tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 12, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
the war over women, let's play some "hardball." good evening, i'm michael smerconish in new york for chris matthews. leading off tonight, what dowomen want? not mitt romney according to the gender gap in many holes, and things got worst yesterday as they stumbled on the the subject of equal pay, as the democrats were ready to celebrate a successful day, one of their own temperatures on their comments. also, a rare point of agreement between conservative republicans and the obama campaign. neither intends to let mitt romney tack back to the center. the right wants him to prove that he meant all of those
severely conservative things he said in the campaign, and swing voters won't let him forget it. and the trayvon martin case, we got our first glimpse of george zimmerman when he was in court today, and calling joe mccarthy, he says about 80 democrats in the house are communists. the republican party spent of the 1950's in the fever swamps of mccarthyism. and are the republican presidential prospects in worst shape four years from now. michael steele, chairman of the republican party, and joan walsh, from salon.com. let's look at the comments made by hillary roasen made on cnn last night.
>> you have romney running around the country saying what my wife tells me that women care about economic issues, and when i listen to my wife, that's what i'm hearing. his wife has never worked a day in her life. she's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, send them to school, and why do we worry about their future. >> today rosen apologized for her poorly chosen words, but she defended the premise of her argument. she said that when i said ann romney never worked, she never had to care for her kid and eastern a paycheck like most american women. joining me now, michael steele and also joan walsh. michael steel, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life, she said, that was a
horrible thing to say, she raised five boys, but she goes on to explain what she means. does her terrible wording mask any kind of argument about a lack of empathy? >> no, just because i never worked a day in my life doesn't mean i had emp think for my mom that had to work, or sister, or aunt, or friend of mine that has to, you know, made the choice to go into the workforce as well as raise her kids at home as well as do whatever else she is doing. this elite attitude about conservative women, and this presumption that they are disconnected or disjointed from the rest of america because of their wealth or station is just lewd kris. she has never walked a day in ann's shoes, she doesn't know what trouble she had at home raising those five kids that
regardless of whether or not she had a job in the workforce, were real challenges for her. you don't just make these presumptions. if a conservative made that same call, the outcry and human cry would have been deafening because it's arrogant and insensitive. let her tell her own story the way she wants to tell it. the american people will judge for themselves fst there is value, you don't need people pontificating on how they live their lives. >> joan walsh, is there a debate here? >> look, fem nis learned about 20 years ago that this is a dumb argument. every mother is a working mother, let's just say that, okay, michael we know that. being a mom, whether you stay at home or work is very hard. >> you don't need to tell me. >> i'm talking to michael smerconish. >> please, for god's sake. the real issue here is that mitt
romney in that lordly way he has, said my wife reports to me that women say this and women care about the economy. it's mitt romney's foot in mouth disease that brought us to this position and that's what she was talking about. he uses his wife as this every woman who reports to him like what? he is the ceo and he deferred the women question to her? i have advice for mitt romney, i'm not a romney campaign advisor, don't talk about your wife as your campaign surrogate or your advisor on women. talk about the experiences of women as michael steele says, men can have -- >> will you accept that? >> no, i don't, she is relating a personal conversations, i
mean, she's not a paid staffer. he was like, every candidate who has ever run for whatever office has made that connection with voters and family members and said yeah, i listen to what my wife tells me or newt talks about his grand kids, or president obama talks about his children. there is, of course, the infamous carter telling him how to decide nuclear policy, but everyone makes that connection in their own way, and i think it's a little overblown to sit and say this is foot and mouth disease for romney. >> it got all the way to the president, president obama weighed in this afternoon, he was asked about the controversial in an interview with the nbc affiliate in ohio, and here is what he said. >> first of all, there is no tougher job than being a mom. i watched michelle, who were for most of her career, had to
juggle work and family. there are times she was on ma terntive leave, and i promise you that's work. i think this was an ill advised statement by somebody on television. it's not something that i subscribe to, and more over, my general rule is you don't talk about the spouses of elected officials. because they have a really tough job. i haven't met mrs. romney, but she seems like a wonderful woman, and i know she has devoted her life to her family. >> among those that tweeted in opposition or in disagreement, perhaps i should say, with this whole controversy was david axelrod. do they have a good understanding how to handle this. >> i love what the president said, but hillary rosen herself said she didn't put it the right
way. we're being dragged into a phoney debate. mitt romney, i have to give him credit, he is carrying the day, he had a ridiculous i know you are but what am i strategy about the war on women, he pretended that president obama is the one with the war on women when that is ridiculous, and unfortunately hillary rosen's comments got us all talking about something else. the real issue is that life is tougher for women that have to work. being able to stay home with your children right now is an issue, a choice for the wealthy only. we need to be discussing the issues of poor women, of working class women, of middle class women, and getting our panties in a twist over the issues of very wealthy women when hillly rosen has apologized. this is a bad day that we can spend this day on many more important issues. >> there have been a whole host
