tv The Last Word MSNBC May 16, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
>> mitt romney actually said, quote, if i'm fortunate enough to become president, i'll care very deeply about the economy getting better in a big hurry which, of course means he really doesn't want the economy to get better now. >> round one of the general election air war has begun. >> the probe on the super pac. >> spending nearly $800,000 in five key battle ground states. >> can team obama define mitt romney as the capitalist. >> he'll give you the same thing he gave us. nothing. >> a romney campaign responded immediately. >> mitt romney's sector leadership team stepped in. releasing an online video called the american dream. >> 58% of americans believe the economy -- >> is going to be in a better place in a year from now. >> i will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. >> romney is expected to deliver a debt in iowa. >> a prairie fire of debt.
>> sweeping across iowa and across the nation. >> a year ago all we talked about was debt. talking about the doom and gloom, debt, debt, debt. >> i will lead us out of this debt. >> pro gay adoption one day. >> two people, the same gender, they want to adopt a child. >> and then against the following day. >> simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal. >> it just doesn't come across as genuine. >> the president looks very relatable. >> my name is barack obama. >> at some point mitt romney is going to have to sit down. >> he's got to go on "the view" and the morning shows. >> i am so in love with you oh beautiful for spacious skies >> it just doesn't come across as genuine. >> so who's going to win? >> oh, i'm going to win.
>> yesterday the obama election released a two-minute aimed at mitt romney's bain capital. >> romney and bain capital, the objective was to make money. bain capital always made money. if we lost, they made money. if we survived, they made money. it's as simple as that. he promised us the same things he promised the united states. he'll give you the same thing he gave us. nothing. he'll take it all. >> today the romney campaign fought back with an ad featuring unemployed workers in iowa. >> i've been looking for a job for two years, haven't found any. my unemployment benefits did run out.
and we're just trying to get by. >> an endorsement news today, after giving a speech for the george w. bush presidential center, former president george w. bush said as elevator doors closed on him, quote, i'm for mitt romney. according to abc news. today on "the view," president obama tried to link mitt romney to the policies of george w. bush. >> i think he's been very successful and we should applaud success in this country. but he has a different vision about how to move the country forward. his theory is that if you slash taxes even further, if you leave business, banks, whoever, to do whatever it is that they want, then everything will be okay. >> but that didn't work last time. why do they think it's going to work this time? >> well, that's my argument. >> just before we leave, who's going to win? >> oh, i'm going to win.
>> joining us now, msnbc political analyst ejay dionne. it's turning into the week of bain. some thought it may be more of the week of same-sex marriage but the obama campaign is pushing bain and it seems like the romney campaign knows that they have to fight back. >> i think both campaigns are anxious to know that they are the ones talking about the economy and talking about the issues that people really talk about and the republicans, newt gingrich and rick perry in particular for warming these attacks up for us. frankly, i think the attacks on bain would be a bit riskier if republicans hadn't already gone there. of course, before they even warm to that, ted kennedy back in the senate race against mitt romney, he was the first one to use attacks on mitt's time at bain
to a great effect, i might add. >> now newspapers are picking it up. of course, you read the tampa bay times every day and las vegas sun but not everyone in the audience does. i'm going to do a long read here of what's actually in the tampa bay times story. it says, dade behring received millions in tax breaks before it laid off and received millions of dollars in tax breaks for creating jobs in puerto rico shortly before closing its facility facilities costing nearly 300 jobs. i'll read the nevada story later but there you are, bain making money, the company closing facilities and bain getting
subdid sees from the government. >> right. and i think actually the subsidies from the government are going to be particularly harmful since the republicans are supposed to be against those kinds of subsidies. but what you're seeing here is the obama campaign knows that the most effective argument romney can make is just these guys are in power. the economy isn't improving fast enough. vote for us. romney has experience. and one of the best political slogans ever was in 1946 campaign that you and i covered together where the republicans were running against dissatisfaction with harry truman and the slogan was had enough. richard nixon came into congress that year. the obama people have a more complicated argument to make and they want to argue that, a, as obama was saying on "the view," look, you don't want to go back to the old policies but, b., how can you call this guy an empathetic job creator when a
place like bain destroyed a lot of jobs. this is over what kind of capitalism we want. not just democrats. the republicans opened this up for obama in the primaries. a lot of people in business say that this whole style of piling debt on companies to buy them out had a lot of cause. so i think we actually could have a actual real economics argument here in all of the cross fire of the advertisements. >> yes. and i actually think e.j. is exactly right. this is more core than that. this is about the argument that's been made about, you know, guys, we're going to lower taxes on the rich, the pie is going to be bigger and then serve going to share in that pie. they made the low taxes. they did make the pie bigger but then the people who were in power said, you know what, i don't want to pay for your education anymore. i don't want to pay for your unemployment. i don't want to keep up the social safety network that we've had for years.
