tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 16, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
you the have the last word online at our blog or you can follow my tweets @lawrence. up next, "hardball" with chris matthews. evil destruction. let's play "hardball." good evening and welcome. i'm chris matthews in washington. sabotage, they did it last summer exploding the country's credit rating. here they come again for an election year replay. if you want to kill the recovery you get to kill obama's chances. it's another example of how the republicans have become a protest party with no interest in governing our country. look who is hiding from the president these days, mitt romney.
his staff stopped reporters from asking him any questions today. what is he afraid of? plus the defense rests in the john edward's case and never calls him or his girlfriend to the stand. a lot of people think the prosecution never made it's case on the law. how about that 11th hoir outside money changing a senate election out in nebraska and pushing a candidate backed by sarah palin way over the top in the last minute. is that more dirty angry money? finally let me finish with strange thoughts about a strange election getting under way. this will be a strange one. we know obama, but who is this other guy. we begin with a sequel to last year's debt show down. here is the chair of the democratic national campaign committee, and david corn, the author of "showdown." when obama fought back against boehner and the tea party. here is boehner, he is trying to
sound like one of them, listen to this speech from yesterday. >> yes, allowing america to default on it's debt would be irresponsible. but it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic temperatures to reduce spending and reform the budget process. when the time comes i will insist on cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. this is the only avenue i see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural, fiscal imbalance. >> it sounds sophisticated, but he said he wasn't calling for default, but went on to question the president's motives. let's listen to it ghen morning. >> i'm not threatening default. where is the president's plan to tackle the looming debt crisis?
where is the president's plan to stop the largest tax increase from occurred on january 1st. it's not a personal issue. the president and i get along fine. he has issues with what i believe in and frankly i have some issues about what he believes in. >> i'm not threatening default, mr. israel, thank you for coming on. it looks like boehner is threatening just that. he will not let the debt ceiling increase or create a function. he will create a crisis right before the election. the american people will see their credit rating drop, the s&p will go down, and the county think suffer. >> this is like a bad summer rerun. their play was partisan obstruction, protecting millionaires over medicare. saying we have plenty of money to give them tax cuts but not
seniors their medicare. and continuing to obstruct any progress on our economy. they care about one thing. tea party republicans in congress. they will bring this economy to the brink of default in order to try and insurance some partisan game. they have to stop the partisanship. they walked away from our cuts. we said oil companies should do more as well. >> you know i have david corn with me who is an expert, you wrote about this, the republicans passed their fix it thing. protect the defense department from any cuts, that was the deal last year when all of this mismash occurred, and just medicare and food stamps. they're cutting medicaid for poor people and food stamps for poor people and pushing for big tax cuts for the rich.
>> perhaps more important, they're not sticking with the deal they accepted a year ago john boehner, you know, tried to cut a deal with the president. i write about this in "shoudown" that would have sacrificed revenues, and he could not dot it because of the tea party. so they cut a smaller deal, smaller cuts, social programs and the defense department, and now they can't stand by those, and now they're saying the president doesn't have a plan. it's showing that he can't do anything on his own. >> you know what i'm thinking? i'm thinking that if romney gets to be president, he is offering himself to be u i'll be another boehner. i'm not as crazy as the rest of these 200 republican tea partiers, but i'll do what they tell me to do.
look at boehner, he is not loony toon, he is a right winger. they want another debt christ, bring the government to a hault, he might as well be one of the tea partiers, is the tea party run by the bottom? the least informed telling the top who do know what's going wrong to do what they're doing? >> we're looking at mayer in here. >> let's do the call of the right. >> chris, i think the problem is the inmates are running the asylum, john boehner doesn't have control. american needs a republican party. you know this better than anybody. these people believe that compromise is evil. they will not compromise, it's all their way, it's partisan objection. we don't have a transportation bill because they only think roadways go to the far, far right.
