tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC July 18, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
eastern for more special convention coverage. msnbc's special convention coverage begins in just a moment. stick around. it seemed impossible. donald trump. real is state mogul. reality tv star. a candidate who has never held office seeking the highest office in the land. critics dismissed him. rivals underestimated him. the more they fought to stop him, the stronger his movement became. now with his running mate at his side, republicans gather in cleveland. can donald trump unite the party and continue his march to the white house? it's day one of the republican national convention.
in boisterous darned near democratic fashion, the republican national convention under way in cleveland tonight. the quicken loans arena, home of the world champion cleveland cavaliers. for the next four days, home to the republican party of donald j. trump. good evening. welcome to our new home for convention coverage, msnbc election headquarters here in new york. affording us a stunning view of the proceedings in cleveland. we have correspondents and cameras covering every angle of this convention, inside and outside the venue, and there's already been drama today. a floor fight as the stop trump delegates made one last attempt to force a roll call vote on the rules. >> the question is on adoption of the resolution. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. and the resolution is agreed to.
without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. >> point of order! point of order! point of order! >> how's this for unity? party unity. this is not how you unify the republican party. >> our team was right there in the thick of it. we will hear from them in just a moment. speaking of our team, chris matthews leading our coverage from the arena in cleveland. we have our family gathered here to watch along with you, of course, and good evening. i'm brian williams along with rachel maddow. among the headliners we will hear from tonight, melania trump, wife of the candidate, introduced by the candidate live onstage. we will also be hearing from former new york city mayor rudy giuliani and iowa republican senator joni ernst. we are going to be hearing a lot about benghazi, immigration and security tonight.
day one off to an interesting start. >> if there is a text to these things which is written and rewritten and rewritten and rewritten and it's worked out sort of by committee, it is finely focused group, at least in most campaigns, there's the text and then there's the subtext. there's what you show despite what it is you are trying to say. today is one of those days at least so far where i think the subtext overcame the text. what we got was delegations walking out. we got recognizable republican leaders like ken cucinelli in virginia and senator mike lee of utah screaming shame and point of order and objection. lot of hurt feelings on the convention floor, a lot of just physical chaos. a whole bank of dozens of empty chairs when the colorado delegation walked out of the room today. we have also got this other small stuff that started to become the story of the day. the campaign chairman for donald trump today started the day by picking a fight with and insulting the governor of ohio,
a republican, and a person who ran against donald trump, and is the governor of the state where the convention is being hosted, the ohio delegation found themselves shunted to the back of the room. rob portman is the republican senator from ohio, who is running for re-election, just one of the big name republicans who is not going to be there. we are going to hear from the candidate's wife. we will hear briefly from rick perry tonight. but it is not a very high profile list of speakers tonight given that this is a national nominating convention. which will be highlighted by some of the celebrities who will be speaking. chache from "happy days" is speaking and a guy from "the bold and the beautiful" who is also an underwear model will be speaking. you do get celebrities every now and then. you don't usually get celebrities at that level speaking in prime time on night one. but this is an unusual convention and they will try to put an exclamation point on it tonight but i think day one was a rough start.
>> jacob soborov was on the floor for the hub-bub. i heard one analyst say that briefly there, the balance of power shifted and perhaps the home team, the trump forces, got outwhipped by a very quiet effort to force what we almost saw forced there until they got the upper hand. >> it's amazing to think it is only 7:00 p.m. on the east coast because this has been an extraordinary day, an exciting day, and we know it will be exciting to come. i have never seen anything like this. i don't think many folks have seen anything like this. the trump folks indeed thought probably they could just push this thing through and move right on to the business of the convention and the high profile speakers tonight. but that indeed was not the case. we saw over seven states have half of their members sign the petition asking for a voice, voter roll call on the rules of the convention, they wanted to throw out those rules and go back to the rules of 2012 in a
last ditch attempt to stop donald trump from becoming the nominee. it all happened right here in the colorado delegation. this is where it was the epicenter of that movement. kendal unruh was the leader of that effort. it was a madhouse in here. ultimately it resulted in two high profile republicans, former senator gordon humphrey from new hampshire and former virginia attorney general ken cuccinelli speaking out about what was a ph. madhouse. take a listen. >> this is pretty shocking and shameful. i have seen a lot. this is not a meeting of the republican national committee. this is a meeting of brownshirts. >> they cheated. they cheated. that's what you just saw. you saw them violate their own rules. if the rules don't matter i'm not quite sure why we spend all this time writing them. >> so the big question now is what happens in these seats. we see some of the colorado delegates filling back in here for the prime time program but
will they show up after walking out in protest for what happened here earlier today. we are standing here, waiting, watching to see what happens and it will be an indication of whether or not there are going to be future protests to come this evening in tonight's program and throughout the week here in cleveland. >> it gets your attention when someone throws down a term as loaded and evocative as brownshirts but it indeed happened on live television. one nice moment that took place while he was talking, bob dole, the former standard bearer of the republican party, mr. republican party, loyal to the very end. the highly decorated world war ii veteran has taken his place in the guest box, the senator from kansas. chris matthews is waiting to talk to us from his studio. chris, i believe you are at floor level bringing all the excitement right to you. >> right. that's right, brian and rachel.
