tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 9, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
i'm me slas harris. perry, catch my show weekends from 10:00 to 12 eastern. evolution concluded, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews, out of the closet, president obama evolved. he told today that yes, gay couples should be able to marry. >> i just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married.
>> with that one line, he became the first president to take that stand. also, the reaction from the gay rights community, how can a gay person vote for a candidate that stands against their right to marry, and richard lugar defeat over a republican that says never, ever compromise with democrats. and game on in wisconsin, the candidates are set, the polls are tight, can democrats unseat scott walker? the man who nose so much about this race, ed schultz joins me tonight. and let me finish with president obama, once again, makes history. when begin with the evolution on gay marriage. jew gene robinson is a columnist for the "washington post." gene, i want you to start here, let's get the interview here, with robin roberts this
afternoon. the president gave his support to same sex marriage, let's listen. >> i have to tell you that over the course of several years, as i talked to friends, family, and neighbors. when i think about friends of my own staff that are incredibly committed in monogamous same sex rips. when i think about the soldiers, airmen, or marines out there fighting on my behalf and feel constrainted, even knew don't ask don't tell is gone, because they're not able to commit themselves in a marriage -- at a certain point i just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same-sex
couples should be able to get married. >> a very dramatic response came after the remarks today, michael bloomberg pointed out the historic nature of the president's statement. he said this is a major turning point in the history of american civil rights. no american president has supported a major expansion of civil rights that was adopted by the american people. today's announcement is a testament for the president's convictions. all of that said, you know the history, is the president ahead of the conservative, the parade, or with it safely enough to have this not hurt him in the campaign? >> it's unclear what the net political impact will be. i don't think you can say that it's safe at this point. you know, the polls are showing a majority of americans supporting gay marriage. you know that support is not
equally distributed across the united states and it's strong ner states like new york than it is in states like north carolina which just defeated gay marriage by 20 points yesterday, and coincidentally, is a swing state that the president would dearly love to win. the evolution and the president's thinking was completed in the last few months and he was determined to talk about it before the convention, and the issue is current now, and he decided to move up his announcement of this new position. >> let me go to mark halperin, is this because joe biden went on "meet the press" and koim out on it for himself. was there a decision to declare
it before the convention. there was an expectation that he might well do it. there's no way to know what politics are. on the positive side, i think number one, the president has energy and emotion on his side. this is historic for a lot of supporters. he also has the media on his side, the media is overwhelmingly in favor of same sex marriage. and that means it's not a fair fight. while romney and others think they can go on the offensive, romney talking about why this is a positive for the president. romney had questions to answer about which benefits he doesn't support for same sex couples, and he is not good at those questions. we can talk about the negatives and the risks, but i think it puts the president in line with where history is going, the public opinion polls, and with
most people in his party including the people that work for him. >> before we get to more polling, the emotions of this when you see governor romney saying he's for traditional marriage, you can say the traditional prejudice against gay people where they would be thrown out of jobs, military, denied access to the military. all of that was part of our tradition as well. why would anyone value the word tradition in this case of expanding in a country that honors the expansion of rights and not hon roring the old restrictions. >> chris, that's a very good question. i know a little about tradition. >> you lived through it. >> it's not always a good thing. so, you know, look, the people do, though, have deep feelings about gay marriage. a lot of that feeling is religious. i understand, i have not heard a
snipet yet, but the president does talk about his religious beliefs and how he believes at the core of christianity is the golden rule, you know, do untoe others. and that that is inescapable as part of the christian faith. >> you u may say you're for equal rights and equal marriage. half of all americans say they do support same-sex marriage. yet state after state gets to vote on this in the voting booth on issues like constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. and yesterday, 61%. how do we explain the
