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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 7, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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continue to issue orthodox commandments for all the canned dates to follow. thank you very much for joining me tonight. good evening, rachel. good evening, lawrence. thank you. thanks to you at home for joining us tonight. before tonight anthony wiener was a household name in many liberal households. not necessarily because he was a particularly powerful member of congress, but because he was particularly powerful on youtube. >> it's republicans wrapping their arms around republican rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes. it is a shame. a shame! if you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care, then vote no! but don't give me the cowardly view that oh, if it was a different procedure, the gentleman will observe regular order and sit down! i will not!
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the gentleman will sit, the gentleman is correct in sitting. >> anthony wiener has been beloved by many liberals not just because he takes liberal positions and strong positions on liberal -- on policy issues that are important to liberals, but because when he does take a position publicly, he often does so in a bombastic, out loud, sometimes funny way. he does that on the floor of the house. he does that on cable news both in environments like these here on msnbc. and with great contentious good humor at places like fox news. >> this is how it works. you ask the question and i answer. awe thank you, that's helpful. was she or was she not the solicitor general of the united states? awe thought was not the part. i thought i covered that. i remember covering that confirmation hearing. i'm not really sure what goes on at fox is really coverage. >> we'll get to that to another
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conversation. >> congressman thank you so much for coming on. >> great interview. aces. >> aces. anthony wiener knew he was very good at stuff like this. that particular clip from fox news was not something that i saw when it aired on fox news. i saw that for the first time when anthony wiener himself played that clip of himself at the congressional correspondents dinner in what was a very funny speech making fun of things like his own last name. making fun of his political enemies and making fun of fox news and generally cracking everybody up. anthony wiener is the congressman with an admittedly funny last name who nevertheless has become a household name in liberal households in particular for the last couple of years. as of today, he of course is a household name for everybody. >> last friday night i tweeted a photograph of myself that i intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in seattle. once i realized i had posted it to twitter i panicked. i took it down and said that i
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had been hacked. i have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over twitter, facebook, email and occasionally on the phone with women i have met online. i've exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years. i haven't told the truth -- and i've done things that i deeply regret. i brought pain to people i care about the most and people who believed in me. and for that i'm deeply sorry. i apologize to my wife and our families. as well as to our friends and supporters. i am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions. >> after that congressman wiener took the rare but not unprecedented step of taking questions from reporters. taking questions for an astonishing 25 minutes from a press pool that started out in a
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frenzy and quickly boiled over into frankly repetitive incoherence and self-parody. >> will you help to support arnold's love child? >> will you help to support around's love child. whether or not you had an opinion about anthony wiener before today's news about him, what does it mean that he apologized so flooredly and with such emotion but did not resign. if what happened today is the final chapter in this particular scandal. he's not resigning, but he did go on record in the most astonishing way today is that the typical outcome for a scandal like this? is this being turned into a bigger deal or smaller deal than other political sex scandals suggest it ought to be? that is an imperical question and we have a graph for that. to the grid. all right. this is our highly subjective but still doing our best -- we have this -- highly suggestive but doing our best post bill
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clinton, modern american sex scandal consequence-o-meter. i love consequence-o-meters. on the vertical y axis. "new york magazine" does something vaguely like this. thank you for the idea. the way that we came up with this is this, on the vertical, on the y axis we've got more creepy all the way down to less creepy. on the horizontal y axis we've got less prosecutable all the way over to more prosecutable. and my prosecutable i mean rules, charges, right, ethics charges. potentially legal charges. criminal charges, tax charges, campaign finance charges. this is sort of a vaguely defined by prosecutable term. now major political sex scandals after bill clinton. okay. we were trying to come one the right pointer for this. we decided a big grabby hand
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would be the good one. there's no good one. it's the least bad one. it's still pretty bad. august 2004, jim mcgreevey. democratic governor of new jersey admits what he has cheated on his wife with a man. the governor says he is gay and he resigns. it's a little bit creepy, the lying, the adultery, the man he said he was involved in was someone he had appointed to a homeland security position. as these things go on the overall matrix, this is on the low side to have creepy scale and not particularly prosecutable either as these things go. florida congressman mark foley in 2006, republican, right. mr. foal he resigns after allegedly sending explicit instant messages to underage congressional pages, quite creepy given that they're underage and in the congressional scheme of things subordinate to him in the
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workplace. and therefore quite conceivably prosecutable, though in this case not prosecuted. louisiana senator david vitter republican. his name turns up on the d.c. may dam's phone list in 2007. he apologizes for quote, serious sins. he then runs for re-election and wins! thank you, louisiana. the senator is not dealing with underage people or people subordinate to him in the workplace. but the allegation is prostitution. the allegation is paying for sex. that is relatively high on the prosecutablity scale. then there is congressman -- excuse me, senator larry craig of idaho. you may remember good old mr. wide stance arrested in june 2007 for lewd conduct in a minnesota airport bathroom. i wish we had a special axis here, maybe one that came out this way for kind of pitiful. instead we go sort of medium on the creepy scale for the rank hypocrisy of a virulently anti-gay politician tapping away his reputation on a bathroom stall.
