tv The Last Word MSNBC May 24, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
>> he wanted to talk about the president. >> i would like to focus on his record. >> he is not giving an inch. >> bain capital. >> bain capital. >> mitt romney has not stepped up on this. >> he pivoted. >> we have an economy in trouble. >> i was astonished. >> the record when you were there. >> if you don't want to run on it don't run on it. >> i will lead this out of this debt and spending inferno. >> it has been a campaign of large falsehoods. >> he has spent more and borrowed more. >> spending has run flat as a pancake. >> over the period of four years, we get the unemployment rate down to 6%. >> the time has come. >> i spent 25 years in the private sector. >> businessmen have not made great leaders. >> without question our number one gee owe political foe.
>> he needs to think careful about the statements. >> he is weak and indecisive. >> this is because of mitt romney as a person. >> this is a vl judgment. >> this is an attack that works. >> we don't need a weak ceo. >> i'm in for lawrence this evening and after three days of relentless attacks, a career proves that he is a job kree kwlator, mitt romney decided to face the criticism head on. >> what specific skills or policies did you learn at bain that would help you? >> that's a bit of a question like saying what have you learned in life that would help you lead. my whole life has been helping
me to lead from my parents to education to the experience i had in the private sector and helping run the olympics and helping guide a state. those experiences have given me an understanding of how america works and how the economy works. i understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. >> what? can we play that again? >> i understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. >> i understand how to read a balance sheet. so does bernie madoff but does that qualify him to become president? explaining exactly what bain capital was all about. >> it is not a job creation goal. people don't go in saying i want to create jobs. when he reweaves history and tries to turn a perfectly respectable business career into some idea that he was the world's greatest job creator, i
think he is misleading people. >> today, former newt gingrich supporter came to mr. romney's defense. >> people are not that stupid. that's like saying when you were president of god father's pizza, you made one. that doesn't qualify you to be president. you run an enterprise. you run a complete enterprise. we had 725 restaurants. we closed 200 to save the 525. that's what bain and many other companies do in order to save their business. >> joyann reid an msnbc contributor. and thank you all for joining me. mitt romney says that he understands how to read a balance sheet.
does the president of the united states understand how to read a balance sheet? >> you know what? i know a lot of people who understand how to read balance sheets. i'm not sure that i would want all of them to become president of the united states. what was remarkable is what mitt romney didn't say. he didn't explain a single thing that he learned as the leader of bain capital that would translate into being president of the united states. i think that was the problem. up with specific thing he did say that we could really learn from is he talked about one company that bain capital did invest in, which is a company that bain capital invested $18 million in. maybe he learned that government helps create jobs twice as much as private equity. >> what was your reaction? >> i thought it was really weird. it seemed like our decision was no decision at all. you just said i don't know.
that is what we are seeing over several days. this was an interview that was by no means a hard ball set of questions but basic questions like tell us what you did and is this what you need to know? i have learned a lot in my entire life. it made it sound like he had more to hide than he has to hide. >> he started attacking the president. it was as if the interview was with a surrogate of the president as opposed to the candidate himself. >> what you saw there was him saying the strategy rather than doing it. make it a referendum on obama and that might be your overarching political strategy. i have worked on campaigns where you want to have the referendum. it doesn't mean that you literally take any question and say this is a referendum. that makes you look, to hit the stereo type, it makes you look a little inhuman.
>> let's listen to rush limbaugh. listen to this. >> you know what obama doesn't like about private equity? all they do is look for profits. when he says the word profits, he spits it out. he dosen't like profits. that is what he criticizes private equity for being focused on. i'm sorry, private equity is not there to create jobs. that's not what they do. i don't think there is any question that obama has a chip on his shoulder about capitalism and free markets. he thinks profit seeking evil and everything that comes with it is evil. >> jared, aside from the fact that he is making the correct deduction, what has the president said or done to earn this condemnation from rush limbaugh? >> it goes beyond that. you can look at what he has said and done. it has nothing to do with anything you have heard except
the part about private equity not having jobs as part of their ledger. but if you actually look at the numbers on corporate profitability during the president's term, while lots of other economic indicators are still recovering from the great recession, corporate profits is a share of national income haven't just regained their prior peak before the great recession. they have surpassed it. then going back to 1929. and the stock markets are up, etc. this has been a complete nonsensical wrap. can i add one point? >> sure. >> i thought she made a really interesting point about government contributions to one of the projects that bain invested in. it goes further than that.
