was something wrong with monica, except she wasn't telling the truth. she said she was a luny tune. >> she said that privately. >> that she was somehow not really involved with her husband, that she should be dismissed, her charges, that woman. the whole narrative was, don't believe her, until the blue dress and dna evidence, then they had to change the story. >> right, right, they had to change the story and we heard about bill clinton sleeping on the couch, all that stuff. yeah, that's very well documented. i mean, this isn't really new. i think what you're raising is whether or not in this context when people talk about the idea of shaming, whether or not people will sort of retroactively prosecute and criticize hillary clinton for engaging in what would have been called -- really slut shaming back then, but so far it looks like if you look at, you know, the damage that did to hillary clinton and the clintons, it really was none. hillary clinton had her highest approval ratings at that time, 65%, so it will be interesting if they can sort of retroactively paint her as antiwoman.
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>> let's go to the politics, which is our strength, which is not morality, but politics. let's look at the "vanity fair" article. lewinsky talks candidly about her experiences being abused, abused, in the aftermath of the affair by the clintons and the media. she writes, their lives moved on, they occupy important and powerful places on the world stage, i wish them no ill and fully understand what happened to me and the issue of my future do not matter to either of them. howard, that's buried, as you said, at the end of the piece. why do you think that was thrown in there, this statement of callousness after this i don't hold any grudge, blah, blah, blah, but then statement of fact they don't care about me. >> well, i think she does hold a grudge, and i think if she says i don't bear them any ill will, doesn't mean she bears them any good will. from the passages i read also, chris, it's clear to me, and i was surprised at her willingness
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to express her bitterness here about the campaign that was run against her. i mean, i agree with nia that back in the day when all this was happening, hillary's numbers could not have been higher, because hillary ended up being the victim. hillary was the victim, and hillary's sort of stoic acceptance of reality in that situation and her willingness to move on and not sort of wreck the presidency was admired by many people. she was one of the most admired people. >> very much so. >> but this is a peak. let's also keep in mind here, chris, i mean, i agree with your analysis here. i think it shows the clintons in a bad light for the way they tried to destroy this woman, but it also is, to some degree, ancient history. most people, young people especially, who are going to be critical in the primaries, who are going to be critical in the general election, this is -- this may as well be something out of 19th century pot boiler to them.
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the cultural context -- >> yes, but it's all new to them, too. it can't be both old news and new news. either they are learning this for the first time or they are tired of it. which is it? >> i don't think this is the last we've heard from monica on this topic. i think she's basically saying here, if people would like to talk to me some more about how the clintons tried to destroy me personally, i might be willing to discuss that. that's what i took from this, and if i were in the clinton world, i would look at this as a shot across the bow from monica lewinsky. i really would. >> that's right. and it also means that hillary clinton, when she goes out there now, she's going to get questions about this. this is in the news, she's sitting down with an interviewer, she's on her book tour, this is going to be a question she gets and who knows what she's going to say at this point. she hasn't talked about this in many, many years, but perhaps she'll have some answer to this idea of whether or not she acted more as a wife or more as a sort
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of calculating political operative back when this was going on. >> well, some conservatives are certainly going to try to make use of lewinsky's article that just came out today to attack the clintons. last night fox news guest host laura ingraham used the lewinsky article to attack the clintons for their ruthlessness. i think laura ingraham is smart here, but doesn't stay consistently smart later when talking to lynn cheney, who's not smart. let's watch. >> when she became problematic for the clintons' political ambitions, she was demeaned and discredited by the press and clinton protectors, including hillary herself. war on women? you bet. in the 1990s, the clintons pioneered it. >> well, on fox later that night, lynn cheney told laura ingraham that hillary clinton orchestrated the lewinsky article, the one that just appeared. here's cheney making her paranoid claim. >> i really wonder if this isn't
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an effort on the clintons' part to get that story out of the way. would "vanity fair" publish anything about monica lewinsky that hillary clinton didn't want in "vanity fair"? >> that's very interesting. i love this theory. it actually makes perfect sense. >> actually, laura, your earlier theory was much smarter, the opportunity was not going after the sexual impropriety and pretending to be pious themselves, which a whole string of scandals, david vitter, you want to go through the list? but going after people on callousness towards women, that's a smart move. anyway, some republicans are hesitant to relive the lewinsky affair. karl rove has questioned rand paul for beating up on hillary clinton and conservative activist grover norquist, who only wants to talk about taxes, fired this warning shot today, saying, "this is the same trick the clintons pulled on us back in '98. we were distracted by this bright shiny object they handed
