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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  September 30, 2020 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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democracy. now, they think climate represents a threat to humanity, but facebook is the mechanism. and we'll see to what extent over the next four weeks they continue to press that. and then importantly, should biden or trump win, what's the reckoning for tech after this election? how is tech going to have to look at itself? and what's going to be incumbent upon them? and also, what are the pressures on them, not just politically, but from their users? and that's, i think, something beyond this debate. once we sort of get over our debate hangover, we can try to figure it all out. >> they're seriously going to be in the crosshairs. hans nichols, thank you, my friend. great to see you. we'll be reading "axios a.m." in a little while. you can sign up for the newsletter at signup.axios.com. my question of the day for democrats and republicans in washington -- what are you going to do today to prepare for the possibility that president trump is going to undermine the results of our election? we'll see what they start to say over the next 24 hours.
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that was "way too early" for this wednesday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. i want to get our hands around a very difficult situation -- >> all right, donald. hold on, donald, you've got to let us ask questions. >> go. >> you can't just talk. you've got to ask us ask questions. you're just talking. >> no, i'm not just talking. i'm giving you the facts. >> we will go to break if you keep talking -- >> go to break then. all i'm doing is giving you the facts -- >> go to break. we'll be back with more "morning joe." >> note to moderators that actually want to moderate a debate that makes sense, stays organized and keeps both candidates in line, that's one idea, cut the mic and mean it. good morning! and welcome to "morning joe." it is wednesday, september 30th. along with joe, willie, and me, we have msnbc national affairs analyst, co-host of showtime's "the circus" and executive editor of the recount, john
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heilemann. co-founder and ceo of axios, jim vandehei. politics and journalism professor at morgan state university, politics editor at the grio and an msnbc political contributor, jason johnson. and historian and rogers professor of the presidency at vanderbilt university, jon meacham will join us in just a moment. wow! >> yeah. yeah. it was something. >> what was that? >> well, you know, it was, again, what we've seen for four years. that was a president completely ignorant of -- or uncaring about the position that the united states has held on the world stage over the past 240 years. and also, willie, ignorant or uncaring about the power of a president to send out a message to america that we are an exceptional country. i mean, you think about the fact that during the height of the
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cold war, actually, nearing its end, ronald reagan would talk about freedom in the soviet union and dissidents locked in gulogs thousands of miles away from freedom would find out about the american president's words, and they would tap in code what the president said, while locked in their jail cells, and hope would spread throughout those gulogs. that's what the american president's words are supposed to convey -- hope. we're supposed to be a city shining brightly on the hill for all the world to see, whether it's from ronald reagan or inspiration from john kennedy or fdr or lincoln talking about the last great hope for a dying world. that is what our presidents are supposed to appeal to.
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and last night, you had a president shaming himself, bringing shame to anybody who still supports him, and actually giving hope, actually, to racist, anti-semitic groups -- >> "stand back and stand by"? >> telling them to stand back and telling them to stand by. >> whoa. >> sending messages to his supporters, telling them to disturb and disrupt voting, trying to threaten those who are going to try to vote peacefully, and also making such a mockery of american democracy by screaming and yelling during that debate and being completely unmoored emotionally, philosophically, intellectually, that, again, he has brought even greater shame to this country
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and has made the american democratic process look like a joke worldwide. >> well, we've worn these adjectives out over the last five years, but that was truly, truly disgraceful. it was truly, truly embarrassing. it was truly, truly pathetic. it was truly, truly chaotic. and i want to point out, that clip that we bumped in with, where you cut donald trump off. he was on the show in 2015, defending the proposed muslim ban. that's why he couldn't answer a question that you were asking him, so we had to go to break. last night, he was there defending, indirectly, the proud boys, telling them to stand back and stand by. the proud boys, a white supremacist group. could you imagine an easier question to answer for anyone, but especially for a president of the united states? "mr. president, will you condemn white supremacisted?" he couldn't do it. reminds us of another campaign moment where he pretended he
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didn't know who david duke was four yaegtst years ago. he's given the chance. he won't do it. know who he is. so there is the spectacle of this, how ugly it was, just as a representation of our politics, as a display to the world of who we are and where we are as a country. then there was the strategy. who exactly was he convincing last night to vote for him, other than his base, who's not going anywhere? who watched that -- >> proud boys. >> -- if there are undecided people, who watched that and said, yes, i want more of that for four years? so, we'll talk about who did well and who didn't, but how could you watch that and want more of that, if you're still thinking about who to vote for? >> well, and listen, there's an entire network that is covering this debate as if it was a proud moment for the president. and this situation has gone too far with a bunch of labotomized hosts and anchors waiting for his phone call.
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here is the moment, if you think you want to debate that -- here is the moment where the president of the united states refused to denounce white supremacist groups, opting instead for language many consider to be a call to action. take a listen. >> are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups -- >> sure. >> and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities, as we saw in kenosha and as we've seen in portland? >> sure, i'm willing to do that -- >> are you prepared specifically -- well, go ahead, sir. >> i would say almost everything i see is from the left wing, not the right wing. >> what are you saying? >> i'm willing to do anything. i want to see peace. >> well, then do it, sir. >> do it. say it. >> do you want to call them -- what do you want to call them? give me a name. >> white supremacists and -- >> who do you want me to condemn? proud boys? stand back and stand by. but i'll tell you what, i'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a
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right-wing problem. this is -- >> his own fbi director said -- >> this is a left-wing problem -- >> white supremacists. antifa's an idea, not an organization. >> oh, you've got to be kidding me. >> not a militia. that's what his fbi -- his fbi director has said. >> then you know what, he's wrong. >> we're done, sir. >> okay. unless you're a white supremacist, if you took that as a great moment for the president, i don't know who you are. the proud boys took the president's words as a shout of support and celebrated it on social media. within minutes, the group's members were posting on private social media, calling trump's comments, "historic." "the new york times" reports that some group members labeled it as a tacit endorsement of their violent tactics, while another posted the group is already seeing a spike in new recruits. the group is considered a violent, nationalistic, islamaphobic, transphobic and
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misogynistic hate group, according to the anti-defamation league. the self-described western chauvinist organization was banned by both twitter and facebook in 2018. think about that one. and as willie mentioned, the president's comments and the proud boys' celebration of his response is similar to kkk grand wizard david duke celebrating trump's response to the 2017 rally in charlottesville, saying it was why he and others like him voted for trump in 2016. >> what does today represent to you? >> this represents a turning point for the people of this country. we are determined to take our country back. we're going to fulfill the promises of donald trump. that's what we believed in. that's why we voted for donald trump, because he said he's going to take our country back, and that's what we've got to do. >> well, and this is what donald
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trump has done time and again. he did it last night to another white supremacist, anti-semitic group. the anti-defamation league came out and demanded that donald trump immediately apologize. this is like charlottesville -- >> yes. >> which, of course, a lot of anti-anti-trump hucksters, who tried to keep their subscriptions up and tried to keep their viewership up, actually defended donald trump after his charlottesville comments, saying, oh, he didn't say what the libs are saying. and actually, take it straight from the horse's mouth, david duke. david duke celebrated what donald trump said there. and you know, last night -- like donald trump said, "what do you want me to call them? what do you want me to call them?" that reminds me an awful lot of back in february of 2016, when we condemned donald trump and said that it was disqualifying because he went on a sunday show
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before super tuesday in 2016 and said he didn't know who david duke was, despite the fact in 2000 he had condemned david duke as a racist and said he wouldn't run in the reform party because david duke was a member of that party. he wouldn't be associated with that racist. he also fained ignorance on who the ku klux klan was. and so, here we are, four years later. he's still doing it. oh, i don't know who they are. and then refusing once again to condemn an anti-semitic group, a racist group, a group of white supremacists. again, nothing new. but he did it on the world's biggest political stage last night. and all those anti-anti-trumpsters who have shamed and humiliated themselves during his presidency, once again forced to confront the fact that they are supporting a man who will not condemn white supremacy in america.
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i await the "wall street journal" editorial page's condemnation of this continued nod and a wink to racism -- >> here's your chance. >> and in fact -- in fact, john heilemann, donald trump telling them to "stand by." stand by while trying to undermine american democracy by calling into question the legitimacy of our voting process, following all the other attacks on our democratic process and how he will not respect the results of this process. this, of course, amounts to a five-alarm fire for democracy. but i'm just curious in general, speak to that. but also, speak to the debate last night. and though we really can't analyze this like we would analyze any other political debate in american history, talk
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about the political consequences of this for the two candidates. >> right. let's just start with this. so, the debate, obviously, was a debacle. there's only one -- people are calling it a crap show, using other language, over and over again last night, suggesting, somehow, that like, this is sort of a thing where both candidates created a spectacle and this is an act of violence against the institution of the presidential debates. this has been a ritual that we've observed in a relatively dignified way on this stage, this debate stage, on television since 1960. and the president basically decided to take the form and break it. back in 2016, we talked about this little bit yesterday, the president did a lot of
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unconventional things in 2016, but more or less tried to -- i mean, he lied and he misdirected, he attacked the moderators. he stalked hillary clinton on stage. but he didn't try to break the format. yesterday he tried to break the format. it was basically like, i'm not really here to partake in a debate. i'm not here to engage in any way substantively. i'm here to make a mockery of this form. i'm here to fundamentally, profoundly disrespect every viewer. we don't know what the numbers are, but this could have been a record-breaking debate last night. maybe, i don't know if it's the same as the first debate in 2016, we'll have 84, 85 million people. that's what it was four years ago. i can't imagine the number's not at least that high. i'll also say i can't imagine that the number won't be slashed to maybe in half or less for the next couple of debates, if we have them. but the president basically -- when the president sets out to do something like this, like, to not just take an aggressive strategy or to try to attack joe biden, but to break the format in the way that he did it, tells you a bunch of things, one of
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which is that he understands that he can't compete if he decides to partake under the rules that were set, right? that's -- it's a profound sign of weakness that the president decided, and his people decided, they would lose if they tried to debate joe biden in the conventional way. and so, to me, he did -- we talked yesterday again, what was he trying to do in this debate? he's trying to make this election a choice, and he's trying to make it about joe biden, and then to disqualify joe biden. he didn't do any of that last night. he made the debate about himself last night, joe. and you know, what do we know about the presidency of donald trump? when donald trump makes it about himself, he loses. and so, i think, you know, the implications are -- i don't know if we're going to have another one of these debates. i know the biden campaign is standing up saying they're ready to partake. >> no. >> but i don't know how you could go forward and have another debate like that, unless the commission somehow takes control and tries to get the moderator or someone to assert themselves in a different way. but i think it was an utter
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disgrace for the process, but also just a sign of desperation and a huge backfire moment for donald trump here. this has not worked to his advantage, and everything he did suggested just how weak and just how desperate he was in the face of this moment. >> so, jon, you're actually, you're so on to something here. donald trump acted that way last night because he knew, if it were a fair debate, if it were a fair political fight, he would lose. and it reminds me -- >> just like the election. >> -- in the spring of 2016, i saw the transcript of donald trump's editorial board meeting with fred ryan and the "washington post." and i read the transcript and was shocked that donald trump went on and on talking about his hands -- these are the most
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beautiful hands -- and just went on and on. they're asking him questions about foreign policy -- >> stretching. >> they're asking him questions about the economy. and i said to mika after reading the transcript, i said, look how stupid this guy is! look how clueless this guy is! mika looked at the transcript, and mika, you immediately said, oh, no, he knows he can't answer their questions. he knows he can't -- he's not qualified to be president. all he's doing is stalling and wasting their time and distracting them with lunacy because he doesn't know the answers to any of those questions -- >> right. >> because he's so ignorant. and mika, that's exactly what we saw last night. >> well, and he doesn't want biden to answer the questions because he will have a cogent answer with historical context and maybe even some experience to go with it. and he didn't want that to happen, so he kept interrupting, he kept poking, he kept trying to get under his skin, going after his son.
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while joe biden was talking about beau biden, his son who served in iraq, he just jumps in randomly about his other son and starts getting deeply personal and mean and cruel and acting, quite frankly, monstrous, for the entire debate. and yet, there was no containing this. there were rules to this debate. the candidates agreed to them. and chris wallace could not keep president trump to the rules. it was a you-know-what show. here's some of that, whatever you want to call it. >> all right, we're -- gentlemen -- no -- >> you would have been much later, joe -- >> mr. president -- >> much later. you're talking about 2 million people -- >> you're not going to shut him up. >> the individual mandate was the most unpopular aspect of obamacare. i got rid of it. >> mr. president -- >> and we will protect beam pre-existing conditions. >> i'm the moderator of this debate and i would like you to let me ask my question and then you can answer -- >> go ahead. >> i want to make sure -- >> mr. president, can you let him finish, sir? >> he doesn't know how to do
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that. vote now -- >> are you going to pack -- >> make sure people know, your senator -- >> he doesn't want to answer that question. >> i'm not going to answer that question. >> why wouldn't you? the question -- >> would you shut up, man? you've got to provide these businesses the ability to have the money to be able to reopen with the ppe as well as with the sanitation they need. you have to provide them -- >> tell that to nancy pelosi. >> will he just shush for a minute? >> i think the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. i'm appealing to you, sir, to do that. >> well, and him, too. >> well, frankly, you've been doing more interrupting than he has. >> well, that's all right, but he does plenty. >> well, sir, less than -- >> he does plenty. >> no, less than you have. you have repeatedly criticized -- >> his statement. he made a statement -- >> no, you know, sir -- >> i would love to end it. >> you know, if you want to switch seats -- >> joe, biden's getting great reviews. he did great last night. he handled it really well.
