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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 25, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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word. thanks, jason. >> thank you. >> chris hayes is up next. obama goes on the offense. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in miami. let me start tonight with this. president obama said he'd do it. he said he'd end this relentless push for war. he promised to get us home from afghanistan, promised most of all to abort a war with iran. and now he's gone and done it. and we've got the makings of a deal with tehran. to stop explosive conflict. he's done what he's promised. the total opposite of "w" and dick cheney and the neocons.
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thank god we're at least trying to do the right thing. and the biggest news is that elections do count. candidate obama said he'd change the direction of foreign policy. now he's done what he said he would. tonight we see the lines of battle on every front. obama's trying peace, the other side pushes towards war. obama's party is pushing for democracy in the u.s. senate, the other side hugs the filibuster and the ready chance for default. obama's trying to provide health care for the 40 million uninsured, the other side proposes nothing while ted cruz, of course, proposes nothing but war at home and abroad. yes, on a clear day like today, you can see forever. and what a choice between obama and his enemies. make your pick. howard fineman of "the huffington post" media group, david corn for mother jones magazine. both of course are prized msnbc political analysts. howard, give me a sense of how this thing hit you, how it's come to fruition.
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the main thrust of obama's policy when he fought with hillary clinton in the primaries was he fought against iraq, he's nervous about us going to war with iran because it's an open ended situation. and the same way he's sort of pushing forward when other people are saying it's time to shrink back. he's saying no, i'm on the offensive. >> well, chris, i think the president's supporters are glad to see evidence of the barack obama who inspired them to begin with. he came on the scene promising new thinking. promising a new way of looking at things and a new way of doing business. that has turned out to be very difficult to achieve in washington, d.c. in large measure because of the day one opposition, heel dug in opposition of the party here. it's hard to bring that sense of change and outside the box thinking to washington, although he succeeded in some ways. on the foreign policy scene, i think you see the new world that he was offering to bring to america and to the world for
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that matter. one that really wanted to understand the thinking of the other side, not be naive, but to listen and to look for areas of agreement. and to end those two wars as you say. and to end the sort of reflexive bombs away dick cheney attitude toward the world, quite frankly. i think you're seeing the fruits of that in this tentative agreement that needs to be carefully monitored but is definitely a step most people would agree in the right direction. >> well said. david, your thoughts on hearing this news come to fruition that we're trying a route toward peace. of course we can reverse if we have to. we're trying to be the people that want peace with longtime enemies. >> i remember during the campaign and one of the debates barack obama said he would sit down with iran and cuba north korea and talk to our enemies. at least give it a shot. at the time people thought that was being naive.
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hillary clinton took a few shots at that as well. i said, my god, this is going to be fodder for negative ads against him. but he really has kept his word in that front. and i think we see a divide. you know, this is what the last campaign was about. it's what we fought about and argued about going to the iraq war. between those who really want to bomb first and talk later. if you even get to talking. and those who say listen, diplomacy may not always work, but you got to at least try it. in the middle east, keep the bicycle moving as the cliche goes. and i think with iran here, by and large, it's really the hard core conservatives, neo-conservatives. those in the pockets of benjamin netanyahu who are worried about this. but most arms control experts and middle east experts say, hey, this gives us a shot at a solution that doesn't involve violence. and that is what he promised us. he promised us to get out of the war in iraq and afghanistan, the
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trend line is in that direction now. so these are all what he put forward. there's no big surprise here. i think progressives still are a little bit upset with the issue of drones and some of the typical fighting the war on terrorism policies. and nsa surveillance. by and large on the war versus diplomacy which has been an ongoing debate now for ten years in this country. he really planted the flag on a very particular side, and he's delivering. >> and by the way, in your list of ideologues on people who oppose them, peace effort with iran which is historic right now. don't forget to include people like ted cruz who jump aboard the bandwagon. to make the points both of you guys make, we've got a lot of tape right now to show that tells how we got to this important day historically and an opportunity for peace. even as far back as the 2008 debates as you guys said, president obama was then a u.s. senator, made crystal clear what
