tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 21, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
slut lately, so i guess he has. i think that deep in his heart he plays this from the perspective of what he really is, and that's an entertainer whose well-being is based upon his popularity and fame. >> great to have you with us. that's "the ed show." "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening. i'm looking forward to the cory booker interview. that's the interview in politics in the world right now. thank you. that's an incredible segway. i'm looking forward to it. >> glad you're back. >> thank you. i appreciate it. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. if you go to the homepage of republican party right now, if you type gop.com into your web browser, the front page of the national republican party's website comes up and today it looks like this. i stand with cory. i stand with cory?
with cory booker? i don't think i need a spoiler alert here if i let you know this the republican party in reality is very unlikely to actually stand with cory booker. mr. booker is the democratic progressive firebrand mayor of newark, new jersey who supports president obama's re-election. the republican party is making a big show of saying they are standing with him because they say cory booker is a victim who needs people to stand up for him because he can't stand up for himself. because it's the republican party, obviously, the person that is victimizing cory booker is mathra. i mean godzilla. i mean president obama. they sent out this e-mail to republican party supporters. it says, do you know what obama does with people who stand up for job creators?
he silences them. they had pressured booker into taking back support of the free market. this is how far president obama has sunk, running an all-out assault on job creators and in his own democratic party, anybody who dares defend them must be silenced. don't let the white house silence free enterprise. if you agree, then please sign our petition. i stand with cory booker. and if you do sign that petition, you will thereby give your e-mail address to the republican party which will then make infinite use of your e-mail address from now to eternity. he promptly followed up the endorsement by saying there are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish they had run for president, but they didn't. when tom davis endorsed mr. romney this way. >> he may not be mr. personality.
he says he doesn't think private equity per se is not always bad. that's something they say is off message, as someone who was functioning as an obama surrogate. it was off message. off message like when mark rubio endorsed mitt romney for president and then promptly followed it up by saying, quote, there are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president, but they didn't. off message like when former congressman tom davis endorsed mr. romney this way. >> he may not be mr. personality. this is the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out. >> off message like when john huntsman endorsed mr. romney's candidacy with this little love song to the republican nominee. >> gone are the days when the republican party used to put forward big, bold visionary stuff. we're going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas.
>> oh, and by the way vote for mitt romney. off message like when nevada congressman joe heck endorsed mitt romney by saying, quote, mitt romney and i don't agree on every issue and housing is one of them. off message like when michigan congressman fred upton said his candidate, mitt romney, was wrong on the auto bailout. off message like when chris christie joined the democrats in demanding that his candidate, mitt romney, release more years of his tax returns. it should be noted that the platonic form of off message surrogate this year came in the form of chris christie as well. do you remember this one? >> in terms of me, i'll be much more ready four years from now than i am now. >> in stumping for the guy who is running right now, you're talking about how you will be
ready to run in four years why, because your guy is going to lose this year, and the republicans will have another shot, or are you thinking he will win and you'll run against him after his first term? that's off message. off message happens. off message happens a lot. it's happened a whole heck of a lot with people acting as mitt romney's surrogates this year which democrats have attended to react to by softly chuckle iing about it if they notice it at all. but when off message happens on the democratic side, even when mayor cory booker clarifies his remarks and says he does not think that mitt romney's tenure at bain shouldn't be off limits and even when president i've be
he would have come out and said the negativity on our side -- i'm going to talk about us -- has got to stop. if he wanted to come out and stand with me, he would say, you know what, i stand with cory booker, let's stop the super pac money, let's talk about the issues and i'll meet with president obama to talk about those. for him to use that slogan in a way to manipulate my records and my entire professional career working in the streets in my community with good people trying to make newark better, i'm sorry. people have ignored newark before, but to exploit it or its mayor, it's something i'm not going to sit still for. >> cory, as a practical matter, it's sort of weird because the idea of collateral damage is that it's unintentional, but in this case i think you are intentional collateral damage, that the attack is directed at the president by using you essentially as the weapon against the president. you as collateral damage is also supposed to be silenced in this
