tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 25, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
it's your voice and the really story. the riot within by rodney king. rodney king gets the last word. >> thanks for having >> romney now says the rich like him should be congratulated, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, america at the cross roads. this country now confronts a choice that is starker than anyone could have imagined. the man that carries the republican banner for presidency has thrown down the challenge. all of his talk about liking to fire people, having two cadillacs, pals that own nascar teams, he now thinks it means something big. he wants to live in a country
where financial wealth like his should be congratulated. let romney and his wife -- let obama and his wife depend on student loans, the republican parties for the successful. the successful, as i said in the latest speech, are to be congratulated. the successful are to call the shots. it's unbelievable. newt gingrich says he will drop out of the race after he spends one more weekend enjoying the good life. and another problem for romney, barack obama, all of the president's campaigning skills have been on the news these days. in a tight race, how do you compete with that money? and arizona rising, many of the justices appeared sympathetic to arizona's tough and nails
immigration call. how will they react to that? and a candidate that wants his wealth applauded and one who needed student loans. we'll begin with the message of fairness last night. most importantly today, this brand new book "showdown," great book both of these je are msnbc political talents, romney seemed to try and steal a page from obama's play book with fairness. he used a variation of the word fair six times in one paragraph. let's listen. >> this america is fundamentally fair. we will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied
access to the good schools of their choice. we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friend's businesses. we'll stop the unfairness of union workers contributing -- we'll top the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than those they serve, and we'll stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next. >> he had a huge problem out there, john, you're covering this campaign, but here is the problem with romney. he comes out and says not only should we respect great wealth, we should congratulate it, people that make a lot of money, no matter how they make it. whatever, make a lot of money, and we should applaud you and congratulate you. at the same time, he's trying to poach the theme of fairness because he saw the poll last
week that shows fairness beats the stuff he has been selling. >> chris, first of all i think there is no question that it is a problem to try to co-op this theme with the democrats for mitt romney, because i think any discussion of fairness is largely defined by democratic terms in conversations with the tax code, and those conversations are conversations that work to the president's and democrats advantage. i think what romney campaign is trying to do is something they have been doing effectively for awhile saying we're not going to seed any turf to this president. we will not let you have any ground uncontested. that is a fighter stance, and it works well with republican voters and maybe some in the middle, but i think you play on the president's turf, and then you're into the problem of the language issue that you pointed out. there is a mile, more than a mile, an ocean of difference between respect and congratulate, and congratulations, any politician
seen on stage congratulating himself, is not someone that goes over well with many voters. several congratulation is not a pretty thing to is see in any figure, and he is patting himself and rich people on the back. >> he wants people in this new speech of his to congratulate people that make a lot of money, it doesn't matter how they made it. a teach every doesn't make much, or the cop, forget them. that doesn't matter. if you make a ton of money, we should congratulate you and make you a leader. i have never seen it laid out like romney is laying it out. >> and he said obama is attacking success. the people behind the wall street melt down that cost the economy millions of jobs. in my book that covers 2011, i saw the president set up a contrast in vision and values with republicans. first playing off the ryan
budget, and now off romney. it seems the romney campaign will say listen, we'll have a fight over values and vision. i don't think that works to his advantage. but they saying listen, we'll give you our vision, our vision happens to be i'm a success. you should like that. i don't think that plays that well, but he is taking it dead on to obama's effort to try to make the selection, not just a referendum on obama, but what on the future values of this country should be. >> he uses these terms like congratulate, i have never seen a politician say i'm rich, congratulate me. that's what he is saying. then he puts them all together. success can mean a lot of things. you can write a great novel, maybe nobody reads it until your dead, but you're still successful, but his did i have in addition is money, and money talks. you see it in his campaign, all
of this money he pulled in, he bought these primaries, and now he is saying we should worship the alter of this big money. not only did it win the nomination, we should now congratulate that money, it's going beyond gordon gecko. >> there is a lot of times congratulations are landed out when things like a blessing occurs. if they get married, a child, a promotion, there's also a term of heroism to that. you congratulate them for having performed a heroic act. i was thinking about cops and teachers, chris, they should be congratulated every day. i think there is nothing wrong with making money in america. we should not penalize that. there's nothing wrong with it, but something about standing up in front of people and congratulating yourself for your success they think rubs people the wrong way.