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anded me -- medium on the prosecutable scale. he did plead guilty to a misdemeanor. he finished out his term. there was new york governor eliot spitzer. being a democrat. admits in march 2008 to paying for sex with hookers. he resigns. now he has the same kind of job that i have. his case is just about exactly as creepy and as prosecutable as david vitter's if we could them one on top of the other, we would. that would look like a different kind of commentary. nobody is underaged, nobody is in a subordinate position in the workplace. again the allegation is prostitution. it is paying for sex. high on the prosecutablity scale. senator john ensign republican of nevada. big family values guys. admits in june 2009 to cheating on his wife with a married staffer who is married to another one of his staffers who both happen to be long time family friends of his.
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nearly two years later he announces he would be resigning but only because it seems he would be thrown out of the senate. a special council report on ensign paints him as pursuing the affair against the stated wishes of the woman he's pursuing it. the woman and her husband are subordinate and her family is 100% financially dependent on him. he is not paying for sex directly like the others, but the coercion and abuse of power more than makes up for it on the creepy scale. the prosecutablity here of course is quite evident in the special counsel's report the referral for campaign finance and criminal investigation and the fact that the senate ethics committee was considering expelling him about five seconds before he quit. a week after the senator ensign scandal was first revealed, south carolina governor mark sanford, another family values
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republican admit he's having an affair with a woman from argentina and he is staying on as governor. this may be among the less creepy scandals on our graph, it's pretty much straight up family values politician, adultery, hypocrisy, right. he did face 37 ethics charges all of which he was eventually cleared by in south carolina. but clearly they pursued 37 different ethics charges against him. let's put him here. congressman eric massa democrat of new york. march of 2010, democrat. admits to tickling a staffer until the man cannot breathe. mr. massa resigns. slightly less creepy than mark foley, right, the staffer was at least an adult. i think this one is less prosecutable, too. not totally, but less. congressman chris lee new york
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republican married, he got caught looking for an extra helping on craig's list and saying he was somebody else while doing it. he resigns before you could hit refresh on that one. for showing up on gawker he gets to be creepier than mark sanford and these guys. but in terms of prosecutable, he's not prosecutable at all. california governor arnold schwarzenegger, republican fathered a child with a woman who worked for his family. the news broke last month after he was already out of office as governor for the affair with someone in a subordinate staff position to you and for having a kid with that staffer who you hide from your wife and your other children for a decade you, sir, are capital c creepy. yes. mr. schwarzenegger has faced a few questions about state money to cover things up here. so far he's way down because nothing is solidly prosecutable. democrat running for president in 2008, the national enquirer publishes news of an
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extramarital affair and child. in october of 2007 while he was running for president mr. edwards denies it. meanwhile his campaign never gets off the ground. he quits in january 2008 after a disappointing showing in the early primaries. by august of that year, john edwards admits to having the affair. january of 2010 he admits that the child is his. for his phony campaign image as a loyal husband and for using his wife who was battling terminal cancer in his campaign ads and for denying he fathered a child he is capital c creepy and for being indicted last week, he is among the most prosecutable here. which brings us to the reason i am here with this slappy handed pointer thing in the first place. congressman anthony wiener of new york, democrat. hi, congressman. welcome to our consequence-o-motor. he has just admitted to exchanging explicit photos and
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facebook messages with women who were not his wife. some before he got married some after he got married it is kind of creepy the idea of messages like that coming from a congressman's twitter account and facebook page that he also used for a lot of official politicking. so far this one looks like it is not really prosecutable at all. although, we will be talking about potential ethics charges later on in the show. congressman wiener making clear today he is not resigning. this is our best estimation of where these various scandals fall on various axes. i think i would put vitter up higher than spitser because of the hypocrisy thing that spitser didn't have there in terms of the family values stuff. but all of this stuff is fairly is subjective. you could put these guys where you want them. but looking at this data set in general without nitpicking here. these are the ones who resigned.
