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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 1, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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i'm ed schultz. for more information on "the ed show" we take you to our new blog at we'll see you monday night. >> a game of washington chicken? let's play hardball. good thursday evening, i'm chuck todd in washington sitting in for chris matthews, who's on assignment in israel. leading off tonight, the democrats blink. if the budget battle were a game of chicken, the democrats would already be in the ditch. they appear to be to the republicans' initial proposal. still, the democrats somehow managed to make the republicans
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look like they're the obstructionists today. plus one group making sure the republicans don't blink in this game of chicken, the tea party. they rallied in washington urging the republicans to hold the line. but it comes as a second poll in two days shows the tea party steadily losing some popularity in the middle of the electorate, is that party ending? also, let's face it, in one week donald trump has transformed himself into the nation's leading birther, which he doesn't like that term, by the way. he's jumping into a cesspool where a lot of republicans have been lurking. we'll ask strategists what the party can do to climb out of that mess and what democrats do if they want to to try to exploit that madness. and here, one right out of the james bond file. while it's true there are no u.s. ground troops in libya, "the new york times" and a lot of news outlets are reporting that the cia has placed clandestine operatives inside the country. we'll talk to a former cia
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officer about just what they're trying to do in libya, how they're tryi to do it and whether they can succeed. and finally, which member of congress fears the fighting in libya could spread to, wait for? think about that for a moment. and then think about this. the congressman sits on the house foreign affairs committee. he's landed himself in the deow weta wh e tt or the budget. "time" magazine's mark halperin and richard wolffe join me now. we've got mark over at the white house. mark, i'll start with you over . olouooatheum rerts stig, ot eriso as w wcat reh an agreent to avoid a government shutdown because the bottom line is here we're working off the same number. that number is $33 billion. now house speaker john boehner
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said today ty weren't operating off that number. of course the current house number is $61 billion. it's a game of chicken. decrs epaving. but is it now all eyes on the republicans? >> well, i think they're caving less on the question of the amount, although they have caved somewhat on that.loy' d e sctiar n-den discretionary spending that democrats think will hurt the economy and hurt less fortunate americans. so they have lost the pr battle on the terrain and are now actual number. >> for the first time, richard
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veme stdn. 'rlieng t ppl o nt ut enng wcagr o eno. there no agemt on a set of numbers, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. i've said it and i'm going to se is the fact. >> so, richard, they got job boehner to say there is no agreement. that's actually something they have been trying to do because now it looks like he's standing in the way of the deal. >> he's a different dynamic. the white house is playing for independence. it wants to be reasonable, look annoy the base. they are caving to a greater degree than republicans. but republicans are not playing for that same group. they're playing the body-building game for the base for the tea party folks.
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so when you've got one side wanting to look tough and the other side looking reasonable, you know who wins mbgg ge athe whe usislangth gg aiee tse dendent te tt ve away from them in the last couple of years. so, yes, this is a small skirmish over this particular phase and maybe democrats are going to have to be very unhappy because they have given up so much here. the problem here is the next round. what now can the white house do when they go into the spending limits, the next budget. what else can they give up here and still look reasonable. >> and, you know, mark, what i found fascinating today is this contribution between what biden said last night and boehner said today. it was all fodder for the jay carney briefing. and jay carney said, oh, no, no, no, we agree with john boehner. we know when you have a deal, it's a deal for all of it. we just think that we all agree we're pretty close on the number, we're just working out the details. the white house doesn't want to throw john boehner under the bus publicly, do they? >> he's their negotiating partner. boehner has been in private in these talks from all reports pretty reasonable. he recognizes that he has a balancing act to do. he must get support from some republicans, but in the end,
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this deal is likely to be like the tax deal they passed during the lame duck session and like the last cr was. this is likely to be a deal that gets passed only because it gets sufficient votes from both republicans and democrats, the kind of bipartisan compromise that the president said he would put through on a range of issues as president. this is a challenge for john boehner more than anyone else, but it's clear he knows from the comments he made today, he can't deliver what the tea party wants, even if he was willing to take the political risks richard was talking about, he can't deliver that because it can't pass the senate. >> mark halperin, very quickly, do you imagine a deal where john boehner votes for it and eric cantor, the number two, votes against it? >> i think that's absolutely possible and it would be -- it would be representative of the two strands of thought and strategic thought within the
