tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 5, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
now. thank you. in 2008 when the republicans were looking for a candidate to be their presidential nominee to succeed president george w. bush, the guy who was supposed to win in '08, the guy who was the early beltway favorite was fred thompson. fred thompson who was an actor on "law and order" and who is a large man and had a very deep voice and who looksç very presidentialish from a distance. on tv. and i've always thought that the fred thompson mania of the 2008 presidential race, the sort of pundit mania over the prospects for fred thompson were largely based on what he looked like and he's a big guy and has this big great voice. in terms of his resume, what he was known for was being an actor on "law and order." he had been a lobbiest for decades on washington. that usually means you have represented some unpolitically correct clients. in his case some abortion rights
clients when he was trying to run as an anti-abortion rights politician. in addition to bb a lobbyist and the guy on tv, he served one and a half terms in the u.s. senate. but honestly his time in the senate was characterized by no real accomplishment of any note. there's no fred thompson legislative achievement that he was trying to run on. but still, he's a big guy, played the district attorney on "law and order." he totally looks like he's in charge. republicans loved the idea of him. this was a poll from before fred thompson got into the race in the summer of 2007. plenty of other republicans were running at this time. the republicans were competing with each other for the nomination. money was being raised and spent. fred thompson was not participanting but he was for a time at the top of the polls. as the other candidates competed, mr. thompson was easing his way into making his decision. figuring outç finally late int
the fall that maybe he guessed he would jump in. but right off the bat, with all the beltway press behind him, all this excitement built up, all those polling numbers excited about him getting in, right off the bat when he got in, things went badly right way. >> all eyes will be on fred thompson when he walks on the stage tonight. his first debate since he joined the presidential race. and abc news spent months digging out videos shedding light on thompson's role as a young lawyer investigating the watergate scandal. >> fred thompson made his move years ago leading watergate and president nixon. a different less valiant picture emerges from listening to the white house audiotapes made at the time as president nixon plotted in the oval office. thompson's job was to lead the republican side of the investigation. nixon worried that thompson's democratic counterpart sam dash
would outsmart thompson. as the investigation picked up speed, nixon grew increasingly concerned about thompson standing up to the democrats. speaking here with with haig. >> weeks later, thompson was still being described in the oval office as not very smart but at least beginning to play ball. >> not smart, but he's friendly. see, that's a bad way to start a presidential campaign. your first debate? maybe been insulted by richard nixon should be seen as a badge
of honor in america, but being insulted from anyone being dumb as hell, not a good way to head into your first debate on the campaign trail. once he did get in, the campaign suffered from a lack of get up and go. >> i appreciate very much your being here today and listening to me. and give my thoughts. first of all, can i have a round of applause? >> when you have to ask for the round of applause, even if you do it in an endearing i'm a large person with a deep voice kind of way, there is something wrong with you as a moving candidate. with everything from his stumped speech speaking style to getting in the race really late to his very light campaign schedule, mr. thompson fell quickly from the guy who was going to win, the guy winning in the polls when it started to the guy who's being openly derided as lazy once he got into the race. the new york times reporting on the thompson campaign -- on the thompson campaign stop in iowa
where fred thompson supporter admitted thompson had been outshone by the legislators who introducedúçhim. but for the low key performance, that fred thompson supporter said quote, i'm sure this is his fourth event of the day. the new york times added quote, it was, but one of those four was a walking tour of downtown iowa falls that took him to two stores and lasted less than 15 minutes. fred thompson was the guy they said was going to win on his presence, he way he talks. but in iowa, he came in third place. in new hampshire he got 1% of the vote. one of the first five con -- out of the first five contests the only place he broke into the double digits was south carolina. by the time he was coming in fifth place in michigan, it was clear fred thompson was on his way out.