60 to 90% of private equity purchases are debt financed and any interest on that debt they get to fully dedetect from their tax liability. >> right. >> so the actual effective tax rate on debt fie napsing is something like negative 6%. it's a big government subsidy. >> i was going say in the case of steel dynamic, it was one specific thing that he did get out of mitt romney in the interview. in terms of tax credits and grants that went to this capital, the county where this company was located actually raised taxes on the local residents. so what really happened in that case with bain is that they put in half the money that the government did and then taxes got raised so they could extract a $102 million profit. >> i wish you would stop with
these facts. let's watch a new ad from the romney campaign. i would like to hear your view of this. listen to this. >> this is not a distraction. this is what this campaign is going to be about. >> we have seen layoffs, cut backs. >> they have lost their houses. >> they lay off people and enforce cut backs. but that is mitt romney's ad. >> they can say look, there is a huge recession out there. that's the issue in this election. is it going to matter as much as it might in a better economy.
>> exactly. the last thing i will say is in the same way after jeremiah wright, there was a sense that senator obama had to come out and give a larger speech and put it into context. >> and did a number of interviews. >> he thought at the time that some of those things were very unfair. i said so at the time. there was a sense in the campaign that you want to be president, you have got step up to everything. you have got to play to the ref. here you have what is much lower grade. >> you didn't explain it to me. >> tell us about it. you can't tell anyone about it. i really believe he will have to give a much bigger speech. he will have to really explain this. he will have to be dogged from the facts to the campaign videos to the questions. this stuff is not going away. >> mitt romney's strategy to the
point has been to say silent on the bain issue. >> i think the problem with bain and they recognize it is at the end of the day, the prime directive of business is profit. it is not job creation. at the same time, the core conservative belief. >> he is running on creating jobs. >> it's a problem. >> in the "time" interview, mitt romney predicted what the unemployment rate would be. >> i can tell you over a period of four years by virtue of the policies, we get the unemployment rate down to 6% or lower. >> mitt romney's 6% unemployment
prediction sounds great but it is predicted that if current laws are implemented, it will decline to around 7% by the end of 2015 and to 5.5% by the end of 2017. >> that is what you would expect on a normal progression of a business cycle. the problem i have there, however, and it's interesting you raise the congressional the policy agenda is nothing like what they are using to get to the typical unemployment trending downward projection. mitt romney's agenda is exactly the agenda that led to the great recession.
here you are talking about big upper income tax cuts. here you are talking about trickle down and deregulation. if you ask yourself isn't that the play book that got us into this mess, that 6% actually doesn't sound like something you would predict based on the track record that we saw at the policy set during the bush years. >> that's right this is a statistical falsehood based on his budget, he is never going to get it to that position is he? >> i agree with everything that jared said what is also interesting to me is he did change his numbers. he did use to claim that he got unemployment down to 4%. there is a different center of gravity. and one good thing is there is a greater premium on telling the
truth. he has not been truthful and he has changed without acknowledging the change. it's not a good idea to overpromise and not a good idea to throw out numbers. people can compute more than an important promise. >> here again really quickly, the total 8% unemployment rate is a number that includes all demographics. the current rate for white men and women over 20 is 6.8%. he might have just endorsed president obama. >> equally quickly. he also endorsed -- he also endorsed the bill clinton tax structure. >> absolutely. thank you so much for joining us. coming up, what happens after a colorado con gresman is caught saying the president is not an american? and the republicans think they have a perfect target for their attacks in 2012.
