tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 31, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
it's going to reair this saturday night at 7:00 eastern. nada, let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris in washington. let me display this horrible display by the republicans in the house of representatives. after three weeks at the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, it became clear the congress will agree to give the president not a sinkal lincoln headed penny to deal with this crisis, nada, nothing, no way. nothing for the 57,000 young people now in the hands of the american people. the blame for this lies on the
reputation of a weak speaker of the house who was unable to even tie his sure without the daily permission of the tea caucus. a fiery texas senator called ted cruz when killed john boehner's hold on a majority vote. the failure of the president to take an out-front lead to correct the 2008 law against human trafficking passed by president george w. bush who helped owning the gate for the young people to come from central america and for senator harry reid to alleviate the border crisis with the comprehensive bill waiting action in the house. the effort to do a lot, compress their advantage by both sides, ended in the congress about to leave town and doing nothing at all as they pack their bags for
a five-week vacation. mission accomplished? you have to be kidding. basking on the afterglow is the party ring leader, ted cruz, whose sole purpose in politics is to parachute into moments like this and raise hell. emanuel cleaver is a democrat from new jersey, and joan is an editor at large at salon. congressman y have been listening to you lately, and you have a lot to say about it, but i'm dumbfounded by the utter incomp tense of our government. coming at this at a crisis mode for three weeks, everyone in america caring about those kids once way or another, and it looks like the congress is going to leave with nothing done. >> well, they're trying to talk about staying overnight and doing something tomorrow morning, but even that, chris, is absolutely nothing. this is insulting to the people of this country. insulting to people who are in washington because we thought we were here to solve problems. and i'm not a name caller, a bomb thrower, but i can tell you, i'm sick and tired of what's going on here in congress because there's nothing going on. and you know, there are people who it seems are coming, have come to washington for the sole
purpose of disrupting the government. they are anti-government. and people out in the country are the ones who are going to have to stop this. >> who wins when ted cruz, the senator from texas, the firebrand of all firebrands, he comes over and meets with a dozen of your republican colleagues. next thing you know, boehner, the supposed speaker, at least the nominal speaker of the house, finds he doesn't have a majority to do anything. what's going on where a senator, there he is walking across the capitol or whatever, and jamming everything up. >> well you know, in some ways i don't want to hate. it troubles me deeply, to believe that one human being can disrunt the compassion a nation of 300 million people. as a realist, that troubles me deeply, but i know there are people under regular circumstances are good and decent people, but they come around here with people who hate the government, and they're different. they don't get ulcers, they're carriers. that's what's going on here. we have a lot of carriers of
people who come in and get the whole body of politics sick. and we are sick right now. maybe sick unto death. >> is there a fear in the republican caucus anytime there's a line drawn, for example, are you for suing the president or not, you always have to be on the right side of that, the right-wing side of that? >> well, i mean, what people won't say, and nancy pelosi, i have to give her a lot of credit. she continues to remind people that was a question that the media dropped on her repeatedly during her speakership, and she always said impeachment is not on the table, no matter how many weapons of mass destruction were not found, that's not impeachment, speaker boehner won't do that. >> he doesn't want to offend anybody. he won't even say birtherism is wrong. he said, i don't want to tell people how i think. joan, we have been watching politics a lot, me longer than you. i have never seen such failure and fear.
they won't help those kids. they won't give them a nickel. as i one said, not one lincoln-headed penny. >> it's tragic, chris. the congressman is right. there are some carriers of a real sickness. ted cruz is doing his best to spread it. but bill kristol laid it out this morning in the weekly standard, i have to give him credit. he told the house gop kill this bill because we don't want you to do the heavy lifting of governor, having you back in your districts defending something you did or didn't do. we want to drop this on the president. we want the finger of blame pointing at one man, president obama, and we don't want you to get your hands dirty with compromise, with actually thinking about the complicated set of reasons that this problem wound up at our border. you can't do that. we don't want you implicated in governing. >> that's when you burn your own field so the enemy won't eat. >> it's sabotage dressed up as political genius. so it's not just ted cruz.
