tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 10, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
the liberty of saying you're ing to be there. >> i accept. >> all right. tonight in our tech survey question i asked do you believe president obama is doing everything he can to make your life better? 81% of you said yes, 19% said no. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. for more on the october 2nd march go to my website on wegoted.com for the logistics and details. "hardball" with chris matthews starts now. have a great weekend. blaming obama, again. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, republicans say building a mosque is the same as burning the koran. well, we all remember how the bush administration conflated 9/11 and iraq to gain support for the war they always wanted to fight against saddam hussein.
now republicans are at it again, this time creating a moral equivalency between burning korans and building an islamic center two blocks from ground zero. it's their way saying president obama is as wrong as the florida pastor was about burning korans. i've heard it before. and just this week john boehner, sarah palin, and today newt gingrich joined the team, republicans exploiting our fears again. that's our top story tonight. plus, if you watched "hardball" last night, you know the whole affair involving the florida pastor who is or isn't going to burn korans tomorrow has become a never-ending saga. this afternoon pastor terry jones insisted, he's convinced, why, we don't know, that he's going to meet tomorrow with the new york imam in charge of the planned islamic center near ground zero and work out some kind of deal. that's what he says. that's what he hopes. we'll have the latest in a moment. also another battlefront opened in the war against don't ask, don't tell.
a federal judge says it violates the constitutional rights of gays and she'll issue an order to halt the policy. so what happens now? how did we get from 9/11 being a politics free zone to becoming a talking point for republicans to exploit? the truce is over. looks like conservatives are winning it. let me end with my own thoughts on how obama plans to diffuse the plan to burn the holy book and how his opponents refused to join in common cause even on this. let's start with republicans comparing the burning of the koran with the building of the mosque two blocks from ground zero. mark halpern and "newsweek's" howard fineman, also a msnbc political analyst. when you read through the statements issued by the three people i'll mention, gingrich, boehner and palin, what surprises me is the residence of them all. each one refuses to take sides with the president against the preacher who wanted to burn the korans. they could have said this time the president is right. the guy on the other side is dead wrong. instead they played games. here's newt gingrich today on
abc. let's listen. >> it's wrong to burn the koran. and it's wrong to build the mosque at ground zero, and both should be stopped. i'm glad to see the pastor took a big step back. i wish him and rauf would have the same courage to america and take an equal step back and build the mosque somewhere else in new york. >> what a moral disaster. here's john boehner conflating the koran burning and the islamic center from near ground zero, singing from the same non-prayer book. >> to pastor jones and those who want to build the mosque, just because you have a right to do something in america does not mean it is the right thing to do. >> here is sarah palin on her facebook page. "people have a constitutional right to burn a koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive," i'd say so, "and an unnecessary provocation, much like building a mosque at ground zero."
howard, that preacher down there, whatever we think of him and what we think of the quality of his mind, quality of his heart or mind or purposes, never mentioned the mosque, never came up, ever, ever, ever until the three stooges of america decided that they were going to make this the issue, and they did it successfully to the point where he got the message, and his congregation began singing from the same prayer book they were singing from. >> this is dominating the news once again. i talked to a top adviser to the president about what their goal was for the press conference today. i went over to that press conference. it was to deal with the economy and deal as this guy said, with some stray cats and dogs. >> right. >> this is not a stray cat and dog. the republicans are turning into a lion and tiger. >> why are they turning it to the mosque? because they know that issue is going to continue? >> that issue continues, and the numbers quite frankly just the raw numbers on that, for in new york and elsewhere are good. so they're going to drive it, and obama is living in a different world from the one they're living. >> the world they're living in
establishes in their minds a moral equivalence between an obviously controversial decision to build an islamic center somewhere near the world trade center. there's no controversy about the evil of burning a koran. burning a koran is indisputably aimed at causing trouble. >> chris, i'm an analyst, not an editorial writer, but this is an outrageous comparison, it's outrageous on moral grounds. >> let's me go to mark, the politics of this, see it through. where are they going with this? they're in a way incriminating president obama by putting him on the same moral stage as that preacher down there. he wants to burn korans, he wants to support the building of a mosque, islamic center. it seems like they're playing pretty nasty here. it's at least hardball. i think it's a little tougher. >> i'm not sure which i would prefer, whether they actually believe there's a moral equivalency there or they don't and they're using it for political purposes. either way, whichever it is, this is not just bad domestic politics for the president, and it is and they know it, for a
