tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 25, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
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i'm chris matthews in washington. we're following breaking news from the pentagon today. defense officials have announced that isis' second in command, haji imam, was killed in a u.s. special forces raid this week in syria. imam oversaw and steered isis' funding through its networks. he also reportedly managed day-to-day operations for isis and its affiliates in syria, iraq, and libya. earlier today, defense secretary ash carter dressed the military operation. >> we are systemically eliminating isil's cabinet. indeed, the u.s. military killed several key isil terrorists this week, including, we believe, haji imam, who was an isil leader, senior leader, serving as a finance minister and who also is responsible for some external affairs and plots. he was a well-known terrorist within isil's ranks, dating back to its earliest iteration as al
qaeda in iraq. >> let me bring in nbc news chief pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski, who is following the latest developments on this story. mick, thank you for this. just a question about rule s of engagement here. are these -- no better word for it -- assassinations, we go in and cherry-pick a bad guy and knock them off. is that it or is there some attempt to bring them in? >> with these u.s. special operations forces both in iraq and syria, their initial attempt is to try to capture them. squeeze them as much as they can, for whatever intelligence, whatever information they can get out of them. and while nobody's providing any details, this effort to grab haji imam, you know, failed because, apparently, as we understand it, there was some resistance. they didn't have the opportunity to grab him. they just think that having them live, in their clutches, is far more valuable than killing them. killing them ain't bad, because it does take them off the
battlefield, out of the operations, but you'll remember, chris, in afghanistan and pakistan, how many times did we hear that the number two al qaeda leader was killed? it seemed like that was happening every month. and even secretary carter acknowledges, it's not clear, that he can't be replaced, very soon, but they do think they're chipping away slowly and surely. >> i think you remember what i remember, the body counts from the vietnam war. and it didn't seem to make much difference in the end, in a war of attrition, of course. this is not a war of attrition, it's about leadership. and do we have a sense in our military, at the pentagon, do we have a sense there's really brains behind this that cannot be replaced at the top? >> nobody's saying it officially, but obviously there's a lot of frustration, because -- and it's not because the u.s. military just wants to go out and bomb everything they see. they just think that the campaign hasn't been effective, as it could be. and that's because the president, the white house, has said, look, we're not putting
large numbers of boots on the ground. american boots on the ground. so what they've done here, and i think, i think what's striking about what happened here and in the last couple of weeks, in a couple of other special operations raids, that the u.s. -- the military is sort of sliding in under the white house wire. they're going to do this with special operations forces and slowly, but surely chip away at the isis leadership. but, at the same time, you know, we heard today, during the briefing, general joe dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said outright for the first time, that within weeks, he and secretary carter are going to the white house to ask for more u.s. military troops, in iraq and syria, to fight this war against isis. he said, look, you know, he's not clear what the outcome is, and he said, it's still in the creation phase. they haven't decided yet exactly what number they're going to ask
for. but they are going to ask the white house for more troops. >> yeah, and i think the only candidate running for president right now who's even talking about that is john kasich, the governor of ohio. everyone else is pretty skittish about ground troops. thank you so much, jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. >> thank you, chris. >> let me bring in now barry mccaffrey, retired four-star general. general, what do you make of this operation? this has sort of an israeli feel to it, rather than a big power. is this what we're reduced to, this kind of warfare? small-scale intricate operations, rather than using our main forces against the enemy here? >> well, you know, chris, i think it's pretty impressive. and starting with the leadership team, secretary ash carter and dunford, first rate, carter's a nuclear physicist, just a brilliant man. i think what we're seeing here is a very effective campaign compared to a couple of years ago. we're getting special ops, on the ground. and that doesn't mean a dozen
