tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC February 18, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST
were there. the selfie taking has begun. this is going to be the last time that hillary clinton and bernie sanders will appear on the same stage if sequentially before nevada turns out for its caucuses which happens the day after tomorrow. it's coming up really fast. jose and chuck todd, i think did a really good job tonight. it was a nice mix of hard questions and hard follow-ups from them as sort of comoderators but also hard questions, mostly with follow-ups from an enthusiastic but pretty hard nosed audience there in las vegas. i will give you my top line perception watching first bernie sanders and then hillary clinton again in this town towel forum. they can't be on stage at the same time. my impression was both candidates were really fired up, really intense. both clearly are fighting very, very hard for this nomination. they both seemed confident. at one point i was struck,
senator sanders said he looks forward to winning the nomination. and later on when secretary clinton took the stage she said she wants to win the nomination quickly. so she can get to work. so of they are both judgment exuding confidence but also intensity in what is turning out to be a very, very hard fought race. joining us from nevada is my colleague chris hayes, the host of all in with chris hayes on msnbc, one of the smartest men on earth and jon ralston, the dean of the nevada press pool. at the hosts ralston live on pbs and an msnbc political analyst. chris, i want your general impression of what you saw from both candidates tonight. any big news making moments? >> you know, i think you're right they were both -- it was very high energy. they were both ampd up. i also thought the kind of questioning they got, it's sort of striking when you get citizen
questions at town halls the level of policy detail. there are things that matter to a person's live, the five or eight-year bar on re-entry which got talked about tonight, the nitty gritty of whether the debt-free college plan proposed by heavyweight would apply in equal measure to people on dacha. to the people that are living them are not granular. they're their whole lives. i thought they both did a pretty good job of engaging with that. you could tell there were moments for each when they were out of their depth with the person asking the question. they're trying to brief on 100 issues. the person asking the question says this is the issue that matters most to me. they both did a pretty good job of doing that politician thing of zooming out when they needed to me. it was striking how issue focused the questions were and how concrete what these voters
were looking for was. >> yes, and i -- to that point, that's why i pointed out we got follow-up questions from the questioners. people are talking about questions that derive from their own lives, they are experts on those questions and they don't suffer generalist answers easily. we got very tough follow-ups from people in the audience, first to senator sanders and then to secretary clinton. jon ralston, did you hear things tonight that you think would resonate with nevadans? did these candidates pitch their message appropriately for your state? >> you know, rachel, i don't think we heard anything really new from either of them. i agree with chris, not only was it striking the policy detail and the emotion that some of these real people -- they're not like us, they're real people out there. you know what else they did really well is they asked great follow-up questions. they listened and knew the answer was not complete and they followed up which was great. to see real people with real problems in their lives things
we write about or just talk about but can't experience, i thought that is what makes an atmosphere like there so great. this is what is people don't understand about bernie sanders. he's a very good politician. he is very disciplined. he knows what he wants to say and how he says it. chris is right. they both got caught off guard a couple of times. you saw hillary clinton with the one guy who was a sanders supporter who got two the bites at her and she got a little irritated i thought. bernie sanders is naturally agitated so you didn't see it as much. >> john, let me follow you on that a little bit. do you feel like, either of these candidates either did themselves any harm tonight talking about maybe having been caught off guard in some of the policy back and forths or taking really sharp questions from real people, did either of them do themselves any harm or did either of them really help
themselves? >> i'm not sure anything really changed the political dynamic of what's going on in this state with what happened tonight. unless i missed it rk, neither them made a significant gaffe. they're stuck to what they've been saying all along. >> the thing that struck me because a lot of questions were about immigration tonight. obviously we're in a state now out past iowa, new hampshire, more diverse electorate. immigrationing is a place where there is not a huge difference between the candidates. bernie sanders had to defend the vote against mccain-kennedy in 2007. chuck todd asked this question many times. it's an important question. to me it looms over all this, which is are you going to prioritize this? are you going to move first on this? because i think the people anthem have watched this fail twice now, they have watched it fail because the longer it's out there, the easier it is to kill
because the forces opposed to it are so organized and so indefatiguable. that is a key thing how each candidate projects their level of he enthusiasm, passion, and prime sill for that issue. i don't think there's a clear winner tonight. that is the terrain that i think we'll see it played on much more as we go forward. >> rachel, if there was a bit of news. >> go ahead, john. >> i'm sorry. if there was a bit of news, it's the prime ministry. we have not heard i'm going too get it done in the first 100 days before. i wonder why that would come up two days before the caucus, suddenly there's more urgency. so i think that's why that was said tonight. the fight over the latino vote here in nevada has become a pitched battle. you saw hillary clinton and bernie sanders right before this town hall go to a union protest, culinary union protest. hillary clinton has been to the back of the house four different times in the hotels.