i think politically, they don't take advice from me, but anyway we can contrast democratic priorities to protect cuts for mill fairs. >> why would any voter say let's screw the poor people one more time. medicaid you can't go to the hospital or anywhere. and they keep coming ut with more breaks for the rich. no progress was made today when the president did meet with these leaders. here was jay carney's readout of it today. >> the president refuses a replay of last summer's self inflicted crisis. the president reiterated that any serious bipartisan approach
to tackle the deficit must be balanced, and he wants to stake out an agreement along those lines. he will not accept an approach that asks middle class families to make sacrifices without asking for anything more from millionaires and billionaires. >> they provided this account, the speaker asked the president if the congress will pass ab increase in the debt ceiling. the president said yes, the speaker told the president, as long as i'm around here,ly not allow a debt ceiling increase without doing something serious about the debt. i want to ask you a political question. you want to get democrats elected and you think you can get a majority this november. if the republicans are right and can screw up the economy. every time they say the government will go to a shut down, every time they say we'll
renege on paying debts, the s&p goes down opinion every time the market goes down, obama goes down. could it be they have a very serious plan here to basically sabotage the president? which is, create this screw up debt, we get a lower bond rating, the economy starting to creep along instead of roaring along, the president goes down in the numbers on job performance, and they pick up the pieces. what's wrong with that as a strategy for them. >> i think you're right, mitch mcconnell said it, he said the republicans have one mission, deny barack obama a second term. they're all about one thing. this is why i think we'll take the house back. >> i don't think it works, i think people are smart, they realize who is driving the bus, and they're only driving to the far right and they keep stomping their their foot on the brakes.
they will be health account to a strategy. >> explain to me, david, you're a journalist and an advocate, why do they keep winning. >> they're taking advantage of the anger that some democrats have that the president has not always tapped as effectively as they have been. people vote against the incumbent. >> who do they blame? >> the people in power. they have some danger because they believe in government. the tea party is saying we're the protest party. >> exactly. mitt romney is saying not much about anything. he is blasting away the the president. they can say look at what house republicans and john boehner is doing and it may bring down the economy and cause pain, but mitt romney will obviously be to
stand afrom that and let it fall -- and then so, how do you tie this together if you're the -- >> mr. israel, let's talk about the timing in may, halfway through this month, a big hot summer ahead of us, at what point does this debt crisis hit. they're saying they have a deal with the bush tax cuts, of cuts in domestic and military. will this crash before the election? >> they tried to do it last year. i believe their strategy is do everything they can to make the president look bad in order to experience some partisan gain. the tragedy here is it doesn't have to go down like this. we can compromise. democrats want to end spending for programs that don't work, and make spending more efficient for initiatives that protect the middle class. we wish we had a republican to negotiate with, we could solve this.
>> by the way what you said about reagan is they did fight, but they negotiated. am i too strong saying this is a sabotage campaign? >> no, it's mitch mcconnell's own words. it wasn't to create jobs, but take one job away from the president of the united states. >> you're a great guest, good luck with the dccc thank you david corn, your book is called "showdown." coming up, a great book promotion by the way. why is romney ducking the press. he says he doesn't have to answer your questions. he is laughing about it. is he afraid of the questions. and bain capital, that's where you work and get rich, explain the money. show us how you made the money. this is "hardball," a place for
back to "hardball," reporters, stay away. that was the message from mitt romney's staff today. here are a few of the tweets from reporters from top news outlets. kasie hunt said campaign staff and volunteers tried to physically prevent reporters from approaching the rope line. press lead announced there will
be no questions for the nominee today. a spokesperson said it was an error, but it suggest a campaign determined to keep the candidate on message which is no message. we have a senior writer from salon.com. and a campaign manager for mike huckabee in 2008. let met ask you something really important here. is it possible that the best evidence that this relentless almost state by state four corner offense on romney, and what he caused, is hurting him so much he dare not speak? >> the problem that i have with the idea that they think they can run the clock out on this is, is this is the major line of attack they used in 1994, and
it's been obvious that it's copping. if the campaign has the thought we can keep it away from the press, this is a one day story. >> how can you not? all he does is brag about being a job creator. he certainly was not when he was 47th in the states. >> it's absolutely essential that they undermine romney's accountability. where romney has the advantage, like the only place, is who is better on help everything the economy. people instinctively connect business success with economic kpe tins and the obama campaign has to break that link. >> what do you think going after his strength like karl rove and the bushies went after kerry's record.
