tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC September 8, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT
thank you, charlotte. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start tonight with this impressive week in charlotte. there may be no one explanation for it, but i've never seen such excitement in a political convention. it was in the faces of the people who stood at the edge of our stage, the loud roars when
one of us said something about president obama, their deep concentration watching him on our big screen as he spoke last night. i don't know what this means for november. we're going to get serious economic reports between now and then and we'll know if the economy's slowing down or beginning to perk. the news we got this morning wasn't satisfactory by anyone's standards. but the real question is how the voters look at this election. will they view it as a choice between two candidates or as an up or down referendum on president obama. a brutally tough standard by the way so soon after the financial crash of 2008 and '09. m steve steven mm orsa is here and steven mensa is a democratic strategist. president obama last night kept pushing the idea that this
election is a choice among voters rather than a referendum. we counted 20 times he uttered a variation of choose or choice, the very words themselves. take a look. >> when all is said and done, when you pick up that ballot to vote, you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. it will be a choice between two different paths for america. i'm asking you to choose that future and now, you have a choice. if you choose this path. the choice you face -- you can choose a future -- choose -- choice -- choice -- choice -- choices -- choose -- choose. you can choose that future for america. >> well, that's pretty tough stuff. steve moore, i guess you have a point of view on this. i want to ask you this fundamental question. is this going to be like a baseball team where the manager said that pitcher started the game, but he's got to get out of there or you have two people facing off saying well, pick me, the other says pick me and you've got to choose between them? >> i think it's a smart strategy by barack obama, especially given the employment report that came out today that was disappointing, but i have a kind of iron rule of politics. and i've been in politics for a long time as you have chris. that iron rule of politics is that elections are always,
almost always wrapped around the referendum on the performance of the incumbent and that's the problem barack obama has is that a lot of americans have concl e concluded this economy isn't growing. when he says the line this week among many democrats, this was the best any president would have done. wait a minute. it was barack obama himself who said we were going to have the unemployment rate down below 6% now and if in three or four years if i haven't fixed the economy, i won't have a second term. i'm judging him by his own standards here. >> today, the unemployment rate did tick down to 8.1 from 8.3 but that's because 96,000 jobs were added and more unemployed americans have stopped looking for work. this a tough situation. the wires today, this is the short, smallest labor force. that means people working or looking for a job in 30 years. we have shrunk the working portion of our country because of disappointment in the job market.
what's out there? >> there's no question the job report was not what they wanted. there are three numbers they focus on. the first is the raw number, which was lower than folks expected. lower than the white house wanted. there's the unemployment rate which did tick down a little bit. and there was another measure that people look at, the 401(k)s. if republicans want to talk about whether you're better off or not than four years ago, by the measure of a 401(k), somebody looking to retire, is looking to say that the president inherited a terrible situation. my 401(k) has nearly doubled in the last four years. he said in his speech things had gone more slowly and been more difficult than he imagined. he showed humility and i thought he did a wonderful job of contextualizing it last night. it's a choice between what kind of future we want to have as a country. what kind of economy we want to
have. whether it's an economy that works for everybody or just the few and privileged like mitt romney. i thought it was very effective. >> what about that? the idea that and let's say this objectively. you're not just playing this back and forth. if you have a president come in and the dow jones is down about 65, it's dropped dramatically, lower than it was for a decade and all of a sudden, it doubles up to 13,000. that means people have 401(k) money. they've got any kind of savings in the equity markets. they're better off dramatically. in fact, twice as well off as somebody 65 years old ready to retire, 72 years old, checking the market every day. i have to tell you, this sounds like sarcasm, but if george w. had this situation, he'd kb doing those hot dog jumping up and down in the end zone and he wouldn't quit. >> i agree with both you and steve. i think this is the best statistic that barack obama has. the stock market actually has done pretty well under barack obama, so you're both right about that. the problem that i think -- >> how does wealth affect retirement? is wealth more important to retirement or the unemployment number? if you retire, those people -- >> clearly, it's the wealth. in fact, if you look at the
income statistics that came out last week, that were pretty lousy, the only age group that saw an increase in their income was senior citizens buzz they are not in the workforce but they get their income from the benefits of government and such. but here's the problem with your guys' analysis though. it is true that there's a wealth effect in terms of higher stock market values. the housing market hasn't done much at all, but the bigger problem is when you look at the wage issue, steve. and that's where i think obama has a steep decline. wages are down 4,000 for the average family. >> you're piling on. mr. ploor moore, you're piling on. here's president obama speaking about the jobs numbers in new hampshire. we'll listen to his reaction and then get back to you, steve. >> today, we learned that after losing around 800,000 jobs a month when i took off, businesses once again added jobs for the 30th month in a row, a total of more than 4.6 million
jobs. but that's not good enough. we know it's not good enough. we need to create more jobs faster. we need to fill the hole left by this recession faster. we need to come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in and there's a lot more that we can do. >> listening to you steve, i think you say the worst sin of the st. is not he doesn't have the economy coming back like gangbusters, but that he promised too much. the numbers he was using. i'll get it down to 6% in three years. i'll get it down to 8% in the first year. would any other president be able to do -- bill clinton doesn't think so. take this out of where it was on the edge of the precipice and bring it back from the precipice, prevent a second depression and get people back working again? was anybody able to do better in three years? >> reagan did. >> no, he didn't have a financial crisis.
>> sure he did. >> you are playing games now. that was a monetary recession caused by volcker. it could easily be overturned. that was a vertical. that went down and quickly back up again. >> i disagree with you on that. the 1970s was the worst decade we had since the great depression in terms of incomes and wealth. but here's the point. reagan came in during a great economic crisis. read what people were saying in 1980. everyone thought we were on a decline, we would never recover. that the soviet union was going to overtake us. the thing is that three years later after reagan put his program in place the economy was booming. >> thank you very much, please come back, mr. moore. you got a good hand today. you got three eights in your hand this morning. coming up, conventional wisdom. which party had the better convention? the voting is in and it is not a toss-up. it's a democrat.
that's a fact. and how the gop managed to fumble away their biggest advantage, the military, the troops. the republicans didn't mention the war in afghanistan and democrats ran up to the gaping hole and reminded people that they are interested in those fighting the wars. we'll be right back. ng irritati. really? [ male announcer ] revive your eyes with visine®. only visine® has hydroblend to soothe, restore and protect eyes for up to 10 hours of comfort. aaaahhh... [ male announcer ] visine® with hydroblend. have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta can help you get there, like it has for so many people before.
when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. alcohol may increase these risks. allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, occur rarely and may be fatal. side effects may include unpleasant taste, headache, dizziness and morning drowsiness. ask your doctor if lunesta is right for you. then find out how to get lunesta for as low as $15 at lunesta.com. there's a land of restful sleep. we can help you go there on the wings of lunesta.
welcome back to "hardball." there were so many differences between the two conventions we just saw. one of the starkest was in the levels of enthusiasm. loud and boisterous down in charlotte. grim and rather businesslike in tampa. i could feel wherever i went. the first hint of trouble in tampa came when chris christie who delivered the rnc keynote told delegates they weren't being loud enough. let's listen to him. >> i want to tell you something. i've been a little bit disappointed at the volume of
noise on the floor of that convention. the last two nights. i've got to be honest with you. i've been a little disappointed in it. >> wow. the enthusiasm level was one of the many contrasts between the conventions. we'll take you through the others. joe is here along with ron, another convention contrast is the party role given to past presidents. bill clinton owned and made this strongest case yet for obama's second term. let's listen to big bill, the big dog. >> if you want a winner-take-all, you're on your own society, you should support the republican ticket. but if you want a country of shared opportunity and shared responsibility, we are all in this together society, you should vote forbiden. >> he was fantastic. president george w. bush was barely mentioned by anyone at the convention except briefly
from his brother jeb who said it is time to cut him a break. >> and my brother, well, i love my brother. he is a man of integrity, courage, and honor. and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe. so mr. president, it is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic policies. >> well, i always like to remind people that he didn't keep us safe. september 11th, 2001. >> there was that one time. >> it was after that he kept us safe. if a democrat had been president when we were hit on 9/11, the republican party would have had
such villainized it. such pure love for bill. >> i think they decided down in tampa that for every minute that george w. bush was mentioned let alone seen, they were going to drop that percentage in the polls. i mean, as you mentioned earlier, americans understand by and large, 60% of them, that barack obama inherited a serious set of problems from george w. bush. two wars that have cost up upwards of $2 trillion, $3 trillion, an economy that crashed and a gigantic debt that he had doubled while in office. >> it seems both parties want to remind us of that, but neither party wants to remind us of w. the democrats have given w. a break as a person, they only go
after his record. your thoughts? >> well, my former boss, george w. bush has exited the political stage. he said once i'm out of politics, that's it. the democrats can run around and say, oh, they are trying to hide bush and stay off the scene because he's so unpopular, but that was the president's decision. the fact of the matter, chris, is that poor barack obama, oh obama inherited a mess, oh obama, all the troubles he's had, this man has been in office for three-and-a-half years. i'm tired of listening to the whining from the left and saying poor obama as opposed to he's had a stimulus bill, he's had a jobs bill, they haven't set the country back on course. so let's put the blame where it needs to be at the president's feet for his failed policies as opposed to looking back and blaming george w. bush. >> let's look at this. the republicans and democrats had precious time on broadcast networks. on the final night of both conventions, here's what the parties presented. at 10:02 vice president joe biden was in a full lath, he
often is. let's listen. >> america is not in decline. i've good news for governor romney and ryan, gentlemen, it never makes sense, it's never been a good bet to bet against the american people. >> anyway, meanwhile the week before, here's what republicans were presenting to new york audiences at 10:04 on their big night. let's listen. >> i've got mr. obama sitting here. what? what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. can't do that to himself. you're crazy. you're absolutely crazy. >> you know, ron, i've always given credit to your party for competence in putting these