of female oriented issued yazed in the last 24 hours. yesterday, a romney campaign advisor didn't help matters for his boss when he could not answer if the governor supports the ledbetter fair pay act, and they say that did support it, but within hours, they released this web video, look at what you think. >> the next question is from sam stein. >> does governor romney support the lilly ledbetter act? >> we'll get back to you on that. >> first obama understand this is inequity that women have suffered, the devastation it has caused in families. the president has made so many strides in the last three years to upgrade women's treatment and their jobs and their livelihood. >> michael, there is not a
little rosemary action ngs there. it's dumb, i appreciate the commercial, you have to raise the money, but it's not the 18 minute gap in watergate. it's six seconds, the staff dropped the ball through because they did not give an immediate response, romney had been on the record on this issue. i don't understand what the confusion was. and again -- blowing it out of proportion. on the other issue it's being bloun the other way on this one. >> i think it's a legitimate issue, and i think it's very pathetic that romney staffer could not answer the question. it's relevant now, michael, because scott walker just signed into law a bill weakening equal
pay protectionings. so it's important that we get the romney campaign on the record, we have done it now, i'm happy about that, but it's a real issue. what hillary rose said is not a real issue. >> michael, whether we buy into the controversies, the fact remains there is a 19 point gap between the candidates for women. >> i think one, ignore the silly noise which the left wants to drive and make that 19 point gab a 38 point gap, and just come out very strongly and talk to women and all americans about your plan for the future and how women are very much a part of that. you have a lot of households to joan's point that are doing it all, going tonight school, raising kids, and you have to have a message that help that's
woman that understands her situation can and will be better under your leadership. to the last point, this isn't just rich women. there's a lot that stay at home with their kids too. they teach their kids, raise their kids, it's not just a wealthy, that's part of the class warfare -- >> joan, just take 20 seconds you have the final word. >> property portion of women that can stay home is going down. one out of five in the workforce right now would like to be home with their kids, it's an economic issue, and governor romney supports the ryan budget that will cut funding for poor women, treg nant poor women, food stamps for women and children. there's lots of policy issues we can debate, this is not one of them. >> thank you for a great conversation, we appreciate it. coming up, here is something republicans and democrats can agree on, both want mitt romney
to own the record he ran on in the primaries, and neither side wants him to pivot back to the middle. that's ahead. this is "hardball." >> i'm in the msnbc news room with breaking news to report. north korea has gone ahead with the controversial long range rocket long. a statement is expected soon. obama urged the north to go through with the launch. hillary clinton said they would back the u.n. security cancel to pursue them. then the world changed... and the common sense of retirement planning became anything but common. fortunately, td ameritrade's investment consultants can help you build a plan that fits your life.
take control by opening a new account or rolling over an old 401(k) today, and we'll throw in up to $600. how's that for common sense? all your important legal matters in just minutes. now it's quicker and easier for you to start your business... protect your family... and launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com, we put the law on your side. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. >> new poll numbers in the presidential race, let's check the score board. a poll shows president obama
leading obama by 9 points. in 2008 he won the gourden state by 15 points. if romney puts chris christie on the ticket, this could be a contest. the approval for chris in new jersey is at a record high. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve. fiona here was just telling me that ford dealers sell a new tire like...every five seconds, how's that possible? well, we purchase 3 million a year. you just sold one right now didn't you? that's correct. major brands. 11 major brands. oop,there goes another one. well we'll beat anybody's advertised price. and you just did it right there, what's that called? the low price tire guarantee. wait for it, there goes another one. get a $100 rebate, plus the low price tire guarantee during
>> i'm in the msnbc news room, north korea has gone ahead with the controversial long-range rocket launch that occurred a short time ago, and we are expecting a statement from the white house. the obama administration urging the north not to conduct this launch. secretary of state hikt has been saying if the north went ahead with this, the u.s. would back the security council and take back food aid. we have richard engel there and we're trying to get him on the
phone, but once again, north korea has gone ahead with the long-range rocket launch. it took place around 7:39 local time. also waiting for word from the white house, they're expected to release a statement working to get richard engel again on the phone. hillary clinton has been warning north korea that the united nation's security council would take action if they went ahead with this rocket launch, many believing it is a ballistic missile test. we'll have continuing coverage, and we'll be back with richard engel who is the region, and other correspondents. we'll be right back. [ captain ] sorry folks, our landing time got moved back another hour.
