tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 30, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
signatures asking mitt to prove he is human. they are calling for him to release his long form birth certificate. you see when we all start with these distractions, that's why we should be talking about the economy and health care, instead of hanging out with donald and others. if you continue this,ly have to support those activist, demand that long form, and i'll have to make sure it says will ard. lumped with trump. let's play "hardball." >> good evening, i'm chris matthews back in philadelphia.
what has donald trump got on mitt romney? is it fear? is the republican nominee for president afraid of what tramp might -- trump might release on him. this is about a growing group of republican grown ups demanding that romney show some independence from trump and leave him to sit in his playpen blowing his noisemakers all alone. joan walsh is here to tell us what it could be, is donald on the short list for vp, does he think there is something with the birther stuff? let's bring in joan walsh, and i want you to watch this thing. a republican strategist said "i think who romney stands with says a lot about what he'll
stand for. associating with trump seems to only reinforce the narrative on romney that team romney that team obama wants to push. that romney is a out of touch rich guy with no core. that he will associate with anyone if it will further his ambition. joan walsh, is your thinking along those lines? >> yes, he was called a perfectly lubricated weather vein. i think he is a coward for not distancing himself from trump. he doesn't feel that the base loves him enough. and so he wants to rely on the trump magic and the trump name. i think after yesterday, i will never forget the sight of mitt
romney next to the big trump sign behind him. it's cowardly, but it also really brings in this birther nonsense no matter what they try to say, he validates trumps birther nonsense and keeps it part of the conversation. trump is loving every moment of it. >> he is the piper. it's a real point. the guy who wants to be the hard right on every issue. he wants to be with the hawks on foreign policy, with grover nordqvist, and on birtherism, he wants to be seen with trump. >> we thought we went through this with romney, but the point that i made on this show and elsewhere, chris, is that romney
again and again sort of flirts with a pale version of birtherism. he says that obama is not really a true american, he's not
one of us. so he plays footsy with the notion that he is not truly american. i can't think of a better contrast. yesterday, the president of the united states who is he hanging out with? john glenn, pat summit, and what was mitt romney doing? hanging out with trump. i think joan was right with that visual of the big trump airplane, you expect him to put trump on the white house if he wins. >> you're so right, another parole of wisdom, the fact that trump is the godfather of birtherism now, but he has now
romney as an accolade saying that president obama is an anchor baby. but really he isn't one of us. here is chuck todd asking mitt romney's campaign spokesperson andrea shaw about trump overshadowing romney yesterday. >> any regrets by the campaign of spending the day you clinch the nomination with donald trump? >> look, donald trump is a supporter. you know, governor romney midit clear they disagree on some issues. governor romney says he believes the president was born in the united states. he said it repeatedly, he thinks the issue is closed. >> you know, then let's lock at romney on monday what he said. i think what he said himself is more informative that what his
suppo spokesperson said. >> i don't agree with all of the people who support me. my guess is they don't agree with everything i believe in, but i need 51% or more. >> here is his other spokesperson, donald trump, tweeting today. i want to see barack obama's college records now to see how he listed his place of birth in the application. in fact yesterday trump was interviewed by every cable network out there with a working telephone. >> a lot of people are questioning his birth certificate, their questioning the authenticity of the birth certifica certificate, many people don't agree. >> i don't know when you say many people who don't agree. >> many people. >> like who, give me a name.
of a position in authority in hawaii who says. >> many people. >> give me a name. >> i don't give naming, there's a lot of question
as to the authenticity of the birth certifica certificate. there are many, many questions. i think it's a great issue for mitt romney. >> you know, i don't know what to say there. joan, this is literal mccarthyism, i don't say the names, just there are a lot of names out there. somebody is yelling at him across 5th avenue, that's enough of an authority? here is donald trump siting his authority. they don't know anything about anything, but they are a derivative of the new york post. >> this is what mitt romney is bringing into the political main stream, chris. there is no way he gets off
without having to defend it. he can say he is distancing himself, but he has installed this carnival barker has one of his surrogates. he has a microphone. now look, trump always had a microphone, but this is giving him a bigger one. i thought the trumpism was dieing away after the president humiliated hymn at the correspondents dinner, but mitt romney went up to new york to kiss the ring thinking i need t crazies. so they brought him back in. >> the thing is -- >> you may have a point here. >> david, i think what's going on here is just a few months ago as you pointed out, he went sneaking up, made sure no pictures were taken of them together, now they're acting like a honey moon couple, they're embracing and having
photo ones. he wants to be as far right as he can get in this republican party. >> of course he let trump throw a birthday party fundraiser for his wife a few weeks ago. the big issue here is take a step back. can we think of any moment in time when mitt romney showed any guts? did anything that showed a spine? what happened with ted nugent? nothing. what about when that woman said barack obama should be put on trial for treason? nothing again. he didn't stand up. >> let's go to his motive. maybe his motive is not to be courageous. maybe he doesn't want to be like john mccain. maybe he wants to be seen as a guy who goes down with the right as far as he can go.