variety of reasons, including it takes him off the economy and divides him from democrats, which is a big problem on a range of issues, but i almost resist talking about this as a political issue. this is a national security crisis. both of these issues are. you have general petraeus getting involved in a domestic matter of the first amendment issue shows the extraordinary extent to which people in the military are -- men and women overseas think this is a big enough deal, and to have it to be brought into domestic politics and inflamed by republicans, again, out of principle, maybe, out of political purposes maybe, whatever the reason is really a national and international tragedy. and unfortunately the president, for a variety of reasons, is too weak on his own to deal with it. >> i think you're right. howard? >> well, sitting in the press conference today with president obama, you can almost hear the classical music in the background. i don't mean to be facetious. >> no, i get you. >> it was a stately thing and a mature discussion. you can agree or disagree. let's all be reasonable about
this. >> so he's so well turned -- look how he comes in there, presenting himself eleganting, expressing himself on a high level tone against this menagerie that's biting at his heels. >> that's what i'm saying. those people you cited, boehner and gingrich and palin are not playing the same ball game that barack obama is. >> i shouldn't call them the three stooges. they're smarter than that, stooges are the people who buy their act. let's take a look at the president. he's trying to regain the high ground. here he is talking about pastor terry jones. let's listen. >> although this may be one individual in florida, part of my concern is to make sure we don't start having a whole bunch of folks all across the country think this is the way to get attention. this is a way of endangering our troops. i hardly think we're the ones who elevated this story, but it is in the age of the internet, something that can cause
us profound damage around the world. >> this isn't partisan. this isn't a philosophical argument, mark and howard. we know we're not fighting an army in uniform there. the terrorists are not paid regular salaries. they're not put into uniform. they're people that are either recruited or volunteer. and they volunteer out of a desire either to kill themselves in their holy cause, or to kill lots of other people in a holy cause, or both. they're driven by a belief that our side is evil and anti-islamic and out to destroy the faith they're born with. is there any easier thing to do that with than to say we're going to prevent them from building a holy center, and by the way, we're going to burn their holy book. and we're going to all do an international debate. >> it's about that. it's also about going after barack obama. let's not kid ourselves here as to what newt and sarah and john are doing. there's polling out there that says people are a little unsure of who barack obama is and where he comes from. >> especially republicans.
>> especially republicans. barack obama at the press conference today was kind of forced to go out of his way a little bit to talk about his christian faith. >> wasn't that awful that he has to say this is my religion? >> that's the situation he's in. they know it. >> you're so smart to bring this up. this is so rare in american politics to have to come out and say here's my religious faith. i have to put it out here as a shield against those denying i have it. here's the president today on his faith. let's listen. >> as somebody who, you know, relies heavily on my christian faith in my job, i understand, you know, that the passions that religious faith can raise. but i'm also respectful that people of different faiths can practice their religion, even if they don't subscribe to the exact same notions that i do. >> you know, mark, the sad thing is, i know the president went in there as we were all
professionals, he went in with certain words he wanted to punch out like middle class and tax cuts held hostage. the sad thing is he may have well been more admonished by his people, you better remind everybody you're christian. that's the sad thing. whatever you are in this country, you shouldn't have to brandish your religion in self-defense. >> if that was an ad lib i would be shocked. a few weeks ago i thought moving the islamic center was bad for america. then i evolved to the view, whatever the result, it needed to be managed by the president. and needed to be managed by unity. now it should move and has to move. which is unfortunate. >> explain that view. i'm a little bit surprised by that. >> i just think that there's too much opposition to it, and the feelings are too raw. and frankly, i think most of all, the people who are in charge of building it are not handling themselves well enough to build it the right way, to build it in a show of unity, rather than a show of division. >> do you have a sense when
you're walking past that it's going to be a big object of the news tomorrow on nightly and other programs or over the weekend. when you walk by and look at that building in a row of buildings, does it seem like it's facing the world trade center? does it seem like it's in the face of? >> chris, i jog down there all the time. that's where i end my runs. it's really close. when people say it's two blocks, it's steps away. and it's just too raw. i'm fine if it's built there, if it's built the right way. i have no confidence that the president and the mayor and the city and the country can come together and build it the right way. i just want to say one thing about the politics. if this were a cold war issue and there was a democratic president vulnerable on the cultural and national security issues of the type implicated here and politicians are saying these things who were republicans, we'd have no doubt that they were doing it on purpose, they were doing purely to discombobulate the president and undermine his image. and again, i'd like to give those three the benefit of the doubt. but you saw what the president had to do today, as howard and you pointed out. he had to brandish his christian faith.
