thanks for watching. that does it for our hour. i'm nicole. "mtp daily" with my friend chuck todd starts now. welcome to friday and "meet the press daily," i'm chuck todd. julian castro from the edge of the stage took a shot at joe biden's memory. during a back and forth over health care policy. in a moment i'll be joined by julian castro who defiantly says he wasn't going after biden personally. still castro is facing some
intense blowback from fellow democrats. some call his attacks below the belt, untruth and trumpian. some say the shot at biden should be aware of the severity of the political combat that awaits. later this afternoon biden was peppered by questions from the press corps. >> what castro said to you last night was a low blow, cheap shot. he said it wasn't personal. how do you view it. >> i don't view it as anything. he has his facts wrong. >> your rivals are comfortable questioning your age, carrying the ball over the finish line as cory booker says. >> carry the ball over the finish line. >> is it fair for your rivals to play the age card? >> of course it is. last night was the closest we've come to a debate. >> have you seen your medical records -- >> what health concerns? man, you want to wrestle.
>> when will you release them, sir? >> when i get the next physical. >> the folks, last night's debate was a proof, all be it in a proof and winding way about where this race is going. biden is taking a licking but keeps on ticking displaying a teflon candicy that's reminiscent and in some ways helped by mr. trump. last night reinforced the top tier, biden, warren, sanders and everybody else. the most important part of this debate was about biden, warren and sanders and over health care. they showcased their strengths and weaknesses in a way that likely isn't going to result in any major shakeups, at least not yet. this debate along with the prior two show despite the headline the democratic race is on a relatively stable trajectory as we head for the primaries. what it's going to be remembered for is the bare-knuckled brawl everyone knows is bound to
happen sooner or later. >> barack obama's vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. he wanted every single person in this country covered. my plan would do that. your plan would not. >> they do not have to buy in. they do not have to buy in. >> you just said that two minutes ago. you just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in. you said they would have to buy in. >> they don't have to buy in. >> are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? i mean, i can't believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you're saying they don't have to buy -- you're forgetting that. >> i said anyone like a grandmother who has no money. you're automatically enrolled. >> automatically enrolls people regardless of whether they choose to opt in or not. if you lose your job, for instance, his, his health care plan would not automatically enroll you. you would have to opt in. my health care plan would. that's a big difference. i'm fulfilling the legacy of barack obama and you're not.
>> i'll be surprised to him. >> risky move by castro because as politico notes his facts were mostly false. joining me is former obama's former director of housing, julian castro. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> on this fact-check, one thing you said after the debate is you were trying to fact-check the president. these fact-checkers said you got your facts wrong. do you want to clarify -- i was going to say, let me give you an opportunity. do you want to respond to the fact-checkers, clarify anything you said last night? >> oh, yeah. i had a look at that. hey, i think they missed the bar completely. in fact, as i understand, one of the things they said was that the fact that people would have to fill out paperwork under vice president biden's plan versus not having to do anything is basically inconsequential, it doesn't amount to anything. i don't know who they hire at
politifact but it's nothing that has dealt with a working family or the realities of why people fall off insurance or other things where there's an onerous process. i do take issue with that. >> do you think there's a big difference between his paperwork and your paperwork? you know, your plans are, okay, one is opt out, one is opt in. >> and that's a big difference. >> literally -- okay. i get -- you say it's a big difference. from 30,000 feet and from the difference between what you guys are arguing about and donald trump is trying to undo obamacare completely, it looks like a petty difference. >> well, look, as i pointed out, last time in detroit when we were on the debate stage, senator harris said his plan would leave out 10 million people, leave 10 million people uncovered. so, i pointed out that it would
leave 10 million people uncovered. at at that time vice president biden in detroit said, no it wouldn't. the news media did the research and said, yes, his plan would leave 10 million people uncovered. i pointed that out. to me, 10 million people uncovered is not inconsequential. whether you're looking at it from 30,000 feet or you're looking at it from right at ground level. that's allot of people. right now there are 27 million people uncovered. there would still be 10 million people uncovered under vice president biden's plan. this was a disagreement about health care. he said very clearly that some folks would have to buy in. i said, you just said that and he said, no, they wouldn't have to buy in. that's why i said, look, it seems like you're forgetting that you just said, you know, that some people would have to buy in. and he did say that. >> he also said there would be people that would automatically get enrolled in his answer, too. >> that was heard. >> for what it's worth, he did say that in his initial answer.
