tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 14, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
the gop's leer in the state has come out and said point-blank that this state is in the bag for romney because of voter id. they are not trying to fix the voting process. they're trying to fix the race. and that's just simply should not be. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. tonight, president obama leads for the search of killers for justice for the murder of four americans in the line of duty. mitt romney, meanwhile, continues his desperate attempt to justify his effort to exploit chris stevens and the others.
for the critics of romney's supporters, what made him do it? the hawkish urge to address the neocon handlers or could it be both? president obama benefits from the national security and foreign policy advisers, many of them career professionals. his rival is surrounded by campaign hot shots imagine trying to repeat or to reap on the spot joining us is nia-malika henderson. let's listen to the president. >> what i want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow americans to justice.
i want people around the world to hear me, to all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. it will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. no act of violence shakes the resolve of the united states of america. >> and the president is on the case and sent two u.s. warships to the libyan coast and marines into tripoli and the fbi has opened an investigation into the attack that killed those four americans. contrast that with what mitt romney did today, campaigning in virginia. let's listen to him. >> as we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we're at the mercy of events instead of shaping events and a strong america is to shape events and a strong america, by the way, depends on a strong military. this president has done something i find very hard to understand.
ever since fdr, we've had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once and he's saying, no, we're going to cut that back to only one conflict. >> joe klein, thank you. because you have a big picture look of this. what is mitt romney talking about that is relevant to aur our ability to deal with the group of militants in a place like benghazi that go against the embassy or going against the embassy and ambassadors of the embassy itself in care iro, be egypt. >> once again, the guy doesn't know what he's talking about or he's 25 years out of date. it was a product of the cold war when we had to have the ability to fight the russians on the plains of europe at the same time. that cost an awful lot of money. but we're facing a very different sort of threat now, a meta more fis threat. al qaeda, terrorism, and so on.
and so the military has abandoned the two war strategy and, you know, obviously romney wants to go -- see, he still thinks that the soviet union exists and is the greatest threat we have out there. i mean, it's really remarkable that a guy who is as smart as he is is so misinformed. >> nia-malika henderson, could it be a strong intellectual footing in the cold war scenarios, they really do have a more -- i hate to say this, but an intellectual comfort between us and the russians and never really adapted to the situation where no matter how many troops we had in ben benghazi, you can't fire on the crowd and start mowing people down in a host country. you can't do that. and yet he's talking about all we need is higher force levels to deal with these very tricky, ethnic, and religion situations stirred up by some crazies out in california.
>> that's right. is he surrounded by neo cons from the bush administration, people that colin powell call too far to the right. part of mitt romney's foreign policy is he wants to expand the military by 100,000 troops, bring up the level of support to 4% of the gdp and that plays really well in a state like virginia where there is a big military population. i think it goes up against the fact that americans are weary of war at this point. we already experienced a time where we did have two large land wars going on at the same time. he's going up against a different reality in terms of what americans want but has the neo cons that are surrounding him part of the push to war with iraq that americans have since turned against and judged to be a war that was not worth fighting. >> you know, one of the questions is what is going on with romney during the day that this happens.
