tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 13, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
of you. spend a good day with someone you care about, and an even better day with somebody that cares about you. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a great weekend. "hardball" starts right now. isis on the attack. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. as the u.s. congress shows bipartisan hesitation over president obama's request for war powers the enemy shows new strength. isis forces recently attacked in anbar province attempting to overrun a city there, al baghdadi and today 25 isis fighters nearly penetrated an iraqi military base con taping 400 u.s. marines.
the isis fighters were killed. no iraqis or americans were killed. who's winning this war that congress is being asked to wage? i'm joined my rear admiral john kirby, the pentagon press spokesman. thank you for joining us. that's my question. it looks to me and based upon your statements today that isis is still on the offensive. >> no i don't know that i'd say that, chris. they certainly have been on the offensive the last couple of days, but our assessment is that strategically they're still very much in a defensive crouch. we need to keep this in%. al baghdadi the town near the base is actually contested right now. we don't assess that it's completely fully in their control and this attack never got beyond the perimeter, the extreme perimeter of a base that's roughly the size of boulder, colorado. so i'm not saying we're not taking it seriously, but i don't know that i'd go as far to say that isil is back on the offensive. >> who took that land back? who took that territory back from the isis forces?
the americans took the forces back or iraqi forces? >> iraqi security forces have been battling with isil in an anbar. the situation is still very contested. i don't want to call it one way or the other, but it's iraqi security forces that have been doing the exciting there in alanbar. >> here's my question to you. most americans are angry every day they see a guy burnt to death with gasoline a real soldier, for no other reason than sadism and theater of some kind. you see a young american killed and we don't know how she was killed but she was killed because she was there. and it's very personal because we watch this on television. and yet we don't want this side to win. yet, we don't see how, if you look at the map and the countries of iraq aptd syria, you don't see how anybody can close in on them. we don't have much faith in the iraqi army. we hear about the free syrian army being trained. we see the good fighting being done by the kurds and the great air force attacks being done by the jordanians.
but how do you kill isis at this point? who's doing the killing? >> well that's a great question, chris. i'd say that, first of all, this isn't just about killing them it's about degrading and destroying their capabilities. about slipghrinking their ability to govern and to control assessed area, important area population centers. the air strikes are having a dramatic effect on them. what you didn't see when they lost kubani they just happened to time the loss of kubani with videos of the execution of those two japanese hostages because they knew it was a strategic defeat for them and they didn't want to admit that. they got kicked out of kubani. in iraq they have lost hundreds of square kilometers of territory and it shrinks a little bit more every month. they don't have the same influence that they once had. the other thing, chris, that we've said is this is going to take a long time. this is not something we're going to achieve in just a matter of months. you have to remember we've just been at it about eight months of
kinetic air strikes. it's going to take a while. >> thank you we thank you for your service to the country. >> thank you. >> i'm joined by nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engle over in iraq. my same question to you looking at it from your vantage point right now. how is this war going? are we winning or are they always where they have been, in control of that territory? >> reporter: well i think the admiral was right on many many points. the isis is being harmed by the air strikes. they are losing territory. the air strikes have forced them to change their communications. some of the top leaders have gone underground. they're not using skype and the internet the way they used to be. but the problem is much bigger than just fighting the militants and killing their leaders. isis has grown up and established control in the very big cracks of many unresolved conflicts. they are growing up in the space where the iraqi kurds and the government of baghdad don't get
along. they are getting in the space between the free syrian army and the government of bashar al assad. so until these big questions are settled, is this region where i am now, northern iraq does this become an independent state? does assad get to stay or is there really a rebel movement that the u.s. is backing? until these questions are answered isis will still find a way to operate, it seems. >> a quick yes or no. does the united states have a strategy for answering those questions? the future of assad and the future of the kurds, et cetera? do we have a policy? >> reporter: most people i speak to say absolutely not, no. most people i speak to are incredibly frustrated. they say there is a military plan in action. they are very happy with the air strikes. they are happy that isis leaders are being bombed but they don't see at all a clear political vision of what iraq is supposed to look like at the end of this.