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the ones who circles around them here. we don't include john endine he didn't resign because of the sex scandal. he resigned because he was about to get thrown out of the senate which is not the same thing. these are the ones who he resigned. those are the one who is did not resign including today congressman weiner. hello. he's now in this group, but of course without having any of the family values political hypocrisy that some of these other guys have. mr. wiener explained his decision not to resign, he was very sorry for what he had done, he had committed no crime. he had broken no rules of the house. whether or not you agree that he should have resigned or not resigned, whether you think this apology was enough or wasn't enough or too much, this is sort of how what he did stacks up against his really, really opposite of illustrious cohort on the post bill clinton sex scandal consequence-o-meter. with that said, will your opinion of anthony wiener will that change if he moves further down the prosecutable axis? democrats are calling for an
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ethics committee investigation. democrats his own leadership. if that moves him down the scale will that make you feel differently about what he decided to do today? that's next. i don't see anything that i did that violated any rules of the house. in financial transactions... on devices... in social interactions... and applications in the cloud. some companies are worried. some, not so much. thanks to a network that secures it all and knows what to keep in, and what to keep out. outsmart the threats. see how at cisco.
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i don't see anything that i did that violated any rules of the house. i don't see anything that i did that certainly violated my oath of office to uphold the constitution. i engaged in inappropriate, online conversations with people that included photographs and it was a mistake to do that. but i didn't -- i don't believe that i did anything that violates any law or any rule. congressional time could be anything. congressmen work long hours. but i don't believe that i did anything here that violates any law or violates my oath to my constituents. did i violate the constitution of the united states by lying about posting a twitter post? i certainly don't think so. i haven't spoken to anyone who did. if people want to say that this is a violation of my oath because i sent a twitter that i regretted and i lied about it, obviously people are entitled to that viewpoint. >> house minority leader nancy pelosi and the chair of the
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democratic scam pain party in the house steve israel called for an ethics investigation into whether or not any wiener violated house rules in the course of the online exchange s with women that he admitted to today in his extraordinary press conference. the congressman himself issued a statement in response quote, i welcome and will fully cooperate with an investigation by the house ethics committee. i am deeply sorry to my family, staff and constituents. joining us is seana thomas who covers the house. thanks very much for your time. it's good to have you here. >> thanks for having me again, rachel. >> what do you know about the kind of investigation that nancy pelosi is calling for, does the fact that she's calling for it mean that it will happen? >> she's calling to look into whether any official congressional equipment was used in his let's call it texting. if any other rules were broken. just because she calls for it, doesn't mean they have to do it. the chair and the ranking member of the ethics committee can call for an investigation themselves.
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once they call for it, it may take some time for it to get going. we may or may not find out when the investigative subcommittee is actually panelled. these investigations take a long time. >> so that would be sort of use of congressional resources for inappropriate personal use. are there any other potential violations or overt house rules that this might conceivably come under the rubric of? >> there's basically rule number one which is conduct reflecting credibility on the house that's unbecoming. so basically there's a catch all rule that members should not do things that make the house look bad. what they don't tend to prosecute this unless there are other things they've done as well. when we talked about rangel he had many, many others that could have been a problem. at the end of the list there's always this conduct unbecoming. there is that. but that's a really large catch all type of thing. >> you're saying that those
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catch-alls, the credibility of the house and conduct unbecoming those are sorts of things that don't usually get prosecuted on their own. they get tacked on to a more specific allegation. >> exactly. >> in terms of the republican side of the house, the house is republican controlled. the ethics committee is not under partisan control. have you heard anything from speaker john boehner's office or the leadership on this? >> i talked to the speaker's office briefly and they said they are not going to join for a call for investigation. they are going to let the democratic leader take the lead on this. so they're going to see what happens with the investigative committee themselves. however, the ethics committee can do what they want. he doesn't need to call for it. >> he doesn't need to call for it meaning that the ethics committee investigating on their own terms at their own initiative. >> yes. >> it's always great to have you here. thank you. >> thanks a lot, rachel. anthony wiener has made a career of saying a lot of things american liberals like to hear and saying them loudly and often
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with a good sense of humor. now he has done things that nobody likes to hear about period no matter your politics. we don't just make a taillight... ..we make a sculpture. we don't just make a sunroof... ..we make the heavens wide. we don't just make a crossover... ..we make a statement. the cadillac srx. we don't just make luxury cars, we make cadillacs. just don't feel like they used to. are you one of them? remember when you had more energy for 18 holes with your buddies. more passion for the one ya love. more fun with your family and friends. it could be a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. come on, stop living in the shadows.