that shows the extent to which he's discombobulated. >> that's called a religious test, by the way. >> not only that, today the president moved slightly back in the direction of saying they should build it. >> they pushed him into that. >> he is. he tacked back a little bit by saying if you could build a church -- >> newsfacts, a conservative blog, website put that out today. he took the strongest position so far. >> if you can build a church there, a synagogue there, a hindu temple there. the president doesn't like to shall -- he doesn't like to be pushed on these kinds of things on the one hand. on a one hand he does the christian rift. on the other hand, he says they should be able to build it there. and that's the -- >> mark, respond to this. we have a little time here. here is the president on the mosque. a lot of people didn't hear this yet today. let's listen. >> with respect to the mosque in new york. i think i've been pretty clear on my position here.
and that is that this country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal. that they have certain inalienable rights. one of those rights is to practice their religion freely. what that means is that in you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you can build a hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site. >> way too strong, mark? >> if he were my -- way too weak. if he were my professor at the university of chicago, my law professor, i would say i love that teacher. he's really eloquent. that's not what needed by the president of the united states. this is not a local issue. it's not a national interview. it's an international issue. and if that's his strongest position, i still don't know what he actually thinks should be done. what i do know is it cannot be solved now, whether it's going
to be moved or built there. it cannot be solved without his leadership and leadership is not taking a theoretical lawyerly position, which is what he's still doing. >> i worry about what will happen internationally if we do move it. who knows. what a hot subject. we thought this had a lid on it today. it does not. this weekend it's coming. howard fineman, thank you, sir. when we return the latest on pastor terry jones. he says, well, he says he won't burn the koran, but for some reason he still is claiming he has a meeting in new york this weekend. there isn't going to be a meeting. what happens when he comes to that realization. we don't know how reality hits this guy. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪
takeover possibilities and first time all ten are democratic seats that have a good shot of going republican. at number ten, the at least likely to change, washington state where patty murray faces dino rozzi. number nine, wisconsin. russ feingold is fighting for his political right. number, eight, nevada. sharron angle still on harry reid's tale. number 7, colorado. looks to be a toss-up. number six, illinois and the fight between mark kirk and alex gionnalis. president obama, that was his old senate seat. the top ones most likely to shift to the republican side coming up in an hour in this hour. "hardball" returns after this. as shipping it, though. i mean shipping is a hassle. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that is easy. best news i've heard all day! i'm soooo amped! i mean not amped. excited. well, sort of amped. really kind of in between. have you ever thought about decaf?