when we had the situation in libya, simultaneously in cairo, and he puts out a statement attacking what he calls the disgraceful behavior of president obama, who is pushing that and saying release the statement, attack, attack, attack. who is doing that? >> i don't know who is doing it but it seems to be his own impulse and it has been consistently in this campaign on matters not only foreign but also domestic. but it really is unseemly when you have american embassies under assault for a presidential candidate to start playing politics with it. and as you said before, there are people on his foreign policy advisory staff who are neoconservatives who do not reflect the majority of the foreign policy establishment or of the american people. >> any chance of a shake out before we go on here, any chance romney is going to say, i'm
surrounded by idiots, no one is giving me the right advice, i have the wrong impulses? save me? any talk of that. >> i don't think there is any talk of that. but what i have heard is that it's a chaotic situation, somebody who just started there sort of arrived and said things in terms of communication and strategy of the place that maybe it does need a shakeup. i think the problem with that would be what sort of message would that send? republicans are already doing lots of hand rigging about this campaign, about this candidate and one of the problems, obviously when you have a presidential campaign, it in and of itself is -- it can be an argument for the white house, an argument for what sort of white house you would run. so i think to have this sort of shakeup at this late date it wouldn't send a lot of confidence to republicans or donors who at one point had a lot of confidence in mitt romney but now they seem to think that he is still fighting, not only the cold war but fighting the primary and then he's still ug tugging to the right and hasn't
moved to the center quickly enough. >> peggy gave an assessment of the way that romney handled the benghazi murders. >> romney looked weak today. at one point he had a slight grim mass on his face when he was taking questions from the reporters. and i thought, he looks like rich around nixon. >> wow. wow. >> she does actually there. later in the interview, she delivered the velvet hammer. let's listen to this. >> of course he's trying to focus on the economy. it is the great immediate issue in all of our lives but foreign policy is always there. i think romney's mistake is that this is what there's an opening for in america's thinking about foreign policy now. the statement of and the holding high of a grand strategy that says, this is america's role in
the world now, this is what we intend to do, these are what our challenges are, this is how we need to meet them, you know what i mean? not vague ad hoc unconnected statements about whatever foreign policy issue comes up. what is your grand strategy which means, what is your thinking as you look at the world? >> that's a powerful question by her. my colleague, joe scarborough write, if we want to win the battle of ideas, we should face the fact that mitt romney is likely to lose and should given that he's neither a true conservative, just an am bishops shos am ambitious man. nothing wrong with that but when except when you want to be a president. >> what do you want to do in the world? what is your view of the united states in the world despite i'm going to be tougher and all of
this bs, basically, a guy who has had no military experience, he talks about how tough he's going to be. what does it mean translated into u.s. policy? what does he want to do? joe? >> the scary thing about this campaign is that we don't have any idea what he want to do or which policies he's going to support. i mean, you know, this has been, i think, an insult to the intelligence of the american people because of the lack of details, the lack of, you know, of content here. and, you know, we saw the stock market go up 200 points today and when people, you know, romney is allegedly running on the economy well, for most people, the economy isn't the unemployment figures. the economy is two things. your house value and your 401(k). housing values are going back up and the market is almost back to where it was four years ago. so the one thing that he had, he doesn't really have.
>> and consumer confidence is also going up. first, nia, respond to that. this question i have about romney, do you, following the campaign, expect that some day he'll going to georgetown or washington university or byu and lead america into? is he going to do that to respond to this tit for tat game that he's been losinger? >> i don't think so. we've been having these expectations that all along he was going to do that same thing happened this week. people thought he was going to roll out a more robust policy plan. he didn't do that. this is a candidate that beliefs believes that americans will wake up on that first tuesday in november and realize that the economy is horrible and that
they will lay the blame solely at the feet of barack obama and that's the problem. i think in some ways that's why you see them trying to widen this conversation in some ways. they did that with welfare. they've done that with foreign policy. they in some ways did that with medicare but i think ultimately their bet is that we'll get bad news in terms of the economy but i do agree with joe, things are looking up in terms of the economy and people also blame bush as well. >> chris, could i -- >> very quickly, joe. very quickly. >> no, that's okay, then. >> my thought is that presidents -- we always ignore the fact -- there's a lag effect. george bushed helped bill clinton come into office. when you change u.s. economic policy, it's turning around a big battleship. if obama starts to get successes now, they are a result of what they did a couple of years ago. that's commonsense. thank you, joe klein and
nia-malika henderson. coming up, mitt romney doesn't like criticizing the fringe right for anything. also, big news from the nbc wall street marist poll. we'll look at florida, ohio, and virginia. we now have a clear leader in all three. plus, bob woodward tonight on last year's debt crisis. who was to blame? finally, ask president dewey how that worked out for him. this is "hardball" a place for politics. idide? you're not my dad ahh!! hey honey, back feels better, little dancing tonight, you and me? dr. scholl's pro inserts relieve different types of lower body pain by treating at the source so you're a whole new you. go pro with dr. scholl's.