it's a lot of people, but ted cruz is the symbol, one man out for himself. no principle in this. he wants them to cut the funding for the deferring the deportations. it's not funded by congress. these applications, it's a self-funded program by application fees. they can't even cut the money. what he's trying to do can't even be done. that doesn't matter. what matters is grinding up the gears of government and making people believe we can't do anything as a country. and it's very sad. >> it's august vacation time. looks like congress is going to leave and not get this done, although there's a last-gasp chance tomorrow. look at this comment by the governor of texas. anger and outrage has already begun to pour in from members of the republican party after the house pulled the border bill. rick perry issued this statement. it's beyond belief congress is abandoning its post while our border crisis continues to create humanitarian suffering and illegal aliens pose a threat. congress should not go into
recess until our job is completed. do you think the republicans are going to scatter back tomorrow, have a quickie and pass it, and will it go anywhere in the senate? will we get anything to the president's desk? >> i don't it. they don't have the votes right now, so they're going to beat people up all night long and hope to have them tomorrow morning. and even then, it's going to be questionable. and if something comes across, it's going to be watered down from what it is now, trying to accommodate the far right in the republican conference. so when it gets over to senator reid and a more sensible senate, i don't think it's going to go anywhere, which ought to make americans so angry that they began to react to all of these people who come to washington to disrupt the nation. it is sick, and i'm sick of it. i hope the people around the country are sick of it and they'll come out and express their sickness in november. >> well, let me ask you about this, and i'll go to joan on this, too.
you know, back in 1948, i love history like you all do, too. i was thinking, harry truman had a do-nothing congress after world war ii. they did nothing except investigate people for communism. maybe they caught one here or there, but basically, they were wasting time. they used to open with a prayer and close with a probe, as someone once said. wasting time in investigations. darrell issa right across the floor. my question is, do you think the american people are going to vote for nothing, a party that stands for nothing, because that's what the republicans are saying? we'll do nothing. >> my fear is people don't realize there's only one human being who can bring a measure to the floor in the house of representatives. it's the speaker. i appreciate for the governor of texas is saying. that sounds like something i could have said. the problem is, he needs to instead of saying congress, he ought to say the republicans in congress. and call names, because my fear is that the american public does not understand the nuances and they may not understand that it
is the republicans, not the congress. it's the republicans. >> well, the border bureau of the house was reworked four times to appease the red hots and it still failed. july 8th, president obama asks congress for $3.7 billion to address the crisis on the border, all the young kids down there. the house does nothing until july 23rd and then it began putting together a $1.5 billion counter offer. three days after that, the package is scaled down to $1 billion. on july 29th rblths it shrunk to $659 million. last night, ted cruz began whipping support against it, so this morning, the speaker anonsed a package to get their support by announcing a plan to block the president's power to halt deportation of certain groups of immigrant children. this afternoon, still without enough support, the speaker pulled the bill from the floor. joanie tried to appeal, tried to pander to the regard right. it didn't work because as congressman cleaver just said, they don't want to be at peace. they want to say we don't have
our hands on this thing. >> exactly. if you read that statement that the speaker's office released, chris, where he says the president can take actions on his own without congress, that's what they're suing him for. that's what some want to impeach him for. they're saying he does too much through executive action, and now they're saying he can handle this through executive action. i know some of my friends in the mainstream media want to go on and on about how it's the left and democrats talking about impeachment. certainly, we didn't start it. i don't know we get to finish it either. this is designed to depict our president as a tyrant and dictator who is usurping power and they're now telling him to do it. then next week, they'll tell us they're going to impeach him over it. >> sorry for misproducing your name. emanuel sour who was around this place for years. you're far more lively and alive than that gentleman.