distinction between the way people will gladly tell a pollster, yeah, i'm for gay marriage, but they walk in a booth and 32 states have said i don't believe in it. >> one is the amount of money spent in the states tends to skew towards the anti-side. and the other is a silent majority of people who may not turn out to vote in these off year elections. but who would be more inlitted to support gay marriage. there is political risk. the public opinion polls are clear. things are moving in the direction of people supporting same-sex marriage. he may be ahead, but he's going with the grain. >> he said don't get so far ahead of the parade you can't hear the music, is the president still with the band on this? >> the republicans are have not
addressed cheney. he felt it was a matter of equal rights -- >> does anyone believe that dick cheney would have done this on his own? >> probably not, but it will be a hard question for a lot of republicans. >> that's what i want to know, gene, this is tough for people who are gay. they have discrimination, and now a candidate with them 100% today, an issue so important to them, and another candidate that saysly not evolve on this, didn't lift a if i think tore help this man decide to stay in my office, he would not lift a stinger for that guy. it seems like an emotional
choice to say i have to either be with someone who embraces me or someone who won't. >> it will be difficult for many gay republicans, perhaps not all, but for many because there is such a stark difference, and both mitt romney and, i suspect, the general view of today's republican party is so anti-gay marriage to the point of seeking a constitutional amendment across the whole country for all time. you know, that's got to make people think. and again, they will have to weigh that against their commitment to other issues. >> here is mitt romney that gave a statement this afternoon. >> my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, that's my own preference. i know other people have differing views.
it's a tender topic, but i have the same view i have had since running for office. >> we know in the past republicans like karl rove use this as a wedge issue in states like ohio. had do you think that people in the super pack world will be using this issue with black churches, white churches, and the usual working groups? >> i don't think you'll see it, they're spending money on television ads, broadcasting. i think you will see this micro targeted. >> how about going through pastors? >> i any you will see some of that. this is my -- >> that's, that's the key, you see some of these republican statements just last the president. the reason i think he has political potency through it is he made it clear.
this is a balance. there's a religious liberty issue, a family issue, and civil rights issues. if republicans just say anti-gay, it will hurt them. he said people can disagree but this is my view. again, that goes to the view in chicago. this is not, as some people have cast it a slam dunk negative for the president. >> we have ar traditional anti-gay prejudice operating in this case in the president campaign. he has a lot to say here. >> yeah, i think that particular case of grenell did strike home with people paying attention to it. i think it struck home in the gay community and, so romney -- but i agree with mark. i thought his answer today was better than the answer he
usually gives in terms of being ip collusive and in terms of admitting that the other point of view is legitimate and if he goes forward in that way, i think he minimizes -- >> let's say his allied will not be as nice. thank you, mark halperin, and gene robinson. we're going to hear a lot in the next couple minutes with the people most affected and caring about this issue, feel about what president is saying. let's not forget, above the politics, the president of the united states came out for same-sex marriage. i went to a small high school. the teacher that comes to mind for me is my high school math teacher, dr. gilmore. i mean he could teach. he was there for us, even if we needed him in college.
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battleground state. let's check the score board. according to a new ppp program, president obama has a healthy lead in the hawkeye state. obama won iowa in 2008, but bush carried it in 2004. and my dad moving in. so we went to fidelity. we looked at our family's goals and some ways to help us get there. they helped me fix my economy, the one in my house. now they're managing my investments for me. and with fidelity, getting back on track was easier than i thought. call or come in today to take control of your personal economy. get one-on-one help from america's retirement leader. a living, breathing intelligence helping business, do more business. in here, opportunities are created and protected. gonna need more wool! demand is instantly recognized and securely acted on across the company. around the world. turning a new trend, into a global phenomenon.