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he would do as president. and he's done it. first on iraq. >> so i have said very clearly i will end this war, we will not have a permanent occupation, and we will not have permanent bases in iraq. >> and in december of 2011, the last convoy of american troops left iraq. next health care. the president made a promise and delivered. >> i'm absolutely committed to making sure that anybody in america who needs health care is going to get it. >> and the president's affordable care act is law. and on iran during a january 2008 debate, the president drew a contrast between himself and then his opponent at the time, then-senator hillary clinton regarding iran. let's listen. >> i have agreed with senator clinton on, for example, meeting with iran. i think -- and the national intelligence estimate, the last report suggested that if we are meeting with them, talking to them, and offering them both carrots and sticks, they are
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more likely to change their behavior. >> president obama's approach has allowed the space for a diplomatic breakthrough with iran that could lay the work for a nuclear agreement down the road. and just to hammer home the point that the president does deliver, there's this. >> and if we have osama bin laden in our sights and the pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then i think that we have to act. and we will take them out. we will kill bin laden, we will crush al qaeda. that has to be our biggest national security priority. tonight i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> you know, howard, the great thing about elections is occasionally they seem to matter. and try to analyze this the way you do so well. what do you think would have
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been the difference in our foreign policy had mccain been president the last five years heading on into eight years? what would be the foreign policy difference between obama? >> in terms of foreign policy, i think it will be utterly different. as david said, it would be the theory we'll bomb first and talk later if we talk at all. i wouldn't say that john mccain would necessarily be incapable of conducting negotiations, but i think they would start from a different point. and the key for president obama really began when he went to cairo and gave that speech about listening to that part of the world. now, that was shocking to some people and a transgression to some people. but as president of the united states, sitting atop the biggest arsenal in the world. if you still have the biggest economy in the world, do you have an obligation to lead and leading sometimes means listening. this is just the beginning of what could be a huge change in the middle east.
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it's not just the israelis concerned about this. it's the saudis who are concerned. and the saudis view the iranians as their enemy. the president's going to have to conduct a lot of diplomacy in that region. but we are in that region now, not so much militarily, not so much because we have hundreds of thousands of troops in iraq or because we're fighting a ten-year war in afghanistan. but because we're the united states and we now have the responsibility to broker peace agreements. and we have ties to all of the parties. it's our job, our responsibility and in our interest to do what the president is doing now. and i'm not sure john mccain would have done it that way. >> you know, let's go back to this larger thing. we all think about this growing up. that the united states has always had to wear a couple hats in the middle east. one is friend of israel, and that's always there. the other is peacemaker. we had good presidents who tried to wear both hats at the same time. weaker presidents have just worn one and not the other. can this president sustain -- david, this is a great question.
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can he sustain or relation with israel and who support this effort while at the same time -- but proceed ahead in a way he gets enough time he can show some pay dirt. he can show a change that it's working. once that happens, i think everyone will say it's worth the effort. >> i think it shows an amount of guts. he knew where benjamin netanyahu would be on all this. where the so-called friends of israel and washington would be. they're already pouncing on this before he knew going in he'd have six months and have to prove it. you know, netanyahu, all israeli prime ministers walk a very fine line between standing up to an american president and also keeping the american president on their side which is very important to do for domestic politics in israel. so it's not as if netanyahu has a free hand on how he responds to obama.
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but it's important to say, chris, this is not just obama being a dove and just believing in diplomacy. one of the reasons this is happening is because he was pretty darn tough on the sanctions for a number of years. and that probably led to rouhani's election because rouhani campaigned on doing something about lifting the sanctions because they were causing some pain in iran. and maybe it did leave to positives getting together to do something about those chemical weapons. so i think he's been pretty savvy so far in the middle east anything can turn on a dime and you can look very foolish after looking wise in just a moment's time. but he's been pretty savvy about trying to figure out how to use those carrots and sticks he was talking about in one of those clips. >> well, howard, respond to this. here's the president today in san francisco reminding for audience when he ran for president, he had a stated goal
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of policy change. to fix the mess cheney and bush left him and reassert the u.s. leadership. he's got such a strong hand he's playing here. and helping israel and everybody else find piece over there. let's listen to him today in san francisco. >> now, some of you may recall when i first ran for president, i said it was time for a new era of american leadership in the world. one that turned the page on a decade of war and began a new era of our engagement with the world. as president and commander in chief, i've done what i said. we ended the war in iraq. we brought our troops home. osama bin laden met justice. the war in afghanistan will end next year. >> well, those are the points on the board. how's it add up to making us a stronger part in the middle east for our friends, and able to reduce the number of our enemies perhaps?