companion does. they get backed up by aviation, secret helicopter units, air force, you name it. so taking these people out, by the way, principle number one of military operations is gain and maintain contact with the enemy force. so you've got to stick your finger in their eye, make sure you know what they're up to and keep them off balance. so i think a lot of these people are focused on their own survival now. and as we eliminate these people, they have to talk to each other, reestablish the chain of command. then we find more of them. this is a very impressive operation. it's good news. >> when you got the definition of what this guy, haji imam had to do, he was overseeing the operations in syria, iraq, and libya. he sounded like a big deal. i mean, to the extent they've got logistics and they have to feed their troops, keep them with ammo, have a plan defending the perimeter, their frontier. did it sound like that was the guy that was doing it? i couldn't tell from the
definition. >> well, i think the word seems to be that he was the chief operating officer. >> yeah, yeah. >> so i think it was -- you don't just kill the guy. you kill his contacts. the trust, the experience, the judgment, the credibility. so, yeah, he'll get replaced but imagine what it would be like if we weren't aggressively carrying the campaign to isis in our home territory. i'm very impressed by what secretary carter and kerry and the white house are beginning to do in a very aggressive and effective manner. notwithstanding, though, the real key is always security in the homeland region, and security in europe. and that's going less well in europe, certainly, than it is here. >> and maybe this will take some of the fun out of the caliphate, anyway. so what is the next target for isis? joining me right now, counterterrorism analyst at the heritage foundation, robert simcox. so tell us, is this a big deal,
operational success, or is this something about the ability to knock them down existentially? can we kill isis this way? >> i don't think so, not without a more exhaustive strategy. as you referred to, the fact is we have great success in killing individual leaders within al qaeda. we've had some success in doing it with isis as well. but ultimately, they've got a pretty deep bench. they can be replaced. and so, unless we get serious about solving the syrian/iraqi problem in broader terms, i think killing individuals isn't going to get the job done. >> what does it say about their ability to construct the caliphate. it doesn't seem like a real country, the caliphate, such as it is. >> the quasi-state, yeah. the only thing that gives isis legitimacy on this, any legitimacy at all, is the fact that they control this territory. as soon as we take that territory back from them, be it with iraqi forces, the kurds, whoever it may be, they lose that legitimacy.
they'll hemorrhage supporters, hemorrhage money, and we'll make some headway. but i don't think we're quite there. >> unique it's really important that they have real estate on the map of the world, that they can't just operate out of europe, somewhere? sitting around in some cafe and planning? what's to stop them from doing that? >> well, they can certainly do that. but what makes them different, i think, from terrorist groups you're seeing before is the amount of territory they hold. i mean, this is -- spans two countries and they've held it for over a year now. and so, i think -- and it can draw people in. it's drawn people in from all over the world to join this exciting project, they talk about building this pure islamic state. >> let's talk about the crossover. some were fighting in brussels, in paris, we've seen it last november and now this week. a lot are fighting over there. where's the action? and if we draw down the success they're having in the middle east, is that in any way -- you say that also draws down their fighting spirit in europe? >> i think the two are absolutely connected. you've got to be isis in the middle east to defeat them in
europe. they have to be defeated militarily in iraq and syria. they have to have this territory removed from them. and i think some of the glamour about the caliphate, about traveling to the caliphate, will be removed if they're not seen as the dominant force. >> why don't the sunni nations in the middle east do that, then? >> well, i think that the u.s. and its allies have tried to gain support -- >> why don't they do it on their own? if isis is their enemy, why aren't they fighting them? >> i think it would be a desirable thing. >> then why aren't they? usually you fight your enemy? why isn't egypt fighting them? why aren't the saudis fighting them? why aren't the emirates fighting them? they say they're their enemy, they're all sunni and these are sunni insurrectionists. >> well -- >> you're smiling, you know it's a joke. why don't they fight their enemy? why do we have to fight their enemy? >> ultimately, their lack of resolve to do so means we have