>> they're trying to make bain a four letter word. i think if i was running the campaign i would go head on. i would find every success story, and every time they bring up something bad, i would try to bring up something good. a know a factory worker said he lost his job, i would bring up people that have jobs because of invest wants from companies and manufacturing and things line staples and push back hard on it. >> how come bain got all of the money. bain ends up a quarter billionaire. did they take the money out and then drop them? take the profits and the sale and flip them? but nope was a better company? it could be possible they didn't create jobs. >> i think they're the start up capital. they're the guys first in, and
if they lose everything, they lose everything. >> except that bain always wins. >> vice president biden was introduced bay folk tire worker that lost his job from a bain take over. here is the vice president. >> his bain capital bought my plant, brought in security guards, fired us all, walked us out of the building. we saw families devastated and communities devastated by this act. a few were hired back, when they hired us back, they cut our wages, they cut our benefits, they took our retirement package. in eight short years, mitt romney and his buddies took $100 million out of the company and threat go bankrupt. >> that's some testimony.
>> yeah, i remember the ted kennedy campaign using that in 1994, and it seemed to be effective. why does it work in some years and not in other years, i think there is something about the climate of 2012 that might be conducive, that we're living in the wake of the financial melt down. the stories is about the widespread pervasive in the nation -- >> yeah, but steve, we all know this story, that make movies about this, the very well turned out ivy league sharpies show up, they never had dirt under their nails, they fire all of them, and produce a better bottom line for the company, and then they flip it. it's a story everybody knows.
everybody has a family member that's been through it. they were called efficiencies experts. the consultants are not coming to help you, but why are you still here is usually the question. it's a class worker. more people will identify with the factory worker. everywhere in this country will be better with romney. this guy not ready for television looks real. >> yeah, and that's important. if they can push back with people who have jobs because of what mitt romney did. >> i think they have plenty. >> the guys that work at bain. >> there's a lot of people that work at staples with jobs. >> an article in the tampa bay times welcome the romney campaign with this.
he said he wound up shuttering two facilities in yam. 250 jobs were lost while bain got $242 million, and 800% investment return. are you an expert how equity comes in, shakes these companies, cuts their cost, and flips them. is it usually to the advantage of the workers, or never to little management, might be fot advantage of the stockholders of those companies. >> my understand sg it can be to the advantage of the workers and to middle management, but always to the advantage of a company like bain, that's the problem. i'm sure there are exampled and anecdote that's romney can sure up and put out there. the flip side is because of the nature of his business, making money for investors, it's not creating jobs like he likes to say on the stump.
because he's making money for investors, there's a lot of stories out there like we are hearing now. >> let's try to reenact the first debate. romney comes out, you had your chance, give me a chance. obama says let's talk about what you did when you had your chance, and he goes through a number of these horror stories about bain, will that be part of the debate? >> the bottom line is these guys made tough investments when they decided to invest in every one of the companies, they didn't win every single time. you have to have big wins for a lot of losses. they put a lot of money into work and that's what they have to push back on. >> it will be obama's change to name names of people screwed by bain and expect that mitt won't know their names. they'll say you don't even know the names of the guys you screwed? does this mean anything to you?