>> no, he was denying -- he said very clearly, if you lose your job, that you can automatically buy into his plan. folks need to catch the significance of that. that would mean that a lot of people would be left uncovered. you know, this is what these debates are for. we're having a disagreement about something that's very important. >> i understand that. let's go to the issue of the perception problem you may be facing. i understand you were not issuing a personal attack. amy klobuchar says, when you demonize somebody and create bad blood, it's hard to u.n.fy afterwards. forget what you intended, if three of your colleagues, all of whom i think you are in very good and personal, friendly terms with believe what you did sounded like a personal attack, do you now look at it and go, well, maybe i should have used differen different words? >> not at all the. look, we're up there to debate and that's what i was doing.
i pointed out that vice president biden's plan would leave out 10 million people. i think that's significant. and, you know, so i would point that out again. >> i'm curious, you put out a fund-raising email that said, i spent every second on last night's debate stage fighting for you and now i'm being viciously attacked for it. i spent every second on that stage fighting for you and now i'm being attacked for it. twice you put this in your fund-raising email. do you feel like the victim here? >> no. what i see is that there are a lot of people who are defending a plan that would leave 10 million people uncovered. and i believe that the vision of president obama and what we want to get to in this country is every single person who has the access to health care and gets good health care in our country. not 10 million people who are covered. so, i'm willing to fight that fight, chuck. you know, i'm going to stand up for changing our health care system to a system where everybody gets covered. not leaving 10 million people out. that's very significant. and i'll fight for that. i'll fight for that every single
day. >> so, you're not questioning that -- you repeated the word forget so many times that a lot of people thought this was a planned hit. and -- >> it was not. look, i respect vice president biden. i've known vice president for biden. of course, served in the obama administration with him. i think that in many ways he's a good candidate. that's going to be up for the voters to decide. what i was pointing out is that he had denied saying the words buy in even though he did say the words buy in. and that that's significant to leaving 10 million people uncovered. so like i said, i'm willing to have that conversation about whether we should cover everybody or leave 10 million people in this country uncovered. every single day of the week. look, i'm in this race to fight for what i believe in and to fight for the most vulnerable people in our country. and i'm not going to back down on that. you know, i don't care what the d.c. washington establishment
says. i'm going to fight for the people who need fighting for in this campaign, win or lose. >> let me go on to another topic you took -- you went out of your way to make sure. you were answering a moderator's question that senator sanders didn't. it was on the issue of venezuela. he was asked why you wouldn't refer to maduro as a dictator. bernie sanders went on to call him a tyrant. he didn't address the dictator question. let me play the fight. >> venezuela does not have free elections but still you refuse to call maduro a dictator. can you explain why? and what are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in venezuela, cuba and nicaragua? >> first of all, let me be very clear. anybody who does what maduro does is a vicious tyrant. in terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes
on in venezuela with what i believe is extremely unfair. >> you wanted a brief response. 45 seconds. >> thank you. i'll call maduro a dictator because he is a dictator. >> you jumped right in. what is the difference between tyrant and dictator because you believe words matter and jorge ramos believed words matter. >> what do you call somebody who hijacks the nation's constitution and tries to usurp as much power as he can, you know, mistreats political enemies and the press. you know, maduro is a dictator. and we have to be willing to call that out. and so -- >> do you think that was a mistake by senator sanders he wouldn't do that? look, i think senator sanders would say, look, he hesitates doing that because he's, i think, on foreign policy he
says, look, there's only so much we should get involved in on foreign policy. >> well, i don't know. i haven't had that conversation with senator sanders. frankly, haven't followed all of what he said on the issue of venezuela. all i know is what i see in maduro and what i believe we need to do, which is to support free and fair elections and make sure that the venezuelan people are able to get the humanitarian assistance they need. the other thing i pointed out in that answer, chuck, which was very significant. donald trump likes to act like he's a friend of venezuelans who are here in the united states and need temporary protected status. i would sign an executive order or support legislation to actually give tps or, temporary protected status, to venezuelans who need it. that's something this administration has not been willing to do. it's taken a bipartisan effort in congress to move legislation