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and when he was allowed to talk, he sounded great. but why in the world was his team expose him to lower himself to a display like that ever again? >> well, willie and i were talking about this before the show. i would have walked off the stage at certain times and said, until you can actually make sure that we abide by the rules, i'm not going to be a part of this charade. that said, voters overwhelmingly thought last night that joe biden won that debate. donald trump set himself on fire in front of 100 million people last night during that debate. he turned off women. he turned off independents. he turned off the same suburban voters that are turned off by mitch mcconnell trying to jam through a supreme court justice in the dying days of the trump administration.
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so, they have to debate whether they want to go out and let donald trump blow up himself again -- >> well, he makes a joke of our democracy as he's blowing himself up, so that's the part where -- if i were the biden campaign, i'd say, we're not doing this to our country. >> well, i think they're probably deliberating over that this morning. i do want to say a quick side note about chris wallace. i was concerned last night. i was upset last night about the fact that chris wallace was allowing donald trump to interrupt joe biden so much, especially the first half of the debate. he took more control in the second half of the debate. and i'm reminded, as i was sitting at home comfortably, telling chris wallace to take control, i was reminded of my torts professor, richard pearson at university of florida, when i was criticizing a response that someone had, that a lawyer had before the supreme court on an
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answer that seemed obvious to me. and professor pearson was a big tennis player. he said, "you ever watch the u.s. open?" i said, yeah. he said, "looks pretty easy when you're watching it on tv, doesn't it?" i go, yeah. but when you get down ground level, that ball's going over 100 miles an hour and you realize you're in no position to judge that lawyer in front of the supreme court or that tennis player that missed a backhand. likewise, i understand that chris wallace last night, willie, was thrown into the middle of something that no debate moderator has ever been thrown in before. and while it was extraordinarily frustrating, you know, i think all of us need to walk a mile in his shoes before the morning after saying, well, he could have done this, he could have done that. i think it's up to the commission, willie, to make sure, now that they have a candidate that they know is not going to follow the rules of these debates, to either come up
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with a fail-safe way to make sure that americans actually can watch a real debate, or just call the other two off. >> yeah, i mean, chris wallace has proven he can handle himself with donald trump in a one-on-one setting -- >> oh, it's great, yeah. >> it's something else entirely to try to insert yourself into a conversation when he's talking over joe biden. but i think you're right, it's on the commission now to say, when a candidate has that two minutes -- it's supposed to be two minutes of joe biden speaking alone or two minutes of president trump speaking alone. just cut the other guy's mic. we don't need to hear the heckling from the other. now, when they're engaging with each other in that period, you can leave the mics open, and i'm sure all of that this morning will be under review. jason johnson, i want to get to you. there's so much to grapple with here -- the proud boys moment, the president mocking joe biden and others for wearing masks all the time. also, we should point out, the president took the opportunity, or actually skipped the opportunity, when given another easy question, to talk to his supporters about not engaging in civil unrest in the days after
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the election. he skipped that chance, too. what were your broad impressions of what you watched last night? >> the broad impression of what i watched last night is that, you know, it would be a mistake -- and i'm glad jon mentioned this -- it would be a mistake to say the whole thing was a mess, because that implies that joe biden was responsible for -- joe biden was actually trying to attend a debate. >> right. >> and it was donald trump that was making a mess of it. it was donald trump that was failing. and i think that's important. it's an important distinction to make, because if we in the press say that the whole thing was just terrible, that actually turns off the voter/non-voter, right? the people who think the whole process is a mess, the people who say there are things on both sides, it plays into donald trump's plans to say that everything was terrible. so we've got to make sure that we're specific. no, donald trump was terrible and chris wallace didn't manage the debate particularly well. joe biden did fine.
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you can evaluate whether he did good one way or another. but i really want to focus, because i think this is why i agree with several other people that there should be no further debates. the idea that the president of the united states -- and language is so important. you know, whether or not he condemns white nationalism -- white nationalism is an ideology, right? the president of the united states encouraged terrorism. the proud boys are a terrorist organization. the president is encouraging terrorism. and what's important about this is, you've got to remember the entire exchange. chris wallace says, hey, will you condemn them? and trump's like, which ones? which ones are you talking about? and joe biden's like proud boys. think of it in these terms. imagine if a moderator asked some candidates, candidate "x," candidate trump, will you condemn men who abuse women? and trump had said, well, what kind of abuse? sexual abuse, physical abuse? what difference does it make? like, why do you need to find out which group of white supremacists to condemn? they're all terrorists! so, that's what i got from this.
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it is dangerous to allow a president to sit in front of 80 million people and the entire planet and encourage terrorism. and if he's going to do that, which he will as we get closer to the election and the numbers look worse and worse for him, it is a public danger. he is a national security risk. i don't want to see any more debates where a president encourages terrorism. >> well, also as i pointed out, when he was told to talk to his supporters about not engaging in civil unrest after the election, he said, "i'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully." this is something that donald trump jr.'s been talking about on facebook as well. we want poll watchers. go check the polls, make sure there's no funny business. the president, again, in front of 100 million people, said that last night, too. so, jim vandehei, back to our question at the top of the show -- who exactly did donald trump think he was appealing to last night? his base is locked in, has been for five years. he needs more than that to win another term. what was his strategy last night exactly? >> i mean, they had telegraphed it ahead of time, that he was
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going to be savage, and he did. they thought that they could rattle biden and that that would somehow benefit him with moderate voters who are scared or might be worried about violence in their neighborhoods or what might happen if you have a liberal agenda. i think the thing we're missing here -- and i agree that the refusal to condemn the proud boys as racist, as white supremacists, was terrible, in some ways, equally terrible -- go back and listen to what he said about post-election. he made it clear that he's going to force the courts to have to deal with ballots and whether or not they were valid. he has not signaled, unmistakably, for months on end, with specificity, that he is going to protest and say that it's an invalid result, even if it's a blowout. a week ago, we were saying if it's a blowout, that won't be the case. he's made it clear that there is going to be an epic fight, a test that this democracy has never had to withstand before, about whether or not an election result is valid.
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and you need to put those two next to each other. when he says "stand by," what do you want them to stand by for? you know what he wants them to stand by for. and i don't think i'm being hyperbolic. you might love the guy if you're watching this. this is terrible! you cannot say that -- [ inaudible ] even before the votes are counted. what if he wins? is he going to say i'm an illegitimate president because the whole damn thing was fraudulent from the beginning? he's not going to say that. and i don't know how you put restraints around that, because once you get close to vote, you can make court challenges. that's why we have all of these lawyers on both sides. it can get forced into the supreme court. it's probably going to be a 6-3 court that's also going to rule with donald trump. so, he's guaranteeing that this is weeks or months. and we cannot take our eye off that ball because our democracy's never gone through that before, and there are not any sort of triggers that you pull in case of emergency. >> listen, in terms of putting restraints on it, that was sort
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of -- trump gave an example of what he's doing to our democracy, in what he did to that debate last night, breaking all the rules, being rude, codecodes cozying up to white supremacists. need i say more? need i say more? except for that moment when he said, "stand back and stand by" for the proud boys, i would have backed up as a moderator and said, can you expound upon this? but they rammed through as much as they could. and the president rammed right over joe biden as much as he could. he broke all the rules. and joe, honestly, if there is another debate, there needs to be a buzzer. there needs to be a way to turn off the mic. and every time this president says something that is patently false, that is blatantly untrue, the conversation should not be allowed to go on. we need to have a debate based on facts, and he was not playing fair. and that's exactly how he runs this country. and that's exactly how he wants to run the election. >> you know, donald trump
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doesn't play by the rules and doesn't play by traditional democratic standards. and i said a couple weeks ago, i really thought that the biden campaign should have from the very beginning only asked for one debate, said we're going to do one debate. that was good enough for ronald reagan in 1980. it's good enough for us now. why? because we knew this was going to happen. we knew donald trump was going to use this huge stage to spread hatred, to send signals to white supremacists, to undermine democracy, to undermine the voting process, to undermine mail-in balloting, to try to get people to go out. he was going to use this megaphone to 100 million americans and his most rabid supporters, to go out and disrupt election day, and that's exactly what he did last night. i thought it was a mistake to
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give this guy three debates, because we knew they weren't going to be debates. >> joe biden did great, by the way. >> well, let's look. frank luntz did a -- first of all, a cnn poll shows overwhelming majority of americans thought that watched the debate that joe biden won the debate, like 60%-27%. but frank luntz had a focus group. and as frank always does during his focus groups, he asks the undecided voters to give one word that describes the candidates. do we have those, alex, in a full screen? these are what the voters, undecided voters, said about donald trump. asked to describe trump in one word or phrase, the responses were horrid, chaotic, unpolished, crackhead, ehh, puzzling, un-american, unhinged, an ass but a confident ass, classic trump, forceful, unhinged, bully, arrogant,
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arrogant, and typical. and then, this is what they said about joe biden in one word, these undecided voters. "i was surprised to see how well he did," "better than expected," competent, politician, showed restraint and compassion, politician, predictable, nice guy but lacking vision, coherent, leader, attentive and rehearsed, somewhat evasive, humanity and integrity. it's a tale, actually, of two debates. you look at the first, and it's like a debate from banana republic. you look at the second, and you actually see typical responses that you would see in typical presidential debates. but jon meacham, i will not ask you what recent debates, what kennedy/nixon debate this reminded you of or whether it was the ford/carter debate or the reagan/carter debate that
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you drew the similarities between. you've already stated that this was, in fact, one of the most horrid performances by an american president in well over a century. give us your thoughts on what we saw, the sad, sad spectacle that we saw last night. >> yeah. if you don't mind with me being a little personal for a second. for me it's redundant, of course. you and i are talking this morning, and i do what i do, not least because ronald reagan captured my imagination when i was a kid. there was something about his dignity, something about his bearing that i didn't know graham rudman, you know, from fisher-price, so it was not a great ideological insight. but there was something, as for a previous generation, that experienced with franklin roosevelt, there was something about his capacity to project a
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presence and a sense of character. and i understand all of the objections to ronald reagan, so put down your tweets. let's move on here. ronald reagan was part of that for me. i've published about a dozen books, most of them about the american presidency. i've been lucky enough, as you all have, i've interviewed seven of the nine presidents of my lifetime. i've never -- i never expected to have the reaction i had to what happened last night, where i was sitting with my two daughters and was genuinely embarrassed for the public arena that i've now spent almost a half century writing about.
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and so, that's not to pretend that, somehow, my personal experience is more valid or more important than anyone else's, but i want to get some context for saying, donald trump declared war on decency and on democracy last night in a way that is utterly unmistakable. this is not a, on the one hand, on the other hand. this was not a disaster because of biden and trump. this was the elemental trump offering himself to be seen by all for what he is, which is someone who cares not a wit about you or me or anyone else. he cares about himself. he cares about holding on to power. he cares about keeping the people who put him in power happy. and as you were just saying, he also very clearly said, at least twice, that it could be months and months before we know who
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wins the presidential election. now, he doesn't understand how that works, unsurprisingly. but i think we'd better start talking now about what this looks like, if it goes to the house of representatives. i don't think that's alarmist in any way. and we can talk about that as much as we want. but decency and democracy took severe blows last night. and i don't know how to say to teenage kids in america, you know, politics is a noble profession, except to say, there's joe biden, and he is trying to project stability in this stormy sea of ego and lies. we saw a thug last night in the office of the president of the united states. we saw a clear, compelling,
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dignified alternative. and joe biden's not on the ballot a this point. we are. >> jon, you're not alone in that. i heard from a lot of people, including me, my kids, 13 and 11 years old, they watched. i told them, sit down, this is a hugely consequential election. four years ago they were a little too young to get it. and about ten minutes in, they looked at me and they said, "is it always like this?" i said, "no, it's never like this, actually. this is unique and this is bad and you're right to react that way." but jon, i wonder what you think about the impact on the election. we can talk about what happens after the election, and we should, but on voters watching that last night, joe ran through some of the comments from undecideds. i guess there are still some undecideds in the country on this choice between president trump and joe biden. but what -- if there's somebody sitting in nashville or in tennessee who hasn't made up their mind yet and they're watching that last night, what
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are they thinking? >> you know, i have a -- again, no data. i've never been burdened by data. as abraham lincoln said. i think that there could now be a quiet biden voter, right? i think there's an intuitive revulsion against what people saw last night. i think people will tune into the second to see if it's going to be as bad. i wouldn't buy stock in the ratings for the third. just guessing. we live -- we talk, rightfully, about structural racism. we also live with structural partisans right now. so, there are very few people who -- are going to make up their mind. i do wonder, part of the -- if there was a strategy for this thuggish performance, it could have been voter suppression. it could have been, made it so
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messy, so awful, that people are going to go, i am not going to go stand in that line, i'm not going to go catch covid, i am not going to worry about these mail-in ballots, you know, to hell with it. that's a possible reaction. i pray, honestly, that that's not reaction, but i wonder. i think it will drive biden engagement in a significant way. and my own sense is that there are going to be people who are going to have to genuinely decide here, are they with america, as we want it to be, or do they want to be the america that trump put on display last night? i mean, you couldn't have -- if we had scripted this, right? if yesterday morning we had sat around and said, here's what donald trump's going to do, people would have said, oh, you know, he's so much cleverer than
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that. well, no, he's not cleverer than that, you know? he came in and brutalized democratic conventions, lower case "d," lowercase "c." and this isn't hyperbolic, you know? just watch it, you know? and come away. last quick point. on the structural partisanship and the effect on the election. 9% of self-identified democrats voted for george w. bush in 2000. and i think 13% of self-identified republicans voted for barack obama in 2008. so, i've always thought that was kind of the modern metric of genuine bipartisanship on the part of the public. you know, would you cross the aisle and then tell an exit pollster you did it? so, it's about 10%. if there are 5% of people in the country who don't know what they're going to do, i'd be surprised.
