tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 11, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
mother's day from us. if you don't, do what i will do if your mother is gone. make her proud. do something this weekend that will show the world how great your mother is by looking at her product, you and i. thanks for watching, i'm al sharpton, "hardball" starts right now. >> hurray for hollywood, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off, what made hollywood's a-list come out to dinner at george clooney's house last night? three key factions, the left,
the obama stall worths, and the hill ri holdouts are all now supporting the president. we know that joe biden felt he needed to apologize to president obama for getting out in front with his gay marriage comments last sunday. they were angry that biden stole the president's thunder, but why are they going public. why splash it across the newspapers, who wins there? and how seriously should we take the report of mitt romney's high school open action against a presumed gay classmate. should something that happened in high school be foriven because romney says he's forgotten it, or does it tell us something about a man we know little about. and suspicions confirmed, scott walker always said he is not anti-union, but now a new video tape emerged where he told a wealthy supporter that he will use a divide and conquer
strategy to defeat unions. and i'll finish with what mitt romney may need to do to prove about himself and gay people. we begin with president obama's hollywood haul last night. the newest film was the magic of bell isle starring morgan freeman, and john heilmann. thank you nor coming out tonight, you were is there, of course, you're a regular very supportive democratic. what was the feeling, the mood, the purpose and the force of the evening? >> it was a great feeling in the room. first of all there was $15 million dollars raised, but i think what is significant about that is about two thirds of that money came from small donors, so
the majority was not to people in the room. they raffled off a ticket to come to the dinner, and the people that won were at our table from florida. so this to me was a significant thing. the other great thing is there was about 15 tables and president obama moved from one table to the next so we got a chance to talk to everybody. i think it was a great evening. >> let me ask you about the cultural feeling. it sends to unite the democratic feeling these days. and a lot in the media world i must say. the sense that he is right to be for rights. what do you think that did? >> it energized everyone there. we were in a room full of avid supporters to begin with, but him making that -- he was for funny at the beginning. he said i made some news this week, you know. he made a joke out of it, but it was really a bold move on his
part, the right thing to do, we know he had been evolving on this issue, and he came to the right place. we always, you know, we kind of in fits and starts move towards doing the right thing. there was a time women couldn't vote, blacks could not marry whites, and we always seem to do the right thing and get it right. it's wonderful that a sit lg president is able to spot the only group, the only minority group in america that is not considered equal under the law. and this is a big step forward making sure all of that is taken away. >> i think the right line is america does the right thing after it tries everything else. let's listen to his mention about the news this week about gay marriage. we don't have the tape because it was a closed fundraiser. >> yesterday we made some news. it was a america should be.
are we a country that including everybody and gives everybody a shot and treating everybody fairly? will that make us stronger? are we welcoming to immigrants and people who are not like us? does that make us stronger? i believe it does and that's what's at stake. let me go to john about this. how do you put in this context on what they used to do, the cultur culturally identified people that care about freedom and rights issues. freedom of expression in the movies, but here you have real unity among the front, the people on the left, the middle of the road democrats, the hillary people. they receive to be united now for the president. >> you're thinking in terms of fundraising chris, mainly? on that front, you think about the obama coalition in terms of money back in 2008. all of those almosts were in place. he raised a ton of money in
hollywood and small donors. he raised money from hillary supporter as it came around. they gave him a lot of money in the fall of 2008. the one element of the fund raising coalition absent this year, and it's a big problem for him in terms of the campaign and the democratic super pac, is wall street. where, president obama raised a lot of money in 2008, and that well has gone dry for him. he is looking for new sources of money. i don't think that necessarily this decision was calculated to have that effect, but it may have that effect. he replaced a lot of wall street money with gay donors. this decision, as i said, not calculated necessarily just for financial profit for him, but it will pathos for him and he does need that money. right now there is no one on either side that doesn't acknowledge that he will be the first incumbent president that will be outspent in this
election. >> so you he will outspent in this election? >> yes, and by a large amount. >> he told the hollywood reporters that he's giving the maximum he is allowed to donate. he came out for support of marriage equality. let's max out. rob, i know you're a strong activist about this country, always out for the right things. let me ask you about hollywood and the business world. it seems to me -- let's put it to the republican side. when they invest in a republican candidate, they're investing in their businesses. in a certain weird perverted way they should get a tax write off because what they're doing is for the money, and you're doing it for cultural reasons and you share values with the president. gay people are concerned and they get a value out of this, but that's what they have a right to anyway i would argue.