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out, which was monica lewinsky. maybe the same thing this time. like in baseball if they throw out a bad pitch and you swing at it, you're an idiot." is this guy, grover norquist, crazy? he said the clintons had the scandal with monica lewinsky to distract from, what, the tax issue? are the republicans completely loony, to put out a piece attacking the marriage they had, building up monica lewinsky with bill, then we had this whole thing somehow the '98 embarrassment of the country, not just the clintons, was orchestrated to distract from what issue? my answer is, i think yes. your answer? >> i'm not sure, but i do know this, if you read the whole article, there's no way this is something that the clintons would have wanted out there, because as i say, monica is basically advertising her bitterness and her resentment at
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the way she was destroyed by them, and that's a tantalizing thing, as nia said, for other reporters to follow up on and to ask hillary about. hillary, who's in the middle of polishing up the final details of her book, which i think is called "hard choices," she's probably going to want to reread the portion that she wrote about the monica lewinsky years in light of this. and as far as grover norquist is concerned, even grover can be right for the wrong reason, okay, yes, all he cares about is the tax code, but i think he's got a point as far as the republicans are concerned. if they are going to try -- if they end up running against hillary clinton and they try to run against her by doing a rerun, as you said, a rerun of the '90s, they are going to lose. >> i agree. >> i think that's right. >> i think hillary clinton did something really wonderful in the late '90s, she was embarrassed, of course, personally embarrassed and anger at her husband's conduct, but she transcended that. okay, i know a lot more about
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this guy bill than you do, i put it all into a total marital context of many years of marriage, and here's what, i'm going to carry on. she went up and campaigned for chuck schumer, she was magnificent. she ended up accepting really an invitation to run for senate in new york and had the guts to run for that office. she could have embarrassed herself then and lost. she didn't, she had the guts to run. so many things, how much guts that woman had. >> they stayed married. >> and nobody in politics is perfect. that's the other thing i've learned, and i've stopped looking for it, perfection. i'll still look for it, but it ain't there yet. thank you, howard fineman, thank you, nia malika henderson. coming up, the frenzy over benghazi heated up with the party out there shaking a tin cup raising money, believe it or not, over the death of chris stevens. remember when the americans got blown up in beirut in the '80s? plus, those dreadful
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abductions and god knows what else of those schoolgirls in nigeria. all 20 female united states starts have signed a bill to carry tough new sanctions on the group that carried them out. amy klobuchar is going to join us, she's one of the leaders. also, remember the 3:00 a.m. phone call ad? an actual phone call, the angry one bill clinton made at 2:00 a.m. after he was called out by jim clyburn in south carolina. finally, how the clintons should deal with monica. don't hide from it. as bobby kennedy would say, hang a lantern on your problem. this is "hardball," the place for politics. she keeps you on your toes. you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently.
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tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any allergic reactions like rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about experiencing cialis for daily use and a free 30-tablet trial. bridget kelly's attorneys denying the accusations that she, kelly, ordered renna to destroy evidence. attorney michael critchley says, we said we did not tell her to delete it. well, yesterday before the state legislative committee
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investigating the lane closures of the george washington bridge, renna narrated a conversation she said she had with bridget kelly back in december when kelly told her to delete an e-mail referring to the lane closures. the legislative committee has also subpoenaed christie's chief campaign strategist and the one-time campaign manager of rudy giuliani's 2008 presidential run. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." any doubt that benghazi is a fundraising base mobilizing boondoggle for republicans was erased today. the national republican congressional committee, which fights for republicans to get elected to the house, sent out this fundraising e-mail, stand with congressman trey gowdy and house republicans as we fight for the truth about what happened with the benghazi terrorist attack. help fight liberals by donating today. sounds like rush limbaugh. earlier today, house speaker john boehner, who called for the
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establishment of a select committee to investigate benghazi re-enforced it would be republicans' main vehicle, their main vehicle of attack, this november. >> when is the administration going to tell the american people the truth? they've not told them the truth about benghazi. they've not told the truth about the irs. they've not told the truth about fast and furious. now, only one would have to guess if they are not willing to tell the american people the truth, it must not be very pretty. thanks. >> i thinkt was jack nicholson who said you can't handle the truth. one writer recalls a string of attacks in beirut, lebanon, during ronald reagan's presidency back in the '80s. mayor compares how lawmakers then investigating the attack, versus what republicans are doing now. here's the timeline for what happened in beirut during those years, april 18th, 1983, militants bombed the embassy in beirut, killing 63 people.
