tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC November 12, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PST
silence of the nittany lions. good evening. i'm chris matthews out in los angeles. leading off tonight, when silence isn't golden. the most compelling question surrounding the penn state sexual abuse scandal is why didn't anyone say anything? why didn't they do anything? late this afternoon, the university placed assistant coach mike mcqueary on paid administrative leave. he's the graduate student who reported seeing jerry sandusky raping a child, but did not tell the police. the more we learn, the harder it is to believe that sandusky's
alleged crimes were not known, or at least suspected, by a large circle at penn state and in the college football universe. among our guest tonight is a young man who was abused as a young boy, and knows why victims and the adults who should be protecting them remain silent. plus, is it possible that mitt's it? is there anyone left to challenge the candidate republicans hate to love, mitt romney? "the daily show with jon stewart" declared the race over, for example, last night. but just as some were about to close the books on the gop race, here comes a cbs news poll today that shows herman cain in the lead, with romney only tied, yes, tied with newt gingrich for second place. also, president obama today called on businesses to embrace american's veterans and help put them to work. itis veterans day. why is it so far for veterans to find a job. and i've been thinking a lot lately about jack kennedy with the release of my new book, "jack kennedy: elusive hero." now this question raised by stephen king, what if he hadn't
been assassinated? how would the world have been different? king has written a novel that tries to answer that very question. finally, let me finish tonight with the disturbing feeling you get when authority figures let you down. we start with that very topic, the penn state sexual abuse scandal. ed rendell is the former governor of pennsylvania and now an msnbc political analyst. and patrick mcdonald was 12 years old when he was sexually abused by his scoutmaster. he's now a member of an organization called rape, abuse, and incest national network. he's also a columnist for the "daily beast." patrick, thank you so much for coming on tonight. we were talking beforehand, and i do salute you for your openness about this troubling situation in our lives today. tell about what you learned as a victim. >> well, i mean, certainly, that's a very broad question in terms of what i learned as a victim and what other victims experience. >> why don't people tell on each
other? why don't adults do their job as grown-ups and report horrible criminal behavior by other adults? >> well, there are usually a couple reasons for that. number one is they suspect that things are going on and they're not willing to be wrong in terms of challenging an abuser and removing a child from that environment. and really, who cares if you're wrong, if you make a mistake in terms of protecting a kid, but they're not necessarily willing to do that. or number two, they have some other motives in terms of being quiet about the abuse. you know, i can't speak to what may -- who may have benefited from being quiet at penn state. how mcqueary may have benefitted from a long-term career, how paterno may have benefitted from a long-term career by being quiet and protecting the organization, as well as protecting their friend. and at the end of the day, you have an obligation, as a member, and chris, we talked about this earlier, as a member of the human race, forget your legal obligations. you have a responsibility to kids that are in your charge or
that you witness, whether you're responsible for them or not, to protect them. by any and all means necessary. >> how did it feel as a young -- and we have tremendous memories of growing up, even in the early teens and before that. i remember a lot of what it was like to be that age. and i think you, obviously, do. what was it like back then to think about the adults who were covering up, who refused to come to your aid when they knew that something was up that was bad by this behavior by this scoutmaster? >> well, it certainly leads you to believe that you are completely alone in this battle. and you don't have any resources necessary to escape. you're not big enough to get away, you don't necessarily have the courage. and so you count on somebody else to protect you. you count on somebody else to watch your back. and when that doesn't happen, then you're forced with believing, whether it's right or not, that you are completely and utterly alone in this world. and i would tell you, as an adult, you can kind of rationalize that away, but as a
child, there is nothing more terrifying than knowing that what's about to happen to you, and that nobody is going to come to your defense. >> what do you make of this decision by penn state an hour ago to put on -- to put mike mcqueary, the guy who allegedly saw a child being raped, and that's the right word for it, and really, just think about how bad it could be, because that's how bad it was, apparently, he's on paid leave right now. what do you think of that? >> i think that penn state and everybody in the administration, first of all, should be incredibly ashamed of themselves. they clearly are not willing to progress forward, past this, and look at what kind of good things can come out of this. they're unwilling to do that. if they were, they would find every person that has a fingerprint on this cover-up, they would find them and they would fire them. and that would be that. there would be no "we're going to put you on paid administrative leave." we're going to put you on unpaid administrative left. it would be, you knew this or you should have known this and you did nothing? you did not meet your moral