forward. so, as big a game as donald trump talks, especially when he's down there in florida trying to court the south florida vote, he hasn't lifted a finger for those venezuelans here that need help. >> the other texan in the race, beto o'rourke saying, yes, he wants to take ar-15 away and that it's time to get rid of them. where are you on this in general? i'm curious as a texan, how will this play in texas? >> well, you know, i started last night one of my answers by complimenting congressman o'rourke because i think he's done a wonderful job of articulating the frustration and also the grief and sadness that so many americans have had after what happened in el paso, what happened in the permian basin in texas and other places. i support, you know, common sense gun safety legislation
from universal background checks to banning assault weapons to a seven-day waiting period, a licensing requirement. i'm willing to hear the arguments on mandatory background checks. but i would like to see us do those other things first because i think that we can actually get those done. >> julian castro, i'll leave it there. thank you for coming on, sharing your views. stay safe on the trail, sir. >> you, too. up ahead, so who won last night's debate? it might depend on which face you're focusing on, the primary or the general. as we go to break, we'll show you some of the highlights and notable moments from last night's debate and we'll start with pete buttigieg and the art of the clap-back. >> when i first got into this race, i remember president trump scoffed and said he would like to see me making a deal with xi jinping. i would like to see him making a deal with xi jinping. is it just me or was that supposed to happen in like april? like april? -[ scoffs ] if you say so. ♪ -i'm sorry? -what teach here isn't telling you
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welcome back. as we said last night's debate further solidified there is a top tier and it's three candidates apparently in this presidential race. and they're top of the top tier right now appears to be vice president joe biden. biden remains the front-runner despite his weaknesses. some of those weaknesses were on display last night especially as he was trying to make a point on education. after being asked a question about race. >> make sure that we bring into the helpless students the teachers deal with the problems that come from home, the problems that come from home, we have -- we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in america today. it's crazy. make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3, 4 and 5-year-olds go to school. school, not day care. school. we bring social workers into homes of parents to help them raise their children. they don't -- they don't know quite what to do. play the radio, make sure the television -- excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the phone -- make
sure the kids hear words. >> joining me now from california, markos moulitsas, founder of "the daily coast" and doug thornell, and ra ramesh ponnuru and alexi mccammond. what changed last night and what didn't, in your mind? >> nothing changed. i mean, like you said, it's biden, warren and bernie and everybody else is -- i mean, you maybe have a distant second tier with harris and and maybe mayor pete and that's it. everybody else is also-rans. we're now at the stage of the race where people aren't thinking, well, booker made a great point. i might consider him for president. they're thinking, booker would
make a great attorney general. trying to slot these also-rans as cabinet as opposed to credible presidential candidates. >> before i bring in everybody else here, i'm curious, the first 40 minutes of the debate was this, in some ways you could say, it helps sort of crystallize the sort of thinking or the washington democratic party thinking of this is a fight between those that want big bold ideas and those that are worried about scaring away moderates. >> i don't even think it's that. >> does elizabeth warren, though, eventually have to answer the question of how much her plan is going to cost or can she continue to sort of hide behind, well, you know, you want to talk about that, let me talk about -- at what point does she have to some up with some specifics here? >> i wish you guys talked about how much in tax cuts from
republicans for the wealthy cost. it only seems when democrats are proposing something, suddenly we all care about how much something costs. the question is are you paying health insurance companies with a profit motive and profit margin to pad their numbers or are you paying it to the government? either way you're paying. what does it matter if it's to the government or to insurance companies who have an interest in denying health care for you? that's the question. i think she answered that. >> let me accept that premise. does she do a better job of explaining how that works to the country? >> she's doing a great job to the country. maybe you're unconvinced, maybe some of the moderators are. the fact is her numbers are going up steadily and doing so without any big moments. you see this in her debate strategy. she wasn't trying to score points. everybody else is jumping all over each other. there was at the beginning, you talk about those first 40 minutes, there was a point where she did not speak for 40 minutes. >> i thought that was ridiculous. >> she was perfectly happy to sit there and wait until the next question because she doesn't have to score any
points. she's methodically growing her support, apparently oneselfy at a time, one plan at a time. it's the right way. it's solid. and it requires zero gimmicks or viral moments to work. >> i think those are fair points. doug thornell, what did you think? >> i think -- i agree with markos. i think elizabeth warren put in an artistic performance. it's a textbook version of how to debate. she does this thing with bernie sanders that i don't know if everyone catches. someone throws a punch at her or intended to be at her or are some of her positions. she ducks, it hits imprebernie e responds. it's unbelievable. >> it's true. it's true. >> and it remains -- she remains on message throughout the entire debate. she's been -- look, agree with her, disagree with her, she is a top-notch debater. and i think she -- joe biden had a strong night. i think bernie was fine but i don't think he advanced the ball at all. >> alexi, one of the debates
