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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 24, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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state. this is an important state for romney, it's an important state for obama, but claire has definitely got a tough race ahead of her. >> thanks for joining me tonight, karen. >> thanks lawrence. >> tomorrow night, missouri senator claire mccaskill. "the ed show" is up next. can't wait for the debate. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let me start with the big one, next week's first huge debate between barack obama and mitt romney. no matter what we say now trying to figure this thing out, it's impossible to know what it will feel like when these two men meet, shake hands, and take their positions. the studio where we do "hardball" in washington was the site of the second great debate
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between richard nixon and john f. kennedy. right before that debate the kennedy brothers arrived to discover something weird had happened. the temperature was meat locker level. so cold they couldn't believe it, and they knew why. kennedy's television adviser went racing to the basement and found nixon's guy standing watch on the thermostat. nixon had sweated in that first debate, and it cost him. this time the nixon people were intent on freezing the room so cold that nixon couldn't sweat at all. well, after a standoff in that basement in our headquarters and some threats to call the police, they agreed to bring the temperature up. well, think this stuff doesn't matter? it all matters. just like everything we do, wear, look like, act like, seem like in our first debates -- actually our first dates when we were growing up, remember? today we look at the serious stuff that will matter, where they stand and they disagree. i'm joined by bob shrum and the great david corn, famous for having unearthed that very important 47% speech by romney
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he never wanted us to hear. first, we have a new national poll to tell you about. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new battleground poll, president obama has a three-point lead among likely voters. 50% number, a key number, obama, 50%, romney, 47%. let's go to the issue of the debate. mitt romney seems to have changed his tune on health care. here he was on "60 minutes." >> does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million americans who don't have it today? >> well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance, people -- if someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. we pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care, and different states have different ways of providing for that care. >> that's the most expensive way to do it. >> well -- >> in the emergency room. >> again, different states have different ways of doing that. >> it's interesting the people who don't have health care live in apartments.
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that may be his latest etch-a-sketch moment. listen to what he told mike barnicle a couple years ago on "morning joe." same question, same subject. listen to how the answer is different. >> do you believe in universal coverage? >> oh, sure. it doesn't make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way. >> bob shrum, that's terrifying. he's saying as of last night, you go to an e.r., tough luck. you live in an apartment somewhere, that's the usual i guess assumption they make, and you go to the e.r., get picked up by the ambulance, it's all paid for, but we all share the cost of that. he's fine with that. e.r. coverage for working poor people. two years ago with barnicle he said, sure, we ought to have universal coverage. who is this guy?
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>> he's the biggest shape shifter outside of harry potter. where he seems to be now is not only an immoral position but an economically inefficient one. if you had taken the guy and given him health coverage, he might not have the heart attack and you won't run up the $300,000 bill in the e.r. i have had a suspicion he is going to bring something better to the debate. i still think he could. maybe he was leaving his best stuff -- >> one-liners. >> not "60 minutes." maybe not doing the best stuff on "60 minutes." if he gives an answer like that, he's fried in that debate. >> david corn, the 47% thing that he talked about in that tape you unearthed last week probably going to be a big part of this campaign. there he says basically last night, you know what i want to do with those 47%, send them to the e.r., let them wait it out.
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they will get waited on eventually. >> yeah, that's what they deserve. what's odd he didn't say romney care. there is a way to deal with this. he's dealt with it. actually romney care has been pretty damn successful, and it's the most odd thing about the campaign that perhaps his signature accomplishment in public life he can't even breathe a word of, and scott pelley, bless him, didn't really raise that issue with him. but romney care addresses that issue of the person who gets the heart attack who has to go to the e.r. but i don't think he has any strategic intent here. maybe bob can discern it. just the other day at the univision forum, he said he was the godfather of obama care and that would be fine with him. so he's really flailing back and forth on this issue. whatever sort of seems to pop into his head at the moment is what he says. he's just so hand tied or handcuffed on the issue of health care that he just can't give a good answer no matter what angle he comes at it from. >> jim lehrer is going to be
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able to put him in circles without having the other guy involved. how tough are they going to be? >> lehrer tends to push hard on the specifics. he seems to be saying the first thing that pops in his head. my theory is he can do better than people expect, he has low expectations. if they get him in a room, and apparently he's been practicing a lot. he uses only the memorized answers and never says the first thing that pops into his head because it's always invariably the wrong thing. >> a year ago a pollster told me three things to look for in any great leader is motive. why are they in public life? you knew with reagan why he was there. churchill, name your hero. passion, what makes them laugh, tear up, get angry occasionally. third, spontaneity. it seems like romney is a strikeout. three strikes you're out.