right now the u.s. is backing three different forces in iraq. it's backing the iraqi army and it's backing the peshmerga, the kurdish forces where i am now and it's backing some sunni tribes in anbar and other places. it's backing three different sides, who all hate each other and want different things for the future of iraq. so i don't see exactly how that is going to lead to a peaceful and stable outcome. >> you've been reporting on the atrocities committed by isis against the women. >> the u.s. started bombing isis to stop an atrocity. thia thiaia zitis were trapped but not all were saved. thousands of men have been killed and the women by the thousands too were taken as slaves. we met 12-year-old huada and a
19-year-old in northern iraq. they had been bought and sold raped and beaten for months before escaping from their tormentors tormentors. fereda didn't want to show her face but told her painful stories. what did you say to them i asked them. we said we are human beings she said. they said you are our property. they said you are stwi delinfidels and we will do what we want with you. >> is this what goes on in war of the most basic kind of war where you win and you take the other side's women and rape them? it seems so barbaric is an old word but what is it? this is pretty basic stuff. >> reporter: it doesn't -- it doesn't happen in modern war, frankly. >> right. >> reporter: it is not the kind of thing that has been happening for -- i would call in the civilized world in a lot of places for a very long time. this group, isis is proudly reviving an ancient practice of enslaving the enemies, taking
infidels as bride, as booty of war and carrying out absolute atrocities against them. this is not an isolated case of two young women, one of them just a girl who were captured. the village that those two girls were from was entirely taken. the men were marched out into the fields and gunned down. around 500 men killed execution-style. made to lay on their bellies when they were machine gunning their backs. the women, hundreds of women were taken back to the isis stronghold in eastern syria and then distributed in an open auction among the men. and isis is very proud of this practice. and then once the men have taken possession of these women, there is an internal market. they sell them from one to the next to the next and make them wash their clothing make them clean their quarters and if they put up any kind of resistance, they're locked in
isis jails, they are beaten. the older woman, the 19-year-old girl who we spoke to that you just saw that clip of she tried to kill herself seven times while she was in isis hands before she quite amazingly managed to escape crossing the desert on foot for hours and hours until she found a safer place and someone was able to pick her up. >> well thank you. nbc's richard engle who is over in iraq. thank you, sir. meanwhile, back here in washington the prospects for passing an authorization for military action against isis seems to be running into roadblocks on capitol hill. there are strong critics both on the left and the right. i'm joined by eugene robinson and director for the huffington post, howard fineman. horrible. you're better at some of these words. basic, the basic bar bear tee of the booty of war being the women. grab the treasure grab the
women, kill the men, rape the women. >> it's horrible animalistic, awful, primitive, horrible -- it's just awful. and it so enrages the conscience of any human being -- >> is this because they're a different religion, the yazidis? >> i believe so. they're infidels and they're unworthy and, therefore, you can treat them that way, i suppose. >> according to the littest nbc/marist poll when given the details of what the president is asking for, a majority of americans said they want congress to vote in support of the president's authorization for military information in that resolution. two-thirds of americans also expressed confidence the united states and its allies will be able to defeat isis and the country is open to u.s. troops on the ground only about a quarter say that supports sending a large number of u.s. ground forces. four in ten are open to sending
a limited number of u.s. troops. only 26% are against sending any. howard, that's hard to read and these things are very mobile. these numbers move the minute there are casualties the minute something goes wrong, the game's over. >> well, the american people are often more sensible than the people they choose to lead them here. i think in this case they're expressing the ambivalence and confusion you see here in washington. on the one hand when they see the pictures and hear the reporting of people like richard engle, they say we've got to do something. yes, we support the idea of use of military force. yes, we're crossing our fingers and we think it can work maybe. military force, maybe. when you also ask them do you support or oppose the current plan do you think the current plan will work, they're confused about it they're hesitant about it. that very ambivalence and confusion is embodied in the proposal that the president is putting forth. this proposed authorization for the use of military force lays out the horrors that richard engle was describing in graphic
