tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 10, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EST
no good. >> this is a tragedy! i am devastated! i love the muppets. >> you will have to mourn miss piggy's failed attempt to host the oscars with the rest of us. i know, it's tragic. that'll do it for us. i am dylan ratigan. and "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. >> brain freeze. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews out in los angeles. leading off tonight, rick perry. easy as one, two, um, um, uh. 53 seconds. that's how long it took rick perry to drive what was left of his sputtering campaign off the cliff. perry's brain freeze the most devastating moment of any modern
debate. chris cillizza said the debate's losers were rick perry and rick perry. so bad that we named his twice. and those were some of the kinder comments. to his credit, perry is owning up to his mistake and trying to make light of it. but is there any way he can overcome it? so could it be time for newt? so far donald trump, tim pawlenty, michele bachmann, and rick perry have all auditioned and been rejected for the role of the anti-romney. if herman cain can't overcome or otherwise survive these sexual harassment allegations, is it possible that newt could be the man? he's a mean one, mr. gingrich, but he may be the only game left. the even bigger story that everyone is talking about is the sexual abuse scandal, and that's a very tasteful phrase for what's alleged here, at penn state university. and the ousting of joe paterno. now the question is, how could so many adults who knew what was happening allow this to go on? and why do so many students at penn state still support paterno? and nixon before the grand jury. 11 months after he resigned the
american presidency, richard nixon testified before a grand jury about the watergate scandal. today, his testimony was released and historians are digging through it to find out what secrets may have been hidden for nearly four decades. and let me finish tonight with what rick perry's blooper last night really tells us about the tea party. we start with last night's debate and rick perry. with me now are two veteran presidential campaign strategists, democrat bob shrum, most recently of the terry 2004 campaign, and republican steve schmidt who worked on the bush/cheney 2004 campaign and the 2008 mccain campaign. steve's also an msnbc political analyst. let's look at now. here's rick perry losing his train of thought last night, and that's also being generous. let's listen. >> and i will tell you, it's three agencies of government, when i get there, that are gone. commerce, education, and the, um, um -- what's the third one there? let's see. >> you mean five? >> yeah, five, okay.
so commerce, education, and the um, um, the -- >> epa? >> epa, there you go! no, not -- >> seriously? is epa the one you were talking about? >> no, sir. no sir. we were talking about the, um, agencies of government -- the epa needs to be rebuilt, no doubt about that. >> but you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government. i would do away with education, the, um -- >> commerce. >> commerce. and let's see, i can't. the third one, i can't. i'm sorry. oops. >> well, that's a heck of an oops there, mr. schrum, and i don't expect you to be generous in your critique, but this is going down in the rule books. this is going to be one. remember the main facts. if you want to get rid of something, remember what you hate, at least. >> look, the guy just either didn't prepare or he's not capable of preparing. there's a marvelous description,
chris, if i can give some perspective to this, in your book about jfk and how he got ready for the 1960 debates, down to learning a week before the staging and the stagecraft. and don hewitt who produced those debates, the guy who later created "60 minutes," said kennedy cared a lot more about them and paid a lot more attention than nixon did. i think rick perry has been treating these debates as a dropby. if he hasn't been and he's prepared, then this is a really extraordinary performance. no republican rationally could say that somebody who was so unready in that debate is ready to take on obama. and no american could think somebody who did that could be president of the united states. >> let me go to steve. i mean, there's a standard way of preparing for these debates, and it's not exactly grown-up, but they all do. he was nice to mention the book. kennedy lied in bed at the chicago ambassador hotel and basically had index cards with all the questions his staff thought he might get hit with and he'd flip them and throw them on the floor when he