so that's the dynamic that's played out and mitt romney's time at bain capital and the economic model that he started there has really been at the center of what's going on economically in the country. i agree with e.j. i don't think it's some side issue or i don't think it has to be some side issue. i think it's central to the economic argument that we should be having about what kind of capital capitalism that we will have. >> let's listen to how they tried to use bill clinton against obama. >> bill clinton that the air of obama was over. [ applause ]
it's enough to make you wonder maybe it was a personal beef with the clintons but probably that -- it runs much deeper than that. >> e.j., that's just weird. he is trying to get in there on a personal beef with the clintons like no republican would ever have a personal beef with the clintons. >> right. they only tried to impeach him and, you know, it doesn't count that he made hillary and taxes were a whole lot higher under bill clinton or quite a bit higher. so maybe mitt romney has a secret plan to restore the rights despite what he says here. i think any time romney says that he wants -- bill clinton had government right size, he's going to be asked you must support a 39.5% tax rate on upper income people. >> the thing that i particularly love about this is remember back when we were in primary mode,
mitt romney, and he was having to defend the fact that he voted in the democratic primary in 1992 and his justification was that he voted against bill clinton because he was, quote, the worst leader in my view. now suddenly that we're in general election mode, mitt romney loves and admires him, et cetera. >> he was against became clinton before he was for him? >> for him. >> president obama who has become a regular guest on "the view" he was on there today and elisabeth asked him to give himself a grade. >> i won't give us a letter grade. we've still got work to do. what i can tell you is that because of the steps we took, the economy is much stronger than it was when i came into office. >> krystal? >> i think that's right. you have to say we've made progress and we've still got
work to do. i mean, that has to be the argument and has the advantage of being number one, true, and number two, the way that most americans feel about where the country is and where it's headed. >> e.j., is that going to work, the incomplete? >> there was no way he should ever answer that question. >> right. >> because if he had said an a, he would have sounded arrogant and people would have said what about the unemployment rate. if he said b, romney would have said, why do you want a b president. so that was a very safe answer to them. >> krystal and e.j., you won't be asked to grade this show. >> it's incomplete. there's still more to come. >> i'd be happy with that. thank you for joining me. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, bill clinton attacks a tea party candidate
for senate who thinks compromise is a dirty world. charles m. blow will join me on that one snoochlt and mitt romney couldn't stay in one position for too long. he's already changed his position on gay adoptions. and when mitt romney smiles, the whole world does not smile with him. mitt romney desperately needs acting lessons. and mr. james lipton. yes, that james lipton will join me with his acting advice on how mitt romney can appear, just appear at least, to be human. james lipton is going to take presidential presidential candidates inside the actor's studio in the last word exclusive.