detail. but then what it says is okay we're going to go there only for three years. we're not going to have enduring offensive ground combat operations. we don't think that large-scale american military involvement is the right way to do it. so the president is expressing, i think, a lot of the ambivalence that the american people have. >> and then -- so you look at that and you go through that and you say, okay what is going on here. what are we doing? and then the backdrop is what's actually happened -- happening. so you listen to richard engle and in iraq we're supporting three different groups that hate each other, right? >> they haven't met us yet either. we don't know what they think of us. >> that's in iraq. thaeps that's the place where it's going better, okay? in syria, the people we're supporting, the free syrian army, the moderate rebels our policy is such that they're getting clobbered, right, by isis, the people we hate the people we're trying to defeat
and assad, the dictator who's equally horrible who we say has to go. they're the ones who are thriving. >> by the way, what gene just described is a microcosm of what we're doing in the entire region. we're supporting sunni, shia and kurds throughout the region. the saudis are our close al i say, the ultimate sunnis. we're trying to make a deal with iran on nuclear weapons, they're the ultimate shias. this whole region is a hall of mirrors. this authorization proposal reflects that. the views of the american people reflect that. >> we need to pull back from the macro analysis here it's con founding. how about a microanalysis. you've got a boy over there, a son over theres or a or a husband. how do they even know what the war is and if there's any chance? >> yeah. >> what are you fighting for, just to show we're fighting? >> no it's got to be better defined. it's got to be better defined now, and i think that's why -- you know it's interesting on the hill. look i think this hill debate
is great. i don't know if it's going to go anywhere, but it needs to be had, right? and the initial reaction is you know, there's concern from the left there's concern from the right, as there should be. totally different reactions. and so maybe we'll get someplace. and they have got to ask these questions. >> i'm afraid -- >> there's got to be -- there's got to be a narrative here. >> here's the explosive model in math where they're going different directions. one wants more restrictions, one wants less restrictions. they're not going together, the right and the left are -- >> no it could happen. i'm not convinced in the end there will be a positive vote in favor of this information because of that explosive -- >> the president says in the letter that accompanies this proposal, although existing statutes provide me with the authority that i need to take these actions. >> 2001. >> that one, that one. >> guys, you're the best and you can't solve it. it's not your job to solve it to understand it. to understand the darn thing. thank you, gene robinson. and it does get down to our fighting men and women over
there and what they can conceivably achieve. it can't be a war of attrition against isis. howard fineman, gene robinson. as america debates a new war with isis a war in afghanistan we thought was over is escalating but under the radar. we've got the cloak and dagger story of how u.s. and afghan troops are using an al qaeda leader's laptop they captured to attack militants in secret night raids. plus is 2016 still in the cards for chris christie? more and more republican insiders say they just don't think the jersey governor can win their party's nomination. and this weekend marks the 40th anniversary of "saturday night live." we'll look at some very funny intersection of comedy and politics and how comedy can destroy a politician bike gerry ford. there was a profound sense of loss we felt this week. three guys died this week. the older you get, the more you know them. this is "hardball," the place for politics. our experienced investment professionals are one reason over 85% of our mutual funds beat their
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welcome back to "hardball." president obama ran as the president to ends wars. in a 2012 campaign stop the president gave a timetable for getting u.s. troops out of afghanistan. >> this november you get to decide the future of the afghanistan war. you know governor romney had nothing to say about afghanistan last week. yeah, he hasn't offered a plan for the 33,000 troops who will have come home from this war by
the end of this month. he said that ending the war in iraq was tragic. i think it was the right thing to do and i said i would do it and we did. i said we'd take out bin laden, and we did. we are bringing our troops home from are afghanistan, and i set a timetable. we will have them all out of there by 2014. >> well then in may of 2014 the president gave a new timetable for the afghanistan drawdown. the plan would bring the u.s. force there to 5500 by the end of 2015 and bring all u.s. troops home by the time he leaves office in early 2017. now the commander of u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan wants some leeway. general john campbell is wanting to keep more than 5500 troops into 2016 to keep training centers open longer than
currently planned, but still end the military mission entirely in 2017. part of the reason for slowing the afghanistan withdrawal may be this news reported by "the new york times" today. headline data from seized computer fuels a surge in u.s. raids on al qaeda. in this excerpt, it's all in the shadows now said a former afghan security official. the official war for the americans, the part of the war that you could go see, that's over. it's only the secret war that's still going on but it's going hard. will president obama agree to slow the afghan withdrawal? joining me right now is matthew rosenburg of "the new york times" that wrote the article i mentioned and laitha al cori. let me start with you, matthew -- matt rather. how does it all fit together the fact they found this laptop they know the plans of the al qaeda group there. does that mean we see an opportunity that's worth waiting around for?
