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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 7, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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say and how you say it than what you stand for. when you find people that would make equal -- equate, rather, is the word i should use, the lives of 3,000 innocent americans for partisan politics, it tells you more about them than it does the president. taking it to the streets. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, the whole world is watching the occupy wall street protesters who have been gathering across the country aren't necessarily
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looking for a leader. but a leader may be looking for them. you can be sure the organizers don't want to be co-opted by any political party, even the democrats. but you can be just as sure that the democrats are desperate to ride that wave of energy and enthusiasm. if there's a tea party on the left, you may be looking at it. also, mass hysteria. republican scott brown is fighting hard to change the subject after taking a personal shot at rival elizabeth warren's physical appearance. this is just the start of what's going to be the most in-your-face senate race in the country. plus, waiting for superman. or superwoman. chris christie said no. so did sarah palin. rick perry's losing supporters. and rick santorum is hoping to be the guy who picks them up and becomes the big-name conservative in the race. we'll play "hardball" tonight with rick san storm. santorum. and jon huntsman finally came in first in a straw poll. that's the good news. the bad news is, well, check out the sideshow. and let me finish tonight with a need to watch the wall street protesters and listen to them
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for solutions. let's begin with the occupy wall street protests themselves. sherrod brown is a democrat from ohio. senator, if you were standing in wall street with the occupy wall street people, what placard would you be holding up in the air? >> that's a good question. i just think for the president to stand -- be on our side in the end. i mean, this isn't a liberal conservative left or right, it's whose side are you on, and the president's starting to fight more than he did. that's a good sign. i think the energy coming out of the wall street protesters is always a good thing. when people nonviolently speak out and stand for something, it's good to challenge authority when they do that. >> do you think they want reform or do they want structural change? the kind of stuff i grew up with and you grew up, which is a real argument about what kind of a system, kind of system we have in this country. is this for structural change, radical change, like the way profits go to different
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corporations or the way people get jobs? is it systemic? or do they just want things fixed a little? i'm curious. what do you think? >> i don't think they want minor reforms. you remember during the banking bill. the brown/kaufman amendment would have said, it would have basically said those banks that have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, the biggest six banks in the country should have been broken up into smaller banks. it would have, instead of the power again occurring at the top, we saw what happened this week, when some of the largest banks in the country added additional charges, quietly, sort of underhandedly to some of the veterans that were refinancing their homes. and those kind of things are still going on. so minor changes at the edge are not what people want. and i think that, you know, having a -- having rich cordray as the consumer protection chief, things like that that will make the big banks and others behave the way they're supposed to. >> do you think corporations are like mitt romney says they are, they're just people like us? do you think they operate in the
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national interest or the interest of working people? when corporate boards meet and make decisions about automating and getting rid of employees or make decisions about investing overseas and not here, do you think they make decisions in the interests of patriotism or just cash? what do you think? >> well, i think they're operating -- i remember the ceo of one major company, might have been ge, might have been dow a few years ago, said, i wish i could move my corporate headquarters to a barge off the coast so i wouldn't have to be beholden to any country. i mean, i understand that. if that's the way they are, then we treat them that way. and that is that we treat them fairly, but firmly on taxes and other things, and you know, when we give tax breaks for people overseas, there's something wrong with that. earlier in the day, i was speaking -- i was at miracle scott's grow, a company in sort of central ohio, and one guy said, what are we going -- this guy is management -- he said, what are we going to do to help the middle class here? we're seeing middle class wages sideline. we're seeing manufacturing
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move jobs offshore. and i think that's what these protests on wall street are all about. they're standing up not just for the middle class, but for working people who aspire to be middle class. and that is getting a fair shake from companies and getting a fair shake from their government. they don't feel like they are, clearly. >> i think they're there to stay. i think this is going to be as big as -- maybe not as big as egypt, but permanent in our politics all through the next election. these people have got their act together, more so than the democratic party does these days. let's look at this value voters summit today. eric cantor denounced the occupy wall street movement. let's listen to his angle. >> i, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying wall street and the other cities across the country. and believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of americans against americans. >> >> such babbitry. babbitry.