malia and sasha have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, and there have been times where we sit around the dinner table and talking about their friends and their parents, and malia and sasha, it wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friend's parents would be treated differently. it doesn't make sense to them. and frankly that's the kind of thing that prompted a change in perspective. >> he is right on that, and that's more from president obama today on misinterview with robin
roberts. we have president of the human rights campaign, what a great organization, and clark cooper, part of the log cabin republicans, who i wonder why they still exist to be honest with you. joe has supported equal rights without qualification or politics. did you get any heads up that this would be part of a campaign run up? >> well, i didn't get any heads up, but i was not surprised, and quite frankly, i was heartened by the fact that he came out and the way in which he did it. i think he did so in a wa that inspired lbgt people across the country and in a way that helped all people on this journey really find common humanity with
him. he talked about the folks who are overseas defending this country. a kitchen table conversation with his daughters and the first lady. i think it gives hope to members of this community, and goes along way for folks across the country on their own journey for this issue. >> let's stay away from politics for two minutes, gay people in the country, what do you think their reaction was? >> positive, it turns up the needle. the dialogue is turned up to a level that's it's not been at. up until this week, prior to the president's statement and vice president biden's statement, the most senior choice was former vice president dick cheney. >> that's because of his family situation, obviously.
>> that's -- >> that's the case for most families. my family is on this issue because i game out, so, that's part of the story. >> let me ask you about this story. i said, every republican staffer who is gay, man or woman, should go to their boss and say why are you not out on this issue. do you think there was a response to continue to put up with this refusal to support equality? the republican bosses of so many gay people on capitol hill for example. the president has done it, why haven't you done it to neutralize this issue. if one side opposes it, all of the big gots will go to the other side and vote for the other candidate won't they? >> the last time this happened was the last congress. those conversations, there are many stories where staff members up at the senior vefls, chiefs
of staffs and members -- this is not going away. the polling reflects that, not just the general electorate against republicans. >> how do you -- how do you stop the bad guys on the republican side who are in your coalition, like karl rove that have used this to win votes. how do you stop that from has beening again? >> there's two tracks, first, do the right thing, don't stand in the way of people, as good conservatives, don't impede upon one's personal liberty. there's a conservative case for marriage equality. if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. some lawmakers did alaw that law
in the cycle. >> i agree, they focused on the economy. >> the exist polls and the primaries in arizona, michigan, scare, awe showed the economy at the number one issue. if you're not out there on principal, then don't go there. focus on issues -- >> let's talk about what we should discourage, joe, i don't know how you do this, but it's important to stop the bad people who are thinking here is our chance to go aver claire -- places with really close elections where we can reach a rural voter, black and white, grab them and move them to the other side of the fight on this issue. >> you talked about the political ramifications here, and what cannot be ignored is
that this is a choice between barack obama and mitt romney. clark is right, there are a lot of good republicans moving in the right direction, but when it comes to governor romney, it cannot be ignored that he is committed to write discrimination into the constitution. and just this week said he doesn't support civil unions. when it comes to young voters and inspiring the base vote in missouri, montana, or any place across the country, there is a very distinct choice to be made here. i think the president spoke about this in terms today that all people can identify with, and i think that you know, it will serve him well in this election. for governor romney to introduce this into this conversation would be to do so at his own peril. this will be an election cycle
about economics and it will be deeply personal to people's circumstances. >> why do you think he went all the way in the other direction saying i will never evolve,ly not consider civil unions, why didn't he just jam it at you guys and women saying i will not even think about it, it's not on my table to think about it, i will never change. what a strange position for a guy that changed on so issues. he changed so many times, and now mitt romney is immutable. >> i can't speak for the romney campaign -- >> why did he say on all of the issues i'm open minded on and can negotiate, but this i will never change or evolve on. >> as we have seen with the president and members of congress, people do change. there are members that voted for
implementation, and then they repealed in 2010. it is possible, is it us from straighting, absolutely. >> is there good news about romney, do you have any reason to believe he will change? >> anybody can. >> will he change? >> i'm not going -- >> i think this is more a question of mitt romney's character than a conversation about marriage. as you pointed out, he did not stand up for the guy that felt like he needed to leave the campaign after a uprising from the right, not for the soldier who asked a question on got booed, it's more about his character. i think that the american people will come to see that. >> have you seen him zlet have you gotten to meet mitt romney on this issue. >> i talked to mitt romney, i told him directly after the
first big speech about marriage and marriage status, i said we're working to repeal the defensive marriage act. of course, again, i'm open to moving that needle. we're the only organization in the trenches with our fellow republicans sitting down, talking, going over this, educating them, if there is anybody able to sit down and get people to look at this on a principal issue -- >> here is what i will offer to you, every time you get a republican willing to switch on this, let me know we'll have them on. i haven't heard one voice from the republican side for equality on this issue. it would be nice to hear one voice so we see something bipartisan here. thank you, it's a big day for gay people and all americans to see a president, obviously with the situation developing the way it was, he was pushed to do it, but to take this political statement to the american people
and the world is history making. once again i think our president made history. thank you for the very difficult conflicting role you have on this earth. up next, where is michele bachmann who so famously called for an expose into anti-americanism until congress anti-americanism until congress is now a citizen of switzerland. and we don't want to go there. so let's try to see people for who they really are. you can help create a more united states. the more you know. the world needs more energy.