obligations at all? go away. and until that happens, penn state is going to be looked at, almost as a laughingstock of an organization where they do not care whatsoever about kids. where they -- their entire organization is around that. and they choose to ignore it. >> pat, i want to get to the penn state situation with governor rendell in just a moment right after this. but i want you both to watch this. on abc this morning, george stephanopoulos interviewed the mother of victim number one in this case, the boy who was allegedly subjected to oral sex and fondling on at least 20 occasions by coach jerry sandusky. her voice was changed and her image obscured, the mother's, to protect her identity, obviously. let's listen to her. >> why do you think your son never told you? >> well, i think it was a lot of embarrassment. he was giving me hints to figure it out. and i did eventually figure it out. >> and when you finally did have the chance to have a heart-to-heart with your son, years after the relationship first began, tell us about that. what happened? >> we had a discussion where,
you know, i had said, you know, if, you know, maybe we should have, you know, come to this conclusion earlier, you should have told me, and he was like, well, i, you know -- he said, i didn't know what to do. i just didn't know what to do. and you just can't tell jerry no. >> governor, you're a penn state fan, as well as a penn fan, you went to penn. but i think i know a little bit about that feeling in happy valley up there, that almost religious sense of the important of paterno and that football program. what's your sense of this as this thing's really come open now? >> well, i think the university has to do what patrick says. they have to really wipe the slate clean and start anew. and they've got to emphasize that penn state is more than just a football program. under graham spanier's leadership, it's become one of the great public universities in the country, one of the best academically, and it's more than just football. and that's a point that ought to
be made. but they need to put all of this behind them. they need to understand the reality here is if in 2002, whether it's coach paterno, athletic director curley, mr. mcqueary, if someone had reported it to the police, there are at least five young men who wouldn't have had their lives alterably changed in what happened in 2003, '4, '5, '6, '7, and '8. that's an incredible tragedy. it's horrific. >> governor, it reminds me of my church, this sense of looking out for your adult colleagues takes precedent over taking responsibility for the safety, really, moral safety, psychological u physical safety of people in your charge. >> it's absolutely true. it's that kind of circle the wagons and protect the institution or protect our guy. let me ask you a question, chris. did they protect jerry sandusky? if they had turned jerry sandusky in in 2002, he would have a lot less criminal instances on his blotter. and he would have perhaps got an shorter jail sentence.
right now if he's convicted, he may be in jail the rest of his life. did they help him? >> you are a great man. thanks for coming on. coming up, is there anyone left standing who can challenge mitt romney? a new cbs poll shows herman cain in the lead with romney tied with newt gingrich. we said years ago, what a revolting dwoptment. i'll be on bill maher's show tonight talking about my book. "jack kennedy." itis number three right now on the best sellers list. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. is classic problem solvin. i mean, kids make stains, i use tide boost to super charge our detergent. boom -- the clothes look amazing, and daddy? well, he's a hero. oh, see this thing here? it was covered in freezer pop. and since i won't have to wash it twice to get it clean,
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conservatives looking for a viable alternative to mitt romney. herman cain continued to be dogged, as we know, by allegations that he sexually harassed women, and rick perry made sure he'll go down in the annals of debate history thanks to his brain freeze the other night. and conservatives' new best hope, if you can believe it, and want to believe it, is newt gingrich. he's inching up in the polls. but can herman or newt or any other candidate beat mitt romney? this is an amazing development politically. i don't think i can remember anything like this until going back to the republican fight in '64. the guys at nbc's first read seem to have their doubts. they wrote yet -- "mitt romney's path to the gop presidential nomination is now wide open. in fact, not since bob dole in 1996 has a candidate been such a clear front-runner right before the primaries and caucuses begin." well, two new polls out today show there is still a strong desire on the part of many republican conservatives to find someone else besides romney to be their nominee. the cbs poll shows romney -- look at this number here. romney tied for second with newt. herman cain continues to lead,