debate. you were effectively supposed to be rendered inoperable as a campaign surrogate and as a person who speaks on behalf of his own support for the president. has that aspect, do you think, worked? do you feel like you have to sit out national campaigning for now or for the long run because of this incident, or are you just going to keep doing what you've been doing? >> one, i'm going to serve the president and what his team thinks is the best use for me. two, for whatever opportunity i have within my city and throughout wherever i go, as i've done consistently for a very long time for the white house as well as for the president, as well as for his campaign, i'm going to continue every single day to pour my heart and soul into making sure that he gets reelected, because i've seen what happens under a republican president. i've seen what happened under george bush within my city. i've seen the challenges of money pouring into a war and not with challenges into our community. i've seen investment in education, i've seen investment
in middle class job creation, and that's something i can't sit still for. i feel personally disappointed in any way that now i'm being used to undermine the president in this kind of cynical avenal way. and i'm going to work harder. if anything, they've turned me on to work harder the next six months, from fundraising to whatever need be to ensure that our president gets reelected. i'm not going to be quiet on my disappointment with the nature of the campaign. i think we as a democracy really now, and especially after this election, really need to start looking at things we can do to get money out of politics and start focusing on what we can do to ensure democracy is advanced and be sure the voices can be heard and not drowned out the way they are now with super pacs. the way my heart is right now, i'm very upset i'm being used by the gop this way, and while today i thought i was going to be quiet, i've been pushed so
far that you're going to hear a lot from me and to the extent president obama and his campaign want to hear from me. >> mayor booker from the great city of newark, new jersey. i know it was hard to speak publicly today like you've just described and i appreciate you're willing to talk with me here. good luck, mayor. >> thank you. >> andrea mitchell still to come, we have a big show tonight. stay with us. so you brushed with colgate total and you didn't.
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first of all, i think cory booker is an outstanding mayor. he's doing great work in newark and helping to turn the city around. i think it's important to recognize that this issue is not a, quote, distraction. this is part of the debate that we're going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy where everybody from top to bottom, folks on wall street and folks on main street have a shot at success, and if they're working hard and acting responsibly, that they're able to live out the american dream. now, i think my view of the private equity is that it is -- it is set up to maximize profits. that's a healthy part of the free market.
that's part of the role of a lot of business people. that's not unique to private equity. as i think my representatives have said repeatedly, and i will say today, i think there are folks who do good work in that area, and there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries. understand that their priority is to maximize profits. that's not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers. the reason this is relevant to the campaign is because my opponent, governor romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. he's not going out there touting his experience in massachusetts. he's saying i'm a business guy,
and i know how to fix it, and this is his business. when you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. and, so, if your main argument for how to grow the economy is, i knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then you're missing what this job is about. it doesn't -- it doesn't mean you weren't good at private equity. but that's not what my job is as president. my job is to take into account everybody, not just some. mr. romney is responsible for the proposals he's putting forward for how he says he's
going to fix the economy, and if the main basis for him suggesting he can do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining. >> that was president obama speaking in chicago today after he was asked a question at the nato summit there about domestic politics, about his campaign focusing on mitt romney's tenure as a businessman working in private equity. he was asked about that because of criticism of that focus from his campaign which republicans have made so much hay about. a criticism of that focus from newark mayor cory booker who we just spoke to. joining us is nbc news chief foreign affairs and host of andrea mitchell reports. the one and only andrea mitchell. thanks for being with us.
>> you are the one and only. nobody else could have gotten cory booker to come in and speak, and that was an incredible interview. well done. >> thank you. thank you for saying so. it's high praise coming from you. i want to ask you about the point that i tried to make in the introduction to that interview, which i'm not sure has been made elsewhere, which is the idea of the wayward surrogate, the off message surrogate, which is something that has happened a lot on the mitt romney side of the campaign to almost no political impact whatsoever. it's happened, obviously, with mayor booker on the democratic side of the campaign to massive political impact. why has there been such a difference? >> the romney people have been very adept at really jumping and they have a lot of democratic allies in this who jump any time there's a missed message. this was, with all due respect, to mayor booker, there was a missed message.