it's going to get noisy in here. i think three things happened today. one is very disturbing. after the president called for peace and harmony at least on the issues that might concern the streets of this country and possible danger from within, trump, donald trump did something pretty rough today. he said that the president basically, there's something going on as he put it. he says the right things, the president, according to trump, but there's something there in his body language. he says i see it. there's just a bad feeling, a lot of bad feeling about him. there's a lot of bad feeling but we have a country that has not been like this since i can remember. he's suggesting the president as he says there's something going on, we can't really trust him in terms of the killings in the country, particularly the three killings of police officers in baton rouge. now if you go back, you see the pattern, it's the same thing he did in june after orlando when he said there's something going on. doesn't get it or he gets it better than anyone understands.
this all harkins back to the birther stuff, where the president is somehow some usurper, someone who is not really on our side, it sounds zany except this man is about to be nominated by a major political party and is accusing the current president of not really being on the american side even if he is who he says he is. it's an extraordinary pattern that trump kept up again today with fox and friends. you got to wonder why would he do it on the very first day of his convention, to reopen the old charge that somehow, president obama is not one of us. it was very disturbing. but of course, the fight on the floor today, i think that wasn't that surprising. there are people on the floor, i have talked to them, who don't accept fact that delegates should vote the way they were elected to vote, that we should go back to the system back in the early '50s before we had primaries and they should just come into this room and vote the
way they feel like voting. the last politician to try that was ted kennedy back in '80 when he tried to relieve the delegates of their commitments. that went nowhere. it wasn't surprising that it was beaten overwhelmingly. the only thing surprising was the roughhouse tactics in silencing the rebels. one guy i talked to from the utah delegation said he was reminded of ronald reagan saying i paid for this microphone. but he didn't. he was silenced and that may well be the end of it. brian? >> chris matthews, thanks. as you have been talking, the trump aircraft has been taxiing to a halt, landed at lakeside in cleveland and the nominee of the party has arrived at the convention. >> in a way that most other nominees don't get to. >> yes. i don't recall mondale airlines. >> you have got to admit, one thing about the optics of donald trump as a presidential nominee is that you do get, you know, his version of an air force one
style entrance. he uses that plane to great effect. there's a roeason why so many o his rallies have been at airplane hangars. not because it's chief space and gives you a big room. it's because you can park that thing at the end of it and gives a dramatic backdrop. there's a roeason they put a plane like that in ronald reagan's presidential library. it is such a show of force. >> eisenhower gives this argument a run for its money but it's hard to recall someone with virtually 100% name recognition running for president. >> right. especially when they didn't accrue that name recognition through politics. yeah. it's unusual. let's bring in steve schmidt, veteran of lots of presidential politics and most notably the mccain/palin campaign of 2008 and pulitzer prize winning columnist, jay washington. day one, how has it gone so far? does it matter how it's gone so far? >> doesn't it always matter? >> we are about to get prime time but we have this very
confusing day all day. >> i think chris matthews is right. this was not going to win. they were not going to win this floor fight. it does look as if the sort of, what is now the establishment, the pro-trump forces, did sort of use strong-arm tactics in a rather crude way. they hadn't really worked these delegations to kind of try to bring them along and get them down off the ceiling to the extent they should have before the convention and thus, when push came to shove, they had to kind of ram it through in a way that left really sort of raw and bruised feelings. >> interesting. paul manafort was on live with chuck todd a couple hours ago on our air and the way, when chuck was really pushing him on this, the way he put it, paul manafort, with an ounce of pride was we ended the first session of this convention on time. i thought whoa, i'm not sure america is clamoring for on time at this point. but he was proud that they were
