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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  August 31, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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joining me today, msnbc political analyst and former dnc communications chair, karen finney. star of last night's republican national convention, the empty chair. and the host of "up with chris hayes," chris hayes, the man himself. in dressage a full pass maneuver is when the horse is bent forward like it's in motion but is instead only moving sideways. last night, in a packed room of screaming conservatives, governor romney tried to delicately trot sideways towards the middle to appeal to independent voters. his speech offered few specifics on policy or how he might lead as president but it did aim to humanize the as yet largely unknowable republican nominee. >> but if you ask ann and i what we would give to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep
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in our room, every mom and dad knows the answer to that. those days were the -- [ applause ] >> taking on his rival there was little vitriol directed towards the president. his demeanor was more disappointed. >> i wish president obama had succeeded because i want america to succeed. but his promises gave way to disappointment and division. this isn't something we have to accept. >> whether or not romney courted independent voters with rafalka's grace remains to be seen. today romney is making use of his brand new campaign plane. he wrapped up a farewell rally in florida last hour and is right now in flight to new orleans. the romney campaign says louisiana governor bobby jindal invited him to tour the damage from hurricane isaac. joining us from tampa is "time" magazine and msnbc senior political analyst, mark halperin.
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mark, always good to see you. >> good to see you. this is my last official act before i leave tampa. no one told me it was an outdoor shot so rather than wearing my red sox teeshirt, i'm dressed as if i'm going on a job interview. >> we were wondering where is that red sox teeshirt, why does he look like he's going on a job interview. nonetheless, give us your best job interview answer to this question, which is did romney effectively appeal to independents last night? that seems to be his target audience and i would like to know what your grade is. >> well, on that score and that's really the main goal that they have and it's a particular class of independents, those who voted for the president last time, like him personally but have questions about whether he's up to the job, whether re-electing the president would produce the kind of tangible change in direction they're looking for. i thought the best lines in the speech, the most memorable ones, the ones that had the most resonance at least in the abstract were ones meant to appeal to that group. did it actually sway them, will
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it lay the ground work to sway them? i'm in no position standing here on the roof of this building to tell you but i think if you look at what did the speech execute, what it set out to do, they made that case. they need to get people as we talked about before with some of the rnc advertising, people, they think people need a permission slip to say we like him, we may not regret voting for him the first time but we need a change because the president's policies they will argue aren't working. >> chris hayes, you had the herculean task of anchoring hours of coverage of -- >> not anchoring. >> co-hosting. you watched the proceedings in great detail. i guess i want to talk about the human question, one of our fellow colleagues, chris matthews, called moments in the rnc where mitt romney was supposed to be humanized, he said they were robotic. he said it almost looked like romney was getting wheeled out, that he was not an earthling. i thought last night was the
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biggest humanizing push. we heard from fellow pastors that worked with mitt romney. i want to play a little bit of sound because i actually think the coverage of what folks who know romney best was fairly light. let's hear what his friends and former congregants had to say about him. >> i will never forget how when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears and he reached out and gently stroked her tiny back. >> david, knowing mitt had gone to law school at harvard, asked mitt if he would help him write a will. the next time mitt went to the hospital, he was equipped with his yellow legal pad and pen. how many men do you know would take the time out of their busy lives to visit a terminally ill 14-year-old and help him settle his affairs? >> i found this stuff to be actually incredibly moving and in a normal election season with a different candidate, you might have ads, you might have
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speeches built around this stuff, but because it's all related to the church and romney doesn't want to talk about the church, we don't ever really ever hear these stories. >> right. and the vast overall majority of americans did not see any of that because it wasn't in the one hour that the network coverage was. what they got to see was clint eastwood talking to an empty chair -- >> which we will discuss a lot more. >> i should also say the guy is a human being and you know, almost anyone who is not a total sociopath, if you put millions of dollars into finding people that they have, you know, engaged in acts of kindness towards and you brought them forward, you would be able to find them. i'm not saying this is an independent judgment of what kind of man mitt romney is or is not. i'm just saying this has become a standard trope democrat and republican in conventions, you find people as sort of personal character witnesses and most people who are in this world, particularly people with the vastness of social networks that someone who is a plausible nominee for president are, can find some people that say nice things about them. i'm sure he did very wonderful,
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kind things. >> i understand that, but i also think this is a guy who is incredibly busy, making calls at six in the morning every single day and going to write a will for a terminally ill patient. i will give romney credit as a member of the church, he was incredibly involved with his congregation. >> absolutely. look, i think this is the beginning of potentially them trying to figure out how do we talk about that in a way that doesn't talk about religion or the theology but sort of the spirit of ann referenced it, others have referenced this idea of a generous heart. i think you will see those people in ads between now and the election talking about him. i actually thought from the perspective just as a show, it was beautifully done and very effective. i even teared up on some of those stories. what i was surprised by, to chris' point, why that wasn't in the prime time. i would have had that and then flow into the introduction of romney. that would have been so much more moving instead of then we go to this weirdness of the empty chair and rubio. it just didn't flow the way i think it could have for them.