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really, it is like the old st. claire lewis. here's a guy speaking to the people of main street about the evils of the little people outside their windows. i mean, why do you think the republican party instinctively dumps on people who are out of work, people who are simply in an american way raising their voices? >> well, it's the same people on the republican far right that anytime we talk about a tax increase for somebody making a $1 million a year, anytime we talk about challenging the banks or challenging big insurance companies or people protest peacefully on wall street, they say, class warfare, class warfare. well, as you know, and you've talked on this show, chris, many times, is that the class warfare has been aimed by the biggest and wealthiest interest groups in the country aimed a the middle class, and far too often, the middle class is losing on this class warfare coming from the most well-healed interest groups in washington. that's why they're fighting
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back, that's why we're fighting back, that's why you fight back on this show just to give everybody an equal chance. and when eric cantor does that, he shows his true stripes. >> i'm with you. i think you're a great senator. thank you, senator sherrod brown, ohio. >> thank you, chris. i appreciate that. michael mulgrew join us right now from the protest site in downtown. mr. malgrew, i like where you are and i like the fact you're on the show tonight. let's talk about the left, the positive left, who want to make this a better country. i'm not talking anarchy, i'm talking people that really want good reform, structural change, in the right kind of way. more equality in this country. what can get done if labor can get in bed with the people on the streets there? >> people here are very clear this is not a political movement, this is a social movement. and myself and some of my colleagues, we're here to say, just do what you're doing and
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keep it moving. because this is a discussion that we believe this country needs to have. and as you walk through this park, you hear all of their different ideas, but the main thing, the main message they keep saying is, whatever's been going on here in this country, 1% keep getting richer and 99% are getting poorer and poorer. and we're hoping that by supporting these people and just let them keep going out and saying the messages that they're doing, go across this country, that that's a debate we need to be having on every street corner across this country if we want our country, once again, to work for everyone. >> as you walk among those people, and you can probably talk well to them, as a labor organizer, do you ever hear -- did you hear an idea or two that struck you that you liked? what kind of -- i mean, seriously, i want to know what you've learned out there. i'm talking about at the end of the show tonight, i think we can learn from people out on the streets. did you hear any ideas that you liked from the occupy wall
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street people there? >> well, they really have a -- it's a highly structured organization inside of this park right here. people tried to put them out there as like this complete, chaotic group. i mean, they have a structure for, you know, how do we make our decisions based on what policies we want to do. just even how they work here. there's a medical center, there's a cafeteria, there's a library center. and what we're seeing here, all of their decisions are made about what's best for the majority of the people. how do we make sure we allow the individual voice to be heard, but at the same time, how do we make sure that whatever we're deciding helps most of the people? and that is something that has obviously gone awry here in this country. i'm standing right now in downtown new york city. new york city is the income disparity capital of the entire united states. so this is clear example of what's going wrong. the financial industry is here, but more than half the households in this city are now below the poverty line. and that's what i'm learning from them. it's like, we all just have to respect each other, but at the same time, stop with the politics.
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we want our society to move forward. and i think that's a very powerful message they're delivering. >> give me one thing that congress could to that would reduce the disparity, the difference between rich and poor in america? >> right off the top, it has to be, you know, the tax structure is completely out of whack. i represent teachers and school secretaries, they're paying more, a higher percentage of tax than someone who's making $17 billion running a hedge fund. that's absurd! we haven't had the concentration of wealth this high, this is just such a small percentage having all the wealth since 1929. and what you're hearing here and what so many people have been saying is, we don't want a completely collapse. we do not want another great recession. so, just start with the tax structure. let's be fair about it. >> well, wait wait a minute. okay, it's friday. the democrats have controlled the congress. there's a democratic chairman of the finance committee in the senate. they've controlled ways and means with a lot of well-known people, like charlie rangel, they never got rid of carried interests. they never got rid of those disgusting advantages that the hedge fund operators get.
