tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 22, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
the obama campaign. nailing mitt romney for his quarter billion money making at bain. he killed jobs so he and his friends could get rich. booker knew it and blew it. he trashed the entire obama summer campaign. bragging that he fired lots of people like romney fired lots of people. now that tape will be the go-to bomb shell that blows apart the campaign. eugene robinson and howard are joining me now. why did this happen? eugene, that's my question to you. how did it happen, and what you do you make of the mega tonnage? >> my guess corey booker wanted to walk a line that didn't
exist. he didn't want to be ooechbl to the financial services industry, he is from newark, and democrats and republicans tend to be friendlier to financial services than democrats elsewhere. to say the least awkward and more than that, he committed an act of sabotage going against the summer line of the campaign. >> he has given the romney campaign what it has been dieing to get. an articulate spokesman against obama. he finds the obama campaign against romney to be nauseating, your thoughts? >> yeah, i have been doing more research since the last time we talked about this a couple hours ago, and i'm shaking my head more fig resourcely than last time.
it's amazing and very damaging, and talking to the romney people over the last hour to say they're delighted is an under statement. the rnc signed a petition to support corey booker, trying to raise money off of it. more than that, the fact that corey booker, a smart guy, identified himself as a surrogate, and then went on to say all of what he said -- number one, he said that bain overall had been doing a great job for the american economy. >> yeah. >> he said you should support private equity. he said he made a morrill equivalence between the theoretical ads on one said and attacks on bain capital on the other. and he said this part of the campaign that the president was pursuing, was showing that he was not a change agent. that is was nauseating politics
as usual which is as damaging as anything else. why did he do it? eugene mentioned part of it. also big donors helping his campaign to help turn newark around. and he would like to stay close with wall street. you have to say at least initially, while he was trying to make a point about the nature of picks today, seemed to be more worried about his own stance and image than he was about the president. >> it reminds me of when asked for examples of where any
objection had an opportunity to answer a tough question, and he said give me a few weeks and i'll let you know. >> this is not a distraction. this is what this campaign is going to be about. what is a strategy for us to move this country forward in a way that everybody can succeed. i have to think about the workers in that video just as much as i'm thinking about folk who's have been much more successful. >> let's start looking at the damage done. here is his first shot attacking the main theme of the campaign. the job destroying at bain capital. >> i will not sit here and indict private equity. this, to me, i'm very uncomfortable.
this kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides, nauseating to the american public, enough is enough. >> and mayor booker said he himself is a surrogate for the obama campaign. speaking for them and crashing their campaign. >> i talk to the white house quite often, i'm a surrogate. the sexy stuff played over and over is this negative stuff. and i listen to obama and i have surrogate notes here. >> by the way, here he is, i fire people too just like romney does. >> this is not about what happened to bain capital. i reduced the employees in my city 25%. it was the only way we would survive. call me a job cutter if you want. >> eugene, i heard you, i have been doing this for 24 hours. every point he went surgically
and took out the obama argument. >> yeah, if i were in the obama campaign, i would have out my list of surrogates. the list of people that get surrogate notes. and i would be calling them saying do you agree with the central point of the campaign. will you support it or trash it? but if i were that obama campaign person, and i wanted to tell myself a story that reassured myself and others, what i would say is this. i would say, as long as the conversation, there was a big thing and whatever, but as long as the conversation is about bain and his suitability as president, that's not bad. >> let's watch the next couple weeks and months as the romney campaign does full exploitation. here is the attempt, you got a
phone call, from the white house and the campaign telling mayor booker it wasn't the message they wanted out. here he is trying to walk it back in a four minute web video he put out later on in the afternoon. someone from the obama campaign tweeted out a 30 second verse of it. >> let me be clear. mitt romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. talked about himself as a job creator. therefore, it is reasonable, and in fact i encourage the obama campaign to examine that record. in fact, i believe that mitt romney in many way social security not being completely hon west his role and record even as a business person. >> and then hadding insult to injury, to double down, harold forld criticized booker for trying to walk it back.
he says he was right the first time. let's listen to him now agreeing that obama has it wrong. here is harold ford. >> i would not have backed off the comments of mayor booker. the substance of the comments i agree with. private equity is a good thing in many, many instances. >> not knocking harold ford, but he does work for morgan stanley here. back to you, howard. there is so much marriage, you and i know it through friendships and associations, between people with the ivy league schools and met of guys and went that went into the equity business and made a lot of money, and don't like being in the target zone on equity. why would they go on television and take down, not just play defense, but play offense against the president?