shows on. you have the balloon drop where the balloons drop on time. you've really good at this stuff, but this year when you only had an hour of primetime tv on the networks of nbc, cbs and abc, you put on clint eastwood. the other guys put on the up up man for the president, joe biden. i think you lost some of your luster in this business. >> well, chris, i know it's going to make a lot of our republican friends unhappy with me, but i thought it was kind of strange seeing clint eastwood a guy who i love talking to an empty chair. i get the point, but for goodness sakes, the one hour that you have the american people tuning in that aren't on the cable networks and are looking at an empty chair? i didn't see the humor in it, a lot of people did. i wouldn't have chose that line of frankly attacking the president. >> you know, joe, he apparently thought up of this shtick in the green room. he just thought of it. that's a lot of power to just say, can i have that chair,
please? >> i think even though obama seems to have gotten the big bounce today in the gallup approval, you can bet that romney is way up with people who yell at empty chairs. i would say that's a demographic that they capture. >> you are cruel to our hero. i'm going to forgive my saying something later. this is probably the man's career going on hunches. this hunch didn't work. let's talk about the crowd out there. this is always a ticklish point. but i was down in charlotte and there was a tremendous good feeling. you know that phrase you always here new south. it's better than it was. the race relations are much more mellow. i mean, i have -- i know it's tough to talk about it but i was so impressed by the way all the people got along down there. the excitement, they're shoulder to shoulder, the feeling,.
here we have the convention -- these were the more important people. not just the regular people, the delegates. but these delegates, they're a lot of positive feeling here and diversity in the best sense. it was wonderful because they wanted to be diverse. your thoughts, ron. is that something the republican party just isn't over yet and has to get over at some point or what? >> well, i think one thing, it's a matter of ideology. if you look at the fact that 96% of african-american voters who voted for president obama last time around, that's a high percentage. i didn't see the kind of diversity i wanted to see in tampa. obviously there were a number of folks of color i saw at the convention, but we need to do better as a party. we need to go out not just at election time. but we need to recruit folks to run for office. we need to ask for the vote before election time. hopefully four years from now we'll have a more robust and more diverse republican party. >> thank you, sir. ron, thank you for coming on. thank you, joe, for being tough but fair. coming up, there was one word joe biden literally loved saying last night. what was it? literally it was the word. he loves saying the word
bill clinton threw out more specific numbers in one speech last night than the republicans did in the entire week in tampa. >> a reasonable plan of $4 trillion of debt reduction in a decade. for every $2.5 trillion of cuts. >> not that the republicans did not have a plan to solve the nation's economic problems. >> we are going to solve this nation's economic problems. we need to stop spending money we don't have. we will not duck the tough issues, we will lead. >> and as a last resort, we will use magic. >> back to "hardball." speaks of clinton's speech, you may have caught this snapshot of hillary clinton making her
diplomatic address. she was in southeast asia. before watching, the secretary of state had this to say about the remarks. quote, i received the as-prepared version which i am anxious when i can to compare with the as-delivered version. like this zinger for paul ryan who blasted president obama's medicare spending cuts even though ryan's own plan called for the same amount in savings. >> it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you didn't. >> and that was impromptu. let's get down to the numbers, bill clinton's words, just over 3,000 words. the as-delivered over 6,000. doubled the original word count. that guy is smart. moving on to one of last night's big speech event, did you notice joe biden getting literal with the use of one word in particular? >> governor romney believes it's okay to raise taxes on middle class by $2,000 in order to pay
for another -- literally another trillion dollar tax cut for the wealthy. and literally amazes me they don't understand. general motors and chrysler were literally on the verge of liquidation. literally the first days -- literally stood on the brink -- literally hung in the balance -- literally -- literally -- the direction we turn is not figuratively, it is literally in your hands. >> well, the direction of history is literally in our hands? he dropped that word ten times. the obama campaign pounced on that one when twitter looked at the word literally, a promotional message from the osama campaign. osama bin laden is dead and general motors is alive. they're moving fast. and even though this past week in charlotte has been chock-full of memorable moments, i doubt anyone has forgotten about the most bizarre moment from last week down in tampa. of course it's clint eastwood talking to an empty chair. and before singing some of his
recognizable songs, yesterday singer/songwriter james taylor addressed any concerns about his own four-legged prop. >> i know it's an empty chair, it makes you nervous, doesn't it? that's all right. i'm going to sit on it. not going to talk to it. >> what a voice. that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. to soo and protect eyes for up to 10 hours of comfort. aaaahhh... [ male announcer ] visine® with hydroblend.