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to his town, pastor stone put up a sign that read "heartsong church welcomes memphis islamic center to the neighborhood." also is brent walker of the baptist joint committee. should i call you both reverend? i think i should. reverend, what do you think is the way americans should look at this, reverend stone, at this situation in new york right now? >> the situation in new york? you know, the situation in new york to me is whether or not somebody is going to hurt somebody's feelings, which is important. the situation in florida was about whether or not someone was going to get killed. >> yeah. because the burning of koran would be so outrageous to some people. >> oh, definitely. you know, the jesus i know and love gave us two whole commandments. they're both about love. and the second one is about loving your neighbor. >> let me go to reverend walker, rather brent walker.
let me ask you the same question. what do you think about these two issues? put them together. some politicians as we mentioned have done that. >> they are related. both involve fundamental first amendment rights. the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. but the affect of them, of each is going to be completely different. they're apples and oranges when it comes to the effect of the two. but i think they are related in this sense, and this goes to the question you asked reverend stone. i think building the mosque in manhattan would be a monument to american democracy, to religious liberty that we treasure in this country, to the plush pluralism that we have. far from being a detriment, i think it would be a monument to the goodness of america in part to counter the notion abroad we are all like reverend jones. 99.99% of the american people think he's crazy, and we need to get that message out. what better way to do it than to
embrace the mosque in lower manhattan. >> how do we deal with people of faith and people not of faith in this country? it seems to me there is two or three reactions, reverend stone. if you have a deep faith in your christianity, for example, you might come away from that or elevate yourself from that so confident of your faith and the righteousness of your beliefs that you can account for the possibility of other people having, if not the true faith, a faith. and you respect a faith. you don't say it's the right one, but you say well that person is being led in that direction by some cdecision or upbringing, and i'll respect it, even though i don't have faith in that faith. no, if you give any kind of countenance to other religions, you're denying your own. how do you square that at the pulpit? >> well, what we teach at heartsong is the way we follow jesus is not a religion in itself. religion is rules and
regulations that people have made up to try to control other people, but we respect everybody's faith. we deal with people as human beings. and what their faith is, is way down the line for us. >> i'm told some people call them, if you will, fundamentalists in this country, evangelicals who believe so strongly in their christianity that they believe that islam is wrong, it's even evil, because it's a wrong faith, and it should be, if not denied, maybe more than denied, it should be repressed. >> to me, i don't have the right to judge a heart of another human being, and the people across the street from us in memphis tell us they worship the one true god. i don't have a right to judge that. i can't look inside their heart and see what they're doing. i take them at face value. >> your thoughts on that, brent walker? >> it doesn't water my down the validity of my faith and my belief to concede to somebody else their right to believe as they see fit, as long as they don't try to impose it on me.
so i think that you need to recognize the fundamental christian virtue of humility. we often forget that. and i think pastor jones is ignoring that principle. seems to me he's following bad theology, bad churchmanship, and bad citizenship. in the way he's handling this situation. >> let me offer you something i think maybe you gentlemen will agree with. i think you will. people came to this country to get away from religious intolerance, to get away from 2,000 years of european religious wars where you had, you know, the eugonats thrown out of france because they were protestant, and the same kind of things going on both sides. protestants being repressed catholics in some cases. it was the same kind of thing. we said enough of that, we're coming over here. why are we getting the crusading mentality brought to america? both in new york and down in florida. reverend stone, first, isn't this a recurrence of something we all hoped in our religious hearts we were all
getting away with. and in many cases generations ago? >> yes, i think so. and you know, i have a friend in the islamic community, ali. he and i were talking on the phone. he said "it hurts me so much for people to look at me and think i'm un-american." he said "i came to america because i love the freedom here. i could not worship in my faith as i wanted to where i lived." >> well, okay, thank you, gentlemen. thank you, reverend stone. thank you, brent walker. it's great to have two men with deep belief and tolerance on the same program tonight. >> thank you, chris. up next, a little comic relief coming up here. hope it doesn't hurt the man involved to see himself on television again because he's been all over msnbc today. you're watching "hardball."