thank you for joining us very much tonight. and thank you, joan walsh. >> coming up, tea party types are thrilled with the immigration breakdown. a lot of hand wringing among establishment republicans about how much party this will cause them in november. they're the nada party, standing for nothing. also, the businessman on the stand, bob mcdonnell with his wife. while prosecutored showed notes with jonnie williams and mcdonnell to discuss a loan to mcdonnell. we're seeing a lot of quid pro quo stuff. a democratic congressman talked about how he was duped by the bush administration into voting for the war on iraq. there's some powerful recent history. let me finish with my question for all time. when it comes to our involvement in the iraq war. how did we get talked into it? not me, a lot of people. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
well, the congress is already on track to become the least productive in history. now, everyone's about to head out for five weeks of august vacation. let's compare this congress with congresses in the past. back in 1948, when harry truman famously ran against the do-nothing 80s congress, that group managed to enact 906 public laws. that's the blue bar all the way to the left. compare that to the 112th congress. but so far, this current 113th congress has enacted just 142 bills into law as of today. again, on tract to be the least productive ever and a lot of those bills are just -- let's make it maple sunday. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." yesterday, with republicans in congress racing to vote to sue him, president obama had these strong words, calling out the do-nothing congress. let's watch him. >> the main vote that they've scheduled for today is whether or not they decide to sue me for doing my job. they're mad because i'm doing my job. and by the way, i've told them, i said, i would be happy to do it with you. so the only reason i'm doing it on my own is because you don't do anything. but if you want, let's -- let's work together. >> you don't do anything. that's my favorite throw away line of his in a long time. as if on cue, congress lived up to the president's words by literally doing nothing in the face of the crisis on the border.
how will this play out with the american public and who will they blame? peter king of new york has his finger pointed in one direction, southward, to ted cruz. he told the washington post this morning, before republicans pulled the vote, quote, the obama white house should put ted cruz on the payroll. we have a chance to pass a good bill, not a perfect bill. boehner is working hard to get to 218 votes and yet there is ted cruz telling us to do nothing. if he wants to come over and run for speaker, that's fine, but otherwise he should stay over there in the senate. i love peter king. sometimes. steve mcmahon is a democratic strategist, and john is a republican strategist. this is set up politically for obvious reasons. john, it looks to me like the president has found a message. a harry truman message, which is i'm not running against the right. i'm running against nothing. these guys' whole strategy is freeze the ball, do nothing until the election is over. turn that into they're a lazy bunch of no-good people not out to help the people. you heard congressman cleaver.
>> and yet the president's approval ratings keep going down. >> let's get that straight, 41 to 7. >> we'll find out. i think this is going to be like all midterms, go to be a vote about president obama and his popularity. i think that's why republicans will do well. i have not given up hope on this border bill. i think they're going to meet tomorrow and pass something. it's going to be hard. >> where is it going to go? >> to the senate, and maybe they'll pass it, which they haven't done. >> let me ask you this, do you think congress deserves re-election based on its performance. forget party for a second. do you think congress which has a 7% approval rater led by republicans in the house, democrats in the senate, do you believe the body of congress has done a good job. >> i believe the house has done a much better job than the senate and why the senate is going to change control. >> are we living on the same planet? watching what they did today, john says he thinks the house is doing a better job than the senate, the senate that passed
an immigration reform bill. john is normally a level-headed republican. today, he's defending the indefensible. he's generally right what the midterms are, a referendum on the power, unless the boneheads in the other party step in the way and make a skeptical of things. >> like in 1998. >> like in 1998 and today. the president has found a voice and someone to run against. >> for three weeks, we had pretty good headlines about the american people. some think there's too much illegal immigration, but even within that group, there's a lot of sympathy for the kids because they came over from a horrific situation. not from mexico which has problems but not horrific problems. from places like honduras, like the worst neighborhood in the united states is better than that. people are actually conflicted, but then the republicans come along and say we're not doing nothing. how is that going to sell? nothing, not a nickel. >> ultinately, i think they are going to pass something tomorrow. i think that's why boehner is
pushing hard and why peter king -- >> who is going to flip? >> they're working on it. that's why peter king is so frustrated with ted cruz, who should run for speaker if he wants to be the speaker of house. they're going to get something and then bargain with the senate. >> how can one guy who verges on joe mccarthy every week in his talking about people, show up and walk the capitol, i never heard of a senator going to the house and lobbying. >> stunning, actually. i think that's why more and more house members are getting frustrated with cruz's leading role. >> isn't there a happy bunch of 30 of them waiting for orders? >> about 15 to 20. that's what makes it difficult. >> he comes over there, he brings the cameras. this people generally don't get on cameras. he has them over for pizza. >> it's like a movie like "mr. smith." they're on the take with this guy? >> well, i think that ultimately, a lot of these members are listening to the