to step in. people are dying in europe because of the actions of this group. unfortunately, if the u.s. doesn't take the lead -- >> you're making an argument. i want some analysis here. why don't the other people who have a lot to lose. let's face it, they want to take over jordan and take over egypt. they want to build their caliphate and reestablish islam the way it was centuries ago. why don't the people who are defending against that future fighting it? >> well, there's some -- i think assad is a part of this, for example. turkey has been very reluctant to go too hard, because it wants assad removed. it's backed some of the rebels. the fighting in syria, it's allowed its border to be kind of used as a safe haven for all sorts of islamists passing back and forth. it has its own priority. a lot of these countries have their own priorities. they think -- >> el witwell, we do too. and unfortunately, this isn't happening. i haven't got the answer yet, but thank you for trying. robert simcox from the heritage foundation. thank you. after the break, a city on
edge. another day of raids in brussels as the manhunt continues for suspects in this week's terror attacks. we'll take you live to the belgian capital in just a minute. atand that horrible smellstee are really good at hiding.vice, oh, boy. there it is. ♪ ohh. ooh. [ gags ] so when you need a house cleaner or an exterminator, we can help you get the job done right, guaranteed. get started today at angie's list,
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go to pge.com/solar. together, we're building a better california. well, a major operation is underway right now in brussels to root out terror. there have been several new raids and arrests. nbc's kelly kobiay has the latest developments. >> a total of ten arrests, most of those in belgium and more
operations throughout the day today. in fact, happening in broad daylight in these neighborhoods with witnesses looking on, sometimes taking video from their cell phone. at least develop suspects shot in the course of being arrested. both of them shot in the leg, both of them surviving, and then taken into custody. at one point, the bomb squad was even called in on one of these operations. just to check out what one of these suspects had either in a belt or in a backpack. now, it's unclear right now how these people or whether these people are connected to the brussels' attacks, but much of the activity today and over the past 24 hours has taken place in this neighborhood, this district called schaerbeek. this is significant, because this is the same area where police raided an apartment after the brussels' attacks. it's where they believed the brussels attackers were living, at least for a short amount of time. they found a bomb there, some chemicals, and an isis flag.
this is where a lot of the activity has been happening. but interestingly, chris, here's where it ties into france. one arrest last night happened in france the person who was arrested has been wanted since last year on terrorism-related offenses and belgian officials now say that two of the operations today were connected to that. and if you'll remember, chris, that man who was arrested, officials in france say that he was in the process of planning or in the advanced stages of planning an attack. so you're starting to see the ties between the two countries now are reinforcing this idea that there are a lot of ties between networks in france and in belgium. chris? >> well, kelly, it seems like the military over there, rather, the police forces, are more ready to act after a crime's been committed. it seems like we knew a lot for reason to believe that there was trouble coming since paris last november, but is there a culture
over there against a lot of tough surveillance and tough digging into neighborhoods and questioning people, that kind of preventative police work? now everybody's out there arresting everybody. where were they a week ago? >> reporter: well, i think it's a little bit complicated, chris. part of the issue is really in belgian laws and privacy laws and in when you can conduct raids. i mean, a lot of times, people would say that their hands were tied a little bit, that there were certain times when they couldn't conduct raids, for example, in nighttime. and that really kept them from going in on certain suspects, on certain tips, perhaps that they had. but there is also this disconnect, that's emerging, between local police, and you have a lot of different police districts, and federal prosecutors, investigators, and also, once again, chris, we have this issue of sharing information, between countries. we're talking about two different security services in belgium and in france.