>> i think they do see an opportunity. they always planned to keep some guys there to keep going after the remnants of al qaeda. there's been a jump in the number of black special operations and who exactly are these targets. the white house has drawn out we're going after al qaeda and the taliban is an afghan problem but there's a lot of gray area there. it's a broad thing and there's no clear line there and that's what we see here. there's still a lot of action. >> it was your article that i was reading today there's a lot more casualties on the afghan arm side. they're getting hits from al qaeda or the taliban. who's hitting them? >> the taliban and that's one of the problems and probably why general campbell wants to keep guys there. the afghan arm is a work in process. the war is not over. logistics is troublesome, it can't fly at night, its air support isn't there, its medevac isn't there and americans have a lot of work to do before they can say this military is ready to stand on its own.
>> this whole question of americans, what we thought we were getting in afghanistan maybe we thought we were getting out of vietnam. is there an afghanization problem we thought we'd have an army to replace us and is that not the case? >> this is our longest war and we still yet does not decide on a specific date when we're going to withdraw. but al qaeda's problem remains a problem and the taliban's problem remains even a bigger problem because al qaeda operatives are integrated into the taliban ranks. the taliban are really strong today. they're not being weakened. they're very strong in eastern afghanistan and have been carrying operations against afghan security forces. and afghan security forces remain pretty weak and they need u.s. air power at least to conduct successful operations. but i think they also need u.s. intelligence gathering that would lead to more precision targeting to take out a lot of those shakers and movers. in the case of taking out abu al
kuwaiti, this is extremely important because this dataea could include locations and names of operatives possible plans for the future and so on and so forth. so it's extremely important we take a step back and look at the withdrawal date with more flexibility. >> let's talk about the opportunity. we have a laptop we captured. it tells us about the network of enemies. al qaeda wasn't there when we went to afghanistan the first time, right? 2001? >> it was there. they were fleeing already. a lot moved into pakistan and they have kind of filtered back. you know, that border is really porous, so guys are moving back and forth constantly. i think when guys are in afghanistan, the americans prefer it because they can send special forces guys after them rather than drone strikes and the pakistanis. >> what are we doing, going around, finding the bad guys and killing them? is that what we're doing? >> basically, yeah.
it works when it comes to the taliban. it's created opportunities to gather more intel, more turncoats but that's basically what the success has been. going out and whacking guys every night. >> laith can we tell now about the durability of the afghanistan government if we just pulled out completely? if we just got out of there, would they have much of a life ahead of us or would it be taliban controlled in a matter of months or years? >> i don't believe they have much durability if we completely withdraw right now. in a sense, you know the taliban is extremely integrated and mixed with the tribes in eastern afghanistan, southeastern afghanistan so it's really important if you want to marginalize the taliban and, you know eliminate al qaeda's forces, we would have to really ingt integrate the taliban into the society and get the tribes to be on the side of the afghan government and not support the taliban in their insurgency. >> let me ask you a fundamental question, laith, because you're
an expert. i've always been skeptical of these occupations of third world countries, other countries, because exempt for the british, who were able over 200 years to establish -- or to share, if you will, to put it generously the idea of democracy with the indian people and they did accept it because it fit their culture. but if you're going to leave a country eventually what can you really do there while you're there. eventually you leave afghanistan and it goes back to the status quo. the same thing with iraq. why would a country be changed fundamentally by the presence of a bunch of americans even if they do some of them learn the language? >> i mean it's a process that could even take generations. you know an entire -- in a society so defiant like afghanistan that's been through occupation by three major world powers is not going to be you know changed overnight. it's going to take generations. but it's really important that when we leave afghanistan, we don't leave it completely destroyed and in shambles. we don't leave the security forces incompetent. we need to make sure at least
some of the peace remains before the taliban end up taking over helmand or another province and establish another emirate, so it's really important. >> the trouble is the american people are not good colonizers they want to come home. and the british want to go and live for a come el of generations. the americans are waiting for the movies to arrive and waiting to get home. thank you, matthew rosenburg and laith, thank you for your expertise. up next a special "saturday night live" edition of the sideshow with the most memorable skits from the past 40 years. this is "hardball," the place for politics. it's a fact. kind of like mute buttons equal danger. ...that sound good? not being on this phone call sounds good. it's not muted. was that you jason? it was geoffrey! it was jason. it could've been brenda. meet the world's newest energy superpower. surprised? in fact, america is now the world's number one natural gas producer... and we could soon become number one in oil.