thought he had them mastered. but he didn't have to think, what are the three agencies you want to get rid of? he knew them by heart because they were the ones he wanted to get rid of. but here was a guy who failed to know what he thought up himself. this is not not knowing the capital of venezuela. this is something where you gave the name of the capital of venezuela, the name, and he didn't know it. >> it's remarkable. i think they'll be playing this on the videotape 30 years from now. it's one of the most remarkable moments in the history of presidential debates. and i think it effectively ended his campaign last night. you have a ruinous series of public appearances by rick perry, not the least of which was the very bizarre appearance in new hampshire last week. this on top of it, i think, ends it for him. now, i think going forward, which will be interesting is, he has a lot of money. is he going to spend that money trying to tear down the front-runner, mitt romney, or is he going to spend that money trying to rehabilitate the rick perry image, telling the rick perry story? he's actually got a story to
tell. it will be interesting to the see what he does with those resources. >> you were so smart, steve, because you know you gave us the answer, which is, don't compete in the eastern conference until you've won the western conference championship. don't go for the interleague play when you haven't won your league. and he has to be the top conservative challenger to mr. romney before he gets to run against mr. romney in the late spring. you're right. his first job, i believe, and he laid it out there, is to justify himself as the alternative to romney before he has to take him on. here he is, by the way, showing the first sign of trouble. this was at the fox news debate in september, a couple months ago. rick perry stumbled when he had an easy chance for a haymaker, a chance to deliver a blow at romney for his flip-flopping. let's listen to how he blew the chance. >> i think americans just don't know sometimes which mitt romney they're dealing with. it is the mitt romney that was on the side of -- against the second amendment, before he was for the second amendment? was it -- was it before he was before the social programs, from
the standpoint of, he was for standing up for roe versus wade, before he was against versus -- roe versus wade? he was, um, for race to the top. he's for obama care, and now he's against it. >> as a debate expert, bob shrum, what was happening there? a man who was unable sort of to put it together, who knew what had to be together, but didn't. he hadn't rehearsed. >> they obviously had gave him the line, he was prepared to do it, but he wasn't prepared. he couldn't memoryize it, or under the pressure of those cameras and in that moment, he couldn't deliver it. and by the way, steve's right. there was that disastrous speech in new hampshire, but after this debate, in that speech, perry's numbers started to fall drastically in the polls. he came into this race and soared into first place, the mid-30s. he was going to be the un-romney, he was probably going to be the nominee.
but i think he spent all his time deciding to announce and very little time preparing to run. he's just not up to this. he's not going to be the nominee. and i do think he could do great damage to romney along the way. it will be interesting to see what choice he makes. >> here he is cleaning up after the elephant, the elephant being him. rick perry tried to do damage control on all three network morning shows. here he is today. lest watch the cleanup crew in action, led by rick perry. let's listen. >> i will tell you, i don't mind saying clearly that i stepped in it last night. but i think i'm kind of like most americans, and there's so many agencies of government out there we'd like to forget that the department of energy was one of those. the issue wasn't about whether i can sing off a line of a number of agencies. it truly gets to the core of the matter of we've got so much government out there. >> yeah? let me go back to steve schmidt.