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>> a colorado congressman is in a tough battle for his seat. desperate times call for desperate measures. and earlier this month, coffman sank to the sewer at a local fundraiser. >> i don't know whether barack obama was born in the united states or not. i don't know. but i do this, that in his heart he's not an american. he's just not an american. >> coffman quickly released an apology after those comments were made saying i misspoke and i apologize. i have confidence in his citizenship and legitimacy as president of the united states. but then a funny thing happened. a reporter from the local nbc station approached mr. coffman and asked him to clarify his
statement. the congressman had only one thing to say. >> after your comments, do you feel that voters are owed a better explanation instead of i misspoke? >> i standby my statement that i misspoke and i apologize. >> okay. and who are you apologizing to? >> i standby my statement that i misspoke and i apologize. >> we talk to you all the time who is telling you not to talk. >> i standby my statement that you have and i misspoke and i apologize. >> was it that you thought it would go over well in elbert county where folks are conservative. >> i standby my statement. i misspoke and i apologize. >> is there anything i can ask you that you can answer differently? >> i standby my statement that i misspoke and i apologize. >> joining us now, the kusa
reporter who conducted that interview and colorado state representative. good evening to both of you. kyle, if i might start with you, mr. coffman has given about 16 interviews to your news station and it is difficult to shut him up. what was it like when he sounded like an automan? >> i was thinking of the old peggy lee song, is that all there is? i expected him to answer our questions. he speaks to us frequently and at length on a number of different issues. he is very easy to get ahold of at all times so when he went underground last week, perhaps i should have realized this time it would be different. >> and it clearly was. you ask him whether he thought
the birther rhetoric would go over well in elbert county where folks are conservative. what did you mean by that? do they believe this nonsense over there? >> here's the thing, mike coffman votes fairly conservative but he has a moderate following within colorado. what i was trying to get at is whether there is one mike coffman in front of the cameras and a different when he doesn't think that anyone is recording those remarks. >> and your conclusion? >> well, i don't know. he didn't answer the question. >> right. >> it is tough to tell. until we hear other audio from other events. people are left to make their own decisions based on his answer or not answer. but that was a different mike coffman than the gentleman was usually speak to. >> is it safe to say that kris maz has come rather early for you this year? >> first it's a pleasure to be on your show.
when i first heard the comments, i thought i was watching a "saturday night live" skit. but this is a serious problem where accountability and honesty and transparency is lacking. and i have gotten a lot of calls from republicans, unaffiliates and democrats who believe they are beneath the office. >> the phrase thou does protest too much comes to mind does it not? do you believe he is telling the truth, sir? or was the mistake that he frankly got caught and that was the problem? >> martin, i don't think he misspoke. if you read his written statement, he went on to back slap and criticize the office of the presidency and commander in chief. i was taught to say you're sorry and don't say additional words. i don't think he is being forthright with voters of colorado. >> indeed. i want to read more of what was
written in the apology statement. he says however, i don't believe the president shares my belief in american exceptionalism. his policies reflect a philosophy that america is but one nation among many equals. as a marine, i believe america is unique and based on a core set of principles that make it superior to other nations. but here is what the president said at the air force academy today. let's listen. >> when people around the world are asked which country do you most admire, one nation comes out on top, the united states of america. today we can say it with confidence and pride, the united states is stronger and safer and more respected in the world. >> does that sound like a different philosophy? >> no, i think the president reiterates a time old tradition that america is an incredible country of land and opportunity
where you can use your talents to achieve your unique version of the american dream. if you want to have a debate, let's start with dignity for the commander in chief. >> kyle, you are interested in the content of politics, policy, issues. what kind of place does a reference to this nonsense about the president's place of birth have in the current discourse? >> well, i'll tell you this, no one in colorado is talking about this. folks are talking about jobs, the economy, this is not an issue that was really on the table. mike coffman had not brought it up before this closed door fundraiser. he has now inserted it into the debate and folks are left to decide whether he did that intentionally or whether he truly did misspeak. >> thank you both for joining us tonight.