we're having and i know markos is going to jump in on this. i agree she ducked some of the questions and allowed bernie to take the fall. but the one issue unpopular with independents which is medicare for all. >> as she says, she supports bernie sanders' legislation in medicare for all. that was biden's lines. that's part of her bold vision for the future not just of the democratic party, for the country. if she's going to get up on the debate stage after supporting medicare for all legislation and not talk about it, like we saw with kamala harris who signedon to the green new deal legislation and didn't talk about it all at oul in the debate when climate change came up, elizabeth warren can't get up on stage and not talk about something like that. >> one of the things that's dangerous if you watch it through the eyes of a general election or watch it through the eyes of a primary. i thought, those watching a
general election think it looks like joe biden is trying to speak to a general election electorate. sometimes we can get confused and you would point this out about republican primaries. just because someone is electable to you doesn't mean the primary electorate likes it. >> most voters, primarily primary voters, they're not talking heads, they're not political strategists -- >> although, have you been to iowa recently? the average iowa caucus is. go ahead. >> when someone says they're electable means they like him or her. doesn't mean they made, well, not my perfect candidate but other people will like them and therefore i'm going to go for them. i think you have -- you're running a different risk now, which is if it's really true that we're down to three top-tier candidates and that seems stable, i think if you're a democrat intent on winning in 2020, you have to wonder, you have one of those candidates, biden, who has personal weaknesses and two candidates, warren and sanders, who have
ideological baggage that's difficult. not a bad night for donald trump. >> let me move to castro and biden. markos, i want you to respond to this. ryan grimm characterized the impact of castro's hit this way. castro's attack is important, he writes, because it gives permission to the media to begin talking openly about whether biden is slipping. it was a cokomakazi move. it suggests he's playing for vice president or some other future role in the party and doesn't see biden as the future of it. what do you make of that take? >> biden is not the future of the party. i think his falling numbers sort of suggest that. you said earlier this was sort of a contest between moderates and the warren/bernie wing of the party that want bigger changes. it's not that at all. the question is people who support biden, they'll support biden because they want moderate vision of america. they support biden because there's still this preconceived bs notion that being a white male gives you an advantage in a
presidential contest. it's out of fear, not out of any love or respect or actual excitement about -- about biden. you've seen that in the numbers. so, the -- this idea that -- i mean, you're talking about castro. earlier you mentioned -- >> did he open up the permission slip to make this a bigger issue? biden's age. >> yeah, i guess. i thought it was already an issue. it was brought up before by kamala harris in previous debates. earlier you mentioned cory booker defended biden. if you look at the same quote there's a part you omitted where he says what castro did was legit. after seeing the half-truthses that come out of biden in last night's debate and in recent weeks, i mean, the idea of biden/trump debate terrifies me. these two aging, macho, you know, white males, sort of
puffing their chest and throwing out stories that are maybe half true or not true at all trying to score points on each other is absolutely terrifying. it would be a detriment to democracy to see that. i want someone with more substance to counter. let trump be trump. let someone with substance be on the other side. >> doug, we were talking this morning, if trump wasn't there, this biden issue would be gigantic problem, right? there's this odd sense that trump provides teflon. yeah,ist biden. to markos' point, have you two guys going. what do i pay attention to here? >> i think trump has changed the playbook and the rules so much over the last two, three years that i think it's going to be harder for people to make attacks on biden for slipups and gaffes. the one thing about the age argument -- >> do you think castro -- what
do you make of grimm's argument, castro is getting pummeled for it but it might serve to open up an issue that a bunch of other candidates -- >> well, republicans and trump were going to go there anyway. i thought it was a cheap personal shot on castro's. and i felt politically it was actually dumb because there are a lot of seniors who vote in iowa and new hampshire and south carolina. i actually do think when you take this round-about way to implicitly bring up the age issue, just do it. just go after him. if that's -- i'm not saying i agree with that, but he did this sneaky -- >> he picked the wrong hill. >> yeah. and i just watched your interview. it was like, come on, dude. if you want to make the attack, make the attack. >> you know, markos brought up the word salad. the venezuela answer. had castro jumped in and said what was that -- >> to bernie. >> no, on biden.