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>> yeah, agree. jon meacham, thank you so much. we really appreciate your time this morning. jim vandehei, i just want to follow up on something you said. and the challenges to democracy. it reminds me, frank ford last night said anybody that's trying to score this debate in a traditional sense has it off, is way off. as jon meacham said, what donald trump is trying to do is what, well, what vladimir putin has been trying to do for years, and that is, undermine confidence in traditional american democracy. make it look like such a spectacle, make it look so outrageous, make it look so chaotic that when you go from that chaos to the chaos of people trying to intimidate voters when they're standing in line, and then you go to the president of the united states,
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trying to undermine the legitimacy of ballots from coast to coast, then suddenly, democracy has been undermined, the democratic process has been undermined. and when that happens, yes, vladimir putin wins, because that's his goal, but also in this case, donald trump wins because he's trying to undermine the results of an election and a political process where he knows he's going to lose. >> here's the thing about trump, and you know this. he's in some ways the most transparent and knowable president we've had in some time. you can almost always predict -- you knew what that debate was going to look like. they had telegraphed it for weeks. it was going to be savage and he'll try to rattle biden, say things that seem crazy just to see if he can get in his head. put that aside. he has telegraphed now for weeks, for months, whathe's going to do with the election results. and the reason we return to this
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topic is, if you lose faith in the vote, if you lose faith in the outcome of an election, the whole damn thing collapses from within. if half the country doesn't believe you have a legitimate elected president and you have all of this protest, all of this anger, all of this dry kindling already sitting out there, and then you have the president of the united states telling groups to stand by, tell people to go watch them at the polls. there's no mystery what he's saying! and again, i know that trump supporters watch this and they're like, oh, it's just partisan, you guys are standing up for biden. it's not! you just listen to his words. and he always tells you what he's going to do. so, you now know well in advance, with a certainty that you rarely have in politics, what the days and weeks after the election look like. and that's why you have to prepare for it. people have to understand, you're not going to know what the result is. we have to somehow get people to realize, calm the hell down and let's let the votes be counted,
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that in the history of mail-in voting and voting, there's very little fraud. there's usually -- there's not massive problems with the voting. there sometimes is on the margin, but that stuff will be worked out. and ultimately, even at the end, biden, even after all of the nonsense of the debate, what did he say? he said, oh, i'll accept the results. and trump refuses to say i'm going to accept the results, and that is something we can't talk enough about. and in terms of the debate, like, it was just depressing, right? i was talking to mikey this morning, i said, it's like social media, right? you spend all this time, 90 minutes, and all of a sudden, 90 minutes later, you're full of anxiety and you realize you're a hell of a lot dumber than when you logged in, in the first place. so it was a sad night -- captured it perfectly. >> it was. it's a lot like social media in which a lot of lies were spewed out with no fact-checking and no control over the situation. and while trump maybe did biden a favor last night, because
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biden did well, i'm not sure why anybody would participate in an event that is so disastrous for democracy again. that was a mess. jim vandehei, thank you. we'll have much more from last night's off-the-rails debate, if that's what you want to call it. and house speaker nancy pelosi will be our guest. her reaction to what happened in cleveland last night. and the national security concerns as the result of the president's massive amount of debt. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> i want to get our hands around a very difficult situation -- >> all right, all right, donald. >> joe, one other thing -- >> hold on, you've got to let us ask questions. >> go. >> you've got to let us talk. you've got to let us ask questions. you're just talking. >> no, i'm not just talking. >> donald, doyou're not going t keep talking. we will go to break if you're going to keep talking -- >> go to break, then, joe. all i'm doing is giving you facts and you don't want to hear the facts. >> go to break right now.
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we'll be right back with more "morning joe." right now we'll be right back with more "morning joe." 'm on vibrate. aa! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ - [announcer] meet the make fast family-sized meals in the time it takes some ovens to preheat. with ninja's super-heated air, you can air fry for extra crispy, guilt-free, delicious results. and because it's a ninja foodi, it can do things that no other oven can, and even flip up and out of the way. the ninja foodi air fry oven. the oven that crisps and flips away.
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four years behind us. to end the anger, the insults, the division. and start fresh in america. i don't pledge allegiance to red states of america or blue states of america. i pledge allegiance to the united states of america. i'm gonna fight as hard for those who supported me as those who did not support me. we have a chance to put anger and division that has overtaken this country behind us. and we can. we've done it so many times in our history.
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we begun anew. we can get control of this virus. we can reward work. we can make healthcare affordable. we can be a safe and just nation. we can deal with the existential threat of climate change. we can be what we are at our best. one nation, one people, one america. i'm joe biden and i approve this message.
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will you urge your supporters to stay calm during this extended period, not to engage in any civil unrest? and will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified? president trump, you go first. >> i'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that's what has to happen. i am urging them to do it. i am urging my people -- i hope it's going to be a fair election. if it's a fair election -- >> you're urging them what? >> i am 100% on board. but if i see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, i can't go along with that. >> the president last night urging his supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully. jason johnson, that's not an offhanded comment. donald trump jr. cut an ad in which he calls upon an army, an army for trump's election security operation. "we need you to help us watch them. we need every able-bodied man
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and woman to join the army for trump's election security." calling on people like, oh, i don't know, the proud boys that president trump gave license to last night to literally go to polling places and, quote, watch the election. jason? >> oh, sorry. i couldn't hear. yeah, here's the thing, willie. and i think this is what i was saying before about terrorism. you have to look at the grand total of what the president's doing, right? remember, he's still attacking the post office with dejoy. we still have our postal workers fighting back. they're trying to suppress the vote that way. they're still suing counties across the country to try to end mail-in ballot applications and everything else like that. he has made it clear that he's going to get judges that are going to try to throw out as many ballots as possible. then you can get to your local state suppression, and now he's added to it. i am calling -- him and his son are calling on an army of terrorists to stop people from voting. that's what the president of the
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united states is doing. if -- and i think this is so important for us to recognize -- if this was erdogan, if this was boris johnson, if this was bolsonaro in brazil, we would be screaming right now! we would say, oh, my gosh, this is what dictators do! that's exactly what the president of the united states is doing. and he said -- i've said for months, he's not running a re-election campaign. he's just trying to consolidate power. and i think what's important is that we have to remember that part of this rhetoric is to intimidate people. part of the rhetoric is to make people quit. the one thing that we have to be careful about from last night and the polling is -- and just like joe mentioned earlier, it was really good -- i went and looked at frank luntz and all of his data and sort of his focus group. the biggest danger is that you saw people last night in the focus group throw up their hands and say, i don't want to vote for either of these guys. between that and violence and calling on terrorists, that is a success for donald trump. he wants us all to get in the mud with him, because if we get in the mud, we can't climb this
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democracy of the ditch that he drove us into. so, yeah, i'm not surprised that he's calling on an army. i'm not surprised his son is calling on an army. and he will get nor aggressive and more violent closer to the election. >> and you know, it has been the goal of america's enemies for decades to undermine american democra democracy. it has been the goal of vladimir putin specifically to undermine american democracy and americans' faith in their own democracy. and last night, what we saw with donald trump was one candidate's attempt to undermine america's faith in democracy, to undermine americans' faith in the democratic process, to intimidate voters from going out and participating in a process that so many american heroes have given their lives for, that right to choose leaders dramatically, and even called
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upon white supremacists, antisemitics, to stand by. yeah, all ominous, and of course, all for the same purpose, along with that entire spectacle last night, as frank four commented on last night -- the goal is to undermine americans' confidence in the american process and in this election, because he knows he's going to lose. so, what does he want to do? he wants to -- he wants to undermine american democracy. and it's up to americans to not let that happen. so, john heilemann, let's actually talk about something we haven't talked about today, because i agree with masha, that our political lexicon is limited in its ability to respond to the extremes and the excesses and the authoritarian instincts of donald trump, but we need to do it anyway, because there are
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millions and millions of people that are going to go out and vote. and i think it's safe to say -- and i say this very calmly -- i think what's going to happen is that people who saw that debate last night are just going to be even more pissed off. that's the word. to go out and vote against donald trump. and i speak specifically of women, suburban voters, more educated voters, independents, all the demographic groups that we have seen moving away from donald trump and the republican party, whether it was in the 2007 gubernatorial and legislative races, whether it was in the 2018 democratic landslide, whether it was in the 2019 races in kentucky and louisiana, or whether it's been in some of these races in 2020. so, i'm curious. what we're seeing now -- and what we saw with what mitch
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mcconnell did immediately following the death of ruth bader ginsburg -- and we've seen a drop in polls, because again, suburban women, women in general, more educated voters and independents who are dead set against bringing on yet another supreme court justice before this election. i'm wondering if donald trump is just breaking up any remnants of support beyond his most hardened, boiled-down base? >> yeah, joe. i think that's the other way in which you read what happened last night, right? which is, the decision -- first, as i said earlier in the hour, to try to break the system, break the process, right? that expression of, i can't compete if i debate like a normal debater, if i accept the terms the way they are conventionally laid out, i can't win, right? that's one thing. the second thing is, though, like, it's one thing to say, as
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we have for months now, that donald trump is going with the base-only strategy, that he's trying to animate his base, he's trying to find white, non-college men, broadly speaking, in battleground states, and trying to identify ones who didn't vote in 2016 and bring them out in 2020, at the expense of trying to compete in the middle, kind of giving up on suburban, moderate, independent, republican-leaning, suburban, college-educated, white women for example, right? he's not going to focus on them. this was a performance last night that was not about not focusing on them. this was a performance last night that was designed, in some ways, kind of expressly -- it's the only way to kind of get your head around it. he was basically not just not targeting that group of voters, but basically writing them off entirely. there's no other way to interpret that performance, other than to say, it was, again, an act of kind of direct hostility. the things that -- >> again, to what end, though, jon?