>> i think you have on display here, not only personal ambition, and there are a lot of people who thought cory booker would be president before they heard of barack obama by the way. he was ticketed from the top from the beginning. also as gene says, he is from new york where they rely on those funds, but there is a philosophical difference on display here. going back to bill clinton when he built the leadership council, that's how bill clinton got elected. barack obama started that direction in 2008 in a way, but he was always a different cat. here what barack obama was saying, i thought was rather fierce defense of his strategy, was look. i have to find a fundamental battle over the question of how the economy works because i have to discredit the guy i'm running against.
it was fine for bill clinton back in the day, i can't do it this way because i'm in the battle for the soul of the heard of the country, and i will not let mitt romney get away with a shorthand summary of what bain capital does. if you don't like to corey booker, too bad. >> i think he also -- >> i was going to say the risks for him doing that, because if he doesn't do it correctly, he could be a guy against business and doesn't understand profit, he has to do it carefully. but this is the beginning of a very long discussion which corey booker complicated at the kick off. >> he made the point that there's a big difference between making money and equity, and being president of the united states and making better welfare
for people in the country including jobs lost as somebody is making money off of them. he said don't brag that you're the perfect guy for the job. >> and you can't say, if you're president, that you believe in the joseph shumputer idea of the creative destruction of capitalism because that leaves bodies laying all over the terrain, you need a different vision. if he's going to say that, we're about to have, maybe, let's hope, a deep and important conversation about how the world really works. i think that's good. >> let's look now at the romney campaign ad that's been produced overnight in the fast paced war room. here it is exemploymenting mayor corey bookers comments. i have been talking about it and amazed by it. >> have you had enough on president obama's attacked on free enterprise?
his own colleagues do. >> i have to say from a personal level, i'm not about to sit here and diet private equity. >> harold ford jr. from tennessee. >> private equity is not a bad thing, it's a good thing in many, many instances. >> the last thought before we take a break, it looks to me that as nuanced as you have been understanding problems in the democratic party and the pobs of fundraising. here you have the republicans understanding it in high concept. they have music, personality there, and they're going to town with this. >> if they think it's working for them, they will do this all the way through to november. these are precious sound bites gifted from booker and harold.
>> we're going to hear it, booker has laid down the counter attack line that romney is going to use throughout this came pain. barack obama's strategy is to deny mitt romney as a fixer -- >> is he on the short list for vp? i think he earned a spot above rubio. >> he laid out the romney defense strategy and doing it as an urban mayor where private equity has been important. it's a very interesting moment in american politics, it really is. >> i think the brainiacs for romney want to look at this thank you for being on tonight.
a war is coming up. catholic groups are going to sue obama's people over having employers cover birth control at catholic institutions. president obama getting us out of afghanistan. and by the way, did mitt romney buckle in the far right in a way his father has refused to. lets me finish tonight with where we began, corey booker. he is supposed to be supporting.
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how did president obama and romney stack up on three of the biggest issues facing the country right now. let's go to the "hardball" score board. according to a new gallup poll, 51% think obama would do better on health care. and finally, on the issue of unemployment, it's just about even, 48% say president obama would do a better job with jobs verses 47% that favor romney. back to "hardball," today
washington. we have the executive director of net, and a political reporter for the washington post. thank you for joining me. i want to go to sister first of all. i thought this was settled, there was a compromise, that many thought was a good compromise. allowing institutions like big hospitals and university that's are catholic to get health insurance that covered contraception automayically because the health insurance companies are mandated to cover it. the school or church would not have to put their signature to it. why doesn't that hold? >> it's my understanding that the deal still continues. it appears that the bishops are nervous is may not be sufficient. it coin sized with a broader initiative which is a whole idea of religious liberty and
freedom. they're claiming that the administration is persecuting catholics and other religions in the united states. if they septembered the accommodation, a marvelous step forward, but if they accepted it, they would lose their position of being oppressed by the administration. >> melinda, let's look at it from a secular point of view. it seems like they were able to live in any society and form of government. they survived urn right win and left wing of the governments. it's a spiritual thing. do what you believe and believe what you do. if laws allow divorce and abortion, that's fine, you don't have to have them. you are who you are and you live in that society.