he did, in his answers, conflate the attacks on bain and on private equity with the jeremiah wright issue, and that's what so upset the obama camp. because they do not see that at all as analogous. the jeremiah wright issue will probably rear its ugly head. to use that and try to compare that in any way with the essential outlines of his campaign as the president and as mayor booker, in his interview with you, outlined, which is that private equity has its role, but if your whole premise of running for president as the obama campaign claims is that you're a business person and you can fix what's wrong and you will do this the way you did it at bain capital, if that
experience defines your qualification to be president, well, as president obama said in his news conference, that just is not what a president is supposed to do. a president is supposed to represent all the people, not just the people that can benefit by being the investors who will do well if a company that bain capital has turned around does well or does not. making money is not the business of the president of the united states. that is the way president obama framed it. that is the message that they believe is resonating in the key battleground states across the midwest, across what we used to call the rust belt, and that is what they believe was badly damaged by cory booker as their event you' eventual endorsement of gay marriage was damaged by another surrogate, vice president biden.
they were just sort of shaking their heads but they were deeply upset. >> i should say i think we made news tonight with cory booker saying that conflation of the jeremiah wright tactic and the private equity tactic isn't interest he intends and he regrets and isn't something he believes. one of the things that's so fascinating about this, andrea, is mitt romney's ten years in the private sector, the time he spent at bain capital as opposed to the time he spent in massachusetts have actually been made central by the republicans and the democrats. the republicans have run with that and the democrats want them to run with that. i wonder if this is going to be a reflection point on that. are either of these campaigns going to change their focus on that issue because of what's just happened here? >> not for the obama campaign, i can tell you. they believe the bain capital record is their best argument against mitt romney. and they point out very happily
and willingly that he does not run on his record as massachusetts governor. because, of course, he has had to pivot on so many issues from that record as massachusetts governor. now, you're absolutely right. what you pointed out in your opening segment in the lead-in to the cory booker interview was that the media has not really dwelled on how many of these republicans are not endorsing mitt romney in a very -- how would describe the way they've been endorsing mitt romney -- an elevator closing? >> they haven't been unequivocal? >> to say the least. so that has been sort of a light motif but not hammer. that really makes metaphor but you know what i'm trying to say after all these hours traveling today, that the republicans have gotten pretty much a free ride on that, and mitt romney has managed to pull the party together. and i think that's partly
because for all of the bitterness of that campaign and for all of the more conservative republican and social conservative who has longstanding doubts about mitt romney and his authenticity, they still, i think, dislike barack obama more than they dislike mitt romney. >> nbc chief correspondent andrea mitchell. andrea mitchell reports weekdays at 1:00 here on msnbc. andrea, i know you've had an incredible day from covering in chicago and traveling and being here tonight. thanks for being with us tonight. >> you had the enter vurks mint. well done. >> ben jealous is coming up to talk about the major shift in politics on a major issue in our country right now. he is making major news and he will be here in just a couple minutes. i told you it was a big show.
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if you have grown up laughing to the jokes of particular comedian, if they have a distinctive voice, it can be hard to hear that voice. to hear that comedian saying something and not automatically subconsciously register in your brain that something is about to be funny. so when the great chris rock was asked recently about president obama endorsing equal marriage rights for same sex couples, hearing chris rock answer that question was to experience the expectation of laughter.