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party right now. >> richard wolffe, i want to play some back and forth over this issue of riders. the white house actually has backed off and drawn a line in the air. biden last night these amendments, these riders, the defunding of planned parenthood or npr, the president and i are not big on riders at all. we made it clear what we think are the non-starters, but i'm not going to negotiate out here. here's michele bachmann today about this issue of riders. take a listen. >> cutting off funding to groups like planned parenthood has to be one of those issues that we're just not going to back down from. >> so it seems the white house is basically saying, look, john boehner, we'll give you some riders if you need it. you just can't send us over the planned parenthood and npr riders. >> they're not saying explicitly which riders are the worst for them but all of them are going to be difficult to swallow. in this kind of negotiation -- the problem is they have already given up their number and they're trying to look reasonable. they have already had to move where the goal post is as they
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moved with the republicans. i don't know that there's many riders that the base will accept for the democrats. so to give up one and maybe get less in terms of cuts to some of these discretionary spending programs, maybe that's a compromise they'll take. but they're really looking for that next game, which is what do you do on the next round of temporary point. >> newt gingrich was speaking to the house republican freshmen today and this is a group for the most part they want to fight a little bit harder it seems than the leadership. you get a sense the republican leadership says, hey, we've got a debt limit fight we've got to do, all these extra fights richard was pointing out. what advice was newt gingrich went through before in the '90s was given these freshmen? >> to stand by their principles. this is the popular position. you talked about eric cantor being against a final deal but john boehner being for it. i can almost guarantee you that every republican presidential
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candidate like newt gingrich is going to be against it. they're going to side with the tea party, with the base of the party and say we need to fight for more. the reality is, again, the shutdown risk that gingrich might be willing to take, even though he says he's not for a shutdown, he might be willing to take it. i don't think john boehner wants it. i know the president doesn't want it. they would prefer to avoid that shutdown, avoid the risk that comes both substantive and political with taking that on going into the unknown. >> what's the likelihood of a shutdown? it seems as if all the leadership doesn't want it, but is there a point of no return? >> no. eight out of ten voters don't want it. if the leadership wanted to go down the shutdown route, they'd have done it already. so i think we're beyond that point now and also, i think the republicans are playing a game saying democrats want the shutdown, they have the schumer
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stuff. everyone is trying to make everyone look unreasonable. but boehner's compromise with the tea party folks is not that different from what pelosi had to do in terms of holding on to her group and saying i'm fighting as hard as i can. if i have to lose some people and they look like they have pushed me as hard as they can go, it works out for everyone. >> i had some who say he needs the thee at ricks a little bit. >> very quickly, mark. >> chuck, we could have a shutdown because remember in these budget things, particularly when you need votes from the democrat pot and the republican pot of votes. you go to the floor, the leadership might say we've got a deal but that doesn't mean you'll get the majority on the floor. >> look at the original t.a.r.p. vote. >> that's right. >> mark halperin, richard wolffe, thank you very much. thank you both. all right, coming up next, we're going to talk about the tea party and this issue of whether they're going to be holding john boehner's feet to the fire to the point that he could face a primary challenge. we'll see what happens. that and more straight ahead. this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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this is good stuff for junkies. a 2012 calendar fight is brewing within the frun party. president republican party. iowa and new hampshire are scheduled one, two, three, four. but florida already has a die mare date and it's ahead of all of them in january 2012. now south carolina and iowa republicans are fighting back, urging the republican national committee to punish florida to
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the point where they would move the entire convention out of the state and get it out of tampa. well, the rnc issued a statement today saying look, the convention will stay where it is, but at the same time, it will enforce the rules agreed to by all states with respect to the primary and caucus calendar. so florida even tries to do a beauty contest or any of this stuff, they will lose half their delegates and be in a hotel room somewhere in the everglades. to be continued. we'll be right back.
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i think that you have made it abundantly clear stop spending money you don't have. right? >> welcome back to "hardball." that was congresswoman michele bachmann of minnesota speaking at the tea party's continuing revolution rally today. she and fellow republicans urged their colleagues to hold firm on cutting that $61 billion from the budget that the house republicans passed a month earlier.