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he doesn't have emotion -- he doesn't have any kind of idea of any reason he's there except to get the job. he has no passion that i can ever spot, and spontaneity, he's got to have it memorized like cookies coming down a chute already baked for him so he doesn't have to think. if he thinks, as you say -- if you ask this guy any question you hadn't heard before, what would come out of his mouth? the romney from massachusetts or the romney from bain or the romney from nordquist or the neocons? >> the interesting thing about the debate format is each candidate is going to be given a lot of time to answer some of these basic questions. that may not be good for romney. you get the sense, particularly on health care, while governor romney of 2003 could give a good ten-minute answer on health care and what he thought about it, what he wanted to do about it, what he had accomplished in massachusetts, how can mitt romney talk for five minutes on health care, even like 90
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seconds without saying something that contradicts something he said the week before, the month before, that gets the base upset, that is confusing, that reporters can't quite understand? i don't know how he does it. he's tied himself into knots on this particular question. on the other side, i do know some obama aides who are a little worried that the president, who sometimes can be overly professorial, may use the time not to his advantage either. they'd like to see more succinct answers. they each have the opposite issue to deal with. how romney can speak coherently about health care in a way that's convincing and obama doesn't go too far down the debate. >> i think he's going to get through this on sheer unadulterated memory. what we saw on "60 minutes" seemed like opening arguments. scott pelley interviewed mitt romney, and steve krupp interviewed president obama. take a look at their competing visions for the government, what we should be doing in the federal government.
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>> making government smaller, don't build these massive deficits that pass debt onto our kids. rebuild the foundation of america's strength with great homes, great schools, with entrepreneurship and innovation. >> there's no bigger purpose right now than making sure that if people work hard in this country, they can get ahead. that's the central american idea. that's how we sent a man to the moon, because there was an economy that worked for everybody and that allowed us to do that. >> great homes. >> maybe we can build a bunch of homes with elevators -- >> mcmansions. let me ask you, bobby shrum, what would you -- i'd ask him what government agencies or departments -- you say you're going to make it smaller -- would you get rid of? >> that's tough. he's there and got a pretty honed answer that appeals at a kind of general level to people's anti-government impulse but we know when you look at the polls that if you ask them about medicare, the department of education, social security, environmental protection -- >> energy. >> there's huge support for all
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of these. i suspect that he will be pressed on these things. now, he's been preparing like crazy. he hasn't just been fund-raising. he's been in a room, he's been in a room with rob portman and he's been preparing. the guy i think is smart, at least smart about numbers. so maybe he can memorize these answers and maybe he'll bring a better game to this than he did to "60 minutes." >> totally nonpartisan question. everybody has their own favorite formats. i think he likes a formal setting. i moderated the debate at the reagan library the last time around. he did very well. he likes formality. he likes the moderator to be formal, you get your time allotments, everybody treats everybody in a formal, structured way. is obama able to match him in that environment where his brain power may not be that useful in that formal environment. >> look, where did mitt romney make his bone, so to speak. it was bain and company, not bain capital, as consultants. probably great with a power point and wonderful with
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presentation, boiling information down into nuggets and presenting it in a coherent fashion. i think he'd like to do that without anybody intervening or, you know, interrupting. when you see him on the campaign and he starts having to talk like a normal person and interacting with people, it almost always throws him and he starts saying who knows what. so i think, you know, he'll have his presentations but if you watched the interview last night with scott pelley, he still can't speak in depth about budget cuts, tax deductions he wants to limit, and so he's very good at that first index card, but how you get -- what he has to say for the second, third, fourth index card, it's still a problem for him. >> that's the moderator's challenge. get beyond the memorized material. no one can question on whether they come down on the different sides of the tax issue. let's watch their different views. >> well, it would be the current rates less 20%, so the top rate for instance would go from 35% to 28%.
