tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 15, 2013 2:00am-3:00am EST
that is still for them on what was a bad week for the president, it is still a very weak message from them, i think. >> ari melber gets tonight's last word. thanks for keeping it clean after that mayor of toronto. we crossed a line there. >> you got it. counterpunch. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in chicago. let me start tonight with this. president obama took back the health care fight today. he unleashed a brisk combination of both defense and offense. he declared people who had their own health insurance before his bill became law had a chance to reup with their current plans. a total failure to present even the outline of their own plan to
save the country's 40 million uninsured from life in the emergency room. can the president regain control of the fight? can he begin to stand toe-to-toe with his critics with whom is empty handed? can he win the argument he alone is offering a solution to the country's health care challenge after decades of debate, log jam, and failure. can he win this historic test? howard fineman and jonathan gruber. gruber was an adviser to congress and the president on the affordable care act. anyway, president obama has taken fire for breaking a promise he made to the public that everyone can keep their health insurance plans if they like them. the president made no excuse today for what he said. he announced a move to make good on that promise. here he is. >> i completely get how upsetting this could be for a lot of americans particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they like, they could keep it. and to those americans, i hear you loud and clear.
i said that i would do everything we can to fix this problem, and today i'm offering an idea that will help do it. insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and americans whose plans can be canceled can choose to reenroll in the same kind of plan. >> the president made a larger commitment. i will win back your trust. >> i think it's legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular. and on a whole range of these issues in general. and, you know, that's on me. i mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care law. >> howard, it seems to me you and i watch this stuff every hour, it seems to me something has gotten to the president in his fighting stance here. he seems to have his feet firmly on the ground now. he's been informed clearly of the tough situation he's facing and the need to deal with it.
>> well, chris, he used the football metaphor. and he also said it's a long game. he said he'd fumbled, but it's a long game. he said the way i am, he said, as a leader and as a person is if i make a mistake i pick myself up and go in ready to play hard in the next play. and that's what he's doing here. i've covered him for a long time, pretty much his beginning of his time in the senate. i've never seen him on the one hand so contrite and necessarily so, but on the other hand very determined. and i think it's possible for him if he does this right and if they make the fixes they need to make, and if he makes the argument he needs to make which he began to do here. which he hasn't done much lately. which is all the republicans want to do is dismantle this, repeal this. it's what mitch mcconnell said again today. all they want to do is repeal it and all he wants to do is extend
health care to as many people in the country as a matter of morals and finance. and that's an argument that he has to keep making. he's got to basically reargue this whole thing over again. that's something he's good at. >> well said. the president reserved his strongest language for those who have made it their sole mission to kill this law. let's listen to this. >> when i see sometimes folks up on capitol hill and republicans in particular who have been suggesting, you know, repeal, repeal, let's get rid of this thing, i keep asking what is it you want to do? are you suggesting the status quo was working? because it wasn't. it wasn't working in the individual market and it certainly wasn't working for the 41 million people who didn't have health insurance. i make no apologies for us taking this on. because somebody sooner or later had to do it. >> john gruber, give us a reading. you know the president, you know the policy development that led to this success. we've got a health care law. we need an implementation.
it seems like the president's rejoining the situation, rejoining the fight. tell me how he works in these such things. how he decides when to go public, when to make a statement, how do you read him? >> i think i read him as frustrated, because, remember, we all agree on the goal here. it's widely popular in america that we should fix these broken discriminatory insurance markets. so the sick and healthy alike can get insurance at a fair price without exclusion of pre-existing conditions. we all agree on that. the problem is that some people want to do that and yet not change anything else about the system. we have to recognize about obama care is it's the least disruptive way -- as the president said, it's the least disruptive way to fix the system. but there's still a little disruption. and i think he's frustrated that that very little disruption has gotten center stage while the benefits to the millions of americans who are currently shut out of insurance and at risk of medical bankruptcy is being ignored.
i think his hope today is to regain that debate. i think once the website starts working, he will. once we can create the winners that this law does create to offset against those people getting all the attention right now. >> howard, it seems to me that for years the major media is accused of tilting left. yet every time the republicans in years back have been able to create a distraction. take a small issue, make it into the biggest issue in the world, they've succeeded. whether it's talking about benghazi and excluding hillary clinton's four years of secretary and state and term before that. finding one thing and making it the biggest thing in the world. here you have the issue of the people who are insuring themselves, not those who get insurance from corporate or employment situations like so many overwhelming majority do. they've been able to take that and make that the foremost issue. how do they do it? is the president aware what he's facing? the ability to distract to the small point away from the larger point that they don't have to health care plan and he does. >> couple things. first of all, the president
submitted he gave them the opening with the statement he made during the campaign. i think in his own mind he felt he was referring to the vast majority of americans who either have medicare or medicaid or who get -- and most people who get their health insurance through their company. they keep their plans. but that distinction wasn't made. and the president gave an opening for the politics you're talking about. and the president has to realize and i think does now realize that the same sort of media dynamics that led to the argument for health care -- in other words, the vail of poor people who can't get coverage and are scammed in the system, the media lens can turn around and put the spotlight on people who are denied coverage. which is exactly what's happening now. and i think the president who is so good at the big picture, at framing the big picture, i think realizes that he needs to make
that big argument again because it exposes the republicans' real game here. which is to repeal the law. that's their only game. and they say it openly. they say it absolutely openly. all the hours of talk you hear about what's wrong with the website, the republicans don't care what's wrong with the website. they're glad the website's in trouble, because they see it as a way to unravel the whole plan. same with the problems with individual -- people who have individual plans. the republicans don't want to fix that. they want it to lead to further problems that will lead to a political revolution that will somehow dismantle the law. the president is drawing the line on that, and rightly so. >> we found out there were 12 million people out there who were basically self-insured out of the 189 people who get their places from the other places. anyway, the old crocodile tears coming from the usual suspects are amazing. they're talking about doing it
all over again. starting again. amazing talk from people who just want to kill the baby in its crib and everybody knows they don't want a health care plan. ted cruz said, it was only a few weeks ago that president obama refused to consider any changes in obama care forcing the government to shutdown for 16 days. is that what happened? obama care must be repealed and at the same time republicans and democrats should adopt policies to make health care more accessible. that is b.s. the republicans don't have a plan. ted cruz doesn't have a plan. he calls all of this socialism. he won't support anything along this lines. here he's coming out ludicrously suggesting he wants to start over and build another alternative that will make insurance policies accessible. what kind of a word is accessible? either you can afford it or you can't. it's called the affordable care act because it's helping people to afford. he has no intention in helping people afford health care.
he just talks like that. and the mane stream media takes the dictation down and puts it in radio and newspapers as it's a credible thought. your thought. it's not credible what he's saying. some would like a health care program. maybe some of them. we haven't heard from one of them as to what the republican plan is. there's nothing in their platform. there's nothing on the hill. nowhere. can you hear it? who's out there advertising? there is no such animal. and yesterday they talk to the press as if there is one. your thoughts. >> i'm going to disagree with you on one thing. the republicans did have a plan on health care. it's called romney care. we did it here in massachusetts. it was a mandate to help people to buy health insurance. there was a speaker from a heritage foundation on the podium with him talking about what a wonderful plan this was.
it only became the devil's work the day that president obama changed his position. i think he deserves a lot of credit for this. changed his position to say this has worked, i'm ready to try this. this was not his original position. this was after looking at the success in massachusetts. he said, you know what? here's a system that works. yes, it was originally a republican idea, but it works. let's do it. i heard this described as the most partisan/bipartisan law. and i think it's right. you only because it has president obama's name on it suddenly it's a problem. >> so we agree. the republicans have no plan for the country. >> they do not. >> thank you. some of the most ludicrous criticism of the president came from the high offices -- i'm being sarcastic -- of reince priebus. this is shawn spicer accusing the president of the united states of blocking. here they are, gop ideas to insure more than 40 million americans. those are ideas no one has heard of. here we go. >> every time there seems to be a problem with obama care, the
president says i'm going to delay this, i'm going to exempt this group. but when republicans talk about fixing or replacing it, the cry is how dare you. you can't do this. it's a law. it was passed. when the president does it unilaterally, democrats have no problem with that. >> i think we'll give an hour to the republican plan for health care. because i think it would go through quickly and we could do the sideshow the rest of the show. what is that guy talking about, sean spicer? the replacement plan. there is no alternative. >> yeah. i have no idea. all you need to know is what john boehner, the speaker, the republican speaker said today. which was there's no way to fix this. it must be repealed. mitch mcconnell the republican leader in the senate has said that it has to be taken apart root and branch. so that's their position. as a matter of fact, mcconnell's being attacked by the tea party for not being striden enough on that topic.