it'll help keep you satisfied until your next meal. get hunger before it gets you. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] choose the same brand your mom trusted for you. children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. the sleep number bed. the magic of this bed is that you're sleeping on something that conforms to your individual shape. wow! that feels really good. you can adjust it to whatever your needs are. so whatever you feel like, the sleep number bed's going to provide it for you. now, sleep number redefines memory foam, combining coolfit gel foam with sleep number adjustability! during our white sale, receive $400 in free bedding. only at the sleep number store, where queen mattresses start at just $699. ahh, cloudy glasses. you didn't have to come over! easy. hi. cascade kitchen counselor. look! over time, a competing gel can leave cloudy hard water deposits, but cascade complete pacs help leave glasses sparkling.
cascade. love it or your money back. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪
i'm veronica del cruz. andrea mitchell is standing by, i know we're waiting for a statement from the white house, what can you tell us? >> we confirmed with intelligence officials that this has been a rocket launch. there is a question to be determined if it broke apart in midair, we're waiting for confirmati confirmation, but we know that hillary clinton worned this would be a violation of u.n. resolutions, they would be going back to the u.n. security council, but north korea is already the mosts sanctioned country in the world. they have cancelled food aid to north korea when they announced they were going to launch this rocket. they claim it is a space probe, but that is not the view in the
west and other experts. >> that's right, and i have that statement from secretary of state hillary clinton from earlier today, she said they have a clear choice, they can pursue peace, or it can continue to face pressure and isolation. if they go forward we'll all be back in the security council to take action, and it's regrettable because we worked through an agreement that would benefit the north korean people with food aide, but we would not be able to go through with that. also word from the general secretary who has been vocal on this issue. >> yes, he of course is from south korea and has been a leader throughout the world against north korea's military, what they consider military adventurism. this will not be real received
in japan, south korea, and the u.s. will try hard to get russia and china as well to line up. they have been more reluctant than the other allies to criticize the north because they have a great deal of worry about ref gees coming from north korea into china. >> this is coming in from the associated press, andrea. we were asking whether or not that launch was successful, and the associated press is saying that u.s. officials are saying it may have failed. >> that's the suspicionsuspicio. the north has not been shy, this launch was proposed, most people believe, to shore up the new leader of north korea and to give him more military credibility, he was given the highest rank possible this week,
so all of this has been a very big show to try to accomplish him as the new leader, the third member of this dynasty. >> what has the u.s. had to say since he has taken office? and what have the relations been? has there been a lot of communication? >> well, they were actually meeting ins beijing in february and a proposal that was agreed to on all sides for the north to renounce and cancel any future missile tests and accept in return a great deal of food aide. that aide was cancelled once the north announced they would have this rocket test. >> and the south korean leader just hosted a nuclear security summit that president obama was at. do you know what happened there? >> of course at that summit there was a great deal of discussion about this and about
the new leadership. it was clear that the world is aligned against north korea if it continues with these missile tests. so this is a very severe test of what the rest of the world is now going to do. >> and how has south korea reacted to north korea's new leader? has there been any communication there? >> there has been communication, but most recently it has been a very difficult relationship because not communication directly with the new leader, but communication that will set back any future negotiations. >> i understand that this launch coincided with the anniversary of their leader. >> that's part of an effort to show that this dynasty continues. this is a new, young, untested leader in his late 20s, he has
not shown any skill from a political or military leadership. this is an attempt to build up his reputation. >> before this launch occurred, where was the united states in terms of negotiating with north korea? >> before the launch occurred, the united states informs a very bad place indeed because all efforts to negotiate were cancelled. >> all right, andrea mitchell is in washington, have you gotten any more word when the white house might be releasing a statement? >> momentarily, i think they're tracking what everyone else is tracking which is the possibility that this missile launch failed, which would be a big set back for the regime, they might then announce that it had been shot down or failed for some reason involving outside efforts, but it would be a big embarrassment with the world's media, our own richard engle is
there, and i presume that the white house is waiting on those intelligence reports? >> do we have richard on the phone? okay, we're still works to get richard engel who is in the region. in the meantime, let's go ahead and say this rocket launch has failed. they're working to confirm those reports, how do you feel this will play out? >> we have not confirmed that yet independently or u.s. officials, so i'm reluctant to say that, but if it has failed it will be a big set back for the north. the concern will be that they then try to do something else militarily against their neighbors. i understand that nbc has confirmed while i've been on the air that the launch has indeed failed. >> so senior u.s. officials are now confirmed to nbc news that this rocket launch has failed.