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here's more from the rally. >> i think it's time to get serious, don't you? >> yes! >> and cutting $61 billion in my opinion is a starting point, it is not the goal. >> i stood in front of my colleagues this morning and i said if you choose to fight on the $61.5 billion, i'll stand and i'll fight with you. >> and if liberals in the senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small downpayment on fiscal discipline and reform, i say shut it down. >> the president and the white house has no clue. he doesn't get it. the senate democrats are in denial. your house republicans understand. your house republicans understand. >> well, jenny beth martin is the national coordinator for tea party patriots and organized co-founder of tea party patriots
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and he's out -- i thought you were in california, out from sacramento. >> yes, sir. >> but let me start with you, jenny, on these poll numbers that we've seen of late in this tea party -- and every pollster asks it a little bit differently, but generally it's sort of supportive of the tea party, favorable, unfavorable. here was the cnn poll, now the favorable rating at 32%, unfavorable 48%. when you look inside the numbers, among independents it's a net negative. among republicans, it's a net positive. do those numbers concern you? are you concerned that you're losing them? >> i'm not concerned about it. we're seeing growth within the movement. i talked to people today from west virginia who started like eight months ago and they had four people at their first meeting and now they have 2,000 people in their group. people in massachusetts, their groups are less than a year old
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and they have 450, 500 people in their groups. we're growing. >> is the growth, though, inside the republican party when you're basically rebranding conservative republicans while not gaining independents. is that a concern? >> i think that today's rally shows that we're hard on republicans and democrats, so hopefully the people who are independent who maybe have lost that messaging will realize we still -- we're still non-partisan. >> mark, how do you win back these independents that are drifting away from you in this poll? it's not a full-fledged evacuation, but they're drifting away, these numbers are getting lower. >> you know, i'm really not worried about it. first of all, this is a single poll. i don't trust any single poll. yet a cnn poll. it's been touted by harry reid as the demise of the tea party movement. but you're talking a 32% favorable, when harry reid himself has a 13% favorable in congress. i'll take those comparative numbers any day. the american people are with us and they are against people like harry reid in congress that are spending away the future. >> now there's obviously a
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debate. there was talk of a deal last night. vice president biden said they have agreed on a number, the $33 billion has been floated out, a billion higher than the original paul ryan number. mark, let me go to you first. john boehner behind the scenes it sounded like, all right, we can work with that number, we'll figure out where the cuts go. i had talked to john cornyn today, here's an exchange i had with him about these reports and here's what he said. >> i hope he's right, because the american people want us to solve problems. they don't want the gamesmanship and business as usual. >> so you hope he's right. that number is okay with you? that sounds like a good number? >> i'd like more, but really this is kind of small ball compared to the big issues like the debt limit. >> john cornyn's point, mark, is we've got to get past this issue. if this is the best we're going to get, get it, get it done and then start having the bigger fights down the road.
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are you okay with that? >> absolutely not. john cornyn represents politics as usual. i can tell you from talking to people in his home district, he is not popular there now. he's in serious trouble. and people like him who are out of step with the american people are in trouble. right now 69% of americans say they're angry with government, th'rangry withovnmt policies. they stand with the tea party, not with people like john cornyn that just want to get it done in the old style. >> jenny, when you look at this, there's also a lot of the public that they're tired of all the washington games. if you shut down the government, that looks like a washington game. >> it does look like a washington game and it's too bad that congress and the white house are willing to let that happen. we haven't had a budget pass since 2009. this budget, the continuing resolution we're talking about, is for this fiscal year that started in october of last year.
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october 1st of 2010. why haven't they done what they're supposed to do? >> what about this issue of compromise? here's where this started. democrats started at -- obviously they had a budget that didn't cut anything that you guys wanted to have cut. then it got moved and it got up to 33 -- they have come out to $33 billion, which is halfway of the $61 billion. why not -- you got that deal, you got it done, you're going to get president obama to sign that where you're cutting $33 billion. take that as a victory and move to the next fight? >> our job is to push as hard as we can and push and stand up for the american people. >> is there a point that you say, okay, we'll get to the point but not shut down the government or do you have to go all the way through. >> we have to see what happens. we haven't seen anything yet. we haven't seen any bills that indicate this. we've seen a couple of press releases. let's see what they actually put on the table. all we're asking for is 2.6 pennies less being spent out of every dollar. and they're saying that's extreme. >> and, mark, let me have you wrap this up. if there is a -- look, there's going to have to be compromise. democrats control the senate and there's a democrat in the white
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house. you're not going to get everything you want. at what point do you say, okay, i can accept the compromise. we've pushed them. like i said, you guys have pushed them a long way from where you started three months ago. >> so we've pushed them from pathetic to anemic and that's not acceptable. the reality, like jenny beth said, we're asking for 2.6 cents off of every dollar of federal spending. the nation is at risk. my children, your children, our grandchildren are at risk. these guys have to get serious. no, $33 billion is not enough. it's not even a start. >> but if you're only talking about these -- this small part of the budget anyway, and you need to tackle the bigger parts, you've got to get this out of the way politically before you can even tackle the real drivers of the deficit and the debt. >> look, if there is a government slowdown, which is what it would be, we'll lay it squarely at the feet of those to whom it belongs. president obama, harry reid, nancy pelosi. these guys had control of the levers of government. they could have passed any budget their hearts desired.