why can't the church recognize that the government wants health care for all of the people no matter where they look. and they can live with that as long the church doesn't have to say that people don't have birth control. what's wrong with it? >> i think they're saying they can do that and in fact they said repeatedly this is not about contraception. where the bishops have a point, is they feel the definition of a religious institutions that been so narrowing defined in a way never defined before. they say it's so narrowly defined it would only include the pastor and housekeeper. and that's where they do have a small point, and maybe not even a small point. i understand where they're coming from on that. they also feel they have not had high level access to the white house. but on the white house side, you can certainly understand given
the history there has been a lot of miscommunication i think. but the larger thing as sister said -- i'm sorry. >> i want to read to you what president of notre dame said, if if we concede that the government can suicide which religious are sufficiently religious to have the aprils to proceed the mission, we walk down a path determines those institutions -- if the government, according to father jenkins, is able to say that georgetown law, or having religious classes -- this is where it gets complicated. who should decide this? father jenkins maybe appropriately for his role says
it should not be the government. but if the religious institutions decide it they will include everything they own, every university, every hospital, every college and charity organization, and a lot of non-catholic people will be denied what they consider appropriate to their medical needs, a contraception. >> i think you raise a really important point. this is complex, but what i think father jenkins is missing is that notre dame and other universities headed down this road. they accepted federal funds. they cannot be used to establish a religion. that's our first amendment right. once you accept federal funds you say you're doing a secular service. so who makes the call when it's secular or religion, do you expect federal funds? i think if he said we will not accept any more federal funding and we'll be a dependent religious group --
>> you're playing hardball here, sister. that's the problem. you're just going if you're in for a dime you're in for a dollar you're saying. a dime from the federal government, they're not a religious institution. pennsylvania used to provide school buss for the catholic schools. it didn't make them less catholic. >> my point is what i'm trying to say, is that in this very pluralistic society, there is one they came out with. the president had conversation with cardinal dolan own other high-level leaders about this acome dmags advance to the release to the public. so the administration has been
in conversation and provided an alternative way forward, and this cplexity is his own creation. >> we have to go right now, but i tell you i see a lot of history here. i think where you stand is where you sit. a lot of priests are fighting what they believe is a good cause here. this is an interesting fight. thank you so much. up next, a flash back to the kennedy era, you won't believe this. it looks like a lot of what president obama is facing now from the tea party crowd was crafted to use against jack kennedy about 50 years ago. [ groans ]
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a new report shows that gesturing with your hands while talking is an innate trait among humans whispered a campaign aide to mitt romney. back to "hardball," this is the side show. we found out a proromney pac was firing up the attack against obama using jeremiah wright again. guess who says team obama's ads about bain capital make reverend wright fair? >> i would let them go out it.
>> the clown show continues, isn't trump still pushing the birther stuff. and here is a throw back, or is it? they recently got their hands on a anti-jfk coloring book. i'm very proud of my harvard advisors. notice the eggheads and the building blocks. and this anti-medicare page. he says of course he is your patient, but as long as we're paying the bill, we have the right to give you a little advice. you have a proponent of big government keeping tabs on big business. there is kennedy's secretary of health, education, and welfare.
it's the same old propaganda, i would say just with different names. finally, speaker ofs house john boehner is comparing his caucus to a lot of annoying an fibians. here is how john boehner took on the perception that he can't control his own party. >> i have never been shy about leading, but leaders new followers. we have 89 new members. a desperate caucus. it's hard to keep 218 frogs in the wheelborrow. >> i don't think that will do much to get you reelected speaker.
