tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 28, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EST
the battle for iowa. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. leading off tonight, newt's new law. what goes out must come back. newt gingrich may be getting a lot of mileage dumping on mitt romney's health plan as a socialist-inspired government takeover of health care, but it turns out newt praised romney's plan long before he buried it. in a newsletter five years ago, in fact, so, basically, newt is saying, pay no attention to what i said then, just hear me now. so what does go out does come back and what you said can be used against you. plus, ron paul with a fringe on top. you're hearing more and more about ron paul's fringe supporters and more about what he really thinks of gays and
israel. meanwhile, on the under card, while no one was watching, rick santorum has been making a move. could it be that he's the tortoise raising in a pack of hares? plus, it turns out it's not just the rich that get richer. so do those getting elected to congress. why has the personal net worth of the body gone up so much while everybody else has gone down? and almost every american has seen this photo. it's the photo of elizabeth eckford trying to enter high school in little rock, arkansas, in 1957, after it was ordered to resegregate. but what most of us don't know is the fascinating story behind that picture and how she and the white girl screaming at her eventually became friends. we'll have that story for you later. and let me finish with why conservative republican voters in iowa can rally -- cannot rally around a champion to face obama. we start with newt gingrich and the explaining he needs to do. howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst and "the huffington post" media group editorial director, and jeff zeleny is with "the new york times". he joins us from iowa.
howard, you first. this problem with newt gingrich and his credibility. he's very versatile, he's a fantastic opportunist, he thinks on his feet, but he seems to think he's so much smarter and has a better memory than everyone else, or else a worse memory. how does he forget that he sold mitt romney's health care plan in massachusetts as a national wonder drug, basically, to the rest of the country? >> well, this is newt's problem, is he tries to be the outsider, attacking mitt romney. newt gingrich, revolutionary though he may have been in his early days in congress, was here for a long time, was a leader as a speaker, and spent a lot of time on "k" street working the inside game for the medical history. and there was a time at which, and maybe it's still true with many parts of that industry, that they like some of what mitt romney was proposing. lots of industry very much was able to live with what barack obama proposed. and newt gingrich was part of that.
it's not that his memory is so good, it's that his memory is selective. he's very good at forgetting. very good at trying to play that attack dog outsider. but it's not working, especially when "the wall street journal" is on his tail, unearthing documents like this one. >> let's go with a general reporter today, back in 2006, not 100 years ago, five years ago, newt gingrich was in favor of the romney health care plan up in massachusetts. a newsletter for one of his groups called the center for health transformation put out a newt's notes memo. that's newt's notes memo, saying, quote, "the health bill that governor romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to affect major change to the american health system. we agree entirely with governor romney and massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all americans. that's newt's statement back five years ago. now his spokesman told "the journal" that someone else
penned that statement. and get this, that it wasn't an endorsement. well, jeff, you know, politicians are good at squirming out of things like greased pigs, but my question, is there enough grease to get newt away from what he said just five years ago, applauding romney on health care, and in a sense, encouraging it for the rest of the country? >> i think things are really adding up here for speaker gingrich. this is just one more thing on top of, you know, really a litany of rising questions that some conservatives have about him. but, he still has his core supporters in iowa. he still has people who say that, you know, i like him because he can debate president obama. they keep saying that. i'm not sure if voters realize that there's probably only going to be three presidential debates next fall in the general, and the campaign is certainly, or almost certainly not to hinge on debates alone, but i think that the toll is rising for him. he realizes this. if you watch the airwaves in iowa or listen to the radio, he is just being hammered.