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auto industry. and for the last 20 years, i have been hosting, the tonight show. we're in the side show, a bizarre twist of fate of michele bachmann, we will not forget in 2008 when she went after her colleges in congress for being anti-american in an appearance here on "hardball," she has become a swiss citizen. her husband of swiss decent, and he applied, she was granted dual citizenship. what do you think bachmann would have said if a democrat had done this. can't you hear it now? you prefer european socialism? what do you despise so much about liberty to take on a second nationality.
turns out switzerland has a individual health care mandate. finally, remember rush, he is at it again. earlier this year, his comments about a student lead to problems all around. he started a facebook group for conservative women, listen closely to what he is calling it. >> sometime later this month, the feminazi's will be kicking off a giant program, a coordinated program to have me taken off the air. there are many, many more of you than there are of them, and rush babies for america at facebook is where you go to be officially counted and tabulated, and to
make a difference. >> there is an honor, you too, can become a rush babe. richard lugar is out after losing to a candidate that says he does not believe in compromise. the only way to stop the madness i would say is to beat them in november. high schools in six states enrolled in the national math and science initiative... ...which helped students and teachers get better results in ap courses. together, they raised ap test scores 138%. just imagine our potential... ...if the other states joined them. let's raise our scores. let's invest in our teachers and inspire our students. let's solve this.
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ran over their tour boat will split a settlement, and let's get back to "hardball." welcome back, a bruising loss for dick lugar of indiana. last night he lost by more than 20 points, and this is an example of the p.o.w. the far right has. the man that will face him, joe donnelly. you're a moderate democrat gaens far right tea partier, how is indiana going to go naerd a moderate democrat and someone near the end. >> we're a practical state.
the polls that have been on this race, the one independent poll shows myself tied with richard murdoch. he is a person, here we are in indiana, a heart of the auto industry, and he tried to destroy it and was the leader in bringing a lawsuit to force thely kwi additithe liquidation of crystler. >> let's look at what he said on the daily rundown today about where he stands with chuck todd. i'm amazed people admit they stand like this. >> bipartisanship should consist of democrats coming to the republican view. we want today give a more national voice to the idea that
republicans and more specifically conservatives will be in the majority of the united states senate, house, and we hopefully have a republican in the white house. i want to conflict my opinion to win them over to my view. >> i never used the word inflict as a verb for going to congress. what does he think the role is of other members of congress, just to lose? >> it is astonishing to hear. think of tip oneil and ronald reagan working together. lugar was an extraordinary individual and he took me aside and said iraq and afganistan are big issues, ask me anything you want, talk to me about any of these issues, there's no dumb questions, and whatever you ask
is between you and i. his only goal to was to make america stronger. what you hear here is the old kid who played baseball, showing up with a ball and bat, do it my way or go home. >> you have a chance for the democrats to win control of the senate. it seems to be the not rate seats will decide this you, missouri, montana, states like that in the middle and virginia to suicide this control issue. >> i don't worry about that stuff because what i'm focused on is right here in indiana. i'll walk from lake michigan to the ohio river if it adds ten jobs. let's look at this next guest, jonathan wrote on the significance of this. i want you to analyze what lugar said in his concession statement
saying that both parties are guilty of having problems with any negotiation because they have in bed relationships on both sides and they cannot negotiate. >> yeah, it's a box on both sides, but i don't think it holds up. if you look at the exacts that lugar came up with himself for both parties, he says neither wants to cut entitlements and put more on the table. he said tort reform that obama tried to make deals on. but obama also signed a few trade agreements too. you have an arks similar met trick polarization. >> republicans will not admit science, climate, or revenues, are seen as anti-immigrant, so their not exactly ready to get together here. >> no, i think that's right, i
think you have an a polarization here. this trend, people feel compelled to accomplish their own bipartisan -- it's really an a-symmetric trend and they have v a hard time recognizing what's going on. >> i understand the impulse to vote tea party because you're angry at everything, but here is the question. say the person you send in gets there, and then they can't get anything done because they say no, no, no. >> i don't claim them for wants to vote for a candidate to want to share views. look, they do have a plan. they think they can win the presidency, take back the senate by a narrow margin.
