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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 24, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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of minnesota state supreme court justice, his life's focus has been on education in helping children. he'll on my program next week right here on "the ed show." have a great weekend. "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. plisks gone mad. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chuck todd in for chris matthews. leading off, politics gone mad. today may be remembered as the day american politics jumped the shark. when comedy central stephen colbert came to testify before congress about the plight of migrant farm workers, he did so in character as a right wing, blow hard cable anchor. it's not clear whose reputation took a bigger hit today, congress' or colbert's. >> as we've heard this morning, america's farms are far too
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dependent on immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables. the obvious answer is to stop eating fruits and vegetables and if you look at the recent obesity statistics you'll see that many americans have already started. >> it didn't stop at capitol hill. her ay reid and sharron angle supporters broke out into a full on brawl at a local christian school. politics gone mad at the top of the show. not in the "sideshow." plus, the republican pledge to america. what does it really mean? some on the right say it's pablam to change votes and change nothing. some on the left say it's nothing more than a smokescreen to disguise radical ideas. and the comeback kid with another comeback. bill clinton may be the go-to guy president obama needs to save him and his party. in the russ belt states. but ask yourself this, how appropriate is it clinton to backseat driving obama when he used to bristle the same thing happening to him in 1994.
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also, finish the following sentence. the tea party is "a," tearing apart the republican party or "b"," energizing the gop and opening up an enthusiasm gap. with democrat, the answer may tell us a lot and wait until you hear what eliot spitzer has to say about the fellow democrat who wants his old job, andrew cuomo. but that's in "the sideshow." host "face to face" on our nbc stations in nevada. and the politics editor for, von berger. look, we got to start with what happened on capitol hill. here's an exchange between michigan congressman john conyers and stephen colbert today. let's listen. >> i'm asking you to leave the committee room completely and submit your statement instead. >> i'm here at the invitation of the chairwoman and if she'd like
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me to remove myself from the hearing room, i'm theme do so. >> that is correct. >>s that fair enough. >> von, let me start with you. you've been doing this as long as i have. watching the 24/7 news cycle infect congress and now it's sort of has gone to a level where an actor or comedian decides to go in character on capitol hill. what did we witness today? >> well, i really think that was the sticking point right there. we've seen celebrities parade up in congress. kevin costner was there recently. talking about coast guard issues. they're in and out of that place all the time. but for colbert to be there in character was really taking this to an entirely new level and a really bizarre level. i think what they were trying to do and you have to give them credit, they were trying to get attention, the chairwoman was trying to get attention for this issue. she succeeded, but i think that she and other democrats on the hill are going to be a little surprised at the negative
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attention they get over this. rather than to the issue itself. >> john iwant to go to you in a minute. here'sing a bit more of colbert testifying today. take a listen. >> we know there was a long tradition of great nations importing foreign workers to do their farm work. after all, it was the ancient israelites who built the first food pyramids, but this is america. i don't want a tomato picked by a mexican. i want it picked by an american, then sliced by a guatemalan and served by a venezuelan where -- gives me a chilean. >> we're going to go to the craziness you're in the middle of, but i'm in new york, vaughn in washington and we're seeing this and a lot of us are offended, an institution that while can get mocked all the time went down a road we thought were not even capable of. what did you see out in nevada? how did you see this from your perch?
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>> wait a second, that's a steven colbert character? that's not the real stephen colbert? i'm shocked to hear that. we didn't know that here in nevada. >> right. >> but seriously, the real problem is what you know. people hold congress in such disrepute already and think it's a joke and then they see steven colbert go before congress in character and make these comments, i can't see how that helps the democrats. they can say they're bringing a higher profile to a big issue, but people see it as a comedy show. >> here's even more of stephen colbert, vaughn. take a listen. >> i've got to ask, why isn't the government doing anything? maybe this ad jobs bill would help. i don't know. like most members of congress, i haven't read it. >> i guess vaughn, what i don't understand is, look, stephen colbert know who he is. he knew what he was doing and he certainly didn't make any pretense he was going to be anything other than what he was.
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why were all those members of congress sitting there? why didn't they leave? we heard conyers saying that. what about the republicans? >> conyers was sort of giving the early warning signal. i'm not sure a lot of members of congress really got what was going on there today. i mean when stephen colbert sits there and talking about entering his footage of his colonoscopy into the congressional record you would think that that would sound some alarm bells into their heads. they seem to be playing along, playing along with this and you think that john is exactly right. this just reinforcing the negative opinions that most people have of congress, and i think that they're going to be really surprised that this gives -- is going to have a lot of backlash against them. >> now, speaker pelosi was asked about colbert's testimony today. let's listen to how she responded. >> do you think it was appropriate that he testified today? >> of course i think it's appropriate. he's an american. before the committee, has his point of view. he can bring attention to an important issue like immigration, it's great.
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>> you know, one thing that i'm wondering, but i've seen some reaction of twitter. john you're a big user of it. i'm a big user of it. it feel like a blue state/red state divide here. that's what satire does. sometimes satire's the best way to bring out an issue and bring attention to an issue in a very smart way. you know, is this one of those things where maybe there is a blue state/red state divide and the heartland will look at this and say, this is exactly why we want to throat bums out. >> i think in the 24/7 world we riff in now, chuck, and you mentioned twitter and things are getting posted and posted as we're speaking, i don't think that this is going to last that long. but i really think that the problem here is what we talked about earlier. is that immigration is a serious issue and then you have steven colbert, who is a very, very funny guy.
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as a matter of fact, coincidentally, he the las vegas mayor oscar goodman on his program last night in a farce, but he's a farcical guy. >> right. >> and to take an issue like that and having him talking about mexicans picking tomatoes and guatemalans i think that that's going to rub blue state and red state folks the wrong way. >> let's remember this stuff in the congressional record you can't see tone. you can't read tone. just like you can't read in e-mail or read tone in the congressional record. it's going to live forever. i want to jump to nevada. first, john, we have to show the video of what happened last night. here's a fightate christian school. i guess nobody was channelling their inner christian here between angle supporters, harry reid supporters. we know that this is a race to the bottom. in fact, you wrote today, you wrote a column today that basically said, you almost see why voters in nevada are going to put up their hands and not want either one of these guys but of course, you have none of the above on the ballot.
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so tell me this, john, you were there. what happened? >> it was a very strange crowd, chuck. just to set the stage so that people know, this was an hour-long forum. harry reid wasn't even there. he had previously answered set question, they'd given to him before, he answered by videotape. they played that videotape. sharron angle was there. about 800 people there clearly, clearly the reid folks had sent some people in there. but both sides were equally unruly. certainly, angle who was live, was getting heckled and then at the end as she was leaving, there was this scuffle that broke out and there was some astonishing pictures on the "las vegas sun" website of this man throwing a fist right at a woman. who was apparently bothering him and trying to get by him. who started it, who knows, who cares. but this is emblematic of this race, chuck, the kind of passions that are going on both sides. and it's not go, sharron or
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harry. it's kill sharron and kill harry. the animous out there on these state toward these candidates is just astonishing. >> vaughn, every cycle, we say, it's never going to get stranger than this, than that. this cycle of course, every election cycle takes on its own personality. this is one where it feels like all of the venom you read about on the left and the right is now starting to be channelled throughout the rallies. >> i think you've seen that throughout the campaign, frankly. you've seen commercials that talk about get your arms together and let's go against this federal government. you've heard -- >> some absurd rhetoric like what newt gingrich has used. some crazy rhetoric. >> that's right. and you know, as a result of the campaigns using that rhetoric, what do we expect to start happening other than opening brawls at campaign events? >> you know, rat one point, you do wonder if this is going to actually start turning people off.
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you know, the irony of what colbert's doing, he and jon stewart are trying to have this rally on the mall for sanity and of course colbert today in many ways contributed to the insanity. vaughn, before i let you go a new feature that we're all teeming up with on the voter confidence index. tell us more about it. >> what we're trying to do with this, chuck, is measure the kind of impact of the anger that we've seen out there. we've taken the average of big poll questions these national major polls ask commonly and we've averaged them together and we've come up with a number, that sort of illustrates where the feeling of the mooftd country is. negative is bad. positive is good. president obama started out with very high ratings. he's now down to negative 38. we've also taken that back and looked at how those numbers stack up historically to other midterm elections. he's right now, the president and his party are about the same level that bill clinton was in 1994. a little bit better shape, in fact. they're worse off than where president bush was in 2006.
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we're not trying to be predictive of this. >> right. >> we're just trying to give people a way to look at what's going on, what that could mean for the midterm elections, what it's meant in the past. >> it's sort of like our dow jones ticker right there on the politic's page on vaughn, editor of the political editor at and john raulston who's got a front row seat and can actually use boxing cliche to cover a senate race and mean it. anyway, thank you both. coming up, the latest poll numbers. plus, that gop pledge to america. conservatives say it's too modest. liberals say it's a smokescreen for radical change. we'll try to figure out both sides out on this one. you're watching "hardball." [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. lord of the carry-on. sovereign of the security line. you never take an upgrade for granted.
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top white house adviser david axelrod who was president obama's main architect will leave and go to chicago. axelrod who calls himself a chicagoan on assignment, and although born in new york, has long made it clear that he misses his acquired hometown and would return before the end of obama's four-year term. going to go back to chicago to restart the campaign. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] every business day, bank of america lends billions of dollars, to individuals, institutions, schools, organizations and businesses. ♪ working to set opportunity in motion. bank of america. so when you turn up the heat, secret turns up the protection. odor-fighting microcapsules are triggered by your body heat
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welcome back to "hardball." let's check out the latest polls. in california, a new poll shows barbara boxer leading carly fiorina 47-41. in florida, sink has a seven-point edge over rick scott. 47-40. according to a mason dixon poll. now to new york. a new merit poll finds and
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andrew cuomo over karl paladino. finally that big race in nevada. sharron angle and harry reid are tied at 43%. that's in a las vegas review journal/mason-dixon poll. we shall see, is none of the above is the one number that matters in nevada most. anyway, we're going to continue to check the "hardball" scoreboard on all of the big races each night leading up to election day and only picking the polls that we know have a long track record of being accurate in those states. now, time now for more on the house republicans' pledge to america. here's california republican congressman kevin mccarthy today on a show a little bit familiar with "the daily rundown." let's listen. >> the one thing you have to realize is it's not a platform for the party. we have a platfoerpt. these are bills that can be taken up today and if you look at the 42 pages of where you go through, specifically lays out each and every bill of where it goes. this is something up now that
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can be taken up now where we won't leave. >> will this help the republicans in november? does it help the democrats by giving them something to bash? well, let's bring in msnbc political analyst richard wolfe and the washington perry bacon. richard, i'll start with you. it does seem as if there's a lot of criticism being levelled at this. pledge to america, not from democrats, but from republicans, from conservatives who are wondering, either one, why did you put anything out, and make yourself a target, and two, what you put out was too milk toast. >> right, well it's not a rallying cry, is it? if you are taking this kind of heat eye think that it points to two things. first of all, this is a talking point for republicans. it says, they have an agenda. people need to kind of take off of the table of the criticism, there's no plan out. there as you heard they reckon this is a plan that you can move forward with. that's important but it also begs comparisons with 1994, which encourages all of us to say, that's the benchmark. can they make 54-seat gains in
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the house, and if they're not, they're going to fall short. may not be helpful, the other thing this points to i'm afraid, negatively here, how unruly the house republican caucus is going to be after november. because these ideological splits are ready to burst out into the open if they haven't already. >> perry, let me read you something. andy roth wrote on his blog. he says -- we can go on and on, one of the pieces of reporting i understand was out there, this was a john boehner document and that eric cantor has been kind of silent on it, supportive of it, but not everyone inside of the house republican caucus thought putting this out was a good idea. and if you're going to do it, watering it does was something everyone could agree on. >> yeah, three criticisms of it. people outside of the caucus