the issue of trying to share information about suspects across borders. and all of this is coming into play once again. this is something we saw in paris and it's something that, perhaps, hasn't been fixed yet. >> i guess that makes me worried that we'll never be able to break up any operation, if we're only reactive. and i guess they're getting a bit more proactive right now, perhaps. but you're there, great reporting, thank you, kelly, thank you so much for joining us. anyway, mosques over in brussels right now are condemning the attacks in today's prayer services. ayman mohyeldin has more on that. thank you for joining us that that is great news. >> reporter: they've been condemning terrorist attacks for as long as this community recalls. they definitely have problems in the communities. they recognize that radicalization is something that is happening in their midst. brussels and belgium have had a high number of people leave to join isis, perhaps more than any other european country per capita. one of the challenges, though, when you talk to some of the
muslim leaders here, as we did today in molenbeek, about why they're having a hard time with this particular issue. and they tell you it cuts both ways. on one hand, there is a problem with the community being insulated and isolated from the rest of the country. they blame that on some issues and that makes the young people in the community vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment, by people and external forces from outside. so they are aware that that problem exists. they are working on trying to address it with various deradicalization programs. but also to try to give people in the community a sense of purpose, to give them jobs, to give them economic opportunity. the flip side of that, though, they say, is that the belgian government has to do more to tackle some of the issues that are pressing to the community. in the sense, making the community not feel isolated, integrating them and combatting issues like racism and discrimination on the job market, which they say single out young members of their community, and not give them the same opportunities as other members of belgium. so, there was a unified condemnation today. this was the first time that it
happened in belgium. you had all the leaders of the mosques across the country issue the same sermon across mosques all across the country. and in that message, they delivered that strong condemnation of the attacks, saying they're going to fight radicalization, and called on the belgian government to do more and help the community and needs of that community with education and economic opportunity, as well. chris? >> ayman, tough question for you, but you know your stuff over there. can you become a belgian, if you come from a muslim community? can you become a belgian, if one generation, two generations, three? what does it take to actually become part of the community and maintain your religious backgrounds and beliefs? >> reporter: listen, that's a very good question. and i assume by belgian, you're talking not just through a purely citizenship, i think you're talking more about the fabric and identity of belgium. that's a very difficult thing. yes, members of the community here come. and there's two aspects to this, chris. one is, as muslims come from
north africa or other parts and want to be part of belgian society, they assume the responsibilities of citizenship, beyond what they're supposed to do in their communities, there is sometimes pressure upon them to assimilate or integrate. belgians have distinct identities, both on the flemish side and the french side. even within the belgian national identity, there tends to be elements to have the society being fractured. the muslim community here, particularly the descendants of it, sometimes struggle to find where in that gap they can exist. and then also sometimes europeans, particularly here in belgium, like we saw in france with their muslim community, sometimes struggle to assimilate, especially the descendants of those emigrants into the society. it's a different experience than in america because of a whole host of issues. but it is something that belgium is struggling with. is to not necessarily force everyone to assimilate with their values and ideas, but to
integrate. perhaps some more conservative than others, some more traditional than others, but at the same time, getting those members of the community to be members of the society and adopt that identity, . >> thanks so much. by the way, it resonates so much with quebec province above us here in the united states, and the question, do you go with the francophones, it sounds so much like that. thank you for joining us. when we come back, we'll hear from an american woman who moved her young family to brussels and what's it like living in a european capital that's become certainly no stranger to terrorism. the future belongs to the fast. and to help you accelerate, we've created a new company. one totally focused on what's next for your business. accelerating innovation. accelerating next. hewlett packard enterprise. whose long dayis sheldon setting up the news starts with minor arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever
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right now, two days later? >> reporter: well, chris -- two days later, earlier today, i spoke with one american woman, katherine marsh. she is an author over here of children's books. she moved over here actually with her family this summer, with her 5-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old son, and she thought this was going to be an idyllic cultural immersion, a two-year stint, but at times it has felt like a war zone, if not a society under threat. and she said, once again, as in the u.s., she finds herself fearing for her children's safety when at school. have a listen. >> i've done things that i never i expected to have to do here in europe. when we lived in the u.s., after sandy hook, i was so distraught, as were in parents, and i did talk to my kids, especially when my son started elementary school, about what to do if there's an active shooter. and i found myself having to repeat that lesson. and to talk about making sure you know where the exits are, and, you know, to hit the
ground, and to have to do that was just so hard and something i really hoped i would never have to do here. >> reporter: olivia, you know -- chris, i also asked her -- go ahead. pp >> i was just going to say, i always thought of brussels a rather dull capital, a dull place to be posted. >> reporter: right. she thought that as well. "charlie hebdo" had already happened. she thought she was going to the relative safety of brussels. i asked her if she thinks her kids feel safe. she says, yeah, you know, they are pretty young, but her 8-year-old does know who salah abdelslam is. she said the worst part of it for her was when she ran to the school on tuesday after the attacks. her little son looked up at her and he said, mom, is this like paris, and she said, yes, and he said, are we on lockdown again, and she said yes. and the fact she wasn't really frightened and didn't have some big emotional response, that this has become normalized, that was the worst part for her. that he's getting used to it.