"sing off a line of government agencies." he's applying to run those agencies! he's applying to run the federal government. not to be the chief critic of the federal government, which the tea party's expert at. this is what i'm going to get to at the end of the show. there's a difference being somebody with a spitball, shooting at the big shots. which is what i enjoy doing too. and i don't knock that there's a big role for the opposition to do that. but he's not running to be the leader of the opposition. he's running to run the country. don't you have to have some feel for the government you're about to take over if you win? >> of course you do. and i think he said it right there. he says, well, a lot of americans get confused on this. well, he's not like a lot of americans. he's the longest-serving governor in the country and he's running for president of the united states. and he's demonstrated, literally since the hour he's gotten into this race, is that he's not prepared to be commander in chief. and like i said from the
beginning, i think if he had been prepared, who knows what would have happened. but at the end of the day now, i think the race is over for him. there's just no way the republican primary voters are going to put him into a debate with barack obama. not going to happen. >> well, let's take a look at some -- we're going to stop this. i think we're probably making our point overly generously here. but let's take a look at some of the awkward moments in past debates, by rick perry. >> i have as much experience in the congress as jack kennedy did when he sought the presidency. >> senator? >> i served with jack kennedy. i knew jack kennedy. jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> who am i? why am i here? >> it's not only what's your philosophy and what's your position on issues, but can you get things done? and i believe i can. >> and thank you all for
watching us tonight. i have done so much. we have done everything that we could possibly do. we have, um -- >> well, you know, life is unfair. and some of those are unfair. i think, i think the shot at dan quayle was fair, bob, because -- to start with you, because in that case, he was warned by his staff, this is now legendary, right? he was warned, don't do that "i'm as cool as jack kennedy because i served as many years," don't dare put yourself on that platform as his equal, and he did it. i do feel bad about james stockton, who served our country so nobly as a p.o.w. and serviceman and a leader, but he
said thing he thought would carry a certain rhetorical quality and it just laid flat there. it's not always fair, but your thought? >> the quayle thing was fair. they told him not to do it, and he went ahead and did it the fourth time he was asked the question. tom brokaw said, can we go back to this question of experience? and under pressure, he gave the answer he had been giving on the campaign trail. that line devastated his political career. he was never a serious political figure again, even though he got elected vice president. i think rick perry's in a similar situation. there is no way to repair this. you can't go on the "today" show. you can't go on all the morning shows and make light of it and get out of it. because a few million people watched that debate last night. i suspect 50 million people have now seen those 50 seconds, and they create an indelible impression. >> and just to be clear, and i'll be tough on you, my friend, bob. what exactly does it demonstrate
about his ability to be president of the united states in these times? >> either that he doesn't prepare or that he can't function under pressure. or that he's capable of not leading the country, or all three of those things. >> okay. thank you very much, shrum. i didn't expect you to be generous, but you might be right. thank you so much. steve schmidt, you're a great guest. congratulations on joining us. it's great to have you on this campaign season. coming up, so given perry's performance, which was so terrible, and the allegations against herman cain, which continue, although he seems to have got a 24-hour break today with nothing new, who will be the anti-romney? in other words, the alternative to the more moderate romney that the tea party and the conservative wing of the republican party are damned and determined to find. could they have their eye on newt? newt gingrich. the right wing's running out of options. they've got one game left in town. last gasp before entering desert, the sign should say, and you're looking at them right now. the last gas station open on the way into the mojave desert.
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welcome back to "hardball." well, newt gingrich of all people has seen a recent uptick in most of the recent polls. in fact, real clear politics, they do an average of the latest poll, that has him running third among republicans with a wealthy 12.2%, which is moving upward. people are starting to wonder if it's not -- maybe now it's gingrich's turn to be the gop's new flavor of the month. just take a look at the following headlines. "why gingrich could win" from the "wall street journal." that's dorothy, very smart woman. it's gingrich's turn to rise in the polls, and perry's painful answer opens the door wider. so the newt gingrich's the gop's last stop for gas before the desert. my phrase. john heilemann is an msnbc political analyst and nia-malika henderson is a political reporter with "the washington post," the famed "washington post," i must add. john heilemann, sir, do you
think we're going to have to settle in for a winter of discontent so bleak, so dark, that hopeless, that we must buy our gas before entering the desert from mr. newt gingrich? >> well, i think, chris, that there's been a quality of a carousel so far in this republican nomination fight. and we have seen candidates, like the horses on the carousel, they go up and come back down. newt gingrich had the benefit, in a way, of having his fall happen, you know, six months ago, or five months ago. and he's now positioned as, you know, if you think about the anti-romney vote, looking for a credible conservative, mitt romney -- or newt gingrich is certainly a conservative. how credible he is kind of remains to be seen. but i think a lot of people are going to look at him. he sounds like he's doing -- he's generating a positive response out on the hustings, especially in iowa. so i think he may have another moment in the sun, but the question is whether he then does the same thing he did the last time, shoot himself in the foot and decline back into nothingness again, quickly.