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mainly, social conservatives wanted more to be said about gay marriage, and issues like that. you've had people in the republican conference who wanted kind of a mimic, we have to balance the budget every year. you also had people who wanted civic plans on social security and medicare. saying here's how we're going to balance the budget in the long term. the republicans' side, not doing any of these things, mainly because this is coming out before the election and they wanted to make sure -- issue that obama can really attack and the democrats can really attack. so it's very political in method and then probably won't be what they'll be doing by this time next year if they're controlling congress. >> richard, here's john boehner answering a question in thursday's event and it's a quote that i think that we'll see in paid television advertising. let's listen. >> legislatively, how do you plan to honor families, traditional marriage, life on the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our american values? >> i think if you look at house republicans over the course of the last year, two years, or, for that matter,, the last ten
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years, you'll see that, by and large, we have supported those pro-family traditional values, issues. on the point we make in this preamble to our pledge, is that we are not going to be any different than what we've been. we are going to stand up for those things that we believe in. >> we are not going to be any different than what we have been. richard wolffe, you hear the white house was giddy when they heard that comment. this goes to perhaps the criticism that pat buchanan was saying yesterday, which was, you gave something for the democrats to run against, and of course now, john boehner just gave them a quote to use in tv ads. >> sure they did. and remember how george bush packaged himself in 2000 as a different kind of republican. this is kind of the opposite, isn't it? it's the same old republican. he was talking about social issues. of course, it's not about the economic policies, which the white house would prefer to talk about.
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>> of course. >> but if you are just coming back with the same old, same old, that's what voters are really looking for. they want to throw all of the incumbents out. they want change to business as usual. and i don't know how more of the same, even if it's slightly different from what we've got now is what people want to hear. they want radically new things. most of all on the economy. i don't think either the family stuff or going back to the past is a winning message in either case. . >> you know, perry -- >> chuck, just to interrupt, i think that the republicans were trying to say, they're not going to do very much. i mean in their defense they were trying to say, we're going to -- obama's done a lot. they wanted to put out a document that basically said we're for the same things that we always were and talk about why obama and the democrats are bad. that's what they were trying to do. it's not as if they were looking for new policy in the first place. >> it's clear they felt pushed into this, right? they felt pushed by us in the media, as some would say. as the 1994 contract with america, is fact there were so many comparisons to that time
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period and they thought, well, gees, if newt gingrich can do this, and then certainly i, john boehner, and the house republican leadership can do this. but i guess the big difference is, and richard, you pointed this out, but i wanted this question to both of you, and perry, the organizing force in 1994 was newt gingrich. the organizing force in 2010 for the republicans, if they take over, is the grassroots. and i think that's the complaint here. is that's not reflected in this pledge. richard? >> yeah, and it's not reflected because which part of the grass roots are they channelling here? it -- clearly people want to talk about the economy and is it the deficit side, is it the tax cut you canf side? is it health care? the one new piece of this is actually the obama piece of this. it's repealing health care. they're going to run into a chainsaw on the deficit questions because technically, health care lowers the deficit. so, i -- i don't know which part of the tea party they want to
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channel here, other than the winning part. the motivation part. you don't want to mess with that. >> perry, what did we learn, potentially from this episode. watching this back and forth? the fact this could be done gone in a couple of days. we might not be talking about it as much. the campaigns might run away from it. but what did we learn about how the house republicans can govern, the leadership versus the rank and file? >> two things. one, we learned from watching boehner's answer to the question about moral values is that they are very nervous about how to talk about abortion, gay marriage, those kind of issues, he clearly did not really know what to say about that beyond. he did not know what to say. it was not a great answer. the second thing is they know what they're against. they're against obama's health care plan. a lot of things the president and democrats have done. the document makes clear they're not sure what they're for beyond making the government smaller. in fairly undefined ways. the question next year, if they're in charge, what do they do in march?