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a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into u.s. marine compound in beirut killing 241 servicemen. three months after a bipartisan report on the marine barracks bombing, militants again struck, this time kidnapping, torturing, and murdering a cia station chief. in september 1984, for the third time in 13 months, jihadists bombed an outpost in beirut. again, 21 people were killed, including two americans. following the horrific bombing of the marine barracks, a bipartisan house committee investigated. jane mayor writes tip o'neill was no pushover. he, like today's opposition leaders in the house, demanded an investigation, but a real one, and only one. instead of playing it for political points a house committee undertook a serious investigation over what went wrong in beirut and two months later issued a report, as well
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as responsibility up through the military chain of command and called for better security measures against terrorism in u.s. government installations throughout the world. in other words, congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful recommendations. well, david corn's an msnbc political analyst and brian is a senior fellow at the center for american progress. thank you, gentlemen, for joining us. david, and brian, you're both up to date on this. i remember, i'm going to start with this, after the horrific bombing of our marine barracks in october of '83, speaker o'neill, tip o'neill, my boss, stuck with the president. they stayed together on this without any real fingerpointing all the way through until the following year, and it wasn't until reagan basically said, we're pulling out but didn't tell anybody and after tip said we should pull out that it got bitter and negative, but for a long period there, including the period they had the committee investigating it, it was bipartisan. your thoughts, david? >> you know, chris, that was a
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great example of government working as it should, and it's not the only example. after 9/11, democrats and some republicans in congress pushed for an independent bipartisan, fully bipartisan, commission, the 9/11 commission. we're all familiar with the great job it did. also, during the iran contra investigation, arthur lyman, the director, the staff director of the senate committee, which was controlled by democrats, said very early on, we're not going to get into impeachment on this, even though some members of reagan's own circle feared that it might be impeachable, so he right away took politics out of this. again and again and again we have really good examples in history of a tragedy happening and investigation being put under way to see what happened and to prevent it from happening again, not investigations into talking points, not having a house speaker come out and saying they are lying. where? you know, john boehner should not be allowed to say that without coming forward and saying what is the lie, what did they get wrong and evaluating it.
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>> brian, not only are they raising money on this, the way they sell the story is, chris stevens and the other americans are dead because of the democrats' p.r. campaign. an absurd sort of taking what happened afterwards, which they can argue about, to what happened at the time. they keep trying the right-wing trick, conflated. and somehow make this absurd charge that was described afterwards on "meet the press" led to the death of chris stevens and the other americans. this is what tip o'neill never did back then, 9/11, as david points out, nobody's running around saying somebody had to be blamed. they tried to understand how this thing could happen. terrorism was coming at us and we try to figure it out before figure out whose fault it was. your thoughts? >> i got back from beirut a couple of days ago, i saw our ambassador and personnel. our exclusive focus should be protecting these individuals. these individuals are serving and sacrificing for our country,
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and this investigation that's just been announced has nothing at all to do about enhancing the security and the effectiveness of our diplomatic professionals. it is simply the republican party trying to raise money off the deaths of four americans serving their country in benghazi, and we've had multiple investigations, 25,000 pages of reports coming from investigations, and the state department, the pentagon, others, have enhanced their procedures. they've learned from the mistakes that were made, and there were mistakes made in benghazi, but there's no coverup, but my main point is this, those people that are sitting in our embassies overseas, that should be our exclusive focus and that's not what the republican party's talking about right now. >> you know, in graphic, big-time terms, talking about beirut and the particulars back then in '83 and '84, but david, seems to me the democrats never crassly blamed w. for 9/11. they joined in a bipartisan, truly bipartisan campaign to go
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to afghanistan and try to get the people who were behind it. they really did try to get together and try to catch bin laden. it was all united. this, after this tragedy, the reaction has been, how can we blame the other side, and it's really different, not just from beirut, but all these tragedies. every time you get hit by terrorist, it's going to be by surprise, not expected, and you're going to have to deal with it and pay for it and people are going to get killed and hurt, and you don't go every time and try to raise money on it, i don't think. that's not good politics. >> you remember back in the beirut attack, particularly the one on the marines, that at that point in time, reagan and others had been warned that keeping the marines deployed in that fashion could lead to a major disaster. yet he still did it, and we lost 241 lives, on top of the other dozens that came before and after, and even after that, even after that, democrats were not calling for impeachment, calling
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for his scalp, they were asking what went wrong on the ground, in the chain of command. they didn't make it a campaign issue. you could even argue they should have, but they chose not to, and it seems to me this notion we ban together after something goes wrong, try to figure out what happened and how to make things improve is totally out the window and it's all about getting out the base, appealing to the most extreme elements of the republican party. oh, yes, and making a buck. and does that surprise anyone at this stage of the game? i hope it doesn't. >> it's like being on a ship somewhere, a warship, and you've just been attacked and instead of responding with gun fire, you sit around the deck of the ship complaining about who didn't see them coming. that's what we're doing now. thank you, david corn and brian. coming up, a side of hillary clinton we don't usually see. that's next on the side show, and this is "hardball," the place for politics. .