it's interesting, isn't it. you out there on the coast do it because you agree with the president. people in wall street, business, and texas do it because they make money off of republican politics. >> that's exactly right. it's interesting but the hollywood community is the only donor base that has no quid pro q quo. it's not because he could do something for us. when you see the coke brothers throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into a, you know, a pac, they're looking for a pay back. they want, and they'll get it too. if their man gets in the white house, they will get it with, you know -- >> oil money, oil breaks. >> yes, regulations reduced that will allow them to pollute and do what they want to do. we're the only group of donors
that doesn't ask for something in return. we support them because they share our values for education, health care, the environment, the economy, social issues. they're in line with how we feel about things. and we look at, we look at the totally of a candidate, not just at a very narrow specific final interest. >> what do you make of romney's absolute straight arrow opposition for anything for gay people. not only marriage, but total opposition to any movement whatever. he saysly never e value, nothing for civil unions, no rights out there, nothing in terms of equality. is he just -- do you think he is just saying maybe i can pick off north carolina here? maybe i can get back in the game in ohio and iowa? what's he up to saying nothing, i'm giving gay people nothing. i'm not giving them nothing, not even crumbs. >> i think john heilmann pointed
out something interesting, i don't think obama came out in favor of same sex marriage to build his donor base, but it will do that. i think on the same token, i don't think romney is saying that because, you know, it's going to energize his base. the fact of the matter is it does energize his base. there are a lot of conservatives that would not have supported romney that might do it now if their single voter issue voters. but i think this is a deeply held view by romney, and i don't think we should diminish those feelings that we have. it's part of his religion, and he's entitled to his opinion. i believe he is wrong, and i believe history will show that he is wrong on this. my good friend, chad griffin was on earlier, and he said there
will never be another president who will not support marriage equality, and i think that's right. i think that's right. >> if obama wins. >> i think he will win, and i don't think there will be another president after him that will go back wards. >> i there was when he was made president. let's go to john, check him on that, is rob right on all of those fronts? will this get the christian conservatives excited about romney? >> i'll say two things. the first is i think rob is doing a little bit chartabitabl. he said he would be better for gay rights than ted kennedy was. that may have been implausible to argue, but he has evolved to some extent, he went to the right. and i think it's not necessarily like trying to drive the base in
this election, but romney has taken more conservative poxes to appeal to the gop base and that he needed to appeal to to get the nomination. and yes, i think it will rev up both sides. there's no question that the cultural right, the christian conservative right reacted more strongly to this than mitt romney has in the course of the last couple days. the question is if romney sees it as in his interest to exploit that or not. i think the romney campaign thinks any day not spent talk gt about the economy is a wasted day politically for him. i think they may try to leave this alone because they think the economy is the winning issue. they will obviously let the christian right do what it does at the grass roots level, but not try to drive it from their campaign. >> i agree with john on one thing, i think romney probably won't try to exploit it, but there will be surrogates out
there in a very targeted way. as you know karl rove is very good at this. in north carolina and virginia, these issues might make a difference. you will see direct mail and robo calls, and they will target specific voting blocks to turn out for voting. under, you know, under the radar, there will be a lot of -- >> i can't stand having rob r n reiner on this show because he knows more than most of us about this. good luck with the latest film, a great filmmaker, i still love a few good men, and i still love princess bride. thissing weekend on the chris maheshow, andrew sullivan'siona
president's stance on gay marriage. >> i didn't realize how important it would be until it happened. beforehand i was steeled, i was like i don't care, he will disappoint us again. and then i sat down and watched our president tell me that i am his equal. >> wow, just as emotional as that as you see. more from andrew sullivan this weekend. and coming up next, why are white house staffers talking trash about biden. why are they talking about it so much? this is "hardball," the police for politics.
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back to "hardball," this week there have been a of anonymous white house sources talking about their ir station. it stems from "meet the press" last weekend. white house staffers complained openly saying they were enraged by the episode, scene saying that biden counselled the president so stay mum on supporting it. what is going on behind the scenes in the white house? we have a reporter for politico, and a celebrated reporter for the "new york times." i have to start with the "new york times." this, i'm not a student of the press, but i know how to read a story. source after source after source, high level top campaign
official, close to the president, they're all talking openly about the president's anger and the white house's anger. i know you can't give up your sources, but why is everybody talking. >> i will not ask them to stop, but this is a very exacting staff. and not to give up any, these are not my sources, but they have a very, very strict plan, and this week it was to talk about the campaign rollout. and here we are day four talking about gay marriage, it has them tied into knots. >> did they pull back the money? >> no. >> so they wasted the money? >> i don't know if they wasted
it. is the role of the vice president to basically operate in the confines of the discipline of the white house operation? he is not a individual thinker, he job is supporting the president, it's a supportive role. >> he is used to being his own. >> yes, for 36 years, might run for president again and is interesting in making his voice heard. there will be contentions between them. >> he just speaks his mind, and all of a sudden now you have to speak the talking points. >> let me go to glenn to check on that. he broke his traces, his job is to perform not to create. we have a history.