>> isn't it terrible that paris became a word that it's become. paris. it used to mean something different a year ago. thank you so much, olivia stearns from joining us for brussels. coming up, despite what some in the republican party may be counting on, donald trump says a contested convention is not going to happen. he said so. and during this event, you can get a great deal on this jetta. it drives great... volkswagen believes safety is very important so all eleven models come standard with an intelligent crash response system... hmm..... .....and seven stability-enhancing systems... hmm... ...for more confidence...
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they want to get it into a convention and then they'll steel it. >> it's mathematically unfair. if i have millions of votes more and if i have 1,100 and somebody else is down at 400 or 500, i think it's awfully tough to take all of these people out of the system. how do you pick somebody that has millions of less votes? i have 3 million more votes than anybody else. >> well, if it's friday, it's a week that started with a major -- mm. you know what we're doing here? we're looking at someone else's copy here. let's bring in ari melber right
now and katy tur, to talk about this convention, about right now what's coming up. ari, take over. >> happy to, chris. and it's a happy friday to you. monday started this week with a lot of people saying, what does a contested convention look like? we've done some reporting on this and spoke to some people inside the campaign. while he says anything short of the nomination would be unfair, he doesn't want to have a fight in cleveland, privately, we've revealed his plan to basically try to prevent a contested convention. he's hired people insiders from the carson campaign, a former rnc political director. and phase one of their plan, we can report today, is actually, even if they're short of those magic 1,237 delegates to go out and individually pick up the other unbound delegates. in fact, we can put these numbers on the screen. there's 175 delegates up more grabs right now, chris, just from the suspended campaigns. another sort of about 143 that are unpledged. so that means if donald trump finishes anywhere within 300
delegates of the magic number, he can actually pick those up before they ever get to a first ballot in cleveland. >> and what's interesting is that their convention team, barry bennett has told us, that in order to get those delegates, they'll actually go and try to negotiate deals with those unbount delegates. what do you want from us? we'll try to give it to you, in order for you to sign basically a pledge that says we'll support you come the convention. i just spoke to barry bennett a couple of minutes ago, and he says they've already picked up some of those unbound delegates and they'll be announcing that next week. they're already starting the process. they're not necessarily going to wait for that 40-day period between the last primary and the convention. but during that period, they will no whether or not they need to pick up more delegates, if they did not get to that 1,237 number. but internally, they say that they're expecting to get to somewhere between 1,400 and 1,450. this is so fascinating chris, because this is a candidate and a campaign that has broken all of the rules, and this is them
acknowledging that there are some rules that you cannot break. and they're going about this the way that everybody is going about this right now. they've got a backdoor strategy to win this, if it gets to a floor fight. he's an anti-establishment figure, but he's hired some pretty big insiders to get this done. somebody -- people on his team who say that they believe that donald trump will be the nominee, regardless of what the establishment folks in washington and cruz and kasich may want to say. >> well, this resonates with every campaign i've watched all my life. 50 years of watching this, guys. i've got to tell you, somebody comes to the convention a little short, somehow, they make it up. because they're going to be the nominee, so why not throw in with the guy? you're saying that there's enough gimme there, enough room there for trump to come in. how many shy could he come in, into the convention, in terms of winning primary delegates, and still be safe enough to slide into home? >> i think that's a great
question, chris. and we've spoken not only to the folks on the campaign, who have their agenda, but also to a lot of folks inside the rnc and the rnc rules committee. a number i heard a lot as a magic number was 100 or 150, because it feels so close. >> 1 hur,1001,100. if anything it's below that, ted cruz or john kasich might have an argument. >> and i think that goes to another point someone raised, someone who's working as a republican, prepping for this convention. they didn't give their name because of the sensitivity, but they said to us in our reporting, basically, chris, you might raleigh atwater. he said, lee atwater always advises us, if it's happening, be for it. this is happening. meaning, a trump nomination. and the point of this individual who, by the way, is not a trump fan, this is a washington-based rnc official was, look, if you're within 100 or 150, or it's happening, you don't want to be fighting that lost cause in ohio. >> and the old contrapositive