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>> republican-leaning -- >> jon, to what end? because of course, he can't win without those suburban voters, without the women, without the independents. so, if he's writing them off, he's writing off the election. and i agree with you, that's what he did. so, to what end is he basically writing off the election and his ability to win in pennsylvania, in michigan, in minnesota, in wisconsin, even in florida? >> i think he is doing -- i think you have to combine athis part of the analysis with what jim was talking about before the break, which is, their strategy now is very clear, which is to try to win in enough battleground states the election-day vote. and that i think is what's going on here. it's like, donald trump is trying to say, how do i get people -- a group of people who are largely not immune from
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concern about coronavirus? we already know there's a disparity between republicans and democrats in terms of who's willing to put health concerns aside and show up on election day, stand in a long line, go and vote in person. we know there's this giant disparity. democrats are going to vote early and by mail. republicans are going to show up on election day. trump is now speaking to those republican-leaning suburban women act more like democrats in this context, right? trump has focused explicitly on how do i win the gameday vote? how do i get my core base supporters to come out on election day so on the gameday vote, i can put a flag in the ground and say, i won pennsylvania on election day, in-person voting, and then after election day, all of those other votes, those tens of millions of votes that come in by mail, that have come in early, many of which are not going to be counted until after election day, then engage in a knife fight in the counting rooms, in the validation-certification
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process, in the courts, in the electoral college, in the house of representatives, ultimately. again, meacham and jim vandehei are talking about this the right way now. the trump campaign thinks the fight for the presidency is not -- we all say, hey, election day's early. people are voting early right now. they say, we don't care about that. we're going to contend that all of that was ill le jimt. and for us, election day starts on election day and continues until january 20th. that's where the fight is going to happen. and that's why trump is now starting to talk about all of -- he's trying to get -- what's the proud boys thing about? it's about their increasing conviction that there is going to be civil unrest in the country between -- i'm talking about their conviction. this is not a left-wing, partisan conspiracy theory. within trump's inner circle, within trump's councils of power, within the -- the influential people on the outside, like steve bannon, they now talk about the war starts the day after election day. the fight is between november
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4th and january 20th, and some of that fight is going to be, as i said, in counting rooms, in the courts, in the house of representatives, and, potentially, in the streets. and i think they are getting ready for that fight, and they are in some respects realizing it's the only path to the presidency for him. and it's going to be really ugly. that's what trump said last night, this is not going to be pretty. this is going to be ugly. that's what he's talking about, joe. >> yep, he is. john heilemann, thank you very, very much. we have much more on that scary scenario in just a moment. bob woodward will be our guest. but first, fact-checking seems a little quaint after what we saw from the president last night. we should have been fact-checking in real time last night. but steve rattner has some on the economic claims that were made. donald trump said we're in a v-shaped economic recovery, but the virus interrupted the best economy ever, that he saved the manufacturing sector and that the economy will crash if biden gets elected. steve, take us through your
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charts. and was the president saying the truth? >> thanks, mika. and those are the four subjects on the economy we want to cover today. let's start with the idea of a v-shaped recovery, which we've heard a lot about in the past and we heard a little bit about it last night in the midst of all of the yelling and skreming that you've all been talking about now, so sad to watch all that happen. but you can see on this chart the enormous drop that the economy suffered in the second quarter, 22 million jobs lost through april, thanks to the pandemic, but you don't see a "v." you don't see it coming back up the other side. what you see is 2.7 million jobs, 4.8 and so forth, but the pace of the recovery has been slowing. august it was 4 million jobs and this august it will probably be under a million. we've only recovered about half of the jobs we lost and the same is true of the overall recovery. only half of the loss of the size of the gdp will be recovered this year. so, that's the story on the
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so-called v-shaped recovery. now let's talk about his claim that even before the virus, he had the best economy ever. so, this chart goes all the way back to the days of eisenhower and shows the gdp growth under each of those presidents. and you can see that, in fact, donald trump's economy was far from the best ever. in fact, it was only the 8th of the 11 last economies, and that's not even counting the virus. that is before the virus. and many of these other presidents had recessions, they had challenges and so forth. if you add in the effects of the virus, what you would find is that donald trump's economy was, in fact, the worst of all 11 of these past presidents. he mentioned manufacturing last night, and he has talked a lot about manufacturing during his time in office. and it is true that when he first came in and passed those tax cuts -- and you heard about those tax cuts last night, of which 85% of the benefit went to wealthy people and to business -- it did help manufacturing in the short run, but then he got into a tariff
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war, and the tariff war actually drove down our growth in manufacturing, jobs. in fact, again, even before the pandemic, you can see by the fourth quarter of 2019, we were adding no manufacturing jobs whatsoever, and since the virus hit, we've, in fact, started to lose manufacturing jobs, a total of 734,000 so far this year. and then, to the last question, mika, on the question, who would help the economy more? this chart we're going to put up now is from moody's. it is a non-partisan, impartial service. and what it says is, basically, that biden, in fact, would help the economy more. biden with a split congress, between democrats and republicans, would be 3.5% gdp growth. trump with a split conference would only be 3.2%. a democratic sweep would actually lead to 4.2% growth in the economy versus only 3.1%
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under the republicans. and this is because, if the democrats get in office, as you heard the vice president say last night, he has a package of plans. he has robust plans to address all of our problems, unlike the president, who you heard last night, really didn't articulate anything of a second-term agenda. so, here you have an independent economist, moody's, saying, in fact, contrary to, perhaps, some people's guesses, that a biden presidency would be better for the economy than a second term of donald trump, mika. >> so, steve, these are remarkable charts. and i'd love to go back to the trump economy compared to the other presidents. really quickly, just to underline this one more time, not so much for donald trump, because he knows he's lying about it, but for newspeople that over the past four years have taken donald trump's bluster as reality, when, in fact, even before the pandemic, donald trump and his economy
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grew more slowly than eisenhower's, than jfk's, than lbj's, than nixon's, grew slower than jimmy carter's economy, and of course, grew slower than ronald reagan's economy. so, if you take all of the post-war presidents, save truman, donald trump is seventh out of 11. that is not even close to the best economy ever. in fact, it's one of the worst since world war ii. >> that's exactly right. that's exactly right, joe. and in fact, a fact that came out last night in the debate that i've used in other charts with you guys is in the last three years of obama's presidency, the obama/biden administration created more jobs in its last three years than donald trump created in his first three years. so, the idea that he's the greatest jobs creator in history is also not true. and as you point out, all of these other presidents, they faced their economic challenges. they faced stagflation.
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they faced recessions. they faced wars. they faced plenty of other issues, and yet, donald trump has one of the worst economic records of any president since world war ii. >> well, and that's why our lower third shouldn't say trump economy was not the best ever. if we're going to be more accurate, it would actually be trump has one of the worst economies in the post-war era. steve rattner, thank you so much. >> thank you, steve! >> we appreciate you getting the facts to us. let's bring in more important voices to this conversation this morning. msnbc contributor mike barnicle, white house reporter for the soap soap, jan thjonathan lamir with bbc america, post of the new podcast "when catty met carlos," katty kay. and former press secretary for president obama, robert kbibzgi
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and editor of the "washington post" and author of the book "rage," bob woodward. and jason johnson is still with us as well. >> so, bob woodward, thank you so much for being with us. i don't think your title of the book has ever been more appropriate than what happened last night from donald trump yelling throughout the entire debate, interrupting, and then sending a message to the white boys to stand back and -- the proud boys -- to stand back and stand by. what were your thoughts on the debate? >> well, the first is, i spent lots of this year listening to trump, talking to him for hours. and what's interesting -- so many of these things he said last night he has said before. in fact, i think he said almost nothing original last night. what does that tell us? he did not prepare for the debate. he figured, i'll just wing it.
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and of course, winging it describes his presidency. he has not planned, he has not organized. he's obsessed with winning re-election. i think what we saw last night is he has no idea how to win. he has no idea to reach out to people. there was biden saying, you know, half a dozen times, talking to the voter, saying, i'm going to do this, i promise this, and so forth. was it a perfect performance? no. but you've got to put yourself in the place of somebody who has to actually go out and make a decision and who to vote for, and trump is on a rant and rage. i've never seen anything like it. of course, none of us have because i don't think it's ever happened before. and how you get control of the
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debate process, as people have been pointing out, how you get control of the vote-counting process. what are we headed toward? laid over all of this, what steve rattner was pointing out -- the economy is not good. this is not a good time for people, particularly for american workers. then you lay into this the issue of the virus. trump has, again, wing it, no plan, absorb random information, not really think it through. it is, in a sense -- i don't want to overstate this, but he is assassinating the presidency. the job of a president is protect the people, tell the
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truth, provide some sort of moral compass, moral, hey, this is why we're doing it, this is where we're going. i spent a lot of time talking to him over the year this year about that, and he will give out wor words, but there's nothing behind it, and that was revealed last night. so, embarrassment, sadness, and people are going to have to unwind some of this and make sense of our democracy in the coming four months before the next president takes office, and it might be trump. certainly, it might be trump. big mess on our hands. always, the question is, are the institutions up to it? and i have to vote doubt on that. i don't know whether we have a process or leadership out there
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that can gather the remnants that are on the floor that trump has shredded, just absolutely shredded and ignored and put it back together. sorry to be a pessimist. >> no. bob woodward saying donald trump is, quote, assassinating the presidency. that will stop you in your tracks this morning. bob, it's willie. i've been telling people, and we've all been saying on this show that anybody thinking about casting a vote should have to sit and read your book as a civic duty, because it does reveal more than anything i've seen about this president who he is, what he really believes on the record. and as someone who's spoken to him so much over the last year and gotten inside his head and understood the way he thinks, there are some people who say, oh, his defenders, he's just throwing things out there to make you guys, you know, chase it down a rabbit hole. but he has made very clear and did again last night that he's going to cast doubt on the outcome of this election. and then last night, he called on a white supremacist group to stand by. he told people to go to polling
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stations and keep an eye on the vote. he's been clear. when you say it again and again and again, somebody better start to believe that he's going to do something after this election, if the vote shows he doesn't win. so, what are the institutions that you think need to step up in this moment and what do you see is happening from november 4th forward? >> well, the institution that's not an institution is the republican party. and if we go all the way back to the nixon case and watergate, finally, the republican party stepped up and said to nixon, you are damaging not just the party, your legacy, but the country, and you don't have the votes to survive. now, are we in a world where there are leaders in the republican party -- i know some of them privately, very, you know, kind of in the deep
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whisper, oh, yeah, we know he's not the man for the job. are they going to organize? are they going to see what's before them? and this, of course, requires somethi something, a kind of leadership that is rare, where people who have these roles will say, what's the national interest out -- i mean, last night, my wife, elsa, and i were getting text messages from our young daughter, asking, essentially, the question -- what the hell is going on in this debate? it's real easy to extend that to the question, what the hell is going on in this country? and can people somehow get behind this idea of we've got to fix it? we can't just play politics as normal, because this is not a normal moment, and, as
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everyone's pointed out, what's the election going to be like? how are votes going to be counted? what is going to be certification? what is the role of the courts? god help us. >> yeah. well, it reminds me of what jay rosen at nyu wrote several weeks ago, and that is that media outlets, at the very least, need to have a threat assessment system. and there was some question about what that would look like and what the potential threats would be. well, we know this morning, if we didn't know several weeks before, that that threat starts with, again, donald trump's plan -- and this is his plan, as john heilemann said, it's obvious -- he's going to try to declare victory on election day. and he's going to try to fight and discount as many votes,
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millions, tens of millions of votes that are mail-in ballots. and he's going to use intimidation. he's telling white supremacists and anti-semitics to stand by. his family is talking about an army to go and intimidate voters on election day and beyond. so, if you're the governor of the state of missouri, you need to have your plan in place, ready for donald trump to try to disrupt every voting station, for donald trump to try to disrupt the counting of hundreds of thousands of ballots in your state, in wisconsin. if you're the governor of michigan, the same holds true. you know what donald trump's going to do. you need to tell voters in your state what you're going to do to make sure their vote is going to be protected. if you're the governor in
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pennsylvania, the same holds true for you. if you have listened to donald trump the last month, you know what he's going to try to do. he is going to try to do everything in his power to stop voters in pennsylvania who cast mail-in ballots from having those votes counted. you need to let the people of pennsylvania know, what is your plan? there are a couple of states -- florida -- we're probably going to know by 10:00, 11:00 at night in florida, if it's not a close race, who the winner is in that state, because they start counting their ballots early. if you vote early, they start counting the votes early. that process should -- and i say should -- be a little more reasonable. or if you're in arizona, that's another, same-day state that we
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should know the results by the end of the evening, if they aren't razor-thin and too close like they were in florida in 2020. so, you know the threat. donald trump has told you what he's going to do, and if you're a governor of those swing states -- iowa, wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, north carolina -- you need to have your plan ready, and you need to tell voters in your state what you're going to do to protect their vote. now, jonathan lamire, i'm curious. i saw -- i think i saw chris christie hanging around the white house an awful lot. i'm not sure if he was helping donald trump with the debate prep -- and if he was, it's fascinating that he went from that position to being an analyst on abc news after the debate. but was this -- do your sources suggest that this was chris
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christie's idea, to blow up the process? because we kind of know chris. i don't think the governor would tell the president of the united states to do such things, to tell white supremacists and anti-semitics to be on standby. was this the white house's plan, or was this, as i suspect, donald trump once again ignoring everybody's advice and deciding to go out and just blow things up? >> first of all, joe, trump did very little in the way of formal trump preparation, according to our reporting. chris christie was part of that team that met over the last couple days. so was former new york city mayor rudy giuliani. and there was a divide in the trump camp as to exactly the tone a president should take. some wanted him to try to lean more on his accomplishments, point to the economy, try to be -- no one will ever suggest presidential -- but be a little more measured in his response. obviously, the president opted
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to take another path, and this is what he has been saying for days he wanted to do. this was his decision. he wanted to go a full on attack on joe biden. he wanted to hit him with everything about his son hunter, to his own record as 47 years in office, suggesting that he would be, you know, he was an out-of-touch, corrupt politician. this was, let's say again, this was the president's decision to go on the attack like he did last night. and what we saw was, without question, the most chaotic presidential debate in recent memory, the ugliest presidential debate in recent memory, one that, you know, i think left a lot of americans really frustrated and disgusted. i'd be curious to see, once we see television ratings, if they started to really decline in the back half of that debate, if people, perhaps, turned off their television because they didn't want to keep watching that spectacle. and it also illuminated a lot of the president's weaknesses here. he did not have a good answer about his tax returns. he certainly did not have a good answer on how he has handled the covid-19 pandemic, which is still the defining issue of this
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election. and that's what last night was for the president. it was a missed opportunity. this was one -- this was one of the few chances he had left to try to recast this election, which to this point has been almost solely a referendum on his handling of the pandemic. he was trying to make it more of a choice election, to make it about a choice between trump and biden. instead, he comes out of that debate, a night that was solely about trump and his performance and the anger and the interrupting and the debasing of the office. so, not only was it tough to watch, but one wonders, how did this do him any good? the president has lost, we know, support amongst seniors, amongst senior women, independents. those are the voters he's been trying to get back. how did last night help him with any of those? it simply reinforced all of the things they don't like about him. they have been turned off by the rhetoric, the attitude, the tweets, the not respecting the norms of the office, all of which he did again last night.