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why should you trust the democrats when they've had the power to get rid of these crappy tax deals that give money to people who already make billions, why do you trust them to fix it? >> you know, that's why i was very clear to say to you, this is not a political movement. this is a social movement. it doesn't matter, democrat or republican. what we are hearing now is, the government has not been working for the people. we've had democrats in control and republicans in control, and for 30 years, we've seen all this wealth shift, and it has to stop. that's what i've learned from walking in this park and talking to these people. it's got to be about stop with these party politics, but more importantly, let's do what's right for most people, let's have a real chance at the middle class again. i'm a teacher, i educate children. but i also want to make sure that as that child gets educated and goes to college, they have access to a good life. it's pretty clear, talk to anyone here, talk to anyone on main street, those opportunities are disappearing. >> you know, in cairo, you and i
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watched, like everybody else, what happened over there. they brought down mubarak, brought down the statues, they changed everything in egypt. i hope that doesn't happen here, because i don't like violence and i do love our constitution, but what do you think? can good come out of this in the end? in a couple weeks, in a couple months, what's going to be different in america because of that crowd behind you? >> what we're all hoping is that that discussion about really making those changes, about stop -- the income disparity is one of the major things you hear over and over in here. and they all feel, for their own little reasons, that might have about campaign finance, about free media, they're all saying that you need to stop the income disparity that's just out of control in this country, because you have to have that strong middle class. >> i hear you. >> and if we start hearing politicians on both sides start talking about that instead of trying to play these divide games, then these people have accomplished something that we haven't been able to do in 30 years. >> you're great, mr. mulgrew, great having you on. please come back to "hardball." you belong here, too.
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>> take care. coming up, scott brown is fighting hard to get away from a very rough comment he made about elizabeth warren's physical appearance. you don't do that here. brown versus warren, it can promise to be one of the most in-your-face senate races in the country. it's just getting started, and we're going to go to that right after this break. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] nature valley sweet & salty nut bars... they're made from whole roasted nuts and dipped in creamy peanut butter, making your craving for a sweet & salty bar irresistible, by nature valley.
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welcome back to "hardball." there's a fight brewing between massachusetts republican senator scott brown and his most likely democratic opponent for the senate next year, elizabeth warren. it all started on tuesday when in a democratic debate, warren, elizabeth warren was asked by a young republican how she paid for college. the questioner then reminded everybody, including her, that scott brown had posed nude for "cosmopolitan" magazine to pay for his law school. >> scott brown posed nude for "cosmo" to help pay for his college education. how did you pay for your college education? >> i kept my clothes on. >> yesterday scott brown was asked about the exchange in a radio interview. let's listen to that. >> have you officially responded to elizabeth warren's comment about how she didn't take her
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clothes off? [ laughter ] >> thank god. >> "thank god." anyway, later, elizabeth warren responded to his statement. let's listen to that. >> what do you think about this "thank god" comment? >> i'll survive a few jabs from scott brown. >> do you think he should apologize? >> i'll survive. >> wow, and "the boston globe" reports that brown went back on radio last night to say his earlier statement on warren was a joke. that's what he says. so in a competitive race, does a back and forth like this help either candidate? susan milne writes for "u.s. news & world report", david corn is a washington bureau chief, of course, for "mother jones, and alex wagner is an msnbc analyst. i want to start with susan. who has won this thing so far, this little back and forth about making fun of somebody's physical appearance, saying it's a joke. she didn't exactly start it, because that republican youngster started taunting her, go ahead. >> yeah, i think if anybody
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wins, it's probably elizabeth i mean, first of all, i think we all know that a woman would never be able to run for office like this if she'd posed nude for a magazine. it didn't seem to trouble people about scott brown. but i think what his problem is, his campaign is now saying that this is an example of how elitist elizabeth warren is, because she didn't have to do something like that. and i kind of want their theme song to be that donna summer -- she works hard for the money? >> they're trying to bring it back to -- >> right, exactly. >> i want to know, just your bottom line, who won the back and forth when she took opportunity to mention that he'd posed naked for -- nude for "cosmopolitan" years ago when he was in law school. and then he made the personal shot at her. >> yeah. >> who won in that exchange? >> i think she did. >> your thoughts on that, david corn? and then we'll get back to the history part. >> no, no, no. she won because he engaged in frat boy humor. and then he kind of said, it was just a joke. it was a joke about what he thought about her appearance. and you know, she was -- >> he was like a kid yelling out
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a dormitory window at some women walking by. >> thank you god she didn't take off her clothes. we know what he meant. and he can't sort of really fess up and say, you know, that was a bad remark on my part. and then it's sort of spinning into this debate about their respected biographies, which she wins as well. >> let's get to the thing. just to finish it up, alex wagner, is this just a case of a guy being gross? he's seizing an opportunity to be very unpleasant to a woman he should respect. >> look, chris, i think this has gotten slightly blown out of proportion. there are calls for scott brown -- >> oh, yeah? not by us. >> look, some organizations are calling for him to reconsider whether he should be running for re-election, that he shouldn't have a place in the u.s. senate. >> oh, come on. >> i think it's a basically tasteless joke, but in the end, of course elizabeth warren wins. it underscores her tenacity, her strength, the fact that she can survive a couple of jabs from scott warren -- scott brown, is an understatement. >> two female senators, female senators from the northeast, obviously allies of brown's, tried to shift the discussion.