>> here's gingrich at last night's debate hitting a gop sweet spot, attacking the media. >> it's sad that the news media doesn't report accurately how the economy works. >> i'm sorry, but what is the media reporting inaccurately about the economy? >> what? >> what is the media reporting inaccurately about the economy. >> maria, she's so much better than him, in every way. anyway, this is ridiculous, that she's going to take that abuse from him, or he even was on the same stage with him. let me go to nia-malika henderson. the history of this fella is so full of problems, the three marriages, having an affair during the time he's leading the impeachment process against the president of the united states for something like that. the fact that he was thrown out of the speakership for all kinds of questions about ethics. and here he is coming back as a critic of the way things work in washington. it's horrendously stupid to
think that he's a reformer. >> yeah, and i think most people really that. most people are familiar with newt gingrich. he's, in some ways, trying to run as if he's an anti-establishment figure, but he is the establishment. that's where he spent most of his life, most of his career. and i was actually out there covering him during those early months, when he was imploding, among the charges that he had, you know, spent so much on jewelry and when his staff imploded. and people weren't really taking to him. they know his history, they see him as an idea man, but they also see him as very undisciplined. and over the last few years, let's face it, this is a man who cut commercials with nancy pelosi, who is, you know, an anathema to the tea party folks, and also went on tour with al sharpton and arne duncan and had said some pretty positive things about the way arne duncan is handling the education department. so i think if they look more closely, not only at his history in terms of his history in the speakership, but even in terms
of some of his views, i think they'll see someone who is masquerading as this anti-establishment figure, but is really an establishment figure. >> let's take a look at a contrast between an integrated personality, bob schieffer, who is a good guy from texas being a journalist all these years, and the somewhat confected personality of newt gingrich being opened up on television. here's a memorable moment from back in the summer when it looked like gingrich's campaign was imploding. let's listen. >> you own between $250,000 and $500,000 to a jewelry company. what was that about, mr. speaker? >> well, first of all, it's about obeying the law. >> did you owe $500,000 to a jewelry company at one point? >> we had a revolving fund. >> what does that mean? >> it means that we had a revolving fund. >> i mean, who buys $500,000 worth of jewelry on credit? >> no, it's a -- go talk to tiffany's. >> it's very odd to me that someone would run up a $500,000 bill at a jewelry store. >> well, go talk to tiffany's.
>> i mean, you're running for president. you're going to be the guy in charge of the treasury department, and it just sticks out like a sore thumb. >> you know, john heilemann, i do think television does reveal certain things in certain moments, not all the time, but there you see a regular, normal person who has nothing really to hide, bob schieffer, doing his job, and you have newt doing his job as candidate. he's totally incompetent at defending his very being. he can't explain who he is. isn't that going to be a problem with the tea partyers, who claim they want the genuine article to defend them against the evil establishment? >> there's a contemptness the way he was responding to schieffer. he's constantly attacking the moderators, constantly attacking the press. and although there are obviously many republicans who feel contempt for the press, gingrich has even attacked the moderators
from the fox debates. his media persona is not that strong. but you pointed out something that's much more glaring as a flaw. he does have this history. and people -- the other republican candidates, because they have not taken him seriously for the past few months, he's not been hit with the waves of opposition research that some of the other candidates have been hit with. that if the mitt romney campaign, which is run by an opposition researcher, if they feel that newt gingrich is an actual threat to them, i think there will be, you know, a 500-pound hammer that's going to come down on his head over a lot of the stuff in his past that is not particularly pretty. >> there's a lot of things he can use his mind for. he's a smart guy, but i think newt gingrich should be running for president. but we'll see, it's his call, so far. john heilemann, thank you for joining us. thank you, nia-malika henderson of "the washington post." up next, president obama lays out his strategy to beat the republicans. just play back their debates in full. that's pretty stuff. he may have been joking, but he's got a point. that's next in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, this week's award for shadowing goes to president obama. by now, we've all seen rick perry's brain freeze probably more than one, but just hours before last night's debate kicked off, the president sat down for a roundtable discussion with a group of hispanic journalists. what strategy did he outline for going after the 2012 gop candidates? quo "i don't think it requires us to go negative in the sense of running a bunch of ads that are false or character assassinations. it will be based on facts. we may just run clips of the republican debates verbatim. we won't even comment on them. we'll just run those in a loop on univision or telemundo and people can make up their own minds." well, after last night, is there