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back to "hardball." now to the side show. first, old school tie. guess who pastor terry jones had for a classmate in his missouri high school. rush limbaugh. both much were students at cape central high school, both class of '69. there they are as young guys. fascinating. next, some jokes never get old. arnold schwarzenegger posted this photo last night on twitter. here's what he tweeted. "over anchorage, alaska, overlooking everywhere, but can't see russia from here. we'll keep you updated as search continues." i'm surprised he tweets. palin responded late today with this tweet, "arnold should have landed. i could explained our multibillion dollar state surplus and u.s. energy security efforts. what's he been up to?" wow, kind of dry. moving to the midwest. perhaps the wildest political speech you will ever watch on television. it happened wednesday night in the star county ohio republicans. phil davidson didn't get the nomination that night when the committee voted, but
you don't see many stump speeches like his. here it is. >> my name is phil davidson, and i am seeking our party's nomination for the position of star county treasurer! i have been a republican in times good and i have been a republican in times bad. albert einstein issued one of my most favorite quotes in the history of the spoken word. and it is as follows. "in the middle of opportunity --" excuse me. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. i'm going to repeat that so i have clarity tonight. in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. if nominated tonight i will win this election, and i'm going to say that again so there's no miscommunication tonight. if nominated tonight i win. >> take jim cramer, me, and multiply it by a thousand and you get phil davidson. anyway, he pointed out during that speech he holds a master's degree in guess what, communications.
finally hitting below the belt, pea party christine o'donnell is hoping upset former governor mike castle during next week senate's primary. the state's republican party has filed an fec report claiming that o'donnell has coordinated her campaign activity with an outside group. in this case the tea party express, which is against the law. catch o'donnell's reaction yesterday on "the mark levine show." >> you know, these are the type of cheap, underhanded, unmanly tactics that we've come to expect from obama's favorite republican, mike castle. you know, i released a statement today saying mike, this is not a bake-off, get your man pants on. >> she may have gotten tips from sarah palin who called certain critical reporters impotent and limp, last week. yesterday sarah palin endorsed a big surprise, o'donnell. brings us tonight's big number. what does sarah palin's endorsement record look like? so far she's backed 15 winners
and 11 losers which makes for a winning percentage of 58. pretty good in baseball, actually. smart money is on palin's picks, 58 percentage tonight's big number. up next, in another big victory for gay rights, a federal judge rules the military's don't ask, don't tell policy is unconstitutional. is this the beginning of the end of don't ask? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 what if every atm was free?
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hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. california officials say fires started by last night's gas explosion are fully contained. four people are confirmed dead but the rubble in some areas is too hot to search. the entire area is cordoned off as a crime scene as investigators try to figure out what happened. in colorado fire crews are holding the wall fire at bay
long enough to allow some residents back in the area to check on their homes. the fire destroyed nearly 170 buildings. the justice department says it will not seek the death penalty against four new orleans police officers charged with shooting six people on the danziger bridge after hurricane katrina. iranians say there's legal technicalities that need to be ironed out in scheduling the release of a hiker. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball." late thursday night a federal judge in california ruled the military's don't ask, don't tell policy is unconstitutional. the judge said the policy hurts recruitment, and doesn't help military readiness.
it's the latest development in a much larger fight to end this 17-year-old policy. the log cabin republicans were the plafs in this case, we're joined by the group's executive director r. clarke cooper and aubrey sarbaris. it seems like the wins keep coming your way. >> that's a good thing. >> tell me about this case and what you were up against. what was the argument this would cause bad moral among the more conservative members and traditional members of the military, they won't feel comfortable with gay soldiers alongside them. what happened to that argument in court? it's an old argument. >> well, it is an old argument. you have the lower base of the personnel period. the younger soldiers, sailors airmen and marines don't care. it's becoming a nonissue. >> are you getting the poll data? >> we are getting the poll data. >> don't the marines hate this? >> the marines as a whole? that's not fair. >> i'm asking. this is an asking question.
i provoke. i don't know the answers. >> sure. but you can't castigate an entire service branch based on this. there is difference of opinion across the board. however, the polling data does show inside the service branches and externally within the general public -- >> okay, you're being honest with me. so where's the problem? where is the rub? what is the resentment in the services that can get to the courts? making the case there's a disrupting factor here? >> the issue isn't resentment. there's a weak case made by the department of justice, which was saying our case lacked standing, because there was no harm to any law cabinet republican members based on the statute. >> you guys tried to enlist? >> there's tons of service members. we're republicans. >> why don't you have standing then? >> we do have standing. that's why we won the case. >> oh, i see. >> the standing we had is we had members, log cabin republican members, service members who were discharged under this statute, so that actually blew that out of the water, out of the doj's case. >> so how does the case look like right now?