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>> well, i think first of all politically it's interesting to hear him at a time when his approval rating overall is low to remind people of his achievements. i think that's a smart and good thing for him to do. in terms of the middle east, i think he's got a very full and complex hand to play i agree with david, by the way, about sanctions. i think that did help. maybe they expected obama to dial back on that and he didn't do it. and that probably did help in iran. he's got to deal with the saudis and israelis. but he's dealing with people who all want and need american leadership at this point. that's the key to it. and in that sense, our involvement is something he can sort of harvest for the benefit of diplomacy. not everybody would have the foresight or discipline to do that. i think he's heading down the right path. >> one thing will be crystal clear. if we have to take military action against iran and that
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would be one of the worst case scenarios. everybody in the world will know we tried for peace. and this country will be united on that and our friends will be united. this is a powerful fact he's established. we will go to war when we have to and only then. thank you. coming up, president obama takes on his critics from the neocons always itching for war to the red hots on the right who never need an excuse to attack him. get this. ted cruz says the filibuster rule change will poison the atmosphere of the senate. how's your view from that glass house of yours? plus john boehner head a big deal about being able to sign up for the affordable care act. but it turns out he was the one that failed to sign up, not the health care plan. in other words, he succeeded, just didn't know he had. and wait until you hear why. and let me finish tonight for the need to move this country forward. how about that. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. she's always been able to brighten your day.
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florida, florida, florida. new polling data in florida shows hillary clinton ahead of her republican rivals in the 2016 race. jeb bush is the strongest in florida. clinton beats chris christie but just by four down here. 45-41. she beats marco rubio by a full seven. 50-43. she's ahead of rand paul by ten points. 51-41. and she leads ted cruz, i love this, by 16 points. clinton 52. a real victory there. cruz down to 36. see the pattern here? the more right wing the rival, the bigger his defeat. we'll be right back.
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we cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict. tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it's not the right thing for our security. it is not the right thing for our security. >> welcome back to "hardball." as i've said president obama has done what his predecessors could not. slow iran's nuclear program. and as the president made clear today, he did it actually without going to war. the historic deal today stands in sharp contrast to the obsessions of the president's enemies including the neocons who root for conflict, failure, and war every chance they get. as the daily beast said, dealt the neocons a blow. there is contemplation of the hideous reality that obama and the path of negotiation just might work. this is the thing the neocons can't come to terms with at all. if obama succeeds here, their entire world view is discredited. the deal with iran is just the latest offensive in the president's battle with his
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enemies. last week he attacked his enemies in the senate by breaking their war of obstructionism against his appointments. and this weekend he took aim at his enemies in the house of representatives saying they are the biggest barrier and impedement we have right now. he also said the house is not focused on getting the job done for the american people, but trying to position itself for the next election. let's not forget the looming alternative out there, no health care at all for the 40 million uninsured, government default, and move towards war. a special correspondent with the daily beast. thank you for joining us, michael. it seems to me this is a move, one of those sharp moves like in chess that may well leave his opponents frazzled for a bit. because he's basically saying i'm making a bet we can find a way to avoid war with unending possibilities, open ended war over there.
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and my enemies are saying don't even try it because, oh, it might work. >> yeah. >> your thoughts. >> yeah. exactly right. and they want that state of conflict that obama referred to in the sound clip you used at the beginning. and they want war. many have said very openly. john bolton very openly among them. they want war with iran. and they don't want to go down this path of negotiation at all. and if negotiations succeed, and it's a big if, it is going to be a very tough negotiation over this next six months and we might not get anything out of it. but if this negotiation does succeed, like i wrote, it blows the neocon world view to pieces. and they have no credibility. and the american people will be able to look over the last ten years of what this country has done, chris, and see what the neocon alternative brought us in iraq and see if obama succeeds here, what his path brought us in iran.