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middle rates would come down by 20% as well. all the rates come down. we're also going to limit deductions and exemptions, particularly for people at the high end because i want to keep the current progressivity in the code. >> problem governor romney seems to have is he only has one note. tax cuts for the wealthy and rolling back regulations as a recipe for success. we tried that vigorously between 2001 and 2008, and it didn't work out so well. >> you know, bob, in all fairness, he speaks the language of very well off equity guys, business guys, they all agree they want to see less regulation. that's where they stand, lower tax rates. notice how very verbal he was on the issue of his rate. >> he knows the top rate. >> he is a perfect representative of the top few in the country. >> the president in the poll something doing as well or better than romney in taxes. that's because obama's position has gotten through to people.
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people at the top should pay more, the middle class should not pay more. romney's position is getting through. people at the top get a big tax cut. everybody who wants to claim gets 20% but he's going to close all these loopholes like mortgage interest which is going to hit the average middle class family very hard. >> what's hitting them hard is the differential they have on middle class. it's up to double digits. huge advantage for the president. thank you, bob shrum. not much of a debate between shrum and corn -- >> i salute corn. >> we were trying to find a republican to represent the romney crowd. two big complaints from conservatives. they say republicans would take the white house if only mitt romney weren't the nominee. really? who would they have preferred? newt? santorum? perry? democrats have outpolled republicans if you count all the elections over the last five times. maybe the problem isn't mitt romney. maybe it's the party. complaint number two, paul ryan has been neutered by a too cautious romney campaign. believe that?
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conservatives cry that, but let ryan be ryan? is that really the answer? we'll try to accommodate that. we're going to find where he really stands and whether romney is comfortable with that. and the politics conquers hollywood. the movie by mark halperin and john heilemann took home four emmys. and why romney has a shot to win this election by winning all these debates. the bad news is he really has to win them. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. my achy feet made it tough to play with billy. until he got his number. right! the machine showed me my pressure points on my feet, and it gave me my custom number. my arches needed more support. in two minutes, the dr. scholl's foot mapping center showed me my free foot map and my number. i'm a 440. that matched up to the dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic inserts with the support i needed. now, i play all day long! my feet. my number. my inserts. go to to find your closest walmart with a foot mapping center. i'm a believer!
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now we've got some new state polls in the presidential race. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. in ohio a key state, university of cincinnati poll shows president obama leading pretty well here, 51%, 46%. most importantly, above 50% for the president. in florida, however, new tampa bay times/miami herald poll has
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obama was one, 48%, 47%. a new ppp poll has the president up by four. in colorado a new ppp poll has obama up by six. that's powerful, 51%, 45% in colorado. a four-point lead in north carolina. 49%, 45%. that's the poll that tends to lean republican. it's leaning democrat in this case. we'll be right back.
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do you really think this will be going better if you'd nominated someone else? who? rick santorum? are you thinking you missed the boat with newt gingrich? if you think i'm unrelatable, check out callista gingrich. she looks like a character from "mars attacks." at least my hair moves. seth, look at this. >> that's very nice. >> it's better than nice. it's freaking awesome. >> okay. >> you guys wish ron paul was still running? guess what, he probably is because he's a lunatic who
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doesn't understand how voting works. >> wouldn't it be great if this was ann romney? welcome back to "hardball." that was the new "snl" cast member, kate mckinnon, playing here. playing an exasperated ann romney. mitt romney has taken a beating lately, but really would republicans rather have rick perry as their nominee? >> and i will tell you, it's three agencies of government when i get there that are gone, commerce, education, and the -- what's the third one there? let's see. >> you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government i would do away with education, the -- >> commerce. >> commerce, and let's see, i can't, the third one i can't. sorry. oops. >> that was the quietest oops in history, but, boy, was it funny. here is herman cain. >> 9-9-9 is bold. it expands the base.
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i have proposed 9-9-9. put it in the 9-9-9 plan. 9-9-9. remember, 9-9-9. my top priority is 9-9-9. jobs, jobs, jobs. >> i think capital punishment may be better than listening to that guy say the number nine. even michele bachmann knew these numbers didn't add up. >> when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, i think the devil is in the details. >> oh, my god. that's the sign of the beast. where does her mind go? that's an assumption. all of this and more has taken a toll on the party. for evidence look at the that's right i.d. fascinating number. the number of people who identify themselves as republicans has been declining over the past six months. if you ask people, what are you? look at that, how the number has gone down dramatically. not me anymore.
