tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC September 2, 2012 4:00am-4:30am PDT
good evening, i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start with this. does truth win out, really? if one side of a fight puts out something misleading or downright dishonest, who are you going to call? who's going to come in and umpire the thing and really set it right? well the right here and the fight here is the challenge of this election, separating
discernible fact from partisan fiction on medicare, welfare, national debt, a plant closing. who you going to call when lying fills the air and when one side doesn't care what someone says? they're going to keep saying what gets votes. let's get to it with willie brown and the nation magazine's john nichols. john, as a journalist, if there's something discernible, for example, well let's take a look at one of the main distortions. the republican haven't let facts get in the way of their rhetoric so far this week, but perhaps the biggest distortion was the big picture. when it came last night in mitt romney's speech talking about the promise of president obama back in 2009, as if he and the rest of the republicans tried their best to work with the president after the election. let's watch this one. >> four years ago, i know that many americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. that choice was not the choice of our party, but americans always come together after elections. we're a good and generous people.
and we're united by so much more than what divides us. i wish president obama had succeeded because i want america to succeed. but his promises gave way to disappointments and division. >> well, today in its lead editorial "the new york times" called the notion that republicans rallied behind president obama, quote, an extraordinary reinvention of history. quote, the truth, rarely heard this week in tampa, is that the republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day mr. obama was inaugurated. determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter what the cost to the economy or to american security. that's something, by the way, that senate minority leader mitch mcconnell basically admitted. let's watch him. >> you said, quote, the single most important thing we want to achieve is for president obama to be a one-term president. so how do you respond to those democratic lines of attack? >> well, that is true. that's my single most important political goal along with every
active republican in the country. >> in all the details, all the issues we have about last night, a lot of journalists have it with what was said in this convention especially by paul ryan in his vice presidential acceptance speech, mayor, was this claim that they were with obama from the beginning. they were rooting with this guy from the sidelines, open to cooperate with him and we know that romney was running for president again from the very day he lost last night. it's now on the record he wasn't rooting for him. he was looking for an opening. and mitch mcconnell was saying i'm going to stop this guy in his tracks so he doesn't have one trophy to show the voter in four years. >> chris, you're asking me. i believe that that's exactly what the republican goal was. i believe that they met and conspired for that purpose, and they executed it. there wasn't one occasion on the interest of the country and this nation superseded partisan barring of mr. obama's re-election campaign. and it's a tragedy because what mr. romney said is true. when an election is over, we do
come together, supposedly. this is not what was done with reference to mr. obama's first term as president. >> what do you make -- we've got a little report here because i didn't even know about this. or i had forgotten this. paul ryan was one of 15 republicans personally who met the night of the inauguration when we were all out there on that lawn covering that big event, robert draper writes in his book, do not ask what good we do, that's the name of the book. republican lawmakers and strategists were plotting from the night of obama's inauguration to make the president fail. the reporter reports that a dinner that night which included republicans like eric cantor, kevin mccarthy and vice presidential nominee paul ryan as well as newt gingrich came up with a plan. and here it is. "the dinner lasted nearly four hours. they parted company almost giddily. the republicans had agreed on a way forward, go after geithner, show united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies, begin attacking vulnerable on the airwaves, win the spear point of the house in 2010. jab obama relentlessly in 2011,
win the white house and the senate 2012. john nichols of "the nation," this was a meeting, a conspiracy meeting, held in private, to destroy the obama presidency. now these people come out with crocodile tears about the failures where they are of this administration claiming oh, they were in there rooting for him. >> yeah, i had no idea that mitt romney was so enthusiastic about the obama campaign. i mean, he actually had paragraph after paragraph in his speech about all the hope and the possibility there. >> he also said he hoped he succeeded as president. >> the thing is, he was suggesting -- he's kind of painting himself as one of these folks that just arrived at the convention. i was with obama last time. >> what are we to make of the claim of altruism here? here's a guy who was running for president the minute he lost last time, hoping obama would fail. and by the way, publicly hoping so going out and revving his troops up, raising money, doing the whole thing. >> well, something else. when barack obama decided he was