but both he and romney, god, are down dramatically from last month. so romney's had as bad a time as cain, with cain losing a lot of ground with women. obviously. romney drops seven points. the mcclatchy/maris poll shows romney in the lead, followed closely by newt gingrich and herman cain. is there a viable alternative to romney among the conseconservatives? tony perkins is president of the family research council. david corn is an msnbc political analyst and bureau chief for mother jones. tony, i've been thinking about you a lot. i do trust your conscience, you're more conservative than me on cultural and moral issues, maybe, although i'm not sure. when it comes to actual morality, i think we may be closer than you'd believe. here's my question. how can someone on the religious right, who basically takes their cues in politics from their religious beliefs and moral beliefs put out there something like herman cain with all these questions about him? let me just call them questions at this point. but enough of them to weigh you
down a bit in terms of wanting to get a good verdict out of it? >> i think that's a fair question. and i think the question now that's being asked, conservatives are saying, are these allegations cooked up by these women, are they true? is herman cain, you know, a master chef of deception? and that's going to be a deciding factor for the outcome of his candidacy. i think some look and see how front-runners have been kind of found some weakness or some allegation, they've been attacked. they're waiting to see if these things are true. if they are, i think people will leave herman cain very quickly. as you said, he's declined some in the polls, but that support has actually gone to newt gingrich. i mean, michele bachmann -- >> what do you make of that? newt gingrich, i'm not against people having multiple, serial marriages. i'm not in the business of justifying that. a lot of people i know are happily married for the second time, sometimes the third time. i bumped into an old friend of mine, he's on his fourth. i'm not here to judge. i'm not a minister or the man of the cloth.
in fact, i don't judge people myself. i think people should see happiness on earth in a reasonable way and in a moral way. now, newt gingrich, three times married, opus dei, right-wing catholic. are you okay with him? >> this issue came up when he toying with the idea of running four years ago. he addressed those issues. i think he has problems with women, conservative voters. i think they'll give somebody one pass, but i think he has a difficulty he may not be able to overcome. but this is what he's done in the debates. he has not been out front and won every debate, but every time he's said something, it's been pretty good. he's a pretty smart guy. and he has kind of been a senior statesman and he's giving brought some clarity to these debates. i think people are giving him a second look. >> i want to get to tony here. i find him fascinating. i do trust him. you go to the supermarket like i do occasionally for the family. you go and look in the grapes collection. and all the grapes are all rotten.
so you don't buy any grapes that day. >> i buy bananas. >> what happens when you go to your republican candidates and they're all rotten this year. do you not buy any? >> i think that is a challenge. and that's why -- i'm not saying they're all rotten. there are actually some good candidates, but they've all had kind of a -- they've been out front. michele bachmann was out front for a while. she was attacked and went down in the polls. rick perry was greatly anticipated to enter the race and he has underperformed. then you see herman cain. but you look, it's really interesting, chris. herman cain, despite these allegations and charges, is maintaining his lead. even in this poll out of iowa. he's dropped, but he's still ahead. it tells me that people are not ready to go to mitt romney and settle on him as the nominee. >> that's it. david, get in here. analytically, you're a man of the left, but this is so weird, a party that can't find someone they like. >> your analogy is that a piece of bruised fruit might do better than mitt romney. that may come at the end of the day.
but to win over the long run, you need three things. i'll make it simple for rick perry here. you need money, organization, and seriousness. and none of these challengers that have come up, you know, as the non-mitt candidate have had all three, while mitt romney does. and there's one other thing i'd add to that. you need to be able to survive scrutiny. and newt gingrich up to now has had the advantage of low expectations. the media hasn't gone and looked at the 17 organizations he's running -- he's run. one good example, the other night at the debate, on cnbc, they asked about $300,000 he was paid by, what was it, freddie or fannie. and you know, when they were trying to get political influence in washington to keep the regulators off their back. he said that they turned to him because he was a historian and he would give them historical lectures. i spoke to someone at fannie mae about that, and they were laughing about this. he wasn't telling the truth. no one's dug into a lot of these things, in 30 years of political controversies.