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they've got a weak county. religious conservatives, that's part of the problem for some people. relying on a shrinking portion of the voting population, older, whiter voters who long for the good old days. they're writing off younger voters, minority voters, college educated, white women, if you will. in other words, maybe the real problem isn't mitt romney but the republican party itself. dee dee myers, joy ann reid is managing editor of i was thinking of the old pepsi versus coke commercial. remember that? coke was the traditional drink and pepsi was the new generation drink. it seems like -- well, coke is more popular than republicans these days. it seems like the new generation minorities, all kinds of people, single women, for example, college educated women, gay people, all kinds of these people, hispanics, all find themselves comfortably at home in the democrat ink party. they don't find themselves comfortably at home in a party that talks about the good old days because they didn't have the good old days.
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>> exactly. we're getting to the point where battery acid is more popular than the republican party. >> where did you get that? >> terrible thought. the problem is the republican party has sort of down to their three legs, that three-legged stools, the plutocrats, archie bunker guys, the 55 and older white males and some of their wives and the third is evangelicals. the issues they want put on the table is an anathema to almost all the other demographics. african-americans don't want to read about voter i.d. latino don't like the sound of the party, using terms like illegals -- >> soft deportation. >> romney actually used the word illegals even in front of that univision audience not understanding how that reads with that audience. >> did you like the way he referred to people coming from their apartments? >> coming from their apartments. >> it's nothing wrong with
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living in apartment, but the fact that cultural class assumption. they couldn't possibly be rural people, rural whites or rural blacks. they couldn't be living in their modest homes, they all live in apartments. that's the way his brain works. >> it's the way the party feels and sounds to younger people, to latinos, to african-americans, and you know what? that's not a good idea in a country that's becoming more and more minority. >> so it looks to me like you're an expert on this, they're betting on the older crowd surviving a few more cycles as we say in politics because they're not betting on the new crowd, on african-american voters who all can vote now as of a few years ago, hispanics who are increasingly voting even in double digit lefts and young people who seem to love obama. >> well, when you get a group of republican tacticians and strategists in a room away from the tv cameras and iphones, they will acknowledge that demographics is not their friend as they look to the future of the party. they know they have to figure out how to sort of make the tent bigger because it's becoming an increasingly small tent. >> it's a pup tent. >> they're going to be like two guys camping out on a field
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pretty soon, but they need -- there are two republican parties, right? there's sort of the tea party dominated social conservative exclusionary party and then this sort of economic party that wants low taxes and low regulations and in some places those two groups overlap and in many places they don't. they don't even agree with each other and that's making that space in the middle smaller and smaller. >> is that why the republican convention was so unpleasant, because they had to meet each other, the plutocrats and the other people? i didn't know i was in that party. >> that's why the republican primary field was so weak. if you look at the candidates who people thought might do well in a gem election, jeb bush, governor chris christie of new jersey, they mate maybe this isn't the best year for me for a lot of reasons. if one of them was the nominee and two bring the two wings of the party together you might have a real race but they had such a weak field. >> that would be a choice election where reasonable people would try to decide between the two candidates. this one is not a hard choice. last month when missouri senate
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candidate todd akin made his comments about legitimate rape, "time" wrote that the comments -- and the no-nothing idiocy of the plurality of the base. todd akin is not an outlier, he's a symptom of the disease. governor romney, he knows about as much about science as anybody i know. he's educated. he's got a degree in harvard in law, in business. he could do a little studying about climate change and understand it's a real challenge. and yet he just plays this know-nothing view of i don't know anything about that stuff. he does. >> he kind of reminds me of john boehner trying to preside over that house caucus of people who are fire breathing and wants the first thing to be done to be banning abortion. romney understand he's a passenger in this vehicle. the hard right is driving this car and he's just trying to manage the issues, trying to
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manage the chaos. i think people saying that it's romney kind of miss the point. this is a party that has moved so far to the right that i'm not sure jeb bush or chris christie or any of the other ones could have managed it any better because the problem is the actual party itself has really moved off of center and they've gone to far right. and they don't -- not enough people identify with that. when they look at themselves in that fun house mirror of fox news, that fun house mirror of talk radio, they think they are a majority. >> i was thinking about leslie howard's character in "gone with the wind" the gentleman who had to fight for the southern side even if he didn't believe in slavery. thank you very much, dee dee and joy-ann. ever wonder what an undecided voter looks like? who is that person? stick around for "snl's" take on the so-called low information voters, they're what they call them. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ thunder crashes ]
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i will admit that it's an amazing show. it's not the kind of show i typically watch but it gives you a sense of what it must have been like to grow up in mitt romney's house. it's difficult to be a republican in hollywood. being a republican in hollywood is like being a chik-fil-a sandwich on the snack table at "glee." >> back to "hardball." politics meant comedy in more ways than one. here is "snl's" take on the undecided voter. >> i guess some of us are just a little bit harder to please. before you get our vote, you're going to have to answer some questions. >> when is the election? >> what are the names of the two people running? and be specific. >> who is the president right now? is he or she running? >> how long is the president's term of office? one year? two years?