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three-hour anniversary special starting at 8:00 p.m. as a preview, here's a look back at some of snl's leading cast members playing american president starting with dana carvey as george herbert walker bush in a debate with michael dukakis. >> all i can say is we are on the track. we're getting the job done. we can do more but let's stay the course. a thousand points of light. well unfortunately i see my time is up. >> mr. vice president, you still have a minute 20. >> what? well, no i must have spoken for at least two minutes. thank you. >> governor dukakis, rebuttal? >> i can't believe i'm losing to this guy. >> in 1992 the late phil hartman stepped into the role of bill clinton and his most classic sketch he explained foreign policy while making a pit stop at mcdonald's. >> do you favor the decision to
send military forces to somalia? >> are that's a good question. yes, i do and let me tell you why. you see right now, we're sending food to somalia. but it's not getting to the people who need it because it's being intercepted by war lords. >> filet of fish sandwich aid from italy, war lord. >> well, the role of george w. bush was a perfect match for will ferrell. here's bush explaining his regrets with vice president cheney, played by darrell hammond just before they left the white house in 2009. >> here is my regret that i didn't have me a vice president like joe biden. i mean look at those two going out for burgers. laughing it up. i needed that kind of vp the kind that did dumb stuff to make me look smarter. you know. instead i got the one guy that
scares me more than my dad. >> we had a different chemistry, sir. >> yeah the chemistry of acid in the face. >> well perhaps the most celebrated political parody in recent memory was tina fey as former vice presidential nominee sarah palin. here she is with hillary clinton played by amy poehler at a joint press conference. >> you know, hillary and i don't agree on everything -- >> anything. i believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. >> and i can see russia from my house. >> i believe global warming is caused by man. >> and i believe it's just god hugging us closer. >> i don't agree with the bush doctrine. >> and i don't know what that is.
>> we'll be talking more about the legacy of "saturday night live" later in the show. up next are republicans already giving up on chris christie? the roundtable is next and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. thank you for being a sailor, and my daddy. thank you mom, for protecting my future. thank you for being my hero and my dad. military families are thankful for many things. the legacy of usaa auto insurance could be one of them. our world-class service earned usaa the top spot in a study of the most recommended large companies in america. if you're current or former military or their family, see if you're eligible to get an auto insurance quote. your mom's got your back. your friends have your back. your dog's definitely got your back.
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plans. sixty-five may get all the attention, but now is a good time to start thinking about how you want things to be. [ male announcer ] go long™. hello, i'm melissa ray burger. here is what's happening. the fbi said it will look at evidence in the case against craig stephen hicks. he is the man accused of murdering three young muslims in north carolina. however, the fbi has not launched a formal investigation into those murders. new england is preparing for another blizzard this weekend. along with high winds, parts of the region could see up to two feet of snow. and gary owen the announcer for "laugh-in" has passed away. he was 80 years old. now back to "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball." does chris christie still have a path or a prayer to the presidency? many republicans doubt that the new jersey governor can win the gop nomination in the wake of the bridge scandal and his general public demeanor. the weekly standard is the latest to cast skepticism over christie and says he should pack it in. andrew ferguson writes a thin skin has been a feature of chris christie's public life as well and over the last several weeks it has been much in evidence. in london he didn't appear a hard working public servant losing patience with a bleating reporters, he had the air of a of plutocratied that the little people didn't do as they were told. only 37% have a favorable view of them. joining the roundtable tonight dana milbanks michelle bernard and denny vargas former chair
of the republican hispanic national assembly. great, diversity reigns. i always like to keep it going here, but dana is this guy -- it's almost like humpty dumpty on the wall. there's never a middle level, he's either up here or down there. >> no on the presidential rubber chicken circuit, this guy is just being eaten for lunch. >> is that what he's eating? is that what he dines on? >> not enough rubber chicken. that's your line not mine. >> just get the french fries. >> not to be per snickety i don't think we can say he's in the top tier anymore. >> where in iowa would you have to go to find someone of his cut, sort of a snarky big city guy with a lot of attitude. >> you can't find them and instead of being his thin-skinned self he's trying to be subdued and speak to the iowa iowans and it doesn't work. >> i think we're being really premature. >> you think he can be president