has a facebook page these days. but where's the relationship status? well, esurance is now in a relationship...with allstate. and it looks pretty serious. esurance. click or call. the supreme court in voter i.d. fraud, that's the law the republicans put through so that mitt romney could win the election in november. the state estimates that 750,000
back to "hardball." for two days now the decision to score political points has earned him criticism, even from some in his own party. how about the things romney didn't say, namely, why hasn't he condemned the brutally offensive film that at least partly responsible for the violence in the middle east. "the washington post" editorial wrote today, the movie, is a despicable piece of bigotry, it was striking that it had nothing to say about such hatred directed at major religious faith. i like you because you're great people and also because you know
the middle east. a good part of this world is islamic. the nakt fact is, a big part of the world is islamic. a billion islamic people are born that way, 350,000 arabs born that way, why would you want to make them hate you? my question is, why didn't mitt romney say, i hate people that want to start trouble between the two largest religions? you're thought? why doesn't he say something? >> i think there are a couple of things. first of all, you have this attack on the american embassy that is early reminiscent and the take over in tehran. this was an election that hinged in large part in ronald reagan's defeat on how that crisis was handled, how it dragged out and the republican party may be calculating that they are waiting to see how this plays out. if it escalates, particularly friday, the muslim day of prayer
but there's that other domestic come component of his own religious right. there are many who are skeptical that the cultural gap can be bridged. i think there are a number of factors but -- >> you mean the right wants to go to war with islam? that's what you're saying? >> not necessarily. there's a religion that is -- >> what's their goal? to get rid of it? >> no, but i think there are those that are deeply suspicious, 30 years after the overtake of the american embassy, whether the bridge can be gapped between the is ma'am lick world and the west and some fundamentally believe that it is too wide ever to be healed. >> david, you watch politics from around the world, dog whistles and everything else, barack obama may be a muslim himself. the other day they were calling him sympathizing.
heard it from reince priebus. he said the president sympathizes with the attackers against our embassy, he was echoing what mitt romney said when he put out the word, that it's been a relentless little thing out there using the argument, he's not really one of them us, he's one of them. what is the argument between the two parties and how to address those situations? >> well, you know, the serious argument that mitt romney should be having and that i hope will have down the road in the debates is what is a strong america all about in the 21st century and especially now in the midst of these arab resolutions. what's the right policy for the united states to adopt? and mitt romney has an argument. he did make it today in a more temperate set of remarks where
he said that barack obama is jimmy carter, that american weakness has brought on this level of disorder in the world that as robin said, i think barack obama can rebut that. i think he can say that to the extent that we're going to war with the muslim world, we're digging ourselves in deeper. i'll cite one thing for you, chris. when i read osama bin laden's private communications that were taken out of his compound when he was killed, one of the things that was most striking was how upset he was that barack obama had stopped talking about a war on muslims and had started talking about a war on al qaeda. it drove bin laden crazy to the point that he wanted to change al qaedas name. he wanted to rebrand it. now, that's the clearest testimony you could possibly get from osama bin laden that trying to do this divisive thing, war on muslims, plays into the
extremists hands. you have it from the man himself. so oh what more can you say? >> robin, i didn't know that before, that the bad guy of all bad guys said, this is the smart strategy from america. don't focus on islam, which will just stare up an east-west war, you'll lose, or it will never end. focus on the bad guys. barack obama not only talk that way but killed the one who rendered the opinion. >> yes, and the obama administration has tried to make that issue in the campaign. >> he had leon panetta there, using drones killing one after another. i don't see anything that justifies the word weak. jimmy carter, a horrendous failure, what's the point now? >> look, this is a particularly delicate moment. everyone is very concerned about what happens he will elsewhere in the islamic world.