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i mean, once they try to repeal the health care bill, obama says we're not going to do that. what do you do when you have to really solve problems? they haven't said what they're going to do. that's what i think the most important thing this document says. >> richard, does john boehner own this document, meaning, and own this idea? that was the indication. of the national journal's report on this, major garrett's report. hey, this is boehner's. that he already starts out as a speaker that's going to be, if he becomes speaker, that is going to be so answerable to the grassroots that he won't -- he won't be able to even cut a deal with the senate majority leader, whether it's reid or mcconnell, or with the president without somehow being, potentially, making sure he doesn't lose his own caucus. >> i think this is going to be a really tough job. you know, normally the discipline questions come in for senate side. in the house here, he's going to have trouble with this big class of freshmen coming in if all the predictions are correct.
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at the same time, he's got to worry about the young guns coming at him. >> there are a lot of speakers in waiting besides john boehner. at least when they look in the mirror, anyway, richard wolfe, perry bacon, thank you both. coming up, chris christie is a true gentleman not afraid of a fight. especially to defend a lady. that's in "the sideshow." but again, today feels like an entire show that got turned into a side show. you're watching "hardball." logistics makes the world work better. ♪ when it's planes in the sky ♪
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all right, back to "hardball." the politics spectacle theme continues here on "the sideshow." this week, new jersey governor chris christie was out in california campaigning with meg whitman when a heckler interrupted whitman's speech. christie was quick to jump in.
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>> hey, listen. hey, listen. hey, listen. you know what, if you want to yell, yell at me. but don't give her a hard time. we're here talking about the future of the state of california and the future of our country. and you know what? and you know what? and you know what? let me tell you this. you know what? it's people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country. we're here to bring in country together. not divide it. >> christie services are in demand. california's just the first stop on his 11-state political tour. he says he's not thinking about running for president in 2012. let's see how 2010 goes. moving to new york. pot meet kettle. in new york, eliot spitzer laughed at andrew cuomo. the fellow democrat who is running for his old job. spitzer said yesterday -- this is coming from the guy whom
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himself had to resign over his own personal scandal. ouch. finally, the white house sends it regrets. check out today's lead item in page 6. obama trio planning to skip ex-budget director peter orszag's wedding. all made last-minute cancellations apparently because of a "the new york times" column that orszag wrote this month. the president's official position. orszag's wedding is set tomorrow in manhattan. i think that this stuff has a lot more to do with something that isn't about that column and may have to do with how they work together in the white house. now for tonight's big number. it started with lisa murkowski up in alaska. and now delaware's mike castle's reportedly conducting polls to see how he would do as a write-in candidate. well, they face long odds. been just one senator that's been elected as a write-in. how long ago was it, 1954. the candidate, longtime south carolina senator, strom
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thermond. 56 years since the last and only successful write-in senate campaign. 1954. tonight's very daunting big number. anyway -- coming up, bill clinton is back and back and back. stronger and more influential than ever. how did that happen? that's next. you're watching "hardball." big oil and their backers are spending millions to scare us. saying it costs too much to break our dependence on oil. what they're really doing is putting our security at risk. my big brother went to iraq to keep us safe. he came home in a flag-draped coffin. america lost another hero. big oil wants to talk about costs? don't let big oil lie to you
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hello, everyone. i'm milissa rehberger. a federal judge has alreadied a decorated flight reinstated in the military after ruling she was illegally discharged under don't ask, don't tell. a judge in california says the man accused of holding jaycee dugard captive for nearly two decades may not be mentally compentent to stand trial. the american woman freed
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from captivity from iran met with the president. a tense standoff at a florida bank ended peacefully after the fbi removed an alleged explosive device his teller who told police his family was being held hostage at home while he was forced to rob the bank. the dow jones surged nearly 200 points in a surprise of an uptick in business spending. and lindsay lohan was taken back to jail in handcuffs for failing a drug ordered test. now back to "hardball." please welcome president bill clinton, ladies and gentlemen.