all indication social security that it has failed that's what one official is saying. they're still looking into it, as soon as that occurs we'll be hearing from the white house. two u.s. officials confirming or saying that the rocket broke up as soon as it took off. but like you were saying, andrea, we're waiting for official word and when that occurs we'll get word from the white house and wait for our richard engel to join us from the region. so, if it has failed, we're talking about this being a huge embarrassment for north korea. >> it is indeed a huge embarrassment. that's not the way they will play it, of course, they will do everything they can, and the concern now will be that they do something militarily. they have a lot of options against their neighbored. they could fire a shorter range missile, do something at sea
against their neighbors. so there will be a lot of concern especially because we're still technically at war. there is not an agreement to end the korean war after all of these decades. so we're face to face there. >> and andrea, we just got confirmation, senior u.s. officials saying the launch failed, it did in fact break up on launch. so let's talk about the impact of this, and thals is their third attempt, isn't it? >> yes, yes indeed. this is their third attempt, and they have so far not successfully launched this kin of rocket. they said all along this was a space probe, but that was not the believe by u.s. intelligence officials. >> andrea mitchell please stand
by, we're going to get you to the white house where kristen walker is waiting. >> we're waiting for reaction from the white house right now. we expect to get that momentarily. i was just in south korea with the president for a nuclear security summit, and the potential for this overshadowed the talks there, president obama was really pressing some of the leader ins the region to urge north korea not to move forward with the launch. president obama talking to president hu saying this would be a provocation making the point that it would undermine that with the deal they just struck with north korea where the united states pledged a lot
of food aide to north korea. a lot of people are there are hungry, starving, and need that aide desperately. we have been told in recent days that the united states continues to be in contact with it's interest national partners in the region, has continued to put pressure on them not to move forward with this launch, press secretary j carney has fielded a number of questions and said if they do move forward with it it would certainly undermine that deal for food aids. this administration has gotten some criticism for this deal. some of the critics say they never should have offered this potential olive branch in the first place that north korea has gone back on promises in the past and this time would be no different. the white house answered some of that criticism by saying that the people of north korea need this food aide. they feel as though it was the right step forward.
they also want today give korea's new leader a chance to sort of change the course there in north korea for the people of north korea. so that was the thinking from within the white house, and again i'm talking to my sources here within the white house that say they're working on reaction to this and we're hoping to get something very soon. >> thank you, crystal walker. we appreciate that, as soon as that white house statement comes we'll take you right back to washington for that. we would like to bring in bob windrom who has been following the latest developments and joins us now. >> what we have been told by u.s. national security officials is that shortly after launch, the rocket carrying the north korean satellite broke up and in fact it was a break up that started with the initial stage. this is a three stage rocket spop this is a major failure for north korea.