views of the american people. and the phone lines for the american people are melting down. that's a problem. i think that for ted cruz and the speaker, they have to get on the same page and find a way to get this done. >> right now, it looks like the democrats could lose the senate this fall. how is this going to play? is it going to hurt the republican challenges. >> this is the best thing in the world for the democrats running for re-election in the house. the republicans trot out and the only thing they can pass is a bill to sue the president, or the only thing they can talk about or not talking about is taking impeachment off the table or not off the table. every time these conversations extend themselves, it's great for the democrats. it's not great about the things we talked about a few months ago. it's things that make even john boehner blush. >> almost every analyst understands and have predicted that the republicans are going to take over the senate. this has gotten worse for the democrats. >> let's listen to some of your
party members, guys you hang out with. steve stockman tweeted, quote, any border package that doesn't defund barack obama's amnesty is a crap chimichanga. those are his words. figure him out. and erick erickson defended ted cruz against critics tweeting, house gop twitter fans are behaver toward senator cruz like justin bieber fans after someone has pointed out his lack of talent. that's playing to the younger crowd. what deyou make of that? you have crazy people. the crazy card chasing after the speaker. >> that's not the person. they have to get other folks who are going to vote for the package and not worldy about the folks who are always going to vote no. >> is there more crazy people in the republican party? >> i think it's about the same amount of people. >> far more. >> i think actually with social media, people are more able to express their opinions in a crazy way. >> the tweeting world is filled. >> this is a story ability gerrymandering and 57% of the
republican base thinks the president should be impeached. these guys are trying to navigate the speakership and hold the house with a bunch of crazies who are perfectly willing to take you down, perfectly willing to vote to impeach the president and perfectly willing to change the entire conversation. >> let's stop right now, let's be fair. why doesn't the speaker take impeachment off the table? >> he has, like 30 times. the only one talking about impeachment is you guys. you do it because you want to raise money, and everybody knows it. >> did you see the fox news sunday show when scalise was asked to take it off the table, and he wouldn't do it. >> he's the leadership? >> the leadership. >> this morning, boehner warned obama not to take these actions. >> it the president takes these actions, he'll be sealing the deal on his legacy of lawlessness. he'll be violating the solemn oath he made to the american
people on the day of his inauguration. and he'll be sacrificing the integrity of our laws on the alter of political opportunism, and i can guarantee you the american people will hold him accountable. >> if it talks like a duck. constantly references the president giving up the integrity of his office, breaking this law, breaking the constitution over and over. you don't thick that's a threat? what is that? >> the politics of this are democrats don't want obama to overreach on immigration either. >> he's enforcing a law that was passed and promoted by george w. bush. >> he's decided not to follow the law. that's a real problem for senate democrats. you know that. >> you think the president is going to issue work permits? >> i don't know what he's going to do. >> i think there is an area he would be avoiding, but these are threats that are endemic. speaker of the house boehner talks like the tea party people
think. he talks about the president betraying the constitution, betraying the integrity of his office. all the lingo you would use in an impeachment trial. >> that's right. 57% of the republicans who vote in primaries would like to see congress impeach the president. and he's aware of that, and so is the tea party. >> are you in the 57 pest? >> i have lived through impeachment. it doesn't work politically. it's never going to get through the senate, so don't bother. we have tried impeachment. what we should probably do -- this lawsuit thing is not a bad alternative. >> would you do it. >> impeachment? >> you don't want to go back and read ken starr's feetnotes. thank you, steve and thank you, john. great to have you on. you were flacking a little bit tonight. up next, one of my colleagues responds to a coleague. you know who she is. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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so, when i heard that somebody at fox news said i should go soak my head, i was like, happy thursday, what else is now. then i found out it was shep smith. because i'm about to have that bucket of ice water dumped on my head, shep is going to have to make a $50 donation in my name to his favorite charity. >> that's rachel maddow responding to a challenge from shepherd smith. they're both participating in something called chilling for charity. and the concept is simple. if a person accepted the challenge and allows himself or herself to be drenched in ice water, the challenger must donate to a charity of his choosing or her choosing. let's take a look at how that played out. >> ready? >> couldn't be readier. >> i hate cold.