any doubt what will show up in that reel? >> i would do away with the education, the, um, the -- >> commerce. >> i can't -- commerce. and, let's see -- i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops. >> well, too bad for obama perry is unlike to end up as the republican nominee. and the gaffe that will go down in history was the best news herman cain could have gotten last night. the big news could have been cain's name calling when talks about speaker of the house nancy pelosi. here's cain's faux pas and his walk back, soon afterwards. >> that legislation has already been written. hr-3000. in the previous congress, it was hr-3400. and what that does has already been written. we didn't hear about it in the previous congress, because princess nancy sent it to committee and it stayed there. that was a statement that i probably should not have made, but i was trying to make a point. >> wow. well, fine except that the "princess nancy" line, as he
used, was no newbie for herman cain. here's how he went after pelosi on his radio show last year. >> you heard about the $26 billion bailout of teachers, didn't want to layoff teachers. what i want to do this segment, instead, is peel back the onion on the $26 billion bailout that they rushed back to congress in an emergency session, called by princess nancy! >> well, anybody that knows nancy pelosi, the the former speaker, now leader of the democrats, would never call her princess. she is a tough cookie and a greater leader. that explains, by the way, why the cain campaign was so quick to tweet the princess line right after he said it. i guess he didn't know this would be time to exercise some back peddling, as you just saw
him doing there. and now time for the big number. it's hard to believe that rick perry could come out anywhere near the top ten or on top after his gaffe last night, except for twitter mentions. perry coasted through the first hour of the debate with under 3,000 references, and then the bombshell moment happened. by the end of the debate, how many tweets mentioned rick perry? almost 19,000. mitt romney, who many people are saying landed at the top of the class last night had the fewest references with just under 5,000. but there you have it, 18,900 tweets featuring texas governor in his worst night. that's tonight's big number. up next, joe paterno's out at penn state, so is the university's president, he's out as well. how could so many people who knew about the sexual abuse scandal, and that's a tasteful phrase for what's alleged here, allow it to go on? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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i'm jackie deangelis with your cnbc market wrap. thin, choppy trading again today. the dow jones industrials adding 112 points. the s&p 500 gaining 10 and the nasdaq picking up 3 1/2. investors latching on to some upbeat economic reports in corporate earnings here at home in the absence of any big news out of europe. we saw weekly jobless claims falling for the second week in a row since their lowest levels in early april. at the same time, the u.s. trade deficit shrank to its narrowest point in almost a year, as import prices fell more than expect. now, in stocks, tech bellwether cisco surging on strong forecasts, showing consistent demand, despite the global slowdown. merck boosting its quarterly dividend in the first time in seven years. and two big names with strong earnings after the bell. disney with strong sales and
nordstrom's reported growing sales and profits, but predicted a sluggish holiday season. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." i'm out of it, maybe now. a phone call put me out of it, but we'll go from there, okay? one thing, thanks and pray for those victims. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was former penn state coach, joe paterno, of course, after getting fired by the university's board of trustees. he and penn state university president graham spanier are the two latest casualties of this sexual abuse scandal in which former assistant coach jerry sandusky is charged with allegedly molesting at least eight victims, all of them young boys. again, that word "molesting" doesn't capture what happened here. students rioted on campus last night, rioting following word of
paterno's ouster. but the question remains, how many adults knew about this sexual abuse and why didn't they contact police? police. in state college, pennsylvania, where football is religion, how does this community try and pick up the pieces of this terrible mess? michael smerconish is a nationally syndicated radio host and an msnbc political analyst and the greater writer buzz bizzinger writes for the daily beast and he's, of course, the author of "friday night lights." i want to standard with michael, but go quickly to buzz. you guys are the experts here. this is just horrible. michael smerconish, your assessment? >> paterno had to go. spanier had to go. and i think it's the tip of the iceberg. i think there's still more unknown than known. there are a lot of questions, not the least of which is, what became of the investigation back in 1998 and 1999 by a d.a. who later disappeared? so this is the beginning, chris. we're not even in the end of the first quarter. >> buzz?