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>> that was mitt romney on fox news saying gay adoption is just fine. here's mitt romney getting pushed back and taking a step back the next day. >> well, actually, i think all states allow gay adoption and that's a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures and including the one in my state some time ago. so i simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal and in all states but one. >> romney now just acknowledges that gay adoption is legal in some places but saying that it's legal in all but one state is legal. most states allow only single gay and lesbian to adopt. massachusetts, romney's home state state, is one of 18 states joining me now is zack walls, marriage equality supporter and
the author of "my two moms" about his family and message for marriage equality. zack, what we brilliantly edited out is that he was pushed back by the questionnaire saying that's a pretty liberal position that you took on gay adoption. it seemed -- when he was saying it, it felt like, you know, this was coming, that some question like that was going to call that liberal and of course he was going to step back. >> for sure. it's a question that you have to ask. you know, he's stated repeatedly that he was opposed to same-sex marriage and civil unions but he's left the possibilities of being for other rights. the question comes down to what does that mean? there isn't a good question answer to give without people being more equal than others and having more rights than others.
it's a hard line to draw because there's not a good place to draw it. >> let's listen to president obama on "the view" and they do the same amount of homework. >> you and mitt romney agreed personally on the definition of gay marriage. now that you have a definition of it practically speaking, how will you move things forward any more than mitt romney in terms of leaving it to the states? because at this point you both said we'll leave it to the states to decide. will that be your plan? >> that is not true. mitt romney says he wants a constitutional amendment. that federalizes the whole issue. that's a major difference. >> i don't know. the republican positioning on this has been really interesting to watch.
in some ways it's been heartening to someone as a supporter of equality to say that the republicans have had so much trouble finding out what their right position s we've seen a decline in the language that people used four years ago and we're seeing someone like mitt romney who clearly doesn't have a personal conviction and i'm trying to figure out what the right thing to say is and they have not yet figured it out. >> zack, are you surprised that b that slight moderation of republican reaction? >> not at all. it's totally in line with what we saw. a polling memo encouraging the party to embrace a more moderate issue. this is a straightforward issue in terms of what the future looks like in this country. 70% of all american college students support the freedom to marry. that number is only going to increase with time. >> secretary cook said to be
sure political parties are not supposed to be changing lanes whenever the wind changes direction. they need to think about it long and hard. they need to decide if it's really worth it and consider the times might have changed. >> that's a really interesting way to put it. it's almost a little disappointing to think of it in terms of what the political party might want because this is a personal conviction. it's something that people come to on their own and that's what makes it ring so false, when people like mitt romney seem to not have a position on it at all. i think this is an evolution, as it were, that is unavoidable. the republicans risk being on the wrong side of history. they will look more and more like bigots, the longer that they hue to this opinion or set of opinions. i agree with zack. kids these days have no problem with it.
we're seeing an evolution that is inevitable as we grow as a country. >> and there has been some really ugly comment, paul cameron of the family research institute was on a christian radio show and i am not going to play what he said. it's disgusting stuff. what is interesting is he doesn't seem to be getting a lot of air time outside of that narrow little band of christian radio. >> there is a minority and they feel like they are being pushed into the corner. it's important to be respectful of their beliefs to make sure that they are not alienating them for which is a personal conviction. however, this is certainly a time in which they are seeing a lot of evolution and we are going to see, you know, continue to move -- you know, like the drumbeat of history towards more freedom, more liberty, and less discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
>> thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. >> thank you. coming up, bill clinton tries to teach a tea party candidate about hard governing. good luck with that. and mitt romney tries. he really does. he tries to be human but he's just not enough of an actor to pull it off. james lipton will take mitt romney inside the actor's studio and teach him a thing or two about how to act human. that's coming up. [ female announcer ] removing facial hair can be irritating.