hold on to the house, and pass majority vote bills. >> the consequence of that is they enup like the netherlands. if you go in as a single party, cut the entitledments and spending programs, you will get trounced in the next election. one party taking on that kind of heat, hurting people, saying it's in the national interest, is doomed. >> they believe in it and they're willing to try and you to admire that. you have to admire believing in your ideals. >> so you want to go to congress and cut social security and medicare, do they really want to do that? sorry your congressman voted against the operation or your mother is not getting the operation? how do you defend that? >> well i don't -- i don't agree
with their platform at all, but i think there is a wave of commentary holding a bipartisanship, look, if you have ideas, you don't have to give that up necessarily. >> i have a simple rule, if you lose, you recognize the other side one it, you cut the deal. if you realize you're a democrat, you have to increase revenues, accept cuts, perhaps the ratio is not to your liking but it has to be done. great righting, you're right it is. game on, democrats have their candidate to take on scott walker, they have the mayor of milwaukee, and this guy looks like he can beat the guy. ed schultz by the way who knows every there is know about wisconsin will be here we love gardening...
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>> from madison, wisconsin. here we are, because they are here. workers, wisconsinites, americans, under assault, protesting peacefully in the greatest of american traditions. >> that was ed schultz. the june 5th thousands protested governor scott walker's push to limit union bargaining rights for public sector workers. msnbc's ed schultz, as i said, was there, and loud. and last night governor walker got his challenger, democratic tom barrett, the same candidate walker beat by five points in 2010. he's the mayor of milwaukee. let's listen to him. >> we all have witnessed what has happened in this state over the last 16 months, with scott
walker starting an ideological civil war in the state that has divided our state like it has never been divided before. family members shy away from talking to family members about politics, because it becomes too bitter. it does not have to be that way in wisconsin. >> so is the recall going to succeed? ed schultz is the expert, he's the host, of course, of the upcoming ed show, every night here at 8:00 eastern, on msnbc. it's my role to be your warm-up act every night, ed schultz. >> no one's better. >> tonight you get to do it yourself. you are an expert, as well as an advocate out there. test of labor strength, labor? can they do the polling operation to get out the vote campaign that's going to work here? >> they can and they will, that's what they're telling me. no broken noses over this. it was about as clean as it could get as far as four democrats going for the nomination, chris. and he's not the perfect candidate for labor, which speaks volumes about how wrong scott walker has been all along.