this is probably the best possible outcome for the united states because it shows that north korea's capabilitys are limited. it also shows that they're arrogance and trying to move this forward will now be down against them in international quarters, and essentially what you have here is north korea taking a huge risk and failing at it. >> bob, i understand the timing of the rocket launch coincided with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country's founder. >> right, this is a week long celebration described by u.s. officials described as the party of the century in north korea. this is part and parcel of a number of things that were going on in the capital and outside of the capital. this was the key event of that week. this was going to establish north korea as a country capable
of putting a satellite into orb it, being a space power, and saying it had icm capability within reach. now that this has failed and who knows if the north korea public will be told about it, they'll have to make a decision on what to do next. and this is something that again is the ideal situation for the united states. what we can expect in the next couple of days is a giant ceremony of the weekend, in the streets, one that is familiar to anyone that has visited there, a lot of military hardware. >> and the u.s. saying if they did launch this rocket, the country would be faced with tougher nick sanctions, i know it cost the country an estimates $850 million, and that of course, that's money that could
have gone to the purchase of food, where, you know a big majority of the country is starving. >> under the february 29th green between north korea and the united states, 241,000 tons of nutritional aide was going to be sent to north korea. it was part of an agreement in which north korea agreed not to continue enriching uranium, not to continue the nuclear program or use missiletolo technology. it seems they failed to live up to the agreement and the food aide is now off the table. again, that's something that the white house and others are going to have to determine but it does
appear to violate the agreement between the u.n. and north korea. >> i believe that the first rocket launch occurred back in might, this being the fourth time they have attempted to do this. >> certainly there have been a number of attempts, and it appears that none of them succeeded and that is also an issue. we're not looking at a single failure, we're looking at something that has to be embarrassing to the leaders. what a u.s. official told me is that every nuclear crisis can be broken into thee parts. the north koreans do something the u.s. and the west don't want them to do. then the u.s. and the west have condemnation, and then the north koreans follow through with an even more provocative event. and there was fear last weekend in the discussions i had with
u.s. officials that that third stage after condemnation could be another nuclear test, north korea has not tested a nuclear weapon since 2009, so that would be a major issue for both the united states and a number of other countries including china, who was very upset with the north korea plans to launch this satellite. >> bob woodrum droining us, thank you, bob. richard engel is joining us by phone, are you with us? >> yes, i can here you. there is a great deal of confusion here. nothing like we expected. the north korean government brought in about 100 reporters. we were supposed to be here to witness and verify this launch. instead we were not told about it. we were egg woken up from reports that the launch had taken place from abroad.
there are reports that the launch has taken place and failed. so there does seem to be something of a cover up going on here. we have been told by officials that we'll get some kind of statement in the next 15 to 20 minutes, but that the video of the launch will come out later. we don't know exactly when. this is all very unexpected, north korean officials we have been dealing with don't know anything about it. they learned from us the launch had taken place, all of this very suspicious. we were expecting an orchestrated media event, all of the reporters gathered together for what north korea was considering a very proud moment, instead there has been a lot of confusion and reports that it has failed. >> and this is something they have been trying to get together this entire week, and reportedly they weren't able to do so because of the weather.
>> i'm sorry, the line i'm talking to you on is not very strong, could you repeat the question? >> richard, what i was trying to say is i know that they've been trying to do this, like you said, probably with a lot of pomp and circumstance, and it's something they've been having a difficult time doing because of the weather. i believe they were going to launch earlier and they weren't able to do so because of the weather. >> yes, there has been weather issues. yesterday the weather was terrible, it was overcast, it was very windy. this morning it was much better, actually. the weather seams auspicious. i don't know that you could necessarily blame this on the weather. there may have been gusts of wind at the time of the launch, but in general we're not seeing the kind of poor weather conditions that we saw yesterday. yesterday they claimed they had not launched when the initial window they announced that opened yesterday, because of