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bill clinton tries to teach the founding party and charles m. blow will join me in the tea party versus the tea party versus the world. and highest authority on acting, james lip ton is here, as you may have noticed. he's going to take us inside where they will try to teach mitt romney how to act human. a last word exclusive, james lipton takes us to acting class. he may take you to acting class with him. i have a few things to learn, coming up. ♪
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in indiana. today, bill clinton challenged murdoch's message. >> the gentleman that just defeated senator luger said that i found disturbing. he said, i am totally against any compromise, our world views are irreconcilable, and we just have to keep fighting until somebody wins it all. and if that were the view, there never would have been a constitution, there never would have been a bill of rights, the capital never would have moved to washington, d.c., the federal government would not have assumed the colonies of the revolutionary war and nothing of this would have happened. >> joining me now is charles, and he was certainly speaking the washington conventional wisdom on compromise. >> absolutely. he makes an interesting point which is compromise is the foundation of the country. it boils my blood to hear the tea party to say we want people
to go to never compromise. you wouldn't have had a constitution were it not for compromise. this idea that you can go and wait and wait and wait and wait it out and wait until congress' approval rating goes to nothing and that is when we will do something about t. we'll wait until we have all republican government in the white house, in the control of the senate and the house before we can actually move forward on something is outrageous and i don't think the american people appreciate how dangerous a situation that we are in as a country because we can no longer operate as a functioning government. >> we have a chart, which we might be able to get up on the big board, of what happened in the government. you can see that we started off with a very rare thing in the senate and now it's an every day
activity. it's become what they call the 60-vote rule and you have to get 60 votes to do everything and harry reid who used to tactically use it when they were in the minority says big mistake, we have to reform this. we can't keep going like this. >> well, there's a total inability to govern right now and so you have to -- what bill clinton is expressing is the frustration that people are sending people to washington just to pontiff if i indicate or to get something done. you see this great pair ro docks and the approval level of congress is, what, 6, 7%? they are not happy that it's gridlock but that -- by the way, mr. murdoch is the not the first person who said i didn't come here to compromise. >> what did you say to the liberal history of taking no compromise positions in certain areas, certain segregation and others? we can all think of something,
even today, that you would not compromise on. i would not compromise on. lewis has stuff that she would not compromise on. how does that fit into the discussion of gridlock? >> first of all, i think we have to back up and say that this is not an even thing. it's not equal on both sides. we get that mixed up. >> the republicans in this senate, they have sent it through the roof like we've never seen. >> exactly. and that said, in poll after poll when you asked democrats if they want their congress people to compromise, they say yes. poll after poll when you ask republicans if they want their people to compromise or stand by their people, they always say, stand on principle, do not compromise. this is not like everybody is meeting at the 50-yard line and flipping a coin. no, we're moving further and
further to the right because that's the only way that things can get done. democrats say we want our people to compromise and we don't want you to move one inch and if you do, we will primary you out. that is a problem because there is no -- this idea that the moderates used to be the center, that's changed. the center is so far to the right. now the only way you can actually get a compromise is to go meet them on their half of the field. that is a problem. >> lois, the stuff thought of compromise for president obama with the republicans in the congress, include things that ronald reagan, that bob dole that would never have done. they would have thought, that's wild right wing stuff. what would be the democrat compromise position would be considered wild right wing stuff a short time ago. >> oh, absolutely. you look at bill clinton and here was a guy who actually worked with newt gingrich to get
the welfare reform act moved forward and now you have 15 tea party members who refuse to vote to lift the debt ceiling and voters, i'm not sure they really understood that it was the republicans that were going to stop their checks and their benefits. they thought, well, they are standing firm but they weren't quite understanding what was happening. >> charles, for example, at least both sides were using the same rhetoric. clinton ran for president saying i'm going to run for welfare and republicans said, okay, let's do that. and then from a shared rhetoric they found an actual proposal to end up on, which is highly controversial in which clinton was opposed to several versions and eventually democrats stood up for that and there's no even
shared beginning point. >> not only is there no beginning point, we've gotten to the point of that we are basically turned our backs on each other. instead of sitting across the table and looking at you in the face, you're being looking at the wall and i'm looking at the wall and you say, i am not moving. we can no longer get anything done. if you are a leader and you're sent to washington to govern, government's only role is to govern. sometimes you have to say even though this is something that i would want, it may not be the time in history. can i not have what i want. it may not be moving in that direction but in order ta make something happen -- >> lawrence, you know that kennedy was a master at that. he was a raging liberal. but yet he knew that he had to give a little to get a little. so he would go to the strom
thurman and once there was a bill that nixon co-sponsored. >> those gold posts have been moved. >> charles m. blow and lois ramano, thank you very much. mitt romney's laugh sounds fake. everything about mitt romney can seem fake and he thinks mitt romney's not making the right choices. not policy choices, acting choices, in a last word exclusive, teaches mitt romney how to act human.