i'll get to aubrey in a minute. because you're the plaintiffs. >> sure. >> it goes to the ninth circuit, right? >> right. >> is the government going to fight this or wait for the review by the commission looking at it at the pentagon? >> as a log cabin republican i'm not going to speak on behalf of the obama administration. but i would gander they're probably going to try to appeal it. hopefully not. >> let me go to aubrey. why would they -- you're an expert on this. with the u.s. government, knowing they're facing a review themselves and probably on the road to getting rid of don't ask, why would they fight this court ruling? >> well, like clark, i'm not going to second guess what the justice department is going to do, chris. however, i think in all likelihood they probably will appeal, but back to your earlier question. and first of all, big shout-out to clark and the log cabin republicans and also to service members united. the judge found not only did they have standing, but she rejected the arguments with respect to military readiness, unit cohesion. she not only found no basis for those arguments, she also said
that the don't ask, don't tell statute was an overly broad infringement upon the first amendment rights of service members. i.e., straight service members, he or she can talk about their sexual orientation. under don't ask, don't tell, a gay or lesbian service member cannot speak to their sexual orientation. she rejected that. we will see if this administration appeals. i don't know if they will or not. >> just to make this so everybody understands, a guy can go back to the dorm or barracks and said i had a great weekend with mary. but a gay guy can't say i came back from a weekend with john. >> you not do that because you're speaking to your sexual orientation. that is a violation of don't ask, don't tell. if you speak to your sexual orientation, you can and in all likelihood -- >> even if you don't say, i'm gay? >> anything. if you speak to your sexual orientation, you are likely to be discharged under don't ask, don't tell. and let me say, while this
decision is welcomed, don't ask, don't tell is still the law. and service members are still at risk. i cannot tell you what the justice department is going to do, but i can tell you this. this month, next week, the senate is coming back to washington. there's a bill on the senate calendar that would repeal don't ask, don't tell. it's a defense department authorization. that bill should be taken up and debated. as you know, chris, it's extraordinary for a congress to go without authorizing the defense spending for the department of defense. >> explain to me why this should come up before the election. >> first of all, the defense department authorization bill passes every congress, irrespective of whether democrats or republicans control the congress or control the white house. that bill is about far more than don't ask, don't tell. don't ask, don't tell is part of that bill. don't ask, don't tell was originated 17 years ago in the
senate armed services committee. passed the kopg. congress. >> where is colin powell right now? >> he is -- >> he's against the don't ask, don't tell policy. he's on record as that. so he's one of many voices -- >> even though he was for it in the beginning. >> he isn't now. just like we were talking the other day. >> so what has changed. usually our debates over abortion rights are back and forth. they don't change. why is this changing? >> the american people have changed on this issue. 17 years ago when this law was enacted, only about half of the american people supported open service. today by all professional polls, nearly 80% of americans -- >> what happened? >> because the younger generation, which clark referred to earlier, this is not a big deal for them. they don't care about sexual orientation. >> that's true among serving people as well in the military? >> obviously it is. >> absolutely. >> of course it is. where did they come from? they came from the civilian sector. whether it's in the courts or on capitol hill, the house passed the bill.
repealing don't ask, don't tell. >> you're doing good work, guys. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, gentlemen. i'm big on freedoms. i love this country. everybody knows my views. thank you, clark and aubrey. up next, on the eve of the anniversary of the september 11 attacks, how do we go from 9/11 being free of politics, and it was for seven or eight years, to becoming a talking point, talking point for republicans. and a program note, tonight at 10:00 on this network, a premier of the new documentary on msnbc, brian williams reports "new orleans: an american story." brian goes back to new orleans to report on the recovery from hurricane katrina which devastated the city five years ago. by the way, didn't they have a big football game there last night? that's tonight, 10:00 on msnbc. [ announcer ] how do you plus up breakfast?