but it's not by mitt romney only, it's by ron paul. it's sort of from all sides. so i think this is one more thing that he is going to have a hard time explaining to voters. we saw this in the journal today. this is going to be an ad probably before, you know, in the next 24 hours, perhaps. and this is what iowa caucus voters are going to see as their final argument before they begin making up their minds. so he has a lot of ground to cover here, in trying to explain all this. but i'm not sure how well he'll do that. >> well, here's one way he's doing it. the super pac winning our future is releasing this ad in support of gingrich. rich, let's watch. >> the republican establishment wants to pick our candidate. when a principle conservative took the lead, they outspent newt gingrich 20 to 1, attacking him with falsehoods. conservatives need someone who's fought for us. newt balanced the federal budget, reformed welfare, cut taxes, and created 11 million new jobs. newt will take on radical judges and fight against abortion. don't let the liberal republican establishment pick our
candidate. newt gingrich, winning our future, is responsible for the content of this message. >> you know, howard, there's a lot of over-the-top language there, the language of desperation, i would say, objectively. when you start talking about liberal republican establishment, what's that? when you start talking about radical judges. it's almost over the top language being used in this ad, that sounds a lot like newt. >> i think jeff would agree with me that that's the kind of language that sometimes, not the heat of it, but the intent of it is the kind of language that can appeal to iowa caucus-goers. they take the caucuses very seriously. they respond to the message that somebody's trying to control it, somebody from the outside, so forth. it's the best and only card newt has to play right now. because, really, he's not competing with mitt romney for votes. he's not competing with ron paul for votes, for the most part. he's competing in the non-mitt, non-dr. paul primary, essentially among all the other conservatives.
so that's an appeal, the best appeal, arguably, he can make to chose voters who are still undecided. >> let's take a look at the trend lines of the iowa polling of the top three republicans since november 1st. first, mitt romney in the purple. when you add the yellow line for ron paul, you can see his recent rise. the most dramatic thing is when you see gingrich's green line and his precipitous drop over the past several days. he just keeps dropping. jeff, you're out there in the field. do you sense that, that he's had a drop for a while now? >> i do sense that. and when you see an ad like this, i mean, it certainly is a good response, or at least some response, but it's about 2 1/2 weeks too late. he's being hit out here, and across the country, without any backup. and, you know, gingrich has been responding, you know, by complaining about these negative attacks. well, you sort of have to fight the war on the same battleground here. and that's on television. so now he's only finally doing
this. but if you talk to voters, i mean, they have liked newt gingrich's debate performances. they've liked a lot of what he's said. but there's been so much more information out there on him now than there was just two weeks ago. it's incredible. so i think that, you know, what he doesn't have here is a ground organization to sort of support him and to get his back up. if he is to do well in the iowa caucuses, it's going to throw out all of the things that howard and i and some other people and you, chris, know so well, of how these caucuses have usually worked through organizations. if he does well, it's just going to be this organic thing coming out. and that's pretty hard to believe, that that's going to happen. >> well, one way you get rid of the past is to smother with the present, to trump it with the present. we all know that. people do have an advantage. if they can get on the television set in live performances, that's what people tend to judge more than old tapes. howard, can he get that live bug up next to him and show himself between now and next tuesday in a way that will dramatize him rather than his past? >> no, it's awfully hard, as jeff said. and one of the reasons is, if
you put up an ad accusing other people of falsehoods, you need to explain, you need to have the time, the money, and the space to explain what those falsehoods are. you have to nail your critics. you have to nail your foes to the wall with their lies. that's the way you have to play the game. you can't just throw up your hands and appeal to the ref, which is sort of what newt's doing here, with all the time -- that's all the time and money he has. >> let's take a look right now at this whole problem out there. jeff, i have a theory about this. i'm going to bring it up at the end of the show and try it on you and howard. you first. it seems to me that the voters of iowa, the republicans out there, really want three things out there. they want someone who is very good on small government, and ron paul meets the bill there, in spades. then they want someone who has the religious zeal against things like abortion right and gay and same-sex and that kind of thing, the modernity, basically. then they want a real hawk, someone who's really going to turn the tables from this globalism of obama and turn it back to the old chauvinism of w.