bernie sanders has been pulling the latin cohort away from her, latino cohoert away from her. she's fighting for that. suddenly it's priority for the first 100 days. i don't think that's a coincidence. >> i was going to say even though we've seen chuck todd specifically press hillary clinton on that issue before, i think she did he go farther. she did go farther tonight in saying she would put it the basically in the first things she was going to do, you the it in the first 100 days. i think that is a fairly new commitment from her. john, you mentioned the culinary workers there. they played such a big role in the caucus in 2008. that was basically everything at least that the national media focused on in terms of the organizational strength that they had in the caucuses. they are formally sitting out here. does that mean they're not going to be a factor on saturday or what role do you expect them to have? >> it's a great question. as you remember, they endorsed obama early in 2008 and they put their own personal -- the
credibility of the union and its leaders was on the line. they went all out to get the union folks to turn out and support barack obama. the clintons went into the casinos as hillary is now mimicking now to try to divide the workers. she ended up winning. there was a record turnout for nevada. the culinary union is never completely on the sidelines. there were some developments today. you had "the new york times" break at story that harry reid had called the leaders of the union and said encourage your work persons there's half a dozen strip sites. there's cynicism he's trying to help hillary clinton because she's hurt by the union not doing what everyone thinks they're going to do and endorse her. i don't think they can turn out hillary clinton voters. his message of income inequality, economic justice resonates with some of those culinary work persons they're sitting it out compared to 2008 which is why people think turnout will be down from then.
they'll be active in getting workers to the polls in the casinos. >> chris, nevada race is such at point for the democratic race overall. iowa and new hampshire have a lot going for them. they're very different from one another. the one thing in common is they're really, really white compared to the rift of the country. starting in nevada but for a lot of states thereafter, it's a much more diverse electorate, latinoen an african-american electorate. do you feel like heading into that portion of the contest that hillary clinton and bernie sanders have to transform themselves are they basically driving a car that's already tuned in that direction to try to appeal to, as white candidates trying to appeal to nonwhite electorates? >> i think they both starred making that move ahead of even getting out of iowa and new hampshire. it has been really noticeable. once we've been out of iowa and new hampshire, just the power, frankly, the demographic power and political capital that lies
in black and latina workers in the current modern democratic coalition even compared to 20 years ago. barack obama has proven that you can basically lose large shares of the white vote and still be elected to a national majority with the obama coalition. that cloelgs is the thing that's up for grabs right now. it's the thing hillary clinton thinks she can maintain to victory. this is the first test of what the obama coalition is going to look like in choosing between these two candidates because we have a state that is not so the blindingly white as iowa and new hampshire. keep in mind, we've got nevada and we've got south carolina and three days after that, there's a huge number of states. no one can run state by campaigns there. you've got to start looking both at the state polling but also what are those internals, what are the cross tabs lookinging in national polling,ing is bernie sanders particularly among african-americans making up enough of that? we're starting to see movement there. it's not happening in south carolina. saturday is the first real big test of what have this
electorate post obama is going to do, who they feel more comfortable with. >> that's right. everywhere from alabama to georgia to tennessee to that march 1st date is going to be a very big deal. chris hayes, jon ralston, thank you both so much for joining us from nevada. great to have you both on tonight. thank you gentlemen. there were lots of great moments up close with the candidates in nevada tonight. lots of good questions asked both by the moderators and by the people in the audience. and the audience seemed generally enthusiastic, didn't seem particularly partisan. there was some booing, some cheering. but this was kind of a fun night. take a look. >> there are some democrats who want to continue the president's policies. why should they trust you as somebody who wanted him. >> somebody asked -- by the way, there is one of the two the democratic candidates here who actually ran against barack obama. it wasn't me.
all right. second of all, you know, i have worked very closely with president obama over the last seven years. he is a friend of mine. >> senator sanders has also attacked president obama and called him weak, disappointing. he tried to get somebody to run against him in the 2012 election in the primary. and you know, i just don't know where all this comes from because maybe it's that senator sanders wasn't really a democrat till he decided to run for president. he doesn't even know, you know, what the last two the democratic presidents did. and you know, well, it's true. it's true. you know it's true. i mean, it happens to be true. >> i consider myself a strong feminist. and in fact, gloria stein ham, everybody know she's one of the leading feminists that america made me an honorary woman many, many years ago. i don't know exactly what ha meant, but i accepted it. when she came to campaign for me.