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>> it's going to take 60 votes in the senate. it's going to take republican support, too. >> they wouldn't even try. they never even proposed a budget. it's outrageous. they're irresponsible and they're the ones to blame for this situation. >> all right, jenny beth martin, mark meckler, i've got to leave it there. thanks for coming in. >> thank you for having us. up next, the comic stylings of brooklyn's very own mr. comedy, anthony weiner. he's at the catskills tonight, i hear. at last night's dinner he was pretty funny. that's in the side show right here on msnbc.
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>> first up, amateur night. three lawmakers did routines but there was only one star performance. without further adieu, the congressman from brooklyn, anthony weiner.
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>> this is really a huge thrill for me. this is all being broadcast on c-span 3 so tens of americans will see this. down at the cnn table, they're saying tens, what's their secret? michele bachmann, i don't know if she is here. i want to welcome her. she's probably not. she's campaigning in iowa and organizing in that important caucus state because she's running for president. that's really all i have for that joke. by the way, i do the weiner jokes around here, guys. really, like who is boehner fooling. what am i like anthony weiner? i'm serious, brother, just embrace it. >> he had the comic timing last night. as for ben quayle and rand paul, get the writers. trust me, anthony weiner found
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the joke writers. there are a few of them in washington. get help with those speeches. any way, next up, the domino effect. republican congressman tom marino has concerns about military intervention in libya. why? he thinks it could spread to africa. that's right. marino told a local paper, quote, the bottom line is i wish the president would have told us, talked to congress about what is the plan, where does it stop. do we go into africa next? i don't want to sound callous or cold, but this could go on indefinitely around the world. well, libya, of course, is in africa. congressman marino sits on the house foreign affairs committee. not so good. remember, when you're a member of congress, you're held to a little bit of a higher standard when it comes to geography. finally, who's the boss? bruce springsteen is taking on new jersey's head honcho, chris christie. he wrote a letter to the editor responding to its story with christie's program cuts.
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the boss wrote, quote, the article is one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts on the one hand and cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions. your article shows that the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty. what makes this even more interesting, chris christie, of course, is a big springsteen fan. how big? he's been to over 100 concerts. some might call that stalking. anyway, now for tonight's big number. the journey came to an end today for the bronx zoo's infamous missing cobra. the snake was found alive and well inside a non-public part of the house of reptiles. how many days of freedom did she enjoy, if you want to call it that? six. not even a full week, the bronx cobra had six days on the run. it all ended today. but it was 180,000 twitter followers later. cia agents in libya, what are they up to? what do they do? we're going to talk to a former
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agent and he'll tell us what goes on in these covert operations.
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ask me.
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>> japan is turning to the international community for help with its damaged nuclear plants. radiation experts from france are addressing high levels of soil and water contamination. and a u.s. firm is flying in a concrete pump.
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a storm system slammed central florida. several people were injured when a party tent collapsed in high winds. and nasa is going over the shuttle endeavor with a fine tooth comb after it was pelted with hail. and a cobra missing from the bronx zoo has been found, lured out of hiding musing mouse-scented woodchips. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." president obama has said he won't put u.s. troops on the ground in libya. that doesn't mean he's not already sending the cia there. many news agencies are now reporting, including nbc news, that operatives are gathering intelligence and aiding the rebels as part of sort of a shadow force in libya.