even though he didn't say anything funny in his answer. from watching this happen, i learned that frankly, chris rock could read me the phone book and subconsciously, i would believe it was funny. >> i just think, you know, when you have kids you can't lie to your kids. he said, i read today, his kids have friends that have same-sex parents. i just took my daughter to a party the other day, two guys, same sex parents. he couldn't sit there as the most powerful man in the world and say these people deserve to be discriminated against to his little girls. i thipg i thank i thank the chi more than anything. the children will make you find who you truly are and make you
honest. i think that's what happened. this shows you how screwed up the world is. a man goes, hey, i think gay people should be treated like everyone else. controversy! what kind of world is this? it's so horrible. >> that was a few days ago. chris rock on the graham norton show talking about same-sex marriage rights. a couple of days after that, the great jay-z expressed much the same sentiments. >> what people do in their own homes is their business and who you choose to love whoever you love. it's no different than discriminating against blacks. it's discrimination. i think it's the right thing to do so whether it costs him votes or not, it's not about votes. it's about people. whether it costs him votes or not, i think it's the right
thing to do as a human being. >> it is no different than discriminating against blacks. it's discrimination plain and simple. jay-z equating same-sex marriage rights to the struggle for civil rights and african-americans in this country. that's an assessment that the oldest organization has just weighed in on. the head of the naacp joins us live. that's next. i'm more of an absentee plant parent. [ cellphone rings ] tuscaloosa? schenectady. des moines. ok. ok. ok. i can't always be there to weed my petunias. so now we use miracle-gro shake 'n feed plus weed preventer. it feeds plants and prevents weeds for up to three months. so my plants grow bigger, more beautiful, without all the weeds. guaranteed.
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[ loud r&b on car radio ] i'm going on break! the more you bundle, the more you save. now, that's progressive. the naacp is 103 years old, the nation's oldest civil rights organization. they announced they are endorsing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. this parallels the decision on this issue by president obama. like president obama, the naacp has recently taken the position in favor of same-sex marriage in some contentious rights and some contentious marriage issues. before this vote by their board, before this 62-2 vote by their national board, they had not taken a national position on this issue in general. it's a big deal for a few reasons. first, because support for same-sex marriage has been softer among african-americans.
there's been talk on the anti-gay right to use the issue to turn gay people and black people against each other for political purposes. then i guess gay, black people get divided personally. left leg one ray, rigway, right other, or something. there's also been concern in the democratic party if elements of the african-american community disagree with the president's position in favor of gay rights maybe that could soften his rock solid support among african-american voters. the naacp, the world's oldest and largest african-american association, taking this stand is therefore a big deal. the other reason this is a big deal is emotional. it's personal. something kind of remarkable happened when the group's national president, ben jealous, made this announcement about his organization today. watch what happened. he just made the announcement about the naacp endorsement and he's been asked a question about whether he's worried about a
backlash against the decision from naacp members who dissent from that position for religious reasons. >> i want to say that a lot of us are religiously based. we do this work because of our faith, not in spite of it. with that said, our calling as an organization is to defend the u.s. constitution. we are here to speak to, again, matters of civil law and matters of civil rights. i've spoken to many clergies who feel differently, different thoughts, different thee ologit different doctrines. if this is this is not a conflict. they understand that there are well -- excuse me.
to one -- i'm a bit moved. my parents' own marriage was against the law at the time, and they had to return here to baltimore after getting married in washington, d.c., and the procession was mistaken for a funeral procession because it was so quixotic for people to see these headlights going from one city to the next just they could have a party for their marriage when they got home. this is an important day. >> this is an important day. joining us now for the interview is the president of the naacp, ben jealous. ben, thank you so much for being here tonight. it's good to see you. thank you. >> thanks, rachel. >> i have to ask you -- go ahead. >> no, you got me choked up
there. one of the reasons why this issue is so important, so important that we as a country just get it right. this is an issue of civil law, it is a civil rights issue. think of marriage and what our government does. because when we get it wrong, it gives permission for people to bully kids, to make their parents outcasts, and that's why i'm so proud of what our board did, that they really discerned, they debated and they came down, came down very firmly that this is an issue of the constitution. it's a matter of our law, it's a question of how our government treats its citizens, and how we will let states caudify into their constitution, and i'm just proud of the naacp and the stand that we have taken. >> the naacp has taken a stand