you've seen the protests extend to whether it's kashmere, pakistan, the danger that it becomes much bigger and the position that the obama administration has taken may make it look weak down the road. >> surely it's coming out of the los angeles or the reverend terry jones to denounce out of l.a. and say that romney hasn't done so. let's watch the secretary. >> let me state very clearly and i hope it is obvious that the united states government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. we absolutely reject its content and its message. >> why doesn't romney say that? would that offend one of his people? these people that keep staring
up wars by burning koran, flushing down the toilet, paying on them, whatever they are doing lately, is doing nothing but killing american soldiers. david? >> chris, romney has painted himself into a corner as the no apology guy, mr. never back down. there are a lot of people on the republican right who are bought into this idea that there's a clash of civilizations going on. you see this every day on the internet and i guess romney in ap a kind of political opportunist way does not want to offend people that are going to be supporters of his. he's got to break out of that. he just -- every time a foreign policy issue comes up, he hits a clinker and he just comes across as a guy who doesn't have a feel for the way the war works.
who talks through sound bites. we'll see whether he can form a coherent argument about the way the war works but he hasn't done it so far. >> he is clumsy and slow and keeps putting his foot in his mouth when he's gone abroad. wait and see is not going to work in his favor on this volatile issue. >> it's one thing to be a robot and rig for the right. i don't know if i like that networking. everyone knows chris christie is a big bruce springsteen fan but so far springsteen has not returned the love. the sideshow is coming up next with some jersey news. this is "hardball." the place for politics.
back to "hardball," jimmy or what they thought was a new device, mitt romney gets a nod here in the tech talk. >> we told people outside to check out the new iphone 5, which is unavailable. in reality, they were looking at the current iphone 4s that everyone else has and, well, here's how that experiment played out for us. >> it's way better. yeah, it's nice. >> it looks like the screen is a little bigger. >> it feels heavier. >> a lot lighter than the last one. >> faster as well. >> it you drop it, it doesn't look like it's going to break like this one has. >> the company fujitsu and japan has created a robot that they think will be able to pass the entrance exam.
>> american researchers have created a robot that is smart enough to be president of the united states. >> i don't think romney is going to escape the zinger. scott van duzer grabbed headlines for giving president obama a bear hug. van duzer has dubbed this embrace the presidential. which politician, by the way, swung by the house looking for the same action? the clue, he's already been the subject of a high-profile hug. he does not tow the line. he used to be a republican but now he's a democrat leaning independent backing president obama. he says he's voting for president obama as he did in 2008. as for that other high-profile hug, the former governor said obama's hug with van duzer puts that one to shame.
next, all it takes is a look to recall that he's a big bruce springsteen fan. >> the guy that screams all the words louder than bruce springsteen behind me pumping his fists. >> can you do a little thunder road. >> me and you? >> sure. come take my hand we're riding down the land oh thunder road, oh thunder road >> unfortunately, for christie, brings stein hasn't shown any sign of returning the love. so imagine the shock when a letter from springsteen arrived at the governor's office. a truce? far from it. it was from springsteen's 20-year-old daughter. she was asking him to sign a bill to ban slaughtering of horses. it's still sitting on the governor's desk. by the way, a whopping increase
in sales, over 400% in the days following the event. wow, that's marketing power. up next, brand-new poll numbers from the three states that could decide this election. florida, ohio, and virginia. we now have a clear leader in all three. and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball." a place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." both mitt romney and barack obama are focusing a lot of their attention on three key states this november, obviously, ohio, florida, and virginia. romney is at a big disadvantage in all three states. here's the latest nbc news marist poll. florida like autoly voters, that's key. in ohio, the president has a seven-point lead. 50% to the 43%. and what could he do to turn things around? chuck todd and correspondent and
gentlemen, i don't know what all of this means and what's going to happen and our polls were conducted and, hey, don't forget it's part of the bounce. >> the sugar high. >> which also tells me, the numbers are pretty right. where the race is right now. >> what's interesting -- >> it's still a high. >> this is a very rigid electorate. this is a big -- is this real? is this any less real that we've seen before. >> the fundamentals remain the fundamentals. the three polls taken after the two conventions, right track, wrong track, the ten polls in august taken before the conventions had the right track number on average of 31%. the three taken after the party conventions had the right track at 38%.