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to do it. he just needs to be a better actor and that's where this guy comes in and he's inside the actor's studio and mitt romney pays attention. he will never be the same. that's next. kiwi. soy milk. impulse buy. gift horse. king crab. rhubarb pie. lettuce shower. made by bees. toucan sam. that's not cheese. grass fed. curry. gingersnaps. soup can tower. 5% cash back. right now, get 5% cash back at grocery stores. it pays to discover.
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common man and when he assumes his role in a crowd, this tells us that this guy doesn't fly coach, much less go greyhound where he wouldn't be spending much time with these people who do. a new york magazine article written by james lipton, the real star of inside the actor's studio where he respectfully and thoughtfully interviews actors on their craft, some of whom make the mistake of thinking we want to hear what they have to say as much as we want to hear what james lipton has to say. television's wisest analyst of the art of acting offered mitt romney some advice on how to rewrite his image from robot to human.
>> hello, governor romney. my name is james lipton. you know that we deal with the craft of acting. since politics and performance have become pretty much fused, and since you've been criticized by some for not coming across as authentic to your public, maybe we can sort of work on that today. let's start with your laugh. >> you know, i live for laughter. [ laughter ] it isn't working. it's inert. it just doesn't come across as genuine. worst of all, it's merciless. why you expect us to be amused, you're not the least bit amused yourself. i advice people watching to you freeze the frame and then put your hands over the lower part of your mouth and look at your eyes, there's no pleasure there.
constanteen, one of his central principles for actors was relaxation. >> i'm speaking. i'm speaking. >> i remember once in rehearsal a director trying much, much too hard, relax, you've got the job. well now it appears that you're going to get the republican nomination, i would propose to you just to relax. >> you appear to be having the most trouble this portrait of yourself as a common man. sir, i don't think you are a common man. ronald reagan was also not a common man. what he was an authentic card carrying, sag card carrying actor. he was comfortable in his own skin and comfortable with what he did.
don't try to go with what you've got. stick with the type casting. go with what you've got and who you are. it's not your best option. i think it's your only option. you know at the end of each session i asked for a question of a hero of mine, the questions are kind of a raw shock test and since we're talking about authenticity, maybe it will be useful to answer them and really reveal yourself, the real -- the real mitt romney. sir, what is your favorite word? >> delighted. >> least favorite word? >> what turns you on? >> i like being able to fire people that provide services to me. >> what turns you off? >> the plight of the poor. >> what sounds do you love? what sound of noise do you hate?
>> obama. obama. obama. >> what is your favorite curse word? >> what profession other than your own would you like to attend? >> a 1970 game show host. >> what would you not like to attempt under any circumstance? >> press secretary. >> finally, sir, if heaven exists, which i'm sure you're confident it does, what would you like your god to say when you arrive at the pearly gates? >> what's up gangsters? it's the mi double tizzle. >> the man himself is up next. james lipton is here. he's going to analyze president obama's performance, my performance. stay with us. you'll want to stay with us.
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you are a modern master. already a huge success on broadway. you easily cross over into film. in 1984 you portrayed dawn in canon ball run 2. the performance so i can barely move. >> that was will ferrell playing a role of a lifetime, playing the role of james lipton. joining me now, of course, the real james lipton creator and
host of bravo's "inside the actor's studio." 14 emmy nominations for the show, a record in television. will ferrell, it's an honor, right? it's an honor. >> yes, it's an honor. want to know what i think of his performance? >> yes. let's start right there. >> the son of a bitch is great. just great. >> he takes your advice. he relaxes. >> oh, he's so relaxed he's virtually comatose, which is when he first resembled me. >> now, you've taught us and on the "new york times" magazine website you've taught us about what mitt romney is doing wrong. i want to look at a clip of president obama because you talk about, you know, trying to appear natural and appear and let's take a look at him on "the view" today.