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kentucky republican senator rand paul and media magnet rupert murdoch spent the day together at the kentucky derby. there's a speculation could sign a murdoch endorsement. >> nation, i love the hot new -- rupert and rand paul their own fun nickname, ru paul. work it. >> time now for the side show. that was, of course, stephen colbert on senator rand paul's courtship, if you will, of rupert murdoch at the kentucky derby saturday, but when it comes to the presidential horse race, murdoch isn't placing any bets just yet. anyway, next up, speculation about hillary clinton's 2016 plans have intensified as the media refocuses its intention on
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the politics of the late '90s, but on his show last night, jimmy kimmel noted former secretary clinton has been at ease lately, even when sharing some of the more intimate details of her life. take a listen. >> hillary clinton gave a keynote address in maryland. she also held a q&a session afterwards, and things got surprisingly personal. >> what is your guilty pleasure? >> let's see. >> are there that many? >> well, i'm just trying to think of, you know, the g-rated one. >> well, hello, madam secretary. >> next up, toronto's rob ford sen joying rehab so much he's already calling it the best decision he ever made. in fact, the embattled mayor of toronto told "the toronto sun" rehab, "he minds me of football
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camp, kind of like the washington redskins camp as a kid." ford didn't tell "the sun" when he'll leave rehab but he will be out in time for the october election. that's good rehab. coming up, american crackdown on the islamic group responsible for the kidnappings in nigeria. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. .
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when you take over 200 girls at one time, having killed almost 4,000 people in two years, it draws the nation and the world's attention for the immediacy of getting this thug. let's kill the cancer. let's drag out this vile person, who again, as i indicated, i just can't hold up this money often enough. this is it. this is slavery. >> that's u.s. congresswoman sheila jackson lee of texas with very strong words about that horror over in nigeria, where those hundreds of schoolgirls were taken prisoner and apparently are being sold into slavery. two u.s. senators are joining me now, senator amy klobuchar of minnesota and susan collins of maine. let me go to senator klobuchar,
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tell us what we know about it, what the limits are, what we can do, and perhaps what the real potential is to get these girls saved. senator klobuchar? >> chris, we know the 276 girls taken by gunpoint, kidnapped by boko haram, which literally means "western education is sinful." what we know is some of the girls have escaped, so we have some information, but most of them are still in captivity. the leader of boko haram has said, in fact, he is selling these girls into sex slavery, some for $12 a person. we do not know if that's true, and so what we have asked for, senator collins, the women of the senate, have come together and said, first of all, the u.n. has to declare boko haram as a terrorist organization. our government already has, and then we need to bring together international resources, which we are sending over now today we've learned france, great
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britain is, counterterrorism, we have to send over counterintelligence, we have to get people involved that can do hostage negotiating. right now, we do not know where these girls are, but we do know that the world is watching. for three weeks this was off the radar screen, and we know people were very understandably focused on the malaysia airlines and all the passengers and that horrible tragedy, but you look at this as 276 girls and the world just cannot let this happen. >> well, i don't think it will. i've seen the front pages now, you're right, senator klobuchar, partially because of your outrage it's gotten to the front page and senator collins, seems to come down to what we do. is it a s.e.a.l. team operation, is it a drone operation, how -- is it where you go in with a few men and you kill some people, is that what it's about? when i listen to sheila jackson lee from texas, sounds like she's got it figured out.