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but the other thing to remember is the bar for romney was kind of low in terms of showing your humanity so these guys i think did very well, but you know, we didn't need to see much to say okay, he's not as robotic as we thought. >> mark, the question of the church. i think the expectation was that romney was going to make sort of a fuller embrace of his time as a pastor and as a stake leader in the church. were you surprised that there wasn't more mention directly by the candidate himself regarding his feelings about the church, his time there, his experiences there? >> no, i think he made a joke about it and talked about it more than he usually does. i don't know of anybody who has penetrated the question of why did they decide to do it here, why did they decide to do it to the extent they did it here as opposed to more or less, why some of these things that were so moving and powerful to everyone, including people who don't normally look kindly at governor romney for anything, why those things weren't raised
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earlier. whether they do as karen suggested have plans to use these going forward, i haven't been able to get satisfactory answers to those questions. i have not seen any of our colleagues do it either. they are all pretty fundamental questions. nothing has been as powerful in this campaign in terms of emotion as some of those testimonials yesterday and governor romney joked relatively, i thought the joke he told about getting investment or not from his church was pretty funny. he did it in an easy manner which again, he rarely does when he's talking about his religion and church. >> once again, perhaps mitt romney is most comfortable joking about investments and things -- >> it was a funny joke. >> telling it had to do with investments. we actually have to take a break. coming up, what can clint eastwood learn from james lipton? judging from lipton's analysis of governor romney when he last on our show, a lot. >> romney is trying something very different. he's playing a dual role. his laughter is hollow.
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it's empty. i advise freezing the frame, covering the bottom of his face when he's laughing, and look at the eyes. there's nothing there. >> we will go back inside the campaign studio and do eastwooding when james lipton joins the panel, ahead. on every one of our cards there's a date.
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a reminder... that before this date, we have to exceed expectations. we have to find new ways to help make life easier, more convenient and more rewarding.
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it's the reason why we don't have costumers. we have members. american express. welcome in.
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a few years ago during a speech, i noticed the bartender behind a portable bar in the back of the ballroom. i remembered my father, who worked for many years as a banquet bartender. he was grateful for the work he had, but that's not the life he wanted for us. you see, he stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years so one day, i could stand behind a podium in the front of a room. >> that was florida senator marco rubio last night while governor romney did what he does best and played it safe, rubio
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shined, giving a speech about his rise from humble beginnings. the soaring oratory of his address and those of other prominent republicans was missing one key ingredient. the "new york times" writes quote, if there is a flaw in the vision the republicans offered in tampa, it is contained in its rampant hyper individualism. speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. there was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. for a brief and rare moment, there was mention of the man who ran 12 years ago on a so-called compassionate conservative platform. former florida governor jeb bush defended his brother. former president george w. bush. he had sharp words for the man currently sitting in the oval office. >> i love my brother. he is a man of integrity, courage and honor. mr. president, it is time to stop blaming your predecessor for your failed economic
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policies. you were dealt a tough hand. you were dealt a tough hand but your policies have not worked. in the fourth year of your presidency, a real leader would accept responsibility for his actions and you haven't done it. >> speaking of former presidents, what would a republican convention be without an over the top tribute to ronald reagan? enter the desi/lucy of the gop, newt and calista gingrich who took for the stage in an unusual two-for-one performance. >> governor romney will return america to work and to the principles that are at the core of president reagan's legacy. >> now, each of us must commit ourselves in the tradition of ronald reagan to come together. president reagan said there is no substitute for victory.