>> which kardashian was only married for 672 days? >> that would be kim. >> very good. okay. >> because it was a ball player. that's how i know from watching basketball. >> this one you may not know. i'm hoping thaw don't, as a matter of fact. >> get ready. >> what's the controversial sex book that's on millions of women's bedside tables? he doesn't know. >> i don't know that. >> okay. next. >> but i'll ask michelle when i get home. >> seems very relaxed. seems comfortable in his skin. and he any tips on how he should have handled that? >> i think he handled it just fine. but i recall at the white house correspondence dinner, one year ago, president obama killed the crowd in a language both you and i understand while he was
simultaneously killing osama bin laden. that is -- as we say in english, cool. i don't -- i can't think of anything cooler. >> my audience gets all the french. >> romney speaks french, i'll speak french. >> yeah, exactly. >> there's been this campaign by presidential candidates to find these venues like "the view" as a way to come across, sometimes to come across to the kids. there was bill clinton on ars seen ohio hall playing the sacks sew phone. he then went on to mtv and took a question, which we are going to hear. we took a question about his underwear. let's listen to that. >> mr. president, the world is dying to know is the boxers or briefs?
>> usually briefs. >> he hadn't yet learned to answer every get no punt intended. >> no. no. no. that was an intended punt. i can tell. you talk about relaxes and i want to show you a clip of george w. bush and i'm wondering if there's such a thing as relaxing too much. he's talking about osama bin laden and trying to get osama bin laden. i think he may be a little too relacked. re relaxed. >> i don't know where he is. i don't spend that much time on him. i don't know where he is. i repeat what i said. i truly am not that concerned about him. >> a very honest acting moment. i don't know where he is.
he couldn't have been more honest about it. >> exactly. now, that is not acting. that is absolutely real. it is a soul revealed and it makes me want to weep. >> because the guy's job was actually the opposite, the guy's job was actually to worry about this? >> well, i think he had given up on something that he shouldn't have given up on and if you notice in the middle of it, what does he do? he chuckles. >> yeah. >> it ain't funny. not to me. and it makes me -- watching that makes me very sad. >> well, let's try to change the tone a little bit here. we're going to go to vice president joe biden where he talks about meet the press talking about same-sex marriage. >> i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual -- they are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights and civil liberties and frankly i
don't see much of a distinction beyond that. >> now, there the actor tries to remove all subtext by telling you his subtext of saying, i am absolutely comfortable. but then does he go on to successfully play being comfortable with that? >> i think in this case he was comfortable, which means he wasn't acting. he was speaking from the heart. but my favorite way of expressing this came from a comedian and what he said was, i thought summed it up perfectly. look, if you're opposed to same-sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex. >> that would do it. >> yeah. >> doesn't that sort of m it up? and for me is more or less solves the problem. >> now, your basic message of relax, it's a very hard thing to learn in my big network television acting debut -- which all of us remember, someone had
to play in a flashback. >> were you one of the pro us doers in the show? >> i was. i had to play martin sheen's father back when he was in high school. >> did you work cheap? >> i worked very cheap. and a great emmy winning director of the show after i did a couple of rehearsals and a couple of takes, he walked up to me and he was trying to pretend that he wasn't nervous at all having this amateur carry this load in the show. and he just kind of was looking around, pretending that he was concerned with lighting and leaned into me and just said, do nothing. and then he walked away. and that really is the key. is do nothing. >> plus, plus one thing. listen. and respond. >> which it's not an obvious thing to do. >> it takes a skillful person with a lot of innate talent
years to how to do correctly. >> james lipton, we've learned a lot. we can only hope or maybe we don't hope that mitt romney has learned a lot. bain, bain, go away, come again some other day. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. in washington leading off tonight, mitt's got a name for his pain -- bain.