>> yeah. i mean, i agree with michael. i mean, there was no question that paterno had to go. and i think the way he went and his sort of complaint about the way the trustees treated him really showed his fundamental arrogance. i think show still wanted to dictate the terms of his retirement. i'll retire at the end of the season. that wasn't feasible. but it's not just paterno. it's paterno, it's spanier, it's the director curley, it's the executive vice president schultz. it's this graduate assistant, who everyone says is a kid, who was 28 years old and is an eyewitness to sodomy. an eyewitness to sodomy of a 10-year-old, of a 10-year-old, and does nothing except tell his father and paterno, and paterno then does nothing. and paterno says, well, he just said that sandusky was fondling a kid. that's not serious? are you kidding me? and nobody goes to the police? this is a massive cover-up and michael's right. >> he basically had this kid
naked up against the wall, he was having sex with him -- rear-end sex. it was unbelievable -- an 8-year-old kid. i don't know how this stuff happens. how anybody could walk out of the room and say, my god, i've seen the worst thing i've seen in my life, i've got to go the police this second. and they all act like they saw somebody spill their soup at lunch. how do they treat -- >> i've tried to give this guy every benefit of the doubt. buzz and i both wrote about him today, yet buzz uses a lot more graphic language than i do to capture this scene. chris, this guy will be on the sideline this saturday. that's the amazing thing about it. this so-called graduate assistant, so that we're clear, he himself was a quarterback for penn state. the guy's a stud. so it's not like he's a 98-pound weakling who perhaps would have been physically intimidated by sandusky at the time. and he's not been reprimanded. so come saturday, a hundred thousand people, beaver stadium, look for him with the red hair. i can't fathom why he wasn't
fired, hasn't been fired, and the only conclusion i can come to is perhaps because this grand jury report regards him as a credible witness. an eyewitness that maybe penn state didn't want to put itself at odds with someone whose testimony will be necessary. it just doesn't make sense. >> well, you know, buzz, we're not hbo. we can't use the language you used, but by the way, i love the way you said it in your piece today. because we've used words like "molesting," i don't even know what that means. i want to know -- i know it's crude language, but at some point, somebody in the writing journalistic creed has ought to say, there ought to be a new standard of ethics for reporting. you've got to say what you're talking about. what i liked about your column today, it got me to read the whole indictment, the grand jury testimony, and you read what actually happened here. it took some journalists to stop using these cute, dainty phrases, that don't teach you anything about the horror of this thing. >> well, i mean, and that's why i used them. i did not use it gratuitously, and i'm not going to repeat them here, but as you say,
"molesting," it does not get across the image and the sounds of mick mcqueary, the graduate assistant -- and by the way, he's not going to be on the sidelines, he's going to be in the press box, because they're scared for his safety, as they should be. it doesn't get across, when you say "molest," what that kid was going through. this was a 10-year-old kid, as you say, hands up here, against the wall. he is naked, and this coach, who is about 55 or 56, is naked, allegedly, behind him, doing sodomy. doing sodomy. and mcqueary, as michael says, is 6'4" and a quarterback. how can he not run in, and this is why i get upset, run into that shower and say, what the hell are you doing? and i'll tell you why. it is the code of oherta. these college staff at places like penn state, it is like the mafia. and i'm not being -- it's not a hyperbo hyperbole, they stick to their