biden goes, i want to keep talking because i want to tell you about maduro. it felt like, wait, where are we going? it might have landed there. about it may have inoculated biden for a little while. >> i think the word salad is a good way to put it. it goes back to what we were talking about during break. candidates at campaign staff and focus groups and points of data they're considering in their heads and they make a game time decision, it seems like castro did, to go after biden that wasn't necessarily thought out. i believe him when he says in your interview he didn't plan this attack on biden. i talk to his campaign folks all the time. i don't think he plans these attacks -- >> it was un-castro. >> his campaign will deny that and say that's -- this is who castro is. it's just that you all don't know him because he's normally subdued. he's not going after someone on the campaign trail. like he said, this is a -- >> biden's age is -- his rivals say raising it is a vulnerable
attack. a bunch of them saying. >> if kamala harris called you up, what advice would you be giving her right now? >> i thought she had an excellent first debate. if you see her work committee hearings, you know, when she's in that investigative, prosecutor mode, she's unbelievable. it's a joy to watch her working those committee hearings. so, where that candidate? i feel like they've sort of neutered that. maybe they're afraid of making her look too prosecutorial will hurt her in a primary? but that's who she is and that's when she's at her strongest. i would like to see -- >> it seemed like she was afraid of being that person last night. >> oh, totally. really, that's who she is as a person, her career has been that and it's been a successful career. i'd like to see more of that. quite frankly, i'm shocked at how little traction she's getting. she's definitely one of those candidates that every bump has about enwith from one of those moments. she's had a big moments but she
hasn't been able to sustain those big moments. and she needs not just to have, i guess, that big moment again but she needs to be able to hold onto that support. that's been a challenge. >> that's why we call it blocking and tackling sometimes. sometimes a plan every three days, three yards in a cloud of dust, seems to be working for elizabeth warren. anyway, markos from out west, thank you. always a pleasure to hear your views. alexi, doug and ramesh, you're sticking around. what one of the most outspoken critics of president trump says he's going to do when it comes to making a 2020 pick. first, another big moment from last night's debate. when senator kamala harris took a trip down the yellow brick road. >> you asked earlier about china be. it's a complicated relationship. we have to hold china accountable. but the bottom line is this, donald trump in office on trade policy, you know, he reminds me of that guy in "the wizard of
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support impeachment. mueller's investigation exposed crimes and cover up. and now this week, the house judiciary committee is supposed to start a formal impeachment proceeding. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message. because no one should be above the law. not even you, donald. unitedhealthcare medicare complete plans have a lot to take advantage of like medicare's largest health care network. hey, that's my dermatologist! $0 copays on all primary care doctor visits plus rewards for preventive care. go ahead, take advantage. thenot actors, people, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic, and not a cream or steroid.
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anybody in the presidential race. not in the primary nor in the general. for romney, this seems to be a case of, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. in 2016 romney called president trump a phoney, a fraud and con man. when he was sworn into the senate in january, he wrote, the president has not risen to the mantel of the office in an op-ed. president trump tweeted back, if romney spent as much time fighting barack obama as he does fighting donald trump, he could have won the race maybe. here's why this nonendorsement really matters. this is probably as far as one of the most prominent republican critics president trump is going to be willing to go, just saying he won't endorse. not saying he wouldn't vote for president trump, not saying nins else shouldn't vote for president trump, just simply saying he won't endorse. that's all romney will do, even though he's not running for re-election for another five-plus years, hard to imagine
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if this is a movement by the democrats to take your begguns away, it will never happen. >> their agenda is stripping the second amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens. >> when nancy pelosi talks about the law they drew up, they won't take away anybody's glun. >> the fra and republican allies have been trying to scare gun owners for years that if dpem democrats were in control, they would take their guns away. the rhetoric has been just that, rhetoric. unfounded, in fact. last night it was beto o'rourke's most standout moment of the debate when he seemed to give those warnings some credence. >> i met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an ar-15.