here, to use an interesting term, as nixon once said to pat buchanan, if you ever hear of a stop-x movement, bet on "x." >> that's right, exactly! >> because it's already too little. by definition, if you have to do a stop movement, you didn't have a candidate capable of beating the guy and now you're coming out with this machination strategy. >> that's what the trump campaign is continuing to point to. folks like ted cruz or john kasich, whoever else might show up at the convention, maybe mayor mayor or paul ryan, whatever rumors that may be out there, they're saying this is all just a bunch of hog wash. ultimately, donald trump will have more delegates than anybody. there's been a number of people in this race so far, and if he gets to the convention just shy of 1,237, he's going to be able to make it up. they've also done some not-so-subtle threatening to the party, saying if you take this away from me, the millions of people who voted for me so far are going to come with me. you're going to fracture the party and basically ensure a
hillary clinton win. donald trump has gone so far, chris, as you know, to threaten riots. in one way, he's trying to court the establishment. and in the other way, he's certainly threatening them. >> you two match my relish for this whole competition. thank you so much. have a happy friday. >> you too, chris. >> right now bernie sanders is in portland, oregon, holding a rally. there he is. let's listen in. >> and the reason why donald trump will never become president of the united states is the american people will not vote for a candidate who insults mexicans and latinos. the american people understand that we are fighting a war now to destroy isis, a terrorist
and that is that before trump became a candidate, he was one of the leaders in the so-called birther movement. do you remember that? and it is important for all of us to understand what that very, very ugly movement was about. it wasn't disagreeing with president obama. people have the right to do that, for sure. it was trying to delegitimatize his presidency. it was trying to say that he really doesn't have the right to be president, because he was not born in america. a total lie. and that is a very dangerous thing to do in a democracy. it was not only an insult to the african-american community, with obama being the first african-american president, it was the insult to all of us.
now, the president's father was born in kenya. my father was born in poland. i find it interesting that nobody has asked me for my birth sector. >> reporter: a powerful line there. and up next, donald trump's problem with women. why his favorability among female voters is so low. (avo) after 50 years of designing cars
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well, joining me right now, senior political reporter from politico, shane goldmacher and jeremy peters. i don't know why we had two men talking about it, now we have three men talking about it. but let's talk about it as daintily as possible. women, as a group, something like 3/4 of them, have an unfavorable view of donald trump. this isn't hard to figure it out, is it, shane? >> it's hard to win 50% of the vote if three quarters of half of the electorate doesn't like you. and you saw the ad that came out from the super pac, the anti-trump super pac, with women speaking donald trump's own words. there's just so material to go after him with. and he's creating more day by day with his twitter accounts. >> how much of it is baggage to his presidential hopes? how much of it is part on the
trail? >> it doesn't take much for minding? the record is there, the howard stern interviews. it's all out there waiting to be used. some of it already is. but shane raises a good point with the numbers. the math is just working so much in the opposite of trump's favor right now. because if the republican has to get 60% of the white vote to win, given how much the -- dramatically, the minority share of the voters is increasing, he's not going to be able to get there if white women, especially, have written him off. >> and let's talk about his -- i think this is fair, and i've always said about trump, mixed bag, and that's fine, i'll live with the word mixed bag throughout this campaign. looksism. he's married to a supermodel, right? he talks about women's looks. he did it with carly fiorina. this is all out of bounds in american politics. you don't talk looks. and he does it a lot. >> and the re-tweet that he did just this week was pretty dramatic -- >> the picture -- the side-by-side. >> the side-by-side of his wife,
who is a supermodel, and an unflattering picture of hieidi cruz. >> and ted cruz took this personally. he does not take things personally very easily. ted cruz has avoided giving personal insults to people throughout his whole career and he went in and called donald trump a sniveling coward. >> i thought the most effective line -- well, there were a few in this campaign, not all great, was actually carly fiorina, when she came back, coldly looking into the camera and said, every woman in america knows what you meant, because you went after my looks. >> that's exactly right. but you know what, donald trump's problems with women don't start there. i mean, he has a long record of this kind of stuff. but, you know, even more so, forget about the attacks on women and their looks. because he's attacked men's appearances, too. >> but he attacks a little differently. he goes after -- in the close of my show tonight, he'll go after people for different ways, like, looks, of course, for with women -- maybe with men. he went after jeb, low energy.
