tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 29, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
>> well, i think if there is one thing to learn about new orleans is that people have a tremendous heart, no matter how bad the disaster is. melissa harris perry. great to have you on the team. thanks for your time. that's "the ed show." you can listen to me on sirius xm radio, channel 127, noon to 3:00 p.m. and follow me on twitter on ed show. hating government until you need it. let's play some "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in tonight for chris matthews. leading off, good night irene. if you're ron paul, fema is a drain on taxpayers who shouldn't "go crawling to the federal
government if you mess up." like paul says a lot of republicans are. the federal government is the problem and not the solution, but we at "hardball" have been calling republican governors and members of congress whose districts were in irene's path. none said they plan to reject government help. seems they understand the idea that people hate the government until they need the government. plus, michele bachmann joked that irene and last week's earthquake are god's way of telling politicians to listen to the people. and pat robertson figures the quake's crack in the washington monument is a divine message. should we ask tougher questions about candidates' faith? and aren't exploding over the book, colin powell says the former vice president is like a gossip whose new book is full of cheap shots. rick perry doubles down on his claims associate security is a ponzi scheme. that may be a fine way to win tea party votes, but is this any way to run a national campaign. let me finish with the complaints that hurricane irene
was overhyped. starting with the politics of the hurricane. ed rendell, former governor of pennsylvania. michael steele, former chairman of the rnc and both are msnbc political analysts. governor, start with you. a quote from lee siegal who wrote something for the "daily beast" and "newsweek." elected officials are acting responsibly by acting hysterically. is there truth in that statement? >> well, there is. look, if you're an elected official you want to err on the side of caution. want to get as many people out as you can, because you don't want to take the chance that the way these storms veered, that it veers at the last second or intensifies at the last second and people get bound and you don't want to be responsible for any single death. better people are inconvenienced for a day moving out of an area than not. so i think governor christie, mayor bloomberg, mayor nutter, they all acted responsibly. >> if were you to grade them collectively, governor what would you be saying?
>> b plus, a minus. good job. what's at fault here is the media, michael. let me explain why. there was an article by will bunch ever the "daily news" who you know is a great reporter. he quoted some weather scientist as saying by thursday we knew this hurricane was not going to be as severe as we were telling people on tv, and i think the media has a responsibility to try to get it right. they can say, look, there's always a chance it could intensify, but you've got to tell people the truth, because the downside is, like crying wolf. the next time a situation comes around, people are going to say, i'm not going to go leave. gosh, the last time they told us it was going to be so terrible it really wasn't. that's the down side to this overhype. >> michael steele, i tweeted on saturday, and i said, is it worth as a category 1 all of this reaction? i was asking the question. the response was vehement, both from those who said i agree with you asking it and others who said it's a disgrace you would even raise the question.
where do we strike the right balance? >> that's the question. i think the governor hit it right on the head. the reality is, it rests with the leadership on the ground and every state of the union, and even down to county and local government operations. how they are coordinating, how they work together is really what matters. it doesn't matter so much whether my local reporter or the national reporter is standing out and getting blown from here to kingdom come, which i think is one of the silliest thing i've ever seen own television. than as a may, what matters is when comes to the reality of moving people and getting the help that they need, that the local, state and federal government coordinate themselves in such a way that we don't have a revisit of katrina that we have the operations in place that people can turn to to get the correct information, the updated information, and the local officials know exactly what's going on to declare an emergency when that hits, what happens, happens.
in this instance, yeah, there was a lot more hype, but i think the governor is right. this was a solid b plus, a minus performance across the board from vermont all the way down to virginia. >> governor, let me ask you this question, another monday morning or monday evening question about katrina. is it hypocritical for republicans who are critiquing the size of government and constantly saying government has grown too large to now say, yes, please, i'll accept money in terms of fema relief as a result of the storm? what prompts this among other things, a "usa today" editorial saying agencies such as the geological survey and weather service are financed through the non-defense discretionary part of the federal budget, concentrated in the search for a fix to the nation's debt woes. whether the ax wielders are hacking at their own trees? >> no question. you asked two questions. one, is it wrong for the people to criticize the federal government for being too big to take disaster relief? no.