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three years? life? >> well, hopefully that's a stretch. still, in a tight election it's that very small percentage of still undecided voters who could decide it all. i was on the hbo program "real time with bill maher" friday night, and i brought up the issue of voter suppression. roger hedgecock tried to counterattack. the number one way they're going to deal with that 47% is make sure a lot of them don't vote. as bill clinton said the other day, he has never seen voter suppression so perfectly blatant. >> both sides are doing it. >> both sides? who is trying to suppress the vote on the democratic side. >> wait a second. what are you contending? >> this president has made it a point in the military where he doesn't think he's going to get a lot of those votes to make sure that those ballots don't come out in time to come back in time. >> actually the military likes him. this is one of those new facts i often hear from republicans on our panel.
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>> in a real situation when the supreme court of pennsylvania is dealing with a real situation of voter suppression have thrown it back to the court. wow, that was great to be on there. see what i mean? it's not the first time we've heard that one thrown at us. last month republicans blasted the obama campaign for attempting to prevent military members from voting early in ohio. actually in the real world a successful law student from the obama campaign restored all early voting for all citizens. finally you have heard republicans hurl words like socialist at president obama, right? a texas congressman went someplace else entirely. the world as it existed prior to the first world war. >> this is the beginnings, a massive beginning of a new ottoman empire that president obama can take great credit for. yeah, we're in big trouble here in america, but, wow, look what he has helped do in the middle east. a new ottoman empire.
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thank you president barack hussein obama. i'm not one of those who says he's not a christian. i know he's helped jump start a new ottoman empire. >> the only thing he knows about ottomans is where he puts his feet when he's falling asleep watching fox. up next, conservatives want to unleash paul ryan and let ryan be ryan. we say bring it on. let's look at the real paul ryan right here on "hardball." you're watching it. the place for politics.
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i'm milissa. welcome back to "hardball." conservatives swoon for congressman paul ryan when he was chosen for the republican ticket, but he's since played the classic role of second fiddle. moderating his positions on both fiscal and cultural issues to conform to romney's views. well, now that romney/ryan campaign is coming off a bit of a couple rough weeks there. some conservatives have just got the answer. simply let ryan be ryan. that was the advice they dished to "the new york times" today. but is that really the smart move, really? joan walsh is editor-at-large of salon and author of "what's the
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matter with white people." and eugene robinson is a pulitzer prize win be columnist from "the washington post." i think there are problems marrying paul ryan politically like his positions. isn't that the reason why romney kissed him, said good-bye, i like your name, ryan is cute, but i'm not going to get too close to a guy who wants to basically get rid of medicare, cut medicaid, get rid of pell grants and do all kinds of things to make rich people richer. he doesn't want to get too tight with that thinking, does he? >> no, he doesn't. this is a really banner day for us because it's so rare that liberals and conservatives can agree about anything, as you know, but today we can all say together, yes, please let paul ryan be ryan. please let paul ryan go out -- go to florida and say, i want to turn medicare into a voucher program. let paul ryan go around talking about privatizing social security, which he used to do. let paul ryan say, i want to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest which he does. he's an extremist.
