Hardball | February 25, 2013
>>> no country for old men. let's play "hardball."
>>> good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let me start with today's democratic party . if you want to be president you better be young because you have some waiting to do. if hillary clinton runs in 2016 and runs again in 2020 , that means the job is not open for you until 2024 . it gets worse. if there's a president hillary clinton , that means 16 years of democrats in the white house , the longest run since fdr and truman. if anyone now in politics can wait that long. so the big question looming as democratic governors meet in washington right now, what other career goal makes sense it there's no real shot at the presidency? or is there a lingering hope that secretary clinton won't make the run? or if she does, that she could be beaten? is that what has governor cuomo and governor o'malley and vice president biden dreaming of sitting behind that presidential desk? the outside thought of what might be? joan walsh is editor-at-large or salon and david corn is washington bureau chief for mother jones . both are msnbc political analysts. let's take a look at this story leading politico. the headline reads dems 2016 , will hillary clinton clear the field? let's look at the contenders we see as being in the waiting room . you know the people all have signs or have shown sign that is point to them running if hillary clinton doesn't. vice president joe biden , of course. new york governor andrew cuomo . martin o mall, massachusetts governor deval patrick and perhaps chicago mayor rahm emanuel . let me go to david corn on this question. are these people all moving around having cocktail parties like o'malley had the other day, little snacks, little nunchys for people at the governors mansion, at the marriott the other day, are they all doing this because they think hillary is beatable, she's not running, or what? or they think what? i don't know what they're thinking? year all thinking she's probably going to run.
>> these guys, i don't know, maybe a couple senators and they look in the mirror they all see a potential president. they're not going to start acting on this. they want to make sure they're going to, first off, do no harm. not do anything that would prevent them from running down the road .
>> but there is no down the road if hillary runs and wins.
>> that's right. that's why i'm not convinced yet that hillary is going to run because she'll be 69. the last three presidents we've had been 46, 54 and 47 when he took office. america has turned to younger, more vigorous people, but, you know, politics is a game for risk takers. there will be somebody if you look at those numbers you put up beginning of the show, they will do the math and they'll say it's now or never, and she will have competition from either those people on the screen or somebody else who won't want to wait and who will wonder if america is ready again to elect somebody that old.
>> well, let's go to joan walsh and try to talk about how gentlemen used to behave. there was a time when men would not ask a woman her age. now we have what we just heard actually giving her age and making a knock about it. what happened to decent standards? i'm serious here. i'm serious about this. and here is my question. same one to you joan as a pro. why are those other professionals to do this as a living begin planning for a race that may never happen for them unless they're going it shoot the moon and go up against a very difficult challenge?
>> well, first of all, david is a friend of mine so i'm not going to really rap him for that. i'm just going to stick to this. i would match hillary clinton 's sense of being capable of keeping a very vigorous schedule against anyone's. the pace she's kept in the last four years, in the last eight years would tire any of us, including you and me, david . so let's just leave it there. and leave aside questions of age. look, i don't think anybody has the -- either the resume or the star power that hillary clinton brings to this. what i think these guys are doing though, chris , is what david says. you know, she's not decided. i kind of think she will, but none of us are sure, and so if they want to be president, they've got to be active. they've got to be out there. they can't be too obvious at this point. the gentlemanly thing or the smart political thing, whichever you want to call it, is to wait and give her a little space and respect and see what she does. but if she decides to run, i don't think you see any of those guys that you mentioned in the race.
>> you don't see -- let me get back to you on that same question, david . i think some people really are born to be president from the time they run for student council in high school and they run again in college and they're sort of born to be campus politicos. they never stop running. do you think cuomo will step accede. let's get to the vice president. if he heard hillary , she called him up and said, joe, i'm going for it, would he stay in the race?
>> my guess is that he won't because, you know, i'll keep coming back to the age issue despite what my good friend joan says, he's five years older than she is. i don't think he would. he doesn't have i think --
>> are you the grim reaper ? is this your new role here?
>> i don't think he says the same incentive to run that she says or the same claim on the democratic base. these are all very ambitious people. i don't say that as a knock on them. they'll be there in case -- listen, last time around she didn't run a good campaign. she's been very --
>> we're going to get to that. i am going to get to that.
>> and she's in a different place now.
>> let's take a look at hillary 's ratings. the public really is on hillary 's side to run. the last quinnipiac poll has her at 61% favorable. i just wonder whether that in itself isn't going to be a nudge, joan , when she looks at those numbers and says i could be the first woman, i could be on the supreme court if i wanted it, but i could be firths ever woman president of the united states and there aren't many waiting behind me that would get it fairly soon either. it's either me or nobody perhaps for a number of cycles perhaps. and so she may feel the responsibility. as a woman, what do you think? do you think she feels the responsibility to take that opportunity? not just out of personal ambition but gender equality reasons?