however many problems there are with this rollout and the democratic perspective -- the president knew he was up against a wall. he knew he had no margin for error. he knew this was a complex program. and no good deed goes unpunished. because he was trying to meld the private markets and government regulation, created a complex vulnerable program. >> and he did all that to meet republican complaints. >> yeah. even though it was in the end a fool's errand. republicans were never going to support it. he bears blame for not executing so far. he took that blame. i've got to say, i've never scene him quite as -- in the law there's a phrase confession and avoidance. that's what the president did. he confessed that the facts were true but it didn't mean he should be convicted because he had other facts to show which is that he had a plan, the
republicans don't, and he has a desire to make whole the american people on health care which is the republicans evidently don't. >> okay. so people who need health insurance now have to choose between the ambulance caught in traffic which is obama care, and a clown car. circling the hospital and doing nothing but belching out nonsense. thank you howard fineman and jonathan gruber. coming up -- then the really got mean. he called governor christie a liberal. immigration reform failure. failure with court appointments. anything president obama wants they want to fail. they literally have nothing on their own agenda beyond sabotage. and who is the one person who can make american politicians look good? toronto mayor rob ford. right across the northern border. we've got the latest of his soap opera. it's tragic too. finally, i had a great time on the "late show with david letterman" last night. i'll show you the highlights.
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here's a big reason democrats on capitol hill have called on president obama to up his game. two new polls show their lead over republicans in the generic house ballot for 2014 have evaporated. let's check the "hardball" score board. according to a new quinnipiac poll, the same number of people want republicans in charge of congress as democrat. it's 39-39 right now. and they are worse off in the new fox poll. slips three points behind republicans in that ballot. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." ted cruz and rand paul are now taking turns popping their heads up with new attacks against potential 2016 opponents. rand paul's been relentlessly banging the benghazi gong against hillary clinton. and both cruz and paul are taking shots at new jersey governor chris christie who is riding high right now after a
big win in a blue state. here's senator paul yesterday hitting christie in his win for getting federal aid for the victims of hurricane sandy. >> i think that his victory was in large form based on that he got a lot of federal money for his state. you know, unlimited spending is sort of a, you could call it moderate or even liberal to think that there's unlimited amount of money even for good causes. it shouldn't just be this gimme, gimme all my money without consideration or strings. >> that's a pissant comment. and today ted cruz let christie know about what he thinks of his politics. chris wallace interviewed him in washington. >> what do you think of chris christie? >> i like chris christie. i think -- i am very glad he won re-election. i think he is brash. i think he is bold. and i think he won in a state that historically has been very difficult for republicans.
>> do you think he's a real conservative and do you think he understands the grassroots dissatisfaction with washington? he's not a washington republican either. >> you know, i am glad he won. >> mark halperin and john heilemann are msnbc political analysts and authors of "double down." let me start with mark. one thing we know about ted cruz, he has absolutely no sense of humor. there's nothing funny about his comment there. why is he out there rapping now against christie saying he's not -- well, certainly stating he's not a conservative. why does he want to start a fight with somebody whose help he would need if he were the nominee? >> i think ted cruz is a smart guy who may have a grad future in the republican party. almost everything he's done on the national stage since he developed this talk about 2016 i think has been both strategically unwise. this is just the latest thing. i agree with you. no reason to pick a point with christie on style.
if you've got something that appeals to the heart and soul of the country, do it. but this kind of stuff is just another error on his part. >> i'll stay with you mark. why do you think he wants it to be known he doesn't like christie? this is a statement about animosity. if you make a crack like that, you're saying he's not one of my crowd. he's not somebody i agree with. he's not one of us. in order, he's not really a republican. i mean, if you're not a conservative, damn it, you're not a republican. >> i knew ted cruz just a little bit before he became ted cruz. this is totally surprising to me. it's an unnecessary picking of a fight. i don't think it gets him anything, but it shows even more than rand paul has just shown the inability to resist the temptation, to score cheap points with the narrow band of his party. again, it just doesn't serve anybody oes purpose including his own. i'm not sure why he's doing it. >> john, you and mark know how to look at these things over the long run. you've done two great campaigns. here's the question.