their obligation it to their citizens, number one. most governor, republicans and democrats alike take that seriously. number two, should the budget hackers all of a sudden sit up and take notice? hey, it's the weather center that allowed us to be in a position to have all of this data and evacuate what could have turned into a terrible situation. do we want to cut people from the weather center? do we want to do this? do we want to do that? you know, there are good government programs and bad wasteful government programs. and the trick, michael, is to find out the difference, and that's the trick. >> michael steele will this make it more difficult for republican critics of the size of government to mount their offenses? >> no, i don't think so, because i still see this as a little bit more apples and oranges than a one for one correlation. i think governor rendell is right. you have to look at each program and what they bring to the table. when you have a national emergency like this, everyone likes to talk about, see, if you cut this program, then, hey, we wouldn't have had the weatherman standing out in front of the
storm. but the reality of it is, there's so much more that goes into those numbers than the top line wanting to cut. i think the smarter thing to do is look at what are the best services that government provides? how well, efficient and capable are they in providing -- who is given the largest benefit from that? that should drive this, not just an arbitrary cut epa, cut the weather program, because we want to cut. i think republican leadership has at least said we want to take a strategic look at what -- what works for government versus what does government spend money on. >> also, michael, if i could interrupt quickly. the republican candidates for president have got to have is a reality check. rick perry said he promised in his opening speech, he promised voters that he would work every day to make government as inconsequential as possible in their lives. do you think any people who in the line of fire of the hurricane wanted government to be inconsequential? of course not.
that's a ridiculous statement. that's a ridiculous statement. >> put it in context here, governor. i mean, i understand, yeah, if you're going to apply it to the hurricane, yeah, it's ridiculous. >> ridiculous to anything. apply it to social security. >> apply it to government that doesn't touch on the safety net. >> how about social security? >> what did i just say? >> governor perry says associate security is a ponzi scheme. >> if i could make my point and you can say whatever you want. i have my issues with social security. that aside. the broader question is, you guys tend to look at, government as this great savior of all things to people, and people don't see their government that way. they want government to be there when they need it, but in all other times they expect government to get out of their way and let government do their thing. that's the crust of the argument since 2009 and something we want in 2010. see what happens in 2012. >> let me offer a specific what the governor is saying about republicans and critique of the size of government. talk fema.
weren't of the gop candidates for president, ron paul. ron paul went on the attack against fema last friday in an interview with nbc saying the following -- >> i live on the gulf coast. we put up with hurricanes all the time. galveston is in my direct path. the worst one was in 1900. before fema rebuilt the city, they built a sea wall and survived without fema. and fema is not a good friend of most people in texas, because all they do, come in and tell you what to do, can't do, can't get in your houses and hinder the local people and they hinder volunteers from going in. so there's no magic about fema. and more people are starting to recognize that, because they are a great country, with deficit and financing and quite frankly don't have a penny in the bank. >> i aired that audio on my radio program today. half the lines illuminated from hard core gop folks who bought in entirely to what ron paul was saying.
i don't know that's the kind of message that helps you in the fall. >> i don't know if it's a message that helps us in the fall. who knows what that message is going to be. there is validity what ron paul is saying. there was a time, maybe question get back to some of that, where local communities helped themselves. people came together and they provided for their own welfare after devastations like this. now, again, times have changed. the scale is much larger. the costs are much greater. you still need that help, if you can get, from sources that may include the federal government. may include state government, but i think -- i see it much more holistically than relying solely on one or the other and i understand where ron paul is coming from, from a libertarian standpoint, today requires some different than the early 1900s. >> governor rendell, does he have a point, fema-like programs encourage people to build in areas of the country where, frankly, they shouldn't be doing so?