and do they have anybody that meets the bill in all three cases and that could also win? >> no, they have no one who meets the bill in all three cases. which is why you hear, i was out with senator rick santorum earlier, and he was really driving the case hard against ron paul, urging iowa republicans to think seriously his foreign policy plans. so you have all these sort of cross-currents going on, all these people fires different arrows at each other. and the person who may come up the strongest in that is mitt romney. you hear a lot of republicans who say, you know what, i guess that it is almost time to make our pick here. he may not be the top in either of the three categories, but adding up all the qualities together, he looks better than a lot of people. i've heard republicans two weeks ago were not for romney, but now they say, okay. >> can you appeal to iowans this time and say, here's your chance?
here's a romney strategy, putting this out, talking to "new york" magazine's john heilemann. this is an amazing quote. i think it's a problem for them already. "the dynamics couldn't be better for us. i don't see any scenario where >> no, they have no one who meets the bill in all three cases. which is why you hear, i was out with senator rick santorum earlier, and he was really driving the case hard against ron paul, urging iowa republicans to think seriously his foreign policy plans. so you have all these sort of cross-currents going on, all these people fires different arrows at each other. and the person who may come up
the strongest in that is mitt romney. you hear a lot of republicans who say, you know what, i guess that it is almost time to make our pick here. he may not be the top in either of the three categories, but adding up all the qualities together, he looks better than a lot of people. i've heard republicans two weeks ago were not for romney, but now they say, okay. >> way back 50 years ago the strategy of jack kennedy was to believe they could pick a president. can you appeal to iowans this night. >> come in second in every category. anyway, thank you, howard fineman and jeff zeleny. great having you on the show. coming up, what ron paul really thinks about two subjects. we're going to pick out two, because they're the most glaring, gays, gay rights, gay people, israel and israelis as well. what he thinks about the state of israel. it's pretty strong stuff, beyond what most people think in an extreme way, i'd argue. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ dog ] i am a rockstar. my coat? solid gold. my insides? pure platinum. [ female announcer ] a healthy outside starts inside. new iams simple & natural has chicken as its number one ingredient and zero fillers. it works inside for health you can see on the outside. [ dog ] i can't be a rockstar on the outside if i'm not one on the inside.
[ female announcer ] new iams naturals. you'll like what's in them and love what's not. [ dog ] i am an iams dog. [ girls ] he's so cute! [ dog ] groupies! ♪ sen♪ co-signed her credit card - "buy books, not beer!" ♪ ♪ut the second at she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for the whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪ ♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ v.o.: offer applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com at the people at the nbc political unit often say, live by the galup tracking poll, die by the gallup tracking time. for the first time since this summer obama's approval numbers are up. according to the poll, the numbers are 47% approve, 47% disapprove. the upward trend is good news for president obama. and it seems like the standoff
welcome back to "hardball." rick santorum, the republican candidate who didn't have his 15 minutes of fame, like most of the gop field had before flaming out, might be having his moment right now. in the way santorum cleverly frames the race, he's in a contest with perry and bachmann for what he calls the conservative vote. can santorum be the sleeper in this race? and a former ron paul staffer says, if you believe him, that paul believes israel shouldn't exist, and that the united states had no business getting involved fighting hitler in world war ii. needless to say the paul campaign says he's a disgruntled former staffer who was fired. while aaron mcpike is covering
the 2012 gop race for real clear politics and steve kornacki is political columnist with salon. thank you erin and thank you, steve. let's go to this interesting case of rick santorum. i have always believed that when you're in a crunch, erin, and you don't know what you're doing, you go back to basics. if you're a religious conservative, don't get your fingers dirty in this campaign. don't hold your nose. vote for somebody whose values you completely buy into it, and you'll always be proud of your vote, even if you don't pick a president. is that what's working for santorum, if anything is? >> he thinks that it is, but his poll numbers haven't budged all that much. he's starting to be tied with bachmann and perry, but the only two ads he has out in iowa are about him and social values and his record on social issues. and that's all he's talking about. but what is his economic message? this is an economic election, and that's not what he's talking about. it's going to be really hard for him to win iowa when everyone else is talking about the economy.
>> well, and rick santorum says iowa voters know he's the choice for christian evangelicals. let's watch. ♪ >> well, besides being a great family man, and that he is, rick santorum is also a politician, believe it or not. and he breaks down the iowa race in a way that makes him look pretty good. he says there's three separate contests going on, and he says there's just one primary that he's interested in winning, which is conveniently the one he can win. let's listen. >> there's really three primaries going on here. there's the libertarian primary, which ron paul is going to win, and then you've got the moderate primary, which gingrich and romney are scrumming for. and then you've got three folks who are running as strong conservatives.
and you know, i think if we win that primary, we're in very good shape, as the non-newt/romney. >> well, the three people running as strong conservatives that he's talking about are himself, rick perry, and michele bachmann. real clear politics lays out the state of play in this conservative primary. santorum wants to win. since december 1st, after his dismal debate performance that already dropped him out of the lead, rick perry in the blue line has been on a steady climb. see it? from 6% up to 12%. doubling. michele bachmann's trend line, however, which is black, has been fairly flat throughout december, landing at 8.7% today. and rick santorum there in the orange line, who's been to all 99 iowa counties so far has also been rising steadily. he started at 4. he's modestly up to about or almost 8. let me go to steve kornacki on this from salon. it seems to me he has a shot of winning this very narrowly in a rural match with the other two cultural conservatives, perry and bachmann.
>> he has a chance of winning it, but does he win it in a way that makes him a player beyond iowa. >> can he get beyond third place? >> there's third place where he beats him out with 13% of the vote and romney wins a state with 27. i don't think that's really worthwhile. but then there's the question of, if you can add together bachmann, perry, santorum, and a little bit of newt, you put those all together, you're at the 35% that mike huckabee managed to get in 2008. that's when 62% of the turnout in 2008 were evangelical questions. they were crazy about mike huckabee. the problem of evangelical christians have had in iowa this time is they haven't found that one candidate. >> isn't that what santorum is hoping to do? grab the lie i don't know's share of the huckabee vote from last year? >> sure. but look at the competition he's got. michele bachmann with the home-schooling, with her christian credentials. >> is she a home-schooler too? are they all home-schoolers out there? >> i think two of the three are. >> erin, i've been following republican politics for a long time, and i've never seen that you've got a party so culturally conservative, you've got a fight going on over who's the true
home-schooler. i mean, this is getting back to basics here. >> well, that's what mike huckabee did in 2008, right? and that worked for him. michele bachmann has been pushing that message for a long time, and it worked for her over the summer, but suddenly her support dissipated. so rick perry's not really talking to the home schoolers, but he's talking about his values and going to church and his own, his own faith, and how he came to god in his 20s. so they're all going for the religious aspect here of it. >> let's take a look at this other interesting case. ron paul may win this whole thing, i don't know. it's really up in the air. if ron paul wins, it will be because people ignore some of the stuff about him. this stuff is coming out from his former staffer, who's been described by his loyal staffers as disgruntled, as being fired. they do all the things to take the truth out of the guy, right? now, the question is, he says things like -- ron paul doesn't just have problems with israeli foreign policy or the right wing government in place over there now, he, according to the former staffer, doesn't believe in the
state of israel. he believes the arabs should get that land. that's pretty strong stuff, even for libertarians. your thought on that, steve? >> this represents fundamentally what ron paul's problems are in the republican party. this is a hawkish party, especially with regard to the middle east. and the parallel i keep thinking about with ron paul is pat buchanan. the last person on the republican side that really kind of broke through in the republican presidential primaries was the none intervention foreign policy and that was pat buchanan. and i interviewed buchanan last week about the parallel, and he said he sees it. he says he sees it happening with ron paul, what happened to him -- >> he, pat, has never come out to remove the state of israel -- >> no, but i can't think of one who was more hostile to pat buchanan than him on the national stage. he said, i nearly won iowa, and i won new hampshire and the party more than anything else about non-interventionism was terrified, and they went to war with me in south carolina. >> my thinking is, if ron paul wins, erin, the message on the national media afterwards will be, small government conservatism wins a round in iowa, even though it may not