how do you bridge a gap where you keep widening the river? it seems the tea party types like paul and more so in the case of ted cruz want to make it crystal clear that anybody's a moderate or nonconcerted republican party. anybody who's east coast is not one of them. why do they want to shrink the size of what they call the republican or conservative movement? why do they want to do this now? >> well, i think, obviously, chris, they think it's in their political interest to do that. the only thing i take exception to what mark is saying a second ago is it doesn't surprise me in this sense that ted cruz has been doing these things since he entered the u.s. senate. he's been picking fights all along the way with potential allies in the senate and house. and now with chris christie. for whatever reason, he's come to the conclusion that the thing you're talking about serves his interests. he wants to dominate one part of the party. here's where i totally agree with mark. it doesn't make any strategic sense whatsoever. the only way you're going to win the republican nomination in 2016 is if you fuse the two
parts of the republican party. if you get the tea party energy he's tapped into along with the credibility and backing of establishment republicans. if he can't attach himself to both of those, he's just going to be a fringe player and not win. >> you see rand paul doing a better effort of that. trying to appeal to both. >> rand paul has seemed to be reaching out considerably more. he's not picking those fights -- he's picked a few fights but not as willy-nilly. he's also reaching out to some places in the establishment and demographics like young voters. >> despite repeated trips to early caucuses like iowa and new hampshire and south carolina, ted cruz played coy today about his 2016 ambitions. fox news' chris wallace was having none of it. let's listen to chris and him.
>> i understand a lot of people are focused on politics and potential future races. i am very much keeping my focus on the u.s. senate. and the reason is the senate is where these issues are being fought. >> but, sir, without being -- at the risk of something a smart aleck, for somebody focused on the senate, you're spending a lot of time in iowa. >> well, what do you make of that, mark? i mean, the guy's having -- i don't care. every politician plays this game. i'm sure secretary clinton will too. when you're making the rounds then you have the nerve to say you're not interested in running. why did you go there? >> the people are nice, they have good food. that's not the reason he's going. he's a smart guy, but i think he's misplaying his politics. first of all, he's going to iowa. he's not driving much of a message when he goes except again appealing to the base of the party that already likes him quite a bit.
i think it is almost laughable the people being talked about nowing to commander in chief in three years. particularly those conducting themselves in a way that is not presidential and it's not in keeping with what the history of the republican party has nominated people. in 2010 the tea party was substantially stronger than it is now as best i can tell. and they ended up with mitt romney as their nominee. catering to the tea party and thinking you're going to be the nominee without the moderate wing of the party, i don't get it. >> john, last word here. looks like the grownups in this party, and i include reince priebus, it seems they're setting up a big super-primary day in iowa. they're trying to win a governor for president. i think they're trying to make scott walker the middle of the road nominee between hard right and center right. your thoughts on that. they're moving towards scott walker. >> i don't know if they're moving towards scott walker, but i think there's a lot of talent in the republican party among the governors.
>> john kasich. >> whether it's john kasich or jeb bush or chris christie or bobby jindal or scott walker, the party sees a lot of pragmatic -- more pragmatic republicans who have done things, accomplished things in their states while also be conservative and that governors have been in recent times in our lifetimes, governors have had a much better record of winning the presidency than senators or congressmen. and i think the party really wants to win in 2016. and realize their system did not help them do that in 2012 and that they need to make some structural adjustments if they're going to put themselves in the best position to win three or four years from now. >> i think they need someone to bring them together. i can only think of someone like kasich or walker. the new book of yours everybody knows about, another big hit for these guys. mark halperin and john heilemann. up next, i had a good night on "the late show with david letterman." i think you're going to like it. this is "hardball," of course, the place for politics.