able to nail it shut. >> the republican party's divided. you saw that play out today. part of the subtext of this floor fight was a rules change to close the primaries in 2020 so that independent voters couldn't vote, which is a move by the ted cruz people and the subtext is hey, donald trump's going to lose this election, let's look ahead to 2020 when we can have a real conservative run. as we get ready for the first night here, i think there's one core fact for republicans to understand. this is a party that has lost the popular vote in five out of the last six elections. if you look at just the states that democrats have won, six out of the last six elections, they start out with a solid blue wall of 242 electoral votes. if you look at the states where they have won five out of the last six elections, they are at 282 electoral votes, 12 more than is needed to win election to the office of president of the united states. so republicans face great
demographic challenges and so we begin this convention where donald trump will be the 29th man to be nominated for the presidency of the united states by the republican party, deeply divided, facing great demographic challenges in a race already where the democrats will have enormous spending advantages over the republicans. >> hallie jackson is on the convention floor and hallie, no matter how people try to paint this or spin this, team trump did not expect a walkout by anyone during the first afternoon. >> so here's the spin. first let me give you a sense of where we are. you referenced senator joel. he has been taking selfies and pictures. you can see notable names from washington. you have jeff miller, chairman of the house veterans affairs committee who came over and said hello. up in the third row, that's former arizona governor jan brewer. interesting that she's here given that the theme is make america safe again. she's been part of the immigration debate obviously, key part of that. that is something we do expect to hear tonight.
so you talk about the spin from the trump campaign. what was interesting to me as i was on the floor while this was happening, were the supportive cheers for donald trump coming from the new york delegation. we will see if we can walk down to where that delegation is sitting front and center. i have been speaking with republican party insiders, with members of the trump campaign, and their spin is this. this is not a big deal, this was a minor, if you can even call it uprising that was crushed as they put it fairly quickly, as the disgruntled minority kind of kicked in. that said, objectively it is a sign, remember, they had a whip team of more than 100 people that were out here to try to prevent just such a scene, particularly such a scene airing live on television as we get ovr here, as i get my bearings to the new york section right here, right in front of the stage where melania trump will be speaking and donald trump will introduce her in just a little bit. you can talk about the idea that they believe it's not a big deal, the idea that they believe that this was something that we have seen before, this was not necessarily unprecedented but it was raucous.
it was dramatic. for people who aren't tuned in to politics who are just this week turning on the tv to watch the convention, they are seeing headlines, chaos, drama, republican revolt, grassroots uprising, and that is something now the trump team will have to push back on. they will have to present four nights up on the stage of speeches that will show the party is able to get unified and donald trump is able to be that person, not just presidential but also a little more personalized. that's another theme of the speeches we expect to hear over the next week trying to show the softer side of donald trump. >> hallie, we decided the new york delegation is out having new york strip and manhattan clam chowder. they will be with you in just a little while. thank you for taking us down front. >> so glad she just did that walk-around. to steve's earlier point, it matters that they have got new york and california up front. you might expect that from new york with donald trump being a new yorker, born and bred, but putting california up front? he don't have any connection to california. california is a very, very, very
blue state. the field poll in california has hillary clinton not just up by double digits but by double double digits. and to the idea that the traditional republican map is so stacked against donald trump that he's got to completely remake the red versus blue order, throw ohio back to the end of the room, put them in exile, they are insufficiently loyal, bring california up, it's either going to shoot the moon or it's going to win by a lot. >> it's going to sthohoot the m or it's going to win by a lot. when we come back, we are so happy to have of counsel to us, the man the party has turned on after afternoons like this one. we will talk to ginsberg among others.