>> i'm hoping if we win back the senate and we win the white house again, the republicans are going to see the error of their ways and quit using imgroonts divide our country and quit taking the kind of mean-spirited actions that they do. you know, i was the first person to call out donald trump. i said, busta, enough of this presently disand paranoiaen at kind of language that he uses. so -- i will doll everything i can, not only for the young people deserve the highest protection, but for their families, as well. >> you know, people can agree with barack obama. you can disagree with barack obama. but anybody who doesn't understand that the kind of obstructionism and hatred thrown at this man, the idea of making him a delegitimate president by suggesting he was not born in america because his dad came from kenya, no one asked me whether i'm a citizen or not.
my father came from poland. gee, what's the difference? maybe the color of our skin. >> i understand that somebody asked senator sanders a question because her husband was in mexico. i don't know hop asked that question. and i want to tell you, i will end the three and ten-year bar provision so that you do not have to face that is ever again. >> there were about 350 people in the room at that town hall tonight in nevada with hillary clinton and bernie sanders. maybe it's just because i'm a politics dork but i think that was fun and feisty. the question though is, other than fun and feisty, is it important, is it going to shift the race? joining us now from las vegas is university of texas professor and contributor victoria defrancesco and maria kumer. victoria, you were in the
audience tonight. what were your top line impressions how these twos candidates did? >> it was a lot of fun, rachel. obviously, the issue of immigration was at the forefront. i think they did very well in underlining their support for comprehensive immigration reform. however, one thing that i did not see and i want to see more of is what happens if they don't get citizenship? will they accept legal status because we know from surveys of the latino population that latinos want to come out of the shadows. if they have to pick staying in the shadows and taking a legal legal path without citizenship, the latino majority says we'll take the legal path. i didn't see that nuance. i'm hoping as we go into super tuesday and into texas, we drill more into the details because they're both for comprehensive immigration reform but let's get to the political realities of what washington is like.
>> maria teresa, you were on the ground in nevada recently talking to caucusgoers including first time caucusgoers. in terms of the depth of policy here, is that going to be the grounds on which people make their decision between these two candidates? is that the grounds on which people decide whether or not to go out, whether they feel there's real mastery and commitment on these issues? >> i think that's part of it. when you look at first time caucusgoers, first time voters in most immigrant communities, i liken them to buying their first car. they ask the tough questions to see how much mileage is a car is going to get. if it works, they bet on you. that's what they're doing. if you saw a lot of questions being asked today, they were quite sophisticated for first time voters. they're getting into the meat and potatoes of it. i want to talk about the whole idea what we're seeing on the ground when it comes to why many of the unions don't want to endorse. it's because there is a real big
split between the leadership who really wants to pull for hillary clinton and the membership who is a younger generation who wants to go for bernie sanders. and they don't want to have those conversations but it's a leadership struggle within their membership. they want to say, we're going to take a step back. the thing we don't want to do is create ruckus and when they're at the end of the day of the democratic nominee when they're going to need us. that's one of the things they're not talking about but that's one of the things i was able to gather while i was on the ground. >> let me follow with you on that. i mean, obviously, if there is a leadership, membership split than as keeping the unions at least defacto on the sidelines, that's a real question as to whether or not the democratic party is going to suffer overall in terms of democratic turnout, in terms of latino turnout if the unions aren't playing their enthusiastic we are on one side and organizing for our candidate kind of role. do you expect that to be suppress anybody terms of the overall turnout and enthesethus
yax? >> i think that's why harry reid started talking to the workers. historically whatever he says goes. in this case, we're having trouble -- the young man that asked account last question to hillary that took two bites as the her was a union worker. he was probably wearing a pin but he was demonstrative of what the union is facing. leadership wants to be gung ho and support hillary, but the membership because it's younger what bernie is saying is really resonating with them. >> victoria, let me ask you in terms of the differentiation between these candidates. go ahead, jump in. >> well, i was going to say that split we're seeing with the unions, we're also seeing it within families here on the ground in nevada in talking to folks hogs have been doing outreach. you see the high schoolers excited about bernie sanders. but their parents are hillary supporters. so what we're seeing is a split enthusiasm. the real question is going to be, are we going to see the