>> should we count down? >> ready? >> yeah, three, two, one. >> ahh! ahh! okay. bye. >> that's her executive producer, bill wolff. that's teakwork there. anyway, in turn, rachel has now challenged liz cheney. hopefully she'll take that plunge. the library of congress has released correspondent from warren g. harding and his miszerous. as we have seen from what was already publishled, they were decided lee r-rated. jimmy kimmel celebrated with a dramatic reading from a hip-hop artist who has something in common with the former president, his name. here is warren g. reciting the works of warren g. harding. >> here tonight to read the love letters written by warren g. harding, please welcome warren g.
>> honestly, i hurt with insatchant longing until i feel there will no longer be any relief until i take a long deaf wild draft on your lips and then bury my face in your pillowing breasts. oh, cary, wouldn't you like to get sopping wet out on superior, not the lake, but the joy of fevered fondling and melting kisses. >> wow. nothing changes. anyway, finally on monday, we look back at barack obama's keynote address, that 2004 democratic national convention. a lot has changed in the ten years since that speech, and david letterman made that perfectly clear. let's take a look.
>> we have a segment for you. i think this is a valuable comparison. it's called barack obama then, 2004, and now, present day. barack obama then, now. >> barack obama then. >> we are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes. all of us defending the united states of america. >> barack obama now. >> what are your ideas? >> see you next time on barack obama then, barack obama now. same barack time, same barack channel. >> anyway, up next, it wasn't person. it was strictly business. the businessman at the center of the ex-governor bob mcdonnell's trial now going on in virginia said he and the first couple weren't friends. the thing was all about money. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. when you run a business, you can't settle for slow.
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williams on the stand yesterday? >> well, this is -- this is a marathon. it's not going to be decided in a day, and we look forward to day after day the truth will come out. >> welcome back to "hardball." today, we're returning to peyton place, if you will. that was bon mcdonnell on his way into the court with the prosecutor's key witness, jonnie williams. be careful with guys like that, jonnie williams continued on the stand. a huge part of today's testimony involved establishing that williams and the former governor and first lady were not close friends, as they had claimed. the reporting on this soap opera have become primarily a burst of tweets. the trial is not on television, and we're getting some of the best from the washington post reporters. they were not my personal friends, williams says of the mcdonnells. i thought it was good for our company. he said of all the gifts he gave to them. they were also shown videos of mcdonnell telling the convention that williams was an old friend of the governor.