trump 1, the specially fitted boeing 757, has arrived as you see the air stairs have come up to the aircraft. secret service motorcade awaiting. >> there's the guy in charge of the handbag. >> donald trump has arrived in cleveland, ohio. hallie jackson is on the convention floor with former speaker of the house newt gingrich. >> yeah. i'm backstage with obviously former house speaker newt gingrich. we were talking, you said isn't it fun to see the chaos, the drama. doesn't it show in your view some of the disorganization or lack of unity that's happening now in the party? >> look, you have the most dramatic takeover of a party since william jennings bryant in 1896. extraordinary moment in american his t history. here's a guy who came from totally outside. he got more votes than any republican in history. some republicans kind of have their feelings hurt because he's
a new guy. that's not what they were ready for. >> it's sour grapes? >> a lot of it, yeah. some of it's just crazy. >> are you okay to watch governor pence speaking wednesday night? will you be upset at all? >> i'm fine. >> wish it was you in the vp spot? >> no. mike is a great friend. my wife and he worked together on the agriculture committee. we have a long affection for mike. he was exactly the right choice. they need a balanced ticket and i think trump's aggressiveness and his willingness to be an outsider is balanced off by pence's calm, methodical deliberateness and the fact that pence is very very well respected among traditional republicans. >> lot of the colleagues you worked with, republicans, many of them not here tonight. many people staying away. what does donald trump need to do to bring those republican leaders into the fold? people who have been hesitant to support him so far? >> donald trump needs to focus on the american people and if the republican leaders decide to come along, let them. i don't think he should spend a lot of energy courting people
who have hurt feelings. >> fast forward if trump wins the white house. what's your position in the administration? >> friend, adviser. >> chief of staff? >> no. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. appreciate it. >> i would like to be the senior planner. >> he's getting pulled away by his folks. you know, you never know who you run into backstage at the convention. >> hallie jackson, thank you. just to our viewers, when we get interviews in the hallways, we will get a little bit of digital breakup there. looked like the former speaker hadn't shaved in a couple weeks but then it cleared up. >> also his inner tron. >> it's great fun. ben ginsberg remains with us. it's been such a pleasure having him on loan from his day job as a partner of jones day, the law firm. of counsel to us because ben, after all, long time general counsel to the rnc and campaign counsel to things like the george w. bush presidential
campaign. so ben, all this election season, we have been focused on what's going to happen in cleveland, what's going to happen when it's gavelled into order in cleveland. despite all the talk of the stop trump group, i think it surprised everybody to see what we witnessed this afternoon, having, if that movement has failed, what of it and do they have another chance before the end of this thing? >> oh, they have some chances but they are remote. what was really interesting about today is the fact they did manage to get it together enough to submit petitions from nine or ten states. that caused a furious panic to peel the delegates off those petitions. that's kind of why there were the awkward time delays. it's why when the first voice vote came, they had to delay for awhile, there was the ten-minute
recess. reince priebus was not in the chair. instead it was congressman steve womack from alabama. all in all, a lot of drama if you're into rules drama. and there are a couple of things going forward on the presidential vote or vice presidential vote that they could do. >> is it wise of the convention planners to allow these forces who really aren't going to go away, you can't change how people feel when they arrive at the convention, is there a kind of release of steam they can build into the gathering? >> well, that would have been the vote today. but i think what's true is that the trump people feared that there were 300 to 400 delegates who were pledged to vote for donald trump on a presidential ballot but are not really supporters of his. so if they had allowed a roll call vote, that would have allowed that expression to carry out, they still probably would
have won the rules vote but it would have been sort of a real, even more of a jab in terms of party unity so they took the lesser of two evils which was the somewhat heavy-handed tactics on roll call vote. >> so dual question here. what happens to all that sentiment that's been rebottled and if you are paul manafort, what do you then worry about? do you worry about a dm administrati demonstration? >> two things you need to worry about. one is on the presidential roll call. it is an open question whether or not delegates can abstain. donald trump still has to get over 1237. enough delegates abstain, then that could throw the number into doubt. that's a difficult thing they need to be concerned with. the second is that a delegate from a state can ask for his or her state to be polled. in other words, to see what each individual member voted. that could be an embarrassment.
