tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 16, 2009 7:42pm-8:00pm EDT
>> in the huge economic disaster, why didn't you guys let me come out for the proposal if i don't understand it? >> this is why women don't look up to male political figures. you're sitting here saying, forget the guy, whatever else, he's a regular guy, therefore, anything goes. he takes shots at hillary clinton's physique, biden's brains. he takes shots at everybody. you're just chuckling. you are going to buy this book, aren't you? i'm not telling anybody what the name of the book is. >> it is a good read. is it not a good read? >> these parts are good. >> it is entertaining. i think it is destructive. okay? this guy wouldn't have a career, he wouldn't have a job if he wasn't -- >> let's get sober here. >> the guy is a snake. he's telling stories out of his -- >> here is the great conundrum. we like these stories but don't like people telling him. explain it. he rats out his boss. we love the jokes, they're funny. >> you and i were just talking off camera. you and i know the lbj story.
we know them all and they're very funny. i would think terribly if somebody had done that stuff. i think you're right. this guy ought to think badly of this guy, but quite frankly -- >> how do we get these stories without getting them from rats? >> the problem is -- these stories don't have much historical redeeming historical value. the fact is the guy -- >> i disagree with you. try to figure these guys out. >> economic stuff -- >> try to figure them out. >> totally clueless. >> he was a guy who owes his job to george w. bush. all of us have had the pleasure of serving the president. if presidents get to the point where they can't speak candidly in front of their staff -- >> this is a bipartisan group, it's always a great bit of fun. more fun back in the old days when everybody drank. it's still fun. todd sorensen got into a big fight. arthur sleszinger says you should always tell stories about the boss because that is how you get history.
he went over, with his second new deal and all this stuff, said you have to get stories. ted sorensen says you never rat out the boss. >> you do have to get, quite frankly, you have to write history. i would write, like, a memoir. tell stories about nixon and how he felt and things like that. but these personal, all of us know personal things and family things that you know that you just don't tell. >> i'm with you. i wouldn't do it. what would you do? >> i wouldn't. i worked in a white house. >> any stories you want to share with us right now? >> during the next commercial break. i happen to think the stories i would share about the former vice president reflects well on him. >> al gore is so boring the secret service code name was al gore? thank you, pat buchanan, michael. up next "the politics fix." the public wants the united states to get out of afghanistan. according to all the polls. here's the dilemma facing the president. the military wants to increase the number of military there. he is being told by the public to get out. hot story here. david gregory of "meet the press" joining us in just a
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will president obama send more u.s. troops to afghanistan? time for "the politics fix" dead serious tonight with david gregory, moderator of nbc's "meet the press" and politico's roger simon. we went to war after the bombings of 9/11. we are at war still, longest war in history probably now. is this a call for an escalation by the admiral? >> i don't think there is any question that it is. the admiral has been clear. military leaders have been clear. there's got to be parody between the mission and the resources. if they're going to do a counterinsurgency, a nation-building effort in afghanistan, the u.s. needs more troops and they're going to be there for a while. the president has an important choice to make. >> roger, that choice is politically packed but it's real. it's not a public relations issue, it's not about campaigning or getting votes, it's about whether this country stays at war at full strength or whether we begin to pull back out of that war.
>> it is real. we have gone from a mission creep in afghanistan to a mission gallop. you heard the admiral say one of the goals there now is to improve life there in afghanistan. we could be there 100 years. the mission used to be is what we are doing in afghanistan making america safer? are we destroying the people who attacked us on 9/11? have we at least pushed them into the mountains in pakistan? have we destroyed their ability to launch an attack here? now the goal is create a democracy, prop it up, build better roads, change the agriculture policy, equal rights for women. all good stuff but that was no longer the original mission. >> why don't we do that in youngs twoun, ohio, while we're at it? we have places in this country that needs money and economic development. the "washington post" poll says 51% narrowly thinks the war is not worth fighting. so it's begun to -- talk about creeping here.