parents convince the kids to go one way or the kids to go with the parents the other way. i am optimistic weigh are seeing enthusiasm on both fronts. ultimately will they come together and support one candidate? that's the question. but the enthusiasm is here on the ground. >> but -- >> and the thing to watch for. >> i think one of the things that i would encourage the both candidates to look at, when i was on the ground, we had an opportunity to have conversations with two young latina business owners. one who was going to caucus because of the messages they were hearing from people mobilizing on the ground and those who were not. the reason she was not going to caucus not one of the political campaigns will actually reached out to her. so this is low hanging fruit. so i think that when you look at hillary, she has to i would caution her. if she goes too much to the left when it comes to going after the white house, she's going to have to basically figure out how to bring in a lot of moderate
republicans that went for george bush perhaps and a lot of individuals that are interested in the issues when it comes to small business, things that don't necessarily resonate with the bernie sanders extreme left if that makes any sense. >> it does make sense. it shows the complexity of what these candidates have to do in addition to the logistical complexity of trying to get people to the caucuses which on saturday is one of the big black boxes in terms of how this turns out. maria kumar and victoria defrancesco, appreciate having both of you with us tonight. thank you so. much more to discuss about tonight's democratic town hall as well as an interview with one of its moderators, plus my exclusive interview with vice president joe biden today. that is both why i'm at a train station and straight ahead. stay with us. hey!
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of night you usually expect to see me but here i am live, we've got an interview with one of the moderators of the forum which wrapped up a short time ago in vegas. i got a fairly epic sitdown, a one-on-one with vice president joe biden. he talked about everything from donald trump's new war with pope francis of all people to what's about to happen with the vacate supreme court seat. it's all straight ahead. nte supreme court seat. it's all straight ahead. supreme court seat. it's all straight ahead. hundreds of crash simulations. thousands of hours of painstaking craftsmanship. and an infinite reserve of patience... ...to create a vehicle that looks, drives and thinks like nothing else on the road.
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if people starred thinking about candidates out there, to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what obama is doing. up. >> all right. that was you in 2011. understand that. >> but that was in response to a question on a radio show. this is a media issue. this is one thing i said on one radio show many, many years ago. media likes that issue. >> you were pretty tough on bill clinton's record and you said you hit his record on wall street. you said this was a guy who wanted to deregulate wall street, for welfare reform, and got nafta through. it didn't sound like a presidency you were very pleased with. >> i was asked to comment on bill clinton's very, very strong criticism rfz me. chuck put it into context. it wasn't that i went around attacking bill clinton. it was bill clinton has been on the campaign trail making some very nasty comments about me. i was asked about that.
>> one way you know you're doing it right is when you get to the testy moments with your candidates. and there were those this evening in las vegas. joining us now is jose diaz-balart and the host of the run down. you did a great job. thank you for being with us. i'm sure you're exhausted. >> thank you. not at all. i'm excited, thrilled, enthusiastic about that. >> well, the candidates were both absolutely psyched. they were both incredibly intense. they seemed fired up. they both got a little bit testy and feisty with you guys. did you sense a difference in them in terms of their disposition towards this event last night? >> i did. i think that they both realized that things are getting closer and tighter, than maybe both expected in places like nevada or as we lake to say, the original way, nevada. but they came in and they were very you know clear on their
positions. and rachel, finally, i am so excited about the fact that tonight both hillary clinton and bernie sanders were able to hear from people that really represent a lot of what the united states is like. from coast to coast. not only the 53 million latinos that live in this country and that contribute every day to this economy and to this culture but also issues that have affected everyone. i'm glad that there was a family there that a mother who told bernie sanders and then later hillary clinton talked about the fact that her husband was deported and that husband has not been able to see his daughter grow up. i'm glad that you see a face there because you know what, rachel? that's reality every single day of people's lives. and the mortgage crisis and how financial institutions targeted and exploited latinos and african-americans so that they could prosper even more on the backs of hard working people and no one really has a face to that
crisis. i'm so glad. finally, they saw the faces of those affected in places not just like iowa and new hampshire. so yeah, i think they're also reacting to what they were feeling and sensing in this room. >> and you know, the thing that was so important about those interactions you're describing, those people able to talk to the candidates face to face today at your forum, they were speaking in detail about policies that they didn't want platitudes on. they wanted direct answers. so it was great you guys let the people in the audience does follow-ups because they would get the nice politically correct stump speech answer but time and time again from the audience, the people would say no, but how are you going to get that accomplished? when? i've been waiting six years. >> how long is it going to take. >> you how did that candidate handle the pressure trying to pin them down on the specs?