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i'm not making any excuses for my behavior. i don't to drugs. i was not drinking. that wasn't the cause of this. this was -- this was me doing a dumb thing.
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and doing it repeatedly and then lying about it. that's all there is. i don't know the exact ages of the women. if you do. i'm going to respect their privacy, but they were all adults, at least to the best of my knowledge. they were all adults and they were engaging in these conversations consensually. i never had any intention of interaction with underage women. no information that i have now shows that i did. i love my wife very much. we have no intention of splitting up over this. i am deeply regretting what i have done. i am not resigning. >> joining us now is melissa harris perry professor of political science at tulane university and msnbc contributor. melissa tell me there's one big eloquent thesis statement that makes the most sense of what happened today with anthony wiener? >> i wish i could. my husband and i have been reduced to being 11-year-olds at making wiener jokes at this point. i don't know i have an eloquent thesis.
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i loved the grid that you presented at the beginning. we need to think about this in the context of the ick factor versus the question of how illegal if at all illegal these activities are. we can't underestimate the potential impact of an ick factor. >> when you say underestimating the impact of it do you mean for congressman weiner or for all of our ethics and sensiblities in terms of how much of this type of information about public figures gets considered newsworthy? >> let me tell you a little political story here. there was once a candidate named jack ryan. he was a good looking young guy in the illinois gop. he won the nomination of the illinois gop to run in 2004 for the u.s. senate against a guy named barack obama. he had a good, strong candidacy and quite likely could have given that young state senator a run for his money. he got caught up in an ick factor scandal.
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he had taken his wife to a sex club. she didn't like it. she divorced him. there was nothing illegal here. it was enough for him to go out, alan keys to come in and barack obama to rise to the u.s. senate not just in sort of an ordinary electoral fashion, but in the way that ultimately put him on that stage in 2004 at the dnc and made him in part possible as a presidential candidate in 2008. now that was in part because jack ryan was not a good steward of his public life. so what we don't know here with wiener is whether or not his lack of stewardship over the reality of being a public person and needing to make choices that, you know, maybe you don't have to make in private life, once you're in public life you have to make different choice, it could have a reverberating impact that we simply don't know about yet. >> in terms of the ethics and the newsworthiness of all of this, the first thing i thought of when i realized what anthony weiner was going to be talking
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about at that press conference today was the comparison with the christopher lee scandal. very similar in the sense that it is online contact. that is adultery of a sort. but it is certainly nothing criminal. we just heard shawna thomas talk about a potential investigation as to whether or not he used congressional resource. i'm stating my opinion, that does not seem like the kind of thing that's going to get him in serious ethical problems with the house. given the other things that people have gotten away with in the house this is a matter of his public life being poorly stewarded. what made christopher lee newsworthy, is he resigned. had he not resigned i wouldn't have discussed that story at all. >> you have to decide where the line crosses and where other people have to right to talk about this. >> sure. in the u.s. congress it's a big group of people all of them wielding supposedly the same
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amount of power. someone like wiener has basically built up political credibility, political power that he uses for the good of his ideology, for the good of his party, and for the good of his constituents. he has spent every single cent of that political capital on a sort of icky sex scandal. that's what happened. maybe he has not violated any laws or even as he said the oath he took relative to the constitution. the fact is he has made himself a significantly less effective spokesperson for all of the issues and all of the constituents that he cares about. and in that, i do believe that it is fundamentally newsworthy. look, i've been reading about fdr and eleanor roosevelt i was prepping for a class i'm going to teach on america's first ladies. the fact that is questions of extramarital affairs, they're