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these activities come after the president signed a secret finding a few weeks ago that authorizes the cia to do this on the ground and it's the start of what could be a potential way for them to actually arm the rebels. but the white house says it actually hasn't decided whether to provide direct arm support and they're not even confirming the signing of this directive. so does the cia presence in libya mean we're now engaged in a clandestine war. bob baer is a former cia officer and is author of the book "the company we keep." steve, there was a lot of briefings on the hill today and obviously the big focus for the obama administration and for a lot of hawks and a lot of questions on capitol hill is the search for gadhafi and getting gadhafi. here's an exchange between lindsey graham and secretary robert gates on that very issue. >> is gadhafi the legitimate leader of the libyan people in your eyes legally? and if he's not, would it be unlawful for some nation,
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including ours, to drop a bomb on him to end this thing? >> well, president reagan tried that. >> well, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try again. i believe he's an international terrorist, unlawful enemy aliti fight to him and his cadre of supporters. is that on the table or not? >> i don't think so because i think it would probably break the coalition. >> steve clemons, is gates right? that it would break the coalition if that were the purpose of the mission? >> absolutely break the coalition and would it morph into a narrative of very flamboyant western intervention yet again and concerns about what our real intentions would be in the region. you have to allow the libyan people to make that kind of decision. that can't be a bomb from us. >> all right, bob baer, we know
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the reports now. there is some cia presence in libya. frankly it was one of those things, there's probably been cia presence in libya for 40 years, but let's not go there. there's presence there right now actively trying to assess the situation with the rebels and potentially lead us to a point where they could actually arm the rebels. explain what this means. the president signs this directive, allows cia operatives to do some things there. what are they doing in this reconnaissance and how are they moving forward? >> well, i think they were there before the covert action finding was signed and it was a smart move. we don't know who these rebels are, who their leaders are, we don't know if they were trained or if we can do anything with them. so sending cia intelligence officers into libya was smart, necessary and i'm sure it was done. now, the question is, if there really is a covert action finding in the works, do we arm
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these people? i would say that's going to be a tough one. the libyan rebels are not a fighting force, they're not cohesive. a couple of them are defectors, but that's not enough to make a unit. do we want the united states in a covert war in libya? they can't stay covert, as we've seen these reports, these leaks. so we might as well have troops on the ground. >> you know, steve, what i found interesting today is jay carney at the briefing admitted that they vetted the opposition folks that have been trying to be the leaders, you know, showed up to london, vetted to see if they had an al qaeda background, all this, because this has been one of the concerns, who are these people. we don't want to get into a situation like afghanistan in the '70s and '80s and we were arming who turned out to be the taliban of today. so if we're doing that, is that also one of the things these operatives are doing is simply vetting some of this opposition? >> i'm sure they're trying to sort it out, like bob baer said. but i don't think there's a way to look at a libyan opposition group that doesn't have some of
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these elements that we would be concerned about in it. in fact i would doubt that any successor administration, successor regime to gadhafi could survive if it didn't have some of these folks in it. we have in the case -- i've talked to tom from human rights watch, a big advocate of the opposition council, convinced that there are many sincere and genuine human rights advocates on there. i told him personally unless they have got some thugs around them as well, i would worry about their ability to survive. but in the case of one of the groups that gadhafi really harassed was the libyan islamic fighting group which has changed its name but they were fellow travelers and they were for a brief time associated with al qaeda. they are not al qaeda today. most of the leaders have repudiated the al qaeda connection. but they are allied with some of the youth leaders and some of the others that are part of the equation. so we're not going to be able to
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make a neat, clean cutaway from these groups. >> bob baer, history has shown the enemy of our enemy is our friend policy never works out for the united states in the long run. >> no, there will be blowback from libya for a very long time. as steve said, the muslim brotherhood, if there's any organization that can bring it together, it's them. and we're going to expect them to be showing up a lot more. gadhafi emptied his prisons out and a lot of these people have run to benghazi and are joining the opposition. so he's absolutely right, it's not going to be a neat break. >> let's talk about what may be the biggest development of this uprising so far, and that's a defection of moussa koussa. steve clemons, explain why the defection of this guy, gadhafi's right-hand man, is so big. i'm curious, how did he defect without getting shot? >> one wonders what that is, but i inheaso usd th the gadhafi regime, they never thought he would leave. moussa koussa has been part and
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parcel of every major decision gadhafi has made for years. former head of the intelligence. involved in everything. this is one of the closest members of the gadhafi close-knit kabal, if you will. for him to go is far more important than the skirmishes of the 50, 60 people we see moving from town back and forth and whether that matters or not. his defection is a signal about where the winds are blowing around gadhafi. i still think gadhafi is incredibly resilient and we should not underestimate him. but this is a huge loss to the regime. i don't know how he got out of there, but he is a storehouse of intelligence about who matters, who doesn't, where they tilt and who gadhafi has either so seduced or so threatened so that gadhafi can continue to operate without real concern. because one of the questions is why aren't one of these guys turning a gun on him. >> on gadhafi, right. >> and they're all worried about themselves. but this is a huge boost for the
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united states. >> very quickly, bob baer, when you hear this guy is able to ge away scot-free, essentially, does that set off any alarm bells in your head? >> no. i think he had been removed as intelligence chief. he didn't like gadhafi's sons who didn't like him. gadhafi liked him, kept him around, so he was really wary of the regime early on. what i'd like to see is other defections following his and that would be the head of the major tribes. if they leave or go over to the rebels, gadhafi is done. >> all right. steve clemons, bob baer, i've got to leave it there. thank you both for your expertise. good stuff as always. on deck, there really is no such thing as bad publicity, is that right? donald trump has become the nation's leading birther. how does he and the republican party crawl out of this pr mess? we're going to ask the "hardball" strategists. [ female announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance?