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so, not only are there, of course, very dangerous things to look at -- his support for the proud boys -- his refusal to condemn the proud boys, his refusal to suggest that he will concede the election, but also just electorally, it is hard to imagine how he picked up any vo votes last night. >> it was hideous. in brief moments for former vice president joe biden, when he was able to speak uninterrupted on last night's debate stage, which was not often, he took the president on for his botched handling of the coronavirus pandemic, lack of a health care plan, and what is really going on in america's suburbs. >> 200,000 dead. as you said, over 7 million infected in the united states. we, in fact, have 5% -- we're 4% of the world's population, 20% of the deaths. 40,000 people a day are contracting covid. in addition to that, about between 750 and 1,000 people a day are dying. when he was presented with that
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number, he said, "it is what it is." well, it is what it is because you are who you are. that's why it is. the president has no plan. he hasn't laid out anything. you should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap and get in -- in your golf course and go in the oval office and bring together the democrats and republicans and fund what needs to be done now to save lives. how many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the kitchen table because someone died of covid? how many of you are in a situation where you lost your mom or dad and you couldn't even speak to them? you had a nurse holding a phone up so you could, in fact, say good-bye -- >> we would have lost far more people, far more people. >> he hasn't lowered drug costs for anybody. he's been promising a health care plan since he got elected. he has none, like almost everything else he talks about. he does not have a plan. he doesn't have a plan. and the fact is, this man doesn't know what he's talking about. he wouldn't know a suburb unless he took a wrong turn.
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>> i know suburbs so much better than you. so much better -- >> i was raised in the suburbs. this is not 1950. all these dog whistles on racism don't work anymore. suburbs are by and large integrated. there are as many people today driving their kids to soccer practice and/or, black and white and hispanic in the same car as there have been any time in the past. what really is a threat to the suburbs and their safety is his failure to deal with covid. they're dying in the suburbs. >> it is what it is because you are who you are was an incredible line by joe biden to donald trump as it pertains to how many people have died on his watch because of his lack of planning. but if bob woodward thinks, robert gibbs, that the presidency is being assassinated, the debate last night was fire-bombed by donald trump. and here's the thing -- it could have been prevented. there were many options that the moderator could have taken. he could have stopped the debate. he could have made the men walk
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off stage and come back. he could have asked audio -- he could have turned around and said, i'd like to know who's running audio. i need you to turn off donald trump's mic, because i would like to hear joe biden speak for two minutes uninterrupted. he did none of that. what are the issues at stake for the debate commission, if there's going to be a second debate? because if i were team biden, i would not do another debate after this debacle. >> well, mika, i think you hit the nail on the head. i think we need to hear this morning from the presidential commission on debates as to what they're going to do to get this format and to get this debate process back on track. i would suggest first looking at the format. i don't think you can have freeform discussion without some basic time limits, some sort in terms of who answers questions when. and then even as donald trump blew through those rules, i think you've got to have a
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moderator or a control room that literally has control over that microphone. i think the debate commission can't stand -- and quite frankly, the american people can't tolerate two more episodes of what we saw last night. we did not see a debate. we saw an embarrassment for american democracy. we saw something that's going to turn millions of voters off to this process, which is never good. it undermines everything about a free and fair election. i think the commission has to get control of this process this morning. they've got to call the two campaigns together. and this isn't about asking. it's not about negotiating. they set out a set of rules that both campaigns agreed to, but only one campaign actually adhered to. and so, i think it's time to walk the campaigns through what the new set of rules are and tell them, if they're not happy with it, don't come. >> donald trump is not going to observe any rules. that seems to be the problem. and katty kay, i guess if you're joe biden, the objective last
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night -- and we saw it even in his physical posture -- was to effectively ignore president trump. he looked at the moderator or to camera most of the time, laughed sometimes when donald trump said something outrageous, tried not to take the bait on most of those. he will have -- we want to point out -- coming up on monday, a town hall with lester holt on nbc, where he can actually get a thought out and talk to undecided voters. but if you're the biden campaign, do you like this format the next two times? in other words, is it okay with you if donald trump wants to go out and set himself on fire in front of 100 million people a couple more times? >> i can't believe anyone likes this format a couple more times. i mean, to the extent that we went into this debate with joe biden eight points ahead and the debate did nothing to improve donald trump's fortunes, then i guess it's a win for joe biden, but it's a pretty awful way to have to get a win. >> yeah. >> and he did try. i mean, he spoke directly to the people. he got some of his points across and he managed to kind of, you
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know, sort of mocking, dismissive tone towards donald trump. but to go through that two more times would be excruciating, i think, and certainly excruciating for viewers, and particularly excruciating for suburban women viewers who, both sides are trying to win over. at one point, we had three elderly white men up on a stage yelling at each other and talking over each other. it felt, as a woman watching, like every bad meeting you've been in with some guy yelling at you and not listening to you. >> so true. >> how is that going to help? didn't that -- wasn't that what it felt like? i felt like i've been in this place. i've been in that meeting. i've been in that row with my, you know, boyfriend or something. and it felt bad. and i didn't want to be there. and i don't think that's a good way to turn out voter turnout of suburban women voters, if that's what you're trying to do, but maybe, actually, that's not what donald trump was trying to do. he was trying to -- this is, you know, chris wallace called out, donald trump was responsible for this. he called it out self times -- you are the one that is not
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playing by the rules, you are the one that's doing the interrupting. he was trying to smash the debate process and potentially to smash the election process, too. and i think the most damaging bit of the whole debate was in the last few minutes, where donald trump was allowed to talk about mail voter fraud, which doesn't exist, and he wasn't called on it. and that's a very alarming message for people to have been left with, because maybe the whole strategy was to turn out, to suppress voter turnout, in which case the election becomes a bit of a sham. >> off of what katty kay said about the last element of the debate -- debate -- last night, trying to suppress voter turnout, perhaps. this has been very depressing. listening to this conversation this morning, as enlightening as much of it has been, it's still depressing. and you grew up in a suburban area around chicago. i grew up in a mill town in
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central massachusetts. and for some reason, i've been thinking about the people who we know together, the people who we grew up with together, this morning. and the people who get thrilled and get out of their way to go see a presidential motorcade or, certainly, air force one, if it lands at a nearby airport to where they live. this is the majesty of the country, the blessing of this country, the people of the country. and the abuse that they took last night from a sitting president of the united states, to so diminish that office. i'm wondering, in your mind, donald trump clearly had nothing to say last night. in your many hours of speaking with him for your book, for this latest book of yours, did you get any sense, any sense at all, that donald trump has any idea of the real composition of this
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country, the people of this country, who they are and what their interests and needs and things that are important to them are? any interest at all? does he have any interest at all in them? >> wow. that's about 10 or 12 questions, very, very good ones. i think, first of all, people are talking about here, saying, well, he's got a plan. he's going to disrupt the election. one of the things that are very important to understand about trump, he essentially has no plans about anything. it may sound like he's got a plan, but it is impulse-driven. he will decide in the moment. he will not listen to other people. and so, it's quite possible it's going -- it's going to look like a plan, but i'm pretty sure it's not a plan because that's not the way he operates.
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now, on the question, does he understand the country? critical question. and i think he does not. and i think it is most revealed when he talks about the pandemic and the virus, and he says, oh, i downplayed it. i downplayed it because i don't want to panic people. and he thinks that people in this country panic. and yes, sometimes they do. but if they're led, if they're told the truth and they say, like presidents have done historically -- even george w. bush did this after 9/11 -- he mobilized the country, mobilized the congress, both parties. things got screwed up later with the iraq invasion, but there was a mobilization. trump does not know how to mobilize. he does not know what the buttons are on the american
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console of get this interest group, talk to these people, organize these people, go out and do something that even has the rem nance of coherence. unfortunately, that is not the way he works. and i think the failure to understand the strength of people. you know, you were talking, mike, about the 1950s. i was raised in a town outside of chicago, and i remember in the 1952 campaign, i think i was 9 years old or 8 years old, and they said, eisenhower is coming to town! and people raced out just to kind of be and see that car. and there is a kind of belief, i
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think, lots of people have in the process of democracy, and it's in shambles now. i think, number one question is, what are the republicans going to do? are they going to step up? is there any leadership? we all know republicans, particularly in the senate, who know what's going on, they understand it, and will they gather together? will they do something? will they send a message? i think the ball is very much in the republican party's court. >> bob woodward, we can't thank you enough. >> yeah, thank you, bob. >> for being with us today. >> thank you. >> and you're -- of all the things you've said and all of the things that have been said this morning, the one that really explains the debate, explains over 200,000 people dead from the coronavirus, explains our colossal missteps
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on foreign policy, explains the disaster that has been the past four years of this presidency, it comes down to your simple sentence -- he does not have a plan. and he never has. read the first two pages of "art of the deal," and he says he deliberately walks into an office without a plan. well, he's walked into our office and has destroyed america in the process. bob woodward, thank you so much. we are so grateful that you are here today. >> thank you. >> your new book, of course, is "rage." the tapes that were the backbone of that book historically will be remembered. i predict every being, being every bit as consequential as the nixon tapes that, of course, bob also was responsible for along with coral bernstein, getting all that information out. let's go to jason johnson. i want to follow up on bob's
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insight that he does not have a plan. he didn't really have a plan last night for the debates. he was ill prepared. he knew if he debated anybody, joe biden, anybody, he would look foolish, because he doesn't know facts. he didn't have a plan for covid. that's why if you look in the bottom of your screen, you'll see that 207,232 americans are dead, because donald trump never put forward a plan, even though he admitted to bob how bad things were. only question is, jason, does this extend to after the election? does he have a plan to subvert democracy? not easy to do. or is this all, again, gut instincts, just a guy who knows he's going to lose and trying to make an excuse for a humiliating political loss? >> well, i've got to tell you, joe -- and you're right, it's not just that, as bob woodward mentioned, trump doesn't have a plan. remember, the entire republican
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party doesn't have a plan right now. remember, they didn't have a platform. their platform in the convention was, we affirm whatever it is donald trump comes up with. so, what we've been seeing is a president who's been winging it all along. most reporters will tell you this. jonathan lamire, everybody else knows this. trump didn't even expect to win in 2016! so, if he manages to stay in office, at this point, the only motivation for staying in office is so that, you know, he doesn't end up going to jail for various crimes that have been exposed by the press while he's been in office. there is no coherent plan. there is no plan for covid. there is no plan for domestic policy. there is no plan for the economy. i thought one of the most disturbing elements again last night of the debate was when they were talking about, you know, chris wallace asked effectively, hey, what's your health care plan? trump doesn't have a health care plan. he has nothing. there are no plans for the second term, other than staying out of jail. so, that was one of the more disturbing things about last night. it's one thing to have a president who operates on gut
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instinct. it's another thing to have a president who operates on leadership or shoots from the hip. but a president who has absolutely no plan other than keeping him and possibly family members out of jail, that's not a presidency. that's a mob family. and we're heading towards the end of the movie. and hopefully, we'll get past to the credits and we can move to joe biden and kamala harris, because i'm tired of this movie and i think most of the american people are, too. >> absolutely. >> i think a majority are. mika, i'm curious. last night -- and there was so much chaos that it wasn't underlined. i mean, what do you think about that part, as far as not having a plan? when joe biden correctly stated -- and chris wallace correctly stated time and again, that donald trump doesn't have a health care plan for 320 million americans. he's been attacking obamacare, just as republicans have been attacking obamacare for ten years, but they never put a plan forward. donald trump has been lying
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throughout this entire campaign, saying he's going to put a plan forward, but he was allowed last night to lie again, saying that he had a plan, a comprehensive health care plan. he still doesn't have it. so, what are americans on the bubble economically to think of that? >> well, they should look at how he has planned for the coronavirus. he doesn't have a plan for that either. and many of them are dying. or losing their livelihoods, because this pandemic, which other countries have been able to mitigate and get under control, this pandemic is out of control. joe biden did frame this president very well, just by his demeanor and the fact that he has plans. and quite frankly, if you look at how president trump handled that debate last night, that's how he handles the presidency. do you want that? he did show the american people who he was last night. that was one thing that did come through. claire mccaskill tweeted last
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night that watching the debate made her heart hurt for our country. she joins the conversation next. plus, house speaker nancy pelosi will be our guest this morning. you're watching "morning joe" and we'll be right back.
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there's nothing smart about you, joe. 47 years, you've done nothing. >> well, let's have this debate -- >> if you would have had -- let me just tell you something, joe -- if you would have had the charge of what i was put through -- i had to close the greatest economy in the history of our country. and by the way, now it's being built again. >> did you catch that? the president on the coronavirus lamenting what i was put through? all he went through, mm. he didn't really have to express how much pain he was in when he didn't mobilize the defense production act and get ppe to frontline workers across america. he didn't have to tell us how
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much he had to do because he didn't do anything. joining us now, former u.s. senator, now an msnbc political analyst for nbc news as well, claire mccaskill. politics editor for "the daily beast," sam stein. and host of msnbc's "politicsnation" and president of the national action network, reverend al sharpton. his new book is "rise up: confronting a country at the crossroads." and claire, i want to expound upon that line, because it was telling. it is all about trump. it's all about his money. his tax returns say so much in terms of the reporting that we've seen from "the new york times." everything he does, it appears every move he makes on the world stage comes back to the money. but at that moment, it also showed his extreme lack of empathy, talking about the coronavirus in the terms of what he had to go through, when he
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didn't do anything while joe biden was warning the country and "usa today" in january that a deadly pandemic was going to hit the world and we needed to be prepared. this president got rid of the pandemic office. he doesn't listen to his scientists. he tells people to put bleach under their skin to try and solve it. he doesn't care. and yet, he's complaining and lamenting about all he went through to deal with the coronavirus. poor baby. do you feel sorry for him? >> it was a striking contrast last night, mika, because president trump was predictable in his behavior as a bully, being cruel, taking a meat cleaver to one of our most cherished traditions, a preside presidential debate. but if you noticed, joe biden kept turning to the people. joe biden kept saying, this is about you. this is not about me.