>> i think they did well. i think they both did well. i think you should react with passion and compassion to people's lives, stories that really aren't just semantic had discussions at a dinner table or on a chalk board. there's a little girl right here who came tonight who hasn't been able to see her father in six years. i mean, you know, those are real people that are feeling the direct effect of political action or inaction in washington, d.c. and so i think it's good that passion is confronted with passion. and i certainly hope that they, both of those candidates, see what america is and it includes that doctor that speaks five languages. and that wanted the answer from bernie sanders ob how do i deal, what do i tell my children about islammophobia when a man is
spending 14 hours a day treating people in this country with the love and concern of you know, blessed hands. and he has to ask, how do i tell my children that being american sometimes means also being attacked or insulted because of the religion you profess. you know? these are real crises at homes on a dinner table. conversations between papi and mommy and their children and their abuelos. i'm glad there was passion and reaction by having passion, as well. >> that's right. it shows us a human side of these candidates in a way we don't see. congratulations jose, co-host of tonight's town hall. host of the rundown with jose diaz-balart. congratulations. it was really, really fun to watch. rev latory. thanks. all right.
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the reason i'm coming to you from a train station in union depot in the st. paul, minnesota which is lovely is because here today i got an exclusive face to face interview with vice president joe biden. and it was at this train station that i just decided to stay. if you were curious as to how vice president biden would score a fight between donald trump and the pope, that came up in our discussion. >> have to you ask you as a catholic and as an obber of 2016, what do you think about that? >> pope francis, trump. that's not hard call for me. not even close. >> an pampl not a hard call. the rest of that conversation is straight ahead. stay with us. connected. right now at at&t, buy one get one free on our most popular smartphones. no matter how you hang out, share every minute of it.
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plug in some simple info and get up to 50 free quotes. choose the lowest and hit purchase. now...if you'll excuse me, i'm late for an important function. compare.com. saving humanity from high insurance rates. ♪ no, you're not ♪ yogonna watch it! ♪tch it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. pope francis did his big cross border mass yesterday. >> i love that guy.
>> he is a worldwide figure in a way that the not all popes have been. on his way home from his six-day trip to mexico on his plane, he made remarks to reporters today, and he was specifically asked about donald trump. and he said anybody who is building walls instead of building bridges is not a christian. and mr. trump has reacted to this called it disgraceful. the pope's remarks and said that nobody should question his faith. i have to ask you as a catholic and as an obber of 2016, what you think about that. >> pope francis, trump, that's not hard call for me. not even close. i mean, i just -- i -- oh. >> is it fair to say somebody wants to build a wall by definition isn't a christian? >> well, i am not a theologian nor am i a priest or a minister, but i think building walls is
fundamentally contrary to what made this country what it is. we're a pluralistic society and it functions. look around the world. every other country where there's absolute chaos now, what it is? they're pluralistic without consensus. look at almost every single country from syria to iraq to iran to ukraine, no matter where it is. and i just think it is totally counter to our tradition. should we have border security, yes. but the idea of the united states erecting a wall for the world to see makes a lie you have everything we say about ourselves. it's a little bit like why the president, i feel so strongly about closing guantanamo. it is inconsistent with who we are. we have a bill of rights. we have -- we have trial by jury. we have a notion that you are --
that you're innocent till you're proven guilty. we have all these things. look, i've been saying for the last nine years, our power comes as much from our respect of the world comes as much from the exercise of our power, as it does from the power of our principles. i mean, it is you know, why do people like america? they say well, you have the largest military in the world. because you have the, you know, you have more people, et cetera. they like america for what we stand for. and one of the things i'm so proud of being with this president for the last seven years is we have once again aligned our basic fundamental beliefs and principles with our conduct. and it matters. it matters in terms of our security, it matters in terms of our ability to influence the world. it matters in our bait to the succeed.