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this is what you call spin. both statements shifted the focus from brown's comment about warren's looks, which everybody's been talking about, to how brown made money back as a law student, back 30 years ago. kelly elle from new hampshire said in part, "it's inappropriate to make light of his personal circumstances or to disparage or belittle him for the decisions he made to improve his life." boy, that's special. and maine's susan collins said in part, "it's wrong to mock anyone who had to make hard choices to overcome tough obstacles. his story is no different than millions of americans who are doing everything they can to make ends meet." so cute. you know, i used to run a birthday concession at holy cross. this isn't about how you made money in college. this is about whether he's frat boy and does he show a certain character problem by taking a shot at somebody about their physical appearance? >> well, he did. and more importantly, afterwards, his campaign manager said, this is just an indication of elizabeth warren's elitist outlook.
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>> how so? >> from harvard, she's looking down on a poorer, working class guy. this guy went to tufts, went to boston college, which is a private school. she grew up as an okie, in oklahoma, went to public schools. she has more of a working class background than he does, but they're trying to use the harvard thing out of this against her. >> yeah. >> let's get back to your argument. you have the opportunity to make a larger statement. this is always tricky in business. my friend, susan mulligan, you said a candidate for public office was female, had 30 years before posed in a magazine, they would be disqualified from public -- >> absolutely. >> do you believe that, david, that she would be disqualified? >> i think if we found naked pictures of michele bachmann -- >> no, in "cosmo"? >> no, but naked is naked, chris. you guys would have a hard time -- at least with their own constituency. >> okay. this is friday around here. my producer knows exactly where
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i want to go in these moments. this is what i find frickin' fascinating. brown is 41/38 over somebody, who just came into politics, he's one of the best -- pure quarterback. i'm not saying anything about his policies, a good pal with the berber coat and the truck. he's got all the apparatus. >> you know what his problem is, and we can talk a lot about their supposed working class background and so forth, but the math is still very tough for him. he's still running in massachusetts, you're asking a lot of people to pull the lever for barack obama and scott brown. i'm not sure it's going to happen. and the second thing is that she has an advantage that i think in the first campaign, people were comparing martha coakley, who was a deeply flawed candidate to ted kennedy or the memory of ted kennedy. and now elizabeth warren -- >> well, at least scott brown showed pictures of martha ted kennedy, whereas martha coakley, had never been a candidate. alex wagner, your thoughts about this? you come from a long pedigree of political people here. your thought -- >> no one has taken their
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clothes off to go through college, though. >> let's go back to the sheer politics, which we do better here than naked pictures. >> that's arguable. >> would you say this is the closest race, it looks like, on paper? is scott brown in as much trouble as being within the margin of error against an absolute newcomer? >> absolutely, chris. and his favorability rating was sky-high just months ago. look, you combine with what's happening on wall street, the feeling of anger and frustration and that the middle class has unduly born the brunt of this economic recession, with the fighting that elizabeth warren has done, and her record in washington, fighting the banks and fighting to some extent the government, she is the candidate right now. >> so she could be the gutsy joan of arc that says, i'm taking on the big guys. >> she's the perfect democrat. she has a pop you list background, she understands big finance and can relate to little people or other people. >> she's got to get out of that boston elite thing.
