tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 25, 2009 7:45pm-7:59pm EDT
i've always said that we do not rule out any options when it comes to u.s. security interests, but i will also reemphasize that my preferred course of action is to resolve this in a diplomatic fashion. it's up to the iranians to respond. >> we're back. it's time for "the politics fix" with david gregory, moderator of nbc's "meet the press" and ron brownstein, political director for atlantic media. we saw the president on a stage in pittsburgh. it's really a world stage for him now. does this change the dynamic of what his presidency is all about and who he is? is he now more of a leader of the western world than just the united states?
>> well, inevitably in a presidency there are events that are thrust upon the president he has to respond to, shape, and he has to shape it not just for himself but as you say for the western world, for the western allies. that's what the president is in the middle of doing right now. this is the moment of confrontation, of challenge with regard to iran. this is the moment when he is able to say to the iranians, got you. we got you. we see what you're doing. now you sit down and talk and negotiate away nuclear weapons or there's going to be a dimpbts track you're not going to like. stop haranguing, stop negotiating and stop saying one thing one day and something else another. let's talk about talk about the potential for real relationship because i, president obama, is somebody who wants to engage you. all of that is really coming up for a test right now. >> ron, the back story here, it's not really the backstory, it's a major one, involves the president and his relationship with and his discussions with the russians and the chinese over this very issue.
how, if at all, does this help him domestically in politics here? >> well, first of your point i correct. a lot of things that happened up to this point in his presidency put him in a stronger position to organize a unified response from the world. the overall trajectory of his discussion of international organizations, the fact he made clear he was willing to have a negotiation with iran and the decision on missile defense that removes hurdles with russia. those put him in a stronger position to organ international coalition here. this is a problem which even the combined influence of a unified outside world may have limited capacity to change the trajectory of policy in iran. this is going to be a frustrating problem for iran as it was with president bush.
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gregory with more on the politics fix. in an interview today, here is the former president on the iran situation. >> is this a moment where the president says to iran, we got you and now it's time to act or you are going to face serious consequences? >> i think that's what they want to communicate with him. the reason they want to have talks is if they have talks and they don't just hurl assaults in the press about it, they can more explicitly lay out things they may not be prepared to say in public yet about what the options are if iran continues down this path. and they can also talk about where we might go together if they reverse course. so i always think it's a good idea, if possible, to look
somebody in the eye and have a chance to have a conversation before there is a total breach. i thing this is healthy this has broken. the iranians must have known that the americans knew. somehow they must have found out that, or they wouldn't have voluntarily notified the iaea about this. >> david, former president clinton's emerging role in the national dialogue with president obama is kind of interesting. is there any rational explanation for it? he's back bigger than ever, it seems. >> he is. it's an important voice, it seems, who is not shy about offering kind of sharp analysis about where this is going and where it should go. i think what's interesting about this, there are still some u
unresolved questions about where this should go? it's ahmadinejad who makes a lot of the noise. this has been clarifying in that the administration is in a position to now say we know you have this. this is what happens if you continue on, and as the president and former president says, this is the kind of deal we can construct here. what president clinton said today that will be on the program on sunday, the timing is critical right now because if iran progresses too far down a road where conflict becomes inevitable, all of this engagement doesn't have the impact that is intended, so there is an israel card to be played, perhaps, or if they get too far afoul of the international community. >> ron, one of the interesting things about the clinton presidency, much talked about, much written about, was political triangularation.
is there an idea here in that conservative republicans in the senate and house, iran and president obama's intention to deal toughly with iran, is there something there? >> yes. one hand, there will be more pressure as we talked about before from domestic pressure for a tough line on iran than there was on north korea. on the other hand, you can see what president clinton was talking about there was offering iran a fork in the road. you can go down this path and we can look at reassessing the overall relation. since that election last summer and the crackdown in iran and loss of a seaworldwiworldwide w government that, concept will receive pushback from elements
all around the world, but certainly here in the u.s., even if it is tied with them moving away from nuclear ambitions. some ways it narrowed president obama's options for dealing with them. >> david, earlier this week, former president clinton was with larry king. he was asked about health care. he explained the necessity for health care reform to larry king. in about 30 or 35 seconds in a way anybody walking down the sidewalk could understand like that. the incumbent president obama, tremendously gifted individual in terms of explaining things, hasn't been able to explain the need to change health care legislation in this country. do you think there is a role for president clinton to play in this? >> i think he is playing it. he's talking about the complexity of health care, but also talking about how things changed since he tried unsuccessfully for getting it through. you can see how he makes the
case for this president to get it through. >> chris matthews returns monday night at 5:00 and 7:00 evening with more "hardball." "countdown with keith olbermann" starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? going public, the new cbs/"new york times" poll, nearly half of republicans favor the public option. why are 100% of their senators opposed to it? and could their instructionist tactics be helping democrats? democrat ron wyden of the democratic committee is our guest. >> nuclear deception. the iranian secret is out. details of an underground nuclear-fueleded nuclear site revealed this morning. the president responds this is a mistake. they will be sorry.
will china impose sanctions on iran? no classification on bill sparkman. >> they knock on doors of saintly people and really horrible people. missing him is real for us. >> joe. heckler is the gop's new joe the plumber. why the republicans continue to embrace and elevate their fringe elements to poster boy status? sarah palin's latest attempt to prove she is up to speed on global politics. also she changed her profile picture. how do you lampoon a human cartoon? "saturday night live" took their shot last night. >> those letters don't rearrange to spell that. >> all that and more now on "countdown." >> i'm the best damn actor on television.