Hardball | January 24, 2013
>> the jackals attack hillary . let's play "hardball."
>>> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. is this the day of the jackals? is this the day in january of 2013 that the right decided to go all out attacking hillary clinton ? a pair of senators jabbering nonsense at her yesterday. who shot the starting pistol? who said this person is fair game ? that she's the new valerie wilson , the new target of all their angry venen and full minute ating. where do they decide this stuff? hillary clinton is the post popular woman in the world right now. democrats love her, a lot of republicans like her. she's not running for anything, certainly not now. she's retiring from a tough job. people agree she's done a pretty darn good job and yet she's getting hauled over the firing squad . don't we want any more -- don't people anymore wait a bit before they start to say ready, aim fire? don't we give a person, even an important person, a little time -out before we start the attack, loose the dogs, start ripping at the skin. i know politics. i don't know this politics. obama's the president. he will be for four years. he's the guy who will make the calls politically until 2016 . is this about just attacking democrats? is this about trying to convince her, mrs. clinton , not to run? if so, it might just be the easiest way to guarantee she runs. don't you think? near ra is a former policy director to hillary clinton and ron reagan is an msnbc political analyst . both of you are good people to have on right now. i want to get a comment from near ra and i want a gut reaction . this disgusting attack, the back benchers, each one of these nuts, they are nutty in their behavior, hannity, the new york post with the disgusting front page today, rush limbaugh with his usual feminine nazi nonsense coming out. do you think this will make secretary clinton more likely to run for president or less likely that all the jackals are attacking her.
>> i don't think risch limbaugh or any of these people will have a dime's bit of difference on hillary clinton . she has been dealing with their ilk for 20 years. she's going to make --
>> you don't think the attack -- i want a yes or no, you really don't believe she will have a fighting spirit coming out of this assault on her?
>> oh, she has a fighting spirit but whether rush limbaugh has an affect on what she decides to do with her life, i'm just telling you i don't think so. i think, you know, she showed yesterday she has a fighting spirit . i think she showed yesterday in what people were really enthusiastic about in her performance, that she gave as good as she can get. they thought they were going to yell her down and they didn't. and so my view of that is, look, she is a superstar. she's done a fantastic job, but she doesn't live her life by the decisions other people make. she lives her life by the decisions she wants to make for her and her future.
>> ron, let me ask you this thing. let's switch the question around to another way of looking at it. do you think these people were doing a pre-emptive attack thinking she may well decide to run. if they trash her up front she might desthid not to. what's the politics here? i don't get it.
>> well, i imagine that the republicans, rand paul , ron johnson on that committee were thinking to themselves, thinking ahead to 2016 and thinking we can get some footage here that can be used in attack ads against hillary clinton in 2016 . now, instead what happened was that hillary clinton ate their lunch and walked out of that hearing room with a highlight reel of her own. she use those in ads. i agree that, you know, rand paul and rush limbaugh and people like that are not going to mick up hillary clinton 's mind for her, but she did look like somebody who was up for the fight.
>> let's show some of that to remind people how good it was. here is secretary of state hillary clinton in a tour deforce at the house and senate benghazi hearings which is probably what have the right so exorcised. she showed acuity, humanity, and charm. her republican questioners, not so much. senator ron jones from wisconsin prompted secretary clinton 's heated defense. here is where the secretary gives the senator no quarter.
>> when you're in these positions the last thing you want do is interfere --
>> i realize that's a good excuse.
>> well, no, it's the fact. number two, i would recommend highly you read both what the arb said about it and the classified arb because even today there are questions being raised. now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were mill tants, they attacked us, they killed our people, but what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing --
>> no, no, no -- again, we were misled that there was supposedly protests and something sprang out of that. that was easily sustained that that was not the fact and the american people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.
>> with all due respect, the fact is we had four dead americans . was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some americans ? what difference at this point does it make? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.
>> well said. on the house side secretary clinton defused a lot of criticism from south carolina senator jeff duncan who accused her of allowing the benghazi consulate to become a death trap . here is the exchange. let's listen.
>> i heard the answer about firing or removing personnel. i get that. but this was gross negligence . at what point in time can our administration and can our government fire someone whose gross negligence left four americans dead in benghazi ? what does the word responsibility mine to you, madam secretary?
>> i think i have made this very clear, congressman.
>> finally senator rand paul who posited or posted that if he were president, he'd have fired her as if he were ever. after his show boating criticism of clinton , he then asked an out of left field question. let's listen.