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the tea party loved him. they were so happy when mitt picked hip but they're now very disappointed. it looked like a rare moment of courage for mitt romney, but instead he decided to run away from paul ryan's positions as fast as he could, shake the etch-a-sketch again, and now you have conservatives who are grumbling and saying this, but it would, of course, be disaster for romney. >> the same question for you, gene. i was at a family event and my 90-year-old stepmother is having her birthday. one of the people in the family is a doctor. the word is out this could kill this ticket of romney and ryan, this whole thing of messing with medicare. nobody wants it messed with apparently. >> nobody wants it messed with. you saw the reaction that paul ryan got at aarp the other day. a chorus of boos. people don't want to screw around with the program and voucherize it the way paul ryan wants to do. and so i think this sort of let ryan be ryan thing just isn't
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going to happen. i mean, what's in it for romney and, frankly, what's in it for paul ryan who has a political future and who must realize from the experience he's having now that he's going to have to moderate his positions if he wants to run for office. >> i don't think criminalizing abortion is one of the smart moves for a majority of this country. if conservatives are punting for paul ryan and his specifics, let's just remind everyone what paul ryan has proposed for his budget over the next several years. most famous was his 2011 program to turn medicare into a voucher program that would drive up out-of-pocket costs for seniors and make it hard to get insurance policies for somebody in their 70s or 80s. $2 of every $3 of that suggested savings would come from programs for the poor such as medicaid and food stamps. pell grants would also take a hit that's for kids who can't afford college. do the same while reducing individual and corporate rates which would give the lion share of tax cut rights to the richest americans. you talk about redistribution, joan and gene. this is a redistribution plan
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from the bottom to the top. i wouldn't throw that word redistribution around if i were mitt romney because his partner in happiness apparently like to do that. >> we've been doing it for 30 years, chris. we've been shoveling money from the bottom to the top. and, you know, that is exactly what they want to do, and i think they are paying the price because there's a reuters poll that came out in the last couple days and it shows mitt romney's lead with voters over 60 has dropped from a 20-point lead to a 4-point lead which is really devastating for him. he's seeing his lead with the white working class drop. he's really in trouble with his -- with the white conservative base except for the tea party, who still loves paul ryan. so i think that these positions are getting through, and i think they're scaring voters away. >> gene, i was looking at the numbers the other day in "the new york times" poll. it's fascinating to look at the age group. it's hard to believe the president is this popular
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because it's been a troubling time economically, and yet he leads in every age group all the way through 64. starting at 65 and older, romney wins, but now it seems by picking mr. ryan, he's got himself, you know, with the kitchen sink around his neck all of a sudden. >> it ended up not really helping romney among the other age groups, it's going to hurt him among seniors. you know, i think the moral of this is that most people who read those interminable ayn rand novels in college got over it. >> i love "fountainhead" because it was a romantic novel. it's great stuff, but dagny taggart and all these great characters. >> but to take it seriously as a way of organizing your society is just simply not -- it's crazy. >> i thought she needed an editor. she did not need 800 pages plus. the social issues. don't forget paul ryan was one
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of the 60-plus sponsors of the sanctity of human life act. the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent. every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood. you look at the republican platform which is a fresher document and they talk about giving 14th amendment rights of life, liberty, and property to a fertilized human embryo. what are we talking about here? property rights? they've just gone crazy. and if you start calling that murder, then you've got a real problem with common law. then people who do have abortions are murderers. this is a fact that they're creating here, a problem for our society. >> it also potentially criminalizes certain forms of birth control. >> like iud. >> right. which is fine with them. so, you know, it's really backwards. it's really retrograde, and we've talked about it for a long
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time, but if they really want to pull paul ryan forward, they have to go back to that war on contraception, war on abortion, war on women language because it's really true, they would take away major rights for women, and if they think that's a winning formula in 2012, let them try it. >> here is the recent political director in iowa, here is what he had to say, or she had to say about the republican party and how it's criticizing this guy, romney. i hate to say this but if ryan wants to run for national office again, he'll probably have to wash the stench of romney off of him. the word stench, gene, it's a very unpleasant word, and i wouldn't be that rough, even me. but the stench of romney? >> that is unpleasant. >> this is a republican statewide coordinator out in wisconsin. >> well, you know, we sat here through the primary season, and we saw, you know, the republican party's embracing love for mitt romney. actually, no, we didn't. they settled for mitt romney. he was a consensus best
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candidate they thought to go up against barack obama, but he was not passionately loved inside the party, and as things appear to perhaps be going south for romney, the circular firing squad begins to form. >> yeah. i'd say they asked for the date around 5:00 friday afternoon. thank you very much. up next, "game change" was the big winner at last night's emmy awards. we'll talk to a director of the film. this is an amazing film, and it's all about politics we love so much, just the fighting aspect of it. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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election day is still six weeks away, of course, but for people in half the states voting is already under way. look at this map showing all the states where early voting has begun. the list includes four battleground states, virginia, north carolina, new hampshire, and, of course, wisconsin. look at that. we'll be right back.