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it isn't a big army operation, it's a very exquisite operation, like the way the israelis did it, kill the people in your face and free the people. your thoughts. >> well, first of all, we've lost three weeks in trying to locate these schoolgirls, and that just breaks my heart and is inexcusable. it seems to me that the nigerian government should have asked us for help sooner, but also that the administration should have offered help sooner. in my judgment from the conversations that i've had with military experts, it would be possible to put in some special forces into nigeria. once we locate these girls and rescue them. we ought to at least try. in uganda, we have special forces that are going after criminal that is making soldiers out of young boys. why shouldn't we have the same
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kind of effort to rescue these innocent schoolgirls before they are either sold into slavery, forced into marriages at very young ages, and also required to convert. this is just a horrible situation, and the whole world ought to be outraged. but the fact is, the united states is the country that has the most assets that can be put to use, and we're very good at these kinds of operations. >> senator, let's listen to what former senator and former secretary of state hillary clinton had to say today. >> the seizure of these young women by this radical extremist group, boko haram, is abominable, it's criminal, it's an act of terrorism, and it really merits the fullest response possible, first and
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foremost, from the government of nigeria. the government of nigeria has been, in my view, somewhat derelict in its responsibility toward protecting boys and girls, men and women, in northern nigeria over the last years. >> senator klobuchar, bring us up to date. to what extent has the nigerian government accepted our offer of help? >> well, they have just accepted our offer of help. we understand from secretary kerry we were working from the beginning, but president jonathan of nigeria was sending signals out they had it under control, they were getting the girls. that was not the case. the world economic forum is going to be there in nigeria, and i hope this is a major topic. this isn't just in nigeria this is happening. millions of girls are sold into brothels, sold as sex slaves, the average age is 16. to talk to the mexican attorney
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general, head of the federal police are starting to get a handle on it there. if we want to elevate girls and women and make this part of our foreign policy, this is something that's just waiting to happen. it is something we could do with the rest of the world. we have our own problem in the united states, 83% of the victims are from our own country, and we literally should make this a major part of our foreign policy, because when we lift girls, we lift women and they participate in democracy and the economy, we have a much better, stronger, stable country an a much better, stronger, stable world. >> thank you so much, senator amy klobuchar of minnesota and senator susan collins of maine. we'll be right back. . to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews
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what's it like to get an angry phone call from bill clinton at 2:00 in the morning? well that's ahead. "hardball" back after this. she keeps you on your toes.
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>> well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution, you said in 2004 there was no difference between you and george bush on the war, and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004 and there's no difference in your voting record and hillary's ever since. give me a break. this whole thing is the biggest fairytale i've ever seen. >> fairytale, that fairytale comment almost led to the highest ranking congressman jim clyburn to end his neutrality before the south carolina primary between hillary clinton and barack obama. then the day before the south carolina primary, bill clinton said this. >> jesse jackson won in south carolina twice in '84 and '88 and he ran a good campaign, and senator obama's ran a good campaign here. >> clinton's mention of jackson was seen by a racially tinged criticism of president obama's candidacy. clyburn wrote about the phone
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call he received from the former president following hillary clinton's south carolina thumping. it's in his new memoir, "blessed experience." clyburn says, "his powerful voice came on the phone. experience. clyburn says, quote, his powerful voice came on the phone. the you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one. i had no need to identify that voice, it was bill clinton. he exploded using the word "bastard" again and accused me of causing her defeat and injecting race into the contest. well, clyburn and clinton have since made their piece. jim clyburn is a democrat from south carolina and author of "blessed experience." well, you know, mr. clyburn, thanks for joining us. blessed experience that experience don't seem to jibe. tell me how it all fit into your political memoir. >> thank you so much for having me, chris. the fact of the matter is, as i said in my preface to the book, all of my experiences have not been pleasant.