and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that ar-15 in odessa, in midland. there weren't enough ambulances to get to them in time. hell, yes, we're going to take your ar-15, your ak-47. we're not going to allow it to be used against fellow americans anymore. >> so, one way to look at it is o'rourke seemingly handed the republicans the talking point they've been looking for and an attack line to motivate rural voters. guns not the only issue some primary candidates are moving to the left on and leaving themselves wide open, perhaps, to attacks from the right in the process. alexi mccammond and ramesh ponnuru and doug thornell back. is this the fodder gop have been looking for? >> i think republicans have been
doing fine on guns and the politics of guns anyway, but this does make it easier for them to say, look, this is why we're not for gun registry. if we have a gun registry, that will be paving the way for confiscation. for many, many years the democratic line was, nobody's coming for your guns. that's crazy talk. that's paranoid. i think it's harder to maintain that when beto o'rourke says that and a crowd of democrats cheers. >> well, doug, what about -- are you comfortable with that out there? because here's what's likely to happen. that line will be used in every direct mail piece that every house and senate republican issue at some point in the next 18 months. >> i doubt it. only if -- only if beto is the nominee. look, republicans have been using this second amendment issue against democrats for decades. i don't think what beto o'rourke said last night -- which i think was a really good moment for him. >> it is a 70% popular issue on
the democratic side. this is not an unpopular issue on the democratic -- >> look, republicans in suburban districts, if you want to defend blocking an assault weapons ban, if you want to defend a background check bill that is sitting on mitch mcconnell's desk ask he's not doing anything because he's too afraid of donald trump and donald trump isn't doing anything because he's afraid of nra, i would love to have that argument. >> i will make note that julian castro made sure to stop short of supporting the mandatory buy-back program. >> because that's an issue that divides the democratic field more than they want to talk about as it's easier to say, we're all unified on the issue of gun safety. they are, but the buy-back is a newer thing brought up by gillibrand when she was still in the race and now beto o'rourke. i was anticipating it was going to come up for the moderators or beto or i thought castro might bring something up to show the wedge between himself and beto o'rourke. but, i mean, this is something -- i reached out to all the top democratic campaigns
today and asked them this exact thing, are you worried beto's line is going to be turned into a gop ad and used to characterize the entire democratic field or eventual nominee as someone who wants to take away your guns? all the top democratic campaigns declined to comment on the record. democratic strategists say this is a problem for them. >> let me put up something pat toomey said and he responded -- chris coons went on cnn and he said that clip will be played over and over for years. toomey says, i agree with chris coons. this is an awful and extreme idea. thankfully there's not enough support in congress to do it. but this rhetoric undermines background checks. does it or could it actually serve to actually provide more fodder for trying to do something inkra mejs? mike braun, the republican senator from indiana, has been a big advocate for doing
background checks. his reasoning is if we do nothing, the popular thing in five years is registration, mandatory buy-back. do you buy that theory? >> predicting how these political arguments are going to play out, who knows. i think the more powerful argument among republicans is the other way. it's a slippery slope. if you give an inch, look, beto and company, this is what they want to do. a lot of republicans are going to look at a democratic house with a lopsided majority that can't pass an assault weapons ban itself and say, why don't you guys figure out where you guys stand and then we'll talk. >> doug, it is interesting to me how joe biden -- just to talk about the different ways they moved to the left. you had beto o'rourke say that. you heard pete buttigieg talk about, you know, smaller towns in america need more migrants and need more population. you heard kamala harris say, california should be a model on
a lot of these issues. i have a feeling that even if biden's the nominee, a lot of republicans will use that to say, hey, i need to be a check on the democrats. >> what, the comments by these -- >> try to use all of these comments to say, the democrats want to see this. >> like in these -- in democratic debates and republican debates, there are folks who go to the left and the right and then the general election happens and it ends up being a choice between the democratic nominee and the republican nominee. i think that's ultimately what's going to happen here. i think joe biden is clearly trying to make a play for -- he has one eye kind of looking at his competitors but he's actually looking right at the general election and he wants to make sure that some of these 60-second ads aren't made. >> i found it interesting. we can say all the different ways biden looked like he could slip up here, slip up there. you know what he never slips up on. getting caught defending one of these super progressive proposals. >> because he knows how to handle it. he knows how to keep his head down, do the work and not enl gauge with these attacks or