so he may come up for a while, but he's going to fall down like everybody else, like we say see herman cain now. you may be left with mitt romney because there's nobody else in the barrel of apples. >> david, i agree with you. but i would just add one little component, a twist on what you said. i think the candidate has to be trustworthy. people have to trust them, in that what they say is what they do. and sometimes we're seeing rhetoric, but a record that doesn't match the rhetoric. >> that is the mitt romney problem. >> yes, absolutely. >> here's herman cain yesterday, joking, and i think he was joking with a supporter about something that's not really funny, anita hill, the woman who accused clarence thomas of sexual harassment. let's listen to his fun here. >> did you hear the latest news today? anita hill is going to come -- [ laughter ] >> is she going to endorse me? >> herman cain said his comment was in no way supposed to be against anita hill. i don't know how to put these things in context anymore.
ov you obviously, he thought it wauz hoot. look, i don't think her charges were anything but serious. serious as hell, and that situation was not fun when you were clarence thomas or anita hill. it was a dramatically bad situation for both parties. i think she was right, but i've got to tell you, there was nothing funny about it. i don't know why they think it's funny. let me go back to david corn. who's going to be the republican nominee, if you had to put big money on it? >> well, i wouldn't put big money, but you've got to bet with mitt romney now. he's the only guy that's been able to make it this far without looking like a total fool. there is the trustworthiness question that tony has brought up, and he's going to have to continue to navigate that. but at the end of the day, he's not a piece of rotten fruit, which may be what determines who wins the the republican nominee. >> back to tony for a second. tony, could you live with him as your nominee? >> well, we're not there. >> the religious right people? >> we're not there yet. we're going to see where we win. sometimes you got to know when to hold them, when to fold them,
back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, leader of the pack. by default, as we talked about earlier, mitt romney's front-running status seems to be mostly a result of the surge and tank pattern, surge and tank is the phrase, pattern we're seeing from his opponents. and plenty of people are noticing. let's see how "the daily show" summed up romney's ongoing secret to success on last night's show.
>> in our coverage of romney's clinching debate, we need not even show you highlights of romney. but merely the spontaneous combustion of his opponents. chief romney rival in the polls, herman cain. guys, in the middle of a scandal involving his treatment of women -- >> we didn't hear about it in the previous congress, because princess nancy sent it to committee and it stayed there. >> princess nancy. there's only three times you should ever use that term. with an actual female member of the royal family, a new maltese puppy you got and oh, what's the third? many republican faithful thought perry would be the answer to their prayers, but it turns out he was the answer to ours. >> well, that's for sure. could there be any greater gift to late-night comedy in the past few weeks than the republican race? the answer, no. and finally, i'm out on the west coast and last night i stopped
by "the tonight show" with jay leno to discuss my new book. "jack kennedy: elusive hero." we had a great discussion on kennedy's presidency and i shared with jay my discovery about jack's most famous line. let's hear it from the interview. >> jack kennedy's famous speech about ask not what you can do for your country, but in your book, you say he didn't actually write that. tell that story. >> he went to choate school, which is a private boarding school up in connecticut. and i had heard the rumor that maybe he got the ask not what you can do for your country from his headmaster. the speechwriter thought it might be true, but never could prove it. i went up there, they pulled open a looseleaf book. i opened it. it was the headmaster's daily sermon notes. it had the number of the hymns, and it said, the youth should always ask of its alma mater, not what he can do for them, but what he can do for her. i found where it came from. >> a 50 year mystery right here.
>> it was a heroic memory and i'm bringing it back to life as best i can in my book. thanks again to jay for having me on. up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm [ male announcer ] for half the calories -- plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8. you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you want a firm bed you can lie on one of those, we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. it's really shaping to my body. once they get our bed, they're like, "why didn't i do this sooner?" at our semi-annual sleep sale, save $500 on our