own, they protect their own, they keep to their own. and i think it was more fearful, oh, my god, it's jerry sandusky, assistant coach ofperson state for 25 years. oh, my god, it's coach, what do i do? what does he do? basically, nothing. >> well, it's big-time college sports and we know which direction it's gone all these years, michael. is this just the worst part of what's going with sports in college, taking the attitudes of anything to make money, anything for the school to win, so the alumni can wake up sunday morning and read that their alma mater won the game? there is nothing higher in your value system than the alumni to pick up the parrot per on sunda morning and see that their team won. >> my hunch is that it's beyond that. that it permeates the political system as well. and that's why i raised the questions as to what became of the investigation in 1998, when there was a report of an 11-year-old boy, 1998, four years before what we're talking about now with the innocecidentt burris related, it was reported
to the district attorney. it was an 11-year-old showering with sandusky. what happens next, chris? he retires in 1999 with his head held high. and young something i find curious? this is a guy who had a stellar reputation as a coach. i have got to believe that there were other universities in pursuit of him as a head coach. in other words, i think it begs the question, if and when they came calling, did penn state say, oh, no, you don't want this guy and here's why, privately? my hunch is, a lot of people were in on it, including the political apparatus. >> buzz, you're an expert at the culture of sports, high school as well as college. of course, you're famed for it, as well as writing the great book, "prayer for a city," but let me ask you, what do you think this is the message to the people out there, the alumni? what should they be getting out of this? the alumni? the supporters of these big ten and other schools? >> my hope is that this becomes the tipping point, the turning point. i have given hundreds of speeches about this at high schools, private schools, universities, colleges, all over the country, about the ov
overemphasis of sports. the danger of sports at the high school and college level. people nod, they clap, and nothing happens. this is an incredible scandal. this is not a sports scandal. this is one of the worst scandals in modern history. i think it approaches the catholic church, certainly not in dimension, but think about it. and michael is right. that 1998 investigation, they have sandusky admitting -- admitting that he did something inappropriate with a child! he admits it! there is a detective hiding in the house who hears it. and they do not press charges? and then he retires in 1999? and apparently he was rumored for others jobs. and i know these clubhouses and locker rooms. they're cliquish, they gossip, they talk all the time, and i'm convinced that '98 report, which was done by the penn state police, was buried. was totally buried. and a lot of people read it. and they said, oh, it's sandusky, god forbid.
the only way to get rid of this, license these programs out. the university takes a fee, they become minor league systems. get them out of the academic setting. they do not belong. in the short-term, i think i've heard today that penn state knows how bad it is. they finally know how bad it is up there. thank you, michael smerconish, thank you, buzz bissinger. for the first time, we're finding out what nixon told a grand jury about the watergate break-in and the cover-up. nix nixon's testimony taken months after he resigned has been released today. we've got thile highlights, comg up. this is "hardball," only on msnbc.