politicians who are successful make the campaign about other people. about we, not about me, and not about patting themselves on the back. >> he better be prepared to explain how he made every nickel. okay, explain how you made the money. >> this opens the door for that. if you think you're the definition of success, which is what he is saying, look at me, let's put that under the microscope and look at that. the bane examples, there are real successes, but there's lots of times they didn't act in a fair manner. he's talking about success equaling fairness. if you lose your job because lbo guys come in and take it away from you, that's not fair. >> last night in an interview, rick santorum was asked if he would endorse romney, it's
painful for him to watch avoiding saying yes. >> do you believe mitt romney is the right guy? >> i think he is -- obviously i believed i was the better choice, but i'm not in the race anymore. >> he won the race, so is he the right guy? >> absolutely, he will be the person to go against barack obama, it's clear, and we need to win this race. >> that's not mishearing things -- you just endorsed mitt romney -- >> karen, you know your husband, has he just endorsed mitt romney? >> not at this point, no. >> that's interesting, pierce goes to the wife to ask what the husband is saying, he didn't do it. i think if you put that guy in a stress test, i don't think you would have heard him honestly say i like this guy, he detests mitt romney because he used huge
amounts of money from his buddies to destroy that guy, and you can say all is fair in politics, but it wasn't an argument that won the battle, it was huge amounts of money in the super pacs in states like iowa, michigan, and across ohio. he smothered the guy in negative advertisement. is this what we will see in the general? romney bragging about his wealth and spending friends money to destroy obama? >> he is going to try. he will try to be competitive with the president. i think both sides will be up to their neck in money, chris. they'll both raise money from a lot of rich people, and that's fine. i think rick santorum in this case, you said it's painful to wash, he was clearly in pain having to answer the question. it looked like pierce morgan was kicking him under the table.
i think his emotional response to the way that romney treated him made him act in a nonstrategic way. >> if you want to get something out of romney, he can more now than two weeks ago. i think he's wasting his leverage. >> i know you remember jackie gleason in the honey mooners. he did not answer. he has to decide to either be a cheerleader, or to lead the conservative movement. that means being an enforcer upon mitt romney. so you can't do both at the same time. he has to figure out his future, is it leading the movement, or something in politics. >> you talk about the pain in the face of santorum, a guy that i personally get along with, i disagree with his politics, but i have not evolved successfully enough to experience my own death and still carry a tune. that's where we're at here.
thank you, both. david corn, author of the great book "showdown" which i show again, if you show it again it helps. coming up, president obama is on the trail, and he is showing off what a lot of people may have forgotten. he is a heck of a campaigner. that's ahead. it's time to get going. to put more giddy-up in our get-along. it's time to start gellin' with dr. scholl's... ... and mix a little more hop in our hip-hop. with the energizing support and cushioning of dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles ... you'll want to get up and go.
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 end is near for newt gingrich. the candidate who said he had high hopes for a first or close second finish in delaware was trounced last night. he came in nearly 30 points behind romney. he says that he will suspend his campaign in a week. >> we also committed as citizens to taking big solutions to tampa, and arguing that the republican platform has to
solidly conservative. we're going to do so in a frame where where i think it's clear that governor romney will be the nominee based on the sheer weight of yesterday's evidence, and we need to work in a way that we can find a way to focus on defeating obama, not fighting ourselves. >> romney running on a perhaps forced right-wing platform. [ girl ] my mom always tells me:
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with jimmy fallon and visiting three colleges shows that when it comes to campaigning he is in a class to himself. here he raised the bar by slow jamming the news. >> now is not the time to make school for expensive for our young people. [ cheers and applause ] oh, yeah you should listen to the president or as i like to call him, the prezzy of the united steezy. >> we need to keep college affordable. >> he knows his stuff, that's why they call him the potus. which is the person on top -- what is it? >> the president of the united states. >> he's the potus with the mostest.
>> i don't know, the president is obviously campaigning and it is in sharp contrast, let's admit to romney. erin mcpike is a political reporter at the real clear politics, which i discovered is a great place to discover who is winning different races. joan, i want to take a look here at the yogurt situation. he stopped at the sing, and ended up doused in frozen yogurt. after a little ribbing, he put the young woman at ease. >> you got me!
>> will you please take a picture? >> please take a picture. >> whose yogurt? >> mine, sorry. >> later on, speaking at the university of colorado, the president jokes at the yogurt incident, take a listen. >> a was shaking hands outside, and a young woman got very excited and spilled yogurt on me. more hazardously, she spilled on the secret service, and the agent just stood there looking at her. >> wow, you know i get charmed rather easily, and here he is doing his best. he does have a pretty good ability to connect and adapt to strange circumstances. >> splashed with yogurt and slow jamming the news.
it's not just that mitt romney is awkward, but he seems so entitled. when he gets cookies, he makes jokes instead of just graciously accepting them. you take food from people, every culture, that's a kindness, and mitt romney just can't compete on this basic human relationship level. so i have seen a lot of wing nuts today suggesting that president obama's appearance was a violation of campaign finance law, which was ridiculous, but they're desperate. >> making your point, here is mitt romney, last week in pittsburgh, he managed to offend many people when he questioned the cookies. >> i'm not sure about these
cookies, they don't look like you made them. did you make them? >> no. they came from the local seven-11 or bakery. >> while campaigning in june, romney met with a couple unemployed floridans and had this cringe inducing line. >> i'm also unemployed -- >> that's a hoot, erin. >> it is. >> you don't make fun about being unemployed when there is real unemployed people there and you are a quarter billionaire. >> we keep hearing the president say michelle and i were paying off our student loans just eight years ago. it's not just the finances i think that obama is better at relating to people, he's better by saying i understand some of
the struggles that you have. sometimes when he is campaigning, surprised he is president of the united states. he just said yesterday, you know, i'm the president of the united states, and i just paid off my loans eight years ago. the girl spilling yogurt, and i'm the president of the united states. >> if you think romney is pompous now, what do you think he will be like as a president? imagine if he were actually elected what he would be like. i don't think he would be connecting with regular people. >> and ann romney, the likable of the pair saying it's mitt's time, there's just going to be an incredible contrast between people who act like they were born, and these other two people
who have been fortunate products of the american dream, who always seem as erin says, a little surprised and taken aback by success and are pretty darn gracious about it all the time. >> i'm wondering about the students he's working now, the people in their 20s, and people in school, which of them will vote for romney? it seems like me the ones driven would be the b school people. some of the people in business school that can't wait to go out there and make money in equity or wall street as fast as they can and want to be like him. that would be a small group of kids i think. >> i talked to some mba holders that say the very thing. who is it that really loves mitt romney and wants him desperately to be president, it's the people that realize he did a lot with venture capitalism. >> and those that wouldn't get taxed much. >> they appreciate what he has done because they understand it, and so few people do.
>> getting back to that, if he focuses on his success, as he calls it, being rich, and he focuses on the need to be congratulated for it, won't he put himself in a corner and have to explain how he made the money. all of the chop shop, breaking up of corporation, selling the companies up, selling them off, firing people, which he says he likes to do. >> he has not yet defined what success was. he has not said what are the lessons he's learned -- >> money. >> well evidently show, that's what we talked about. he won't go out and say, what lessons did i learn from turning around these companies and making them success that i would then apply to the government. >> imagine you're out there, a good teacher, there's a lot out there, busting your hump to be a good teacher. and you're working real hard and making $40 or 50,000 a year. or a top salary, and the people that make the really big money
are the ones to be congratulated. not the cop that risks his life every night. not the teacher who sweats it out and never makes big money, maybe retires okay but never rich, these people were not to be congratulated. the big money people, the successful people, like me, the quarter billionaires, how is that going to sell, joan, to people like that. those that see themselves in romney's shoes some day. >> i don't think it will sell. on one hand the president -- >> i know, congratulate us. talk about class warfare, it's elevating one class above another. the president will get most young people's votes, the question will be excitement and turnout in november. he is right to focus on the student loan issue because student loan indebtness is more than credit cards.