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deeply human complex anxieties. they go way back in our history. the fact is in this new media environment to be a steward of your constituent's interests requires in part making choices in your private life that can be displayed in a way that is respectable by the standards of our kind of contemporary, political and social norms. >> so, i feel like i agree with you and that all totally make sense for me and viscerally i believe in people's right to be icky. >> yes, of course. >> as long as they're not victimizing anyone and not being hypocritical. i think you're right. the way to measure the impact is to talk about the way it detracts from their ability to speak up for things that they want paid attention to. >> absolutely. i believe in how -- i am descended from mormon ancestors. i had mormon ancestors what were imprison ford consensual bigamy. i have always had a lot of
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anythi anxiety about that, my sense is if people are adults making a choice to be in complicated marriages, what does the state have to say about that? the fact is the state has a lot to say on questions of marriage. if it didn't, we would have marriage equality in this country. there is in fact a very strong sense that although anthony wiener is not sort of a family values guy, in choosing the option of presumably monogamous, heterosexual mare in, he does signal he is behaving with a certain set of practices. he's signaling that to his constituency. the fact is it opens him up for exactly this kind of -- this kind of scrutiny. yes, everybody has a right to be icky in the context of consent. on the other hand, the public also will, whether we like it or not, exercise the right to know. >> the right to be icked. froesor of -- professor of politics, a person about whom i enjoy discussing all sorts of topics
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that i wouldn't like to talk to other people about. thanks, melissa. on a day when one husband's cringy, skef -- skeevey behavior became pages one, two and three in a six-page run down, there was a husband many the news today, a congressional husband no less doing the right thing. doing the right thing in a way that may never, ever be topped in the history of congressional spouses. don't even try to compete with this spouses of planet earth even if you have no connection to congress. if you are looking for the antedote, the feel good antedote to the anthony weiner screwed up his marriage story today, stay tuned for the best new thing in the world today. it's coming up at the end of the show. i have copd. if you have it, you know how hard it can be to breathe and what that feels like.
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his presidential campaign today in pennsylvania. rick santorum a man who desperately needs some media attention to up his name recognition so people will stop googling him not knowing what to expect. rick santorum announced his presidential campaign today. he got five seconds of national attention for it and then the rick santorum is running for president story got totally swamped by the anthony wiener coming clean about his sex scandal story. aside from anthony wiener himself, probably the biggest loser in today's news was rick santorum. now, there are also some winners in today's news. so. winners from today's news being taken over by the anthony weiner scandal. i would say it is a toss up in terms of who wins the news cycle between former alaska governor sarah palin and former speaker of the house newt gingrich. both of whom are presumably or actually running for the nomination of the republican party. heading into this weekend sarah palin tried to tell the story of
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paul revere while she was on a trip to boston. she got the story of paul revere quite ostentatiously wrong. saying that paul revere was warning the british rather than warning americans about the british. rather than admit to getting the paul revere story exactly backwards, team palin has decided to tough it out. they have decided to try to make the story retroactively correct by aggressively trying to edit the story of paul revere on wiqipedia -- wikipedia to make it seem like the way sarah palin described it was correct. the overall message is if you're sarah palin don't worry about it. if you mess something up about history that only be a problem we'll arrange to just change the history. on a day where politics news was not totally dominated by the anthony weiner sex scandal and amazing press conference, the change in history to match what sarah palin said about it story would be a much bigger deal. by that sarah palin comes out to
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with a winner on the anthony wiener exhausts the news day. so does newt gingrich. newt gingrich's troubled presidential campaign now has anthony wiener to thanks for what otherwise would have been another serious, serious day of off message headlines for mr. gingrich. after a spectacular flip-flop belly flop on the paul ryan kill medicare budget plan right out of the gate. right after his presidential campaign started. mr. gingrich's campaign, you might recall, immediately bumble ed into another mine field. remember, the candidate could not and would not explain a quarter million to half million dollar revolving charge account that he had at the jeweler tiffany's. why is this a problem? it's sort of like a nonsexual version of the ick factor. for a guy trying to run as a fiscal conservatives, the hundreds of thousands worth of jewelry on credit is just hard to explain. it's an image thing.