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and i think the very clear majority will be able to reach the obvious conclusion. >> this may belittle the issue, but those little candy pez dispensers, you push the button and there's a new one, it seem this neocons always have a pending war whether it's of course iraq or afghanistan and then it is syria and libya. and then of course iran. they've always got another one ready to fight. put one of them on television like bill kristol, and inevitably he comes out for the next war. what's next? i mean, they never seem to say here's a case where you can cut a deal. here's a case we can live with this government that isn't our culture. we don't have to kill everybody that disagrees with us. >> they'll never say that. you said the keyword. culture. they see all this in the clashing civilization terms.
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we can't live -- they hate our freedoms and all of that kind of talk we heard back after 9/11. that's how they see the world, and that's this very dark view that they take. and so that leads always to conflict. how many times have we heard the word munich in the last 24 hours, 48 hours? i mean, unbelievable, how many times have we heard the word munich in the last 24 years? including that one guy you smoked who didn't know. >> let me ask you this. when i look at television pictures of the people cheering hours over there, these are the secular people. i'm not saying they're our best friends, but they're interest in life is probably more like ours. getting the kids educated, being part of the world, being able to send their kids overseas for education, competing with us economically, being a real country like iran can certainly be. it's persia, by the way. it wasn't created by churchill or the french. it's a real country.
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to be a real power in the world without attacking anybody else. those people, i think they're the ones we're trying to reach. the people who would like to lead a normal life. do you think that's the stakes here? i think it is, of obama's move here. >> absolutely those are the stakes. there are millions and millions of people. this is one of the great countries in the history of human kind. so much has come out of this civilization. and there's such a huge population there that's so intent on getting out of this dark ages that this regime has put it in. that's a hard fight. i don't know whether that's going to happen or when that's going to happen or how that's going to happen. but this is a step. this could be a step in that direction. and this would empower the moderates. and this is another thing that the neocons, it's just amazing that -- >> they don't want us to get along with those people. >> they don't, no. >> deal the only way they know how by attacking the affordable care act.
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john cornyn of texas had this ludicrous response via his twitter account. amazing what white house will do to distract attention from obama care. this is a grownup talking. if cornyn's twisted logic sounds familiar, you've heard it before. after the president joined us to end the blockade of second appointments, senators mitch mcconnell and dan coates both responded by attacking the affordable care act. here they go. >> they are desperate for something. they call it nuclear war, they want us to send missiles back the other way. it's on the minds on the people, the rollout of obama care. >> here's the problem with this latest distraction. it doesn't distract people from obama care, it reminds them of obama care. it reminds them of all the broken promises. it reminds them of the power grab.
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it reminds them of the way democrats set up one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else. >> well, you know, i don't know how he's thinking there. he's no fool, but he's a propagandist. because clearly the democrats were able to pass obama care. they were able to pass it even with the filibuster threat. so this has nothing to do with the president's health care plan. it just seems like why -- well, i don't know. it is plugging the fact they hate obama care. so no matter what anybody says, it was that old joke about rudy giuliani, no matter what he said the sentence always included 9/11. right? >> right. it's the only card they have to play. they're going to keep repeating it between now and next november. it's going to be what they're going to try to make the midterm election about. what if it turns around, chris? what if it gets better? what if by next march obama care isn't looking too bad and by
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next fall it's actually looking okay? then what do the republicans do? >> what happens if the young people of america -- and what happens if both sides get the young people to take responsibility for their own health care. wouldn't that be a country to live? unfortunately we don't live in it right now. great thinking. thank you for coming on. up next, john boehner's stunt. it blows up in his face. he's not exactly computer savvy. i'm not either, but he ain't. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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toronto mayor rob ford said in an interview this week he would have admitted to smoking crack sooner if anyone had asked him have you smoked crack rather than do you smoke crack.