maybe he wants us to say he's so far right he's hanging out with the birthers. >> he knows, he knows, that the name of the game for the next five months is convincing the independent who's he alienated by making love to the conservatives, or trying to, and bringing them aboard, and asking like that moderate reasonable governor that he once was. >> i'm not saying their moderates. >> there's a lot of -- >> no i'm not saying that, they like a moderate temperament. they don't want somebody who is severely conservative or hanging out with a kook ball. he made a promise to donald trump to do something with him when he got the endorsement in february, and the campaign thought better to do it sooner than later.
>> i think a lot of people in the middle -- think who would be undecided at this point, somebody not paying attention, somebody turned off to everything going on. so ail yent nated they probably buy this birther crap. >> he thinks he is having a profile encouraged by standing up to his critics from the left. they said this this rachel last night. i will now bow to msnbc and distance himself from trump. >> you know, i don't think -- >> he like it's over there. >> he might. >> his father, we went all through this this week. his father got beaten because he was gutsy. >> his father walked out to protest a opposition to civil rights. his father was a profile of
political courage for several times and we see nothing like that coming from mitt romney. he may have inherited the hair, but not the spice. >> just like w., the old man showed not ration, tried to balance the budget, tried to listen to the right win, his son became the biggest nordqvist type in the world. how not to win. they learned their father lost, so their position seems to be that i don't want to learn his values, i want to win, i want to beat daddy. >> i think we have another one on our hands, another character. thank you david corn and joan walsh. now that he clinched the nomination, what are the biggest things he should be afraid of in this campaign. and does this guy have any interest in foreign policy
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welcome back to "hardball," yesterday we brought you the top thee things the obama campaign should worry about between now and november, today it's romney's turn. what he should be worried about is michael smerconish, and sam stein. a economic boomlet is at the top of the lust, i think we all agree on that, michael. >> it's totally predicated on the economy. i can't see him thus far or now through november getting traction on any other issue. there's a turn about going on thus far in the cycle where
foreign policy, normally the strong suit, is a distinct advantage for the ds, mitt romney needs to fear an economy that's getsing better. >> same question to you, sam, a boom of any kind in the third quart sere the worst news for him. >> right, and you're starting to see something like that happen. as we said before, the economy is recovering slowly despite what the president did, it's like an insurance policy to make the argument that even obama and the stimulus package didn't have an effect on the economy. but michael is right if the jobs numbers improve from where they are right now, the economy gets better, i think mitt romney is out of a premise for candidacy and that's the worst thing that can happen for him. >> let's talk about something else, your thinking here, sam let me ask you about this one. a bad romney story brought up by
enterprise reporting. there is an opportunity out there for good investigative reporting. if something is going to pop, it will probably pop for romney. >> right, this is part of a general election campaign. obama has been through it and romney hasn't. i know there is a theory that obama has not been vetted, but there was so many stories written about him at harvard, childhood, in the senate, nothing new will come out. but with mitt romney, the narrative is confined to the run as governor, and a time at a prep school, his mormon faith, and journalist in dc have not had a chance to pour over these records and will be competing with one another for the next big story.