>> there is a certain amount of culpability to the worst tragedy since 9/11 and i'm glad you're accepting this. now, my question is, is the u.s. involved with any prolt curing of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to turkey out of libya?
>> to turkey?
>> anyway, i don't know what that exchange was about accept she knows what she's talking about and i don't think the member does. let me go back to ron on this. it seems to me it was a sparring watch, a warm-up. i have to tell you, they weren't the heavyweights. the heavyweights on the can he, like corker who does have some nuance and the democratic members showed some respect for the office. the back benchers acted like the characters in gulliver's travels, the little people putting ropes over the people much bigger than them, the lyle p littlliputian lilliputians. and this other people we'll never hear from them again ever.
>> give rand paul some credit. he provided the nation with one of those media moments that we lack so often now. you know, where everybody has the same reaction, the same emotional experience at the same time. when rand paul said that if he were president, he would have fired hillary clinton , i think everybody in the country in unison, you could hear them say president rand paul ? oh, dream on.
>> i think that was snoopy thinking he was the red baron . here is some of what the conservative media jackals said following secretary clinton 's powerful testimony yesterday. it was the vast right conspiracy gang actually coming to life here. first, sean hannity . i don't understand this guy. i don't know whether he believes this nonsense but he keeps do it. let's listen.
>> as well as i know the clintons and now the obamas, let me just tell you what's going on behind the scenes here. what you saw in this answer, this anger, this outrage, i can tell you, it was not spontaneous. i'm telling you, it was staged. probably the direction of the rajin cajun james carville himself or somebody else. that was all preplanned.
>> do you love the mix-up of words probably. it was all preplanned probably. i can tell you for sure. the oracle of thebes here. rush limbaugh said clinton 's emotions were less than genuine. let's listen.
>> and i guess everybody's favorite part, she lost her cool at one point. by the way, she opened up crying, which is part of the script.
>> the underwater walrus. anyway, senator ron johnson who sparred with clinton said she planned -- well, she planned her show. she said he planned it. quote, i think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead americans , the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. it was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me. and then there was this grotesque ri, the cover of "the new york post." supposedly a newspaper. i go back to neera tandem. my belief is she wants to think about this presidency thing. what do you think should be the right media response to her for the next six months or so?
>> you know, i think people should just, you know, take a deep breath and look at what she does and she's a person who is always committed to public service . i think she'll have some element of service, whether it's -- i don't think it will be public service immediately, but it will be service of some kind, and i'd say what i thought was really interesting about the hearing yesterday and the treatment by the right wing is, you know, i think hillary really demonstrated to people how ridiculous these hearings are. republican members, conservative members have spent much more time grilling american leaders than they have been focused on the people who actually killed americans . you know, they spent much more time trying to treat this as a political issue of going after democrats, obama, hillary , susan rice than actually finding out who is responsible and what we should do about it. and so, you know, i think her outburst is not an outburst. it's a re-election flection of what we all think about this. if you were going to be real about these issues you would be asking what can we do to beef up the security. something gop members have already cut, you know, and they have decisions to cut it now in these days as we're speaking. it's rank hypocrisy. i think it's a fresh breath of air that people --
>> i agree with you about the hypocrisy because i remember 9/11 very clearly and i remember how this country rallied around a president who had limited ability but we all rallied around him. the first reaction was he says we're going to get the people who knocked down this building and everybody cheered him. they weren't saying how did you screw it up buddy. it was about unit. the left and center are much better at national unity than the right. the right sees a national tragedy like this far off in bengha benghazi , not in new york city , at a very exposed position which could have happened no matter how many troops he would there. we don't blame it on everybody even know it was new york right into the heart land. i think there's a difference in how people react. i think the left was much more nationalistic. how is that for a statement? thank you ne. ra and ron reagan . it's funny it's is frick yin true.
>>> john boehner sass the president was to annihilate the gop. maybe if republicans weren't in a perpetual war with african- americans , latinos, women, and young people politically at least they wouldn't to worry about being annihilated.
>>> also the pentagon officially lifted the ban on women in combat today. in reality women have already been in combat for some time, certainly exposed to enemy fire as tammy duckworth can attest to.
>>> everyone agrees now is the best time to two decades to push for gun safety laws. today senator dianne feinstein introduced an assault weapons ban . i think we're going to do background checks.
>>> and paul browne, who lost year called evolution lies straight from the bit of hell is back at it. he says president obama is upholding, wait for this, the soviet constitution . boy, he's up to date.
>>> and this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male