matter nationwide, the people out there are so much against government, they're willing to go with a guy as libertarian as barry goldwater ever hoped to be. >> well, right, but it's ron paul's legions of supporters that we're talking about right now. you don't really often meet undecided voters in iowa who are considering ron paul. >> i see. >> so it's a really -- you know, so, what -- we don't know how he's going to do in new hampshire yet or south carolina. he's really been focusing here. so i don't know that we can take that away there him. >> describe him, erin. what kind of people do you see when you meet, who are ron paul? are they young college libertarians, like we were? people that really believe in individualism? >> they are. you meet a lot of college kids who are always coming out to his events, time and time again. but i'll tell you this, chris. we get the nastiest hate mail from ron paul supporters than i've ever gotten before for anything that you could possibly write. they're very dedicated. they will always comment. and if there's something that you think that you're doing wrong in your coverage of ron
paul, they will let you know. >> but the other side of it is, let me go back to my formulation. you both can bash it down. it's equal opportunity here. i think when you're in a turmoil of a lot of tainted candidates. romney's a bit of a big government guy, let's face it. he was national health care writ large in massachusetts. certainly newt has been all over the map with big government formulations and climate change. so you look for something clean. you go in that voting booth and vote for somebody you truly believe in like ron paul, an absolute libertarian, and rick santorum, an absolute christian conservative, and you can walk out and say, don't blame me. >> yeah. >> is there some of that out there, or am i just imagining it? >> no, and we've seen that before on the republican side. in the iowa caucuses, the most famous story was pat robertson in 1988 beating a sitting vice president, george bush sr., because that conservative christian base couldn't stomach the old yankee republican bush, and they would rather vote for pat robertson. buchanan nearly won it in '96. buchanan won new hampshire. at the end of the day, the party elites take control of the process and get their guy through. but it doesn't mean that the
early states will be clean. >> so it could clearly be an anti-establishment response out there. >> particularly in a state like iowa, i would think. >> your view, erin? could the anti-establishment candidates like santorum and ron paul be the stars on election night -- or caucus night? >> maybe so, but here's the other thing. neither ron paul nor rick santorum really truly want to be president. i've talked to both of these guys, and rick santorum told me a year and a half, he was only going to run because he wanted to move the field to the right. and i asked ron paul a week ago if he actually really wanted to be president, and he said sure. they are both message candidates. >> you got this on tape? erin, this is news. i've not heard this before. admissions by candidates that they don't want to win. i'm serious. >> not in so many words, but that's what they're saying. they're wanting to move the field to the right, and ron paul has the message. and when i asked him, he just said, sure. and i said, well, why do you want to be president? and he just said, answer should
be obvious. it's a silly question. he said that a couple of times, but, chris, remember, in 1979, ted kennedy couldn't answer. >> what's your hunch? this koss news-making. do you think ron paul based on those flippant answers, almost fatalistic answers that he may be planning for a third party if he doesn't come out of this thing on top? which he probably won't. >> he very well may. he almost owes it to his supporters who have been there for him for so long to come that message go, through, through the general election. he very well might. >> steve? he's not running in a primary for the house again. >> if he cares about his son's political future in the republican party, the senator from kentucky, he's got to be very careful this he's the guy that cost him the white house in 2012. >> hostage to fate. erin, great having you on. thank you, steve, as always. up next, newt defends his campaign by invoking the japanese attack on pearl harbor. this guy thinks big. he also thinks big victim, him. you're watching "hardball," only
things went slightly awry in this picture as the president took on the role of baby hand lefrmt. let's see what got the young admirer's attention. >> someone's got to make noise over there. he saw that big nose and he's like, man, i want some of that nose. i want some of that nose. >> handled it like a pro. the boy's mom later said she was mortified. next up, cause for alarm. the gingrich campaign was embarrassed and rightly so for failing to qualify for the primary ballot in virginia.