when i went to school it was $300 a semester, i'm not that old. we're not making the american dream possible for kids any more and this the president needs to talk more about that to people. >> thank you, joan walsh and erin mcpike. up next, how do you know marco rubio is being vetted for vp? he definitely is.
>> i'm not going to discuss it anymore because there is a process in place. i think it would be wise for all republicans to respect that process, we should respect that process. >> here is steve schmidt reading between the lines. >> to me, that says you're being vetted. once you go through the process you stop talking about the process. people who are going to be vetted say i want to respect the process, and you know i won't talk about that. his answer to me clearly said that yeah, he is starting to turn over records and documents. >> that may be the case, but he also says rob portman is the current front runner in the republican veep stakes. and the painful back and forth with piers morgan last night, santorum is not the only one having trouble admitting he is a conservative.
>> is he a conservative? >> that's what the voters are deciding right now. he has a good record -- >> has he satisfied you? >> again, the point is, he is satisfied people across the country in the primary races overwhelmingly he is satisfying them. he had a clean sweep tonight, i think that's a strong endorsement. >> that's michele bachmann refusing to speak for michele bachmann. hillary clinton gathered last night for time. and mentioned someone else. >> time has honored so many national and global leaders. there's so many i have not been able to meet yet. i was hoping kim jung un would show up.
i don't think he's here -- >> no sign of the north korean dictator. her popularity has been through the roof lately her favorability rating is at 65%. she is by far the top pick among democrats for the 2016 presidential race. up next, the supreme court seems ready to uphold arizona's tough immigration law. will that help rally latino voters in november?
here is what's happening, connecticut is now the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. they signed the bill behind closed doors earlier. let's take you back to "hardball." welcome back to hb had been, the supreme court heard arguments today on the constitutionality of the arizona immigration law. civil liberty groups says the law encourages racial profiling. the law requires immigrants to carry proof of their status, and police to determine the status of a person if there a
reasonable suspicion that he or she is here legally. it allows police to arrest expected illegal immigrants without a warrant. at today's hearing, a majority of the justices appeared to uphold at least part of the law. according to pete williams. afterwards, supporters of the law sounded on mystic. here was jan brewer, let's watch. >> i'm very encouraged by what we all were able to do today, and here. i thought the hearing went very, very well. i'm confident. we will get a favorable ruling. >> what would it mean if the law or parts were upheld and how would that play out in the presidential campaign. we have two guests tonight,
ladies, thank you for joining us tonight. it is an interesting night, because we're becoming experts at watching supreme court arguments whether it's this or the health care bill. let me start with angela with me right now. it seems like the people that want this bill, the tough law, to be upheld, to declare the constitution that way, and they will be happy. >> jan brewer might be happy, but i don't think in the after math, if it goes up or down, that the conversation is over. latinos are listening very carefully to how the candidates are talking about it, what happens to them on the street, and the conversation is not over today whether jan brewer is happen or not. >> will this bill will be hammer against romney this fall? >> look, the candidates are -- he will have to answer the question, what do you think of the arizona law. he told us he supports it. i think he would applaud it if a supreme court upholds it, and
that will be smack into what latinos care about and that's in states like florida, colorado -- >> i think it could help him. this isn't like some small state issue. this is like a referendum, a proxy for acceptance. >> we're in the election year now, a few months from now, 10% of the people walking into the ballot box are coming from hispanic backgrounds. latinos, and will a decision by the supreme court to say yes to janet brewer and her smile today, will that hurt romney? >> it won't hurt romney because he already distanced himself so much from the latino population. we knew beforehand he was in favor of sb 1070. he also said he would veto the
dream act. he is no friend of immigration. and we also know that above 85 percent of latino voters support immigration reform. in particular, the dream act with the path to citizenship. so him cozying up to marco will not help. >> has he made his stand with the anglos, if you will to use that phrase, has he made his decision i don't want latino votes, i want the people that don't like latinos, has he made that decision? has he taken sides? >> he did, and he had to in the primary because in order to win the primary, he had to run to the extreme. what he feels in his heart of hearts i don't know, but in this campaign year -- >> i'm talking politically.