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look, we've been telling you that chris matthews is on assignment in israel. by gosh, he was, okay. here he is sharing his wisdom out th20 re t international urism conference in jerusalem. watch. >> governor haley barbour of mississippi, watch this guy for one key, ate mbatn e ck to win a general election in america, you must appeal to the right without looking like one of the cultural right. >> there i 'rba
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well, we're back. donald trump said today that he's, quote, embracing and he's proud of the birther issue, he just doesn't like the word about a bid or just serious about stirring up some attention? we'll bring in the "hardball" strategists, republican tom harris, democrat steve mcmann. earlier this morning savannah and i interviewed mr. trump and we litigated this issue the umpteenth time. here's the exchange. >> it's not that much of a >> it's an incredible conspiracy. >> it's really not. if you look at what's taken place, it's really not. he came in. he was -- we all agree he was born, okay. we're all so happy that he was born. now -- >> the ad was put in -- >> it's not an ad. wait a minute.
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>> it was three days later. >> birth notices and death notices are standard. >> it was three days later, three days after the fact. atny things could have happened. d s mi iarinov which hospital he was born in. the family doesn't even know the name of the hospital. no nurses, no doctors, nobody ever came forward. >> todd harris, here's -- let me ask you. he was born. >> he was born, yes. >> he was born. this is not some sort of like -- he wasn't a creation, not alien. but todd harris, a serious question. you're chairman of the rnc and you've got this bigger-than-life personality if he gets into the debates, he's going to qualify for every debate and he's making this the issue. this is a problem for the
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republican party, is it not? >> it is a problem. it's not just a problem when he's talking about it. i frankly think it's a problem across the board. you know, we are in an economic environment right now where two-thirds of the country thinks that the president is doing a poor job handling the economy. his approval ratings are upside down among independents, and we're talking about birth certificates? we have real issues that we can lay real licks on the president with. and the more oxygen that this birther issue sucks out of this debate, the better it is for democrats, because it makes republicans look like nuts. >> do you go -- if you're mitt romney, do you go to donald trump and say, dude, cut it out. talk about your business acumen. >> i wouldn't, because donald trump would then go on tv the next day and talk about how mitt romney just came to him. >> and democrats think it's a gift. forget the conspiracy theories donald trump is buying into. one of my favorites is i heard a
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republican say on air trump is an obama plant. you know, he's just bringing it up just to embarrass the party. >> that was also during those three days, that also part of the conspiracy. that trump is really secretly work for obama. >> that's right. in fact, trump actually placed the ads in the hawaiian newspaper so that 49 years later he could come back and do this. todd's absolutely right. this is a problem for the republicans because every too many a republican gets up there and makes this argument the american people -- and independents in particular roll their eyes and go what are they doing, what are they talking about? there are real issues here. and i don't agree with todd's characterization of where the president is on these issues because the public is beginning to understand how difficult and intractable some of them are and he's getting a lot of credit for trying to solve them p the republicans, on the other hand, are talking about the birther
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movement. and you look at michele bachmann and the republican nominating process that begins to resemble a circus and we're just sitting there going this is great, this is really great. >> todd harris, watching trump do this and talking to him offline, and you sit there and go -- it feels like a publicity stunt. he says no, it's not, it really isn't. but he has succeeded in at least getting the conservative -- some of the conservative base to listen to him. he's getting conservatives to say nice things about him. and this was a guy that i don't think anybody was going to mistake for a social conservative. so is he actually being smart about going about this if he is really trying to say do well in iowa? >> i think he's a brilliant marketer. we talked before on this show about, for example, governor palin. you know, there are two different paths she could have gone down after the '08 campaign. she could have gone down the path that points toward the white house or the one that points toward entertainment, celebrity, and frankly, making a lot of money. and that's the path that she's