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and much sooner if anyone had simply asked would you like some crack. during a toronto city council meeting in which members stripped rob ford of most of his powers, the mayor charged the gally and ran over a female council member before he was finally brought down by the third dart. >> time now for the sideshow. that was "snl" weekend update on our favorite new sideshow character toronto mayor rob ford. but as david letterman revealed friday, there was a reason for the sudden dash in the chamber. >> then something happened during the council meeting yesterday and people were saying what was that. suddenly he started running through the council chambers. well, now we have a better understanding of what happened yesterday up in toronto, canada. we have it on videotape here. i want you to watch this. >> attention, ladies and gentlemen, complimentary crack is now being served in the
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lobby. >> next up, realtime's bill maher marked last week's anniversary of president kennedy's assassination by comparing jfk to most conservatives' favorite ronald reagan. here's how he weighed in. >> historians will argue forever about whether kennedy and reagan were good presidents and never settle it. but can we on this day at least agree that kennedy was cooler? i mean, sorry, but our liberal icon was a smart, sexy war hero who said he wanted to go to the moon. yours was an old fudy duddy that wanted to rock denim. everything jfk wore is still cool today. look at him. he looks like a j. crew model. when he was president, everyone looked like rob and laurie petri.
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when ronald reagan was president, everyone looked like this. >> and finally, john boehner made a public stink while signing up for the affordable care act on the d.c. exchange last week. in a blog post titled my attempt to sign up for health care, the speaker complained that he had difficulty enrolling and that his call to the help desk wasn't returned for hours after he reached out for assistance. as it turns out, it was the speaker's office that held up the help desk, not the other way around. scott mcfarlane of wrc reported that the d.c. health care representative who called to assistant boehner was the one who was actually put on hold for 35 minutes. boehner's correction was as unclear as his outcry was premature. his response was he was successfully enrolled but didn't mention how long the customer service representative waited for him, the speaker, to speak.
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up next, ted cruz says the democrats filibuster rule change will poison the atmosphere of the senate. but if it weren't for people like ted cruz, they wouldn't have to change the rules. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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i'm page hopkins. here's what's happening. severe weather sweeping eastward across the country is threatening travel for millions ahead of the thanksgiving holiday. the storm forced one airline to cancel more than 900 flights from texas just since yesterday. president obama says he's willing to side with house republicans on a deal that will break the immigration bill into multiple pieces rather than a comprehensive bill backed by the senate. new ticket centers in sochi, moscow, opened for the winter olympics. now let's go back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." apparently ted cruz, the senator from texas, has just become concerned with the atmosphere of the senate. he was concerned. on friday he told bloomberg news it will have a negative impact on the senate. a new concern for him. >> it's unfortunate. it's yet another abuse of power by the democrats. and frankly it's continuing the same pattern we've seen with obama care. it is a pattern of smoke and mirrors. >> will it complicate things? >> of course it is. it will poison the at mos fear of the president. >> sometimes he sounds like he's talking through a hose, that guy. the man that mounted a 24-hour faux filibuster and lamb basted his fellow republicans for being
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a bunch of squishes is now harry reid is poisoning the atmosphere of the senate. >> senior senator from arizona urged this body to trust the republicans. let me be clear, i don't trust the republicans. and i don't trust the democrats. if you have an impasse, you want to know one side or the other has to blink. how do we win this fight? don't blink. i promise you, rush, if you had to sit through one senate lunch, you'd be in therapy for a month. today unfortunately the united states senate, the democrat-led senate refused to listen to the american people. i don't work for the party bosses in washington. i work for the people of texas and i fight for them. the senate republicans should have come in like the calvary to
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support. unfortunately a significant chunk of republicans came like the air force and began bombing the house republicans, our own troops. having spent the past month up in d.c., it is really great to be back in america. >> there you saw the worst kind of divisiveness you've seen in a long time. it's garbage. harry reid and the democrats are poisoning the senate? what has he been doing? jonathan capehart and josh marshall. jonathan and josh, i have to think this is the strangest 180 by a guy who's been poisoning the atmosphere since he got there trashing his fellow members of his caucus calling them all squishes, whatever that means. calling them appeasers. and saying what they should have
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done is not only shut down the government but caused default on the national debt. that would have been real manhood from his perspective. he has the strangest little way of acting like a big shot. your thoughts. >> look, you laid out the case against senator cruz here. i mean, the idea that he is lambasting harry reid for poisoning the well is laughable. i'm glad you played the series of clips from him saying the most outrageous, the most divisive things said about the senate, aid about democrats in the senate, said about republicans in the senate. one thing we have to remember here and remind viewers, not barely a month in his job as a senator from texas, reports started coming out from disgruntled fellow republicans in the senate about this guy who just got here. the world's most exclusive club who's lecturing them, talking down to them, belittling them instead of working with them.