back to "hardball," is getting out of afghanistan a political winner for the president? the president and his campaign are hoping so. he addressed troop withdrawal in that press conference. >> we're now unified behind a plan to wind down the war in afganistan. a plan that trains afghanistan security forces, transitions, and builds a partnership that can endure after our combat mission in afghanistan ends. we have transitioned, and that enabled our troops to start coming home. indeed we're in the process of drawing down 33,000 troops by the end of this summer. we agreed that afghan forces will take the lead next year in mid-2013. at that time, isap forces will
have shifted from combat to a support role in all parts of the country. >> well, with us right now is retired captain and msnbc contributor wes moore. thank you for joining us. i get a great message that there is an interesting development here. with the surge over there with a short string on it, and now he is even sizing the short string. where do you see him going on policy right now? >> i think the policy that we're seeing is that he understands that whether or not we have -- you know we could have 500,000 troops in afganistan. afganistan at it's best is a nonkenetic operation.
we want a form of presence, but not 90,000 troops on the ground. the big thing right now will not be solved by u.s. boots on the ground. it will be solved with the reconciliation in the afghan government and countries. i think that's what they're trying to stress and take away from the deliberations. >> what is the military role if it's not to make the military unite. >> i think it's to help train the afghan forces. it's to make sure we have intelligence collection capabilities within the area, and we can support the area with special operations. it's not to reunite the government or to rebuild the country. you know, that would not only be mission creep, but overly ambition when we think about the history, current culture and status of afganistan. i think the president is part to stay we accomplished militarily
what we can accomplish in afghanistan. what happens now on is dependent on the government to help determine the government that will be in place for them. >> my way of looking at it as an american is saying if we stayed three years what could we get done and it would be worth it. do you sense the president has done that and decided that we could stay there x more years without any improvement? >> when we heard the president and senior officials talk about this in the past, they left themselves wiggle room. i think the language this weekend was really unequivocal. and surprisingly so. this is a guy who is allergic to the mission accomplished formulation. and he said after 2014, the afghan war as we know it will be over. >> irreversible position.
>> yeah, when we got down to it and talked to senior administration officials, they said there is no ifs, ands, or buts. >> let's look at the president making his case here about how he reached this decision. it's more like we have done what we could and we're getting out. >> i don't think there is ever going to be an optimal point where we say this is done, perfect, the way we wanted it, and now we can, you know, wrap up all of our equipment and go home. this is a process, and it's a messy process. just as it was in iraq. but think about it. we have been there ten years. we're committing to a transition
process that takes place next year, but the full transition to afghan responsibility is almost two years away. and, the afghan security forces themselves will not ever be prepared if they don't start taking that responsibility. and frankly, the large footprint that we have in afghanistan, over time, can be counterproductive. >> i've been thinking about this, politically, will there be a sense of exhilaration or even completion? like we're seeing with the end of the war with iraq that is behind us now? >> i have to tell you, this is, to me, one of the most interesting things of all.
i remember being in the city in the weeks after that, and the passion that people had about going into afghanistan, getting bin laden, and taking out the taliban. if you look at the polling here -- >> but we have, in this case we this chin. >> right, and i think this would not have been possible if he had not gotten bin laden. and i think the numbers are not necessarily the approval and disapproval on the war, but general disinterest. there just doesn't seem to be appetite for people to pay attention this. >> the only thing i would add, is i don't think we're leaving with a vietnam manualty. we plushed what we can militarily.
we'll have a political future in afghanistan determined in the afghan government and the people. what happens between the taliban and neighboring countries, that's not something adding on 15 more brigades could fix. >> i'm with you. this is not a colony. thank you again. up next, did mitt romney decide to buckle to the far right? his father, everything with the politics of his father, he never buckled to the far right in '68. it's time to get going.