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going down. it's the same thing with donald trump. i don't think that he is seriously going to be shlepping through new hampshire and iowa going door to door, going to town hall meetings, doing all the things that you would actually have to do to win the republican primary. >> what was interesting, i brought up the bankruptcy, and he said they weren't bankruptcies, they're chapter 11s, which is -- >> reorganization. >> a reorganization. >> where you cut down on some of your debt and stuff like that. he was very sensitive to that. do you think he's going to be able to handle the business scrutiny when it comes? you know, the birther stuff, it's become an entertainment side show. the business stuff would be a whole new ball game. >> the short answer is no, he's not going to be able to handle it. which is one of the reasons he's not going to run. the other reason is he'd have to take his show off the air, which is making i presume for him quite a bit of money and getting him an additional amount of attention that he so desperately craves. he will not ultimately run because he will not want to fill out the disclosures. and he will not want all the people who when he was
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reorganizing ended up holding bad trump debt out there talking about what a bad trump businessman he is. >> and todd harris, you've worked with a lot of self-funding candidates. >> yeah. it's always a -- >> talk about the difficulty. >> the fiscal piece is always a nightmare. unraveling the -- divesting blind trusts, you know, across the board. >> that's if you're not involved with casinos. >> that's right. >> being a self-funder has a lot of advantages, a lot of disadvantages. but he did raise one important point this morning that americans are wondering about, which is whether your kids were born in this country. >> he seemed to raise a little bit of doubt. he's taking my word for it. anyway, todd and steve, stay with me. whew! i need a break from programming all these car insurance discounts, online. i'm dishing out discounts all day. doesn't the esurance website do most of, your work? "bew!," safe-driver discount. "bew," homeowner discount, "zing," multi-car discount.
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we are back with our strategists, republican todd harris, democrat steve mcmahon. let's talk about some blocking and tackling politics. it's this deal in ohio. john casic about to sign the collective bargaining. it's going to be different than ohio. you've got 90 days if you don't like the legislation to get it on the ballot as a referendum. steve mcmahon, i'll start with you. if you're the labor movement, are you almost licking your chops that -- >> yes. >> -- great, sign this bill, governor kasich, let's go to november? >> if you look at governor kasich's numbers right now there
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was a poll that came out a couple of days ago that has his approval rating at 30% which is lower than george w. bush's approval rate ever got in eight years in office. he's got a real problem because he overstepped on this thing. he may recognize it but he's going to plow ahead and assume that in four years people will t in the next 90 days, which they can do -- >> this is labor. >> -- it's going to be something where independents are going to go with labor on collective bargaining because independents are like democrats in the way they view that. >> todd harris, watching john kasich handle this, it's been interesting. i felt like he did try to learn pr lessons from scott walker. he really toned it down, did not take a front and center role. but boy, you get this on the ballot in november, this is ohio, this is our media environment. this will become -- this will define the republican primary for a little while, won't it? >> it will be all-consuming. but i don't think anyone should assume that just because labor is loud that the public -- >> the question is can they win? >> are going to be on their side. sb-5, this bill, governor kasich had the audacity to tell
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governor employee union workers that they have to cap their annual vacation at six weeks. no more than six. that they can't have more than two weeks on top of that of sick days. >> that has nothing to do where w. -- >> but i was going to say, this is the message war. if that's the message, republicans can win that argument. but democrats and labor want to turn it into a -- >> they're going to tell you that this is -- >> about taking away someone's rights. >> it's an assault on the middle class, which is absolutely absurd because federal government workers don't have the right right now that they do in ohio. what he's trying to take -- >> so you're right, it is the message war. the folks in wisconsin actually got it right because the public is concerned about rising salaries and benefits of public employees and the pensions in particular because they read about those things bankrupting communities in california. on the other hand, the public by a margin of ab


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