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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 21, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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no legend, just the myth of mitt romney, and as of this afternoon, those tax returns. thanks so much for watching today and for all week. we appreciate you, the audience. chris matthews is next with "hardball." don't go the crime if you can't do the time. let's play "hardball."o the cri can't do the time. let's play "hardball."do the cr can't do the time. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews out in los angeles. doing the bill more show tonight. let's start with the difficulties mitt romney has been having in the campaign. romney is reaping what he sowed. who was it that aplowed that multistate effort to suppress the black vote which bget calls the most blatant he's ever seen. if he and his agent wasn't behind it, he should say so. who was it thata straighted this
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racially attack on people on welfare? wasn't that mitt's voice we heard saying i am mitt romney and i approve this message? who was it who has been out there backing 100% the obstructionist republican congress and its number one priority, to terminate the obama presidency through the filibuster. if romney's got it hard, perhaps it was he from the start using the dirty tools of the old days that's responsible. voter suppression, coated racial appeals, the filibuster. if he's having a tough month, maybe he's earned a few more. howard fineman and joy ann reid are here. first, new polls in the presidential race. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a national journal poll, president obama leads mitt romney by seven, 50% to 43%. the president also has a seven-point lead nationally in the new princeton poll. he's at 52%, romney at 45%. two interesting state number from the purple strategies poll. in north carolina president obama has a two-point lead over mitt romney, 48%, 46%.
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the race is tightening in deep red arizona. romney with a lead of just three points over the president. and this just in, the romney campaign says everyone is safe after ann rom's plan made an emergency landing in colorado after smoke filled the cabin. ann romney even tweeted about it saying everyone is okay. good for her. let's go to this with -- let's go to this with howard fineman joining us right now. i want to read to you right now a classic example of a friday afternoon news dump. it's mitt romney releasing his tax returns for last year. he paid an effective rate of 14.1% which is below the rate we know that people pay of payroll taxes. anyway, the campaign also released a summary of his taxes for the past 20 years, a summary. they say romney paid an average of 20.2% and they say he never paid less than 13.6%. republican strategist alex castellanos had a strong response to the campaign's move. he told the politico, quote, at first i thought this was an april fool's joke but it isn't april. i can't imagine david axelrod will now say i'm glad mitt put
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this issue behind him. this will drag mitt's taxes right back in the debate and there's not many days left. i can't imagine why they would do this. howard, why would they -- i know they said they're going to release the current year's or last year's returns and they did that showing he pays less than the average guy he says is one of the victim class who only pays payroll taxes. he pays less it turns out. but why would they tease us with this judge stennis solution like nixon did in the old days of saying i won't tell you what the taxes i paid were for the last 10 or 12 years but here's a little hint, hint of what i claim i paid. why would he do this? >> chris, i'm tempted to say they've had such a bad run they wanted to sort of get all the bad stuff out there right away at the end of this week. as alex pointed out, this won't end the discussion, and i think if you look closely at what mitt romney did in his 2011 taxes, as we've done at the "huffington post," you can see he disallowed just enough of the deductions he was going to take for his
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charitable contributions to inch it over 14% but no more. so if we calculated that the white house is worth $200,000 to him because that's what he paid to get it over 14%, and then, of course, in tax law he can claim those deductions later on. in other words, he forewent $2 million worth of tax deductions. he can amend his taxes over the next three years and i'll bet you anything that he does. he'll eventually take that tax deduction. everybody is going to sit around doing these kinds of calculations. it just brings up the whole -- this in conjunction with the videotape, the 47% who pay no taxes versus this, just doesn't solve any problems for him at all politically. >> joy, this strikes me as the word cute, a good four-letter word for this, very cute, to put out only what you promised to put out, not to put out 10 of 12 years and to give this sketchy look at what you say you did and as howard points out, have this trap door where you can even grab the money if you lose the
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election in this year's returns. >> i think that literally what the romney campaign was trying to do with this friday document dump was to replace the smell of decay with the smell of tax rushes. this is a classic sort of move to try to get the howard finemans of the world, to get the political media to chase these returns, to spend now time digging into mitt romney's tax returns and just the barest minimum of the tax returns to stop the story and the bleeding that's happening over the last two weeks of terrible news. >> why do you think knowing he won't give us the information about the tax returns improves the story, joy? >> that's the problem. they know the tax return story is a bad news story but it's the returns previous to 2011 that harry reid and others are speculating romney paid even less than 14%, and harry reid sort of smoke and mirrors thing, maybe even zero. this doesn't help. i think they've decided because this return shows he paid some taxes, at least it will take away thealking point that, well, you're one of the 47%, mitt romney. you didn't pay any taxes.