>> thank you, martin. >> coming up, the republican plan to go after joe biden and his gaffes. why on earth would think that attacking joe biden would work? and later when the soldier met shawn, things didn't go as shawn planned. the take down of hannity. [ woman ] for the london olympic games, our town had a "brilliant" idea.
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>> when you get to know joe >> when you get to know joe biden, he is the most honest, straightforward guy. he is warm. he tells you what he thinks. >> vice president joe biden has never been one to think twice before speaking his mind. >> i promise you the president has a big stick. >> you cannot go to a seven-11 or a dup can -- i don't like a thing about it. we have been friends for 25 years. dennis, the thing i like best about you is your wife.
>> i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women are entitled to the same exact rights. >> they have spent weeks tracking bidens every move, hoping for more gaffes that they can use against the president. that news comes as a usa today gallop poll shows the vice president's favorability rating taking a slightly negative tilt for the first time. the three point different is well within the margin of error. the washington post columnist and former pennsylvania governor. governor, you know joe biden. you are from the same state. is he really just a gaffe machine?
or is he a genuine asset to the president? >> i think first of all he has been a genuine asset as vice president. his advice and council has been important. joe did a terrific job managing and implementing the stimulus. it never got the credit it deserves. as a running mate, i think joe is a very strong asset. where the president is the weakest, with white working class blue color democrats, joe is the strongest. the fact that joe is a real person comes through. there are obviously those who don't like some of the things he says, he is real. that is important in today's politics. when he relates to working class voters, he does it better than anybody on the political scene today. he is definitely an asset. if the romney people make him an issue, they do so at their own peril. >> democrats are still strongly positive towards joe bide within
73% having a favorable opinion. only 15% of republicans have a favorable opinion of him? isn't that the point? he is an effective politician and he has been especially so during the past few weeks. >> i think the reason the republicans are going after joe biden right now is actually a form of flattery. he has been -- no, no, no. he has been out there aggressively and has been at the tip of the spear of the re-election campaign. think about the places he has been going to campaign. western pennsylvania, south eastern ohio, rural new hampshire and as the governor was saying this is where obama is weaker and where bide season stronger because it's white blue collar somewhat rural. i think what the republicans are recognizing is this is having some effect and they want to
push back against this. now can you -- going after biden for gaffes? that is a bit of an old story. the gaffes that he has is the washington gaffe. when you accidentally speak the truth. so this is not probably going to hurt him a great deal in the eyes of the elect rat. >> exactly. to your point, many of his gaffes have been very endearing, haven't they? >> he says some silly things. what he wound up on gay marriage, it seems to have turned out to obama's advantage. >> we all remember the gq profile of joe biden i think in 2006 which proclaimed that joe biden can't shut up and the la times called him a gaffe machine.
but when joe biden is on, he's on. take a listen. >> can you reassure voters of this country that you would have the discipline that you would need on the world stage, senator? >> yes. >> rudy giuliani, there is only two things he mentions in a sentence. a noun and a verb and 9/11. there is nothing else. my mother and father believe that if my brother or sister wanted to be a millionaire they could be a millionaire. my mother and father dreamed as much as any rich guy dreams. >> absolutely. [ applause ] >> they don't get us. they don't get who we are. >> governor, isn't that a wonderful example of how joe biden is the direct opposite of a plutocrat like mitt romney? >> nobody really votes for vice president.
the vice president can only hurt the ticket not necessarily help it or get it votes. but what joe biden can do and is doing is fire up the base. like the last speech, the last clip you played, he fires up the base. he gets them to turn out. he is telling the truth and he is speaking to them. i think joe biden said he is the poorest of all of the people in the united states senate and that resonates. he did come with a working class background. we need to fire up and understand what the stakes are in the election. i think joe biden is a great asset.
they have become sort of endearing and part of joe, who he is. >> isn't the real point is that joe biden has particular strengths that appeal to particular areas of the country? don't you think someone like mitt romney probably has a sneaking desire for someone exactly like joe biden as his vp? >> well, it's not necessarily the people who were supposed to be on his short list right now. but, you know -- >> what -- look. he desperately needs someone who is authentic and doesn't sound like a robot or awkward. he desperately needs someone whose passion and commitment is genuine and noticeable at a distance of 100 miles. >> that is why he is a powerful about dote to romney. than obama himself is.