welcome back to "hardball." there's at least one segment of the population that doesn't seem to be suffering in rough economic times. members of congress. in the past 2 1/2 decades, the median net worth of a member of the house of representatives more than doubled, according to analysis by "the washington post."
that means wealthier people are being elected. that's an incredible figure, by the way, given the fact that for the average american family that have seen their net worth actually decrease. well, nearly half of all members of congress are millionaires right now, technically, at least. just between 2004 and 2010, the average net worth of members of congress rose 15%. well, according to "the new york times," the gap between members of congress and the rest of the population is growing, but what's behind it? that's the big question. and what does it mean in terms of how our leaders represent us? ari melber is an msnbc contributor and a correspondent for "the nation" magazine. chris frates is a correspondent for the "national journal." chris, thank you, and ari, thank. you know, i think it's important to talk about. these aren't guys and women making money on the job. it's not selling influence, apparently. what we're talking about is the development we've all seen. wealthy people, because they have capital and the ability to not have to show up to work for years at a time, and incredible leverage with other rich people, because rich people know rich people, that they can run for
office with impunity and take chances on losing. they can come back year after year, until they finally win. >> yeah, i think that's exactly right, chris. politics is about what you have, what you need, and what you know, just like you said. so what we see with the explosion of the price of campaigns is that you either have to have a lot going in, you can be a self-funder, or you need a lot, which means that the people who may not be billionaires, they may not be mike bloomberg, the people who have high net worth and know a lot of people, their social graph is rich and it's a lot easier to raise this money. because we've talked a lot about the grassroots, small donor revolution, but that doesn't help you. >> george mcgovern, who was teaching at the university of south carolina, or gale mcgee, out of wyoming, another professor. the day when a good political science or history professor who didn't even have a law degree could actually become a senator are over. >> i think that's right. and i think what you see, you basically have to know a ton of rich people at the start. which means it's not just about getting a name or going on tv or any of the things we think about as politicking, it's actually
just having a very wealthy social graph. >> "the washington post" reported today between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth for a member of congress more than doubled. those numbers did not include home equity. for the average american family in that same period, their net worth actually declined. we have a growing difference between the kinds of people who we're electing and the people who are doing the electing. your thought on the implications, chris? >> i think ari's certainly right here, chris, that there is this idea that you need more money and more connections to run for office because of the price of the office. and certainly, that could be a backlash for many members of congress, you know, the occupy wall street guys, who are protesting the 1 percenters may not understand that most of congress is part of that group of 1 percenters. but i'm also reminded of a debate that i saw back in 2004 between ken salazar and pete coors. pete coors of coors beer, ken salazar, now the interior secretary, it was the 2004 senate race in colorado. and it was a debate between these two guys.
and salazar is trying to make this point that, you know, pete coors is not one of us. he's not a farmer from the san louis valley like he was, who didn't have lights in his house until 1979. he says, you know, who here is rich? and hardly anybody in the audience raises their hands. pete coors turns to the audience and says, who here would like to be rich? and almost everybody raised their hands. so i think when you look at the population, you look at the voters, they're not always going to be folks who are going to hold it against a candidate because they are rich, because they are aspiring also to be rich. i put out the question, what does this mean for our democracy to the folks on twitter who follow me. and one person, c.j. barrett 76 said, the founding fathers who were rich guys who put it on the line to sign the declaration of independence, so it's not so much whether or not they have worth, it's whether they have integrity. >> but, by the way, if you want
to go back then, they had property requirements for voting in those days. so they did have the wrong value system by today's standards. and my question is isn't is there something wrong with rich people elected, but what happens when they do? and what happens when they get into office? back to you, ari. it seems like you have a problem there. it does help to have people who are familiar with what it means to work on an assembly line, what means to be a teacher, anybody that's sort of regular and not just capitalists. it used to be capitalists would support campaigns, now they say, why not me run. >> you hit it on the head. anybody when's been on the hill knows that if someone has a perm experience, they bring that to bear. someone has a position on gay rights, and it turns out, oh, you know what, their kids' guy. they have a position about cancer research because someone in their family has cancer, and that's okay. we draw on personal experiences in our life and politicians are still human. the problem is though if all of them are just working in that millionaire circle and none of them know anyone on food stamps, what do they draw from? >> chris, do you remember al
gore, not to knock on al gore, but when he ran for president in 2004, he had to think of four or five people to describe their experiences in life, because he didn't have one. he went to the convention, listing these four or five -- they were all mixed, some hispanic, some african-american and some of this. it was like, i really don't know american livvie so let me give you some examples. what is this? it's like -- i don't know what it is, but it's not representative of democracy, is it? >> well, certainly, this idea that candidates don't relate, it's the supermarket checkout moment. and i think that is a problem for candidates. but you throw it back to the big city machines. i mean, did they really relate? was that better for democracy? and when you look at the top 25 richest members of congress, these aren't necessarily your big power brokers. certainly, pelosi, some of those folks were there. >> claiborne pell, the elite claiborne pell borrowed some galoshes from a young guy and brought it back and said, where'd you get these from?