>> that is correct. and programs should be, and some are. if you are in a flood lane and get hit the first time and get relief, if you build again in the flood lane you're not entitled to relief. weren't of the things the program does, try to help a person in a flood plain, whose house gets destroyed, to move to some other place and get started. but, look. the realities of life is that no one knows what's around the corner, and when disaster strikes, true disaster trikes, i believe that we ought to be there to help people. and i agree with michael. look, you're talking to somebody. you know this, michael smerconish. when i was mayor i cut the budget. when i was governor, i cut out a tremendous amount of waste in the government. i believe government spend hag to be targeted and effective. the day government is inconsequential in this country is the day this country is cooked. >> final question for both of you. it's a one-word answer, if you don't mind. does the presence of all of this
extreme weather, take your pick what's gone on in the last six months or so, mean there's about to be a change with regard to global warming in the congress? will it now be taken more seriously than it has been in the past? michael steele? >> yes. >> governor rendell? >> sadly, no. >> thank you both for being here. appreciate your time. coming up, michele bachmann jokes hurricane irene is god's sign for politicians to listen to the people. isn't it time we asked presidential candidates some tough questions about faith? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. have you been thinking
have you been thinking america will give awe government? you're right. according to a gallup poll released today, americans have a less favorable view of the government than any other industry. the first time the federal government ranked at the bottom lower than retail, electric, gas, accounting and banking just to name a few. only 17% of americans have a
welcome back to "hardball." religion and politics aren't exactly strange bedfellows especially around election time. many of the 2012 gop front-runners take their public faith to new levels. "new york times" executive editor bill keller says candidates aren't being questioned enough about their beliefs. yesterday he wrote, when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents we're squeamish about probing too aggressively. a sense encouraged by candidates what go goes on between a candidate is his or her god is a sensitive even privileged domain. except when it is useful for mobilizing the religious base and prying. we're joined by msnbc political analyst richard wolfe and john heilemann.
you've been on the campaign trail with all of these folks. >> it's clear bill keller is right in the sense that a lot of candidates use their religious connections to, as he said, pry open people's wallets in certain religious parts of the base. that's on display in this republican primary season. it's also the case that i think more broadly that presidential contest, presidential elections, are about character to a large extent and voters want to understand what the candidates they're about to vote for or not vote for what they believe in. those candidates do put their faith as they put their families on display to try to show people who they are at a deep level. to that extent i think it is fair as keller suggests to ask certain kinds of questions about what they're beliefs are and how they bear on public policy. >> look what happens when you do that, richard wolffe. as a fox news debate, michele bachmann was asked about comment she made in the past about a wife's duty to be submissive to
a husband. pay attention not only to the question but the way the audience reacted. >> in 2006 when you were running for congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree and in tax law. you said you hated the idea, and then you explained "but the lord said, be submissive. wives who are to be submissive to your husbands." as president, would you be suss submissive to your husband? >> what submission means to us,that's your question, it means respect. >> richard wolffe, interpreted by the audience as a cheap shot. that's what you just saw. >> the sweet irony, of course, is seeing fox news people being treated as the evil mainstream media. a tone around that debate from the audience and the candidates. questions typical of the media and priceless for them battering the media.
any question is acceptable. journalists have the right to ask any questions of presidential candidates or anyone in public life. the question, really, should be more i think, precisely focused about what their religion does to their positions on policy, on public affairs, on events in general, and so the question's legitimately, the attitude against it, bachmann is making pronouncements about her religion, how that affects her world view, perfectly acceptable to go after that. the audience was beating up, not because of religion, because they like beating up on the media. >> let's watch this. maybe there's truth in jest. let's all see. i don't know what god has to do to get the attention of the politicians. we got an earthquake. we've had a hurricane. he says, start listening to me. listen to the american people, because the american people are roaring right now.