>> briefly, just as a follow-up to that, president obama was asked this week, if he could imagine mr. trump becoming the nominee of the republican party, the president reiterated that mr. trump will never be president. very definitely getting around the question of whether or not the republican party is going to nominate him. i'll just put that to you, as well. do you there he will be the nominee? do you think that could happen? >> i think it is -- i think he very possibly could be nominated and depending on how this au plays out, i would take him seriously in terms of being able to win because he's appealing to a very, very -- he's appealing to fear. he's appealing to, you know that old expression, everybody asks me why is trump able to win in those 16 people. there's an old expression, in the land of the blind, is the one-eyed man is king. it's not who's running.
so i'm not very good at prognosticating but i would not be surprised if he's the nominee. i would be surprised if he got elected. >> >> vice president biden telling me today here in minnesota that he would not be surprised if donald trump becomes the nominee of the republican party but he would be surprised if mr. trump is elected president. which is kind of big news. vice president biden also made news here with me today on the very pressing matter of the vacancy on the supreme court. and that's ahead. >> keep in mind, raiching, if we don't nominate someone in the next month or so, start the hearing process, and they say nothing's going to happen till the nextlection, won't be till next june or july before you have a new supreme court justice. where you come from. we didn't really have anything, you know. but, we made do. vo: know you can craft an investment plan as strong as your values. al, how you doing. hey, mr. hamilton.
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chatter that there's been some significant discussion that you might conceivably be the president's choice especially under these unusual political circumstances. talk about one person who could get through and maybe nobody else could. if the president asked you to do it, would you say yes? >> oof. his answer is next. stay with us.
be going to justice scalia's funeral on saturday. he was confirmed unanimously by the senate in 1986. you voted for him. >> yep. >> you said years later that you regretted that vote. you said he was a fine, honorable and decent man but you wished you had not voted for him. >> i went on to say because he's so effective. his i call contain, he calls strict constructionist of how to read the constitution was different than mine. i think it's a living document. he thinks it's a dead document in the since that exactly what it says basically is what it meant at the time. and so we end up with very different positions. i became friends with him. i love his wife maureen. and his son carl. i mean, it's -- we've got jill and i have gotten to know them. i have great respect for him. like the president said, he was probably one of the most significant justices in the history of the united states of america in terms of impact on
the court. it's kind of like, you know, i wish i had picked so and so on my team because look at all the home runs he hit. but that's what i regret is he was so successful in taking the court a direction different than i thought it should be taken. >> in the senate, you ran confirmation hearings for i think five different supreme court nominees. >> i think eight. i don't know. >> at least five. >> they tell me other than jim east lund, i presided over more nominations than anybody else. >> you didn't vote for all the nominees in the hearings you oversaw. you convened them. they all went to the floor for a vote. why do you think republicans are saying that president obama shouldn't even nominate someone to fill justice scalia's seat? >> choose my words here. i think because they're intimidated by the dominant element of the republican party.
the national politics right now, the far right, i think they're intimidated by it. i think it's the tail wagging the dog. i think the leadership make sure they got out ahead of ted cruz. i don't believe in their heart they think this makes sense. we've never done this before. keep in mind, if we don't start, if we don't nominate someone in the next month or so, start the hearing process, they say nothing's going to happen till the next election, it won't be before gentlemen nun or july before you have a new supreme court justice. we don't need a disfoundational supreme court. >> if we have a vacancy at the supreme court for 18 months, is that a au constitutional crisis? >> it is a political problem of a different order because you're not going to get resolution potentially. on serious issues that require resolution. for example, you know, it was interesting how back when warren
was deciding brown versus the board, he had the votes but he wouldn't actually bring the decision up till he had one southerner who sld support it because he knew that if it was -- if every southerner on the bench was against it, it would be viewed as a north, south and it would legitimize people in the south saying we're not going to participate in there. there is a -- the court is not just made up of those individuals. it's a body. it's an organic organization. and to have it as you know, that's why it's an uneven number. that's why there's nine. and there's so many important decisions that have to be resolved that affect us internationally and nationally that i don't think it's responsible at all. and by the way, you know, this idea of i remember george mitchell, i was doing the clarence thomas hearing and there were 48 senators declared they were not prepared to vote for him.