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>> mark halperin, we know you are out there in the blistering tampa sunshine and overdressed, as it were, but i do want to ask you, as far as marco rubio's performance last night, i actually thought it was the strongest of the evening. do you think there's any sense of buyer's remorse on the part of the romney campaign? >> well, i think the consensus at least amongst people at msnbc is that having rubio lead into the nominee's speech was not as effective as having some of the testimonials and the video. i thought this speech was fine. you know, there's sort of like a short institutional memory in some places. there have been plenty of speeches in past conventions where the speaker, barack obama 2004, talked a lot about themselves and their own experiences and not necessarily directly in that great an extent about the nominee, and so i think it's fine, the nature of his speech was fine and i think it had appeal to a certain constituency but again, coming when it did and the nature of
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it, i think again, i think the media consensus is it was a mistake. i'm not really sure they wanted to feature him for a reason, but it certainly did break the momentum that was going on the narrative of humanizing mitt romney and talking about him in ways that most voters have not seen. >> another big theme beyond the humanizing was -- began with the hispanic vote. chris, you and i were kind of going back and forth on this a little last night, the way the gop was such an incredibly transparent fashion trying to court hispanic voters by basically trotting people out there to speak in spanish. >> it reminded me of the nba, national basketball association, they had this big fight years ago and it tarnished the image, the fight spilled into the stands, tarnished the image of the northbound and thba and the their image. they run these ads saying "nba cares" and that was the outreach
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to latino voters. it was we care about hispanics. there was no like -- there was nothing other than the explicitness of it which is fine and i'm glad they're reaching out, but at the end of the day, it is about what the constitution of the party is and let's remember, we all watched the republican primary debates in which they were tossing around the word illegals with casual contempt. >> karen, we actually, from the rnc platform on immigration, this is the party's stance on immigration, in english. perhaps if they put it in spanish it would court hispanic voters. state efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged not attacked. the pending department of justice lawsuits against arizona, alabama, south carolina and utah must be dismissed immediately. the double layered fencing on the border that was enacted by congress in 2006 but never completed must finally be built in order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide
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in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens in open defiance of federal law. >> think about part of the task, we're all looking at this through our liberal left view lens but just think about this from the perspective if you're in the middle of the country, you started the beginning of the week hearing this crazy extremism, legitimate rape and extremism in the platform and where did we end up? we ended up with a program that was very diverse with lots of people that look like you, that sound like you, men, women, old, young, olympians. they did a very good job of trying to recast and rebrand their party. that was part of their task. it wasn't just about mitt romney. it was how do we reframe who we are as a party. that's why you had people like rubio and others talking about themselves, to say hey, i'm a republican, too, i'm just like you, and i think that was part of what they were trying to accomplish. i actually think if you sat in the middle of america and watched snippets of this, it probably worked. i do think the democrats frankly, what i'm most worried
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about is that my party will get so caught up in our critiques that we will miss the fact that actually, there were some very effective messages coming out of that. >> let's play our little spanish role. this is sort of the espanol portion of the rnc. then i want to make a point about the naacp after that. >> my dad used to tell us. [ speaking in spanish ] in this country, you're going to be able to accomplish all the things we never could. >> that actually was just marco rubio. i'm sorry. i teased that with a spanish role. i think your point is actually a really good one, karen. this is as much for white sort of independent voters who don't want to feel like the republican party is shutting out minorities as it actually is for hispanic voters. much like mitt romney going to naacp, had nothing to do with him actually thinking he was
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going to get the african-american vote but the optics of hey, i'm the republican that goes to speak to the naacp. >> also, remember karl rove said this to his donors, and romney's line as much as i hated it about obama said he was going to slow the rising of the oceans and i'm here for you and your family, they understand that if they're going to get those one in four voters that are up for grabs, you cannot do that by attacking barack obama. you've got to be -- he's a good guy, he's a family guy, but we disagree on policy. the line when he said like i wanted obama to succeed because i want america to succeed, they understand that's their pivot point. if they can keep it up to the fall, that's going to appeal to moderate voters. >> mark, that seems to be straight out of the karl rove focus group data that you don't vilify the president, you say it's okay to make a change and then presumably your super pacs do the work of the hard line attacks. >> well, look, remember mitt romney started out, one of his big stump speech lines in the beginning was president's a nice
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guy, he's a family man, i like him personally, he's just not up to the job and we disagree on policy. remember, going into this convention, we had mitt romney talking about how the president was running a campaign of hate and part of what animated some of the decisions here about what would be said about barack obama was the feeling at the top levels of the campaign that the democrats are not playing fair, the democrats are doing things that offend the sensibilities of the people at the top of the campaign, and that was somewhat in evidence here, although i think obviously not as much governor romney in one of the interviews he did, i forget which one leading up to the convention, was asked about the use of the word hate and declined to repeat it. they're going to walk that balance. but for a lot of the base, they don't like to say the president's a nice guy. the base doesn't want to hear that because they don't think he's a nice guy. in boston, they don't necessarily view him that way. >> that's the whole problem. he's standing in a room full of people who want the red meat, who want the angry attacks on the president.