on this issue with some state chapters and some local chapters on some local issues, but in terms of the decision to take this vote at the national level, and it was an overwhelming vote, 62-2, i think i read was the vote of your national board. do you think the timing here was driven by the kinds of personal issues that you raised, that drove that emotion and that announcement today? people personally coming to this issue for -- because of personal reasons, or is this a political decision by the group or some sort of melding of the two? >> what happened was we saw this great battle in north carolina, and realized as that was going on that it was no longer sufficient to decide this state-by-state. we had fought it in california, i signed off joining a lawsuit
to invalidate prop a. we fought it in north carolina most recently. with that it became clear we might be fighting a tidal wave, and we thought it was important, the board in their deliberation thought it was important to come out clearly for the entire country, to make it clear that we will fight these efforts wherever they pop up. simply cannot stand by and watch one group be targeted for d du jour discrimination. we have opposed du jour discrimination from our founding, and this is no different. the reality is the right wing in this country is really seeking to put hatred in the constitution, and we simply can't stand by, no matter who the group is. and again, we had taken a noble stand in several states, but it was time to take it for the
country as a whole. >> ben, in terms of the right wing, particularly the anti-gay activist right wing having strategized gay activists and black activists, trying to get it to the ballot box and beyond, do you feel their strategy is naive? do you feel that even if you disagree with it that it could succeed, or do you feel they're barking up the wrong tree in trying to pursue that means toward their ends? >> no, they're truly barking up the wrong tree, and of course they're going to be able to find some black person who wants to make this their issue. but the reality is that folks know when they're being played, they know when there is a group, the anti-civil rights to their core that is trying to dupe them
to go down the wrong road. yeah, people may have a difference on this issue, but we're not going to be divided on so many other things. the naacp is not going to lose significant membership, for instance, for taking this stand. we may even gain membership. the reality is that people expect to see the naacp stand up for the constitution, stand up for equality, stand up for continuing the tradition of our country, and one that we've always found, really, in recent decades, but stand up for the tradition of using constitutions to expand rates rather than contract them. i mean, that's something that's gone on in this country consistently, probably, since the 1950s, sporadically before, but now we're going back to these dark days where folks want to use constitutions to restrict rights, and that's something we
will stand against each and every time just like we stood up to help defeat the referendum in mississippi. the whole purpose of a constitution in this country, it expands rights, not restrict them. >> ben jealous, the president and ceo of the naacp that has made this momentous that they, as a national organization, support equality in marriage rights for same-sex couples. ben, congratulations on this, i know it was a big deal for you to be able to announce this. it's been a big goal for your organization. thanks, ben. thanks for being here tonight. >> thank you, rachel. >> we'll be right back. and get their new claim satisfaction guarantee. hey, he's right man. [ dennis ] only allstate puts their money where their mouth is. yup. [ dennis ] claim service so good, it's guaranteed. [ foreman ] so i can always count on them. unlike randy over there. that's one dumb dude.
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in case you missed it tonight, we broadcast the first exclusive interview tonight with newark mayor cory booker after his meeting with "meet the press" set the world on fire. my comments to "meet the press" range from interesting to idiotic. he met with me here tonight with statements about what he meant on "meet the press" and how he sees himself being used by the republican party. the news cory booker made on our show recapped in just a moment.
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every address, every time with every door direct mail. so the big news tonight was made on this show. on "meet the press" yesterday, newark mayor cory booker criticized campaigning on both sides of the presidential campaign this year. he said he found it nauseating. he said even though the president's election, which he supports, had criticized mitt romney at bain capital, he didn't think the that was all that bad. the republicans picked up on that and made the slogan, we stand by cory. booker says he is now being made a victim, that he's not being allowed to say what he actually believes. mayor booker was here tonight to
say what he actually believes. he said it was that republican party response which he called explo exploitive which made him break his own on-air silence about his comments. he joined us exclusively this hour. >> i wasn't doing any interviews. it wasn't until the gop went across that line that i said, forget it. i've had all i can stand and i can't stand no more. so thanks for allowing me to be on tonight. >> what was the line they crossed that made you feel that way? what is it about the way they reacted to this that made you change your mind about talking to somebody? >> when i was on "meet the press," not only was i defending obama is numerous issues, but my outrage and frustration was really about the cynical campaigning, the manipulating of the truth. so here they are plucking sound bites out of that interview to be toipipipip mate them in a cynical matter, to use them for their own purposes. and that slogan is rea