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mr. gingrich has been at pains ever since to try to revise his image. to try to re-establish some man of the people credentials. trying to not seem like an out of touch rich washington guy who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on diamonds. in the midst of that image challenge, mr. gingrich is actually off the campaign trail for a while on a two-week vacation. asked on friday where it was that mr. gingrich would be vacationing, mr. gingrich's spokesman would not say. that was before mr. gingrich was spotted among the guests aboard a luxury cruise ship sailing between greece and turkey with stops on islands like meekenos and rhodes. after the tiffany's thing he never quite could answer does the newt gingrich for president campaign want to spend a whole new campaign day talking about their luxury cruise through the greek islands? no, they do not. and now they don't have to thanks to congressman anthony wiener.
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the exciting thing about expecting a thank you gift from newt gingrich is that there's always the possibility that it will come in a really fabulous famous light blue box. joining us now is howard fineman. howard, it's great to see you. thanks for being here tonight. >> hi, rachel. >> in terms of the overall republican presidential politics right now, the thing that is still the most important thing is the fate of mitt romney. mitt romney standing alone is the only major candidate who has not committed himself on the paul ryan medicare plan and standing alone as the one candidate or potential candidate who all the other republicans are running against. is that how you understand the primary dynamic to be in the republican field right now? >> i think that's right. i was in new hampshire last week and saw the forgettable official kickoff of the mitt romney campaign. one thing you can say about mitt romney is there's no ick factor
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there. either in terms of jewelry or sex, i don't think. the ick factor with mitt is that he's flip-flopped a million ways on everything and he comes off as andrew sullivan famously said as making plastic look genuine. he's the guy all the other candidates love off to hate right now to the point where i think they better be careful what they wish for. because if mitt romney is the weak est front runner in modern history goes down too fast, it exposes all the rest of them to more scrutiny which is not necessarily a good thing. if you've got a weak front runner in the field, prop him up until next december or january, otherwise you won't get any credit for knocking him off. >> looking today at the ron paul money bomb against mitt romney. ron paul has previously run money bombed these one day fundraisers on patriotic occasions things like fourth of july or some other american
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history moment. his latest money bomb is i hate mitt romney. he's raised over $1 million asking people to contribute against mitt romney. to the extent there is a lot of anger not only by the other candidates against mr. romney, but really among the grassroots to the idea that he will actually get the nominee. is that potentially a fundraising opportunity to rile up the tea party base of the republican party? >> well, there's no question. because weak though he is, mitt romney man -- this is part of the reason high he's so weak as a front-runner, is he's like the remainder man of the bush era republican establishment. he's got all those staff people working for him. he has the halfhearted approval of some of the bush orbit and family circle. he just seems like -- he's got all these things working against him. he's an establishment guy in an anti-establishment year. he inherits the support of a lot of people who have been around
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politics probably for way too long. he has changed his positions on enumerable issues and he's a terrible campaigner. other than that, he's a great front runner. but he gives all these people something to shoot at because he does so typify what's left of, i stress what's left of the republican establishment. >> in terms of mr. santorum's announcement, i don't think anybody's under any illusion that rick santorum is going to be a credible contender. i did think it was interesting in policy terms that the very first thing that he volunteered as the reason for his candidacy on "good morning america", is he wants to privatize social security. we have the republican field falling all over each other to embrace the paul ryan kill medicare plan. which is endorsed by slightly
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fewer people than endorsed toenail fungus as an idea. then we've got -- now we've got rick santorum going after social security as the reason that he's running and then we've got all of the other republican candidates attacking mitt romney for romney care the newest polls out of massachusetts show more than 60% approval of people actually living with that policy. how do you make political se >> first of all, rachel, you have to understand that rick santorum who i've covered for many years, he's from my hometown of pittsburgh, rose as the anti-abortion guy. that's he got his initial support in the state legislature and so forth. he's a cultural issues guy, but he knows that this year is an economics issue year. the one thing mitt room romney has going for him, he's in the wrong guy but many the right spot on economic issues, economic management. rick santorum is trying to get on the economic side. but desperately so. he reaching for the one thing that is less popular, even more than medicare, you know,
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social security and i think he's going it as a kind of mini branding issue, rachel. there's a lot of people now getting in the race. there's going to be a debate next week with seven or eight canned dagts. rick santorum has got to show the tea party types that he's got a mini brand and his mini brand is social security while the others are talking about medicare. >> you don't think that the other candidates will say they want to privatize social security, too? >> no, i don't. i don't think they'll do that. i think they'll stick to obama care as they call it because it works in their constituency and the others are thinking they may actually have a chance to win the nomination. they don't want to wade into the social security thing if they don't have to. >> the debate you're talking about next week is in new hampshire. of course, iowa is starting to come into shape as well. john huntsman saying he's all but going to let iowa go. we've got michelle bachmann announcing -- she's hiring for her campaign the person who was running mike huckabee's campaign when he won iowa last time around. still the open question of what mitt romney will do in iowa.