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welcome back to "hardball." president bill clinton this week shows that he moves with equal ease from late shows with political strategist. in fact, his advice to democrats in this midterm. >> i think that the democrats ought to put on one card no more than five and no fewer than three things that will be their priorities. we've still got a chance here, we have 30 days to have an honest debate. >> can he make the difference for democrats? an msnbc political analyst, jim vandehei politico. and howard, howard, let me start with you. it is interesting to me to watch bill clinton in essence, second guessing some of the folks in the white house. he's supportive but second-guessing the strategy. when he frankly had the same
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problem in 1994 and there were people second-guessing, though, not so publicly. not so publicly. >> yeah, there were. there was a whole generation of kennedy people, for example, who thought they knew more about washington and politics even than bill clinton did. there were some people on the hill back in the days when hill people were independent forces and not thought of as appendages of their interest groups. they were saying the clintons are in over their head. they know what they're doing. they're not communicating. one of the things bill clinton should have said here, which he admitted elsewhere, is when you get to become president you assume in the first year or so that everybody's listening, that everybody understands, everybody knows your motives, everybody knows your successes and failures. it's not true and it wasn't true back then. bill clinton learned after '94 that he had to campaign are relentlessly to say what his accomplishments were and his goals were and that's what he's now telling obama that obama should do. >> you're a partner and crime over there at politico.
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john may be one of the best observers of bill clinton and he's had a couple of tour deforces this week. the one earlier this week where he reported that bill clinton, he was he was repeating an adage about a transformation he thought newt gingrich delivered . >> 1994, which basically erases all the tipper -- all politics is local. gingrich nationalized and he was basically saying all politics is nationalized now. >> right, which i think a will the of people on the hill don't agree with. he's arguing that they've all been national elections. even for these congressional races it's probably true this year because i think that the national issue is there's a ton of frustration with the size and scope of government and that unemployment rate. his advice isn't that exotic or that original, to say, hey, you've got to come up with a couple of ideas that reson wait voters. like, duh. they have to come up with something that will appeal to
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the voters. the problem is, the clock is ticking and there aren't that many democrats who are ready to come back and hey, let's come up with something that we all agree on and turn it thinto a national campaign. i think it's a little late for that advice. >> howard, what is it, this clinton advice, is it helpful to the democrats right now to hear this, him going public like this or is it something that frankly folks in the obama white house and folks running on the ballot this year, thinking, hey, big dog, we know you're a great political strategist, but don't go public now, please. >> yeah, it's kind of mixed. i think they would much rather at the white house, if bill clinton was out there just campaigning and saying good things about obama and saying that the democrats holding the majority is important and not sound like mike shanahan, coach of the redskins. there's always been a mixed feeling and emotions.
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barack obama in the 2008 campaign obviously was running against the clintons. as president, he should be doing more to cite bill clinton's record and the democrats' record from the '90s. he should be saying, this is what democrats do. this is how we roll, this is what we did in the each 90acy and we're going to do it again but to do that he has to retroactively praise the clintons in a way that barack obama's never been comfortable doing. it's a mixed relationship. obama should be bragging more about clinton and clinton should be just out campaigning for obama not giving advice from the sidelines. >> here's president clinton on the tea party. jim, i want you to respond to it after. >> in their purest form, tea partiers are saying i've been let down by big business and government. i want reform in both. but the funders of the tea party movement tend to be pretty far right extremists who's goal is to destroy the power of government to mediate the power of corporations.