people felt better about the country after watching the convention. >> same thing you saw here. >> by the way, economic optimism is also going up. >> i think this is -- >> people really feel better about the country because of speeches. >> honestly -- >> i think it's the bill clinton and he sat there and his job was to explain and you think the country is off the wrong track but i'm here to tell you it's on the the most important thing. why was the president able to sort of take away some of the fear of the economic future. >> the president's job is, look, i couldn't make it any better and created -- >> i'm amazed that the objective of things getting better because
of a political event. that's pretty amazing. >> if they are competitive and winning with he's not putting a distance between himself and the president. >> let's look at the president's job approval and his job approval and ballot test will be the same number on election day. >> meaning, the what's the approval rating, 49 and 49. another way to watch these polls, by the way, and i've talked with both campaigns and if the president is sitting at 47, he lows. 49 or 50 -- 49 he'll find the one point he gets to 50 and he
wins re-election. that 49 number is a big deal to beat. >> is a referendum or choice? >> it's both. >> of course it is. >> of course it's both. but it has become more of a choice and a more clearly defined choice aspect of that decision than it was before the convention before paul ryan was put on -- >> i've got a question for you. we've been talking about this the whole show. who's in the room when romney when he has to make a quick call, to say something to libya or obama, who is in that room to tell him what to do and help him with that quick decision? >> my understanding is he trusts a couple of people in that room. one is stewart stevens. the other is bob white, someone that has been with him since the bain days. but a lot of that is him. he's more in charge of his campaign than i think people in the political class appreciate. you know, we in the political class -- there's too many people -- who's really running
things in who's the karl rove? >> let's take a shot at the president, who says this? >> the guys traveling with him were pushing him to do it. >> was it neocon or -- >> i think this is a fight he's been trying to pick for a while. remember the title of his book, no apology, this is what he has been fighting. it's almost like a chip on his shoulder, he wants to prove -- >> and it's going to be incumbent upon him, if he's going to make an apology, he needs to define what is differently and it will look like opportune nichl ism. >> they want to fight it generally. >> he doesn't have an answer to the question. would you have pushed mubarak out? >> right. >> he didn't have it. i asked him that direct question.
he wouldn't say. >> he fell all over the map in libya. >> would you fire on a crowd if they were approaching the embassy? you can't start killing people? >> no. >> there are also new numbers in the senate races in the big three states. sherrod brown was on the show yesterday in ohio. he's got a 7 point lead among likely likely voters. bill nelson has a lead over tim kaine and alan is doing well. >> alan is doing better than n is doing better than romney. allen is doing better with independent voters. >> you can see it's more conservative and -- >> well, they have been pound kaine and trying to do a liberal party -- i still can't figure out how kaine loses if the president carries the state. >> the last liberal senator from
virginia? >> it's something to watch as this race develops. and with more of the states credibly in play and senate races is republicans adopting a message they would not do it now, check on power. obama might win, elect a republican to strain -- >> that's what haley barber did, remember? >> however, wait a minute. plan b, stay with you are. ever wonder what check this out. that's mitt romney campaigning in fairfax surrounded by everyone on that stage. all for the introductions that
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we're back. what happened to the grand bargain they tried to meet last summer. the president says the speaker walked away from talks because he wouldn't or count stand up to the tea partiers. by the end of july the talks had broken down. in his new book, the price of politics, book woodward concludes, neither obama nor boehner were able to transcend their fixed partisan convictions. they did not stand their ground. while well, bob woodward joins me right now. you're a great reporter. i thought boehner was a practical guy. and the president, we could argue about that. i thought they were both willing to deal. it was the people on the right
keeping them from dealing. >> yes. there's a war on the right going on in the republican party, as you know, and eric cantor, the number two in the house majority -- republicanmajority, republican majority, is much more connected to the tea party. but don't kid yourself. boehner is a conservative republican, a much more moderate one. and he was laying down the law with obama, said, no tax increase. >> he agreed to $800 billion. >> through tax reform which is -- >> raising revenue. >> which is tricky. i mean, it's possible. but i call it the great white whale. you chase it in the ocean and it might kill you. >> let's talk about the republican party in the house. we know there's "x" many number of tea partyers against any revenues, against everything, cut spending, cut spending. i heard every time boehner would come back from the white house with a deal he thought he could meet with the president, make with the president, he'd get a call from his chief of staff
