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Guest: Representative Steve LaTourette

By Hardball, Hardball - November 9, 2012

HARDBALLNovember 9, 2012

Guests: Dee Dee Myers, Willie Brown, Matt Viser, Ashley Parker, Steven LaTourette, David Ignatius, David Frum

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The man and his mandate.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

"Let Me Start" with this. The reelected president did it today. He said what he`s going to do, how he`s going to lead. He`s going do it like a world leader entering into negotiations with preconditions. Those preconditions are now clear, a take-back of the Bush tax cuts from the very top. This is it, what we were waiting for, a tough, sharp statement of what this reelection means.

It means that people will know we have a president who`s ready to stand his ground for jobs, for growth, but not the Bush/Romney way. No more trickle down now that the people of this country have sent their message from the ground up. Armed for combat, Barack Obama takes the field now against the very forces who fought to cut him down.

He will be a Democratic president. He will be fair on taxes. He will use those taxes to rebuild this country and educate it up to the tough competition we face in the 21st century. Rock solid, he`s backed again by a majority of the American people, indeed reelected as the only Democrat since the Civil War with two majority elections behind him, with an upgraded mandate at his back.

Today he marched on to the field of combat against an uncertain foe, some ready to deal, others hiding in their bunkers, waiting for something, anything to save them from the terrifying sight of 21st century electoral reality.

I`m joined by Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary, and "Mother Jones" Washington bureau chief David Corn. He`s the author of the e-book "47 Percent" -- by the way, that did it -- an MSNBC political analyst , as well.

Well, today in his first public comments since his reelection, the president stressed he`s willing to compromise to avoid the consequences of going over that so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year. However, he said he`s sticking to his guns that the wealthiest need to be asked to pay a bit more.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be clear, I`m not wedded to every detail of my plan. I`m open to compromise. I`m open to new ideas. I`m committed to solving our fiscal challenges.

But I refuse to accept any approach that isn`t balanced. I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me making over $250,000 aren`t asked to pay a dime more in taxes.

This was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again, and on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Couldn`t be more direct than that. I like the clarity of today. He said, I`ll negotiate, but not on this. David Corn?

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Two years ago, when he cut that deal with the congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts in return for basically a second stimulus -- I thought it was a good deal at the time -- he said exactly this -- Last time I`m going to do this. You took hostages. I`m paying ransom now because I`m getting more in return, actually. But down the road, it`s not going to be that way.

MATTHEWS: He also said this is what the election was about.

CORN: He said what the -- and it was, if you look at the exit polls, you look at the numbers. You know, "mandate" is a big word you used at the top of the show, but he won. And at some point -- he has shown he`s been willing to compromise on Democratic policies much more than the Republicans. He will give on entitlements, but he has to get something in return.

MATTHEWS: Dee Dee, tell me what you think, what you heard today. I thought it was dramatic. He said this election meant something, it meant fairness.

DEE DEE MYERS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Right. And that was probably single most repeated phrases of his entire election campaign was talking about the middle class. They truly believe that they won because their message was protecting the middle class, and they beat Romney very badly on that and...

MATTHEWS: And Romney defended the rich, and the middle class in all the polls we showed, including he one again last night, didn`t buy his act.

MYERS: Right...

CORN: And he called for lower tax rates, which -- you know, which didn`t win the day for him.

MYERS: Right, but you know, I think the other part of that that was really important was that he said, I`m not wedded to any detail in my plan. I`m open to new ideas and I`m open to compromise. That is really important because both sides are going to have to give up things that they really care about.

MATTHEWS: OK, I heard a totally different speech from the president today, as we all did, from what Romney would have said, had he won. And he could have won.

CORN: Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS: You know, a couple weeks ago, it looked like he was heading that direction. Here -- he said he wanted the tax money from the rich because he wanted to do things, not just to screw them but to do stuff. He actually came out today and said, I want to build stuff in this country, rebuild the highways. Look at New York, the places that really need rebuilding now. Look at -- look at the education needs. We got to catch up to the Chinese in education, catch up to the rest of the world.

CORN: I think this election that we just had in some ways was one of the most ideological elections we`ve had in modern times.

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