>> no, i think the issue here is the white house outsourced the president's job to joe biden. he was the guy they sent to the midwest. he does a lot of the retail politics, that a president with a more rounded set of skilling might do, and it's a guy they like to use as comic relief. so, this is the problem. you let the dog off the leash and sometimes the dog bites. >> why the anger? i can see you're upset for someone that needs to serve a lesson. i read in your coverage, both of you, outrage, it's not just joe blew it, it's that he was bad. >> most of the time when biden does this stuff, it doesn't force the president's hand
directly. this is the white house and those guys talking about the long game. they're very reactive, particularly when they see something on the front of the "new york times" or the "new york post." they have been saying that they would have done this before the convention. that was not what i was hearing in the weeks leading up to this. >> let me check mark on that. that's a key point. was the president intending sometime before the conventions to support marriage equality. you say they were not set on that course yet? >> yeah, i mean i heard -- now the thing that the white house folks say is that obama made the decision and that changed the political calculation, so i'm not accusing anyone of being disingenuous. but the book on this prior to the announcement is that it would have been smart to do it six months ago -- >> but did biden goose them into action or push them into action.
did he create the idea of doing this or move the president ahead of schedule. >> i think there was a very lively debate internally about this, and i think the sense was, or the argument was by the political folks who thought they should not do this right away, is that the moment is lost and they have to wait until after the election. >> i'm not getting an answer out of you. before gregory asked the question, before that that, was the president planning on coming out for marriage equality. >> i don't know, i don't think so. >> the first i heard was whether he was going to come out about it was this week after biden spoke. >> any doubt he will be on the ticket? >> no. >> will he be on the ticket?
>> n >> it's a brush back pitch? it's a spanking. >> yes, biden has pretty good the last few years, and it ticked them off that it was in a campaign context. >> is he doing it for his own glory down the road? >> i think there's thoughts about this, but in the back of people's minds is 2016, and is he doing a little flutter eye to the left. >> here is my question, and i really like biden. biden spends 99% of his time thinking about one thing. how i help my friend, barack obama. when you're with him, it's all he talks about. this is all there is, it's his life. and he makes the mistake because he shows the joe biden i can't resist it kind of thing, and they're mad at him for that. >> they are and that's not his
job. >> do they say it's incompetence? >> well it's humiliating to have your number two get out in front of you on this. they like to control every aspect of the staging of things, and i don't think there is a reason for this, i think they're angry. >> and they could not hold back just like biden was accused of not molding himself back. if they're disciplined, they're not showing it. why publicly thrash the guy? >> it has to do with the anger. i think one of the interesting things going forward is how will the obama team try to control biden. i think they made an interesting staff hire, that is up on the hill, he is biden's press guy in the campaign he he is very close to the campaign manager, and i think you will see more of this, more controls on biden from
inside the white house and chicago. >> wow. >> he is knew, branew, brand ne. >> seems like a lot of effort to control him already. >> yeah, but he has never been one for being handled. >> when he was 29, he ran against a guy that was unbeatable. people like his honesty and love the quarks. >> and he gets away with it because he brings something that obama can't bring. >> anyway, thank you, great reporting. we'll have you back. up next, an amazing moment on the floor of the house, a congressman took back his statement and position because he offended one of the heros of
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become -- back to "hardball." the debate over republican pushed voter id laws took front and center on the house floor. republican paul brown proposed an amendment that would cut all funning from the voting rights act that will require states and counties to get federal approval for changing their election laws. enter john lewis who was brutally beaten as a freedom
marcher back in the 60s. >> it is hard and difficult and almost unbelievable that any member, but especially a member from the state of georgia, would come and offer such an amendment. there is a loan history in our country, especially in the 11 states of confederacy, from virginia to texas, a discrimination based on race and color. before the voting rights act of 1965, it was almost impossible for many people in the state of georgia, in alabama, in virginia, in texas, to register to vote. to participate in a democratic process. it's shameful that you would come here tonight and say to the department of justice that you must not use one penny, one cent, one dime, one dollar to