the way -- the play he made politically is to go with the enemies of immigration. >> the game was all out against immigration completely, and it's not like in 2004 where the republican candidate was open to immigration, so what we're seeing here is he claimed a stake. he will try to walk it back a little bit, but it will not have an affect on the latino population. >> let me ask you a question if you dare answer it. when he is out there flirting with a bromance with rubio, can he do a 180 here? say i've been tough, but i have this buddy here who speaks spanish, has a cuban background, will it turn things around? >> no, i think it's insulting almost, just because somebody can speak in a language they can speak, or he's handsome and can talk about his experience. rubio has been tough on immigration as well.
you add the rubio's position and romney's position, they're at a dead end. they can't get there unless they dramatically change their tune. i think it's too late. >> what will they do down the road. every party has to think of the future, and the question is where is the republican party heading if it's known as anti-immigrant? >> it has entrenched itself, the republican latinos are about 20% of the population. he has their support in florida, so he doesn't have to worry about them, but the problem we see -- >> the cubans put a toe in the sand when they were here, they had a tremendous legal advantage. i'm for it, they were anti-communist, but they had a tremendous leg up on everybody, didn't that? >> they did, and so when we see the fact that he is getting very close to marco rubio, and this argument about maybe latinos
will cross party lines to vote for him, that is completely untrue. cubans are less than 10% of the latino population and they are predominantly republican. so, if you want -- >> so you're saying -- >> so let me begin with you, angela. you're telling romney don't waste your time with rubio, you already lost. >> he's in a really deep hole, and he just keeps digging, there is no ladder long enough to get him out of the hole. >> aren't you good with metaphors. thank you very much, both for joining us tonight. up next, the secret service sex scandal, that's a lot of ss, did the bosses tolerate this in the past. that's the story that's leaking out. at. right there -- reminds you why you fell in love with her in the first place. and why you still feel the same.
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welcome back to "hardball," the secret service scandal that rocked the agency this month may not have bun a one time occurrence. they reported today a 2009 instance of agents in strip clubs in argentina. the homeland securitier director paced if you have questions today on a story not likely to go away soon. we have a democrat from connecticut, and a reporter from the washington post. i have to start with the reporter. i want you to pick up on the
significance of it politically. david, is it a fact or not, do we know, that there was going to prostitutes, was that part of the secret service mo before cartagena or not? >> we don't know about prostitutes, we heard from one agent that said in the 2009 trip that bill clinton was on, not when he was there, but after hours there were visits to the strip clubs. >> that's not in the same league. >> it's not, but they did say they heard about contact by agents with prostitutes on that trip. there might have been photos involved. >> that's the only other case that you have heard of? >> the only specific case we heard of. >> so it's not a common practice. let's hear the president right now. he still is treating this as a few bad apples or a few knuckle heads. let's watch the president's description so far.