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it'll kill you, though. >> you know what, they took a poll and 13% said they were less favorably disposed to her, because of the harvard background. but that's a small number. you know, i'm not sure -- >> how do you beat that, my friend, my fellow irish woman here? how do you beat that that drives most massachusetts people crazy? >> first of all, as david has pointed out, she's the won who went to a public university and a public law school and it's scott brown who went to the private schools. and she doesn't come from some kind of privileged background. what i think is remarkable is we sit here and wring our hands over the state of education in this country and how kids aren't making their s.a.t. scores, but going to harvard has somehow become this negative thing. >> there's academic achievement, and elitiselitism. there's an attitude of looking down on people and i'm better than you because i went there. you're allowed to go to the best schools in the country, but in this democratic society, don't act like it. don't act like you're better than other people. >> what's she have to do? take off her clothes? >> i don't know.
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i'm asking. how about winning for once. that's what she has to do. >> then she'll be part of an elite group of 100 people. >> you're wrong. i'm sorry. >> she's good at crusading and championing for the average consumer. she talks about these big issues in a way that people get. and she makes a connection. she'll be great on the campaign trail. scott brown should be damned scare. >> you're great. you are really good. you're a wart healer. this guy is the best street corner -- you've got a bull horn somewhere. >> i would be happy to manage -- her campaign. >> -- david corn. >> anyway, anyway, i like the way you talk. anyway, thank you, david corn, thank you, alex wagner, thank you, susan mulligan, you know what elitism is. up next -- comes in first place in a straw poll, but there's a big but. catch the straw poll. guess what straw poll he won? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first up, finally a moment of triumph for gop candidate jon huntsman. that's right, the former utah governor ended up in the number one slot in a recent straw poll. only problem, here's a hint. the group that conducted the straw poll, well, they're called the take back the american dream conference, is actually a progressive organization and we're talking really progressive. in the same poll, 97% supported president obama's american jobs bill. when asked which of the republican candidates was most qualified to be president, 49% went for huntsman. so he didn't want to win this one. mitt romney came in a distant second with just 22%, and this has got to be a bittersweet moment for huntsman, probably more bitter than sweet, if you consider that primary season has yet to be in full swing. next up, you picked the wrong guy. that's the gist of what former president bill clinton has to saying about an ad targeting
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president obama's jobs act. released by the conservative super-pac, american crossroads. let's take a look at the snippet that got clinton's attention. >> the president proposes tax increases. $1.5 trillion. >> $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue. >> president obama's latest way is still the wrong way. >> i personally don't believe we ought to be raising taxes. it won't solve the problem. >> well, if you thought the former president didn't notice this cameo appearance, those people put the ad together were mistaken. in response to his appearance in the ad, clinton said, "the advertisement implies that i opposed the buffett rule. in fact, i support both the american jobs act and the buffett rule. i believe that it's only fair to ask those of us in high income groups to contribute to solving our long-term debt problem." well, there you have it. and later -- "what i did say was that the buffett rule cannot solve the problem alone. reducing the debt requires three more things -- economic growth more spending cuts, and more
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revenue." bill is on his game. now for the big number. when you're debating what movie to see, how often do you think about where the leading actor stands politically before buying your movie ticket? turns out, that's not an uncommon consideration especially when you're talking about tea partiers. a in poll by "the hollywood reporter" asked that question. how many of the tea party respondents answered that a actor's political views do impact their decision to watch them at the movies. well, 45% say yes. that's more than double the amount of democrats who answered yes to the same question. tea partiers, i guess, want to know that the guy kissing the girl is thinking about taxes being too high. 45%. and that's tonight's wild big number. up next, republicans are still looking for the next anti-romney. could rick santorum be that guy? he's coming here to "hardball" in a minute. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if you took the top down on a crossover?