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>> he paid less than people -- no, joy, you know he paid less than you pay -- >> exactly. >> of payroll taxes. >> it's a bad story line -- >> -- when they go to work. paper boys pay that. >> it's a little like firefighting. if you're out of forest fire, you build a backfire to try to stop the bigger fire. that's sort of what they did here. they set a second fire to try to stop the spread of the first. president obama gave a strong rebuke for mitt romney over his 47% comments that got out this week. let's watch the president. >> in 2008 47% of the country didn't vote for me, but on the might of the election i said to all those americans, i may not have won your vote, but i hear your voices, i need your help, and i will be your president. the values we believe in don't just belong to workers or businesses. the 53% or the 47%, the rich or
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the poor, the 1%, the 99%. these are american values. they belong to all of us. >> meanwhile, down in new orleans at an aarp conference, paul ryan got booed by the audience when he talked about repealing obama care. let's listen. >> the first step to a stronger medicare is to repeal obama care because it represents the worst of both worlds. i had a feeling there would be mixed reaction. >> what do we make of that, howard? here is a group of older people. what i keep looking at are the polls ha show the only age group that supports mitt romney are 65 and older, that's it. if people under retirement age got to vote only, he'd get killed. why is he out there going to war with older people saying get rid of obama care? why is he stirring this up? >> well, he's speaking to the wrong audience in going after obama care, chris. i think the attack on obama care worked to some extent in the 2010 congressional races when
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they focused on the fact that some tax money would be necessary and that some medicare spending would be cut. remember, that's what they used in 2010, and that worked, but the people that worked with were not the seniors. that worked with swing voters and younger voters who were, you know, looking at how that was going to play out. so i think to go into the teeth of the activists at the aarp with that argument was going to e lice sit boos. you knew that was going to happen. again, you ask why would they want to do that kind of thing? why would they want to get booed at the aarp? i can't imagine any positive -- this is not like a sister souljah moment from the clinton years. it makes no political sense whatsoever. >> speaking of bill clinton, let's watch something from bill clinton because once again he's come in and clarified something that was murky. this is this whole thing. in 30-some states around the country the republican legislatures have gone out there and tried to restrict the rights of people to vote. limit the number of hours you
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can vote early, limit the opportunity to vote different ways, have to show more documentation. clearly a partisan effort. here is bill clinton saying this is still a big concern with him, especially down in florida but also in pennsylvania. let's watch bill get to the heart of this. >> how much will the vote be lessened or reduced by the fact that in florida, except for four counties, the pre-election voting, advance voting, has been cut down to eight days and doesn't include the sunday before the election which is an arrow aimed straight at the heart of the african-american churches who pull up the church buses on the sunday before election and take elderly people who have no cars or people who are disabled to the polls so they can vote? how much is all that going to affect the turnout? i have never in mylitime, nobody has ever done anything quite this blatant. >> quite this blatant. what i understand is why white people don't hear the whistle here. they don't see not just the
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whistle but the changing of the law, the changing of the goal line really for getting ready to vote or being able to vote because they see these people and these legislatures, here is a chance to screw the black voter. they have a tradition of voting after church. people don't have private transportation. they get on the church buses, they go from church perhaps in a black church, they go vote that sunday. a nice tradition, very democratic. the republicans say i know how to screw these people. we're going to take away that sunday before the election. and it's so blatant as bill says, bill clinton. >> no, it's incredible, chris. you look at a state like florida where they literally legislated every single kind of voting except absentee which is the one kind of voting republicans do well in and the one kind of voting, by the way, where you actually do see fraud. right now the miami-dade election -- paper absentee ballot where people are going to nursing homes and filling out the ballot for people with alzheimer's. in ohio where you're having
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precincts with majority democrats getting less time to vote. i'm not sure that white voters don't see this. i think the blatantness of this, the obvious sort of racial going after latino voters and african-american voters, americans, you know, in 2012 are not for that kind of thing. people don't see any problem with having to show an i.d. i think on that level people don't have a problem with voter i.d., but when you have republican legislators literally saying this is going to help mitt romney get elected, i think that hurts them with white swing voters as much as it does energize african-americans and latinos to defend their right to vote. >> howard, i don't know. you and i hear it, i hear it, i hear it with joy here, but i'm surrounded by people, maybe you are, too, white people who just love to say, oh, tut tut, that isn't true, why are you hearing things we don't hear? i think they hear it because it's directed at them. what do you call 24e78? these dog whistles are into -- aimed at white people.
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here is a way to rip the scab off and get you to vote against a black guy. that's my thought. is it your thought? are we surrounded by people who are deaf or just politically resistant to the truth? >> well, i would like to agree -- i would like to think what joy said is right about america in 2012, but i'm not entirely sure that's true, and certainly not true everywhere. and some people might enjoy the prospect. the fact is that over the last 20 years or so voting rights have been expanded or voting hours have been expanded, voting days and weeks have been expanded in the interests of getting people to participate, which after all should be an american ideal, and has that benefit theed the democrats in some places? yes. but what reducing those hours and reducing those days does is run against the idea of participation and fair play. >> one thing i have to do here, let's show this guy who pushed through the pennsylvania law. you want to hear it clear, howard, and everybody watching? you think there's not sop ethnic
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factor, racial factor. watch this guy daryl metcalfe, he pushed that law. here is his explanation of what he thinks of the people who don't have those cards. >> i don't believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsibility that goes with that right to secure their photo i.d. will be disenen from chised. you know, as mitt romney said, i mean, what, we have 40-some percent of the people living off the public dole, living off their neighbors' hard work, and they have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the i.d. they need. so, i mean, if individuals are too lazy, the state can't fix that. but the process that's put in place to get an i.d. card, there's a free i.d. available if somebody needs one, and there's a process they have to go through. they have to present certain documents. that's the way it should be. >> there you have it, howard fineman, clear as a bell. that guy is not using a dog whistle.