carry out the mandate of section five of the voting rights act. we should be opening up the political process and letting all of our citizens come in an participate. people died for the right to vote. friends of mine, colleagues of mine. speak out against this amendment. >> minutes later, he was back with his response. >> i apologize to more dear friend from georgia if he has gotten angry with this amendment and it was never my intent to do so, i wasn't trying to hurt any feelings, i ask for consent to withdraw my amendment. >> what a condescending way to talk to someone like congressman lewis. i apologize if he got angry. it prevents people from their right to vote. what do we make of mitt romney's behavior in high school. should it be forgotten because
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welcome back to "hardball," ask yourself this, would you be judged today by how you acted in high school, would you like that? a incident was reported from mitt romney's high school years. a group of lauber, he screamed for help, and romney clipped his hair with scisso scissors. michael steele is an msnbc political analyst and former rnc chair. i have very strong opinions about this topic that i'm saving for the end of the show, what is your opinion when you read this article on the front page of the times? >> it was 50 years ago, it was in high school, high school boys
in the 60s, we understand it. another opinion i have is this is another time when i think the campaign flubed the opportunity to help get him in front of the story and to define the story in context. so that people are not taking current attitudes about bullying and how they see young gay men being treated, and comparing it to the '60s. >> what's the second part? >> they handled it poorly. people hit that button and went not too much. you can't come out with something so stark in the memory of five other people, that you were the leader on, and say that you have no recollection. >> that's why i like having you on the show, i think that is a good comment. romney weighed in on fox radio.
let's listen to the governor's response. >> do you remember any of this? >> you know, i don't remember that incident. and i'll tell you, i certainly don't believe that i, or i can't speak for other people, of course, thought that the young man was homosexual. that was the furthest thing from my mind in the 1960s. i don't remember them all, but in my high school days i did stupid things. i'm afraid i have to say sorry. >> you spot a kid on campus, not the most popular kid. he is presumed to be a homosexual, and the big guys got together, went looking for the kid, chased him, found him on campus, pinned him down, he is crying and screaming for help, and they have a pair of scissors and cut the kids hair off. then he is muted, quiet, tamed,
beaten down, doesn't cause trouble anymore. this is a novel that you read in a separate piece. this is the stuff we all remember from skrul. the cruelty of school, how cruel it can be, your thoughts? >> you know, i really appreciate michael's candor about the way the campaign handled it, but i think it goes slightly deeper than that. when you listen to mitt chuckle. >> four times. >> exactly after he hears a description of what happened. i fin it impossible to believe that he doesn't remember, but b, if i gave him the benefit of the doubt, to hear it and chuckle? there is really an empathy deficit there. if someone said you did this and i heard it, i would laugh and i would be horrified, and i would say i didn't do that b wane if i
did, i'm horriblely sorry. >> how are they different today in how is our standard different from then? >> i think that we are more cognizant of the damaging that bullying does, particularly anti-gay bullying. i won't give him a pass for it, but i kind of agree with michael, you want to give a younger person more compassion. but you can judge his response. since we live in a culture where we have the "the gets better" vide videos, for young gay teenagers to hang in there, it's really a missed opportunity. >> we're looking for this guy, most people don't know mitt romney personally, but we connect the dots. this story that is probably true, and another is this incident where he had a staffer run off the campaign because he was gay, and romney never said
stay, i need you. so maybe the dots are getting connected in an unfavorable way. >> i don't know all that goes into that second dot, but when you look at it, here is someone with the kind of policy that is accepted because the people he worked for and has been around, number two, the establishment in this town, you know, saw him as very good, credible hire. and were rather disappointed at his leaving. so i think there is something there where, you know, the campaign got in front of him, he is sort of blocks and tackled out of position. >> couldn't romney have said stay? >> yes, and if you hired him and you brought him in because he's good at communicating policy,
then you keep him. >> what did you think about the article about romney being stands up with everything. he goes along with the foreign policy, the nordqvist on tax policy, the cultural right. he never says i'm different than you. >> i think what michael is saying is it's like he want today have it both ways. he want today be standing up saying he is a hawk, we like him, he's credible, he wanted to do it briefly, but he didn't have courage for his convictions, and he wasn't able to say look, i hired him and i don't care that he's gay. >> he could still be a hero. >> governor romney can still be a hero this weekend.