because they know what needs to be done. they know that the government is on a morbid obesity diet, it's got to rein in spending. >> john heilemann is it suitable to follow-up with michele bachmann and say had you made that comment did you really believe this was some kind of a sign from god? a la pat robertson saying something about the washington monument at the end of last week? >> i do. yes. >> and people would boo and his at you like they did byron. >> our lot in life, michael, to be booed and hissed at by crowds of people. look, i think richard and i both said sort of the same thing a second ago. these views they have, the candidates have on their religious faith, do and can have implications. voters deserve to know the answers. bill kellner his column suggested respectful questions that can be asked. do you believe this is a judeo-christian nation? if so, what are the implications? any hesitance appointing a
muslim to the federal bench? questions about evolution taught in the public schools? those things are not controversial in my mind whether they're legitimate questions that go to the core our faith intersects with public policy and these candidates should all have the answers on the democratic and republican side. >> we have questions on the screen, if i can put them up. do you agree with religious leaders who say america is a christian nation, or a judeo-christian nation and what does that mean in practice? would you have any hesitation, as john just asked, what about appointing a muslim to a federal bench? i like this. what about an atheist, are there candidates, richard wolffe, who fear answering those questions on a public stage? >> you know, i find that in the elections i've covered, candidates have not been squeamish other journalists about answering questions. i actually think there's been
too much focus on -- underlying question with the religion -- with all of these religious topic. which is, are these people taking orders from some kind of religious factor, cult or more broadly in church? i find that incredibly narrow minded and easy for the candidates to dodge. so whether it's mormonism. or catholicism. do you take your orders from a preacher or from a high archbishop, whatever it is, in actual fact, michele bachmann raised a really interesting idea there. which is that she's interpreting current events, things in the news, through a religious prism. now, that is relevant. that is a really important question of how a future president may respond to current events. that's what you're trying to assess with a campaign, where journalists should be probing for. if she thinks hurricanes are an act of god, then that might affect how she prepare for a hurricane.
willfully accept that? say we're just going to take that message? that is an interesting line of attack, not whether or not they are taking orders from some priest somewhere. >> john heilemann, to go back to the second question that was suggested by bill keller. could a republican survive the primary season if they said, yes, i would appoint an atheist to the federal bench? my hunch is not. >> very difficult in today's republican party to make the case for that. although there are a couple of candidates who might well try. you can imagine perhaps someone like jon huntsman making that argument, trying to play for a more moderate flight to the republican electorate, but it would be very tough. frankly, in some of the debates, two of the debates prior to this, michael, we've seen herman cain with various view about his reluctance to have muslims with the white house. that question i think would also be really incendiary and would put, i think, some republicans into a very difficult bind if
they had to answer it. >> richard, just to follow out the politics of all this. one wonders if jon huntsman and mitt romney wish to have this kind of a public discussion of their respective faiths? mitt romney more closely follows the mormon tradition than jon huntsman. maybe i'm mistaken. i don't think it bodes well for either if religious questioning plays a more dominant place in the debates? >> they ought to embrace it because they can't run away from their own. there was much ado made about mitt romney's speech about religion. his faith, in the last presidential cycle. to my mind he didn't go nearly far enough, again, in talking about what his faith meant to him and what mormon practice meant to him. all of those things should be on the table. opportunities to talk about our lives, our beliefs and they should take those moments and express them for themselves and for their religion. >> i agree.
thank you, appreciate your time. up next, mayor michael bloomberg is getting high fives for his response to hurricane irene. no good deed goes unpunished. that's coming up on the "sideshow" you're watching "hardball," oath on msnbc. ♪ [ gasp ] [ mom ] my husband -- he thinks it's a 3-sheeter. i say 1-sheeter. bounty can clean the mess with less. [ female announcer ] in this lab demo, 1 sheet of bounty leaves this surface
welcome back to "hardball." time now for the "sideshow." first up, it's not new to launch an attack on washington in an attempt to garner support from voters especially recently. the gop candidate michele bachmann seems to taking this to a whole new level, and with a few interesting spins. just weeks ago the candidate explained that her reasoning in working for the irs was "because the first rule of war is to know your enemies." going a step further, bachmann credited define intervention towards washington for the recent earthquake and it damaging hurricane irene. questionable.