going to go for it, a very tough moment, to save the domestic auto industry, what did the son of the former head of american motors write in "the new york times"? obama's wrong. let detroit go bankrupt. this was a guy who was using his greatest name-recognition strength to try and take president obama down. that was in april of 2008. >> john, let's watch some of the facts from last night. we're going to try to take the onion skin off of some of this. on wednesday night paul ryan was criticized for a massive number of distortions in his speech. some of them revised history leaving out the inconvenient fact that the republican party spent the past 3 1/2 years refusing any opportunity to compromise with president obama. anyway, for example, ryan put the blame for the country's credit downgrade squarely on the shoulders of president obama. let's listen. >> it began with a perfect aaa credit rating for the united states. it ends with a downgraded america. >> the reason the country's debt rating was downgraded is everyone who watches this
program and others on msnbc and read the newspapers know, it had a lot to do with the republican congress playing a dangerous game of chicken over the debt, refusing to compromise. here is what he said about the simpson-bowles debt commission. this is again paul ryan skating around the truth. >> he created a new bipartisan debt commission. they came back with an urgent report. he thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. >> "they, they," the commission. he was on the commission. the fact he leaves out is he actually sat on the commission. paul ryan, that guy there, and voted against his final urgent report and many believed helped bring it all down despite dick durbin voting for it. and tom coburn of oklahoma. mayor, here's a guy that's able to go before the national audience, sort of debuting himself, and presents himself as someone who isn't at all responsible for the failure of simpson-bowles as a compromise, blasting the president, ignoring
the fact that he voted against it. >> first and foremost, he's speaking only to his devoted collection of people who cast votes and ballots on behalf of what he believes. he's not speaking to the total american people. that's why he thinks he can get away with all of the misrepresentations. in addition thereto it's not unusual for the public to forgive those of us who are in politics and we lie. let's just hope the public can see through everything mr. ryan said. it is clear, he is not going to tell the truth in this campaign because if he tells the truth in this campaign, it will be inconsistent with the best interests of the people in this country, and he will be rejected. he's running to try to fool them. and he's going to say whatever it takes to fool them. >> i accept that. that's a pretty cynical, tough remark by the mayor who knows his politics because it can work. let me ask you this. this is a guy who portrays himself as a boy scout, mr.
clean, sterling reputation for having guts to do things, maybe not deserved, but across the spectrum the last couple days over facts. does he lose his merit badges? can he still be mr. clean and a guy who's known to not tell the truth? i'm not going to call him lyon ryan. somebody's going to do that, come up with a nasty phrase for the guy. but so far there's a conflict here between the reality and the pretense. >> well, this is a big deal. i've covered paul ryan for 15 years, in his initial campaign in '98, been around the guy. i was shocked that he went there. >> you thought he'd come on for what he was. >> i thought he would give a lot more of what he was. you know who else was shocked? my mom. my mom lives in his district. i was talking to her on thursday, she said i can't believe paul ryan lied about this. >> the plant closing, the gm plant, right there in his district that he said was the fault of obama when the plant was declared closed, stop making cars before obama ever got to washington as president. >> i got a letter today that was signed -- written june 3rd, 2008. seven, eight months before obama
came into office. and it talked about the closing -- the planned closing, all the steps on closing the gm plant signed by paul ryan. >> let me tell you about when you are identified as a liar. if you are identified as a person not capable of telling the truth, not trusted and you're running for public office, that stench stays with you. you can't spend your way out of that image, period. you're toxic and you'll stay toxic on that issue. >> thank you, mayor brown. tough talk. tough analysis. thanks so much. have a nice labor day. and john nichols, you, too. coming up, now it's president obama's turn with his convention. how does he distort those questions? are you better off than you were four years ago? we'll ask the hardball strategists how both sides handle this. it's the biggest thing on twitter right now and just about everywhere. poor clint eastwood. as a longtime eastwood fan, i must say, i'm asking myself, what was the romney campaign thinking in booking this guy in the one hour they had to sell
the country? plus, democrats win a court battle over voter suppression. finally a federal judge stops ohio republicans from stopping in-person voting on the last weekend before election day. progress there in texas, now in ohio. let's hope pennsylvania makes the right decision. finally, let me finish with the biggest distortion of this week. that the republicans wanted president obama to succeed. this is "hardball," the place for politics. we're sitting on a bunch of shale gas. there's natural gas under my town. it's a game changer. ♪ it means cleaner, cheaper american-made energy. but we've got to be careful how we get it. design the wells to be safe. thousands of jobs. use the most advanced technology to protect our water. billions in the economy. at chevron, if we can't do it right, we won't do it at all. we've got to think long term. we've got to think long term.