our next guest is the host of "hardball" on msnbc. he's also the author of this "new york times" best selling book entitled "tip and the gipper." here's the bashful chris matthews. chris, come on out, buddy. >> welcome to the sideshow. as you saw i was the guest show on "the late show with david letterman." you'll see the interview was off the cuff as they come on late night. here was my conversation about the time in africa with the peace corps. >> i figured i was teaching democracy and capitalism while jake is over in latin america doing the opposite. i felt romantic about it. i hitchhiked through africa like
this all alone as a white guy. and i thought it was an experience of a lifetime. everybody who's been in the peace corps say it's the greatest experience of their life. speaking zulu for years. >> do you still speak it? >> yeah, i can still do a little. about halfway through my two years in a bar, i ask fake my way. i got enough of this. it was a tough language. >> and you never know when you're going to have to go into the zulu these days. >> it always comes in handy. very long night, maybe. >> the zulu joking aside, we got to health care. here was that exchange. >> i'm sick of talking about obama care. it's made me physically sick to talk about health care. what happened? what went haywire. >> that's the word. why do second terms suck and why do first terms work? if you have a first term like the second term, you don't get a second term.
it ain't complicated. it's logical. for some reason this president who's very inspiring and a wonderful orator doesn't seem to focus on executive stuff. he's just not focused on it. every good president's had a really strong chief of staff, a clear chain of command. every time something goes wrong, you blame them and fire them. sebelius testified, who's responsible? i don't know. then somebody named michelle. she's not really responsible because she had 30 other jobs. what's this? when we went into japan after the second world war, there was one guy in charge. douglas mcarthur. he was the boss. president obama doesn't like it that way. he likes floaters. come on. >> it's all true. up next, from health care to immigration reform, failure seems to be the only option for republicans. obama's failure. in other words, if president obama wants it, the republicans want it dead.
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welcome back to "hardball." what exactly is the republican agenda right now. do they even have one beyond just being the party of no to anything president obama proposes? they shut down the government over the president's health care law that started out as a conservative proposal. and even today their goal remains the same. stop the law at all costs. here was speaker john boehner just today. >> let's be clear. the only way to fully protect the american people is to scrap this law once and for all. there is no way to fix this. >> meanwhile, the senate passed legislation last week to make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workforce because they are gay, lesbian, or transgender. will john boehner allow a vote over in the house? >> this legislation that i've dealt with as chairman of the education workforce committee long before i was back in leadership is unnecessary and
would provide a basis for frivolous lawsuits. i see no basis or no need. >> the senate passed immigration reform. will the republicans in the house pick that one up? >> the idea that we're going to take up a 1300 page bill that no one had ever read which is what the senate did, is not going to happen in the house. frankly i'll make clear we have no intention of ever going into conference on the senate bill. >> senate republicans blocked a new gun control measure last spring to strengthen background checks. something the majority support. according to boehner, the legislation was unnecessary. >> we've got a system of laws that are not enforced today. i would think that before we begin to add more rules and regulations on law-abiding citizens, that we at least expect our law enforcement
personnel and the department of justice to enforce the current law. >> you sense a pattern here? jonathan capehart is for "the washington post" and willie brown is the former mayor. on every issue before the american people, the american people's agenda whether it's health care, it's immigration, it's actual ending the discrimination because of sexual orientation or identity, or gun control and gun safety. it seems name the issue, the republican response is no. >> and under mr. boehner's leadership, it's so out of step with where we need to be in this country for progress purposes and for understanding of all the things that affects the lives of people. it would not surprise me if the republicans lose in the next election cycle. there is no way in individual districts in america that anyone
would tolerate what mr. boehner just spoke about. >> jonathan, it seems to me they have another tactic. if they can't stop it from even coming to a vote, they create this kind of poison pill situation whether it's with immigration reform where they bring up a piece of it knowing that the democrats can't support the enforcement part without the path to citizenship part so they separate it. they do what they call piecemeal which is making sure it can't be passed at all. and they're doing the same thing with the improvement in health care which takes a lot of people out of the exchanges and makes them not financially feasible. even some of their helpful hints are poisonous. >> yes. i mean, that seems to be the republican party plan. it's not about pushing policy. it's all about -- well, the policy of repealing the affordable care act, i mean, that's policy. that's a goal of theirs. but they don't have anything to follow it up with. it seems like everything they have done whether it's gun control, immigration, the affordable care act, it's all
about stopping something. about keeping something from happening and not about trying to figure out the majority of the country would like to have background checks. what can we do to make that happen? the majority of the country would like to see something done on immigration reform and for the life of the republican party as we all know something needs to be done with regard to immigration reform. and yet they're not doing anything. and so as long as they put short-term political gain ahead of sort of long-term policy thinking, that's not only good for the party, the republican party, but good for the country. they're not going to go anywhere. >> here's the way as i explained a moment ago -- i'm going to further explain now how they go after destroying health care. the headline of the article in the washington examiner today says it all. gop strategy, fix obama care to undermine it.