has his work cut out for him. number four, inn where dan coates is in the lead. arkansas where bill clinton may not be able to save blanche lincoln. delaware where mike castle looks like a winner. and the number one senate likely takeover, north dakota, the former governor, same as ever, he's likely to win. all ten takeover possibilities are democratic seats that the republicans have a good shot to pick up. e to put you in charge of cutting costs. calm down. i know that it is not your job. what i'm saying... excuse me? alright, fine. no, you don't have to do it. ok? [ male announcer ] notre dame knows it's better for xerox to control its printing costs. so they can focus on winning on and off the field. [ manager ] are you sure i can't talk -- ok, no, i get it. [ male announcer ] with xerox, you're ready for real business. ♪
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i can only imagine that the continuing pain and anguish and sense of loss that they may go through. and tomorrow we as americans are going to be joining them in prayer and remembrance. >> we're back. that was president obama today at the press conference talking
about the anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow. some people will be engaged in much more than prayer and remembrance tomorrow. opponents and supporters of the proposed islamic center near ground zero are using tomorrow's date to stage big rallies near the site. tea partiers plan to gather in the national mall in washington. sarah palin and glenn beck are in alaska at an event that costs 225 bucks to attend. and newt gingrich is premiering his new documentary "america at risk" which features searing images of the world trade center attacks. our conservatives trying to define and own september 11th? msnbc's political analyst david weigel wrote about this in "slate." and david corn is the washington bureau chief for "mother jones."
david, tell me how it's being used. this seems like it's part of the script of the republican party after eight years of nonparti n nonpartisanship and high regard for the after eight years of nonpartisan zip and high regard for the national reverence toward 9/11 and what happened there. it's now become a turf for fighting on. >> well, this isn't entirely new, when george bush was president, and david probably remembers this, he would use the days around the 9/11 anniversary and make a couple of statements about foreign policy. in 2002 it was about iraq. and then in later years in 2006, when republicans were in trouble, it was going to some intelligence centers. and republicans were not quiet about the fact they thought this would remind people why they needed to keep george bush's party in power. republicans have always been confident about this. liberals have not been confident about it. a theory i have as to why they're taken aback by it being politicized, i think when liberals, when this country elected a president like barack obama, who, you know, when he ran for senate, people joked that he would never get elected
because of his last name, they thought the country had moved on a bit from the hyperpartisanship and the hyperideology around 9/11. it just hasn't happened. republicans are back to what they were doing before. >> david corn. >> in 2004, too, i think it was 2004, they found a powerpoint presentation karl rove had put together about how the republicans could exploit 9/11 for their electoral purposes. it does seem that the further we get away from it, the less sacred so to speak it's become politically. so you get to what is kind of a sorry spectacle of glenn beck and sarah palin holding an event in anchorage where they're actually charging people to come. they want to have an event and mark 9/11 whatever way they think possible, that's fine. but charging to do this? and you have on 9/11, you mentioned some tea partiers rallying and the oath-keepers, these anti-government groups. anti-government groups are rallying, you know, just blocks
away from the pentagon on the same day that the attacked. and the u.s. capitol, the white house was targeted as well. >> take a look at sarah palin's facebook. i hope my fellow alaskans and anyone visiting from outside will join me this saturday, september 11th, 2010. glenn beck
there be there. you won't want to miss it. tickets available at ticketmaster.com. you can count on glenn to make it interesting and inspiring, and i can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 and to gather with patriots who will, quote, never forget. i just always wonder. david, 9/11 was used to sell the iraq war in country music and all kinds of ways. remember how you felt, everything was to try to get people jacked up for some kind of payback after anthrax didn't work, they tried using 9/11 and i think effectively so, to sell that war as a get-even, even though iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. now, what is the long-term goal of those who exploit the horror of 9/11?