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at the same time his real audience is at home, independent voters, and those are the people he actually needs. how do you jockey that line? >> romney mostly spoke to the people karen is talking about. at one point, he used the term, the second person addressed you, he said something's wrong with the president when the best day of his presidency is the day you voted for him. that you is talking only to a small section of people. people watching the rnc in prime time, actually listening to him who voted for barack obama. most of the pronouns in this entire convention were about we. it was about the we. that we was a very small group of we. that was the we of chris christie saying our great grandparents had moments that built america. our great grandparents? that doesn't include those same people that susana martinez is speaking to. the we built this? there's a subtext of who that we is. it's very different from the you of the mitt romney address. the you is a much more effective way to go but the majority of what that convention was about
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was speaking in that we group. >> the we isn't going away, though. karl rove knows about anger points. we areoing to see more racist, divisive stuff. it will just be more underground. >> it will just be slightly more insidious. >> that's all. >> we have to leave it there. coming up, on to charlotte and democrats preparing for next week's convention. questions abound as to what will be the focus. michael steele asked obama's senior advisor david axelrod this morning about one subject in particular. >> how much of your convention will be consumed by george bush? >> michael, i don't think we'll focus on george bush any more than your convention focused on george bush. but what we are concerned about is where we're going as a country. >> we will preview the president's plans and the dnc agenda ahead on "now." [ thunder crashes ] [ male announcer ] if you think all batteries are the same... consider this:
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coming up, last night, mitt romney the nominee tried to introduce americans to mitt romney, the man. but how about mitt romney, the actor? a few months ago, master thespian james lipton offered sage advice for mitt romney. >> stick with the typecasting. go with what you've got and who you are. it's not your best option. i think it's your only option. >> we will get a new character assessment of the nominee when james lipton joins us inside our studio next. [ female announcer ] how do you define your moment? the blissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice
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wasn't that strange to have a blockbuster movie star, a celebrity guest who has delivered countless classic lines on the silver screen appear on stage to rev up the crowd for mitt romney. nothing was that odd about it until this. >> so i've got -- i've got mr. obama sitting here and i just was going to ask him a couple questions, but -- >> over the next seven minutes, clint eastwood proceeded to have a conversation with an empty chair. >> mr. president, how do you -- how do you handle -- how do you handle promises that you've made when you were running for election and how do you handle -- how do you handle it? i mean, what do you say to people? do you just, you know, i know people are wondering, you know -- >> as the interview continued, things got a little testy.
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>> i thought maybe as an excuse -- what do you mean, shut up? >> and ultimately, even a little crude. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him to do that. can't do that to himself. you're absolutely crazy. >> just to be clear, clint eastwood is calling the empty chair crazy. joining the table now is host of "inside the actor's studio" james lipton. always a pleasure to have you on set. >> thank you very much. great pleasure to be here. >> let's talk first about clint eastwood, which was -- i think in many ways, one of the stranger moments in any political convention in recent memory. what was your assessment of the empty chair device? >> full disclosure.