referring to the bill by fred upton that would exempt current policies from the new health care law. he writes, quote, privately republicans on capitol hill note if the upton law became law, fewer would purchase from the obama care exchange. depriving these market places of the young and healthy customers they need to expand the coverage guarantees. the house republican strategy leadership aide said to use committee oversight and legislation to chip away at the affordable care act. house speaker john boehner outlined his approach to stop this entire law wednesday morning during a private caucus meeting. so they don't have an alternative. they have a plan either to kill the plan by just attacking it constantly or changing it systemically. and the amazing thing to me is in the news coverage of this -- i'm going back to my old saw here. why doesn't anybody every time a republican says something
against obama care, why don't say they you're at bat, what's your plan. >> well, it would be helpful if somebody did, in fact, do that, chris. but the republicans for a long period of time, a majority of them have been opposed to universal health care of any sort. they couldn't care less whether or not people who are sick and in need of medical care would, in fact, have it if they could not personally afford it. the republicans are there. that's where they intend to be and that's where they'd like to keep this nation. the obama care -- the affordable care act was designed to move us in a different direction. it's been coming over the last 30, 40, 50 years. we're finally there, and clearly you can't have a plan that doesn't include everybody. those who are prone to be ill, those who can get no coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and those who are healthy. all in one pot. it's affordable for everybody.
>> i know. you know, jonathan, sometimes i refer to the right wing as a clown car. i'm thinking of the marx brothers in this case. they say so many crazy things. like filling on the bench as a way of distracting us from health care. what? or they are trying to impeach eric holder because they don't like his policies. all of this distraction and craziness tends b to work. it creates a turmoil. i'm sorry, once again, the mainstream media doesn't say this a crazy talk. thank you. up next it's been another cringe worthy day. this toronto mayor -- boy, i thought the canadians were more civilized in that part of the world. a little calmer. a little serene. apparently not so up in toronto. this is "hardball" the place for politics. but once a week i let her play sheriff so i can wash it.
united nations is reporting that the death toll in the philippines from typhoon haiyan is nearly 4500 people. this afternoon president obama promised to send whatever help is needed to the victims of the typhoon. and earlier today the aircraft carrier uss george washington reached the philippines bringing medical supplies and water. as well as more air power to help aid in the recovery and relief effort. if you want to help personally, you can find a list of charities on our website. go to msnbc.com/hardball. we'll be right back.
we're back. another rough day for mayor rob ford of toronto, the fourth largest city of north america, which sits on for north shore of lake ontario. the admitted crack smoker, that's the mayor, announced today that he's getting help from health care professionals, he says, but he's still refusing to quit. ford also spoke before city council, but council members themselves turned their backs on him and told him to step out of office. yesterday in a symbolic vote, the council up in toronto overwhelmingly approved a measure to ask ford to take a leave of, sense. and that wasn't the worth of it according to a newly released
court document, the list of accusations against the mayor extended to relationships with prostitutes and assault against his own staff members, allegations the mayor says he didn't do. what's more, in defending himself today against allegations of sexual harassment, ford made matters worse by using what he called unforgiven language. andra was communications director on his campaign for mayor and is now an editor with "the toronto sun." liz is a co-creator of the "daily show." let's look at this tirade from mayor ford captured on video and published by toronto star last week. >> we believe that tirade against an unnamed person surfaced just days after the
mayor admitted to smoking crack cocaine, which reportedly is also on videotape. it provides a glimpse into the public spectacle this mayor has brought on to himself and on to toronto and on to canada over the last several weeks. adrian, explain this to us. we've always thought of the canadians as sort of low-key, maybe having a lot of pressure building up inside, but not the more dramatic sort of people as this guy. >> yeah, it's a pretty incredible story going on. and as you mentioned to your audience, i was the mayor's communication director on the campaign, and it was pretty ruckus there as well. we had scandal after scandal. but part of the reasoning and how this guy got elected in the first place -- >> why did you work for the guy -- why did you work for a guy that was involved in scandal after scandal, adrian? >> well, the stuff that's going on right now, to be sure, was not happening when i was there. we had other related matters. i mean, before he ran for mayor, he got caught with a dui and he got caught with a joint in his pocket. he had said some -- he got belligerent at a hockey game years before.