and he said, quote, i wasn't going to correct her, on mrs. mcdonnell's claim he was a close friend of the governor. finally, i knew it was wrong of the rolex watch he gave to the governor. i shouldn't have had to buy things to get the help i needed. inrolex watch he bought to the first lady so she could give it to her husband for christmas, was presented as evidence today and passed around by jurors. joining me now is katie glick and carol linnic who broke the story two years ago. i want to start with you at the post. i just think -- are you allowed to say you're skeptical of both arguments or do you have to say i'm just reporting this? >> reporters are always skeptical, but there's a lot of evidence that raises doubts about the idea that maureen mcdonnell was taking a lot of gifts from this fellow was she was interested in him romantically. there are a lot of things that raise fundamental questions about whether or not that's true. >> what about the prosecution
argument that they were not friends? that's coming from a guy who the governor thought was his friend? >> the prosecution has been hammering that home for weeks in terms of some of the prearguments and now in the trial. they're really trying to stress a case that this individual businessman really was pursuing this for out of business concerns and of course, the governor and the defense team are really pushing back. >> let's generalize this to the country. start to run for office at the local level. to run for state assembly. then you run for state senator and then you work for congress and you may work up to governor or senator. all along the line, you're picking up what we call friends. they're not necessarily a guy you grew up with, a woman that you grew up with. they're people who attach to you because you have these offices. they become your friends because you're in those offices. they're getting acquainted with a slot, and you're the slot.
you begin to take -- they take you to dinner. you try to honor the rules. you honor the rule says no lunch more than $3500 for lunch or some stupid rule like that. you can't take them to basketball games. they find a way to go on vacation together or to invite them to give a speech and have the perks that go with that. but this is, to me, typical politics. i want to start with you, carol, on this. you accumulate friends. then when they go to court, they throw you under the bus and say we were never friends. i was buying influence and i copped a plea. i'm going home. this guy is going to the can. >> it's true, jonnie williams got a great deal. all this immunity as a result of agreeing to tell prosecutors his side of the story. >> and what they wanted him to say? >> yeah, but you can't completely fake all of this. there is a lot of information that backs him up, but clearly, here's one problem with the friend thing you mentioned. when the fbi went to interview maureen the first time, she said jonnie is a good friend from forever.
he and my husband met decades ago. >> i love the way we pick these pictures sometimes. go ahead. >> that was a complete fabrication. when the fbi comes calling and asks you questions, you would think she would say they met for the first time in a plane when jonnie wanted access to my husband. >> you think they're making a pretty good case in court he was after influence, he was paying for it? >> today was a good day for the government. we'll see what happens. i'll agree with the governor, it's not all one day. >> your read, katie. do you think the government, the prosecutors are making a good case that this governor was bought? his wife was bought? >> i would agree with carol that today was a good day for the government. it was a number of revelations coming out. photographic, you know -- >> how about the rolex watch being passed around? why do you think the judge would say you have to hold it like a religious article? you have to have this in your hand. it's worth, what, $3,000? i wonder about people wondering where you can go. you have to go to pretty nice neighborhoods without somebody grabbing it. but the idea of a $3,000 item on
your hand. >> that sort of gave people sort of a clear sense of what money we are talking about. that was only one of the gifts that was talked about today. we have heard, you know, the whole gamut from trips for some of the mcdonnell children -- >> could it be people who never had their hands on a rolex watch and they knew the jury would never forget? >> i think the rolex is so critical, too, in today's sort of outlay of evidence, trying to say, look, this governor was on the take. first, they hand it around so you can see what it looks like, because remember the governor's son said, i didn't know it was real. and then they show the picture. >> you know what worked for me in the prosecution case? you start with this, the alleged or the testified argument that mrs. mcdonnell, the governor's wife, offered to this guy jonnie williams, she would go to every doctor in the state, there must be thousands of them in virginia, and sit with that doctor and make a case for this guy's products. that's one heck of a commitment. and why would you ever do that