>> marco rubio sweats too much, and little, he infantalizes a lot. what really turns women off, and the republican pollsters picked this up in their research, it's the combativeness, the picking of fights and the bullying they really get turned off by. >> and the only person who took him on directly, successfully, in the entire campaign, is carly fiorina, a woman. and who's he going to be going up against in the fall? hillary clinton, a woman who can shut him down. >> how is she? she must be loading for bear, starting in june, maybe, i'm going -- he's going to start making shots at my appearance, probably, at my speaking ability, about my history with bill, bill's history. >> and this is exactly what he did. the first time she brought up, charging him with sexism, he immediately brought up her husband's record. >> it worked. >> and he's bragged about that,
you know, at his rallies, he said, look, i brought uh this up and she backed down. if we think the primary is going to be ugly, i think the general will be every bit as ugly. >> i have a theory about this. i think it's not going to be hillary or bill that does this effectively, i think it's going to be obama. and you just look -- look at the glee on that guy's face when he started going after trump as a carnival backer for pushing this birther nonsense. and remember how thrilled obama looked, how much fun he had when he went after trump at the white house correspondents' dinner a few years ago. he relishes this and he's good at it. >> this is my theory of the general election. i think, one thing you know about obama, he cares about his legacy. and part of your legacy is being seceded by one of your own people who will back up your programs and defend themselves against annihilation, and also your good name. you know, george bush sr. did a lot for ronald reagan that we don't even think about. he gave him a lot of backup for those four years. and ring -- first of all, what's obama better at than anything else in the world?
campaigning. >> he's also good at really twisting the knife -- >> we'll see. don't think that -- don't think that donald trump's not willing to shoot back. >> right. >> this is going to be messy. anyway, i think it's a great campaign to look forward to, perhaps. we'll go up in class. coming up, trm voters head to the polls in three states tomorrow. hillary clinton already has her eyes on the general election, but bernie sanders is counting on upping his delegate count this weekend, promising, quote, a road to victory, if he does well this weekend. (music plays) i love being able to touch the screen. umm, you can do things on the fly, if you're trying to teach a kid about a proboscis, just sketch it on there and you've got it immediately. yeah, i like that. i don't have a touch screen on my mac.
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right now, senator bernie sanders, as i said, is holding a rally out in portland, oregon, and later today, he'll be in seattle, washington, for a rally ahead of tomorrow's democratic caucuses in washington state. joining me right now on the phone from portland is nbc campaign embed, danny freeman. danny, thanks for joining us. give us a sense of how all of this fits together with an eventual trump, or eventual, i should say, sanders' victory? >> thank you, chris. i think that you can tell how important this western swing of the state is, particularly the state of washington, as y'all were discussing earlier, by a little funny moment that happened moments ago in this speech, when senator sanders through this huge crowd of thousands here in portland, oregon, said, make sure you come out to caucus tomorrow in washington. and made a bit of a squinting face, realizing the error he made, and corrected himself very quickly. but that's just, again, he is totally focused on running up the score in washington, hoping to close the gap in delegates with secretary clinton.