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this is about you and your families. he did that repeatedly. and i think anybody watching the debate, for all six people in the country that are undecided, it was very clear who was going to look after them. it wasn't the bully who wanted to blow up the debate. it was, in fact, the man who came and had such self-control that it was downright presidential. >> so, rev, i want to ask you about something you wrote about in your book, which lays over perfectly to what we watched last night, in the chapter called "an immoral man in a changing world." you write -- "people who fight dirty don't last. they don't know how to play the long game. trump is the dirtiest fighter there is. but after a while, the crowd starts to catch on. the audience knows when the game is rigged, when it's unfair. trump has gaslighted us into believing that it's rigged against him, but i believe that the american public will see through this ruse." and boy, he spoke exactly to
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that last night, rev. he said the election is going to be rigged. he said i want people out at the polls watching carefully. i'm going to need the supreme court, perhaps, to help me count the votes. he laid the groundwork for chaos after the election. >> the book went out on sale yesterday, and i thought watching the debate last night that trump had read the page you just recited, because he acted exactly that way. when given an opportunity to show that he had presidential type of character, he flunked the test. and i went to tilden high school in brooklyn, and there was a guy that always knew he couldn't pass the test, so he would disrupt the class and start pointing at others -- he's cheating! he's looking at my page! and if the teacher told him to calm down -- oh, you're on his side! he came in to disrupt last night because he couldn't pass the test. he had no plan to deal with the covid-19. he had no plan on climate change. when he was given the opportunity to stay that "i
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denounce white supremacy," he said he would not denounce them and actually told them to stand by. stand by. stand back, stand by. i say, rise up. let us capture where this country's morals and values are going to stand. i think that last night, when you look at the fact that he was being coached by rudy giuliani and chris christie, two experts in bullyism, you shouldn't have been surprised. >> sam stein, last night, at two points, at least two points, probably more, if you're going to go back and look at this mess, the president of the united states did some incredibly unpresidential things. one, he supported white terrorism. and two, toward the end of the debate, a pretty critical moment, when he seemed to be calling for suppression of the vote and extending the election, really, out into january 20th, what were your thoughts? how do you cover something like that?
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>> well, it's so unique in its petulance and absurdity that it's very hard to cover. we've never experienced anything like this at this stage, of course. but you know, my thought towards the end was something that my thought was something katty kay alluded to earlier on. perhaps, the idea here is to make people so depressed by the process, to make them believe it's so preordained and rigged that they don't go and vote at all. now, there is data that suggests people will simply tune out politics because of the mess that it is, thinking they can't change it consequentially. perhaps that's what trump is trying to do. he's trying to convince people, you shouldn't vote. your vote won't matter. frank lunz was doing the focus group and he saw undecided voters literally felt this way. they felt they didn't need to vote. they didn't need to vote because it was unconsequential. i think that's a dark turn in
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our politics, but perhaps that is the plan. perhaps the plan is to sully the entire process, to sully democracy, the point where you end up depressing turnout. >> robert, you have obviously worked on a couple of successful presidential campaigns. what do you think is going on this morning on a phone call, maybe right now, with the biden campaign how to proceed? they said, yes, we're going to participate as planned in the next two debates. we'll do the town hall with lester holt where it can be him without donald trump talking to undecided voters. did joe biden handle donald trump the right way last night? as if to say, i'm going to look at the camera, talk to the american people, address the moderator and not engage with this absurdity that's happening next to me? >> i think he did. i think he probably kept his temper in check more than he thought he would or wanted to. i'm sure there were points when he wanted to go over there and wring his neck. i think the point claire made is tremendously important. i think his moments of real
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clarity last night is when he didn't look at trump eshs didn't look at the moderator, he looked at the camera, to the american people, and walked them through what he wanted to do. i think that's the very type of reassurance he needs as a candidate to give to voters. they know donald trump. the majority of them know donald trump is not up to this job. they don't -- to his job as president. they don't approve of his job as president. what joe biden has to do is reassure them that he has a plan and that he can lead and be president of the united states. and i think he took a step towards that. if you're them this morning, you've got a better idea of just how chaotic it's going to be. i think debate prep is not going to be something in the next couple of weeks that biden looks forward to. i think he knows he's going to walk into a room and just get pelted by people yelling at him, but in some ways it's very good practice for, i think, what he's going to see next as this debate
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process continues. >> well, maybe it shouldn't. that should be a big question. >> mika, let me ask you that question really quickly. should joe biden, in your opinion, should joe biden do the next two debates? >> if it's going to be like this, absolutely not. he's lowering himself. he did well. he was elegant. he was kind. he was good. he showed -- tried to talk about the plans that he had, but this was not a debated. this was a disaster. and it was a fire bombing of our democracy. if -- bob woodward said the president is assassinating the presidency, the president fire bombed the debate process. the debate commission and moderator allowed it. it was preventable. it was preventable in real time and nothing was done. why in the hell should he get back on stage with that fool next to him, every second spouting out disinformation, yelling over people, and having
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a moderator try and stop him but do nothing. not use the tools around him to make this a real debate where they talked about actual facts. that didn't happen. it was 90 minutes, quite frankly, a disgrace for our country and, katty kay, the world was watching. what did they see? >> yeah, i was texting with friends in south korea who stayed up in the uk to watch this. it's not a good look for america to see that on a stage. and there's concern. you've got president macron in france today saying that the european union just has to accept it can't rely on america anymore. people have watched what they saw last night. they're concerned about the -- the tone of the debate are a farce. i don't know that other people
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are laughing at america. they're sad about the state. that debate won't have done anything to cheer anybody up. people are looking around the world and thinking, well, where there's a loser, there's a winner. so, who wins when american democracy is diminished in the way that it appeared to be diminished last night. you have to look to china and russia, two countries that benefit from america's power being degraded. i don't think anyone could look at the democratic process at the moment and imagine what's going to happen over the next two months and think this is a healthy, strong, reliable democracy because it doesn't look like that right now. >> sam, should joe biden debate again? what are the democrats saying this morning? >> well, his campaign is committed to the next two debates. they did that on a conference call last night. mika's points are valid. the problem here is that a set of rules -- to things.
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one, a set of rules and conditions have been agreed to by the campaigns already. going back to the debate commission and saying, look, we need the money to cop the mic. the trump campaign will say that's changing the rules and throw up their hands and you won't have a debate. the second thing is there's the risk involved where biden says, i'm not going to do this again, the risk is he comes off looking like he's been bullied or weak. i don't think they want to take that risk. finally, the most important, biden is winning. biden is up by seven, eight points nationally, up in all swing state polls. these debates are a chance for trump to gain ground and he's not doing it. so, it's not like biden is -- he suffered grievously last night. he probably benefitted from the process, as ugly and abhorrent as it was. the real risk here is that the process is used to ambush democracy. that's what happened the last five minutes of last night's debate. trump used it as a platform to damage democracy. that's the real risk. >> claire, that's -- that was my
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point, actually. yes, this may help joe biden. selfishly, politically, joe biden might say, hey, i want to do this again because i'm going to get even more suburban voters, more independents on my side, but do i really want to give this mad man the opportunity to spread distrust in democracy to 100 million people on a night -- one of the few nights that most americans come together to watch the same tv show? >> i think politically joe biden has to dope debating. the contrast is good for him. the contrast is good for voters that he's taking away from donald trump. donald trump is not going to do this right. he's going to continue to do it wrong. by the way, i think he's saying all this stuff about the security of the election because he wants an excuse when he loses. he just wants to have some
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excuse when he loses. the next debate they should not even give that topic the credence that chris wallace gave it last night. there's no evidence about what this guy says about the security of the ballots. why does it get 15 minutes. i hope he continues to debate him and i think the presidential commission takes a hard look at the rules. >> claire mccaskill, sam stein, robert gibbs, katty kay, thank you. reverend al, your new book is absolutely fantastic. the book is "rise up: confronting a country at the crossroads" and, boy, are we ever at the crossroads. but you going back and talking about your extraordinary life. the people who influenced you the most is really -- i've known you for a long time. both as political friend and political foe. i didn't know so much about your background. it really is extraordinary.
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and i hope you come back tomorrow to talk about it. >> yeah, i would love to. and i will say this, one of the things i learned from my mentors is when you see a man that is at the edge of a cliff, don't get in the way. you can turn an apparent political suicide into a perceived homicide. i would debate him again. and stand back and let him destroy himself, particularly with suburban voters. let him do it. >> interesting. still ahead, house speaker nancy pelosi will be our guest on the heels of last night's presidential debate. we'll get her thoughts on what she saw the next hour of "morning joe" starts now. >> i want to get our hands around a very difficult situation. >> all right, all right, donald. >> hold on -- >> you have to let us ask questions. you can't just talk. you have to let us actually ask questions. you're just talking. >> no, no, joe, i'm not just
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talking -- >> donald, donald, donald, you're not going to keep talking. we will go to break if you keep talking. we're going to ask you questions. >> all i'm doing -- >> go to break right now. we'll be right back with more "morning joe." >> yeah, note to moderators who actually want to moderate a debate that makes sense, stays organized and keeps both candidates in line. that's one idea, cut the mic and mean it. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is wednesday, september 30th. along with joe, willie and me, we have executive editor of the recount, john heilemann. co-founder and ceo of axios, jim vandehei, professor at morgan state university, and msnbc political contributor jason johnson, and historian and rogers professor of the presidency at vanderbilt university, jon meacham will
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join us in just a moment. wow. >> yeah, it was something. >> what was that? >> well, you know, it was, again, what we've seen for four years. it was a president completely ignorant of our uncarrying about the position that the united states has held the world stage over the past 240 years. and also, willie, ignorant or uncaring about the power of a president to send out a message to america that we are an exceptional country. you think about the fact that during the height of the cold war, actually nearing its end, ronald reagan would talk about freedom in the soviet union and dissidence locked in gulogs thousands of miles away from freedom would find out about the american president's words and they would tap in code what the
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president said while locked in their jail cells and hope would spread throughout those gulogs. that's what the american's presidents words are supposed to convey, hope. we're supposed to be a city shining brightly on the hill for all the world to see. whether it's from ronald reagan or inspiration from john kennedy or fdr or lincoln talking about the last great hope for a dying world. that is what our presidents are supposed to appeal to. and last night you had a president shaming himself, bringing shame to anybody who still supports him. and actually giving hope actually to racists, anti-semitic groups. >> stand back and stand by.