he said, i got them from tom mckenna, and he said, would you thank tom for me. he had no recognition of the human experience. thank you, ari melber. and chris, you disagree, which is always good on this show. up next, we've all seen this photo. an african-american trying to enter her high school in little rock, arkansas, the one she's supposed to go to in 1957 after it was ordered to desegregate. tonight, we'll hear the fascinating story behind that picture, those people, the white one and the black one. this is "hardball," only on msnbc. card - "buy books, not beer!" ♪ ♪ but the second that she shut the door ♪ ♪ girl started blowing up their credit score ♪ ♪ she bought a pizza party for the whole dorm floor ♪ ♪ hundred pounds of makeup at the makeup store ♪ ♪ and a ticket down to spring break in mexico ♪ ♪ but her folks didn't know 'cause her folks didn't go ♪ ♪ to free-credit-score-dot-com hard times for daddy and mom. ♪ v.o.: offer applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com car insurance companies say they'll save you by switching,
you'd have, like, a ton of dollars. but how are they saving you those dollars? a lot of companies might answer "um" or "no comment." then there's esurance. born online, raised by technology, and majors in efficiency. so whatever they save, you save. hassle, time, paperwork, hair-tearing-out, and, yes, especially dollars. esurance. insurance for the modern world. click or call. well, serious democratic efforts to hold on to their majority in the senate next november, ben nelson of nebraska announced today he's quitting. he's leaving at the end of his term. that means republicans expected to pick up control of the cornhusker's state seat. bob kerrey has been talking about possibly running again. senate republicans only need to pick up four seats to get control of the senate, and two of them look pretty easy to do right now. we'll be right back. when elizabeth beckford was 15 years old she showed up to school and entered the history books.
when elizabeth beckford was 15 years old she showed up to school and entered the history books. she was african-american who was trying to desegregate the all-black high school. the governor ordered the national guard troops not to let that happen. what made elizabeth's story more compelling was this iconic photo that came to symbolize one of the darkest periods of american history. she is followed and heckled by a crowd of white people. most dramatically by a teenager the same age named hazell brian. there's a lot going on in that photo. journalist david mcgolic spent
time chronicling their lyes and what came afterwards. the results would surprise you. he wrote a big book about the women called "elizabeth and hazel. this is great you went back and looked at these girls. one black and one white. one angry at hell and one afraid. >> she thought she was about to be lynched. >> let's keep the picture up. i want you to give us the narration. let's start with the african-american girl. trying to go to a school she has a right to go to but the military has to protect her right to do it. >> in fact, what it doesn't show is the moment this picture was taken, she'd already been turned away from the school three times. she thought the military was there to protect her. and each time she'd gone up to the line of soldiers expecting to be allowed through.