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clint is a friend of mine. we're not close friends but he's a friend of mine. i know him well. we have done things together and i like him enormously. i find him a very congenial person. he's also a great director. late in his career, became a very great director. that said, last night was not his best performance. look, we're talking here about something i know a little bit about, and he was doing an improv. that's ad lib. an improv, you needed a partner. he created one for himself. george bernard shaw was great because he always gave the best lines to the antagonists. the reason being that the stronger the antagonist, the stronger the protagonist because he has something to fight against. what he gave to barack obama was, well, not the best lines. it was a couple vulgarities. first of all, shut up, then go blank yourself, a word we can't utter here, of course, and
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shouldn't have been uttered there, certainly not before the candidate was going to come out and impress us with what a wonderful character he was. the result was, let me say this, in my opinion, obama is incapable of saying shut up and go blank yourself in any normal circumstance and is capable, in fact, of uttering much more eloquent and i think proper replies. he was not given that opportunity. the words were put in his mouth. the words were vulgar and worse, they were disrespectful. i can remember a number of presidential campaigns where presidents who were running for re-election were not treated quite this disrespectfully. >> the other thing, we will remind back a few months ago when clint eastwood made this infamous ad in the super bowl that appealed to white working class voters. it was a car ad and everyone thought he's in the tank for obama but -- >> quickly denied it. >> yes. clearly he is not in the tank
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for obama. >> unless it was a liberal plant. this is my theory. >> right. but you know, i think the american public imagines clint eastwood, he's a legendary actor, to be a real sort of true american, someone who is not subject to sort of the -- what is in fashion, but is someone of principle and integrity. this came off not only as ill thought through but just completely on the fly. >> it was ad lib, no question about it. he got himself in trouble. he was in trouble throughout it. you saw him sort of fumbling for what's next. in an improv it should go smoothly but that's if you have a partner who is coming back at you. important stuff. here, unfortunately he was having to play both roles and while he plays himself brilliantly, he is the successor to john wayne in the public's imagination and estimation, he did not play obama well at all. he did him a great disservice. >> yeah. i think that we tend to fetishize respect for the office too much. we are a republic, the president is elected by us, we shouldn't
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get too -- i resist the kind of pomp and circumstance stuff. that said, he was sitting in a chair, so he was being literally physically talked down to. >> down to. >> down to. and like a school boy, who like an errant school boy and my executive producer made this point about you know, clint eastwood and the rnc should go back and read "the invisible man" because there's a whole masterpiece of american literature around the experience of invisibility in front of the white power structure for a black man in america. obviously i don't want to say that was obviously the intentional subtext. i think it was not thought out. they wanted to have a gag. but the way it reads was deeply, deeply profoundly, profoundly disrespectful in a way that really, i found kind of upsetting. >> one of the things about this campaign that has fascinated me is the number of jokes that have gone over like lead balloons. >> yes. >> i have never heard quite so many jokes that weren't really funny. they're structured like a joke, sounds like a joke, you think
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you're listening to a joke except it's not funny. >> mark halperin, the romney campaign issued a statement shortly after clint eastwood's i guess we will call it an address, role playing game, basically trying to distance themselves. was this not sort of a debacle for them insofar as clint eastwood was supposed to tee it up for mitt romney and did basically anything but? >> right. three quick things in response. one is full disclosure, i don't think i have ever met clint eastwood. i might have met him once, i don't recall. two, it reminded me like nothing so much as once i saw bobcat goldthwait do an impromptu thing where he talked to a bowling pin. last thing i'll say, this is a very well run convention in a lot of respects. they had to deal with the fact the storm truncated by a day but it is malpractice to put someone on stage, i don't care how famous they are, how great a performer they are, to put someone on stage, not know what they're going to say in the prime time hour right before the
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nominee, huge mistake and i'm sure they're not particularly pleased by how that went and mrs. romney this morning in her round robin of interviews i think betrayed a little bit of that unhappiness more openly than the campaign statement defending the performance did. >> they clearly should have gotten bobcat goldthwait to tee it up. karen? >> to this point about the disrespect, i love clint eastwood. part of what was so painful in watching that was that that performance was not clint eastwood. the clint eastwood that we know, the image of the clint eastwood we know, and it was disappointing. i sort of felt like where were his people to say no, we're not letting him go out on stage with his hair unbrushed and just wing it. >> i had the impression clint said yes, i'll do it and they said what do you want to do and he said i'll just think of something and they said fine. that's a mistake. the very least he should have asked for an opening line. >> exactly. >> look what's happened. i have been sitting out here for
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six or seven minutes. what have we been talking about? mitt romney? no. that's the take-home from last night's event. >> let us talk about mitt romney, he whose name shall not be mentioned. how did mitt romney do last night, in terms of presenting his case as an actor? >> not as an actor but as a performer, let's say. he's not an actor. >> yes. sorry. >> i would say that he has certainly improved, without question. he was more confident. he was more assertive. he was more relaxed. and let us now ask why. he was preaching to the converted. he was, as we say, preaching to the choir. there was nobody there to resist, there was no resistance, there was adoration and as a result he was relaxed. the test will be when he goes back on the campaign and if once again he tries to assume the mantle of the common man among