>> well, i talked to some conservative 9/11 family members and some conservative activists who are protesting that mosque, and they feel like if they don't do anything, this liberal media narrative makes us forget 9/11 and become a more tolerant, i guess is the word they use, with a more majoritively than the rest of us use it. we become a tolerant weak country. >> how broad do they want our inn tolerance to reign? do they know there's a billion islamic people in the world? whether it's about burning their holy book or about denying them the right to build a center somewhere, they will see that as obviously an insult. how many -- do they know there's a billion islamic people on this planet who have nothing to do with even arab issues? >> well, they have trouble threading that needle, honestly. if you listen to newt beginning grich talk when he was speaking at ralph reid's event, he was saying we need to talk about radical islam.
it's a problem that this administration refuses to talk about radical islam and that's one of the things that weaken us. >> i'm sorry, david -- they're not in government right now. they're in opposition. here is newt beginning gingriches new don't tree. listen to this. let's listen. >> many of our elites are afraid to identify our adversaries by name. >> what we used to call the war on terror, we are clearly losing. >> despite our successes and sacrifices, lives lost, and billions spent, the war on terror and the ideology behind it have only just begun. >> this war will go on until the whole of the world either embraces islam or submits to islamic law. >> newt is excellent at fishing in troubled waters, david corn.
in washington for years. there's horror out there. he's there to catch it. >> you know, it's interesting. about a year-and-a-half ago, i wrote a piece for "mother jones," right after the beginning of the obama years, where he seemed to be taking a different tact. he was all about post-partisan and working with the president. and attacking republicans were coming on too strong in a lot of these peripheral issues. but he has certainly put his finger in the wind. maybe he's thinking about 2012, which seems ridiculous to me, and he's airing this movie which says basically there can be only one resolution which is either defeating islam or being defeated by islam, which sends the wrong message to muslims in america. but i think to the billion muslims you mentioned around the world. we can't draw these hard and fast lines without isolating ourselves which is a point that obama made today. if we're going to defeat osama bin laden and the small band of islamic terrorists, you've got to get the rest of thesis lambic world on your side. otherwise, it's -- we're doomed to fail.
>> david, how soon will the right wing pull back from their trouble making? how quickly will they return to their ram parts if people start getting killed over this stuff? >> well -- >> that was a loaded question, i admit. >> i know what you mean. but you saw it a little bit. no one got killed over this koran burning that probably is not going to happen, might happen. >> didn't someone just get killed up in iraq over this? >> well, i'm saying in this country, there hasn't been a lot of violence. the point i want to make is they use that to say, look, we're not that bad, we're not actually bashing all islam. we're going to go out on a limb and say it's a bad idea to burn the koran. so i think they find ways to ben wedge against the really bad stuff. >> thanks david weigel, and david corn, have a nice weekend. when we return, what game has john boehner, sarah palin and newt gingrich been playing, trying to a establish a moral equivalent to what pastor terry jones did and what the president is doing, the right to build a list lambic center two blocks from ground zero in you're
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let me finish tonight with a bad turn the news took this week. until early thursday, neither pastor jones or his associate mentioned the proposed islamic center in southern manhattan in regard to their planning to burn the korans. other people had other ambitions for this saga. john boehner, who lance to be speaker of the house was not seen as speaker for the country when he placed the burning at
the same moral level as the building of an islamic center two blocks from the world trade center in new york. former governor palin went further and said people have a right to build a koran if they want to, as if that could be something any good person could want to do. a good person could want to build an islamic center two blocks from the world trade center. these islamics had paired together in morally equivalent terms the building of a religious center with the desecration of a religious book. on thursday, pastor jones did what they did, tied together the threat to burn korans with the plans to build the islamic center. he said if they roftd their plan to build the center, he would scotch his plans. he wasn't original, just played it cute. instead of condemning the threat to burn the korans, they have seized on the opportunity to create a simmering dispute over a site in new york to a dangerous threaten action to our troops and adding problems worldwide. the question is why palin and