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>> telling them to stand back and stand by. sending messages to his supporters, telling them to disturb and disrupt voting, trying to threaten those who are going to try to vote peacefully. and also making such a mockery of american democracy by screaming and yelling during that debate and being completely unmored emotionally, philosophically, intellectually, that, again, he has brought even greater shame to this country and has made the american democratic process look like a joke worldwide. >> well, we've worn these adjectives out over the last five years but it was truly disgraceful, truly embarrassing, truly, truly, pathetic, truly,
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truly chaotic. he was on the show in december of 2015 defending the proposed muslim ban. that's why he couldn't answer a question you were asking him, so we had to go to break. last night i was there defending, indirectly, the proud boys, telling them to stand back and stand by. the proud poi boys of a white supremacists group. can you imagine an easier question for the president of the united states. mr. president, will you condemn white supremacists? he couldn't do it. reminds me of another presidential debate where he couldn't tell us who david duke is. we'll talk about how ugly it was just as the representation of our politics, as a display to the world of who we are and where we are as a country. and then the strategy, who exactly what he convincing last night to vote for him other than
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his base who's not going anywhere? who watched that if they were are undecided people, who thought, yes, i want more of that for four years? we'll talk about who did well and who didn't. how could you watch that and want more of that if you're still thinking about who to vote for? >> listen, there's an entire network that is covering this debate as if it was a proud moment for the president and this situation has gone too far with a bunch of labotomized anchors and hosts. here's the moment where the president refused to denounce white supremacists groups, opting for language many consider to be a call for action. take a listen. >> are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not
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add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in kenosha and as we've seen in portland? >> sure, i'm -- >> are you willing to -- >> yes. >> go ahead and do it. >> i would say almost everything i see is from the left wing and not the right wing. >> what are you saying -- >> i'm willing to -- i want peace. >> then do it, sir. >> do it. say it. >> what do you want to call them? give me a name. >> white supremacists. >> who would you like me to -- >> the proud boys, stand back and stand by, but i'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left. >> his own fbi director said which is -- antifa is an idea, not an organization. >> oh, you've got to be kidding. >> his fbi director said -- >> gentlemen -- >> i said -- >> no, no, we're done, sir. >> unless you're a white supremacists, if you took that
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as a great moment for the president, i don't know who you are. the proud boys took the president's words as a shout of support and celebrated it on social media. within minutes the members were calling president trump's comments, quote, historic. some labeled it as an endorsement to their violent tactics. another posted the group having a spike in new recruits. the group is considered a violent, nationalistic, islam phobic, transphobic hate group, according to the anti-defamation league, the self-described western chauvinist program was banned by both twitter and facebook in 2018. think about that one. as willie mentioned, the president's comments and the proud boys' celebration of his response is similar to kkk grand
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wizard david duke, celebrating trump's response to the 2017 rally in charlottesville saying it was why he and others like him voted for trump in 2016. >> what do they represent to you? >> this represents a turning point for the people of this country. we are determined to take our country back. we're going to fulfill the promises of donald trump. that's what we believed in. that's why we voted for donald trump. he said he's going to take our country back and that's what we've got to do. >> and this is what donald trump has done time and again. he did it last night to another white supremacists, anti-semitic group, the anti-defamation league came out and demanded that donald trump immediately apologize. this is like charlottesville, of course, a lot of anti, anti-trump hucksters who tried to keep their subscriptions up
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and keep their viewership up, actually defended donald trump after a charlottesville comment saying he didn't say what the libs are saying and take it straight from the horse's mouth, david duke. david duke celebrated what donald trump said there. last night, i like donald trump, what do you want me to call them? what do you want me to call them? that reminds me an awful lot like back in february of 2016 when we condemned donald trump and said it was disqualifying because he went on a sunday show before super tuesday in 2016 and said he didn't know who david duke was, despite the fact in 2000 he condemned david duke as a racist and wouldn't run in the reform because, because david duke was a reform party. he feigned ignorance on who the
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kkk was. here we are, four years later, he's still doing it. oh, i don't know who they are. and refusing once again to condemn an anti-semitic group, a racist group, a group of white supremacists. again, nothing new, but he did it on the world's biggest political stage last night. and all those anti, anti-trumpsters who have shamed and humiliated themselves during his presidency once again forced to confront the fact that they are supporting a man who will not condemn white supremacy in america. still ahead, our producers had the unenviable task of mashing together the president's most cringe-worthy moments. we'll show you joe biden's real-time reaction to the on-stage chaos next on "morning joe." (♪ )
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gentlemen -- >> no. >> mr. president -- >> you would have been much later. you're talking about 2 million people. >> mr. president, az moderator -- >> the individual mandate was the most unpopular aspect of obamacare -- >> i'm the moderator of the debate. i would like to ask my question and you to answer them. >> okay. >> mr. president, can you let him finish now. >> he doesn't know how to do that. >> do you want -- >> make sure -- >> he's not going to answer the question. >> i'm not going to answer that question. >> why? >> because the question is -- >> the radical left -- >> will you shut up, man? >> you've got to provide these businesses the ability to have the money to be able to reopen with the ppe as well as with the sanitation they need. you have to provide -- >> talk to pelosi. >> will he just shush for a minute. >> i think the country would be better served if we allowed both
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people to speak with fewer interruptions. i'm appealing to you, sir, to do that. >> and him, too. >> well, frankly, sir, you -- >> he's done plenty. >> less than you have. >> you have repeatedly -- >> he stated -- >> you have repeatedly -- >> wait. >> no. >> you made a statement. >> i would -- >> i would love to answer. >> no, sir. >> if you want to switch seats. >> joe biden's getting great reviews. he did great last night. he handled it really well. when he was allowed to talk, he sounded great. but why in the world was his team expose him to lower himself to a display like that ever again? >> well, willie and i were talking about this before the show. i would have walked off the stage at certain times and said, until you can actually make sure that we abide by the rules, i'm not going to be a part of the
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charade. that said, voters overwhelmingly thought last night that joe biden won that debate. donald trump set himself on fire in front of 100 million people last night during that debate. he turned off women, he turned off independents, he turned off the same suburban voters that are turned off by mitch mcconnell trying to jam through a supreme court justice in the dying days of the trump administration. so, they have to debate whether they want to go out and let donald trump blow himself up again. >> well, he makes a joke of our democracy as he's blowing himself up. that's the part -- where the biden campaign should say, we're not doing this to our country. >> i think they're probably deliberating over that this morning. i do want to say a quick side note about chris wallace. i was concerned last night, i was upset last night about the fact that chris wallace was allowing donald trump to
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interrupt joe biden to much, especially the first half of the debate. he took more control the second half of the debate. and i'm reminded as i was sitting at home comfortably telling chris wallace to take control. i was reminded of my torts professor, richard peterson at the university of florida, when i was criticizing a response that someone had -- that a lawyer had before the supreme court on an answer that seemed obvious to me. and the professor was a big tennis player. he said, you ever watch the u.s. open? he said, looks pretty easy while you're watching on tv, doesn't it? i go, yeah. he says, when you get down ground level, that ball's going over 100 miles an hour and you realize, you're in no position to judge that lawyer in front of the supreme court or that tennis player that missed a backhand. likewise, i understand that chris wallace last night,
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willie, was thrown into the middle of something that no debate moderator has ever been thrown in before. and while it was extraordinarily frustrating, you know, i think all of us need to walk a mile in his shoes before the morning after saying, well, he could have done this, he could have done that. i think it's up to the commission, willie, to make sure, now that they have a candidate that they know is not going to follow the rules of these debates, to either come up with a failsafe way to make sure that americans actually can watch a real debate or just call the other two off. >> yeah, i mean, chris wallace has proven he can handle himself with donald trump in a one-on-one setting. >> it's great. >> it's something entirely to insert yourself in a conversation when he's talking over joe biden. i think you're right. it's on the commission now to say, when a candidate has the two minutes, it's supposed to be two minutes of joe biden speaking alone or two minutes of president trump speaking alone, just cut the other guy's mic.
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we don't need to hear the heckling from the other. when they're engaged with each other, you can leave the mics open. i'm sure all of that will be under review. coming up, judging by last night, things are about to get a whole lot worse in the final 34 days before the november election. more from our panel straight ahead on "morning joe." - [narrator] the shark vacmop combines powerful suction with spray mopping to lock away debris and absorb wet messes, all in one disposable pad. just vacuum, spray mop, and toss. the shark vacmop, a complete clean all in one disposable pad.
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jason, johnson, i want to get to you here. there's so much to grapple with. the proud boys moment, the president mocking joe biden and others for wearing masks all the time. we should point out the president took the opportunity or skipped the opportunity when given another easy question to talk to his supporters about not engaging in civil unrest in the days after the election. he skipped that chance, too. what were your broad impressions of what you watched last night? >> the broad impression of what i watched last night is, you know, it was -- it would be a mistake, i'm glad jon mentioned this, it would be a mistake to say the whole things a mess because that implies that joe biden was responsible for it. joe biden was actually trying to attend a debate and it was donald trump making a mess of it. it was donald trump that was
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failing. i think it's an important distinction to make because if we in the press say that the whole thing was just terrible, that actually turns off the voter/nonvoter. people think the whole thing is a mess, it plays into donald trump's plans to say that everything was terrible. so, we have to make sure that we're specific. no, donald trump was terrible and chris wallace didn't manage the debate particularly well. joe biden did fine. you can evaluate whether he did good one way or the other. this is why i agree there should be no further debates. the president of the united states, and language is so important, whether or not he condemns white nationalism. white nationalism is an ideology. the president of the united states encouraged terrorism. the proud boys are a terrorist organization. the president is encouraging terrorism. what's important about this, you have to remember the entire exchange. chris wallace says, will you
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condemn them? president trump says, which ones are you talking about. joe biden says, proud boys. imagine if a moderator asking some candidate x, candidate trump, will you condemn men who abuse women? and trump had said, what kind of abuse? sexual abuse? physical abuse? what difference does it make? why do you need to find out which group of white supremacists to condemn? they're all terrorists. it is dangerous to allow a president to sit in front of 80 million people and the entire planet and encourage terrorism. if he's going to do that, which he will as we get close to the election and the numbers look worse and worse for him, it's a public danger. he's a national security risk. i don't want to see any more debates where a president encouraging terrorism. the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi is standing by. she joins the conversation straight ahead. as we go to break, a note that joe's new book "saving freedom: truman, the cold war and the fight for western civilization"
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is coming out on november 24th. you can preorder it now. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ht back. verizon knows how to build unlimited right. start with america's most awarded network. this network is one less thing i have to worry about. then, give families plans to mix and match, so you only pay for what you need. i need this color. include the best in entertainment like apple music, and offer it at a price built for everyone. with the stunning iphone 11. now get two for just $5 per month. one for you and another to share.
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i don't think there should be any debates. i do not think the. president of the united states has comported himself in a way that anybody should -- that has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts. i wouldn't -- i wouldn't legitimize a conversation with him. >> she was actually, mika, proven 100% right. >> especially on the basis of the fact that the president doesn't work with facts. he lies out of the box. if you can't have a buzzer stop him and you can't force him to stay within the realm of facts, how can you have a debate? how can you have a debate that
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would further our democracy, which is part of the process of our democracy. we did not have that last night. joining us now, house speaker nancy pelosi of california. madame speaker, your thoughts on what happened last night and what would you call it? >> well, it was really a sad night for our country in that the president of the united states would not disassociate himself from white supremacists and terrorists in our country. i lost a lot of sleep last night over that one fact. but i did know he has never respected the dignity of his office and he demonstrated that last night. i think one thing he did present was the authenticity of who he is, with disregard for bringing our country together, with any knowledge of the challenge we face with the coronavirus, by catering to his base by saying what he said about the proud
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boys and white supremacists. in charlottesville we were disgusted when he said there are good people on both sides. this time he didn't even grant that to the other side. this was a very sad occasion. yesterday i began the day with interfaith, who were having a day of prayer of unity for our country, that we could come together to meet the needs of the american people. clearly with this president, our prayers, we're either not praying hard enough or they're just not working but some kind of intervention is necessary. and his family, for his personal health or his republican associates for the good of their party and our country don't want to intervene, then the election has to be the major intervention on this president's behavior. >> should there be, madame speaker, should there be more
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debates given the president broke all the rules he agreed to during this debate last night? >> well, as you know, i never thought he would -- that anybody should reduce themselves to being on the stage with him because we know what his behavior was going to be like. i'm just sorry they didn't turn off the microphone when it was joe biden's turn to speak and turn it on when it was the president's turn to speak and we would not have had this disruption. he's been enabled his whole life and now the american people are paying a price for the fact that no one has ever said to him, no. and this is so tragic because i pray for him every day. i pray for the personal security of him and his family, i pray god will open his heart to the goodness of the american people so we can come together, that our founders gave us guidance to
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do. but when you see the behavior, just the lack of respect for the office he holds, the indigndign. you saw his authenticity and joe biden's authenticity. i just think the contrast was so great. i just wish it could have been more focused of the fact that he is trying to deprive people of pre-existing conditions, that he is a total failure when it comes to addressing the coronavirus crisis. he can talk about the economy all he wants but tens of millions of people have filed for unemployment insurance. that we want our children to go to school, yes, but safely. and our economy to open but safely. so, you know, the american people deserve that discussion to happen. and what is the vision each person has for the future? elections are about the future. what about the future? what is your vision, what are
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your priorities? how do you intend to get it done? and how are you connecting heart to heart with the american people addressing their kitchen table concerns? instead we saw a political nervous breakdown, a meltdown, and an appeal to his part of his base. i don't think his whole base that way, but i do think all the people are that way voted for him. >> so, madame speaker, i've written down a couple things real quickly about what donald trump said last night. and i'm curious what the response should be from our elected leaders, especially governors in affected faces. he told white supremacists and anti-semites on stand by. trump's family called for armies of people to crowd voting stations. he said he wanted to add to the supreme court so he'll have one more vote.