i have a sense they will do that. >> by the time the ads get through six months from now, romney will know all of the names. thank you, i think we're previewing the big debates this fall. mitt romney put to music? ♪ well show you more of this weird stuff in a minute. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ surf's up everybody get your boards and your wetsuits ♪
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that tells you something, doesn't it. that was brought to us by the gregory brothers. how is this for behind the times. pennsylvania republican congressman joe pitts replied to an e-mail from a constituent that wanted to express concern about the middle east peace process. catch this. this is his response formally. with the global war against terrorism, it's now incumbent on prime minister arel sharn, i and to restart a peace process that has collapsed. that was the formal answer in a letter by him. he has not been the prime minister since 2006, six years ago.
arafrat died eight years ago. a spokesman for congressman pitts says that was a outdated form letter. congressman, update your letters, and president obama didn't want to show up empty handed with leaders today, probably a good idea. luckily his schedule included a visit to the local deli, and i'm going to offer hoagies while i'm there, let's make sure we don't lose steam. >> this is a serious size hoagie by the way. >> a hoagie is very filly, but a
what a trial, the defense in the john edward's trial rested today. it was a fraction of the prosecution's efforts that presented a sorts detail of edward's affair and his lies to cover it up. but did the prosecution prove that edwards actually violated the law. we have two guests with us. let me start with melinda on this case, i'm skeptical the law was broken here, how does the jury look right now. i heard there's a couple, according to you, that have stinky eyes, they don't like the looks of john edwards.
>> i think i said the stink eyes. you can't tell what a juror is thinking until you heard the verdict, but i don't think they proved the case, i think they had to show that he knew what the law was and meant to break it, and they didn't get there in my opinion, but i would say there are a couple of women jurors that have been putting the eye on -- >> you believe he is guilty of knowingly violating the law here? >> he consulted the -- the lawyers he consulted on the law were his old partner that does med-mal cases like what he used to do that has nothing to do with campaign finance. and the others who be asbestos cases in texas. so they didn't know anything
about that. campaign finance law is not that complicated, and i think he knew he was breaking it. >> let me interrupt you, my big skepticism is about this, everybody watches this show and follows politics nows you can only make $2300 contributions. most people know that. somebody giving lots of money, huge amounts of money to a guy for other reasons is not diluted into thinking it is a campaign contribution, nobody thinks that, when you do favors for politicians, it's not a campaign contribution, the guy should not go to prison for 30 years over this case. your view? >> i caught election law, and i don't think it's simple and i don't think this jury should think it is simple, and there is no question there has not been a case like this before.
edwards did not offer anything return. so he is relying on the fact that the government has to prove he knew he was violating the law. and the government never got in direct evidence of that. >> so what is your sense of the case and how it's going now as the defense rests today? it goes to the jury on friday. the judge just instructed the jury saying you don't have to believe that the only reason the money was given was for political purposes, just a main purpose of it was for political purposes, that's all you have to believe to convict the guy. >> that's right. edwards has not gotten anywhere near what he wanted for jury instructions and that will be an issue on appeal. he didn't get all he wants not just from law partners, but the former -- even if you assumed all of the allegations were true, it's not a civil
violation, this money to a mistress or a criminal one. he can say it never came up, they destroyed andrew young's credibility, most of the money stayed with them and didn't go to rielle. was it too safe? >> reasonable doubt do you think or not? reasonable doubt or will there be two holdouts because they got stink eyes? is it possible to dislike him, how do they feel toward this guy now because of his disloyalty to his wife, the carrying on of that affair. the way he did attempt to cover it up, they just don't like him enough to convict because they don't like him. >> it's a possibility, but they went through 200 potential juries to try to come up with 12 that could be fair and impartial, and the judge will be very stern tomorrow telling these jurors they have to put aside their personal opinion.