and bachmann took to mocking the intelligence of her colleagues in washington. let's listen. >> i'm also privileged to sit on the permanent committee for the intelligence in the house of representatives, and i know that's odd, probably an oxymoron, how's a public to say intelligence and house of representatives. >> what makes her odd one out of all government employees, the whole irs plan is still a work in progress. who knows. former vice president cheney's memoir revealing more than a few rifts. the former vice president and his boss could not even get their pets to be on friendly terms. in the memoir, cheney recounts the time all hell broke loose when his yellow lab joined him on a retreat to camp david. no sooner had we walked inside did dave catch sight of the president's dog barney. cheney describes the hot pursuit
as dave tore through the dining room determined to take down barney. in walked the president himself. after retreating to his cabin with dave, cheney recalls, i hadn't been there long. a knock at the door. the camp commander saying, mr. vice president, your dog has been banned from laurel. so much for second chances. was dave trying to act on frustration on behalf of his owner, we're never going to know. lastly, an a for effort? mayor bloomberg may have guided new york city through hurricane irene with relative ease this past weekend but didn't think he himself would make it through unscathed, did he? throughout the weekend the mayor addressed new yorkers numerous times to update them on the coming storm, even speaking spanish to maximize the amount of people that got the right information. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> all right. admirable, yes, but safe to say room for improvement with the spanish, and it didn't go unnoticed. so much so a fake twitter account was created to mock the mayor's subpar linguistics. an example, how about this? >> in the end, the fake twitter account garnered 10,000 followers over the course of 64 tweets. pretty funny stuff. coming up, they're back. dick cheney went after colin powell. so now colin powell is going after him. that's next. you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc. let me tell you about a very important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare,
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vermont is seeing the worst flooding in a century with entire towns with cut off roads and bridge peps about half of the people are still in the dark but even the hardest hit air yes, sir will be back on the line by the end of the week. the airlines say it will take a few days to get hundreds of thousands of stranded travellers to their destination amtrak is offering service to their northeast corridor. still, no service south of washington, d.c. gadhafi's wife and three children have fled to neighboring aljeera as rebel forces prepare for final push into his hometown. finally, huge 1250-point val ra willy led by insurance companies as investors breathe a sigh of relief as many had feared. now back to "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball." if you watched anything on television this weekend other than the coverage of harry contain irene you probably noticed the re-emergence of both former president george w. bush and his vice president dick cheney. joining me now for a postgame wrap-up of the bush administration intramurals, lynn sweet and david corn, an msnbc political analyst. allow me to say first what dick cheney said in his memoir. the former vice president said he hoped powell would be success at secretary of state but disappointed by powell's terms and abcs and wrote, as though he felt the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government.
and what president bush accepted powell's resignation i thought it was for the best. so now colin powell hit back yesterday in an appearance on cbs's "face the nation." he takes issue with the former vice president's portrayal of condoleezza rice and himself. let's listen. >> while he's taken -- taken the same shots at condi, almost condescending tone she tearfully did this or that. nothing wrong with saying he disagreed, but not necessary to try to pump a book up saying heads will be exploding. i think dick overshot the runway with that kind of comment. >> lynn sweet, what's the origin of the rift between these two? >> oh, deep differences over the execution of the run-up to the iraq war, plus the rule of the state department and defense department. it you're taking in condoleezza rice during that time.
so that -- they have had bad blood before it had been submerged in the years and, of course, the book comes out. now, the way that powell reacted to it, i would think is something that the vice president could have anticipated, yet when jamie gangel asked him about whether or not, you know, he even would have hurt president bush's feelings in the way he talked about him, he said, no. maybe he doesn't count reaction? >> does it stem in part from colin powell thinking he was hung out to dry with the presentation he played to the u.n. security council by individuals who were massaging the iraq data? >> well, i don't mean to interrupt, but in the book i did with michael isikoff a few years ago we quoted powell as being very upset. you know, he carries his burden that he was the only guy who put that statement out. he said, listen, it wasn't just me. it was bush. it was the vice president. but everyone always points to colin powell. he gave that u.n. speech, and so
he's very embittered about that, and i think he holds it against dick cheney who is pushing the intelligence establishment to come up with any iota of evidence to back up his hyperbolic claims about iraq's wmds. >> is it partially, lynn, david, is it partially now vice president cheney looks at secretary of state colin powell as a turncoat for embracing president barack obama in the last cycle? >> basically called him a traitor, but from the political perspective, i think any time dick cheney is on tv, it's a good day for the democrats. you know, in poll after poll after poll, people still blame bush and cheney more than barack obama and joe biden for the bad economic mess we're having today. anytime dick cheney is out there, even to sell books, it's a reminder of the bad old days and colin powell looks good if he's attacking dick cheney and there's nothing dick cheney can say now that will redeem his representation and george bush