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of course, that would be for efforts to block americans' votes from being counted. what should our public elected officials do, whether in congress or the governor of wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, north carolina, what should they be doing to prepare for this onslaught, this challenge to the counting of every vote? >> well, let us hope it really does not materialize. there are three stages, and i have to tell you, two elections, the period leading up and that's the period in which we also have early voting. what happens on election day. that's the cautionary warning you are giving us. and then what happens after in the counting of the votes. the integrity of our elections must be maintained, democratic or republican. the result will be respected. but republican and democratic governors throughout the country -- i don't know what real role they have unless we're
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talking about just stopping the violence that the president is trying to invoke. but i do know that he is intimidating people and that is really an argument for people to vote by mail, vote early, vote by mail. don't be intimidated by going to the polling places and see people who look like i.c.e. agents or law enforcement or something who might follow you hope to see if you have a mixed status home or something like that. this is so -- we've never seen anything like this before. then again, we've never had a president before who disregarded all that the constitution says about guardrails and the rest. a person who was just a rogue president of the united states, which is unfortunate. nonetheless, be prayerful that somebody will intervene today to say, you just tipped the scale too far. one of my prayers is that the
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republicans will take back their party. the country needs a strong republican party. it's done so much for our country. and to have it be hijacked with a cult at this time is really a sad thing for america. also as it gives crede and there are people who vote for trump because they're pro-life. i respect that position. i come from a family oriented that way. but it shouldn't be a position that says, it's okay to take babies out of the hands of their moms. it shouldn't be to give him license to do all the things that he's doing. and, again, you talk about the court. he's -- the day that ruth bader ginsburg passed away, justice ginsburg passed away, ten states were already voting that day. the election was on. the election was on. and, again, that didn't seem to matter to him because he wanted to rush the decision so he could
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overturn your pre-existing condition benefit. people should know that. this is about them, it's about them. the affordable care act. being a woman, no on longer -- pre-existing medical condition, the list goes on. the pre-existing conditions, preventive care, the checkups that mean a lot to the health, financial health of the american people. it all comes back to what it means to them. it comes back to the question, that he wants to cause chaos, take it to the courts. when he takes it to the courts, prolong the process so that there would not be a majority of the electoral college by the december assigned date. that's when he starts talking about, well, i'll take it to the house of representatives. what is this? what is this about the republicans they don't care enough about what they believe in as a party, a legitimate
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party, with beliefs and their view of the role of government. you and i have had that debate ourselves in congress, joe. but -- and it's existed since the beginning of our country. i pray they would get us a grand old party again. what they say to me, not the ones in congress because they're fully wedded to trump because any issue you can name, they're there with trump. name any issue. gun safety, immigration, a women's rights, lgbtq, fairness in our country, denial on the climate, that's all who they've been longer than trump. he's their guy. so, from a policy standpoint, he's their guy. but from a decency standpoint, that's not who the republican party in this country is. i'm proud of people like tom ridge and others who have come forward to separate themselves from this version of what is the
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republican party in the white house. >> hard to see republicans intervening at this point after they haven't for four years. speaker pelosi, good morning, it's willie geist. after you watched that debate last night and watched the chaos and president trump talking over joe biden and hijacking the debate. i was thinking of the tens of millions of people out of work, who lost their small businesses and they desperately need relief. you in the house rolled out a new covid relief package, reports you were on the phone yesterday to steve mnuchin. how close are you to getting this relief? and to people watching, taking politics out of it, saying we need help and we needed it a couple months ago, by the way, how close are you? >> well, i'm hopeful. we'll just see what they come back with today and how our negotiations go next. we passed our bill over four months ago.
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it was a large bill because we have large needs in our country. they put together skinny bills that do not meet the needs of our country. we're willing to cut back $1 trillion and even more. not taking out priorities but taking out the length of time. so, we do it until the may -- excuse me, february or something, rather than the end of september or december. we'll revisit that next january. nonetheless, for now, getting the money that we need. it's not about changing priorities, it's just about a timetable and the cost involved in that. but we don't have shared values with them. you have to understand, when we talk about rent for a long time, they say, they have money, they can pay rent, they don't feel like it. when we talk about feeding the food-insecure in our country, those children from families on the verge of eviction, now we've gotten them to the place where they put money in the resolution
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to keep government open. we hope that argument is over. but it took us time to get us to this place. it's unfortunate it's taken this long but i hope today -- i always want to keep the door open for us to have a solution. it's a negotiation. we won't get everything we want. but they're very disdainful of working families in our country and they have a big break in the c.a.r.e.s. act we're trying to overturn and they don't see why that should happen. we have our differences. we have to find common ground. that's our responsibility. it's too bad it took them this long to realize that to come to the table. >> the host of "way too early," kasie hunt has the next question. >> hi, kasie. >> good morning, speaker pelosi. nice to see you. >> how is the baby? >> he's wonderful. thank you for asking. earlier this week before the debacle last night, you wrote a letter to the members of your caucus saying that you should prepare for an electoral college
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tie. obviously, we heard, as joe mentioned, the president talking about what could happen as these votes are counted and the dramatic scenarios we may face. what are you doing in the house to lay the groundwork for congress's role in whatever may come between the election and inauguration day? >> for a long time i have been measuring the president's behavior in all of this to see how far he would go to undermine the integrity of our elections. whether it was dismantling the postal system, whether it was welcoming instead of turning off russian interference in our elections, whether it was turning off people of the polls, as joe mentioned earlier. and i was watching how they would conduct himself. it was clear to me he wanted to cause chaos. chaos and confusion is the order of the day for him almost every day.
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so, in light of that, what are the possibilities he would declare victory on election night and say vote-by-mail doesn't count and i won by those who voted in person. we'll see what that outcome is and urging everyone to get out there and vote. secondly, he would have some of his allies in states send electoral college folks who say biden wins the state and it's a republican legislature and state and say, we're sending trump electors. we take that to court. that takes time. of course, we know what he's doing with the court now to be an end game for him there in the courts. so, with all of that, it takes time. even if you win in court, it takes time. if you don't have the electoral college number, the majority by a certain date, the constitution says the house shall choose. the house of representatives voting by state. that means california with 53 members of congress has one vote and that means that alaska with
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one member of congress has one vote. you get the point. and so he was -- so i was doing this kind of quietly, raise the money, put it in, support the candidates. fortunately because the leadership of our chair has great candidates all over the country. so, we didn't have to all of a sudden create a race that we were behind to win the house, maintain our -- hold the house and go our majority. but with that it made some of these places requiring a stronger emphasis. and that is what we're doing now. so, he started saying in the last two of his maskless people crowded together rallies, i'm going to take it. i can win in the house because we have 28. they have north, south dakota, idaho -- excuse me, wyoming, montana, alaska, like that, they have all these states that have one vote. few people, one vote.
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we have 40 million people in california. there are 500,000 people in wyoming. we each have one vote. you can make the case in new york or florida, joe, or illinois or wherever where you see the great disparity. in the interest of our founders, they never -- the states did not have that big difference in state size. so, he's announcing to them, i have 28 votes. it behooves us to make sure -- excuse me, he has 26 votes. we have 22. two are even. so, it's important for us to make sure, as the constitution says, nobody has a majority in the house because it's very clear the winner is the person with a majority in the house. we just have to take them down one vote. we'd rather have the 26 ourselves. but we just have to take them down one vote. why that's important is in doing so, we're helping to elect the
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senate, we're helping in the electoral college states so the resources will not be squandered. they're being put to good use. in addition to that, it would be a message to his henchmen who are out there with him to say, don't even bother causing this chaos because there ain't no light at the end of the tunnel in the house of representatives for you. i'm giving you the abbreviated version. there are other things we can do. believe it or not, that was the abbreviated version. >> house speaker nancy pelosi, thank you so much for being on the show with us this morning. >> thank you. and up next, the nbc first read team says the president's strategy last night was to, quote, burn it all down. we'll show you how joe biden handled those arson attempts. keep it right here on "morning joe." joe. with spray mopping to lock away debris and absorb wet messes, all in one disposable pad. just vacuum, spray mop, and toss.
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the shark vacmop, a complete clean all in one disposable pad. tonight, i'll be eating a veggie cheeseburger on ciabatta, no tomatoes.. [hard a] tonight... i'll be eating four cheese tortellini with extra tomatoes. [full emphasis on the soft a] so its come to this? [doorbell chimes] thank you. [doorbell chimes] bravo. careful, hamill. daddy's not here to save you. oh i am my daddy. wait, what? what are you talking about? 20 associate cart pusher.urly the different positions i've had taught me how to be there for others. ♪ i started out as a cashier. i mean, the sky's the limit with walmart. it's all up to you. ♪ ♪
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i'm not here to call out your lies. will you shut up, man? >> who is on your list, joe? >> this is so unpresidential. you're the worst president america has ever had. come on. this is a president who has used everything as a dog whistle to try to generate racist hatred, racist division. nobody has done that. he's racist. >> wait a minute. mr. president, your campaign
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agreed to both sides would get two-minute answers, uninterrupted. your side agreed to it. and why don't you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule, okay, sir? >> he never keeps his word. >> joining us now, host of msnbc's weekend show, american voices, alicia menendez, former senior adviser for the house oversight committee, now senior adviser to the lincoln project, kurt bodella and for the washington examiner and contributing writer ativanity fair, david drucker. >> david, thank you so much. thanks to all of you. david, let start with you. what was donald trump trying to achieve last night and what does his team think of the performance he turned in? >> it's clear they were trying
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to throw joe biden off balance. they've had trouble landing shots on joe biden the way they were so successful in doing with hillary clinton, is to paint joe biden as too weak for the presidency. even though maybe to a lot of people watching they thought here say president who is talking over mr. biden, interrupting. he's not acting like a very presidential politician, i think the intent was to say, look, you might not like me, but can you imagine this guy in a negotiation with president xi or in tough negotiations with -- even if you're a democrat with republicans? he just can't handle it. and i think that was what they tried to accomplish. i think joe biden accomplished the past, benefit of low expectations and he exceeded them and went toe to toe with the president and his job was not to be baited. if voters want what they have, they already have that and it won't do joe biden any good to wrestle with trump in the way
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that trump plays. and i thought he just managed to stay on the outside edge of allowing the president to control everything. i think what the president probably wants to do, or i should say his advisers probably would like to try to do, if he would let them, is to show up for the next debate, the next two debates and look something like what all of the republicans who vouch for him in his conventions said he was, the guy you don't see, the guy who might be a little rough around the edges, but it's only because he cares. that's not what he looked like last night. he did look strong. he did look, at times, dominating, but it was the kind of domination that has put joe biden in a steady lead nationally and in many of the swing states. >> you know, forgive me, alicia, for quoting my grandmother and following up on what david said about doing biden no good to
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engage with donald trump the way he wanted him to. my grandma from georgia always said never wrestle with the pig because you'll both get dirty, and the pig likes it. in this case, you know, biden sometimes tried to stay way from take the bait, but couldn't help himself. i think overall of where donald trump has been bleeding support for years, women, suburban voters and independents. correct me if i'm wrong or if your assessment was different. everything last night only seemed to intensify those groups' desire to get out and vote against donald trump. >> first, let me say, joe, we don't have expressions like that in new jersey so thank you for sharing that with me. i will be using that. moving forward, he wasn't trying to persuade anyone, joe.
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part of what made last night so dangerous is that in addition to the full frontal attacks on our democracy, the lies about voter fraud, calling his supporters to come to the polls to monitor polls, all of these things incredibly dangerous for democracy, there was also the quiet or through line. by sewing chaos throughout this debate if you were a voter turning in for the first time, someone who meet be on the margins of this process, there's a very good chance that you watched five minutes of chaos infused by this president and then tuned out. it's as much about persuading people as it is about swinging people to the couch, about convincing people not to be part of this elect oral process. i was so moved, joe, watching your show this morning and listening to willie, bob woodward and bob meacham, talking about watching this dough bait with their kids and
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saying is this what it's supposed to be like? i was 17 and i watched the results of that election roll in. it was the first time i thought to myself, maybe the adults don't have it all figured out. and so my hope is that this younger generation that is watching what happened last night and has been watching what's happened over the course of the last four years, that they watch and realize that they are the ones we have been waiting for and that they choose to stay involved and engaged because otherwise the president is getting exactly what he wants. >> curt bardella, you hoped that joe biden would use the debate to get to some of the issues unresolved during the impeachment process. last night was difficult for anyone to do anything with the man on the stage called donald trump, who said absolutely nothing, but what was your take off of the points that you thought ought to be raised? >> yeah, you know, i had hoped that this would be an opportunity for joe biden to give us the prosecution of donald trump that we were robbed
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of earlier this year. there's certainly no shortage of areas to prosecute him, personal finances, tax returns, foreign interference, meddling, constant conflict of interest. the reality is we saw a president who knows, going into this debate and certainly knows this morning that he's going to lose. we didn't see a candidate trying to win votes, trying to expand his coalition, trying to broaden his appeal, trying to win over voters. we saw someone who just wanted to burn the entire thing down. that's the tactic that you use when you know you cannot win. i think the vice president did an admirable job of showing poise, continuing to be president i presidential, speaking directly to the american people. claire was right earlier when she talked about how powerful it was when he looked directly into the camera and talked to the american people. he was the only one doing that last night. we saw the desperation in donald trump, someone trying to lay the
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groundwork and justify of why he's probably going to be on one of the largest lopsided electoral losses in our country. >> kasie hunt, a couple of questions i would love to have answered today. i would love to hear what the presidential commission on debates has to say about what happened last night and make sure that democracy is not further damaged in the last two debates. i'm curious, though, what stories are you going to be following today? >> i think that's absolutely the right question, joe. i think a lot of people have asked for the ability to turn off a microphone on one of those candidates, particular ly the president of the united states. but i want to follow up on what are lawmakers going to do in the event that the president does exactly what he has been saying that he will do, which is try to throw the results into question here. i think it's very clear that the debate rules were written for a different era and we need to make sure that our rules for conducting election night are written in a similar way, joe. >> kasie hunt, we'll see you
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tomorrow on "way too early," 5:00 a.m. eastern right before "morning joe." kasie d.c., and american voices weekends on msnbc. thank you so much for being on this morning. >> do you think she'll use that pig analogy, mika? >> no, i don't. that does it for us. >> from dalton, georgia, baby. >> stephanie ruhle picks up our coverage right now. >> see, the pig likes it, too. >> hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle. it's wednesday, september 30th. let's get smarter. being called a national embarrassment, a disgrace, a train wreck. one thing it was not was a presidential debate. instead what we saw last night in cleveland, ohio, was one of the ugliest, nastiest, most cringe-worthy spectacles in modern political history. here is just a bit of it. >> i

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