>> the secret service, these guys are me, they protect michelle, they protect our girls, they protect our officials all around the world. a couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from you know what they do. but what these guys were thinking, i don't know. that's why they're not there anymore. >> wow. senator, what do you make of this? is this still a couple of knuckleheads, an isolated case, or is there any hint here of a pattern of abuse? >> well, first of all, the president's right, they are incredible, by and large, and there may have been two, there may have been 12, we think there were 12, and they certainly are knuckleheads. whether there are more really has to be the topic of this investigation. and the secretary napolitano said very clearly that they are looking into whether there may have been other incidents, how pervasive this practice may have been, and whether, in fact, any information was compromised or
threatened to be compromised. so i think they're moving swiftly and effectively, very aggressively, in an investigation that has to be thorough, fare, and effective. they're aware of the need for a really tough investigation here. >> well, this has been going on now for a couple of weeks, this press coverage of this, the press inquiry, and to some extent, the action by your committee and the committee in the house led by peter king. from what you know now, is this a systemic problem? >> the question of whether it's systemic depends in part on what the rules were. and in my view, rules that permit secret service agents to go abroad, have women to their rooms, whether they're married or unmarried, whether the women are paid or not, are rules that need to be strengthened and clarify clarified, if, in fact, they were unclear. so i think looking forward, there needs to be some very serious review and revisiting of this system to determine whether there are systemic defects and flaws. but by and large, let's
remember, anybody who's had any contact with the secret service, and i've had a fair amount over the years in the course of being the state attorney general of connecticut knows that they are professional and tough and their integrity is pretty much unquestionable, overall. and they are bound to be a few bad apples. >> let me go back to david, where's the reporting going tonight? what are we going to read in the paper tomorrow in "the washington post"? >> chris, i think next up with our story is what people want to know about, the director of this agency, mark sullivan. he's a 29-year veteran, he's been in charge since the bush administration in 2006. and the secret service, there's been rumors about partying on the road, the wheels-up party after the president leaves. this one happened before the president even got there. so the question is, who is mark sullivan? he has not come out publicly and spoken on this. you'll recall, he was in charge of this agency in the last embarrassment in 2009 when the two white house gate crashers got into the white house, the salahis, uninvited.
he was able to apologize for that on capitol hill. but he has not spoken publicly since this event. >> people seem to like him. let me go back to senator blumenthal. people seem to like mark sullivan. i'm getting the sense he's respected a lot. he has a lot of credit in the bank starting this, a lot of capital there. >> he's a career guy, he's regarded as a straight shooter, and he was very smart in contacting the key congressmen right away, waking them up, literally, at 5:00 a.m. in the morning and calling them back again. i think he's been forthright. i think everyone hopes this investigation will be quick and aggressive. it has to be tough and leave no stone unturned. follow the evidence wherever it leaves. >> as bobby kennedy once said, you hang a lantern on your problem. it's very smart to let the people know. thank you, senator richard blumenthal from joining us from
the senate judiciary committee and david knack mara of "the washington post." let me finish with this presidential election, a clear choice, you see what the romney's saying about the wealthy deserving to be congratulated and obama talking about having to make it through college with students loans. you're watching "hardball."
stuff. from now until election day, both guys will make gaffes. by that, i mean they will say things on their minds they quickly will wish they hadn't said. i know the feeling. but who are they? that's something we can figure out from some very clear statements they just made. statements about their values, about how they judge other people, how they wish to be judged themselves. i'm talking about their accomplishments on this earth and how they value them. mitt romney wants us all to value what he calls success. others call it making money, he calls it success. it doesn't matter how you make it, you make a boat load of money, you live well. you want the world to look up to you, to in his words, congratulate you. that's his world. yesterday at the university of north carolina, president obama said he and his wife just finished paying off their college loans eight years ago and said, quote, i'm president of the united states. he says he's worked hard, done the right things in his life, harvard law review, they don't bring big incomes or big houses, but they did do good. romney's view, putting it out there for us, showcasing, not
that he committed gaffes when he talked about own a couple of cadillacs, or knowing nascar owners, or he enjoys firing people, it's money means success. that people should look up to you and congratulate you on your wealth and what that entitles to you. well, land of developers, strip miners, hedge fund managers, doesn't manner how you make it, you should be proud of it. so forget the teachers, the firefighters, the doctors who take care of low-income patients. obama's not perfect, but he's got the right values. those student loans of his say a lot. they say he and michelle won real success in really good schools because they had the brains and the moxie to get it and yes have given themselves to helping others do the same. it's not the gaffes that tell who these very different men