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we don't know. but according to his pollster neil newhouse, who told convention goers earlier this week, here's what he said. "fact-checkers come to this with their own set of thoughts and beliefs and you know what, we're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." well, with me now are the "hardball" strategist, steve mcmahon for democrats and on the republican side, john ferry. john, that was a hell of a statement, you know, because fact-checkers sort of do this for a living and they check facts and they're generally reliable. for the republicans to say we don't need no badges like in the movie, we don't need no stinking badges, we've got to be truthful, what do you make of that charge? what do you make of that statement? that statement? >> listen, your campaign has to -- you have to run your campaign. you can't dictate by -- what glen kessler says in "the washington post." or bill adair says in polite fact. i like both those guys. the fact of the matter, you have to say the facts as you believe them to be.
i remember when joe wilson -- i remember when joe wilson called president obama a liar. and i condemned him for it. and i think that you have to be very careful in calling paul ryan who said the truth, his speech is accurate all the way down the line. he said the truth. calling him a liar really degrades the political debate. >> i think it is going to get there because of the fact that there's an enumeration of these. i'm not going to be the one to call him it. i think that the question i have with him is why a guy with a clean record would go out before a national convention introducing himself, with, let's put it this way, hard-to-argue statements like this one. talk about deceptive language in the media outlets. he said the gm plant in his district closed on obama's watch. that was the clear implication that charge he made at the convention. and now it turns out that it closed on george w. bush's watch. >> right. >> now, i don't know how you can say well that's just how he sees it. >> by the way, not only did it close on george bush's watch, paul ryan knew that. in fact, it was on a list to be closed in june 2008 before president obama ever even visited there and then it
closed, in fact, before president obama took office. but hold on one second. >> let's get the facts. >> you'll have your turn. i'm giving you a turn. >> you said the facts were a matter of interpretation, you have to run your campaign based on the facts as you believe them. when there's a date of a plant closure, there's a date of a plant announcement, and it's in your state, the expectation is that you would be aware of it, particularly after complaining about it after it occurs. >> here are the facts. barack obama came to janesville, that's a fact. he said that his economic policies would reopen that plant. >> reopen? >> that's what he said. and the third fact is the plant's still closed. the economic policies of the president have not worked. and that's why -- >> i never heard reopen. i thought he said he would save it. >> he said those jobs would come back, that it would be reopened. and the fact of the matter is, that plant is still closed. and that is a big fact. it doesn't matter. >> when did it close? did it close before or after he came into office? >> it closed in october of 2008. >> did barack obama have any ability to stop the closing of that plant? >> he said it would -- >> i want to get to your notion
of the truth. if i say to you, i'll play democrat, tokyo's the capital of japan, right? is there another point of view on that one? no, is there a paul ryan view of no, i've got another capital of japan. because i saw how i see it. i see it this way. osaka. can he say that and that's just his point of view? >> of course not. >> he said of course not. how about he says it died on obama's watch and we know it died in december 2008? >> the fact of the matter is that obama did go to that plant. he promised it would reopen. >> let's go over this. the debt ceiling. i very much -- i've talked about it, a member of my family worked at the debt commission, although the president didn't back it, i look in retrospect and say he should have done it. i may be wrong. i think we are wrong. somebody should have said i'm going to the center and i'm going to beat you there. ryan said that basically about the president wednesday night. i thought it was a tough charge. he never pointed out useful information. he was on the debt ceiling commission, and he voted against it. why didn't he bring that out? >> it was the president's debt
commission. the president is the leader. he's the president. one thing about paul ryan, he passed the budget twice. he actually did what he had to do. he stepped up to his responsibilities as budget chairman and got a budget passed twice. the president walked away from the debt commission and has never -- >> how about if a ship sank and two people left before it sank and one blamed the other for leaving before it sank? and never mentioned oh, i also left the ship before it sank. just a thought. it's useful information. >> let's talk about the two budgets that ryan passed. they had the very same medicare cuts that paul ryan now criticizes the president for. and while they talk about balancing the budget, which sounds really good and got a lot of applause at the republican convention last night -- hold on one second. they've got a $4.3 billion tax cut that's not paid for. neither is -- >> let's take a look at -- let ryan speak for himself. here he is talking about the failure of president obama to support simpson-bowles and his deficit reduction effort. let's watch. >> he created a new bipartisan debt commission. they came back with an urgent report.
he thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. >> and what did ryan do? >> he passed his own budget. twice. >> simpson-bowles. >> he voted against it because he didn't like the fact there was no entitlement reforms in there. the fact of the matter when it comes to the medicare charge, yes, they have the same numbers, but they were different types of cuts. what obama has done -- he took the 700 -- >> cutting $700 billion. let's go beyond this because it's clear that ryan's got a problem here. it's going beyond this table. and you're doing a good job here. the sideshow is coming up with jon stewart's take on the republican convention. this will be brutal. and on monday, the premiere of the documentary "barack obama making history." i worked hard on this. a lot of people did here. you're going to like it. monday night, labor day, 10:00 eastern, "barack obama making history." this is "hardball," the place for politics. e scene netflix coming soon
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. before the kickoff to the speeches at the republican convention last night, we watched a biographical video of mitt romney covering everything from watching his parents run for political office back in the '60s and '70s. to raising his own family years later. here's the "daily show" with an alternative tee-up from romney's big speech. >> this year the american people face a choice. between a self-made businessman. >> i know how extraordinarily difficult it is to build something from nothing. >> and a radical collectivist who says things like -- >> if you've got a business, you didn't build that. >> and this. >> i was not born -- >> in this country. >> and i am the leader -- >> of al qaeda. >> this is the story of mitt romney, a human being who built that. >> too close to the reality
there. anyway, clearly a nod to some of the less than factual statements we heard in paul ryan's speech the night before. now to the flubs you may have missed. you wouldn't expect anyone at especially a speaker at the republican convention to call for more government, right? okay. marco rubio, time for your closeup. >> in the early years of this new century, we lived in an uncertain time. but we did not allow fear to cause us to abandon what made us special. we chose more government instead of more freedom. >> remember that? i let it go by. a spokesman for the florida senator confirmed that rubio intended to say more freedom instead of more government. now to arizona governor jan brewer. in a push for more rigid anti-immigration laws brewer inadvertently endorsed president obama. >> i know that if president obama is elected in november, which i hope that he is, that he will be able to come together with all of us and come up with
a solution, and i believe he will secure our borders. and therefore we can resolve all those other issues as a simple matter. >> wow. that would be quite a shift in opinion after this well-known tarmac moment between governor brewer there and president obama. a spokesman stepped up in that case, as well, to clean up the mess. also, look at the pointing finger there. also remember when president obama when inned on how mitt romney's business experience would play into the responsibilities of being president? >> if you're a head of a large private equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money. it's not to create jobs. that doesn't necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president my job is to think about the workers. my job is to think about communities where jobs have been outsourced. >> so you can't lead a country as if you're the ceo of a big business. anyway, fresh from his big night at the republican convention, romney accidentally helped further the president's argument.
>> paul ryan and i understand how the economy works. we understand how washington works. we will reach across the aisle and find good people who like us, want to make sure this company deals with its challenges. we'll get america on track again. >> this company, see what i mean? they'll help get this company back on track. that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business with j.j. ramberg. ♪ i can do anything today ♪ i can go anywhere ♪ i can go anywhere today ♪ la la la la la la la [ male announcer ] dow solutions help millions of people by helping to make gluten free bread that doesn't taste gluten free. together, the elements of science and the human element can solve anything. solutionism. the new optimism.
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