relationship between jack and jacqueline kennedy. that's tonight here in l.a. for more information on the book, go to our facebook page, facebook.com/hardball. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition? ♪ [ gong ] strawberry banana! [ male announcer ] for a smoothie with real fruit plus veggie nutrition new v8 v-fusion smoothie. could've had a v8. new v8 v-fusion smoothie. when you're a sports photographer,
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we're back. it's a big day for presidential historians, who are combing through the newly released transcripts from former president richard nixon's grand jury testimony that he gave back in june of 1975. for the first time, the national archives and the nixon presidential library released the 11 hours of testimony. of course, it was efforts to cover up his administration's involvement in the infamous break-in at the dnc offices in
the watergate complex that led to his resignation. but his testimony has never before been made public. after a lawsuit, the judge ordered the material released and today it was. it was the only time president nixon discussed the discussed tr oath. and carl bernstein, of course is the legendary journalist who broke the case. he's now a contributor to "the daily beast." carl, why don't you start, your assessment of what is new here, if anything? >> not much of it's more of nixonian attitude. he's cagey. the real nixon is the nixon of the watergate tapes, unfettered in his office, ordering break-ins, fire bombs. that's the real nixon. this is a witness who wants to make issue he is not caught in a legal trap, who also wants to get some digs in at the prosecutors, at the press, at his enemies. he thinks -- and you can see
these things might be read some day at some point. he's very cagey. in terms of the record of what the nixon presidency is really about, i don't see much there that adds to the picture. >> in other words, he had a lot of time to think about how to cover himself. >> it's the same nixon as we see on the frost interviews, which is rehearsed. it's not spontaneous, and it's lawyered. he's been prepped by his lawyers but again every moment of richard nixon is fascinating. this is no exception, including the digs, including the cageyness, but really what struck me once again, he calls watergate this silly break-in, when in fact this was a huge criminal conspiracy to undermine the electoral process of this country. it was a conspiracy presided over by the president of the
united states. i was struck also today -- i read a lot of testimony. i read the penn state testimony. i watched james mural dadoch be the british panel, and i'm struck by all these institutions that become corrupted from the top down because of a culture of willingness to do anything to get one's own goals. that's what we see with nixon. >> carl, having worked in it, everybody is led by the guy it is top. remember dukakis said the fish rots from the stop? it's an old greek expression, and it's always true. let's go to timothy naftali, sir, what did you see -- you're not a defender of the nixon record, but you are an exemplar of what we should know about it. what did you find useful in terms of the debate about this legacy? >> well, first of all, this was
our first chance to see the president under oath talking about one might call the dark corners, the remaining mistries the watergate. th was his opportunity to shed light on him. as carl mentioned, he doesn't, but something very important here is that the prosecutors, henry ruth and the other watergate special prosecutors did not know as much about watergate as we do now. in the last 30 years, there's been so much released that shows now the inconsistency between what the president is saying and what we know to be true. you can go to the wall in the nixon a library and see evidence of him ordering the creation of the enemies list, which as i read today in the testimony, he denies ever having done or cannot recall. >> he'll clearly talking about the -- >> part me. >> timothy, he's tacking about
the i.r.s. when he said i never put together a list of people to be audited or attacked by the i.r.s.? he's clearly talking about the i.r.s., as you understand it? >> that's certainly what he was saying, in fact they were pointing to a particular millennium dumb that the prosecutors had access to. but the prosecutors did not have -- when the president ordered the creation of a list to give to the i.r.s. to harass people. there were follow upquestions that they couldn't ask then. they just didn't know. >> thank you both. when we return, the biggest issue behind rick perry's inable of to remember the third agency. they want a job. the postal service employs more veterans than any other civilian employer.
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let me finish tonight with this. rick perry ace inability to remember the third federal agency he wants to eliminate tells you about the abject failure of the tea party folks to take this things seriously, the think being the better running of our national government. if you don't think an agency is doing its job, you're less likely to remember its name. unless you're not being serious. the tea party people who throw terms around like secession. the history it speaks of. rick perry's intelligence is not
being measured. his seriousness about the role of government is being tested, and he is flunking that test, as are most of the people at his ends of the political spectrum. the trouble with the people who hate big government is they have no idea what government involves. the his tore of government's role in this country's economic development, for example. why are we bound together coast to coast? because of the transcontinental railroad. why are we best know for scientific, because the land grant college system, the act, abe ray ham linking sign that created ought those state universities that have enriched our knowledge like agriculture, like texas a.m. why did we have this middle class that took this country to the top of the world? because of g.i. bill which in a real way creted the modern middle class that raised most of us. understanding the positive economic role of government is critical to any debate about regaining our economic