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i fought against long adds in a deep blue state, but i was a severely conservative republican governor. wow, severely conservative governor. that was mitt romney at the cpac convention in february making his way to a conservative base. in 1968 when mitt romney's father, george, ran for president, he faced a strong right republican party out there but conducted his campaign in a very different way. that's the subject in a new york magazine article. coauthor of "the real romney" i have to ask you about this question. we all remember george romney, people of my generation, as people of a moderate republican
that stood against the far right. it seems like mitt buckles all the time to them. he won't raise taxes at all. he will buckle to nordqvist on that. playing ball with liberty university and playing ball with a crazy right on every front. every once does he have a sister soldier moment and say enough guys. >> in 1994 he was a liberal to moderate republican. there was a time he was following his father's model and running as a liberal to moderate. when he ran in 2002, he described himself as a moderate. now running as president he describes himself as severely conservative. they were surprised and started looking at the text.
it wasn't what they were expected to hear him say. it came as a time he was trying to position himself toward the middle for the general. >> it's almost like something you say when someone is torturing. it's like okay, i'm severely conservative. you got me. great piece benjamin. it's one of those pieces somebody else could have written. give us what you've got in terms of the best factual look at how mitt differs from george. >> one of the things that was astonishing to me to find out in reporting the piece is how much content george romney's moderate politics had. his politics were not just the pragmatism. they were not the negotiation between left and right or a convenient audience. believed in something. there's a strength that carried
him through the mid-1960s. if you look at mitt in comparison, what you see is that kind of pragmatic calculating nature. >> benjamin, can you give me an example of something tangible that invoked george romney's philosophy. >> throughout the mid-1960s, after the '64 convention, he had this fight with barry goldwater over the direction of the republican party. he demanded again and again in letters that goldwater denounce the extremists who were his most fervent supporters. romney did this knowing that was the direction the republican party was going. i think there's something there's that's hard to imagine mitt romney doing. >> mike, you've covered this guy, does romney have a core
from which he will not depart? >> mitt romney did not enter politics with a core belief like some conservatives. george romney said i'm neither a democrat or a republican. he talked with his family and said what should i be. they said republican. when mitt was running in 1994 he was a independent and became a republican. i think he draws from all of those thing, liberal, moderate, republican and as he says severely conservative. would he be the pragmatic moderate as governor of massachusetts with a democratic legislature or much more conservative in the way he's run as in the primaries which might be the case if he has a heavily republican legislature. >> what do you think he decided first? he wanted to be president or his political philosophy?
>> it's hard to come up with a conclusion other than he decided he want to get ahead and be president. this is a man who has been very good at working kind of both sides of that negotiation. he's very effective governor of massachusetts. >> okay. got to go. thank you. come back again. great piece in new york magazine. making a lot of noise. great work. let me finish with where we began tonight, that obama surrogate trashing the campaign he's supposed to be standing.
let me finish tonight where i began. where ever you say about joe biden getting ahead on his skis, at least he was saying what the president believes. the latest meet the press is in a league altogether. who recruited him to be a surrogate for the obama campaign. who put a guy out there that disagrees with the obama campaign to speak for the obama campaign. who is nutty enough to ask an eloquent of bain capital focused on attacking bain capital.
i don't want to let booker himself off. he knew what he was doing. by defending bain he was going at war with the obama campaign. he was saying what they were saying was wrong, dead wrong and they should stop saying it. he was staying the main message of the obama cal pain was wrong. he was saying stop doing, put it in a deep hole and throw some dirt over it. wow. explain to me how a grown man would think he was doing anything else? obama's got a good chance of getting reelected. a couple more sundays like yesterday and he won't. you won't win elections when the main theme of your election is being dumped on by people think is your honor side. wait a minute, he's on obama's side. he's an official surrogate. he said so on television. someone chose him by the obama people to get out their message and speak for the president's re-election. why is he attacking the
campaign? why is he called a surrogate when he just walked away from the most effective bit of campaign sabotage of the campaign season to date? if he didn't mean to do it, then he isn't paying attention. if he isn't paying attention, he just did mitt romney the biggest favor of the campaign. if he isn't paying attention, it's time for someone at the election campaign to do just that. before certifying the next surrogate, check on where they stand because bain remains no matter what cory booker says, the main of romney's pain. "the ed show" starts right now. good evening. welcome to "the ed show" from new york. corey booker says president obama's attacks on private equity make him sick. let's get to work. >> this kind of stuff is