with the american public. >> you mentioned the nbc news interview with jamie gangel, and the decision to go into iraq is sharply different from the one offered by his boss, president bush. let me play this for you. >> president bush writes, i turned to the team gathered in the oval office and said, let's go. you write, the president kicked everyone else out of the oval office, looked at me and said, dick, what do you think we ought to do? >> that's the way i recall it. >> lynn sweet, reacted to what you just heard? >> gets the story straight pup don't know. we weren't there. you have two of the principals in the room. i wish we had the video or audiotapes to straighten this out. something about the bad old days. we don't know. i think until one really goes through all the books and does more interviews as time goes on to see if there's any way of being more conclusive about this
fact, it's what it -- you know, somebody telling history. what the former vice president is trying to do though, mike, is set the stage for history. not so much whether or not there's a spat on the sunday shows or this week or next with colin powell. you know, this book is not a -- it is to advise history, one other thing is, not only a record that he's laying down in his book. these interviews themselves. what he did with nbc. what he'll do tomorrow on fox, on his book tour, these parallel history. all of these interview are part of the record. >> if indeed he's telling the truth, the interesting thing about this discrepancy, so happens, coincidentally, i'm sure, in cheney's account, he's the central figure in the decision. not the president. but the president asks him, what should happen. and the president's account, it's more of a group endeavor. but the central truth is that
they both agreed on the fact that they ought to grease their way to war with hyperbolic statements about iraq's wmds. whoever said, yeah, let's go. let's roll. that is largely inconsequential to the big roos told in kicking off the war. >> i was intrigued by the national geographic interview with w i watched. one of the interesting footnotes to the september 11th chronology, between them, who was it that gave the order to take down a civilian airliner that would remain in airspace and be unresponsive, bush said he was the one that had given that order. flight 93, he learned of the crash, he thought perhaps it had been shots oust sky based on his order. i've read to read the cheney book but an anxious to see if there's a different account who gave the order on the morning of september 11th.
>> i would be interested in that, too. the national geographic interview was taped before the book was out. doesn't seem to be the former vice president sent over a draft for bush to look at ahead of time. so, right. we'll be looking at these discrepancies. as david points out, these are distinction, but any stark difference? >> the criticism of president bush having remained in the florida classroom for far too long reading aloud. the book was "my pet goat." he explained himself last night. here is what he said. >> my first reaction was anger. who the hell would do that to america? and then immediately focused on the children, and the contrast between the notion of attack and the innocence of children clarified my job.
and that's to protect people. instantly after that the press corps started getting the calls, getting the same message i got. which meant that a lot of people would be watching my reactions to this crises. so i made the decision not to jump up immediately. now, i didn't want to -- in the classroom i didn't want to rattle the kids. i wanted to project a sense of calm. >> there's a lot about which you can criticize the president. a cheap shot at those who isolated, ran a stop watch how long to react to the that moment. quick response. >> at that point in time, he had no idea what the nature of the attack was. whether it was two plane, four, 16. whether they were dirty bomb. other things that would happen. listen, it's not too hard to stand up if you're the president of the united states and say, excuse me. something's come up. i have to attend to it. i'll come back later to finish the book. >> right. not as if he was in the back of
the classroom and throttled the guy right there. >> you don't know what was about to happen. it was the wrong decision. not the worst he made in this presidency, but i don't think it was the right decision. >> thank you both. we're limited on time, can you all see jamie gangel's interview with dick cheney tonight at 10:00 eastern on your local nbc station on "dateline." and a ponzi scheme, attacking the most popular program ever. is that the way to win a national election? this is "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] sitting. waiting. hoping. that's a recipe for failed investing. open an e-trade account and open doors, seize opportunities, take action with some of the most powerful yet easy-to-use trading tools on the planet all built to help you maximize the potential of every dollar you invest. successful investing isn't done
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it is a ponzi scheme for these young people. it is -- i mean the idea that they're working and paying into social security today and that they're under the current program, it's going to be there for them is a lie. >> welcome back to "hardball" nap was texas governor rick perry in iowa on saturday making clear that he stands behind the characterization in his book that social security is a ponzi scheme. can he take into language into a general election and win?