so they have to be cognizant of being urn more scrutiny than the president will be. >> let's look at this possibility of another big foreign policy success story. michael smerconish, you have been very concerned from day one in 9/11 that we have to catch the bad guys and stay off the other distractions, a big al qaeda kill that could really concern romney because it would show the president to be one tough customer protecting this country. what would your scenario be? >> i think the story is that so many of the them have been eliminated, and you saw the front page story yesterday, and the kill list that the president keeps, so many of the names run together for the american people. who is the number two in the p.o.o. but the one guy still out there that would resonate with the
people is bin ladens number two, and i think that would be significant if we could get him. >> i don't know how much fire power literally foreign policy success does have for obama. i know it's his best defense, you can't hit him on this. it's good armor, is it good fire power if he catches another guy through funning the people and killing them. >> i would hate to disagree with michael smerconish but i do. he got bin laden, but the political pump from doing that was marginal all things considered. foreign policy and national security are so far down the list below jobbest and deficit, that it seems like the american public is tuned out to this whole thing. conversely if there were a
successful terrorist attack, that would be problematic for this white house. so i agree with you it's good armor. when machinery says the president has been weak, they can just point to bin laden. but a proactive case for reelection, i'm not sure what kind of leg it's has. >> michael let me ask you to finish up this question. economic boom in the late summer could blow romney out of the saddle. anything about his personal life would be lad. we don't know what's there yet. why does the president get more credit, if you will, at the ballot box and the polling for getting the guy that w. was never interested in getting and he got him and nailed him. >> i think there has been a fairly effective job done by the president's opponents that want to say the predicate was put in place by the push
administration. as far back as 2007, senator barack obama was saying i'll go even into pakistan if that's what it will take. and he was ridiculed for it by senator mccain and even joe biden that wanted to portray him as being naive. and look, at a minimum, he has neutralized what is normally a trump card, no pun intended, so say the democratic candadit is week. >> republicans were known for it throughout the cold war. thank you michael smerconish, and sam stein, with your great thinking. up next, mitt romney's new phone
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you're like ice cream, your husband -- >> it's like vegetables. >> that was the first lady last night on the daily show. mitt romney's campaign let romney's new app get released. this is not the campaign's favorite photo, but does the word america seem off. there are more fun ones out that came like the etch-a-sketch ergs. remember kristine o donnell's shining moment? michael sheer points out another
candidate says i'm not a -- fill in the black, republican joe coors running out in colorado. >> hi, joe coors here running for congress, i know what you're thinking but i'm not that. i'm a manufacturer. i helped big the largest -- >> he is not a beer, but he is a coors. you think tea party, you this smaller government, so why is the founder of the tea party caucus, and a birther to boot, want to add a new office of government in washington? what issue could be so crucial? he whipped out his idea when someone started with the birther
talk, and now it hit the internet. >> i hate to say it, but i think the debate is over. we lost the debate in 2008 when our presidential nominee said i'm not talking about it, okay? i'd like to establish a three person office in washington dc. okay? it can grow to five. there is no reason we should have this kind of question. someone would have to walk into that office, and prove they meet the minimum qualification to be president of the united states. >> what would be the job requirements for the three new public officials on that board? we need someone else to certify them? what's the democrats idea to get -- we're going to get some answers from the great u.s. congressman john lewis. he is coming up next.
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hey there, here is what's happening. police say the man suspected of open firing in a cafe may have shot himself. it is not clear if the incidents are related. the faa is looking to how the wing of a cargo plane clipped another. and jurors went home following an eighth day of deliberations in the john edwards trial. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball,"
ericholder while addressing controversial state voter id laws took time to honor the generations of americans that fought for votinggh let's watch the attorney general. >> i would argue of all of the freedoms we enjoy today, none is more important or more sacred than the right to vote. our efforts honor the generation that's have taken risking and those who used bullets and bombs to insure their churn and all citizens would be able to participate in the work of their government. without those people, there would be no erik holder. there would be no barack obama. and we must never forget that. >> one of the heros he mentioned is my next guest. john lewis, he authored a great
new book, "across that bridge" welcome, congressman. i want to quote something from your book about the voting rights act. you argue that is why it is very important to remain engaged especially when it is ag vot is thing we have for change. one vote will not make all of the change that is necessary. it needs per ses tent action. speak now to the young people and the older peer welcome why is this an issue of voting rights and what you achieved back in '65 important today. >> thank you for having me. i really truly believe in my heart and my gut that the vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society. and we must use it or lose it. it doesn't mat for you're low income, middle income, or a
billionaire, we all have one vote. and every single vote must be counted. so it's important that people go out and register, and vote like they never voted before. i think chris there is a deliberate systematic attempt to win or steal this election before it takes place. that the voter id in an early voting making it almost impossible to for young people, for students, for our seniors, for minorities, to participate for the disabled to participate, is a sin. it's obscene. to tell people it's going to be hard and tough for you to cast a vote. that's not right. it's not fair, and it's not just. >> mr. lewis, i hear every word you say and i'm worried about this, i'm going to talk about it in the end of the show.