lastly, there's the vice presidential vote. again, delegates are not bound to support donald trump on the vice presidential vote. so you could, if you really wanted to do a form of protest, put another candidate in. but that's really why mike pence was a solid pick in terms of at least convention management. >> ben ginsberg, a pleasure to have the lawyer the party has turned to for so many years as our guy to turn to in situations like this. >> i believe jacob just wrangled former arizona governor jan brewer. >> i'm here with the former governor of the great state of arizona, governor brewer. you were on the floor today. you saw what can only be described as a melee with the delegates opposing donald trump, some of them, and that wanted to throw out the rules. what did you make of that? >> i think it's outrageous that we have delegates that have been elected to come represent the
people of the great states in the united states and that 14 million people have voted and nominated mr. trump and then to come and be disruptive -- >> not to get too wonky or procedural with you but they had collected enough signatures to force a roll call vote or at least that's what they are saying. and people like gordon humphrey, the former senator from new hampshire and mike lee have been harshly critical of this. do you feel like it was fair to not allow that roll call? what do you make of the fact they just kept on going? >> i never saw the signatures. >> i did. i did see them. >> i don't know if they were val d i dated. 14 million votes ought to be represented at the national convention to nominate our candidate. that candidate is donald trump. >> you are sitting here in the box and i want to show quickly, up here by senator dole in the donald trump family box. do you think what happened today is a stain on the campaign of donald trump? >> no. i think it's a stain on america
and the republican party as a whole, because we ought to behave better than that. i have been coming to conventions for a long time, for the last seven conventions. i have never seen anything the like of it. get over it. if somebody else would have won i would have gotten behind that person. i don't always agree 100% with everybody. i don't agree with donald trump 100%. but darn it, he was elected, i'm here to support him. i got on the trump train early and i think he will make america great again. >> get over it, she says. as plain-spoken as always. back to you. >> trump train arrives in cleveland starting tonight. >> you know, governor jan brewer has always been plain-spoken but get over it, this resistance to donald trump at the convention is a stain on the republican party, sometimes you can't tell just from watching from the outside how big a deal something really is and then you get a former governor sitting in the trump family box who reacts like this and you say i guess this really did bother them. >> ask jimmy carter about how it
another instance where the presumptive nominee has arrived and has spoken to the convention this early, night one, in this case to introduce melania trump. >> that's right. melania trump is a high profile member of the trump campaign in the sense that she's always there at his events. she very rarely speaks. she doesn't do a lot of public speaking but she's got i think probably the highest profile speaking slot tonight, made all the more so by the fact that donald trump is going to make a not so surprise appearance, we are told, to introduce her and set up her remarks this evening. but again, one of the things that's happened over the course of today is the showcasing of however much there is quantitatively, today we got a showcase of dissent within the republican party, both on mundane issues like the rules and how the primary system's going to run in 2020 but also on whether or not donald trump should be the nominee. the showcasing of that disunity
is interesting in terms of its optics, in terms of the skill of the trump campaign trying to put that down and not keep that on display this whole week, but it also may be important heading to november, looking at the trump campaign's prospects against hillary clinton and for more on that, we go to steve kornacki. >> the question here is, how big is the dissent, how much dissent is there. what you saw on display on the floor today, how big is it. take a look at this. one way of measuring it is if you go back to the primaries, add up all the votes that were cast, you heard newt gingrich a minute ago say hey, donald trump got more votes than any republican candidate in history. now, that's true, but what that leaves out is that more votes were cast overall in the primaries this year than we have ever seen any time in history. if you add them all up, trump got 44.9%. he got 45% of all the votes cast. how does that compare historically? you see romney was better. he was over 50%. mccain was actually the closest to what trump did this year. he got just about 46%, 47%.