but you know, every recovering political hack like me is always looking for an opportunity and a new challenge. well, he certainly was a challenge. but we have to go back and look at, you know, the previous things and people keep asking, how did rob ford get elected? the former mayor, a big-spending liberal thumbed his nose a the -- >> was he a stoner? you said he was found with a joint in his pocket, did that surprise you? >> not at the time, not so much. but that all happened even before i joined his campaign. >> let me ask you about why i got elected. that would come to mind here. and this country's a little less tame than canada, but i think it would be tough for a guy like that to get elected in a city that's kind of loosy goosy about lifestyle. these are hurdles, politically, for most people. how'd he get in? >> the most incredible thing was, every time an issue like
this came up, though, during the election, for example, the numbers went up, because rob ford was the right guy for toronto at the time. and here's what i mean by that. people were tired of, you know, paying high taxes for not getting a lot of surface and they didn't feel like they were included. and i'm talking about the suburbs. rob ford comes from the suburbs. they were sick and tired of the waste. they were sick and tired of people misusing their money. rob ford was the guy that stopped the grave train. he showed an incredible amount of discipline with his message during the election and it was all about respecting taxpayers. and it was the right thing to say at the right time. and that worked. and he carried some of that through after he got elected. unfortunately, through all these self-inflicted wounds, all of this nonsense and crap that's going on, it's pretty much diminished any of the positive things that he did for the city. and what we see is this fees coand this circus carrying on. >> liz, have you been to toronto lately? this behavior doesn't seem to square with the pleasantness that i've seen, even in the
subways up there. it's like you're visiting a really nice mall. everything up there is clean and perfect, and here's this guy, this ruffian, admitting to apparently using crack cocaine or being caught with that. that's pretty rough drug use. i mean, using marijuana is one thing, crack cocaine is another. we had a mayor in washington that basically was put in jail for that. your thoughts? >> not to mention, if everything that she's listed, that the big guy was a big-spending liberal, blah, blah, blah, so you want to fix your critical by getting this out-of-control crack addict, sort of macy's balloon that got loose -- >> but he wasn't an out-of-control crack addict when he ran for mayor. that admission came a couple of weeks ago. he's admitted to having issues with alcohol -- >> you said yourself he was out-of-control and had all these problems. >> he had drug use challenges, there's no question about that. but you aren't up here. it's nice you're covering this for a brief period of time -- >> how can we resist.
>> i love your nationalist fervor. it here comes. let me ask you, your nationalism, is it unusual for you to hear a politician say, well, the reason i used crack cocaine or i may have, is because i'm a drunk? that's an unusual cover story. >> look, and i work for the tabloid paper here in toronto and we splashed that all over the front page of the paper. i'm not saying -- i'm not forgiving or excusing any of this, but there needs to be context into all of the. >> so what's the context? >> pardon me? >> what's the context? >> simply that, as far as contacts go, why he became mayor of the city, he's got an inordinate amount of support in the suburbs and those people continue to support him. you keep talking about how nice and kind we are up here, chris, and we are. and many people that watch that, even that they don't support rob ford -- >> all right, you're a nationalist and a tolerant person. adrienne batra, who knows him
let me finish tonight with this. i just came from addressing the executive's club of chicago out here in the second city, which i often feel is the real gotham. to me, there's nothing like heading down michigan avenue this time of year with the christmas feeling already in the late front air. tomorrow i'll be out at the university of california, where the weather i'm told is 80 degrees and arnold schwarzenegger will be hosting