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>> you know, he reminds me of i don't know if you saw -- there's a character in there who is the bad senator. he's the lefty version of joe mccarthy, a real bad guy. he's using someone's gay orientation to basically blackmail them back in the '50s. and wanted to push a guy to suicide which he did. in this case you've got chuck hagel with a combat record in vietnam accused of taking money from the communists. and i continue front him with this until he quits doing its, you can't talk like joe mccarthy and then talk about improving the atmosphere of the united states senate. your thoughts, josh. because he is imitating mccarthy. >> it's comical of him. because he's like the strychnine of the poisonous atmosphere. but the bigger issue here -- excuse me -- is the republicans
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got themselves into a weak position here. they backed themselves into a corner. because they were so obstructionist that -- pardon me -- that how could things get any worse? the claim that, you know, whether they're saying the atmosphere is poisoned or then they're really going to not be nice now. when you won't allow votes for confirmation of any of these appellate judges, the democrats and this is why sort of the old bulls on the democratic side finally came over to what jeff merckly was trying to do. that they say it couldn't get any worse. we have to do it. so the whole argument from the republicans is just is empty and it's particularly comical from ted cruz. >> when it comes to the rational to change the filibuster, ted cruz emerges as exhibit "a." it seems anything he wants to do is oppose anything president obama does.
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look how extreme his record is. he voted no on ending the government shutdown. he wanted it to keep going. he was one of 18 senators to default. an no on immigration. that bill passed the senate with 68 votes but not his. he opposed the head of the cia. he did the same for chuck hagel, a republican to head the pentagon. he voted no against john kerry for the state department. i swear -- maybe i shouldn't say i swear. i think there's a good reason to believe if caroline kennedy's nomination had came to a vote in the senate, this character would have voted it down. >> he probably would have for some -- >> because that's how he votes. >> that's how he votes and for really odd reasons. you know, when senator reid gave his floor speech talking about why he was going for the nuclear
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option, he talked about a lot of the things you just mentioned. how chuck hagel's nomination was held up, how john kerry's nomination was held up and how the president needs to be able to pick his government and the government needs to function. and ted cruz is sort of exhibit "a" for why the democrats and why harry reid did what they had to do. >> so the question -- so the big question looms right now -- last question to you, josh. why is he saying he wants to return to the old rule? >> i think it's just posturing. you know, he is -- ted cruz is very on message. i think that's the one thing you can say positive about him. >> i agree with that part. >> that's really it. he is a critic of anything and everything, and you know, if the senate were like it was 20 years ago, i think i would agree with him. >> i hope he runs for president. i hope he runs for president, guys. because i want to see him up there perhaps against hillary
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clinton in the general election. perhaps not that far, but i think it'd be good for the country to hear this guy out. i think he's surgically political. i think he makes a point of not going after abortion or same-sex marriage, but he always talks how to not -- these things he pushes. very carefully pushing the buttons for people. we'll see. anyway, jonathan capehart and josh marshall, thank you. we'll be right back after this.
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so, this board gives me rates for progressive direct and other car insurance companies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes! you want to run through it again? no, i'm good. you got it? yes. rates for us and them -- now that's progressive.
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call or click today. right now at the app store. we'll be right back.