bush in 2000 was over 60%. bush senior when he was challenged by buchanan got about three quarters. when he ran against bob dole in '88 he got about 68%. that 44.9% that trump got, that is the lowest in the modern era for a republican nominee coming out of the primaries, look, the trump people will make the point this was also the most crowded field ever. you had 17 candidates at one point so it figures the number would be a little less but keep this in mind. we look at the number here from 2000, george w. bush, this was the second most crowded field ever. there were 12 candidates at the start of this race. bush cleared it out early, got 62%. so yes, the size of the field is a factor here but the fact that donald trump comes in with 45% does tell you there is an unusual level of dissent in the republican party this year when it comes to nominating him. >> nicole wallace is standing by. thank you, steve. at the venue for us, nicole, i
have been looking forward to talking to you since the floor exercise program of the convention this afternoon. were you surprised? >> i wasn't surprised but you know, i feel like we are in the trees already. i just have to spend a minute in the forest. we come into this convention and i brought a couple of candidates into their conventions with months and months of painstakingly detailed planning going into what they do coming into the convention, the program plan, the vp pick kept secret with decoy planes flown from alaska, whatnot. donald trump comes into this convention having stepped on the single best attack against hillary clinton that we are likely to hear between now and november from the nonpolitical director of the fbi. donald trump bungled and publicly wrung his hands in the process of selecting a running mate. he then interrupted said running mate more times than was comfortable for anyone i know to watch on the "60 minutes" interview. they came in today, the campaign manager trashed john kasich, the ohio governor who is beloved,
and donald trump is still close to tied with hillary clinton in the battleground states. so i know all of this matters but the bigger picture is that despite all of his many, many, many weaknesses as a candidate, he is still in this thing. >> i was just going to say, on the upside, nicole has come so far in her therapy. >> worth every penny. i highly recommend it. i have been giving out numbers to my republican friends. they all want to know how i come to terms with this so easily. >> oh, nicole, we have had enough noontime glasses of wine with you to know exactly how your therapy is going. let me ask you, though. with that analysis that you just gave about all the things that donald trump and his campaign are doing wrong, all the opportunities they are squandering, all the good stuff they have going on that they're throwing away through their own acts, does that make you despair as a political professional that maybe political professionalism, the nuts and bolts of campaigning, this whole industry
you were part of for so long, that it doesn't matter anymore? >> oh, i have been saying this for weeks. donald trump has won the nomination without someone who had my title, without someone who had ken melman, very respected former rnc chair, before that the bush/cheney campaign manager. donald trump has achieved incredible success without any of the people that do the normal jobs in politics simply with one of these and his twitter account. it raises a lot of questions about what is needed and if he beats hillary clinton doing it his way, it will forever change politics in this country. >> because feel is important and all of these feel different and you have been to your share of conventions, how does it feel so far to be there? >> i mean, it's surreal. everyone i know is part of the kind of unemployment act rachel maddow just described, we are dismayed that paul manafort went out on the morning shows this morning, he did a full round of
shows in which he called john kasich an embarrassment. i cannot tell you how catastrophic that would be for anybody not working for the trump campaign. the kasich campaign fired back, they said they're proud, john kasich was an naacp convention doing something honorable. manafort came right back at him. it's like watching something out of a movie but if you tried to make a movie out of it they would send you out laughing and say that would never happen. >> nicole wallace as the music plays you offstage, we will be going back to you throughout the night, throughout the days to come. when we come back, for sentimental slobs like yours truly, the man that's good to see in the box there tonight, we will hear from former kansas senator bob dole.
you may remember him from the "saturday night live" band. he has played with bob dylan, there on the far left, guitarist g.e. smith. for his second go-round leading the republican national committee band for the next few days. let's go to kelly o'donnell with a man who may be the highest ranking republican at this entire gathering. kelly? >> reporter: well, i am very pleased to be able to see senator bob dole, who was the 1996 nominee of his party. i covered that campaign and traveled with senator dole during those years. he's the only former nominee who will be attending this convention. because this is a secure box, we are going to have a little help here. i'm going to ask senator dole what does party unity mean given all that has happened with donald trump? >> well, it means to me to get
all these people together and i believe they're coming together. the vice presidential pick was a good one. that will bring along a lot of conservatives who were concerned about trump. i think the republicans understand the alternative is hillary. >> reporter: just bearing with us here with the time delay, senator dole will be honored tonight as a veteran. obviously we know his very storied history from world war ii, the very grave injuries he suffered. what does it mean to you, senator dole, to be honored tonight and what do you remember of your own night as the nominee?
>> well, i remember i was very excited. i tried to give a good speech. i'm an inclusive republican and tried to make that point. the only problem is we didn't have enough money to run a good campaign. and bill clinton was a good campaigner. and we lost. >> reporter: brian, as you know, senator dole has always had a dry and very prolific sense of humor. so thanks for letting us do that. i know the noise was an issue in the distance but he's really an extraordinary person and was very important in my early political coverage career. i'm glad we had a chance to check in with him tonight and we do expect there will be special recognition for him later this evening. >> let's hope so. kelly, thank you. and thank him for us, please. >> yeah. that was actually great.