pulls to bring him farther to the left. his team talks about that strategy with reporters all the time. they don't care who is attacking him or throws out these plans or proposals, he ps to keep his head down and do the work. that's helping him focus on a general election strategy, which he's done since he launched this presidential campaign and i think just keep his eye on the prize. >> let me ask it this way, doug. is guns now such a powerful issue in the democratic primary that you could be semi single issue and -- beto o'rourke is now betting on this. and if you look at it, it is rising. now, climate change is also rising and it turned out single issue candidate didn't work. he tried to do it. is it powerful enough to -- >> i think it's getting there, particularly with younger activists who we saw over the last two years really turn this into a movement. but i also think we shouldn't -- i think there are still -- if you look at two of these issues, the background check bill, if you look at the red flag bill,
80% of republicans support this. so, there is a lot of bipartisan support for these issues. but i do think -- i don't think it's quite there as a single issue like the nra has made, the gun issue on the right but it's getting there, particularly for younger votes. >> isn't eric swalwell -- >> single issue, and that candidacy -- >> but i'm talking about for voters. i think for -- i think it's there for maybe a younger generation. it's moving there. >> it's interesting that he's right, there is republican support for these bills. but it does seem as if donald trump has made, frankly, made a political decision. the only -- the people that will like his supporting these background check bills have already decided they're not voting for him. the only people that might be upset about his support for them are the people he needs. does that almost guarantee why we won't see a background check bill? >> i think in theory you could have a background check bill or a red flag bill or a bill that
combines those two things. it would be a very delicate negotiation and exercise in coalition-building. i haven't seen this president able to do that before. and so this would have to be the first time. >> i think he's asked for something like 14 different proposals from folks around him for a gun legislation plan. so -- >> i get the sense he personally would like to say he signed a background check bill but somebody said you're not going to get any credit for it from the people you want the credit for it. >> ted cruz said if we do this, if we pass a background check bill in a 2020 election, it's going to demotivate conservatives. i actually think trump, or his people were hoping ted cruz would say that so now they have an excuse not to do anything. >> i think that's the decision that's been made. thank you. there's nothing like a post-debate panel. up ahead, why i'm obsessed with the deafening sound of silence. first, here's cory booker and food for thought. >> senator booker, let me ask
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welcome back. tonight i'm obsessed with something from president trump's speech at the house gop retreat in baltimore last night. it was up against the debate, if you recall. not so much what i heard but actually what i did not hear. there certainly were plenty of applause lines. take a listen. >> two great supreme court justices. take a look. right to try is something we've done a great job with. republicans believe our cities should should be sanctuaries for law-abiding americans. you're going to take the majority. >> we established that he said some things and people will clap. but then there was this line. note how the crowd responded. >> i wouldn't say the fake news was too happy with the outcome, but that's okay.
that's okay. we did it. >> nothing. crickets. and remember, this was not a gathering of journalists. the audience was full of house republicans. matt gates was in that audience. he didn't clap. surely this is not what the president was expecting. >> fake polls put out by the fake news media -- >> fake news, right? >> fake news. what the fake news was talking about. >> fake news media. look at how many back there. >> you see how notable this was? a house full of gop lawmakers on the house. the line fell that flat. has to lead me to wonder is the president's war on the media finally losing its punch? are people ignoring his bizarre
and excessive false claims in a room full of politicians who do know the truth, did journalism actually prevail? it's hard to say. but at the very least, last night the house republican silence was deafening. . ♪ ♪ applebee's handcrafted burgers now starting at $7.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood
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today. go get it wherever you get your podcast. be sure to subscribe to that. and sunday we'll be breaking down the primary race in general. among my guests will be senator cory booker and a member of the house leadership, congresswomen liz cheney. "the beat with ari melber" starts right now. >> we have a lot tonight. donald trump is profiting off the presidency illegally. we have that story tonight. also a very special guest on gun reform on this new call to seize ar-15s across the nation. and later we're going to wrap up this wild week with a very special political conversation with comedian sharod small on fallback friday. our top story right now, though, is the split screen contrast creating america. democrats unveiling policy as donald trump reveals himself at a rambling rally.