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but when i look back on them, all of them have been blessings. and that really was a blessing, but not -- i didn't feel that way at the time. i believe that i learned a lot during that primary. i learned a lot writing this book, about myself, about the people with whom i've interacted over the years, and i do believe that bill clinton and i are on very good terms these days and i think that we will be working together for the democrats going forward. >> you know, i don't think you'd call enemies up at 2:00 in the morning, because i know enough about politics to know that you don't want to alert them to what you really think of them. it seems to me it was an act of a weird kind of friendship. 2:00 in the morning, he calls you up. you were asleep, i guess, were you? and you were like, wait a minute, this was my old pal, giving me a lot of stuff here. what was your emotional reaction to that call?
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how did you react when bill clinton, the former president, comes on with that distinctive voice of his? >> well, i was not asleep. i usually stay up pretty late on election nights. and that was the night of the primary election and i was awake. but i was caught being off guard. i listened for a long time, before i replied. and when i did, i simply asked the president to tell me why he thought i had violated the neutrality that i had promised the democratic national committee i would maintain during that primary. of course, he felt that what i said injected race into the campaign. all i was saying was that we have to be very careful how we deal with that civil rights period and who should get credit for it.
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that's what started all of this. i don't believe that lyndon johnson was anymore important than martin luther king jr. they played different roles. we all have roles to play. and king played his role, johnson played his role, and as you know, chris, you've written about it, president kennedy laid a foundation back in 1963. i don't know whether or not king would have felt the way he did had he not started his interactions with john f. kennedy. so everybody had a role to play, and i don't know that any one of them was anymore important than the other. and you will find those kinds of experiences throughout this book. when i worked across the aisle to get certain things done, simply because i needed somebody else in a different role, sometimes even across the other side of the capitol to get things done.
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so that's what this book is all about. i thought about those tenth graders i used to quiche, as i wrote this book, and i wanted this book to be something that every young boy or girl, especially those who have had experiences like i've had, to gain something from it, learn from it, be motivated by it, and be able to really look upon all of their experiences, however unpleasant they might be, as possible blessings. >> well, i'm going to go read it. the name of the book is blessed experience. and after i read it, congressman, i'm going to have you on the talk about my questions. you have just sized up the great old reason why thomas jefferson said, when you're mad, count to ten. when you're really mad, count to a hundred before you talk. anyway, u.s. congressman james clyburn, author of "blessed experience." we'll be right back. if i told you that a free ten-second test
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could mean less waiting for things like security backups and file downloads you'd take that test, right? well, what are you waiting for? you could literally be done with the test by now.
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now you could have done it twice. this is awkward. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. let me finish tonight with the great advice i attribute to the late robert kennedy. hang a lantern on your problem. i headed my first book, "hardball," back in '88. i think it carries a tremendous value to old, young, and in between. i'm talking here about the in-betweens, the clintons. there is nothing more far fetched, i believe, for the clintons to act as if the monica lewinsky episode didn't occur. everyone knows it did, everyone. since everyone knows it occurred, speak and act accordingly. it was bad for the country, bad for al gore, who ultimately paid
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the price for it, and certainly, it appears, for monica lewinsky. what was bad about it was, i could argue, was the readiness of the clinton and those around them to deny the very existence of miss lewinsky. that was the game plan, portray her as a nut job who made up the story. and that game plan came to a crashing halt once the blue dress left its hanger in the closet. dna is one tough competitor when you go into the courtroom of public opinion. all that said, nobody's perfect, and in politics, i've discovered, none are even close. politics as a profession is about getting to the goal. the goal is the necessity. that being the case, there's always the problem of deciding if the ends justifies the means. the dumping on monica lewinsky was a way to protect the presidency, haul away. i don't think this condemns anyone. it shows the moral or the callousness of which the clintons were capable. this is me talking, someone who's been looking for perfection in politics all my life and continues to, but recognizing that all we have to choose from are those out there
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with the guts to ask us to be our leaders. i salute them for that and force myself to come to grips with what they choose and what they're willing to do to get there. that's "hardball" for now. it really is. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and in the sober morning light, republicans everywhere were sifting through what happened last night in the first big round of contested republican primaries. there are many headlines this morning about who won and the ceaseless battle between the tea party and the establishment, and whether the tea party beat the establishment, or the establishment beat the tea party, or the gop establishment became the tea party. but here, my friends, is the big winner from last night. the big winner that no one has been talking about. this guy. senator rand paul was not on the ballot in north carolina yesterday. but he had a proxy, who was