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and i don't really that is a sustainable position. . >> you know, jim, what's interesting there, watch him diagnose this and the tea party separate out the organizers from the grassroots and it reminded me, actually i remember, bill clinton did an interesting response one time to the phrase, compassionate conservatism during the 2000 campaign. that he -- it was clear he was trying to send a message to al gore. here's how much you respond to bush. gore didn't take it. this is where he's at his best, which is sort of being able to take a -- to message for the democratic parties in a way that usually republicans are better at. >> i think that's correct. and i actually think the way he could be most useful for the democrats is to go out there and go fire up the democrats. if you break down the polling, democrats have acute problems with african-american voters, working class voters. if you look at their level of enthusiasm when you look at the cross tabs on these polls, it's low. and they have to figure out a way to reverse that. it's going to be low voter turnout and you think that he's
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proven in the past, and in that pennsylvania special election, not long ago that he's very effective in certain districts in certain states. and lord knows, there's a ton out there, where democrats could use him and i think that's where you'll see him play a bigger and better role. i think that it's just late for the messaging. i don't think that you can change the agenda. you can't change a trajectory of the campaign. what you can change is do you have the money, the ads and do you have people fired up at that moment when nair going to vote to actually get out there and do it. >> howard, before we go, richard nixon or bill clinton, who's been a better ex-president strategist, political strategist, for their own party? >> probably nixon so far. let's see how bill clinton does in the last few weeks and also say, chuck, that i'm joining the "huffington post" as senior political editor. i know you're probably confused about how to identify me. >> i will do it. i love a man with a lot of titles. i like guys with a lot of titles. anyway -- >> well i'm shedding some -- i'm shedding some and adopting some.
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>> howard fineman of the "huffington post." all around great guy. >> thanks. >> jim vandehei, the better looking half. up next, are the tea partiers destroying the republican party or reenergizing it in a way they haven't seen in a long, long time?
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new york's 23rd new york's 23rd congressional district may be headed for another three-way race. in november, in september, matt won the republican nomination on september 14th. well, doug hoffman wants the darling of the tea party movement has finally conceded to close primary contests but now hoffman has pledged to stay in the race and run on the conservative parent's ballot. he won that primary. that could mean that the democrat, bill owens, the incumbent could win again because conservatives split the
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vote for the second time in less than two years. remember that was a big history lesson. looks like history may repeat itself again and again in new york's 23rd district. if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, you may also have very high triglycerides -- too much fat in the blood. it's a serious medical condition. lovaza, along with diet, effectively lowers very high triglycerides in adults but has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes. lovaza starts with omega-3 fish oil that's then purified and concentrated. it's the only omega-3 medication that's fda-approved. you can't get it at a health food store. lovaza isn't right for everyone. tell your doctor if you're allergic to fish, have other medical conditions and about any medications you're taking, especially those that may increase risk of bleeding. blood tests are needed before and during treatment. in some, ldl or bad cholesterol may increase. possible side effects include burping, infection, flu-like symptoms, upset stomach, and change in sense of taste.
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the name on your medicare health plan may be more important than ever. choose a company you can depend on. call now. well, we are back. is the tea party destroying the republican party or breathing life back into the gop? charles writes -- lawrence o'donnell is host of "the last word," which debuts
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this coming monday at 10:00 p.m. eastern time and jonathan allen is with politico. jonathan, because the last word, i'm going to let somebody else get the first word. so jonathan i guess i would say this that charles kraut is saying this. that's not what polling has showed, is it. >> it really isn't, chuck. i think that a lot of these people are disillusioned from the past. the kind of people who described themselves as conservative first. and sometimes republicans. but if you're a political strategist in the republican party in a midterm election when most people don't vote, i think i take the energy of the tea party, you take them voting for republican candidates and hope fortunate best. >> hey, lawrence, isn't this what happens when political parents lose? that in the following election, basically, the base is what energizes it? we've seen it happen insisted democratic party before. we've seen it inside of the republican party, frankly, multiple times.