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hello. here's what's happening now. a suicide bomber and rocket attacks on at least three military outposts market the tenth anniversary of the star of the war in afghanistan. fortunately no allied troops were killed. president obama said awarding the nobel peace prize to three women proves that the world is better off when women are in power. abouten operation tracking gun sales to mexican drug car tells. and missouri the focus shifted to a kansas city landfill as authorities continue their search for a missing 10-month-old girl. jurors in the manslaughter trial of michael jackson's doctor watched a two-hour-long tape of dr. murray being interviewed by police. more than 100 people were
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arrested in and around new york city tonight in connection with what looks to be a truly massive identity theft ring that specialized in cracking stolen apple products. now back to "hardball." when that phone call comes at 3:00 in the morning, ladies and gentlemen, i will be up and waiting for the call, because i will know what's going on in the world around us. you won't have to get me out of bed. >> well, welcome back to "hardball." that was former republican, pennsylvania senator, rick santorum at the values voters event earlier today in washington. he's made a name for himself in the debates recently, but polls show him still at the bottom of the pack. the latest "washington post"/abc news poll has him running at 2% among republicans, although these numbers do gyrate. santorum would like to become the mitt romney alternative, wouldn't he? what'd you mean that you'd be up by 3:00 in the morning.
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are you a nocturnal creature or what? >> no, what i was saying is that if something like that was going to occur, i'd probably have a better handle on it that i wouldn't have to be surprised to get out of bed. in other words, i'd be up and on top of a situation when something was about to happen. >> you were speaking in metaphors? >> i was speaking in metaphors. >> let's talk about this race. the way i look at it in sports terms, romney's won the eastern conference, he's the moderate, and there's still a wide-open battle for who's going to challenge him down the stretch. whether it's you, it's perry, it's bachmann, or in all fairness, herman cain. >> sure. sure. no, i think that's an accurate assessment i think mitt has established himself as the traditional candidate, the establishment candidate. and the question is, who's the conservative alternative? as you know, i've had a pretty good, long track record of being a consistent conservative. and you and i don't agree on the issues, but i think you'd say i've been a consistent conservative, i've let on those issues, and had my share of accomplishments in the process. >> i know you're on campaign,
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but i keep asking, i don't see how your party can go down to tampa, where all those tea party people are red-hot and passionate about their beliefs, like you are, and getting excited about outsourcing the nomination to someone like romney, a guy who would never go to tea party meeting in a million years. >> i think if you look at the national polls, you know, mitt has trouble getting over 20 to 25%. he may hit 30. >> what's that tell you? >> that's 65 to 75% of the people out there are looking for somebody else. and the question is, who is that alternative? and obviously, we think that national polls are nice, but it's how well you're going to do in iowa, how well you're going to do in new hampshire, and you walk through the process, and that's where we're focused on. >> okay. you've never been a rich guy, i don't think you have any big interest in big -- you've never been driven by that. let's talk about this country's inequality situation. what's happening in new york, on wall street, it's a motley crew, we don't know what they all stand for, some of them may be anarchists, but a lot are just unemployed men and women trying to make some noise about the situation they're in.
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now, my question to you is, what's your reaction when you see people in the streets about the inequality of income in this country? >> my reaction is, people going to wall street, have a legitimate reason to beef. that you had a situation where wall street did a lot of things that they shouldn't have done and no one, very few people, lost a lot of jobs in wall street because of that. and we bailed them out. we -- not we, but the guys in the bowes, president bush and republicans and democrats alike bailed wall street out. and we see them sort of going on their merry way, big bonuses. and i don't -- you know people -- >> you wouldn't have bailed them out? >> i would have said -- look, moral hazard means something. and if you're going to go out and do the kind of behavior that these folks did and play the kind of games that they knew they were playing, then someone needs to suffer the consequences, both financially, and if necessary, criminally. and basically, people skirted, went off scot-free. and i can understand that frustration. if you look at the economic plan i put forward, chris, it's an economic plan based on trying to
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grow the middle of america back. it's an economic plan based on getting manufacturing jobs back into this country. that's why i always say, we've got the plan that can actually get bipartisan support, because it zeros out corporate taxes for manufacturers and processors only, because we want to be able to compete for those jobs back in america. finches the fa-- the fact is th american people don't like the attack system, where people who make money off money make 15% and people who make money off sweat and showing up at work are paying 35%. do you like that system? >> well, the top rate place 35%. >> no, of salary. all the people in wall street living off the hedge fund money and carried interests, they're not paying 35%, they're paying squat. >> they're playing capital gains, just like warren buffett. >> you like that idea? >> the problem with that with the -- >> that's why they're complaining about wall street. >> i understand. but you have to look at that as the price of capital and where capital can move to. and our capital gains tax rates are not even at this rate particularly competitive with a