weather, i think that was very believable, the weather was very poor. today, the weather was quite good, so if the north koreans later come out and say that the launch failed because of weather, or that it was somehow a factor, that does not seem plausible, the weather was fine. >> north korea is extremely secretive, you're one of my foreign journalist there, there are a handful of you? >> i am looking right now, i'm in the press center, and i'm looking at about 100 scrambling panicked journalist. we were hoping that this would be a orchestrated clear event. the government brought us in to see this rocket launch and a lot of journalist could see the rocket launch and an opportunity
to witness life in the country and how they handle a big event like this, so many journalist came. we're all here, and we're struggling now to find out what happened. this is suspicious, the government clearly wanted journalist to see it, the fact that they didn't tell anyone about this suggest that it didn't go off as planned. >> so your mentioning this is suspicio suspicious, takes through how you got the news one more time. >> sow, how we were expecting to get the news was the government officials would say everyone get together, there's only one press room in the press room where all of the journalist is staying. it's a large conference hall that looks like the united nation's general assembly. we were expecting to be brought
in, had. there is a large projection scream, and we were abouted to watch this launch in realtime. we didn't know. instead we received phone call frst abroad, from washington and south korea saying that the launch had already taken place. we all scrambled down to this press room, and the government officials were not here. we found an empty press room. we found the government officials we normally deal with, they were expecting to take us on a tour of some sort of plant and music factory, and a normal press tour like the ones we have been going on. they did not know this launch had taken place, they were kept in the dark just like we are being kept in the dark, and then we eventually managed to confirm this with sources outside of the country, and are working here to
find out whatever we can, and we have just been told there will be some sort of statement coming out in the next few minutes. now north korea reacts in the next few minutes will be interesting. they may say it took place and was a success, but it does raise the question if was was a success, why didn't they show us and tell us after brings us here for this purpose. >> and like you were just saying, we're expecting word from the white house waiting for something to come from washington, and as soon as that takes place we'll get you to washington. also the u.n. security council say they're going to convene tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. they'll be talking about north korea. how do you think this is all going to play out moving forward, richard? >> well, a lot of it depends on how north korea reacts. if they say it happened, it was a success, and we're all very happy, then there should not be an issue, and the world can
almost move on. if north korea comes out and says that the rocket was shot down, then there is a major explanation. it depends on where the debris falls. if it falls, at this stage we can assume based on the reaction of the north koreans has not been a success, then we will have to find out what happened with the debris. the worst scenario would be that north korea comes out, claim the rocket was shot down and they try to escalate by doing something like an underground nucleatest. the best scenario is they come out and say it was a success and they have some music, and continue with the rest of their lives and have the celebrations, and it becomes an internal
propaganda moment that no one else believes. we'll have to see which have of the scenarios happens. >> how close to the launch site have you been? >> i've been there, i saw the rocket itself. the rocket launch center is about a five hour train trip from here. it is on the coast near the border with china, but here we didn't hear anything, we didn't see anything, we only heard music and air grafts flying over the sky. >> thank you so much for all of your reporting, we do appreciate, and of course we'll be checking back with you throughout the night. i'm in the msnbc news room, we have been tracking breaking coverage from north korea. emily's just starting out... and on a budget.
until she heard about the value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. [ male announcer ] you plant. you mow. you grow. you dream. meet the new definition of durability: the john deere select series. with endless possibilities, what will you create? ♪ learn more about the new select series x310 with power steering at johndeere.com/x310. [ male announcer ] get it now at red lobster's lobsterfest. 12 tempting choices like lobster lover's dream or maine lobster and shrimp. but only for a short time. now at red lobster. i'm laura mclennan and i sea food differently. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business...
with business. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i could get used to this. [ male announcer ] yes, you could business pro. yes, you could. go national. go like a pro.
in the msnbc newsroom, we've been tracking breaking news, north korea has gone ahead with the controversial long-range rocket launch. u.s. officials saying the rocket broke up right after takeoff. one official saying all indications are that it failed. they are still looking into it. which is why we want to get to you washington where our kristen well customer is standing by with the latest. i know we've been waiting for a statement from white house officials. what more can you tell us?