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do you have a sense of who the front runner will be for iowa and will it matter or is iowa too radical to be relevant? >> in basketball terms iowa is like the play-in game in the ncaa tournament. if i can use that analogy. because i know you follow that closely. iowa is -- tim pawlenty of neighboring minnesota has to win iowa. but that's the place where michelle bachmann is going to make her play because her family's from iowa. she's a big cultural conservative, anti-abortion, et cetera. that will matter on the cultural right. that will be the playoff game in the culture right. mitt romney absolutely has to win new hampshire. it's a neighboring state, it's supposed to be libertarian, conservative state. he's going to focus on economic issues.
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then the big confrontation i think after those two will be in south carolina. where you'll have both economic types and the cultural types facing off against each other, but pawlenty has to win iowa and romney has to win new hampshire. and i'm not sure either will win either. >> this is the best year yet and it's just getting started. howard fineman msnbc political analyst. howard, it's always a pleasure to have you here. >> thank you, rachel. we've got breaking news at of the white house. unexpected report about somebody leaving who was not expected to be leaving. we'll have that for you when we come back. [ female announcer ] women move the world. and caltrate moves us.
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breaking news tonight. that austin ghoulsby chair of the president's council of economic advisers will leave the post in time to return to the university of chicago for the fall semester. he has been an adviser to president obama since she was a state senator in illinois. mr. goolsbee a member of the council of economic advisers from the beginning of the administration. one of the things that endeared him to tv producers, his web videos in which he explained economic policies and their results on a big white board with erase ball markers. the white house indicated they hope to find his successor as quickly as possible. the position requires senate confirmation and right now the u.s. senate -- it is impossible to get confirmation that today is monday and ice is cold let alone anybody through the senate and into an important job. the news out of the white house today on a day where anthony
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weiner's sex scandal press conference dominated all else in politics the news is the head of the council of economic advisers austin ghoulsby will be leaving the administration. we'll be right back. look, every day we're using more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia,
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caltrate soft chews. because women move the world. she took mommy's temptations... ♪ she's polishing coal. ♪ new temptations, it's the first jell-o that's just for adults. after a day of political news dominated by a member of congress screwing up his marriage, after a litany of very, very specific information and pictures of exactly how that congressman screwed up his marriage, the best new thing in the world today is the antidote to all that. also about a marriage, also about the marriage of a member of congress but it is the opposite of screwed up. last night u-2 played a show in seattle. when they played their hit "beautiful day" they dedicated the song to gabby giffords the arizona congresswoman still recovering from an assassination attempt in january.
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>> i want to dedicate this to gabby giffords, a beautiful spirit who served her country. and nearly died serving. >> now, remember congresswoman gabby giffords' husband is mark kelly captain of the space shuttle "endeavour" which is up at the international space station right now. gabby giffords chose the song "beautiful day" to be commander kelly's wakeup call for his first morning in space on the shuttle. so that's the back story. u-2 dedicates the song to gabby giffords, an important song for her and her husband who is up on the space shuttle at the space station right now and in the middle of this concert in seattle last night watch what happened. >> hello, seattle! from the international space station!
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>> what words would he have to say to us? what would be on commander kelly's mind? these people are heroes. what's on your mind commander kelly? i'm looking forward to coming home. tell my wife i love her very much. >> she knows. ♪ it's a beautiful day >> space shuttle commander mark kelly quoting david bowie. commander kelly with in effect a love song from space for his wife. congresswoman gabby giffords. that is the antidote to today's