i'm in pennsylvania that just signed a law that says you need a government issued photoid card. if you don't have one on election day this year and you cast a vote, all you get a. >> steve: a provisional vote, it is not a real vote unless you show up with a government issued photo id card. what are people going to be able to do about these laws already put in the books. >> i'm worried also, chris. that's why a group of my colleagues have introduced a piece of legislation that will probably not get passed in this congress, but we want people to use it to organize, mobilize, and when we take back the majority, we will pass a voter act that will improve the voting rights act of 1965. people cannot use and excuse not having a voter id. in some communities all across
america. churches are providing people with a voter id, but a voter id is like a poll tax. it's the form of a literacy test. saying to people like in the state of texas, even a student id cannot qualify. because gun permit id would qualify. that is obscene. >> what happens this november when we get up wednesday morning and we realize in a state like pennsylvania has gone for romney not because most people wanted romney, is that most people weren't allowed to vote because they live in row houses, they don't have an automobile. my grandparents were like that. these people are older, they're city people, they use the subway and mass transit, they own cars or have driver's license, and
when you're 75 or 80, they don't want to drive. how do they get an id with a picture on it. >> the iclu, the nacp legal defense fund and different groups must go into court and get an injunction against these states, the country and government for using this form to try to discourage people from participating. to be able to cast a vote should be very simple like getting a glass of fresh water. >> i agree with you. same day registration would be fine with me. here is your book, "across that bridge" it's an honor to have you on. joe williams is a white house reporter for politico, fill in some details if you can what will be done now in reality, not in theory or moral victories,
how will people get to vote g e given all of these laws like in georgia and pennsylvania that are onerous requirements to get to vote. >> it seems like when barack obama put his hand on the bible in 2008, it evaporated. they will take some tactics from the '60s, and teach people at churches, get pastors to talk about this this church, with neighbors, knocking on row houses to make sure everyone knows what law is and everyone is prepared to meet the law when the polls open in november. >> i actually think it could be, you know, a surprisingly positive thing. it's done for all the wrong reasons, but if this ener vigiz
the local people to get them to go do to door to work with the people, to get to that office and get that id card, this could energize people. maybe it's a bigger hurdle than they should have had to face. if they get out there and pass this hurdle and do this work politically, you might be able to reenergize local politics. >> that might be a side effect. when i hear john lewis talk about these things, i think about how the hurdle then was so much higher. the hurdle here is still in place. we should not have a hurdle in the first place, but they will make sure everyone clears it but that should be an effect to get people to the hols and recognize how precious this right is. and have other people in this nation who have died for that right have that right be sustained through overcoming
what certainly is an adversity filled campaign. >> do you get a sense there might be a effort here to drive down the minority vote? look at this effort aimed at urban areas with people that don't own cars. philadelphia certainly, pittsburgh, cleveland, we have closed state elections, but you have minority communities bunched together in cities, and then ministers to go after same sex. you wonner about how this thing is working to try to get down the natural or expected strong vote for the president in the black community. >> it is hard not to see some dots and seeing dots is hard not to connect them. you have the matter of the voting rights laws being enacted, a lot of the more tightened stricter ones are happening in battleground
states. pennsylvania, ohio, and it looks like there is an effort to place the thumb on the scale. you couple that with a lot of what has been talked about with defunding unions, those kinds of laws where people are not getting the right to collective bargaining. union dos what? register people to vote. also third party registrations, anybody who does active voter registration drives now has to overcome a second hurdle and make sure their organization is strikely set up for a social program. so it's a lot of interesting things happening, it's hard not to see it when you take the big picture view here. >> so well said, thank you, joe. the ad vice to people stuck with this attack it may be too late to change the law. if you don't use it, you lose it. up next, mitt romney is leading and attacking them over syria now. mitt romney the warrior now
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said "president obama's lack of leadership resulted in a policy of paralysis that has watched assad slaughter 10,000 individuals. we should cease selling arms to the syrian government and to end the obstruction at the united states." we have pj crowley, and major paul eaton. i want to start with major eaten on -- is he rounded by people that used their superiority to talk him into a war in iraq. are they pushing him to be hawkish at every moment on every front. >> good to be with you and it seems that way. a lot of neo cons putting out
papers this former governor may or may not be reading, we can't tell. ly tell you that the military w military experience, who wish to resort to military action as a primary activity. i mean, governor romney rode the vietnam war out as a missionary in paris. this is not a guy with serious credentials for foreign policy. >> so where does he come up with these burps of foreign policy wisdom? where does this need to always need to go to war, to arm the rebels, to challenge iran, to say they will not have a nuclear weapon because i say so. where does this -- is it all -- is it a metaphor, since he has no real tangible experience ever carrying a gun or being in a fistfight in high school? no sense of his family history of military roles, fathers or sons, nobody in that family has ever even been involved in rotc, where does he get the wherewithal to talk like he's a foreign policy hawk? who's writing the script?