each time they rebuffed her and crossed their bayonets and pushed her back to the street. >> the governor ordered them to do that. >> the governor ordered them to do pa. this was a surprise to her. what it also doesn't show is the great fear she's feeling. she's wearing these sunglasses. she looks very stoic and brave. behind those sunglasses her eyes portray great fear and disappointment. and she's just scared for her life at this point really. >> because -- >> looking for safety. >> -- and all other kinds of things. >> it wasn't that far back. there was a lynching in little rock 30 years earlier. >> let's talk about the white girl at the time. what was her development after that? did she continue to resist? >> what's interesting about her is that first of all she wasn't a rabid segregationist. she was 15 years old. her political views were quite unformed. she'd gone down there that morning to have a good time and
to be with her friends and to act out. and that's sort of -- she wasn't really terribly political about it. and so that's the first sort of paradox about the picture. when you see a picture like that, you think somebody who looks so hateful is ir redeemable. in fact, her life changed after that. she got married. she had children. and within five years of the moment that picture was taken, on her own without any encouragement from anyone, she called up elizabeth and apologized. >> now, how did you find this out? i'm fascinated by your reportage. how'd you know this? >> i went down to little rock to do a bill clinton story. i saw a poster of the two of them together that had been taken in 1997 seemingly looking like old friends. and i thought how do we get from the black and white picture, that hateful picture, that picture that epitomizes race hatred in this country to this color picture of these grown women reconciled seemingly getting along.
i knew to get from from point a to point b was a story. >> i grew up in the north. philadelphia. the northern and southern percentage was different. one was about calling shots, the other about keeping distance. in the south what's it like today? is there social integration down? or still bus or worker? >> i think it's superficial. you walk into the -- you land in the airport in little rock and look at the county commissioners and half of them are black. so superficially things are much better. but the races are still separate. even after central high school they're very separate. and that story is in a way epitomized by the relationship of these two people. after they reconciled, there was a certain schism that developed and a distrust that developed between the two of them. after i met the two of them, within a few mnts of the time i met them in 1999, they stopped talking to one another and
they've not talked to one another for the last ten years. >> it's fascinating when you write about it. i read the part about your jewish and the background the white woman was more skeptical of you thinking you're on the side of civil rights. >> it's an interesting point of naive about southern whites. the black woman would be the one i would have to be i win over is what i thought. it was the opposite. she thought i was a kindred spirit and i was interested in history. and that i wanted to tell the story accurately. >> i like this kind of journalism. >> so do i. >> because it's positive and it helps us understand ourselves. thank you. the name of the book is "elizabeth and hazel." when we return, let me finish with why voters in iowa have a problem picking a candidate this time. wait until you catch the fights and what they're standing for. they can't agree on this simultaneous equation they're
let me finish tonight with this. a week from today, republicans, conservative republicans speak. i'm talking about next week's iowa caucuses. we need to pay attention. these voices will be the people competing in 2012 to control any republican who is chosen to seek the white house. they will be the stake holders in any republican administration shold it take office.
they will be the forces fighting over how to run it should that day come. so listen to the anti-government simplicity of ron paul. people who vote for him next tuesday want no government at the federal level. no health programs, no action on the environment, no economic help to help the people in trouble. they're anti-public action, period. think about it. listen to the religious right. that goes for rick santorum next week. think about the country they want to live in. a strict outlawing of abortion perhaps for prison terms for those who seek them. don't put it past them. a total end of rights for gays. a turn back to the days of oppression. these guys don't like it, period. they think america was a better place when gays were neither seen or heard. listen to the hawkishness by the candidates in iowa. newt talks of moving the american embassy in israel. stirring up all the trouble one
can imagine. mitt attacks a dead leader in north korea to stir up trouble. the old days of w. and bring it on bravado is back. ready to push and insight. you get it all with this bunch the right wing attitude. the right wing approach to social issues. they can't wait to repack the court to do who knows what. they can't wit to spoil the appetite for launching into the muslim world. what is it with these people? what is it? pay close attention this week. they're making their pleas now. the candidates are responding in kind. look to iowa. watching the candidates feed the right wing factions. as all the keen busyness and the feeding time. and those feeding off what's being offered in des moines and davenport and elsewhere will want a lot more if their side gets in.