he says there's all these union bosses around the country that are coming after him. labor didn't even support the guy that won the democratic primary last night. now, tom barrett's a good guy, he's a reasonable guy. >> the mayor of milwaukee. >> the mayor of milwaukee who was dealt a pretty tough financial hand by scott walker, because he took a bunch of cuts in education, $1 billion throughout the state. and he's really boxed in barrett on a number of issues, which is going to be the real challenge for barrett to say, look, i was dealt a tough hand financially. this isn't the way our state is going to go. he told me today on the radio that he is going to restore immediately the education can cuts, most of them, what scott walker was able to get through. so this is really as much about personality at this point as much as anything else. in the badger state, they love debate. in the badger state, they love conversation. walker with such a heavy hand has come in and almost changed the personality of politics in that state. and it's really turned a lot of independents off. and this is one of the things that played into barrett's favor
last night. he picked up a lot of independents last night, and it's really going to come down to the all politics is local, chris. who gets the vote out. >> why do republicans who come into office, the minute they hit the governor's share, arnold schwarzenegger did this, they go right after public employees. teachers, firefighters. why do they do that? are they mad because they supported their opponents? is it revenge? >> they're an easy target. when someone goes in to collectively bargain, they're looking for something that can be vilified right away. this has been a 30-year run on labor. it's now a culmination of all the a.l.e.c. activity legislatively that has supported these guys and also citizens united has given them the perfect opportunity to zero in on being very aggressive. and they're taking their best shot at it right now. the people of wisconsin just happen to be the focal point of democracy of america right now. and it's going to be a hell of a battle. it's going to be a photo finish. it's going to be, who gets the vote out, who stays motivated, but we're talking about 15 months of intensity politically
in that state. >> is this going to be a game of get out the vote, identifying voters, making sure they get to the polls by car service, by cab, whatever it takes to get them there? is it voter identification or tv advertisement? >> if they're in a rural area, they're going to pick them up. it's going to be a serious bots on the ground campaign. this is where labor is going to get into action. they're not all high on barrett either. there's going to be a lift here. james hoffa told me in las vegas earlier this week when i spoke to the teamsters, he said, he's not the best candidate, but i said, it's the best thing you've got going. i said, do you want walker, he said, no, i can't want walker. >> let me give you a chance to do a battle cry. what happens if walker wins? what's it say about america? >> i'll use walker's comments. he says that this is going to empower a lot of radical governors and all the other republicans around the country that you can overreach in government. that this is really what the people want and this is really where we have to take the country. look, they are using this and viewing this as a template to
the next level of how they want to run the -- >> is the u.s. chamber behind it? >> no question. the chamber's behind it, they'll be throwing millions in there, they already have. and the more money walker spends, the more he goes downs in the polls. >> i love all-time politics. and all politics is local, except for this guy. anyway, thank you, ed schultz. watch him tonight. we'll be watching "the ed show" at 8:00 eastern. when i return, let me finish with the history that president obama makes today. it was a very human statement today. let's talk about it. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics . it's very important to understand how math and science kind of makes the world work. in high school, i had a physics teacher
by the name of mr. davies. he made physics more than theoretical, he made it real for me. we built a guitar, we did things with electronics and mother boards. that's where the interest in engineering came from. so now, as an engineer, i have a career that speaks to that passion. thank you, mr. davies.
let me finish tonight with this. president obama remains a maker of history. he was the first african-american to serve as our president, now he's the leader of another kind. the first leader to state his support for recognizing the marriage of partners of the same sex. however the circumstances, he now stands for re-election with this fact on the table. he stands against a candidate, mitt romney, who says he will never give up his opposition to the gay marriage, a candidate who refuses to stand up for a gay man who was just run out of his campaign. can there be a grander canyon between these two men? one in support of the right of gay people to marry, one totally against that. i have to wonder how gay men and women who now work for the re-election of members of congress and romney himself can
sit in their work seats and ask them to join the president on this. i have to wonder how long they can remain indentured servants, how longer they can continue to accept the don't ask, don't tell rule that you can work here, as long as you keep your mouth shut on the life you aspire to those you love. but tonight i honor a president who regardless of the political consequences declared for all the political consequence withes that all god's children have the right to love as they were born to love. that ought to count for something, no matter which way the chips fall in this election. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" tonight from new york. the president obama is the first president in american history to support equal marriage rights and republicans are attacking him in full force. this is "the ed show," let's get to work. >>