before florida had even voted at the end of january, fred thompson for president dream was over. here's the thing, though, about fred thompson's failed presidential candidacy. the beltway was totally wrong that his folksy presence and deep voiced actorliness would be enough to win him the nomination. but the beltway was right. that he possesses those qualities. and during this shot for the presidency, the times he turned those qualities on, they worked very well. and the guy who was most often on the losing end of fred thompson's manifest folksy play to the crowd charm was a fellow candidate who also lost named mitt romney.ç >> a good number of the people who are uninsured can afford to choose not to do so. a good number of the people who are eligible for government assistance. >> you backed away from
mandates. >> no i like mandates. >> beg your pardon? >> let me -- >> i didn't know you were going to admit that. >> let me tell you which mandates i like, fred. >> the ones you come up with. >> here's my view. if somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy it and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way opposed to expecting government to pay their way. that's an american principle. that's a personal responsibility. so i said this, if you can afford to buy insurance, then buy it. you don't have to. if you don't want to. but put enough money aside to pay your own way. what we're not going to do is say, as we -- >> tax penalties. >> which they look like. if people can afford to buy it, buy it or pay your own way. don't be free riders and pass on the cost of your health care to everybody else. >> the government is going to
make you buy insurance -- >> fred thompson failed as a presidential candidate but he was 100% successful in pinning mitt romney down like he was a not quite dead butterfly on the issue that totally plummets his presidential campaign. this year. just like in 2008 when he was running against the likes of fred thompson. you heard mitt romney there saying that what he did for his state' massachusetts was impose a mandate. he said i like mandates. mandates work. and he described the way you enforce that mandate as a tax. >> i like mandates. the mandates work. >> beg your pardon? >> if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way. >> that is mitt romney taking credit for doing as a governor exactly what barack obama as president. which mitt romney now says is the main reason to vote against barack obama as president. because he did what i did.
if you believe that argument, if you believe that the reason president obama shouldn't get a second term is because he implemented health reform, then why would you want top replace barack obama with a politician who did the same thing. he just did it first. romney campaign is a totally incoherent mess over this right now. since the health reform ruling from the supreme court, they have been flailing so ostentatiously on this issue that the right is freaking out about the prospects of the romney campaign. the wall street journal editorial campaign on -- section on the campaign's confusion. they have turned the supreme court ruling in favor of health reform into quote, a second political defeat. after romney said in 2008 that his health plan was a tax and then in 2009 that his health reform plan was a tax then not a tax. then yesterday it was not a tax.
today the wa$l street journal saying it's enough. calling out the campaign for looking confused in addition to being politically dumb. this is not symptom liberal editorial here. this is romney's own side. this is an editorial page rooting for him to win. they say quote, he promised he was the best man to make case against obama. so far mr. romney is letting them down. the even more pointed manifestation on the right with mitt romney is a bunch of people telling him to fire his staff. indicating that mr. romney will not fire anybody or accept their resignations. but he may add new senior staff to take over and try to give them something to say about what he has put forth as his central argument about obama. which he still hasn't figured what to say about. it's the worst possible thing for him to run on.
he has decided to run on it. i don't think the problem is his staff. it's the candidate trying to run on one thing he did as a public official. the piece of legislation so closely associated with him that he put in his oil portrait to commemorate his governorship. he's trying to be that guy seated there against the thing that is sitting next to him next to his picture of his wife. it is the inescapable, irreversible flaw in his candidacy. and that's even something b-team, c-team republicans knew all along. and were trying to tell us and were trying to tell republican primary voters when they were telling them not to pick mitt romney. whether or not the rest of us could actually hear them say it. >> the idea that republicans are going to try to beat obama care with somebody who had romney care strikes me as a dead loser. how will you distinguish a debate between those two?
>> he said i'll repeal obama care. in the same breath he defends obama care at the state level. it just doesn't wash and it won't wash in the general election. >> when you take a look at what mitt did from the standpoint of romney care in massachusetts, you're going to have a hard time finding a difference between obama care and romney care. that's just the facts. and there's no way around it. >> now, think about what that means going up against barack obama who you're going to claim top-down government run medicine doesn't work and we should repeal it. he says wait a minute, governor. you said in massachusetts it works well. >> romney care given what's happening in massachusetts isn't a lot different from obama care. and so he's going to have to deal with that constantly, i believe, throughout the race. >> joining us now is ej dionne msnbc contributor, senior fellow and the author of "our divided
political heart" which is great. good to see you. >> good to be with you. you started the draft fred thompson movement tonight. it's going to sweep the republican convention. >> i still have a fred thompson related website url leftover from an earlierç campaign. i'm going to be the one who benefits. let me ask you. looking at all those republican romney rivals talking about his achilles heel, obviously they were making the case for themselves instead of him at the time they were making those arguments but were they right in those arguments? >> i think they were right. i thought they were right at the time. you know, it was fun to pick up the wall street journal this morning and read that editorial. it reminded me of one of the greatest lines in politics. in 1960 they criticized nixon and kennedy said that was like having the vatican newspaper criticize the pope. that is not supposed to happen
in republican politics. and i think the journal was reflecting a widespread view. you can't say it's a tax when he does it but not a tax when i do it. and also you can put yourself in a position where you put yourse an etch e stech on steroids. then back away. and last thing is, i think it shows that he will always respond to pressure from the right end of his party or from the congressional leadership. and i think underlying this, that's going to be the issue that the obama folks are going to play down the road. >> ej, one of the things you have written about in your book but also about eloquently in your column is the idea of how policy connects to politics. how weç talk about law making d the use of government which after all is what elected officials are working on when we send them to washington to work
on our behalf. do you think the romney campaign is handling this so poorly, actually opens an opportunity for the democrats to reconsider whether maybe they want to run on health reform. everyone keeps telling us they don't want to talk about healthry form a lot. we saw today him being approached by a woman in tears thanking him for passing the bill. having no way to announce this to romney's previous public service connections on this issue. should they be running on health reform? >> i think they should be proud of what they did. and finally they have a chance to explain it. and when you hear politicians on the stump defend particular things this bill does whether it's letting people's kids stay on the parents' health plan or you can't be distributed against because of pre-existing conditions. or repeal obama care would restore the doughnut hole to
prescription benefits. seniors would be angry about that. so, yeah, i think there's always been an opportunity to run on this health care law. and i think with romney being in such a difficult position to defend its repeal given that he endorsed something a whole lot like it, they should take advantage. >> ej dionne, author of "our divided political heart" great to have you here. >> thanks. i will say on the issue of the democrats campsigning on health reform or not, i think we're seeing when white house and campaign sources are talking about what they are doing, they are down playing the idea that they will run on health reform. but when you actually watch the president's remarks and even the vice president's remarks out on the stump campaigning, they're talking about it more than they say they are. they're sort of spinning the beltway away from what they're doing. when they talk about health reform on the stump, boy, do they get a positive reaction.
it'll be interesting if the spin follows the actions of the politicians in this case. tonight, a special rock star edition of the interview. seriously. and we've got some good news from austin, texas, and portmouthnew hampshire. and we're done playing this sound effect. we are done with that. if you do not believe me, go to fred thompson is inherently funny.com. i should said we weren't going to play it again. yet the house is considering a bill to close thousands of offices, slash service and layoff over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains $5 billion a year from post office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. house bill 2309 is not the answer. as her family pulled out of the driveway,
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other than me and susan and ka thol schism, my girlfriend's family and my family have almost nothing in common. they're in new jersey and new england we're from canada and california. they make short ribs, we make pot roast. but there isç this one unexpecd thing. at at least one time or another we've been devoted jeep families. our families if you added us together, we're probably responsible for something like 15 jeeps over time. particularly jeep cherokees of different sorts. both of our families bought them even back when they were terrible cars. close the door and the frame would rattle and the ventilation would sound like something stuck in there. i used to light susan's jeep on fire all the time just trying to start it. romance. for a while jeeps used to suck. but they do not suck anymore.
have you seen the new grand cherokee srt-8? look. not only a good vehicle, these are good cars now, but a good looking vehicle. want to know how much it costs? it costs $190,000. it costs $190,000 to buy this jeep if you buy it in china. i'm not saying that a great new jeep is not worth a lot of money, but really $190,000? for that kind of money, you can buy a brand new bentley. not that woud want to, but you could. the jeep cherokee that costs as much as a bentley does not make sense on its own. it's the result of one country slapping a penalty on buying jeeps. so that people in that country, frankly, will not buy that car. today the obama administration launched an official complaint over that giant penalty put on american cars by that other country. the white house today filed a formal compliant with the world trade organization for that one country's decision to shut off sales of american jeeps.ç and today on the stump in ohio
where they make jeeps, president obama sold that action like he meant it. >> as long as i'm president, that's what i'm going to be doing. waking up every single day thinking about how we can create more jobs for your families. for your security, for your community. than the previous administration. just this morning my administration took a new action to hold china accountable for unfair trade practices to american auto makers. >> the obama administration has piled up a number of actions like thus one they took on suvs today. the first largest economy in the world taking on the second largest economy in the world for them cheating. in april, the obama administration held the line on
unfair trade in garlic. in march they filed a complaint over rare earth metals which, you know, rare earth metals and all. in december 2011, they did the same thing for american solar panels. in 2010 they filed a complaint over wind turbine towers. in 2010 they filed two complaints to protect makers of steel. in september 2009 for american makers of tires. when it comes toç one country' desire to economically screw over other economies, there are things they should do to protect its interest. here what the obama administration is doing, we have the number one largest economy in the world getting juked over and over and over by the number two economy which is china. the number two economy in the world is now forcing a jeep to be the same price as a bentley. so the obama administration is hitting back.
the obama administration has been taking official action on this type of thing at twice the rate of the george w. bush administration. has declared he is china's door mat. in a way no modern administration has been, mitt romney is calling him a door mat. he likes to make a big deal out of saying he as president would be more confrontational. mr. romney wrote on op ed saying he would take aggressive action against the second largest economy in the world. so aggressive he would start a war against the two greatest economies on earth. his plans were stated as a blunder. it was described as mr. romney's hulk policy. romney smash china.
but for all mr. romney is turning green and shredding his shirts with biceps, when it comes to making realç decisions about countries in the market place, mr. romney has not been all that big in confrontation in the real world. in his book no apology, president bush's design to stand up against china had done more harm than good. he called president obama's defense of american tire companies bad for the nation. so this is a test. this is an administration that even if you like what they have done has been not that great at chest bumping. rightly or wrongly, it's just stylistically true that they have a hard time getting political credit for things that could and should give them political capital. things from killing bin laden to health reform. the obama administration has a string of policy accomplishments which for whatever the reason,
they don't get bragging rights for. and now that president obama's po poeopponent is going for alle bragging rights he can get. he's barking as loud as he can whether or not he has any bite here. he barks about how confrontational he's going to be although he's not in favor of it when people do confront. he barks about growing american jobs though he invested in companies that specialized in sending american jobs to the land where a jeep costs as much as a bentley. he talks about our day of shame for helping a blind dissident crawling away from constant house arrest. when as of september mr. romney our relationship as the world's
top economy with the number two economy does not get attention in the beltway for the partisanship points. but out in the rough belt in ohio and michigan and places where this presidential election could be decided, this is an issue that really matters. and so this is a test about whether a president who is sometimes not all that great about barking can get somewhere with his bite. whether he can somehow turn his relatively quiet but aggressive policy into something for which he reaps political reward. small things can make a big difference. like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life. purina one discovered that by blending enhanced botanical oils into our food, we can help brighten an old dog's mind so he's up to his old tricks. with this kind of thinking going into our food, imagine all the goodness that can come out of it. just one way we're making the world a better place... one pet at a time. vibrant maturity. from purina one smartblend.
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the interview tonight is the rock star interview tonight. about which i am both excited and nervous. and there's a bunch of good news ahead from a do gooder civic project that has reaped big rewards. i never thought they would win. they appeared to have won. that's good news out of texas tonight. and more good news out of nlgd. it's all ahead stay with us. ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about the cookie-cutter retirement advice ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you get at some places. ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 they say you have to do this, have that, invest here ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you know what? ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 you can't create a retirement plan based on ttd#: 1-800-345-2550 a predetermined script.
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enacti enacting disposal -- this was the devastating result of a coal ash spill that took place in eastern tennessee in 2008. more than a billion gallons of sludge buried neighborhoods after a retaining pond gave way. it was the largest environmental disaster of its kind in u.s. history. to classify it as hazardous waste. now this petition has popped up saying don't classify coal ash as hazardous waste. 5,000 signatures in 30 days. by meeting that, it earned a response from the white house. gotten a response from somebody in the epa office of solid waste and emergency response. if you're sitting in the white house or at the epa maybe you're
thinking look at all that grassroots regular folks man on the street support for coal ash out there. maybe we ought to rethink this policy. in the unlikely event you are in the white house thinking that, you have massively underestimated the coal industry. because as it turns out, page after page of that petition looks something like this. noticeç anything weird? hundreds of signatures written in china characters. many which list aurora, colorado, as their hometown. are there hundreds of chinese living in colorado supporters of the coal ash industry? perhaps. but they apparently have name like steamed bun and most handsome guy. and china donkey. a group called the environmental integrity project spotted all of these suspicious signatures. they hired a mandarin translater and found a lot of these had
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has been so disheartening. but in terms of the way you've written about this personally, you feel like there's still room to innovate, there's still room to fix stuff, even with the federal barriers? should have a three or four-year, that way republicans and democrats the same district merit representation. and there's also room for independen independence. why is that important? we just redistricted our states here and it was basically insider, the same old operators, business as usual, they j
gerrymander the it stas. even with the districts, they can only do so much work. so fair vote believes we should take the power ott uh of the hands oof the insiders and put hands in the power of the voters. >> do you feel like the two-party system is intrinsically a dead end in terms of having transparency and having people be seivically engaged and a lot of other things you've advocated for? >> well, things are broken right now. political pundit scholars, it's worse than it looks, okay? and they walk the reader through how things got so bad with the partisanship and why government, federal government isn't working. and one of the things that they prescribe as a solution is proportional representation. so when people call it fair voting or proportional representation, they think of euroless party systems or systems where it takes 2% to get
elected to the legislature or to the parliament or whatever. there's american versions of that kind of voting that are constitutionally protected. american versions of fair voting are -- have a higher threshold to get elected. you need, like, 20%, 25% of the vote to be elected. where euro system is a partiless system. american versions of this voting are candidate-based. so it really fits with the values and traditions of americans. >> fair vote has done a lot to promote outside of the box i th thinking about the systems that give us problems that we have. and you as chairman of fair vote have done a lot to get people thinking about it. thanks for coming in. otherwise we wouldn't have had you here. people can have totally different lives simultaneously that you would never believe intersected until you see them embodying them both as one person. crazier right? we'll be right back.
here's a fourth of july present that kilometres per hour trun tri didn't expect to get, at least right now. what we got is the means by which we'll physically get all our stuff out of the giant war we'll still waging when we finally wind that war down. our war is in a place that's landlocked. while we can fly that stuff into the country, turns out a lot of the stuff you use to fight a war is unite and is therefore really expensive or inconvenient to ship by plane. in a landlocked country, though, you can't just put things into big shipping containers and sale that stuff directly to the war. instead you have to sail to the nearest available port and then drive to your war. we have been driving to our war in afghanistan for 11 years now through the neighboring country of pakistan. which does have a port that we can ship stuff to and does have a road or two into afghanistan over which we can drive our
stuff into our war zone. since last year, though, those roads from pakistan to afghanistan have been closed to us because of a diplomatic dispute. which means while 90,000 americans have been fighting the 11th year of a very hot war in a very inhospitable country, we have been supplying those kmerns through alternative routes in other countries that involve flying everything in. as of the fourth of july, however, the roads are open again. the trucks reportedly started rolling today. logistics are a big part of fighting any really big war. so this is a really big deal. it may even be a bigger deal once the supplies move in the opposite direction. once we start moving out more than a decade of military supplies and structures and equipment as our troops come home. as our troops come home. as our troops come home. there are not any u.s. troops in iraq anymore already. there are tens of thousands of americans still in afghanistan. in nearyear 11. unless you're in the military or
in a military family or people close to you who have been there. given how untouched our civilians lives have been touched by the war, it's hard to overstate the divergence and the types of lives weave had as americans in the last 10 years depending on if you're a military family or if you are not. i want you to watch one little piece of tape from the man who was the top military officer in this country for a lot of the past years of war. this is admiral mike mullen, the former joint chiefs speaking a few days ago. >> if i o'm a 5-year-old boy or girl in one of the family of these major deply ploying units of t of the army whose average length of time of deployment is a year, i'm now 15 or 16 years old and my dad has been gone three, four or five times. and my whole conscious life from the time i was 5 and i started to figure out there was something out there, my whole conscious life has been at war.
the united states has never, never experienced that before. it's my belief that we have to have a military that is representative of our country, that does what the president of the united states, the duly elected president of the united states says we do, and we go through that debate about whether we're going to intervene and send someone someplace to give his or her life specifically. that's who we are. i do worry that it's just please go off and fight our war, we don't want to be bothered and the whole country isn't in. >> the whole country isn't in. it turns out it's not just former chairman of the joint chiefs. a whole lot of the rest of the country is worried about that, too. and worried in a way that makes us want to do something tangible about it. in st. louis, missouri, they started it in january, to mark the end of the iraq war to say welcome home and thank you to those who served in the iraq war. it followed by parades in
houston, tucson, fa i yetville, north carolina, richmond, virginia, kansas city. this weekend, the first weekend after the independence holiday, this upcoming weekend, we can add two more cities to the list, austin, and portsmouth, new hampshire. in austin, texas, it starts at 9:00 a.m. from the congress avenue bridge near lady bird lake. the parade goes to the state capitol in austin. anybody can go. you are invited. it includes a job fair for returning vets. you can still sun up. then on sunday, the following date, portsmouth, new hampshire. the parade begins at 2:00 at city hall. and in portsmouth like in austin, texas, st. louis, basically all of these places, this is organized by civilians to say thank you and welcome home. the iraq war is over, and those of us who did not fight it want to express our thanks and our welcome to those of us who did. so if you're in driving distance of austin, texas, on saturday or portsmouth, new hampshire, on sunday, we have