some day? >> i think he can be president of the united states. >> really? then to my question -- >> it's not just iowa. what happens to chris christie is going to depend largely on what happens with bush and whether the two of them -- how they are polling and whether he's up in 2016. >> let me give you the ideal scenario. bush falters because nobody goes for him. they don't care about the label, the dog doesn't like the dog food. the voters up in new hampshire don't go for him. christie doesn't get touched by the indictments if there are any. do you think he can still get out there with his personality and sell it? >> this is why i think chris christie is the misunderstood secret bullet of the republican party. he wins in a state that is a blue state. he overwhelmingly won women by like 55% of the vote. >> have you seen his numbers? >> i've seen his numbers right now but you just said it he's up and he's down. in 2016 we don't know where he's going to be but what we do know is in in two elections back-to-back he is a republican who got women to vote for him
even though he's not pro-choice he's pro-life. he got african-americans to vote for him, he got latinos to vote for him. he got democrats -- 64% of independents voted for him in the last election. >> i don't think he had a big number among minorities except for governor it's always better to get a vote than you do a senate race. >> he's the only republican that knows how to get them to vote for him. >> i'm from new york city originally so his style of politics works really well in new york new jersey philadelphia, botch, that rough and tumble attitude works really well. >> how about new hampshire? >> it may, it may. a lot of it depends on what we see happening between now and 2016. >> you have a radio voice, you know that? i envy that voice. i love that voice. >> if foreign policy becomes a sticky wicket and what the american people see and they need. >> i think it's sticky wicket and not stinky wicket. >> they need somebody that's going to be tough on the
international stage and be able to stand up toe to toe, nose to nose against some of these tough dictators that we have out there on the foreign stage, maybe his brand of politics might play well and he's been going out there on the internet -- >> there's a lot that has to happen. he has to get around jeb bush he has to get around scott walker and marco rubio. there are a lot of other possible people vying for the mainstream who aren't so tainted. >> i have to go back to you, michelle. he does believe he can win. >> yeah. >> so what's he thinking about that gives him that upward zest to keep going? because he's not pulling back. >> he's not polling well right now, but we've seen that before with him so it doesn't really matter. he could be up in 2016. there are two establishment candidates that can win the, quote unquote, reagan democrat. we're not talking about what you have to do in the primaries, but once somebody gets the actual nomination it's going to be -- it's either going to be christie or it's going to be bush. i think he's waiting and he's saying to himself is this going
to be a mccain/giuliani scenario and maybe bush will implode? maybe he'll be able to raise more money? or maybe, just maybe bush ends up not winning. is the united states after a republican primary really going to vote for marco rubio or ted cruz. >> his path is not going to be the path of sort of conforming himself to sort of the stereo typical what the pundits, what the consultants are trying to get him to be. his paltth is to be himself. if i were to advise him i'd say governor christie, be yourself. if you want to be a tough guy, be a tough guy. he's gone to israel and said i'm going to stand strong with our ally in the middle east that's the attitude he needs to portray. he can't be the squishy -- >> he's got to be himself but on foreign policy that's the one -- and i'm a big fan of chris christie's. >> clearly. >> but foreign policy is an area that bothers me because i say to myself is this really the person who i want to see trying to negotiate peace in the middle east and losing his mind and saying, you know kind of screw
you -- >> the more moderate republicans always have to offset their centrism with a hawkish foreign policy. they feel they have to do that. you may like the hawkish foreign policy but it's tricky in the middle. for the suburban guy, the suburban housewife who may be in the middle politically. my mom always was. you don't know how they're going to vote. they never tell you how they're going to vote. you can't rely on party vote. >> his problem is the same problem giuliani had. the fact that the conservative base does not trust chris christie in terms of being a conservative. they don't think that he's a conservative on social issues -- >> but they don't trust bush either. >> at the very least he'll be more interesting to cover than jeb bush. >> when we come back our favorite "saturday night live" cast members. we'll have a little competition here and the presidents they portrayed at the roundtable. stay with us.