except to get something for it? you don't do that for a pal. >> right, and a lot of scrutiny of their relationship. of course, in this trial, as a whole. that argument. >> that's not what you say to a guy you sort of like. i mean, if there is this flirtation going on, which could be harmless, of course. a lot of people like each other who don't get involved. that's normal. the idea she would say i'm going to every doctor in virginia to help self your stuff, sounds like a deal. >> that does bolster the prosecution's argument this was not just a friend situation and this had nothing to do with the crush that the defense was bringing up earlier this week. this was a business proposition. >> as you know, thanks to you guys in washington, it's a huge story. everybody who doesn't live here should know that washington is sort of between virginia and maryland. heavy influenced by maryland. this is a bedroom community. we thought this guy was kind of dull, mcdonnell? >> i remember, about six months before it broke open, people were saying, gosh, you have to interview him. he really understands the budget
and how to run a state. no one had any idea this was behind the scenes. >> a sad story. anyway, either way you look at it, if it's a flirtation, whatever it is, a lot of stuff changing hands that shouldn't have. thank you, katie and carol. one of the great reporters still working att the washington post. you guys have grabbed a lot of them. it's said the truth is the first casualty in war. coming up, how the iraq war proved that principle before the first shot was fired. this is "hardball," the place for politics. kelley blue book... it's the trusted resource. and now, kbb.com has a whole new way to help you decide on your next new car by showing you what really matters. use 5-year cost to own to compare the long term cost of maintenance, insurance and gas. read reviews. woman: gas milage is awesome. from actual owners and kelley blue book experts. and get the full picture on what it's like to own the cars you're considering
well, here's some new polling on a couple competitive races this fall. starting in michigan, according to a new mitchell research pole, gary peters, the democrat, lead republican terry linlinby five points. peters, 43%, lan, 48%. that's probably a must-win for democrats to keep the senate. next from arkansas, a republican challenger, tom cotton has a two-point edge on incumbent democrat mark pryor. cotton, 44%, pryor, 42%, and we'll be right back.
we're back. the u.s. invasion of iraq in 2003 and subsequent nine-year occupation has already gone down in history as one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in modern u.s. history. now, 11 years later, in an already war-torn iraq facing sectarian war, we all know that. a development that further emphasizes how disastrous george w. bush's decision to invade iraq was, replacing saddam hussein with chaos that is arguably a far greater threat to u.s. national security. a new book, the iraq lie provides new insight into the bush administration's case for war and the run-up to the invasion in 2003. specifically, he compares the intelligence the bush administration was getting themselves to what they were saying in turn to the american public, what they were selling, revealing the deceptive nature of white house statements like these from back in 2002. >> there is no doubt that saddam hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. >> each passing day could be the one on which the iraqi regime gives anthrax or vx nerve gas or some day a nuclear weapon to an ally. >> we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. joining me, the author, former u.s. congressman, a democrat, joe hoeffel, how he and many others got duped into voting for the iraq war authorization in 2002. it's great you've written this book.
>> thank you. >> this is part of what i consider the long-needed commission on this to find out the truth if there's ever going to be any reconciliation. my first question to you is, the mushroom cloud. the president of the united states, george w. bush, legitimately elected by the american people twice, sold the idea we were facing an existential threat, annihilation under a nuclear war. we were going to get hit with a mushroom cloud. it's going to come because saddam hussein is going to deliver it somehow to the united states on some balsawood plane. first of all, did they ever produce evidence of that ever -- they had the weapon, the delivery system, the vehicle to send it with? >> no evidence at all. >> why did everybody get sold with the idea of the mushroom cloud? >> it was a selling job by the bush white house. they took classified intelligence they were being given about the status of hussein's weapons of mass destruction. that intelligence was filled with caveats, reservations, uncertainties and they turned around and said in public it's absolute, it's certain, he's got weapons. he wants more. he's about to use them. and none of that was true. >> why did they spin it so to