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wow. i feel so validated because sarah palin gave me a big thumbs down. >> we're back now. that was julianne moore accepting the emmy award for best actress in a miniseries or movie. that was hbo's "game change." we knew it was incredible drama while it was happening, of course, here at "hardball," and the academy apparently agrees. "game change" took home four emmys, one for best miniseries
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or movie, two more for best directing and best writing. of course, the movie was based on the book of the same name and by our own political analyst mark halperin. with me is best director for a with me is best director for mini series movie jay roach. it was great seeing you guys winning this thing. i want to show everybody watching "hardball" now a scene from "game change." his advisers are going over their options for running mate. let's watch. >> we can't win without our base. lieberman is the right thing to do but the wrong way to win. >> romney, crist, pawlenty. >> what can we win with? >> none of them. >> none of them? >> obama just changed the entire dynamic. >> it's a change year, sir. we desperately need a game changing pick and none of these middle-aged white guys are game
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changers. >> how did you come up with woody harrellson playing steve smith? i watched the hell he was going through. he realized she was a disaster. >> that's the point of view i got hooked on in trying to tell the story. i saw what he did with anderson cooper and the guy who was most instrumental in selling her as the candidate turns out to be the guy who regrets it the most months after the election. i thought, wouldn't you like to see the decision process and the kind of soul searching he had to go through. and woody seemed like the guy to do it. he's an amazing actor. he reminded me of something i thought he could do that would match. >> something nobody else has done in politics.
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understand the roles played by the staff guys and women. these guys don't usually get famous. >> and ron clain. those are the guys i find interesting because they are behind the scenes. they are trying to sort it out. i think i relate with it as a story teller because they are the guys in rooms, writers rooms, trying to come up with the story that's going to move their candidate along. but they have a lot of power too. so there's an interest in just trying to figure out how the decisions are made and the deals are made that keeps me up at night sometimes. >> i love the way you showed john mccain being a man of some serious patriotic spirit when he stood up and refused to go along with the woman who said barack obama is an arab. to me, those are the moments that makes me love politics. it's like a george stevens movie where someone blows you away. the guy on the other side tends
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to be the hero of the moment. >> there's a lot of nobility in john mccain the man and i read his books and did a lot of research. i think he's an interesting and conflicting characters. all the characters john mccain, steve smith, sarah palin are almost shakespearean in their adventure. i wanted all the characters to have as much dimension as possible. >> one of the problems with the tea party people, they do care about their country, but the simplicity of their appeal is to thin. like sarah palin. what made her think, in your line of writing, that she should be the second most important person in the country? why would she have such limited background think she could be president? >> she was a popular governor. 80% popularity. she had taken on corruption.
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she had gotten money back to her constituents from oil taxes. and i think she had never really failed in her life. she was a successful mayor, successful governor, successful basketball player, a woman who is kind of used to winning. and i think somehow -- >> but the question put to her, did she think it was a trick question? why didn't she just answer it? i read newspapers, sometimes i read the journal, nobody would have held that against her. >> that's a good question. and i think katie couric had appropriately gotten under her skin a little bit and asked her those it questions wharks makes you think you're prepared for this? and i think she resented it. almost a kind of narcissistic jumped in there. >> my dream is someone to write something worthy of your direction. when we returned, we'll finish with why debates matter.
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you're watching "hardball." >> governor, i admit that's what i inherited and i'm doing my best to help us win this election. >> that's what i'm trying to do. that's all you've done is get in my way. and i am raising millions of dollars for this campaign. hundreds of thousands of people are coming to see me speak, not john mccain. they are coming to see me. so if i'm single handedly carrying this campaign i'm going to do what i want. we use this board to compare car insurance rates side by side so you get the same coverage, often for less. that's one smart board. what else does it do, reverse gravity? [ laughs ] [ laughs ] [ whooshing ] tell me about it. why am i not going anywhere?
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to do what i want. let me finish tonight with this pe three times in history a candidate has come from behind and won the presidential election due do a debate performance. before the debates he was behind after he was ahead and stayed on to win 37 those big debate years were kennedy beating nixon, reagan beating carter, w. beating gore. except for those years, the trailing candidate didn't do well enough. the only years the debates proved desiesive were three times. all three times the candidate came from behind. all three times the candidate who came on and won was from the party not holding the white house. that's the good news for mitt romney.