the massive lead that she has amassed over the past couple of contests. another thing, though, he's in portland, oregon, right here, you can imagine, is bernie sanders country in so many ways. there were people who were camped out in the very early hours of the morning, online, just to get into this arena today. so they are very much feeling the bern, i think you could say. >> okay. danny, thanks for joining us. let me go down to kristen welker, who is here with me tonight. by the way, portland, oregon, is one of the last sort of lefty areas. not everybody, obviously. but i remember going there on a press bus years ago. well after it will '60s were behind us. and all these guys waiting for -- hippies, i guess, with their shirts off, jeering at the press bus. we were the enemy. the press is usually pretty popular with the left, but not in that city. >> probably similar today, chris. and you know, look, washington state also a liberal stronghold, and senator sanders, the sanders' team feeling very confident about their chances
there. they could sweep all three states this weekend. alaska, hawaii, and also washington. these are all caucus states. and typically, senator sanders does well in caucus states. and the clinton campaign is bracing for that. he said, look, this is going to be a tough night for us. senator sanders is going to get some delegates, likely get some more momentum. this is going to energize his supporters. but chris, this is not clear he's going to significantly cut into secretary clinton's delegate lead. she has a delegate lead that's almost insurmountable at this point. if he really wants to take her on and potentially beat her, he's got to start winning some of the larger states, by large margins, like new york and pennsylvania, and new jersey and california. and it's not clear that he can do that. connecticut. ooth one. >> i don't see the victories there, but i think he can live off the land, which is to win this weekend, maybe three this weekend. two of the states are states democrats win in november, which means something. but they go on and squeak it in wisconsin, which is a pretty northern state for him, against hillary, hillary should do well
in wisconsin. she did well in michigan, she did well in ohio, did well in illinois. >> she could win wisconsin, but they're bracing for it to be close there. if he wins, he's probably going to win by a few points. so the delegate split will be pretty even. and again, the sanders' campaign is saying, look, we're going to take this momentum into those larger states. we just had a poll from california that showed it close. but i asked one clinton campaign official, are you going to lose california? they said, absolutely not. we're feeling very confident there. >> so the goal is, he works his way, step by step, up to the fifth of april in wisconsin, and he tries to stretch two more weeks to new york. >> right. >> and tries to win -- and hopes by then the tide's turned against hillary in some way, something broke bad for her. and he gets a break. >> and they've been saying all along they can win in new york, they feel confident in new york. but that's going to be so tough. that's where she was a senator. that's her home turf. that's where her headquarters are based. so new york is a really tough state for him. and i think that what you're seeing is the clinton campaign increasingly, as we've been
talking about, chris, shift its focus to the general election. but, look, the sanders' campaign has no incentive to get out, because they have so much money, and every time he wins one of these states, and if he does win all three this weekend, he's going to get a lot more money and he could stay in this race indefinitely. >> isn't pennsylvania a lot of fun to think about? it's not a left-wing state at all, it's conservative, it's landlocked, it's never been particularly good for women candidates, across the border. and then, of course, look at the fact that they voted for hillary against obama a few years ago -- >> very much clinton country. >> and if you bring in the appalachian part of the state, the western-southwestern part, very conservative, that's maybe more trump territory. and you wonder, how does a guy who calls himself a democratic socialist do well in pennsylvania? i guess i've always thought it was a more conservative state. >> a very tough climb for him. but again, it has to do with this momentum. and they think, particularly when it comes to the young voters, you have a lot of young college students in philadelphia and the surrounding areas. if he does well in some of those
areas, could he -- not necessarily win, but get close -- >> is school still in on may 26th? that's a critical question. >> that is a critical question. i'll have to do my research on that. >> penn state, big schools like that. it might have an influence. let's talk about the other guy, the republicans. and i think this battle is getting pretty dirty. >> yep. >> it has to do with looks, ugliness, references like we've never seen before. and we're dealing with this all day, what to even say on the air tonight. a lot of people think we shouldn't even be talking about a lot of this stuff. i don't like quoting "the national enquirer." i don't like getting into it. >> prior to this week when we saw this fight over the wives, chris, i was talking to clinton campaign officials who said, this will be one of their strongest areas. the fact that donald trump has made a number of comments that have been seen as very offensive to women. and i think that this week just plays into their hands. they're just savinge ing all of up. and by the way, you're not seeing the democrats go after donald trump on those issues
right now. they don't need to, because the republicans are doing that job for them. >> and when the less-interested voter goes to vote in november and see that shot about women's looks and women generally, they're going to be affected by that. you don't have to be a politico to get those messages. that does it for us this hour. thank you very much. and i'm chris matthews. "meet the press daily" starts right now. if it's friday, it's a week that started with a major terrorist attack and the likelihood of a big commander in chief test. and yet, it got turned into an unbelievable exchange over candidate wives and the national enquirer. how did we devolve to this? this is "mtp daily" and it starts right now. good evening. i'm chuck todd in washington. and welcome to "mtp daily" on this good friday. and welcome to