let me show you both what he wrote in the book. page 61 of his book called "fed up." perry writes ponzi schemes like the one that send bernard madoff to prison are illegal in this country for a reason. they're fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end. this is unsustainable fiscal insanity. it can hear them cheering in primaries, but in general elections turning away from that message. >> it's a problem, the way he's phrasing this is a problem. people in general can be sold a message that there can't be something in this generation, but that's not what's being framed, it's being framed as fraudulent. this is not necessarily going to play in iowa, but this is providing a ton of opposition for the democrats in general. >> wayne, did he know he was running for president when he wrote that book? i'm not sure that's the order in which it happened in governor
perry's case. >> he did not know he was going to run for president when he wrote the book. he wrote the book last year, it was published about nine, ten months ago, and when it came out he told me and other reporters in austin, this is evidence i was not going to run for president. if i were going to run for president i wouldn't say these things, so he didn't think he was going to run for president. he laid down the marker. he was going to be the big, strong republican governor's association voice against washington and the barack obama administration, and now, couple few months later he's running for president and has to either face the music or disown what he said. >> wayne, one followup with you, has he always been a 10th amendment guy and talked about the state's rights not enumerated to the federal government? >> certainly not the way he does now. he's a conservative guy and the 10th amendment is something philosophically and politically
is important, but he seized on the 10th amendment recently before the 2009 legislative session with the rise of the tea party. it was an example of what we've seen several times with rick perry, that's he's very good of judging the political environment and adjusting accordingly. >> maggie, netted a couple of things he's running against the size of government but it points out he used $17 billion in stimulus money to balance the state's last two budgets related to carrying out a key provision of the health care law, received $83,000 in federal farm subsidies between 1987 and 1988. is it going to catch up to him? >> absolutely. i think if his rivals frame it correctly as he is not what he appears to be, it could absolutely hurt him going forward. the thing he has going for him right now is people, these early
state caucus goers and voters is he is what he says he is, he is a blank slate, they don't know very much about him. they are going to learn a lot going forward. that's why it's such a question right now of mitt romney and the democrats, how soon do you start to define rick perry, the time will start running out and stories like the "new york times" story is a good road map for that. >> wayne slater, best thing he has going for him is outsiders from the state and george w. bush and the worst thing he has going for him is his resemblance of george w. bush. >> that's absolutely right, and i think he really has to worry -- i know they've worried about this on the inside. that's part of the reason if you read the book "fed up" he's saying all the places on fiscal policy where he differs sharply from george w. bush. bush spent too much money and was not a fiscal conservative.
what perry has to do, appeal to the primary voters, win the nomination. if he gets the nomination, it's how can he pivot and emphasize he is not george w. bush in a general election. >> wayne and maggie, thank you for joining our conversation on "hardball." let me finish with this, was irene worth the treatment she received?
finally tonight, i hope you're faring well from hurricane irene. nearly three dozen are dead, millions are without power, and the property damages are still to be calculated. still, it's not as severe as predicted. i was wondering if irene was worthy of the treatment she received. on saturday morning, i sent a tweet that got an instant and huge reaction. i said irene, it will rain, it will blow, but as a category one, is it worth the hype?
many said it wasn't, one said it was the iowa caucus of storms, one said it's a slow news week, another said tell me about it, it's the fear that's the worst so far. others were offended. i don't think that's hype. and then there was is this really a responsible question to ask on the eve of any hurricane? one more, don't do that or next time people won't evacuate and we'll have another disaster like katrina. that last comment gets to the heart of the debate. if we sound the alarm and it doesn't pan out, we run the risk next time prognostications will be treated like the boy who cried wolf and if we don't we chart a path that will lead to death and destruction. forecasters have to make predictions. the media has to tell us what the forecast predicted and the politicians have to plan based on what the media says the