>> reporter: that's right, veronica. we've been waiting for a statement. we've been told that the white house is going to respond momentarily. we've been told to stand by. we'll get you that reaction as soon as we get that statement from the white house. of course, the administration has been watching north korea white closely in recent days. this is not necessarily a surprise but it is certainly something that the white house was hoping wouldn't happen. i was just in south korea with president obama for a nuclear security summit and the possibility of this rocket launch really dominated the sideline talks that occurred during that summit with president obama really pressuring the leaders within the region, particularly with the china president not to go ahead with this. there was a deal between the u.s. and north korea that if it
suspended all of its testing and its nuclear testing that the u.s. will provide food aid, a substantial amount of food aid and what press secretary jay carney has been saying in recent days, that deal would be undermined if north korea moved forward with a rocket launch. so we are expecting a statement from the white house. hopefully that statement will provide some clair cla trity inf where the food aid stands. the white house has made it quite clear they would see this as a provocation if north korea moved forward with this laumpl. t the white house has gotten criticism for putting food aid on the table. the reason why is north korea has renigged so many times in the past that why would the administration think that this deal would be any different. of course, there is a new leader right now in north korea, kim jong-un. very little is known about this leader. we asked the president of south
korea if he could shed any light on this new leader who is quite young, thought to be in his 20s and even president lee said that he didn't know much even though they are neighbors. so there's not a lot that is known but the u.s. was certainly quite hopeful that this new leader would decide to take north korea in a different direction and not move forward with this rocket launch and essentially adhere to the terms of the deal that was struck. that food aid deal. so the u.s. has been watching this quite closely and the concern is that there may be other provocations that come out of north korea. one, conservative analyst said that ee extensionally it gives them the green light to make these type of provocations. of course, if this rocket launch did fail, it would be an embarrassment for north korea and that could change the dynamic of this quite seriously. so we are, again, waiting to get a statement from the white
house. we have been told that that statement is being worked on as we speak. as soon as we get that statement, i will, of course, bring it to you. >> thank you so much. i want to get you back to andrea mitchell who is in washington. we're awaiting word from the white house, as you know. i know that the secretary of state has been very vocal on this issue. she was in washington today speaking about it after meeting with our counterparts. what exactly did the secretary of state have to say about this today? >> well, she actually predicted accurately that they would be going to the united nations. this is the month that the u.s. is in its rotation as the president of the security council. so she certainly knows that ambassador susan rice was going to convene a meeting in response to north korea should there be such a launch and in fact that meeting has been called for 10:00 tomorrow as you've
reported. they are now looking to china to see what china could do. they are reluctant to take harder action against north korea and with it being right on their border, they will be looked to as a member of one of the five permanent members of the security counsel to whether they would be a stronger resolution of condemnation against north korea. >> and what do we know at this point about the rocket launch? we're hearing conflicting reports. there was a lot of confusion there when the news broke because the journalists on hand weren't hearing that this was the case, that the rocket broke up over midair and, of course, we're going to have to see what north korea reports. but here in the u.s. we're hearing that the rocket broke up in two separate places upon launch? >> well, this rocket was launched from the western part of north korea, closer to china.
it was supposeding to over the yellow sea and then it was supposed to launch a weather satellite when approaching the philippines. but according to all reports, it broke up in its first stage. this would be the second time that we know of, a confirmed second time that a long-range ballistic missile has broken up on launch and that they have failed in another missile test. the significance of the missile, of course, is that this is a missile that if it had succeeded could have reached the continental united states. so that was one of the great concerns about this missile if it was a great success. >> they might go ahead and move to a short-range missile to, try to do something else instead? >> they could also try to do an underground nuclear test. they have a number of options. they have a nuclear weapons arsenal. it was back during the clinton years that we first learned that
north korea was going nuclear and president clinton said that we would not let that happen but clearly they developed what we believed to be several weapons, as many as seven to eight weapons during that period. and then there was a period which was cut short by former president bush when he declared north korea as one of the three members of the access of evil. and at that point there were no further negotiations possible. there was even a possibility of normalizing relations with the north but time ran out. there were several things that went into the mix because there was the disputed presidential election. so it would not have been a good time for president clinton to go to pyongang and he was approached by all of the
participants in middle east negotiations. he actually talked to the late head of the palestine lib brags organization and said are you really prepared to negotiate with me? this was in the fall of 2000. so instead of going no north korea, he reconvened the camp david summit. this would be a time when he could achieve the middle east peace. and the negotiations would the north would continue under president bush. instead, in the spring of 2001, under the new bush presidency, despite some protests at the time from colin powell, then the secretary of state, president bush decided to retreat on the policy and they pulled back from the north korea, not trusting the north. as it turns out, president bush was correct to assume that the
north korea was cheating because they were cheating. as u.s. intelligence later determined, developing a parallel nuke program. they were then later negotiations which led to them allegedly dismantling their chief nuclear facility but as it turns out, they quickly resumed and after the death of their leader and the new leader took a much more militant and aggressive posture. >> that's right, andrea. we were waiting for a statement from the white house. also, tomorrow, the united nations saying that they will convene to talk about this at 10:00 in the morning. andrea mitchell in washington, thank you so much for your time and i know that you should probably stick around. we'll join you quickly. ed schultz is up next to continue with this late-breaking