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real genuine honest-to-goodness common people, then he's going to be in trouble and going to be right back where he was. it will undo some of the good done, unquestionable good that was done by this portrait of him that was painted by other people. that's characteristic of conventions but nonetheless, it was other people saying he did this, he did that, he was wonderful. all true, all fine, but the fact remains that he still has to master the art of speaking to people directly, eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul and really, really meaning it. >> the big question i think, i couldn't agree more. the big question is, people are appealing when they're being magnanimous, when they're talking about love and their family and things they evidently care about. but the next time, the next three instances in which we will see him at a stage of this elevation are the debates. then there's conflict and there's the possibility of anger and there are certain tells that he has that were not in the speech because it was a set piece and they did a very good
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job, but the kind of $10,000 bet, the kind of smile, grimace -- >> grabbing of the shoulder. >> those moments are when i think he's probably least likeable and that is going to be the big question, is can he maintain the more in sorrow than anger tone he had in the speech when directly across from the president. >> i actually thought this was a really interesting moment for romney when he started making i won't say a joke, but he was humble about his beginnings at bain. let's take a listen to that. he was talking about bain capital and he said the only problem was while we believed in ourselves, not many other people did. let's take a listen to that. >> so we started a new business called bain capital. the only problem was while we believed in ourselves, not many other people did. we were young and had never done this before and we almost didn't get off the ground. in those days, sometimes i wondered if i had made a really big mistake. >> i think, karen, we know he's
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had a really hard time talking about his business experience, the bain thing. that to me was one of the best presentations of mitt romney as someone who built something from the ground up, there were mistakes made, he was able to talk about it with a certain measure of humility. >> that was probably his best performance in the speech, given that the "rolling stone" piece that came out yesterday, that really told the story about bain and how they, oh, guess what, they didn't build that on their own either. there was a role for government to play in helping build it and one of the things i found most interesting in the story is that's where romney seemed to have perfected this strategy of i will make sure that our investors get money even if the company goes bankrupt. that was part of from a financial standpoint what they did when their company was tanking, when he was talking about the rocky periods. but you would never know that from that beautiful -- >> was that not -- james, what did you make of that, the way in which he addressed his business career? >> what he did at bain, when i was a youngster, living in detroit, they used to be called
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efficiency experts. they dropped that. now they have a much, much, much nicer title. but when the efficiency experts arrived on the scene, the people who worked there trembled. they knew what it meant. the way you make more money is by cutting costs. the way you cut costs is by cutting human beings. that was the difficulty then. they don't say efficiency expert anymore because it has bad connotations. i think that's one of his problems in talking about bain. that's what they do. they have done good and they have done not so good. he speaks of it, when we failed, but when they failed, they still made money, i am told. >> yes. >> that's the thing about bain. you talk about bain and as part of the mythology of the celebration of the job creator, the successful which is seen as a counterpoint to the attacks on success that he called the cornerstone i think of the president's campaign is that if you are taking risk, bain managed to make money every year. the returns they made were incredible. what exactly is wrong with this
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picture? if you take on risk, sometimes you are going to lose. >> because they were playing in the real free market system because they mitigated their risk so he and the investors were pretty much always shielded which is why when companies went under and people lost everything, their pensions, their health care, they still walked away with millions. >> i'm fascinated with language and the way language shifts and changes. what do we hear particularly from the republicans, of course, the two words, job creator. what did that used to be called? it was a boss. >> exactly. >> once upon a time there was a boss. the boss wasn't always a nice guy. but now boss has been replaced by job creator. i love all these euphemisms because they soften the impact of some occasionally difficult facts. >> efficiency experts and bosses, absolutely right on point. >> james lipton, we look forward to having you here all the time throughout the campaign season. thank you to you. of course, catch james lipton on
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"inside the actor's studio." more from him after the president's speech next week. cue the dems as the party prepares to descend on charlotte, we will talk strategy. does the president need to go positive or negative? you do this every morning? it's the only way to get fresh coffee. not in my house! this new flavor lock pack from maxwell house helps seal in freshness. wow! that is fresh! am i still yelling? [ male announcer ] maxwell house flavor lock. always good to the last drop. tell me you have good insurance. yup, i've got... [ voice of dennis ] really? i was afraid you'd have some cut-rate policy. [ normal voice ] nope, i've got... [ voice of dennis ] the allstate value plan. it's their most affordable car insurance -- and you still get an allstate agent. i too have... [ voice of dennis ] allstate. [ normal voice ] same agent and everything. it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not.