what's crept up here is the fact people don't like this war. a quarter of the country thinks we should send more troops. roger, that's the question. if the president goes against the base and the left, if you that term here, don't like this war, he's really challenging the people that voted for him. >> he s and don't forget his opposition to the iraq war was the main point against his chief rival hillary clinton, he was in that sense a peace candidate -- >> but let covered himself by supporting the afghanistan war. >> and was that a ploy? or is that your belief? >> true belief. but i think the left in general had a position which was iraq was the wrong war, afghanistan was the right war. they're the ones who hit us. al qaeda hit us, sheltered by the taliban, we've got to resource properly what we do in afghanistan. here he is as president biting off a huge task of counterinsurgency and nation building where we don't have a strong central government that isn't corrupt. it makes it longer -- >> this is the part of politics
i don't like in war. the president's like nixon and i hold this against nixon, not only the bed, dirty tricks, i heard about that in politics. but keeping us in a war that was pretty clear we were going to lose by after '68 that we were definitely in a holding action and 37,000 guys killed because we're in a holding action. without a real mission of victory of any kind. roger, is there a mission that's realizable here in a reasonable amount of time and reasonable amount loss of life? and if there isn't, why are we there? >> i don't know the answer to that. i fear there may not be. i don't know what a reasonable loss of life is. the dilemma if you will is having destroyed al qaeda's capability to attack us in the united states. we are sending them targets to kill. we have lost more people in afghanistan and iraq, more americans than were lost in 9/11. >> what do you make of the fact of the stand-up war where the actual forces, the organized
regular army began to face us. we're having fire fights in there, david, now, that were in real wars, like in the movies. >> and the taliban is resurgent, and these are the people we ran and they can run into pakistan. this is the politics fix, but this goes beyond the politics, the actual policy, general petraeus does believe that certain tactics that were used associated with the surge in iraq can be applied to afghanistan. >> the mission there was allowed in afghanistan to get their political act together. does anyone believe that afghanistan will get its political act together so we can leave like we're leaving iraq. >> president bush expressed to people, he thought afghanistan would be much tougher to get the act together than iraq. >> and the question is will they ever become the kind of country that we're satisfied we can leave as stable? and we'll be right back to talk about the lighter topic of race and why it's raised its ugly head. back with "the fix" you're watching it on "hardball."
we're back with david gregory. david, you first. i know where you stand. i've heard it in your column. you think the white house inside you're talking to the big guys in there. are they saying they want this subject over with? >> absolutely. absolutely. the president does not want to take on congressman wilson and his attitude about government, about him, about race. he didn't want to have that conversation. the president's been very clear publicly. he thinks these kinds of matters
become a circus. he watched the circus this summer, it didn't go well for him. well, it was that, but also a lot of what played out in the town halls, the president thought it was a circus. he's got limited time now to focus people's minds on what they want them to talk about. >> craziness hurts him in person. >> he's always been able to avoid it. >> jimmy carter is describing a world that for 2 1/2 years barack obama and his staff does not exist in america. will we exist in a country where race doesn't divide us? where it's not that important, where we can overlook -- >> parasite country. we thought it was america. we elected the first african-american president. >> how early was it in the campaign when we were having a conversation about can an african-american really be elected president? can he get the nomination? can he win in the general? and now he's president. he got elected, crossed that barrier and now it's can he really be accepted?
these are not questions the white house wants to be focussed on. >> we've got about 43% of the country, white people voted for him. >> that's right, he lost the white vote by 12 percentage points, a landslide. it's not like everyone in america voted for this guy. but that doesn't mean if you voted for him you were against him because of race. now you have jimmy carter, he was determined never to be accused of malaise making these over the top statements saying there's an overwhelming portion of those against barack obama are racist. i don't think it's an overwhelming portion, i think it's some of them. but i don't see how he quantifies that and says now -- >> let me put to you. >> okay. when "daily post" polled people about the birther thing. is he one of us? is he an american. the regional breakdown was frighteningly dramatic. most southerners thought he was from some other country or planet for all i kn,