he only needs one hold out, if there's two there will be a mistrial. if he can find one juror to embrace his theory, he should walk. >> that's an interesting thought, a hung jury works for john edwards, that's fascinating. i agree they will not get the -- >> i'm sorry, hampton, all he has to do is not get convicted this time and he wins. >> sure, the government has every right to try this case again, but it's hard to imagine they would put in the resources a second time if they can't get a unanimous jury this time. >> i just want to know why president obama kept that republican prosecutor in office after he came into office himself. why would he keep a -- i hate to be partisan, but it seems odd. it's strange when a democrat comes into office, keeps a republican holdover, and he's
going after a democrat. >> i don't know about the motivations, i really don't. >> you have been great covering the trial. thank you, it's great to have you on, we'll see what happens friday. up next how super pac money flooded nebraska and brought a winner up from nowhere. it was thanks to super pac money, you're watching "hardball." time out. sweet. [ female announcer ] with charmin ultra soft, you can get that cushiony feeling you love while still using less. charmin ultra soft is designed with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent and you can use four times less versus the leading value brand. ♪ ah. [ female announcer ] we all go. why not enjoy the go with charmin ultra soft.
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>> more polling numbers now for the presidential race. from two states that are home to potential running mates, to new jersey, there is a big lead for the president. ten point spread. and add chris christe to the ticket and it's still obama. now to new hampshire, he has a lead 53-41. just like hailey basher said last night.
the results last night in nebraska came as a shock to many. deb fischer, a rancher and state senator who was badly outspent pulled off a big upset victory. this is the second time in as many weeks that a republican primary dumped an establishment-backed candidate for someone like her. however, those groups didn't back fisher, the winner. instead, fisher benefited from some last-minute endorsements including sarah palin, and more importantly, perhaps, the infusion of money from a super pac owned by joe ricins who owns the cubs out in chicago. he put out two ads over the
weekend supporting fisher. what does this the race tell us about how politics is done in our post-citizens united world? is it a good man that one man can come in thanks to his money? brian baker is the president of that super pac called the ending spending action fund, and daniella is a democratic strategist and a vice president for the center for american progress. >> look, we've been very tough on this show. we, me, everybody here doesn't like the idea, in a democracy, that somebody with big daddy warbucks money can come in at the last minute and dump a tremendous amount of money and turn the direction of a democracy, because they've got the loot to do it. they don't have one vote, they have $200,000 of it. and they change everything. now, defend that thing. you run that pac. defend that kind of democracy. >> chris, not everybody has a cable talk show. >> but i'm not running for office. >> not everybody has the power
of a newspaper or a hollywood actor who raises $14 million -- >> but neither did the other candidates in this race. >> super pacs increase the flow of information to the voters and the voters will get it right. every dollar donated to a super pac is disclosed. >> except for the so-called nonprofits. crossroads gps, the karl rove operation, does not release the names. >> i don't speak on behalf of crossroads, but super pacs disclose the money. >> if you get hit with a bunch of tv ads, people have no time to distill with what the truth is. they get a big slam in the face. your thoughts? >> i agree with you completely. the problem is this unlimited, unfettered money just flowing in at the last minute. >> there's no $2,300 limit. >> there's no limit, so one person, one corporation, one billionaire can totally influence the outcome of an election. >> let's take a look at the ads. here's the two ads, your group airing this one days before the election. this first one brings up the endorsements your candidate received, including the once from sarah palin.
>> could there be a surprise in tuesday's vote for the senate. the republican politician everyone assumed would win is sinking and the conservative outsider, a nebraska outsider, is rising fast. deb fischer, one of us. many agree, sarah palin. this tuesday, surprise the world. vote for deb fischer. >> good ad. the second ad goes after her opponent, the establishment-backed jon bruning. >> as attorney general, he's made millions. bought a $600,000 vacation home with the owner of a company he officially overseas. as the state's top lawyer, he somehow obtained significant ownership in state-regulated companies. for character, anyone but bruning. >> well? >> well, chris, the point i was
trying to make is if money mattered, than one of these other candidates would have won. of all of the money spent in the race, $1 out of every $10 was spent for deb fischer. it was her message of fiscal responsibility. >> those ads with were trashing the opponent. you trashed the attorney general, made him a crook. >> the other two candidates spent millions of dollars beating each other up. >> that's what i like about politics. i like it when the two guys trash each other and someone else wins. but in your case, it's throwing in this huge money in the end. do you think there can be campaign limits on how much a person can contribute to a campaign? >> i can't do it because of my job, but an individual can give $2,300 if they're pretty well off, but that's it. your guy can drop $200,000 in a weekend. is that fair? >> i think it would be much better, i think a number of candidates have said this, if we didn't have limits at all and the money went right to campaigns and it was fully disclosed.