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isn't this in many ways history repeating itself? >> yes. you mean, this is repeating itself? >> >> yes, this is the kind of energy that the democrats had in 2006 and again in 2008 because they had something -- they had a regime to overthrow in the congress and then, you know, in the white house. and so there is no energy in politics like the throw the bums out energy. and the side that has that, especially in midterms, is a very difficult side to bet against. >> jonathan, on the -- on what's going on inside the tea party movement, the other thing that he says is they planted their flag and i think what we saw with the rollout of this pledge to america, and we saw frankly a rise up in disagreement, i would say, under the anti-establishment press, the folks based in washington, national review, weekly standard, like the pledge. it was the folks, the conservative writers outside of washington who are sitting there going, wait a minute, guys, you
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don't get it. >> it certainly doesn't have all the things that the tea partiers want, not the social conservatives, also silent on social conservative issues, doesn't deal with immigration, one of the big issues for tea partiers across the country and other folks drawn to the anti-obama field. but i think republicans believe that they're going to be able to hold on to those folks for the next five or six weeks anyway and this pledge will be something they can point to as a plan, but not something that dominates the conversation. >> lawrence o'donnell and jonathan alan in a moment. and we'll hear more from stephen colbert at his bizarre appearance at the u.s. congress today. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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my great grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the atlantic ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. he did it because he killed a man back in ireland. that's the rumor. i don't know if that's true. i would like to have that stricken from the record. >> we're back with lawrence o'donnell and jonathan alan. lawrence, you worked on capitol hill. a staffer for one of the most famous senators maybe ever in the 20th century, daniel patrick moynihan. i ask you, was today a good day or a bad day for the institution of the united states congress? >> i've been asking myself that all day, chuck. at the senate finance committee where i scheduled the witnesses,
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i will say that i never, ever would have had a witness like this. and one of the reasons is we never needed to get attention for our hearings. it was the most important committee using most important subjects. however, when the house judiciary subcommittee on immigration, citizenship, refugees, border security and international law -- >> by the way you got it correct. ding, ding, ding, ding. i know. well done. >> when they get the cameras there, there is only one way. and so he did bring attention to an issue and he broke character at a certain point and made a serious point about this. he brought attention to an issue that otherwise would have gotten none. but it seems in most of the coverage the attention is all about him. >> i guess i got to ask, jonathan, borat has done this. is that what we saw today, the borat'ing of congress? did congress get the joke? >> i'm not sure congress got the joke. we heard a lot of talk from democrats who are trying to cover up afterwards. we brought attention to the
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issue. he brought more attention to himself than the issue. to some extent he may not only made a mockery of congress, which can be done in small i was appropriately. this is a large way. this is a serious issue, the plight of migrant farm workers. here he is making jokes and a lot of them fairly lewd jokes. i know you didn't play them because it is a family show here, but i'm sure they'll be replayed on comedy central or pay-per-view. >> over and over again. >> he also reminded them of the biblical passage, whatever you did for the least of my brothers, and then he went on to say it seems like the least of my brothers right now, a lot of people are the least of brothers now because the economy is so bad and didn't want to take hardship away interest all of the other unemployed. he made the point the least of the brothers are the might grant workers and made the point that they suffer and have no rights. there is a section of this presentation of his that was very serious. chuck, the most face naturing
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thi fascinating thing to me was they tried to get rid of him when he came in. >> what if al franken was in character in the senate. what he decided to be stewart smally in the senate. >> never going to happen. >> what i'm asking, lawrence, i understand this whole -- we have sort of merged reality and celebrity into one now. this is what the 21st century media culture is, whether it is "dancing with the stars" or "the colbert report." is it good for the system, bad for the system or is it simply the system? >> you saw the conflict. john conyers with all the -- shows up and says what is this guy doing here and literally says to colbert, basically, get out of here, leave, i don't want to hear your statement. and then the subcommittee chairwoman has to come in and explain i invited him. that, to me, was one of the most absurdist moments i've every seen, knowing the way
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chairmanships work that to me was stunning. >> that he didn't know. >> i think she probably felt like she had the permission to do it over and above chairman conyers. >> and, lawrence, i'll let you get the last word because you're going to get the last word, promote your show. >> it is in my contract. >> don't get me wrong, you're going to get the last word, but i guess, is it fair to say, here we had a comedian testify on capitol hill, we had an actual brawl break out in the u.s. senate debate, we have chris christie yelling at audience members. is this -- is this campaign 2010 in a nut shell? >> it is what it is coming down to. as you know, check, in that final month the tension builds everywhere in both parties. every word, every move is scrutinized. the pressure increases every day on these things. and i think that's what conyers was responding to. i think he's walking in there and saying, wait a minute, we're in a campaign season, is this a crazy thing for us to do. >> that's the last word. lawrence o'donnell, jonatha


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