pushing us into war if they weren't sure? in other words, they got the raw data, they knew the uncertainties. yet, was this a selling piece? they wanted to go to war for other reasons, middle east peace, pushing the rejectionist states with israel, was it about oil, was it about george w. being mad because they tried to kill his dad? what was the real motive behind all this dishonesty? >> some of all those. i think president bush thought he could establish -- >> who told him that? >> i don't know. >> he was listening to the intellectuals, the one he never listened to in college. when did you first begin to think you made a boo boo, classic blunder in voting for this bill? hillary clinton voted for it, john kerry voted for it, joe biden voted for it. a lot of people i like. ed markey voted for it. when did you decide you got something wrong here? >> well, i believed i had to vote to disarm saddam hussein, and i was uncertain about the
vote but i thought i had to do it. in the winter of '03, when the international inspectors were reporting to the u.n., they were not finding weapons, getting full access but there were no weapons, i began to realize there was a huge problem. >> what made you think -- when you saw that they were -- you never trust saddam hussein. basically the u.n. people going all over the place, couldn't find anything. what did you think then was driving the administration when they weren't getting any evidence? why were they pushing? >> i don't know. george bush is not will to reconsider his decisions. a great president would have called a time out, said, wait a minute, i'm basing this war on weapons of mass destruction, if they're not being found, i better hold back. bush, frankly, wasn't a good president. >> when bush got in there and realized there were no weapons of mass destruction, got in there and took a couple months, then were blaming the white house. the cia was blaming cheney. the special service of defense with wolfowitz and everybody.
what were we doing in iraq after we realized the goal was not going to be there, there was no goal line there, there was no weapons there? why did we stay? >> well, the country was committed. our troops were being shot at. >> yeah. >> the troops are in danger. once you go into -- once you invade a country, you know, you own it. >> you know teddy kennedy, the best vote he ever cast was nay. >> well, it was my worst vote. >> thank you. read the book. thank you. "the iraq lie" by joe hoeffel. a great congressman. thank you for coming on. and we'll be right back. [ laughs ] i'm flo! i know! i'm going to get you your rental car. this is so ridiculous. we're going to manage your entire repair process from paperwork to pickup, okay, little tiny baby? your car is ready, and your repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own it. the progressive service center -- a real place, where we really manage your claim from start to finish.
and get the fastest wifi included. comcast business. built for business. let me finish tonight with this insiders account we got tonight from a u.s. congressman, a democrat, who voted for the iraq war. who did it based on the sales pitch from the bush white house. "i oppose the iraq war ever since i saw it coming in the days after 9/11, when i got word paul wolfowitz of the defense department was pushing it at that first meet in camp david. i'd gotten word that w. had pushed back on that argument then, only to realize that some time later before the end of the year, bush had set us on the course for war. my question for all times is how a president of such limited ability was able to sell this country on a war with a country that had not attacked us. that led the united states of america on a mission to take over a country in the middle east, a country that was only, not only secular and opposed to islamism, but served back then
against iran. what we were thinking? one thing we were led to think and think a lot about a mushroom cloud over our country. a nuclear weapon somehow delivered here on some kind of vehicle, a ghastly scenario we were instructed could well occur if congress and the american people did not make war in iraq. that was the benefit of a war. keeping that mushroom cloud from occurring. as for the cost of the war, well, we were told it was going to be a cakewalk. a slam dunk. a matter of a few weeks dick cheney said with his usual avuncular assurance. go worry, we were told. at a very cheap price, we'd also get the bonus we were assured by administration insiders that the war would pay for itself and would get cheap gas afterwards to boot. such a deal. well, someday, while all the people are still with us, we ought to have one of those commissions, truth and reconciliation jobs to settle who pulled off this number and maybe, maybe learn when in their truculent hearts they used to
justify it. that's "hardball." > every now and then we come across exceptional moments, when the normal routine becomes anything but. >> the only thing i could think of was get the fire out. >> when the day leaves us battered. tossed around and falling flat on our face. moments when we can't believe what we're seeing or who we're seeing, and moments we never see coming. >> when i came to, i trued to get up, but i couldn't. they all share one thing in common. >> i didn't expect that. >> it was totally unexpected. completely unexpected.