>> so why don't we just call them auctions instead of elections. >> that's not true. why are you afraid can -- >> -- to the highest bidder. >> why are you afraid of the voters getting information. >> come on! >> trust the people. >> i know you have to say that because of your job, but give me a break. what you're advocating is for the wealthiest people to have out-sized influence in our process. >> that's not true. >> it's absolutely true. sheldon adelson already said he's going to spend millions and millions of dollars. >> i don't think your group discloses your donors. >> and we don't do political advocacy ads. and if we did, we would absolutely disclose our donors. because we believe it's important. >> do you have the same position for super pacs who support democratic candidates? >> absolutely. we do not have a different opinion because one group's a republican and one group's a democrat. >> so let me ask you about democracy here. is the time over when a schoolteacher could get elected to congress?
i know a lot of people, tom foley was a local politician -- a local lawyer, got elected to congress. it used to be, if you ran, ran a good campaign, came across pretty well, you could win a race without having a zillion dollars. now, if you say this information flow, according to you, is run by money. >> that's not what -- >> you just said it. >> deb fischer is an example of what you're talking about. he's a rancher, a mother, a small business owner. >> because she was anointed by your rich buddies. >> she was not anointed by anybody. >> mr. rickets has got a couple hundred million dollars and he says, i'll give you some. >> that's not true at all. the people of nebraska decided. it's time for change. >> if deb fischer gets elected to the united states senate, do you think mr. rickets will be able to get a meeting with her once in a while? >> i don't know. all mr. rickets wants and all that we should want is a budget. he just wants the leaders to lead.
>> i didn't see the ads. i saw ads that trashed your opponents. >> thank you, sir. thank you, madam. i like you a lot. i disagree you, get along with you. when we return, let me finish with the choice of this the presidential election between what we know and what we don't know. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
let me finish tonight with this. i think we have a strange election campaign getting underway. we have one candidate we know, barack obama. i think the overwhelming judgment of people is that this fella is who he seems to be, a bit cool, very smart, a good sense of humor on the personal side. a fairly pragmatic progressive on the government side. a tough, no-nonsense defender of the country on the defense side. what's he up against? good question. romney was a moderate up in massachusetts. he pushed the health care plan that pioneered what obama did. he was pro-choice. said he was more for gay rights than ted kennedy. then he went national, went right. by the end of this primary season, he's become nasty on immigration, talking about self-deportation as a method of enforcement, talking about god knows what when it comes to iran, pushing tax cuts for the wealthy, less regulation, basically a return to w., that era of republican rule that no one dare mitt dare talk about repeating openly. on the personal side, good question. romney says strange things about
liking to fire people and about the marvelous nature of the ryan budget plan. he has an odd manner that makes you wonder what with drew him into politics in the first place, surely not the need to share himself with millions of people or explain himself for that matter. right now he's hiding from the press. he doesn't want to talk about how he made his money, nothing about that company that made him rich. he has a plan to win this election, be the alternative. if the economy starts to sink, he'll be the option. brand x, the product that we're expected to choose for no better reason than we haven't tried it yet. this is how he won the primaries, hoping people would vote for him out of desperation. they certainly weren't going to vote for santorum or gingrich when mitt and his friends were busy keel hauling him in one nasty ad after another. this is what we have this election, one that we know, and hoping that we'll elect that one guy with the nice wife and kids, that won't answer questions, and won't tell us how he got rich. he just wants himself to be the