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we are back. "saturday night live" turns 40 this weekend and to celebrate, "rolling stone" magazine has ranked all 141 cast members from best to worst, god help that guy or woman. these are their top six selections. bill murray came in sixth place, dan aykroyd is fifth. then mike myers fourth tina fey third, eddie murphy second and the first, john belushi. that's a subject i've ranking by them. there's no question who holds the top spot when it comes to my personal favorite. >> welcome back to "hardball," i'm chris matthews.
man, oh man. you didn't just drink the kool-aid, you went back for seconds. go back to frag el rock let the grownups more testosterone in congress -- >> do you have anything left to say for yourself. >> the next time i come i'm going to have that you keep the insults to a minimum. >> shut your hole shut your hole. >> stick around i'm going to watch a videotape of myself, you're watching "hardball." we're back now with our round table danny, michelle and dana. who wants to go first. chronologically. >> chevy chase. >> you like him the most and he destroyed jerry ford? >> for political reasons, and it's not that he was the best at it he went particularly a good
likeness of ford but without him, he was the pioneer that made it okay to laugh at politicians. you don't have dana carvy. >> did it bring down jerry ford? >> i think jerry ford brought down jerry ford, but chevy chase turned him into the accident prone president. i think that played well but it helped demystify the presidency. >> your thoughts? >> my favorite dana carvy. >> can you do the church lady? >> no i can't. >> isn't that special? then his impressions of bush one, you know in his impersonations, he said things that the public was thinking like -- i can remember watching the debates, being interested in
politics and thinking to myself she a nice guy but how is he winning this election? how is this happening? >> and you could perceivehe was prissy. >> i think he was particular about things. the thousand points of light and people said what is that? is the republican party trying to be a nice party that believes in people and that we saw that iteration come down in his son a few years later. >> it splashes over because when george senior was asked if he wants coffee he would say just a splash. who is your favorite? >> i have to say phil hartman. he was funny, he did the cave man lawyer he did frank sinatra
that was impeccable but when he did bill clinton that brought down the house. there is not too many people that can do both. bill clinton and ronald reagan. reagan was playing a dopey guy, and when people left the room they would bring in his staff, and he was leader and defining military strategy. >> with the loss of robin williams awhile ago, you think that several of them are troubled guys. it gets troubled. >> the troubled nature and the reason they resort to drugs, is there is something in them that is not together. >> and phil hartman died tragically, his wife killed him? >> and robin williams interview after interview, i think it's why a lot of comedians will tell you they use comedy because it is a completely different way than how they feel.
>> the real source of so much humor is pain. >> that's why the jewish comments wrr comments, they had so much pain. those bulging eyes -- >> people like richard pryor, showing pain. >> they have done through ups and downs, it would have been canceled so many years -- >> great writers don't write all great novels but they're remembered by their good ones. thank you to my panel. we'll be right back after this. it's a fact. kind of like mute buttons equal danger. ...that sound good? not being on this phone call sounds good. it' oo
let me finish tonight with a statement of loss. the older you get you pay attention to more people who die because you know them. when you pick up the newspaper in the morning you and your spouse will greet each other with the news. bob simon died in a car accident this weekend. david carr died last night in the "new york times" news room. we read they're gone we read how they're die, and we realize they are yes, truly gone. coach k. of duke spoke for all of us when he said he could never imagine dean smith dieing. he just didn't see vulnerable in
moral reality. could there be a greater model in the college cam us or in life than coach smith. i had dinner once with bob simon and found him a quite courtly gentleman. the kind of guy that makes you want to be hemble in his presence because that's how he is. it suits him. i met david carr after a broadway opening one night. you don't think of great writers being low key regular guys. next week's news will be filled with more losses it always seems this is the time of year we have a flurry of loss. we call it the irish sports page for a reason. the one good thing to come when someone's time comes is the good and loss people that finally grab our attention and wonder
perhaps, of all of the others of our cut, that deserve our notice as they continue to walk among us. that is hardball for now, thank you for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." a high-stakes game of chicken. >> i don't think mitch mcconnell should let the senate rules trump the cushion. >> then as the president weighs in on the chapel hill shootings should atheists have to denounce the murder of three muslim students. and the rieszse and fall of a champion team. >> if you're going to get a job that is a