>> yes, i do. i think first and foremost she's a very dutiful person, a very disciplined person. she has both a sense of her own history but a sense of her own obligations, and i think if she starts to feel, you know, to get her rest in, to read some good books, to spend some time with her family, she may look at those numbers, she may look at the history, she may look at the bench and say, you know, i ought to do this. she's going to be hearing from a lot of women around the country and around the world frankly who are going to say you can do this. you are the front-runner, male or female. and, you know, david and i, we've all looked at the fact that she ran a terrible campaign and so i'm really reluctant to say she's the front-runner again because she was the front-runner in 2007 and we saw what happened. but this is different. i'm not saying anything is certain, but i think to go to the question you asked me, chris , i think she's got to look at those numbers and she's got to look at the chance and say, i will make history and i will make a lot of women and little girls very, very proud.
>> you can always learn from the other side, guys. always try to learn from both sides in this business of analysis and ron nld reagan ran a pretty good campaign in '76 and almost knocked off an incumbent president, jerry ford . he came back as a supply sider with a totally different approach and fired his campaign manager after winning in new hampshire. so you can make radical changes in strategy and really prove yourself to the game. last month on "60 minutes" steve kroft , he's good at this, asked the president about secretary's clinton's prospects four years hence.
>> i have to ask you, what's the date of expiration on this endorsement.
>> oh, steve , you know, i know --
>> i have to ask that question. come on. you're sitting here together. everybody in town is talking about it already, and this is taking place.
>> you know, steve , i got to tell you, you guys in the press are incorrigible. literally inaugurated four days ago and you're talking about elections four years from now.
>> yeah. and i am, as you know, steve , i am still secretary of state so i'm out of politics and i'm forbidden from even hearing these questions.
>> that's already out of date. she's no longer secretary of state. i want you to go back to this question because i think we are not ahead of the calendar here right now. you two guys know and i know that the decision about whether hillary clinton is runs for president is several months off, not several years off. for the simple reason of courtesy. if she doesn't make the move these other guys are going to make it and she jumps in and it will cause all kinds of mayhem. i'll leave it open, david and then joan , when does she really have to make a move to signal she's going to run for president?
>> i think she has at least a good year here.
>> a year.
>> to do that. i think she can rest up. i spoke to a real good friend --
>> rest for a year?
>> i think she needs it after the last four.
>> other people have hard jobs, too, you know. they don't get a year to rest.
>> we'll see how vigorous she is in the next year. i talked to a good friend --
>> have you ever rested for a year?
>> i don't know how you do that. how about two days in a row eight hours a night.
>> chris , i poke to a good friend of hers about a month ago and she said hillary would like to be president, thinks she obviously can do a good job, and would like to give it a run, but she is, indeed, worried about the process and all the hatred that will be thrust at her once again. we know it's coming, and she doesn't relish the idea of campaigning for two years straight for the job.
>> joan ? could she make an adjustment like reagan did and run a different kind of campaign that deal was the knowledge she gained from the first try effectively?
>> that's a really good question. i think she can. i agree with david . i'm not saying she's going to rest for a year. she's not going to a spa, chris , owe are a cloister, but i think she could afford to give speeches, read, talk. she wants to write another book for a year. by early next year she probably has to be out of courtesy out of a sense of decency to the party and other people who want to start assembling a team and run, she probably has to give a pretty serious indication of her intent. now, i think if she runs again, she really can't run as that front-runner. it cannot be that inevitability campaign she ran in 2007 and she knows that. she's got to be about the future.
>> if you're watching a madam secretary, all three of us have brilliant ideas.
>> we do.
>> great ideas. and i especially put myself in that group with joan and david . we know how to do this, people get you in there. thank you very much, david , and thank you, joan .
>>> coming up, did president obama miscalculate the republicans preferred defense cuts or more national debt . apparently they're happy to take the whacks at the pentagon in the interest of cutting spending overall. who would have expected this? apparently the president didn't. and can the republicans get away with it? republicans in two key states are up to something now they're not giving up on schemes to rejigger the electoral college . they're out to help their candidates next time. republicans figure if they can't win in the system they're just out to change it. they're flag grant about it.
>>> last in the os carries is about all of us. america is back in a winning mood.
>>> finally in case you didn't realize it, michelle obama has got moves. that cross dresser there on the left of course is jimmy fallon . the first lady's evolution of mom dancing with jimmy fallon . that's tonight in the "sideshow." and this is "hardball," the place for politics. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches