tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC May 24, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
>> no, i will not. >> what's your reason? tell us why? >> you know, i'm really busy. >> [ laughter ] the chair of the republican governor's association is really busy. she'd previously said she would also be too busy to attend the republican convention this summer until someone reminded her that she has to go because she's chair of the republican governor's association. so she will have to go to cleveland but she does not have to come out of hiding while donald trump is in her town. not yet, at least. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> i know why you're not going to the donald trump thing tomorrow night. >> i can come up with a number of reasons. >> it's because you're really busy. you're not going. >> very important hairs that need watching. that's right. >> thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. >> polls will be closing in washington state an hour from now. we will have live coverage of the results of the republican primary there tonight. i was speaking today to a
22-year-old voter who will be voting in her second presidential election this year and she has never heard of vince foster. donald trump is trying to change that. and "new york times" international affairs columnist tom freedman says he thinks he knows who isis wants to win our presidential election. >> have you noticed there's talk about this trump fellow? >> all he does is tear down people. >> revisiting decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against bill clinton. >> kind of tawdry stuff. >> i have to fight back the way i have to fight back. >> questioning the 1993 suicide of clinton aide vince foster. >> do you think the stuff they said about her is bad? they accused me of murder. >> this is the subject of widely dismissed conspiracy they aries. >> we here in 1993 conspiracy theory territory. >> donald trump doesn't seem to be able to distinguish between a credible source and, say, a chain e-mail. >> i don't trust him with his finger on the nuclear button. >> i'm only responding to what they do. >> was he really making america
great when he said "i'm kind of excited about the housing crisis"? >> you and i together we're not going to let him bankrupt america. >> she's been very nasty. >> democracy is messy. >> hillary cannot even put away bernie. crooked hillary, she can't put him away. >> will the convention be messy? >> of course it will be. >> we're an hour away from polls closing in washington state where republicans are holding their presidential primary tonight. washington state operates its elections through a mail-in system. they began receiving mail-in ballots on may 6, that was two days after john kasich dropped out of the race, leaving donald trump alone in the race for the republican nomination. we love life coverage of the election results in washington state beginning in the next hour hosted by kris machris matthews. donald trump is on his way to the republican nomination largely because millions of republican voters apparently
have difficulty separating fact from fiction. no one has more difficulty separating fact from fiction than donald trump. he has been diagnosed as a pathological liar by marco rubio, ted cruz, as well as some mental health professionals who have written about what they think they're seeing when donald trump speaks. when a political candidate can't separate fact from fiction, there is no limit to what he might say about his opponents. >> i know the republicans have been mean to her and they say terrible things. you've got to respect them. they're good at this. you think the stuff they said about her is bad? they accused me of murder. [ laughter ] i mean, our memories are short, it's what they do. >> while he was serving as white house council in the clinton administration, vince foster committed suicide in a park in virginia. the death was ruled a suicide. conspiracy theorists have long claimed that vince foster was murdered and now donald trump thinks they have a point.
he told the "washington post" "i don't bring foster's death up because i don't know enough, really, to discuss it. i will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. i don't do that because i don't think it's fair." and that is the classic donald trump move of saying i don't talk about the thing i'm talking about right now. yesterday, the trump campaign released a video with comments from women who claim to have sexually abused and assaulted by bill clinton and last night on fox news donald trump explained to bill o'reilly that he had no choice, just no choice, about releasing that video. >> i understand the clinton attack machine. i got it. and i think it has to be dealt with somewhat. but i think maybe caution. >> bill, i don't like doing that but i have no choice. when she hits me on things i just have no choice. you have to do it. it's unfair. they're dirty players.
they've been dirty players historically and i have to fight back the way i have to fight back. >> we'll be joined tonight by our panel including david corn, rick tyler and catherine rampell but first tonight, senior strategist for hillary clinton's presidential campaign, he was also senior strategist for president obama's campaigns in 2008 and 2012. so there's donald trump saying no choice about that video, absolutely no choice. had to do it. the election is in 2016 but i had to bring up stuff that the candidates' husband was allegedly involved in decades ago. >> yeah. i think people see through a phony argument. i think they know what kind of campaigns donald trump has been running. he's kind of slammed and slammed every one of his republican opponents. he'll try to do the same thing now. we'll stay focused on the issues that matter to people's lives. i don't think people put any current any what has been a discounted highly dismissed allegation about what was a tragedy for someone in washington a couple of decades
ago. what's happening with trump, he's unraveling, he's been called out on being unqualified when it comes to his credentials on foreign affairs, calling for more nuclear weapons in the world and he lashes out and starts name calling and assailing people for a host of things. i think the american people want to know what are you doing to do for me right now for my life. >> so is the campaign strategy to not comment on those kinds of accusations coming from trump? if that is the strategy? >> i think i just did. i think i characterized them pretty well. >> but there's bill clinton -- >> they're discredited, discounted attacks. >> bill clinton and what we saw him say. he was referring to the vince foster references that donald trump was making. >> sure he was. >> is bill clinton going to continue to deal with those things as donald trump mentions them? >> well, i think as i just did, it's to let people know these are, you know, attacks that have been highly examined, been dismissed, are not based in fact at all, and they're typical of
donald trump. look, this is a guy who's been kind of pretending and being a bit of a phony all the way through his campaign. he tells mitt romney to release his tax returns in 2012 -- >> that was then. >> and now he won't release his tax returns and when we find a couple, what do we find out? he's paid zero in taxes. >> those are romney's taxes and that was then. totally different case? >> zero in income tax farce guy who claims to be a billionaire. maybe he is. but zero taxes? you know what voters think? this is a guy trying to scam the system. a guy trying to get by to take care of himself. he's a guy who rooted for the housing crash in 2011 who said i'll swoop in and benefit on the backs of people who are losing their home. >> social media has never been more active in campaigns. with' they have never seen someone more active on social media if you just look at twitter every night, donald trump. in your experience in dealing with campaigns in the past, many most of the material you've had to deal with would come in the way of negative tv ads. now he can just put something up
on instagram. it's a different level of engagement with kind of a different threshold to get over. how do you choose what you respond to in that and what you don't respond to? and do you worry about what seems to have been the mistake of the bush campaign which was not responding directly to donald trump? >> i won't comment on where republicans went wrong in dealing with donald trump. what i think we know and have known on the democratic side for a while is that a free media and social media plays a very big role not withstanding the money we spend on paid tv. you have to be disciplined. we're focused on what we want to talk to the american people about. presidential elections, lawrence, at their core are a choice between two candidates. voters have savvy, i never underestimate the american electorate. they'll look at these two people and say which one of these two candidates is talking about my life, making a meaningful change and difference in my life going forward and building the future i want for my family and the children i'm raising. as opposed to someone railing
against everybody, talking about banning muslims, saying hateful bigoted things in the campaign. that's the america people want. they know we're a diverse country. that's the strength and the kind of candidate hillary clinton will represent to them. that's what this election is about. >> before you go, one thing about the sanders support and the interesting comparisons between hillary clinton supporters at this time eight years ago, they were expressing more reluctance about voting for president obama than the sanders supporters are but there is a big difference because there's a policy overlap between donald trump and bernie sanders that didn't exist eight years ago. hillary clinton and barack obama agreed on every sickle thing except maybe one sentence of the health care plan. >> we had some differences on trade and some other things. >> let's listen to the policy overlap between bernie sanders and donald trump. let's listen to this. >> our trade policies for decades, nafta, cafta, pmtr with
china, the tpp has been a disaster for working families. >> the tpp is a horrible deal. it is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. >> i am sick and tired of the greed of corporate america and the greed of wall street. >> these bankers are not the nicest people in the worldn't don't feel bad. somebody said you hurt theening be. i said the bank is vicious. >> there is the policy overlap on tpp. it is conceivable that a trump voter or sanders voter might move to trump over things like tpp. >> i think when it comes to our economic future, what hillary clinton has argued for against bernie sanders and let's keep in mind she has three million more votes than senator sanders is saying that america has to compete and win in a global economy. we do that by investing in manufacturing, making things here that sell to 95% of the world's consumers that live
outside of the united states. it's why states line ohio, michigan, north carolina, have had record exports because they've been able to get the funding they need to sell them overseas. we won't have a trade-free world. we have to sell our goods to the rest of the world. that will help create jobs in america. we have to enforce tough trade agreements and negotiate them, if they aren't working we have to renegotiate them. that's been her position all the way through. the difference between her and senator sanders has been senator sanders says he opposes all trade agreements. hillary clinton doesn't. she evaluates each one and they have to be in our business economically. >> so if she's elected president she will have the fast track authority president obama achieved because it runs past his presidency. does that mean she will drop tpp when elected president or pick it up and push it forward? >> she has said there are provisions in that agreement she would want to renegotiate and make stronger.
in particular the nations of orange provision which is she feels gives advantage to china that they shouldn't have in a global economy. we can compete with china and win. we can't give them a free pass and that's what she'll get tougher on. >> joel benenson, thank you for joining us. the panel, david corn, rick tyler, catherine rampell. david, i don't know that we've seen this in campaigning before, what donald trump is trying to do in the reachbacks into bill clinton's past and putting it on hillary clinton and i don't see hillary clinton has ever had to deal with it at this level in her senate campaigns or the ps presidential campaigns. >> you have to go back a century or so to when they were campaigns talking about whether a presidential candidate had fathered a child illegitimately or not but what we see with donald trump is -- he's trying to create a toxic stew surrounding the clinton campaign it doesn't matter what he says,
he uses the words "murder, women, abuse, enabling" it's all about creating an impression because i think this campaign is boiling down two major themes. on his side, it's anger, attitude. if you like his attitude, you support him and what hillary clinton is offering is not as motivating emotionally, it's competence. doing a good job, here are my priorities, i'll get things done. so he wants to keep this campaign on emotional terms about passion and fear, whether you should fear isis or the clintons because they kill people. it's part of the same thing. >> catherine, the younger voters and the voters who don't study their flash cards of political memories all day are going to have trouble with names like vince foster, they've never heard of and a lot of the way trump presents this is in the code language -- >> the dog whistle. >> it worked in 1996 when those names were fresh. >> but i'm not even sure it was so successful in 1996, especial
on the sex scandal stuff. if you remember, bill clinton and hillary clinton's approval ratings went through the roof in the late '90s when they were under heavy attack as a result of these various sex scandals. so it's not clear repeating the same strategy will be effective today especially when memories are not as fresh. >> rick tyler, joel benenson doesn't want to refer to the lessons learned by republicans running against donald trump. there r there lessons learned by republicans running against donald trump that hillary clinton should be applying here? >> look, joel's brilliant, i respect him, i like him but i think in one respect he's -- he may not be right and that is he says we're going to talk about the issues people care about. we've not been talking about almost nearly any issues and donald trump is a master of the new media. he's also used many network programs, he calls in and drives
the day he knows how to win the day he calls in early with his twitter feed, calls into the shows and they're talking about what he wants to talk aboutened and hillary struck back a bit but the big problem hillary has is as david referred to is the voters are angry. they're angry at politicians. it doesn't matter what politicians say anymore. you can reason with them, use the greatest eloquent rhetoric, you're a politician. they want someone who's not a politician and that's most of donald trump's -- a lot of donald trump's success. >> that's certainly true within the republican electorate which has been angry for years. that anger has been fuelled -- >> have you been to a bernie rally? >> yes, but i still think that if you ask bernie's supporters if they'll support hillary, a lot say yes and what are they listening to when they listen to bernie? they're listening to policy ideas. this guy is policy driven,
message driven, donald trump's campaign is anger driven, anger over any analysis, anger over any policy. so i do think that's true for the republican electorate and we'll have this great political science experiment about how far that extends to independents and the democratic electorate. >> but the base of bernie is talking about nafta. hillary supported nafta, bill clinton put it into place. that will be a stumbling block. >> we'll take a quick break here. coming up, donald trump as commander-in-chief. why the "new york times" columnist tom freedman says in his words there is no question that isis wants donald trump to be president. and former national security and counterterrorism official richard clark will join us. president obama's approval rating is the highest it's been since he began his second term. steve kornacki will join us at the big board to look at just how that might affect the general election.
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make's ambassador the united kingdom said his country has no interest in donald trump's offer to open nuclear talks with north korea and leader kim jong-un. >> we don't take it as a meaningful one. we see it as nothing but dramatics of a popular actor to create a juncture favorable to his election campaign. >> swing and a miss by the greatest negotiator of all time. up next, richard clark joins us to discuss donald trump as commander-in-chief and what it would mean for national security.
american voters aren't the only ones with an abiding interest in the outcome of the presidential election. people around the world watch our presidential campaigns and have their favorite candidates. though our polls try to tell us in great detail what every segment of our society is thinking about the presidential election every week, what the rest of the world is thinking is largely guess work and what the islamic state is thinking about our presidential election is something pollsters will never be able to tell us. here is "new york times" columnist thomas friedman's educated guess. >> i fear that isis would believe that a trump would radicalize the situation even more so, i'm not blaming trump for that, i'm saying that's how they would see the dynamics of it. >> you mean you think isis wants trump to be president?
>> no question about it. they would want someone who they think would do something more extreme than the other, push america back into the middle east and therefore inflame the situation and the ways isis thinks would benefit them. >> joining the discussion now, richard clark, he served the last three presidents as a senior white house advisor on issues from cyber security to counterterrorism. he is also the author of the book "pinnacle event." richard clark your reaction to tom friedman's guess about the islamic state's favorite candidate? >> well, i think tom is probably right but for a different reason than what he said. isis wants to recruit people in the muslim world by telling them that the united states hates them. hates the muslim world. by saying the united states is at war with the muslim world. we and our arab allies have spent a lot of time and effort trying to persuade people that's not true. donald trump win or lose is
going to get tens of millions of votes for president and that will allow isis and al qaeda to say look, i told you so, americans hate anybody in the islamic world and they are at war with us. >> let's listen to what bill bradley said to chuck todd about this today. >> i like at donald trump and i say the who do you trust with your life? i think people ask themselves that question. i don't trust my life with donald trump, i don't trust him with his finger on the nuclear button. just look how pulsive he's been throughout this whole campaign. you need steadiness if you are the president of the united states. >> richard clark, bill bradley at this point is just a voter, that's his responsibility here but there will be people if donald trump walks into that white house on inauguration day, there will be people whose sworn duty it is working there and the kind of jobs that you had serving a president to advise a
president facing these international terrorism. how do you suppose those people, the people in the kinds of jobs that you used to have there, will deal with someone like a president trump. >> it's hard to know who they will be because most experts said they won't work for him and it's difficult to know what his policy is on these issues like terrorism. he said about isis that he has a secret plan to end the war with isis. he's going destroy isis but it's a secret how he's going to do it. i'm hold enough to remember the last time we had a republican candidate saying he had a secret plan to end the war. that was richard nixon in 1968 and his secret plan caused more americans to die in vietnam after he got elected than before. i'm very distrustful of secret plans. >> let's listen to what hillary clinton said today about this. >> what he's saying is being heard all over the world.
and we just had proof that isis and other terrorist organizations are using his words to recruit. they just take it off the media. and they put it in their online propaganda. and they say this man is running for president. he's the presumptive republican nominee, look what he's saying about muslims. this is not just offensive, this is dangerous. >> richard clark, your reaction to that? >> well, they don't have to put in the their propaganda because it's throughout in regular media and 1.3 billion muslims are seeing it everyday, being reminded of it in all of their television broadcasts. they're reminded that one of the two american candidates for president has said he won't let muslims into the united states. that's turning off a very large number of people, perhaps turning some people into isis
supporters. it's losing ground we have fought hard to regain against al qaeda and isis. >> i'd like to listen to something perry o'brien said yesterday. he's a veteran who protested at trump tower yesterday. listen to this. >> i think many of us gathered here feel that donald trump as commander-in-chief would put american lives at risk and particularly put our fellow u.s. troops still serving overseas in greater danger. he's shown to be reckless, impulsive and combines inexperience with bravado and confidence which is a deadly combination as many of us who served overseas knows. it's guys like that that get people killed on battlefields. >> combines inexperience with brav have had a doe and confidence. what's your reaction to what perry o'brien said? >> and indecision. we don't know and i don't think he knows what he would do one
day he would send 20,000 to 30,000 more troops to fight isis. and the week later he said he never said that. so it's very difficult to know what he would do because i don't think he knows and he's not getting advice from anybody who's an expert on the issue. so if he is elected president it's difficult to know. he's very impulsive. it's a good thing the north koreans are not going to meet with him if he becomes president because you can imagine that that meeting could break out into a nuclear war. >> richard clark, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you, lawrence. up next, donald trump, the $6 million man for veterans. remember when he said he raised six million dollars for veterans? he didn't. and remember when he said he gave a million dollars of his own money that night for veterans? he didn't. that's next. ♪ you're not gonna watch it! ♪
♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. is. break it up? what is this here? break it up. i think it's about time, don't you? >> thank you. >> i think it's about time. >> that was jerry lewis and a couple of guys who dropped by to help him with his telethon for
mus scholar dystrophy in 1976. it's a telethon jerry lewis did for 44 years, raising over $2 billion and throughout the telethon, every telethon, jerry lewis kept you posted hour by hour on exactly how much money he was raising. here's the amazing thing about the jerry lewis telethon. there was always a difference between the number jerry announced at the end of the telethon and the actual amount he ended up raising. and the actual amount was always more than he announced on tv because when the telethon went off the air, the telephones kept ringing and people kept giving for hours. so as much credit as jerry lewis got for how much money he was raising on tv, he never actually got the full credit for the full amounts he was raising in those telethons on television? jerry lewis was able to keep track of every dollar he was raising every hour of the
telethon. but donald trump is no jerry lewis. >> this is a special night for me and i had no idea this was going to happen. we started out literally 24 hours ago, maybe less, we had no idea and we went out, we set up the web site, i called some friends and we just cracked -- the sign was just given -- we just cracked $6 million, right? $6 million. donald trump gave $1 million, okay? >> so what happened the $6 million that donald trump said he raised on january 28? back with us, msnbc contributors catherine rampell, rick tyler and david corn. catherine, the "washington post" did the home work on this, found out the most they could vaguely approximate was half the six million dollars, $3.1 million and absolute zero from donald trump -- until, until apparently last night after veterans went to trump tower, protested, after we were talking about it on this program.
>> after his own spokesman claimed the money had already been donated. mind you. it's interesting, if a candidate on "the apprentice" made the same accounting screwup that donald trump made, they probably would have gotten fired, i would say. and the only reason why he ended up giving the money is because members of the lamestream media held his feet to the fire and kept asking and asking and he kept blowing them off. >> let's see what marine corps veteran alexander mccoy said last night. >> there's been no transparency, no accountability, the numbers they've been quoting have been going all over the place. at the fund-raiser he claimed they had for certain $6 million raised. now the campaign is saying $4.5 million. now 4 no$4 nol$4 million to $6 . how much money? they won't tell us, we have news organizations trying to track it down. >> david corn, as he was
talking, donald trump was angrily tweeting about the media being so nasty about this. >> it's not a screwup. i'll take issue with you. it's part of his general sop. he is is a con man. he's exaggerated every number that's come between his brain and lips. he throws numbers out, daunt matter and this is one reason why it's important to see his taxes, to segue here a bit, because taxes are where you see how much money you make in charitable donations. he has a trump foundation. he donates absolutely nothing, not a penny to the trump foundation, it's from other sources and he says well, i give it myself, then you can see that on his taxes and you can see how much he pays on his taxes. there's numb number he's ever used you should take at face value so that's why the taxes and returns from these veterans groups, some groups he supported in the past are not even real veterans groups, according to our other organizations and charitable watchdogs. >> and when he released a list,
his campaign released a list of all of the charitable donations he had made over, i don't know, the last several years or something like that, it was basically free rounds of golf. >> yes, no cash. >> his many clubs had given. all in kind. >> rick tyler, the question here becomes political. here's trump, that night he was, of course, skipping the debate, the fox news debate because he was afraid of another megyn kelly question. he was saying i'm going to do something more important. i've raised $6 million, which he didn't. so he gets up there and he lies about how much money they're raising that night. he allows his spokesperson to lie for the last few days about him having given the million dollars already. then when he tells the "washington post" today i just gave the million dollars yesterday he then says his campaign manager, who was lying about it already, would have had no idea whether i gave the money before or not. so in the way that whole thing
plays out, after marco rubio labelled him a con man, after ted cruz called him a con man, after others called him a con man, hillary clinton's super pac has an ad calling him a con man. the one thing you don't want to get caught doing in the campaign is being a con man. wouldn't that be the one thick y you're trying to avoid. >> except voters think the politician is the con man so there's a natural tension between donald trump where everybody's looking at his -- by the way, he's famous for coming into this town, leaving a fund-raiser saying put me down for 20 and that's the end of it. we've heard that story many times. but he's running against established politicians, he vanquished 14 of them in the republican primary. now he's running against the quintessential politician who has been around for decades and he's reminding them that they are the con men. >> talk about the difference, though, between the dynamics in a republican primary versus where he is now in the general election. are you saying that there isn't
a difference between? >> i think there's some difference. a lot of people -- there's a certain segment of the population that will vote for hillary clinton for many different reasons but there's a large population, i believe, and we don't know yet, that is right now attached to bernie sanders. the population that is turning out and the thing that this campaign is centered on ironically is white working class and two candidates have them. donald trump has them and bernie sanders has them. and if hillary clinton cannot maintain them, donald trump will get them. so the question to your question is which con man do you believe? >> david, does this have traction? every time one of these crazy trump things comes up we say will this affect the voters? we have been say willing it affect republican primary vot s voters. now we're talking about a different group. what has changed? >> it's a group of people who decided not to vote in republican primaries. land they be us is september to believe these lines of argument?
especially on the women's issues. when they hear more clips from howard stern when he's dissing women in the worst terms, ways that seem to be misogyny to me, if you hear enough of that, will that keep him toxic? i think that's what -- we talked with joe benenson earlier, you did. they keep have have to keep mak toxic, unacceptable, unappealing because parts of his appeal are unappealing. >> the people making the accusations are politicians. >> and the media has a role in vetting both candidates. >> they would come in second. >> but catherine specifically to the veterans, he's made such a big deal of donald trump will be the greatest ever for the veterans. >> greatest ever for everyone. >> but veterans he's been very specific about and this is a very specific accusation about him and veterans. >> this isn't the only way he has let down the veterans, mind you. he dissed p.o.w.s, remember.
he -- not only did he dodge the draft himself, he's made light of people who served in vietnam talking about how his womanizing poo and potential exposure to stds were his own personal vietnam. these are not things of people who wear uniforms and defend our freedoms overseas. >> quick break, david corn, rick tyler and catherine rampell, thank you for joining us tonight. coming up, how president obama's popularity could affect the general election.
we are 17 minutes from poll closing in washington state tonight, but first here's how it looks on the campaign trail today. >> more than five months to go till the election and the race is getting, well, down into the mud. >> donald trump going for the jag already a. >> it started with donald trump unleashing an instagram ad swiping at bunk's sexual past. >> trump also revive ago year's old conspiracy theory over the death of former deputy white house council vince foster. >> the clant campaign is continuing to insist they are not going to engage in these personal attacks.
>> hillary clinton will be so bad for our economy, so bad for jobs. >> facts are the facts. you are entitled to your own opinion but you're not entitled to your own facts, right. >> she is in a two-pronged fight. >> bernie sanders and hillary clinton are battling for votes in california. >> there are 475 delegates up for grabs. >> thank you, riverside! >> how can you argue this primary battle is not in some ways hurting her. >> would bernie sanders be hurting hillary clinton if it turns out she is the nominee? >> actually he is. >> some people would argue yes, some people would argue no. there's a lot of people that just aren't going to support hillary. >> we are going to win here in california and win big. >> your main goal is to defeat donald trump. >> donald trump is toast. >> do you feel a sense of loyalty to the democratic party? >> i have a vng strong sense that donald trump would be a disaster if he were elected
the poll ratings for donald trump and hillary clinton are reaching record highs, president obama has the highest approval ratings since his second inauguration. steve kornacki has a look at what that could mean for the presidential campaign. >> it's a big wild card, lawrence, because there's this thing where it's tough for one political party to control the white house for three consecutive terms. that's what democrats, that's what hillary will be trying to pull off here so we thought we'd look at the last several two-term presidents like barack obama is right now, where they stood at this point in their presidency, this point in the campaign to replace them and what it meant for how that campaign turned out. so for barack obama, his numbers have ticked up over 50% right
now. 51% approval rating. he'd been stuck in the mid-40s for a lot of his term. so a high watermark here for barack obama. let's compare it, though, obviously a lot better than the last two-term president. this time in 2008 george w. bush's approval ratings were south of 30%. remember, he didn't appear at the republican national convention that summer. his endorsement of john mccain was an event where it seemed like jim was trying to keep as much distance as he could. bush stayed off the campaign trail in 2008. now here's bill clinton in the 2000, he was at 60% but this comes with a big asterisk, this was in the aftermath of the monica lewinsky affair. there was controversy among democrats, should clinton be campaigning for al gore? should he stay on the sidelines? in the end al gore decided too much risk, bill clinton would stay on the sidelines with that 60% approval rating because he was afraid the personal shortcomings of bill clinton will offend voters and you can go back to ronald reagan, 1988.
reagan was at 48%, lower than obama is right now. reagan was on his way back up. he'd been weighted down by the iran-contra scandal of 1986/1987. certainly in the fall of '88 he was very active on the campaign trail for his vice president, george bush, sr., who won. so if there is a comparable one here, it's probably reagan. >> thanks, steve. fascinating stuff. coming up, will donald trump's attacks on bill clinton hurt hillary clinton? joining us next, susan dell percio and maria teresa kumar.
we can't have four more years of obama and i think it's going to be obama-light. if it's hillary, it's obama-light. if this group ever gets into the white house again, we're not going to have a country. >> joining us now, susan del percio, a republican strategist who served in the administration of rudy giuliani and msnbc contributor maria teresa kumar. susan, the trump attacks via her
husband, you remember the dynamics of that ch. i'm not sure the lessons of the '90s work now. >> there are no models. th we've never seen them going into the general election with such high negative numbers. the fact that donald trump has done this, everyone -- it sounds surprising did he jump the shark, go too far? not in donald trumpland. he's still trying to get the republican party unite and the best way to do that is to go after bill clinton and hillary clinton. >> that's what he's doing. >> there's that, maria teresa, he's in the process of bring in the cruz voters and he's showing you how hard he will hit her. >> and this's what's appealing. he has let a genie out of the bottle that whether or not he
wins or loses, the next candidate is basically primed to reap the benefits of something that has become pretty ugly in politics and i don't think we've ever seen this, at least to the level that -- the difference between why people don't like hillary is they have a fundamental problem and feel like she's elitist. people don't like donald trump because they feel unsafe in their communities. it's a stark difference. >> but the next race they have to be a donald trump outsider to reproduce this. this has never happened because no politician has dared gone there before because they don't know how to run that kind of race. >> what's interesting is that there's -- i think everybody, the voting public understand that donald trump has skeletons in his closet that might mirror these allegations. he doesn't seem to care. so when you're trying to do opposition research, how do you compete against that? >> the public doesn't judge him and it must be driving the hillary clinton folks crazy. the public does not judge him the wap they judge other
politicians. >> as the outsider he claims to be. >> as a celebrity, as a businessman, they don't hold them to the same standards so he says -- he wants it to happen. he's using this debate, bill clinton, to really get him to explode on something. >> i think he's trying to diminish bill clinton so that hillary pulls him back and does not use him. he has the '90s record that had the highest press for a lot of individuals right now or who are living with their parents and remember what their parents used to tell them what the '90s were like. it's tough. >> you mentioned what candidates are learning now is you have to be an outsider. which is awful bad news for senators but look who the other big outsider is. a career politician, bernie sanders, mayor, member of the house of representatives.
>> if you have someone who's not part of the political system they play by one set of the rules and bernie sanders is playing by a certain set. remember when he did a debate and said "no one cares about your e-mails" and he naught to bed quickly. that's because he was playing with a set of standard -- >> decorum. >> then there's that. >> let's listen to what donald trump said tonight in new mexico at a rally. >> she is a total lightweight, believe me. i watch her speaking, she always uses the teleprompter. i watch her speaking. we are going to win north and south and east and west. and i will never say this. but she screams, it drives me crazy. i didn't say it. she goes "and donald trump is a terrible person. and he wanted to buy housing when it was at a low point." who the hell doesn't?
who doesn't? >> maria teresa, that's his defense of the clinton campaign coming after him for being a big profiteer. >> i think he's trying to tell people i went to bargain basement kmart and got what i wanted and you should, too. but he uses this as bait-and-switch because he doesn't have deep policy recommendations and i don't think he has solutions. he's talking in code for people who are tired of listening to their wife speak and that gins it up. you're like he's the guy i want to have a beer with, he may understood my marital problems. i don't know how effective that is in the long term but he is ginning up his base. >> but this is widely part of a strategy the clintons are going to use as far as saying they're going to go after his business dealings, whether his bankruptcies, this is going to -- they're basically going to try to bain capital him, exactly
what obama's folks did to mitt romney. >> and that will be our last word tonight, susan del percio and maria tereray teresa kumar, you. we're seconds away from the polls closing. kris matthews continues live coverage right now. >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in new york and donald trump is inching closer to clinching the republican nomination. right now voting has ended in the state of washington where trump is expected to add another victory and more delegates getting him closer to that magic number of 1237. as soon as we have a decision we'll have that for you.