having to go through the interlocutor, no problem at all. great to hear from him. bob dole in his 90s now, obviously still very sharp, still paying a lot of attention. also, there is something about bob dole that's very important. part of it is that he's a living legend in republican politics. part of it is he's the only previous republican nominee that's going to be at the convention. none of the presidents bush will be there, mitt romney won't be there, john mccain won't be there. it's one year ago today that donald trump said that john mccain was not a war hero and he liked people who were not captured in war. so john mccain will not be there today. bob dole stands out for that reason. but bob dole is also an important through line in republican politics, connecting donald trump to real professional republican politics because the professional core of his campaign operation, including paul manafort, where
those guys cut their teeth was the bob dole campaign in 1996. those guys, paul manafort included, did not win in 1996. this time they are hoping for a second bite at the apple against a different candidate clinton. but bob dole not only means a lot but also symbolizes a lot. let's bring into the conversation chuck todd in cleveland. chuck? >> hey, rachel. it's interesting with the fact we only have bob dole being the only one but one thing you got to remember about bob dole, he's always a party guy. one thing, he will be critical in the moment but at the end of the day, that was sort of sometimes, some republicans got frustrated with him that he was a party first kind of guy. but that is who bob dole was and who bob dole remains. so it doesn't surprise me that he's going to sit here and say hey, this is who the party nominated, the republican party has been good to him and he's going to support the republican nominee. i'm not surprised by that at all. >> chris matthews, i'm told, is
with you, chuck. >> he is. >> chris, i wanted to get you on the record on bob dole. >> well, i have always been a fan of bob dole's because of the reasons mentioned. he's a regular. he's an unhyphenated republican. by today's standards, a moderate. i think it's fair to say. >> he was the conservative in '88. >> i know. it's changed. >> he was the conservative alternative to h.w. bush. >> so was goldwater. >> he was on the ticket in '96. he's one of the three names, by the way, if you start in 1952 right up until the beginning of this century, nixon, bush and dole, find a ticket without them. there's only one ticket in all those years from '52 to 2004 that didn't have a bush, dole or nixon on it. >> remember what bob dole's role was in '76. gerald ford's way of reaching out to conservatives. >> yes. i know. >> that is why dole was named to that ticket. a way to appease the reagan crowd. get a familiar ring here, trump
and mike pence for the rest of the republicans. >> i think he was the last of the world war ii guys to really have a shot at the president say. the last of the greatest generation. let me ask you about this fight today. fight today. was this anything more than we would have expected, that there are people that are here that are hold-outs, they don't want trump? >> i think how it ended didn't surprise me. >> i'm sorry. it's the colors. >> i apologize. .
>> please welcome ed macnimara along with his wives co-founded a prayer in memory of their daughter maria who will lead us in the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. [ applause ]
[ applause ] >> marlena vanhoos opening up the evening of this convention, something of a miracle in her life at age 2 diagnosed with cerebral palsy. she has triumphed overall of that. this is the first evening session of the republican national convention in cleveland, ohio, and we have already seen the arrival of the presumptive nominee donald trump. >> we're also expecting to hear from his wife this evening, melania trump will be the main headliner. the first recognizable
celebrity/political figure who we'll hear from tonight is one of the du"duck dynasty" clan. we'll also hear from scott baio. he was chachi. we'll be hearing from antonio sabato jr. who is a soap opera star and among those type celebrity showbiz figures we'll be hearing from a number of republican elected officials, including iowa senator joni ernst. tom cotton, another iraq war veteran we'll be hearing from tonight. it's not an a-list list of speakers tonight but it is going to be the first scripted presentation from the republican party in terms of how they want to present the republican party of donald trump. >> steve schmidt, one more word about bob dole who at this gathering, absent 41, is really the link to the great past, the veterans of world war ii who
formed the modern republican party and built a whole good portion of our country. i'm not at all surprised that bob dole is in that box. >> no. and also at this time of this unity, you think about bob dole on a national ticket 40 years ago and recovering for years in the percy jones hospital with daniel inoye. and when he was laid to rest with bob dole who came up and said my old friend danny wouldn't want to see me in this wheelchair, he stood up and saluted that great american hero. this was a time when we understood we were not each other's enemies but political opponents. i think that's true of that generation specifically of bob dole and clearly one of the great living americans whether you're a republican or democrat. >> there he is tonight in cleveland. we'll take a break. our coverage continues.