at the front end. we could have filibustered that and stopped it. george and i, but george was the leader at the time, took the heat from every liberal group saying no, no, that's not the way the system is supposed to work. since the constitution the president shall propose the constitutional shall dispose, we're going to let them hear this. >> you thought it would be new or it seemed it might be no, you wanted to let the process go forward. >> that's what the constitution calls for. by the way, thomas only got 48 votes. and you know, that's -- that's filibuster proof. you need 60 votes to break it. so we coeasily, not easily, we could have stopped him from being ot court but it would -- it was -- it was a prostitution of the constitution. that's not how it's supposed to work. and the system matters. it matters a lot. procedure matters. >> do you have faith that there
is going to happen the way that you're describing it should? do you there that there is going to be a break with all precedent? >> i have faith that the president and he's asked me to advise him as i have on the last two, is going to appoint someone who is qualified by qualified meaning they have the judicial temperament, they have no crimes of northerly turpitude. they are someone who have an open mind and listen on the court. i think we ought to be able to find a consensus candidate that meets that criteria. because the senate does have a right to have a say in who and what the philosophy of the nominee is, but they only get to dispose. the president proposes. i'll tell you a quick story. when bork was defeated and then ginsberg pulled out, i was chairman and reagan called me down to the oval office and howard baker was then his chief
of staff. the three of us sat in the oval. and he sat down. he was gregarious and he said okay, joe, who do you want. i said, mr. president, yours is a propose. mine is dispose. you tell me who you have in mind and i'll give you an honest idea of their chances. he read off to me the potential ideas he had in mind. with howard there, i told him, mr. president, i think that that person will have suffer the same fate as bork. this person i think would probably get nominated. that person would, and you know, that's part of the advice and consent process. >> should president obama do that with senator grassley? >> yes. >> do you think he will. >> yes, i'm confident he'll reach out to the senate and go through the process of advise and consent. >> i'm going to throw you a little bit of a curveball just this afternoon, a source told msn msnbc, it's beyond idle chatter. there's been some significant
discussion you might be the president's choice especially under these usual political circumstances. talk about one person who could get through and maybe nobody else could. if the president asked you to do it, would you say yes? >> you never say to a president for certain you wouldn't do anything but i have no -- look at me now, i have no desire to sit on the supreme court, none. it would be a great honor for anyone, but i have no desire. ny more than george mitchell did. >> who do you think the president should pick? >> well, i haven't even had a chance to sit down with him yet to talk about the potential candidates. what we do is in the past, lay out all the people. go out and survey a little bit and see who we think who meets those criteria and we think could have a chance of being confirmed. >> there is nobody alive who has more experience with the confirmation of supreme court nominees than you do from your time in the senate. there's nobody else.
>> well, what's true. i'm not sure what that qualifies me for. >> i wonder though. when it comes time and there is a nominee, presuming it's not you, i mean, will you be working with your colleagues in the senate? >> i will be deeply involved. i mean, one of my roles as vice president is to -- is to be an interlock cue tore with the senate and the house. i have a lot of good friends on both sides of the aisle up there. whether that's enough to persuade them who we pick is a different issue. >> vice president joe biden telling me today that he has no desire to sit on the supreme court himself. none. also aing that president obama should go through a list of names with judiciary chairman cluck grassley just like president bragen did with him when he was a chairman which resulted in the confirmation of justice anthony kennedy back in the day. more to come tonight. stay with us. ♪
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from the nevada caucuses at tonight's town hall, we saud two fired up intense democratic candidates. if you missed any of their town hall, good news, you can see all of it again here in just a moment and before we leave you tonight from the beautiful union depot in st. paul, minnesota, you should also know we've but the all of my exclusive interview, vice president joe biden up at maddow blog.com. that does it for us tonight. tonight's town hall starts right now. >>. the middle class needs a raise and we're going to give it to you. >> this is not an american economy. it is a rigged economy. >> i voted for comprehensive immigration reform, senator sanders voted against it. >> i voted against it because the guest worker programs were akinton slavery. >> the kind of criticism that we've heard from senator sanders about our president i do not expect from someone