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reorganization would not be working. >> we will preview the big old democratic party next with mark halperin and his tips for the dems which i don't think involves bobcot goldthwait but you never know. [ annie ] this is the story of annie who learned to fly. not with wings or jetpack. but with her new dell laptop and a little ingenuity too. ♪ her fast processor made for a smooth take off. ♪ she could soar clear across the sky on her hd screen...and beyond. [ female announcer ] inspiron 15r with intel core i3 processor from $499 on with free shipping. ♪
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paul ryan has given a prime time address. mitt romney has kind of proved his humanity and the democrats are heading to charlotte. what will happen at the democratic national convention? mark halperin, you have a very interesting set of advice for team obama heading into charlotte and i want to discuss it with you. one of the points that you make is that the democrats need to remind voters of bain and romney's opposition to the auto bailout. just a few moments ago we played sound from the vice president on the campaign trail doing just that, reminding the audience of the gm bailout. you also talk about regaining the upper hand on medicare, which is something that the "wall street journal" suggests
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democrats are going to go hard on beginning next week in charlotte. >> yeah, just to be clear, this isn't advice from me. this is from talking to democratic strategists, both related and inside the obama campaign as well as others and sort of what their view is of what the checklist is the president needs to get done. they've lost ground on medicare. one of the things that i underestimated about the ryan pick and i think perhaps the obama campaign did is that republicans by fusing medicare to obama care have gone on the offensive a bit there, and you'll see if you talk to democrats with a lot of polling data that there has been an erosion. they haven't lost their lead completely but it's like what president bush was able to do with education in 2000, then governor bush, in taking what was a massive democratic advantage on an issue important to voters and narrowing it enough to really make a difference. so democrats i think now that they've seen sort of what republicans had to offer on medicare at this convention, are going to come forward with a lot of paid advertising and some rhetoric. the president's greatest confidence i think in going after mitt romney besides
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feeling personally he's a better candidate is he feels this gives him a chance with ryan on the ticket to frame the choices on medicare and on tax cuts for the wealthy. that is an argument that democrats should be able to win on the merits given where the public is. they have not won it decisively and the president i think in charlotte and beyond will make another big whack at that to try to win a second term. not exclusively on the back of those two issues but those are two really important issues for him. >> karen, the medicare thing i think has surprised a lot of us insofar as the republicans have gone on the offensive or at least promoted their thinking on it, and it seems to have some traction. how do the democrats get it back? >> exactly right. remember, the presentation that we saw a couple weeks ago from the republican congressional committee that said this is the way to attack democrats. they had their proof in terms of this is how you erode or get even with democrats on medicare because they know that's all they really have to do is to nullify enough voters essentially. the key thing is, we have to go back and also it helps when you're not so concerned about the facts getting in the way
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because their line is a complete lie. part of it is for democrats again to have our message and continue to hit it back because again, we have been hearing the republican message now for a week and part of it is to kind of go back to here's what we're talking about, here's what we would do, here's our vision. i do think the other challenge, though, obama has to be seen to lay out a vision for the next term at the same time because romney was so scant with details, obama can sort of highlight that by what he does de detail and i think it makes romney look like an empty suit up against someone like barack obama. >> yet are we going to hear anything specific from the president regarding what he might do in a second term? >> specific is such an interesting word. last night they promised specific. mitt romney says i have a five-point plan, these are my specifics. one, get to north american energy independence. that's not specific. that's first of all ridiculous
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undertaking but also, there's a lot of subheadings to what that looks like. you will get something of this sort of architecture, the broad outlines of a plan for the future but i don't think there will be much other than some stuff around taxes. >> he's been doing it in the blueprint since the state of the union. he'll keep doing that. >> unfortunately, we have to leave it there. thanks to mark halperin, who managed to get at least -- he brought bobcat goldthwait into this conversation and we ran with it. thank you as always. thanks again to karen and chris. don't forget to catch chris tomorrow morning and then again sunday on his show, "up with chris hayes." he will also do coverage next week at the dnc. i'll see you back here monday at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i am joined by former governor ed rendell, former assistant secretary of state, p.j. crowley, lynn sweet and susan glasser. until then, find us at
12:57 pm "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon, andrea. good afternoon. about last night, was mitt romney upstaged by an empty chair? what went wrong? did he make his case in his speech? we break it all down and we'll hear from the romney campaign and get the democratic response and look ahead to the democratic national convention. we're off to charlotte next on "andrea mitchell reports." why should our wallets tell us what our favorite color is? every room deserves to look great. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get labor day savings with up to 24 months special financing with your home depot credit card.
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