barry jackson, eric cantor's talking to the crazies out there, we're not going to be able to hold this deal. >> yes, i mean, there's a scene for if one of the key moments where the president is asked for that $400 billion additional revenue -- >> $800 billion up to $1.2 trillion. >> boehner calls eric cantor and his chief of staff down and asks, what do you think of this? eric cantor's chief of staff, classic former army intelligence officer, bald head, very aggressive, asks speaker boehner said, well, how many votes do you think you can get for that? and boehner says, 170. and stombray, said, you're crazy. not very polite. very much in the face of the speaker and cantor backed him up and cantor thought they'd only be able to get 50 votes for that. so there's a war there, but as you know, there's also a war in the democratic party that the
president could not control pelosi and reid on entitlement -- >> we don't have a british-style parliament. we have a congressional party, we have congress and we have the president. if the congress begins to behave like a parliamentary party and votes down the line discipline and says no to the president of another party, how does anything get done? does the system work? >> that's exactly the problem. we have got a situation now, let's not kid ourselves, where the financial house is not in order. and that is -- we've got $16 trillion of ious out in the world with europeans, people in this country, the chinese and so forth. >> yeah. >> we have to make good on the principled payments and the interest payments and the president and the republicans in all of their talks and it's not just what happened last summer, i covered 3 1/2 years, they postponed everything. they said, oh, yeah, we'll do it in 2013. >> let's look for bad guys, bob.
let's look -- does grover norquist bear responsibility? he has everybody in the republican party sign a thing they won't raise taxes. if you don't raise taxes the democrats won't go along with it, there won't be a deal. isn't that a deal breaker? >> well, don't blame grover norquist. he believes that, his strong convictions on it, blame the people who signed up. you have to have compromise. in the book i describe in crucial moments where it's joe biden who comes in with the old approach. he's the -- he's called th mcconnell whisperer. the guy -- >> the horse whisperer. >> yeah. the guy who can deal with mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader, who's a real hard ass as you know. but biden can sit down with him and say, one for you, one for me, we're going to cut a deal. >> what did mcconnell say? >> mcconnell said, as long as you don't raise taxes, i'll go along with it. >> but you can never sell that, as you point out, to pelosi wing of the party. the hardcore of 150, 180
democrats are not going to sign on to any deal that doesn't have some kind of balance with revenues and spending cuts. >> but if you dig into the -- this as i spent 18 months doing and talked to the president, talked to the republicans, talked to speaker boehner, they all feel that they can get, you know, if they agree on something and they go out and stand before the microphones and the cameras and say, this is the deal, this is in the interest of the country in the long run, that people will swallow some of that dogma. but they never got to that point and so now we're dancing on the edge of a razor blade. >> as always, you're on the front edge of reality. we'll see you on the sunday show. bob woodward. "the price of politics." the great bob woodward. when we return, let me finish with who's who? the man who's running for president without ever saying anything. ask tom dewey. he didn't quite make it to the white house, did he? he didn't say anything, either.
so "let me finish" tonight with this. mitt romney is fretting his hour upon the stage. he served his time getting there running and losing. running and saying what he had to say. signing the documents of admission the right had placed before him. he was when asked to cite his strongest character trait, resolute. resolute, yes, but toward what? some trouble makers in los angeles put out a preview of an anti-islamic movie. it goes viral.
gets translated into arabic, hits the high re cairo streets and embassy. does romney decry the anti-islamic movie? no, he had nothing to say about that. nothing at all. all he did was put out a statement attacking a statement, some official in the cairo embassy put out decrying the anti-islamic movie. mr. romney had nothing to say about the movie that stirred things up. let's agree on this. except the snippets he issued attacking his rival he doesn't have much to say at all about anything. that's the huge emt iness people are starting to notice in this person, except for his faith, family and business, he doesn't have a whole lot on his mind, in his mind. he's been in public life a long time, perhaps a generation now. if he thought anything was curious about anything, had discovered anything in life, he's yet to let it out. and, yes, this is why his tent is starting to flop. the great writer william man chester described in 1948 presidential campaign of new york governor tom dewey superbly organized, rigorously on schedule, designed to carry,