>> former governor of pennsylvania, thank you both for joining us tonight. >> thanks. have a good night. >> thank you, sir. general colin powell schools shawn hannity all in one interview. [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust.
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friendly audience to a reagan library. as is now customary, congressman ryan mentioned president reagan just a few times. >> there is a spirit that pervades this reagan library. reagan embodied optimism. they were the keys to ronald reagan's greatness as an american leader. the famous diagnosis. reagan explained perfectly. if there is a single reform romd ray gap has identified with it is tax reform. ronald reagan offered supply side economics at home and a roll back of soviet communism abroad. reagan. >> receiving only applause and adulation, ryan defended a budget that cuts taxes for corporations and the rich while slashing the social safety net
with cuts to food stamps, medicare and medicaid. and ryan argued that his plan is better for the nation's poor. >> president obama's policies take from hard-working americans and give to companies and privileged special interests. i will call it what it is. it's corporate welfare and we propose to end it. >> in the same evening, the republican congressman accused the president of being guilty of the politics of division and attempting to recast romney as mitt the messiah. >> americans have always rejected those with nothing to offer but cynicism and the politics of division. and right now, that's all they are getting from the president. i really believe he's the right
guy for the times and i think he's going beat barack obama and we're going to save this country. [ applause ] >> during a speech today to the graduating class at the united states air force academy, the president offered the cadets his vision of the future. >> you would think folks understand a basic truth. never bet against the united states of america. >> that's why i firmly believe if we rise to this moment in history, if we meet our responsibilities then just like the 20th century, the 21st century will be another great american century. that's the future i see. that's the future you can build. >> joining me now is nia henderson. good evening. >> good evening. >> is paul ryan an example of why america ranks 25th in math behind slovania?
every sane economist says he can't possibly do that while slashing taxes at the same time. >> that's right. and he also claims that there will be a lot of savings under medicaid and medicare for seniors and other folks. this image is being a real budget and policy wonk. in that way he has become a favorite of democrats, too. they love to run against this ryan budget. they saw it work in their favor in the upstate new york race and they certainly want to tie, democrats do, want to tie mitt romney to this -- to ryan in this budget. they will call this the romney ryan budget and try to taint mitt romney and tie him to these
policies that would in a lot of ways, gut a lot of the safety net. >> right. and the white house is now so exasperated about the bla tent false hoods that one of the calmest press secretaries said this. do not buy into the bs that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this administration. i think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness. he's right isn't it? >> in some ways, yes. i think you have heard republicans tout this talking point over and over again that there has been this run away spending and of course they use the foil of ronald reagan. debts under reagan, 700 billion when he came in but 2 trillion
when he left. but they want to frame president obama as carter as if that makes him ranld reagan. but carter created 11 million jobs. bush was like 3 million over two terms so we should be careful about those sorts of historical analogies as well. trying to really put themselves in a po sigss. >> okay. if ryan is bad at math, he is also pretty bad as character assessment. listen to this. >> what i see in mitt romney are the kinds of tools, the kinds of skills and character and attributes you need in a leader. he makes decisions. >> he loves cheesy grits in alabama, hunting, cars and lakes
and says the trees are the right height. >> the size of the trees. and he never ever panders. >> this doesn't pass the lab test. and of course, "saturday night live" has had a good time characterizing. most politicians are panderers. and mitt romney has certainly gotten a deserved reputation as king of the panderers. >> king of panderers, chief panderer. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> take care. >> coming up as general colin powell makes the rounds touting his new book, he uses his fast experience to take aim. and he does it on fox news. that's ahead on "the last word." hello! honey? who's she? downy unstopables. here to shake up your fresh. like a cheerleader on espresso. toss these little scent boosters in before you wash.
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