>> it is a neocon reflex to militaryize foreign policy. it's a neocon approach to be a hammer and nail. they refuse to use a diplomatic approach, which is certainly what we need to do here in syria. >> let me go right now to p.j. crowley. you spoke for the state department, i believe, so effectively all these years and all those years. and i'm just wondering, what do we make of this guy, he does remind of somebody who has suddenly been scripted to talk like some kind of tough guy internationally. and i just wonder where it comes from. what's the genesis of this mitt romney tough guy? >> well, first of all, chris, as you know, there's a difference between campaigning and governing. and he's actually trying to create differences that may or may not exist. most of what he outlined, the obama administration has considered, is doing, or has considered and is rejected. on the subject, for example, of arming the opposition. well, the gulf states are already doing that, because
syria is a proxy war, you know, with iran. but also, be careful what you wish for. you know, in the context of libya, for example, libya's awash with arms. and once the war has ended, now the new central government's having a tough time reining in, you know, these armed militias that are now challenging the authority of the new government. so that's the difference between ultimately something that sounds good in the campaign, but may not be the best policy approach. >> well, here's u.s. ambassador susan rice, who's being talked about in some circles to be the next secretary of state, responding to calls to arm the syrian opposition today on "andrea mitchell reports." let's listen to the ambassador to the u.n.. >> for those who are advocating arming the opposition, they really ought to consider the consequences of that approach. and also to ask, frankly, who are they arming inside of the syrian opposition? you know and we know it is not a unified opposition. it's fragmented. they don't have common command and control.
there are some extremist elements mixed in there. and we know much less about the leadership and the intentions of the syrian opposition than we did even of the libyan opposition at the time, and i want to remind you that we did not arm the libyan opposition. >> well, there's a sophisticated response to the romney argument that's coming from the neocons, but here's john mccain on sunday on fox. here's what he says, knocking the president, as he's been doing lately. here's mccain. >> horrible things are happening in syria. this administration has a feckless foreign policy which abandons american leadership. the only conclusion you can draw is that this president wants to kick the can down the road on all these issues until after the election. it's really an abdication of everything that america stands for and believes in. >> general eaton, what do you make of this back and forth between our ambassador to the u.n. and john mccain, who sometimes just seems like he's bitter about everything. what's going on here?
>> chris, senator mccain has not recovered from 2008. that colors everything that he says and does. and he is not pursuing complex, nuanced approaches to solving foreign policy problems. his answer is air strikes, air strikes, air strikes, and he has marshaled other surrogates for governor romney to have that same party line. it's unfortunate and i am delighted to hear ambassador rice and the subtlety with which she speaks. >> thank you so much. i agree with you, general eaton, because nothing that the neocon intellectuals like more than an empty shell. they found it in dan quayle, that they used very effectieffe. they found it in w., who had a vacate experience with foreign policy at all. and they used these guys to be super hawks. and they have this new candidate for super hawkdom and they'll feed him and script him and you won't nowhere he came from
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most votes, but because enough voters were kept from casting a ballot. we had to screw up in florida and the intervention by the supreme court that put w. into office with well over 500,000 votes short of al gore's total. we've had citizens united, allowing billionaires to have unlimited sway in what we see and hear about the candidates at election time. does either side want an election now decided about the inability of longtime, life-long voters to have their say, to have their vote, to matter when the ballots are counted? i don't matter that some people out there would sit and chortle with their friends about how much fun it would be to grab the presidency by grabbing away some old person's ability to vote, to send them back to their row houses hurt and humiliated, to they will them they are not legitimate voters. it would be an assault, however, on our democracy. worse than watergate, worse than electoral dumb show that led to w.. it will show you a real citizens united. there will be a rebellion in the street ifs this election is