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a reminder, you can take
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less than 200 americans had been killed in vietnam by the time he was killed. and where do you think he would have taken that? would he have blown it up to 500,000 american soldiers over there, a war that had gone right through the late '60s? >> no. i mean, i think the probabilities are no. nobody could say this with certainty, of course, but everything we know about him is that the hawkish john kennedy of the 1960 campaign, the guy who wanted to take out castro, to take the offense against the soviets, had gone through a kind
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of an akneeling process at the precipice of nuclear disaster. he knew vietnam, was there as a congressman, understood nationalism as few people in the united states did. and while he was a political animal, while he would not have given some aaron sorkin speech in 1964 saying, you know, we can't win and it doesn't matter, while he would have probably kept defense spending high to help buy off the military, which he did, he would have clearly, i think, once re-elected, have looked for a way to deescalate. he used to quote general macarthur when his advisers said you've got to go in vietnam. he said, if you can convince douglas macarthur we have to fight a land war in asia, maybe i'll listen to you. so, the evidence seems to be, he would have found a way carefully, politically, carefully as well as militarily carefully to back out. >> i'm thinking about nationalism all the time because i know in our country, we revere it as patriotism, and it's a good word for us, but sometimes
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it's hard for us to understand nationalism in another context, other countries, but they all -- most people are very nationalistic about their country. and why do you think kennedy was able to see in vietnam, it wasn't just us against the vc, us against the communists, it was against a group of people that wanted us out of there as foreigners. >> first of all, he'd been there as a young man, as a young congressman, and saw the futility of the french trying to hold on. second, he was immersed in history. and one of the things about kennedy that's so intriguing is how he tried to apply the lessons of history and why his biggest fear every time he was faced with a difficult situation, whether it was the berlin crisis, the cuban missile crisis, even at home, was miscalculation. there's a fascinating story at the height of the missile crisis, a u2 plane is shot down and the military's saying you've got to attack. and kennedy's saying, we don't know why this happened. was it khrushchev, was it a rogue commander? and it's that hesitancy, which by the way, i think would have made him a less committed liberal in the domestic sense, a
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kind of skepticism about power and what we know, that would have stayed his hand. he constantly was saying to the military, in any situation where combat troops are required, i'm you know, that's the kind of president in the situation -- >> let's -- >> go ahead. >> i'm glad to hear about this great book and it's great and so well grounded on his record right until he died that you ought to believe your estimates of where it was headed. on the situation today, what i'm thinking about when i watch the people in the streets in tehran right now, there are a lot of people over there who are not crazed islamists. they want to live in a country, a great country, potentially, that could be a much greater country with its oil reserves and everything else. they've just got to get back into the world again. do you think we can bet on that? is that a good bet for obama to bet on that part of the country that wants to be a part of the world? >> i like the phrase that somebody coined, distrust but verify, to paraphrase reagan. you think back, and this is a good point, i think, to the early 1960s, the chinese were practically eager for a nuclear
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war as long as the survivors would be communist. you look at china today with its starbucks, you know, and home depots, and you think, that was the country eager for nuclear confrontation? so, if you can bet on a country, perhaps, giving it -- that's the point, give it room to move and see what happens. >> well said. thank you. your book is a great book. i recommend it, "if kennedy lived" by the great jeff greenfield. thanks for coming on, jeff. "let me finish" tonight with this.
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i'm down here in miami for the miami book fair international, and i've been speaking to groups large and small about my book, "tip and the gipper: when politics worked," and about the choice this country faces today. if we want our political leaders to compromise and move the country forward or continue to bark at each other? based on what i know about politics, it's just as easy for working your politics for getting something done, as for getting nothing done, which is what's been happening. if a democrat wants to deal on the budget, he should blame the republicans for changing entitlement programs. if a republican wants to deal, he or she should blame the democrats for plugging corporate loopholes. the key to dealing is to tell the public the honest truth, that a failure to deal itself, a failure to meet this coming deadline of december 13th on the budget is bad for the country. it will lead to another threatened government shutdown in january, another danger of default in february, another blow to the american economy, for sure. if the tea party's out there, the tea partiers out there don't
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like compromise, if they don't think it's important for government to do its business, if they don't think, if they don't care, rather, what calamity befalls the american economy, why don't they just hold their meetings, give angry speeches and stop screwing up the effort of those who want our democracy to succeed? and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we are coming off a truly historic weekend during which the president of the united states, on short notice, late on a saturday night addressed the nation live from the white house to announce the outline of an interim deal with iran, a deal to cap its current nuclear program and move towards a full diplomatic solution between the two nations. this is the biggest development in the relationship between the two countries in 35 years. what the president announced this weekend was the fulfillment of a promise a long time in the making.


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