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lot of other countries. you have some countries that have a zero capital gains tax rate. so you have to compete for capital and you have to have tax rates that make it competitive -- >> but how do you sell that to a guy or woman out there making 30 or 40 years, sweating, somebody making 20,000 times more than that are paying a much lower tax rate. >> i'd say two things to sell it to them. first off, you have almost half of america doesn't pay any federal income tax. >> more than that. >> well, no, it's about half. so you're talking about half of america isn't paying any taxes -- >> you know who i'm talking about, i'm talking about the guy and woman whose combined income is about 70, they're both working, if they're lucky. >> i'm getting to that. the second thing i would say is, what those people really want is an opportunity to rise. they want an opportunity to get into that middle income and higher, and that's what the economic plan that i've laid out does. >> i want you to answer one question. do you think it's fair to tax people, for people to make money off money lower than people who make money off work? that's the problem. >> i would say the answer is most americans don't get taxed more, because most americans -- pay no -- almost half of americans pay no income tax. so the answer is the people who are paying those higher rates --
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>> this is the part i don't understand about you, why you defend the super rich -- getting away with lower taxes >> it's not a matter of the super rich, chris, it's a matter of having a system that allows you to invest in capital and not penalize the return -- >> let's go to news just broke. robert jeffreys, the senior pastor at first baptist church down in dallas, i don't know the man, but he just introduced rick perry at today's value summit today, in washington, talking to reporters afterwards, perry spoke, pastor called mormonism a cult. let's listen. it's on tape. >> well, rick perry's a christian. he's an evangelical christian, a follower of jesus christ. mitt romney's a good, moral person, but he's not a christian. mormonism is not christianity. it has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of christianity. so it's a difference between a christian and a nonchristian. >> a spokesman for rick perry later said he told nbc by e-mail, quote, the governor does not believe mormonism is a cult. that's rick perry talking. you know, we were going over the
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numbers last time in 2008. romney never carried a single southern state, never carried a border state, which tells me he does have this problem with evangelical christians, with his background. >> i think it's unfortunate. >> you think it's unfair -- >> i think it's unfortunate. i don't think you should vote against anybody based on their religion. mitt romney, as even the pastor said, he's a good, moral man. >> is he christian? >> he believes he's a christian. i'm not an expert on the mormon religion -- >> oh, you're hedging! >> i'm not hedging. >> it's the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. >> every mormon i know believe that they're christian. i'm not an expert in mormonism, so if they say they're christians, than as far as i'm concerned, they're christians. if they say they believe in jesus christ, fine, they're christians. >> but they're not a cult? >> no, they're not a cult. i believe the people should focus on public policy, focus on his morality in his own life, and as far as i can say, it's a good one. >> we'd be better off not talking about these things sometimes in a political environment. anyway, thank you, rick santorum. >> you bet. my pleasure. up next, gridlock on capitol
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hill. what can be done when the two sides don't work together? they simply don't even meet or talk. that is "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've been buying ragu for years. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ '80s dance music plays ] [ sighs ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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today marks the ten-year anniversary of the start of war in afghanistan. and the statistics of the past decade are simply in human terms staggering. 1,790 american service men and women have been killed in the mission. the war has cost nearly $340 billion so far, and that's nearly $8 billion per month. it's a grim reminder, of course, especially the human cost of this war, the longest war in american history. and we'll be right back. a lot of times, things are right underneath our feet,
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we're back. we started tonight by talking about the anger at wall street and that politicians were not being able to work together. now we're going to turn to a different time when compromise wasn't a dirty word. robert strauss was known as the ultimate democrat power broker during the 1980s. he was able to broker deals with his republican counterparts, also calling many of them his friends. in fact, george herbert walker bush wrote this to a letter to strauss back in october of '74. it reads in part, "strauss, you old bastard, you'll never believe this, i miss our jousts and our leisure times of pleasantness. hang in, pleasantly. best to all at dnc, but damn it, lose, bar sends her love, best gb," that's george bush. so what can today's politicians learn from guys like strauss. catherine mcgarr is the the niece of robert strauss has written a great book, "the whole damn deal," his description of what he liked about the whole
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job. i want to talk about this situation last night. and this is right classic strauss situation. here's last night on the senate floor. here's harry reid, on the senat here's harry reid, the democratic leader, talking about how personal politics has become. how personal. >> we should be able to move matters through here that have been happened since the beginning of this country. nominations, for example. we can't do that because my friend, the republican leader, as candid as he was, said his number one goal was to defeat president obama. that's been going on. let's go back to before the mantra was to defeat obama. >> boehner is now saying the president is no good, he's not a leader anymore. you have reid saying the republican leader, mcconnell is just out to ditch obama.