he is staying because i say he's a good guy, i don't care what his orientation is. thank you, have a good weekend both of you. i don't know what it's like, but it's beautiful out. up next, one month before the big recall election in wisconsin, a videotape has emerged as they even do where scott walker tells a rich supporter how he will divide and conquer the union movement. life, but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms
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elections next month because he weakened public sector unions with his budget bill. he says he was just trying to fix the budget, but a new video of him talking to a wealthy donor makes you doubt his good will. >> any chance we will get to be a completely red state, get rid of the unions and be right to work? what can we do to help you? >> we'll start with our budget adjustment bill. the first step is dealing with collective bargaining for public employees, because you can divide and conquer. >> he will divide and conquer, divide the unions from the public sector from the private unions. we have hard evidence here. >> from the very beginning this was never about budgets, deficit, never about good management. this was an effort to simply break the unions in wisconsin,
which is also coordinated with the same kind of effort in some 20 states that occurred in 2011. i find it interesting that this may be the only time that captured scott walker telling the truth. >> i think it's one of the most amazing things. this is like watergate. let me go to milwaukee mayor tom barre barrett. you must be thanking santa claus. you have got this guy caught red handed all along. i don't even know. i don't know the guy. i thought he may have been an honest budget cutter. his number one goal was to screw the unions especially the public sector. he wants to divide and conquer. he's caught red handed mr. mayor. you got him. >> chris, i was flabbergasted when i saw it. i've been saying for week his philosophy was divide and conquer. this is the only thing we've agreed on so far. now he's saying he's in favor of
dividing and conquering. this has never been about the budget. it's how do do you take away workers rights. you start with the public employees and then you go divide and conquer. it's how can he go after working people in this state. the woman he made that statement to, two weeks later, she gave him $10,000. three weeks later 25,000 dollar. >> who was this woman he was making the commitments? >> she's a billionaire businesswoman in the state. earlier this year she gave, what we believe, is the largest contribution ever in the state of wisconsin to a gubernatorial campaign. she gave him a cool half a million dollars. >> why does she hate public employees? >> i have no idea. i've never met the woman. i don't know what it is. i honestly don't know what it is. this goes directly to his
truthfulness. >> i agree. >> he's been saying all along i'm not going to go after them. it's right out of mitch daniels playbook in indiana. he said it for years. the thursday before the super bowl game he signed the bill in indiana. that's what i believe is going to happen here. scott walker has never said, and we've pushed him for weeks. he's never said he would veto a bill that would make wisconsin a right to work state. he won't say that because he can no longer be the rock star of the far right. >> it reminds me back when the budget director admitted the whole purpose of the changing the tax laws was to get the top rate down for the rich. your thoughts about this. why do people hate public employees? why do they want to break them? >> first of all, people do not hate public employees. the people depend on their firefighters, their cops and
teachers. >> i know. >> those at the very top, this goes back to alec. this goes back to a well financed, disciplined, 300 corporations providing the funding that develop the proposals that translated into wisconsin and ohio and florida. this has been an absolute fraud. it's so cynical that what he really intended to do was set private sector unions against the public sector. let's carve the cops and firefighters out. >> i've got to say something. after 9/11, you know what people said was the highest job in the country, firefighter. it's so interesting. i've got to say something in tribute to my colleague, mr. mayor. i have a colleague here who is probably levitating now, ed schultz. this is what he's been saying for months. this guy is a union buster.
thank you. >> thank you. we have more on our website too. >> good luck in your race. i can't endorse, but i can say good luck. >> thank you. mitt romney may need to prove about himself and gay people. how he relates to gay people now and when he was in high school s has it changed? in 75% of your m, listerine cleans virtually your entire mouth. so take your oral health to a whole new level. listerine... power to your mouth.
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let me finish tonight with high school. remember it? remember how you were treated by your classmates, that is? were you cool? did you know the latest dances? were you popular, part of the incrowd? or did you feel awkward a lot of time never really part of the scene? do you remember people you had lunch with? do you remember the bullies? the kids that may have been good at sports? romney says he can't remember if he left a pack of classmates and went in search of another kid that was gay and got on top of him on the ground and while he was screaming out mitt romney did the honors and cut his hair. he said he can't remember doing that. he said he can't remember leading a bunch of followers out to teach him a lesson and make him submit to the way they
wanted things to be. if he never did this, he should say so and proudly. why would you want people to think you did it? it would be helpful to now how he looks back on this with a giggle or a did he feel badly how he treated a kid his age worried about who he is. worried about what his classmates decided to do to him. he will probably stick to his joran. it might be good for the voter to remember. i'm sure richard grenell is thinking hard about the fact that the man that was once this kid is the man that let him get chased away from his campaign and didn't lift a finger. i'm standing up to the predators with you. mitt can still do that. it can be his ways to say ladies and gentlemen, any name is mitt romney.