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it's get rid of the other guy. it's not try to find a deal. why do they even bother coming to washington together? they don't want to meet each other. >> it's not bob strauss's kind of politics. he was a chairman of the dnc when george h.w. bush was chairman of the rnc. they should have been political enemies. that's when george h.w. bush wrote the letter you read from. he went on to be confirmed in the senate, to be carter's special trade representative. this was going from a place of extreme partisanship at the dnc to, you know, a love fest basically on the senate floor. he did have friends across the aisle. it was an easy nomination. then one of the biggest trade bills in history, he got the tokyo round passed in 1979. unprecedented 90-4 vote in the senate. this was not an uncontroversial bill. that was a fete. >> i remember the deal. i know all about it. it was one of his great accomplishments. let me ask you about this. a lot of people watch the show are true believers.
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progressives. some of them are moderates. a lot of them are progressives. how can you have deep political beliefs in the kind of country you want to live in and the same time get along with people who dis agragree with you? how do you do both at the same time. >> it's a fine line. bob in part didn't do both. he was a patriot, and, you know, as you know. he really loved this country and believed in doing his best and believed in democratic values. he was not an ideologue. that's a difference between believing in policy and being such an ideologue that you can't even see the other side. bob could always see the other side and always thought it was better to compromise and get maybe 80% of what you want. instead of some of the vitreal you see going on today where people only want 100% or nothing. >> well, you're all right. bob strauss, one seem i was carrying a ton of stuff at the democratic convention? '72 in miami. it was 100 degrees out. i would have had to walk a mile to find a door that was open. along came a guy and said, let
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this kid in this door. that was strauss. i was flying for the carter campaign from philly to pittsburgh in the worst win we've ever seen and the smallest plane we've ever seen. bob strauss came along and said get us a better plane. i do remember these. great man. you're his niece. >> yes, his grand niece. his brother, ted strauss is my grandfather. >> great man. the book is called "the whole damn deal." if you love politics and getting things done in the country, this is the guy to reed about. thank you for coming on. when we come back, let me finish with why the country's problems may require -- this is going to scare some people -- radical solutions. nothing helped me beat arthritis pain.
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he me finish tonight with this. radical. normally we don't like that word. radical. somewhere near the center, between progressive and conservative. people consider you troubling at best, dangerous at worst.
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radical positions, radical solutions, radical politics. not the stuff most people are comfortable with, but there come times when the solutions don't seem to be working or to be more exact, aren't working. we have 9-plus percent jobless rate and about double that amount of people are not in full-time jobs. they're not getting hired the way they need to. the normal forces aren't solving their problems. corporations aren't hiring. they're investing overseas or finding automated ways to get work done. we have a housing situation today that isn't getting fixed either. older people are unable to sell homes. they need to. young people are having a very rough time getting mortgages and finding a house they can afford. here, again, the normal forces of supply and demand are not getting houses priced to sell. which means price to be bought. not everyone is getting hurt by all this, of course, not
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equally. the oil companies have made huge profits and so have many in the financial community. millions have been hurt. they're hurting more each month, as months of work grow into years. as the corporations who were told that one republican nominee are really just people like us, continue to find ways to make profits without offering people in this country real full-time jobs. so people with brains and a sense of history begin to think about solutions to our problems that arise beyond the normal list of progressive or conservative tools we've used to fix problems in the past. so we have to listen to the arguments being made down there on wall street by the protesters. radical solutions are sometimes the right solutions. think of american independence. thomas payne was right. we had to cut our ties with england, pure and simple. think of abolition, the only right way to deal with american slavery was to ban it outright, not negotiate with the slavers. how long exactly should we continue with policies that leave so many out of work without the dignity and vitality of a job to go to? how long do we let our economy shrink right in front of us?

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