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thank you, howard and joy ann. >> that's a bull horn. >> absolutely so. >> and it comes from that same place as the 47% argument. it's all about saying we're going after somebody that's being demonized, these lazy welfare constituency, they can't vote, it's part of the same argument. >> coming up, see how they run away from mitt romney. one republican after another saying, sure, mitt, we're behind you, way behind you. this is what happens when a presidential campaign begins to take on water. there are a few republicans and democrats who -- there's few out there that are likely to beat allen west of florida. that's patrick murphy's job. he joins us tonight. so does tim kaine of virginia up running for that senate seat. don't look now but homer simpson is going to the polls. >> i'm a 40-year-old white guy who didn't go to college and gets all his news from monitors at gas stations. >> in you go. >> anyway, wait until you see what happens when homer gets a look at mitt romney's tax returns.
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finally, let me finish tonight with a question. what is mitt hiding in those tax returns? this is "hardball," the place for politics. i need to expand to meet the needs of my growing business. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better. [ female announcer ] our wells fargo bankers are here to listen, offer guidance and provide you with options tailored to your business. we've loaned more money to small businesses than any other bank for ten years running. so come talk to us to see how we can help. wells fargo. together we'll go far. to compete on the global stage. what we need are people prepared for the careers of our new economy. by 2025 we could have 20 million jobs without enough college graduates to fill them. that's why at devry university, we're teaming up with companies like cisco to help make sure everyone's ready with the know how we need for a new tomorrow. [ male announcer ] make sure america's ready.
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make sure you're ready. at ♪ we told you about that purple strategies poll showing president obama with a two-point lead in north carolina and within three in arizona. we have the rest of that purple strategies poll now in the "hardball" scoreboard. in ohio president obama leads mitt romney by four, 48%, 44%. next virginia where the president's lead over romney is three. in florida the poll finds romney with a one-point lead, and in colorado crazy state to keep up with, it's president obama now ahead by three but it keeps switching around out there. we'll be right back. h of market. with the ability to improve roi through seo all by cob. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price.
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welcome back to "hardball." the battle for control of the u.s. senate is likely to hinge on a few states that could either way. and right now they're too close to call. in virginia for months the former democratic governor tim kaine seemed to be underperforming president obama
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in his home state. no better than tied with the other former governor and former senator george allen. this week four polls put cain up an average of five points. the most impressive poll was by "the washington post" which gave him an eight-point edge. with me now is the democratic candidate for senate for virginia tim kaine. governor, thanks so much for joining us. why do you think the republican agenda nationally and in your state, the old dominion, is bad for women. >> for a whole bunch of reasons. first, virginia was sort of the epicenter this year of a lot of bills that really went of a women's health care, invasive ultrasound procedure promoted by my governor and my opponent stood silent and znd condemn them. personhood legislation that would criminalize abortion and potentially criminalize fda approve birth control that george allen wants to take to the u.s. senate, and then you go to additional areas like my opponent not being in support of
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paycheck equity, having a history of voting against family medical leave act, wanting to support the blunt amendment to roll back contraceptive protection. these issues have all come up at the same time. some deal with health care choices, some deal with things like paycheck equity, but women in virginia are feeling like they don't have a lot of friends on the other side. >> what's this thing, explain where that thing stands about the probing -- the women really find this invasive, this procedure they were talking about requiring under the law that every woman who is having an abortion, her own choice, had to go through this procedure by law. what is this all about? >> chris, it was absolutely outrageous. there was a bill that was introduced this year in virginia that would have required a woman exercising the constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy would have to undergo an ultrasound with a vaginal probe that was clearly designed to demean and that vaginal probe was even against the woman's will and it has an expense and she had be required to pay for
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it. one house of the legislature pushed that through like on greased skids, but then the women of virginia and a lot of men stood up and said, hold on a second, this isn't going to happen. there were protests at the state capitol, and one of the protests women and others protesting peacefully were surrounded by capitol police in riot gear. eventually the vir senate came to their senses. they watered down the bill so that the ultrasound was not vaginal probe but an external ultrasound but it was still medically unnecessary, expensive, and against a woman's will, and yet now as of july 1, that's a mandated procedure for women. and so whether it's these issues or, again, paycheck equity, family medical leave act, all of this has been under pressure. >> let me clear up something that was in "the washington post" today. where do you stand on -- it makes sense if you say it the right way, i hope you get to say it the right way, everybody ought to get tax returns. it seems to me it's a very democratic idea. everybody pays a buck or two bucks, whatever they can and the rich people pay their
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progressive share. is that what you believe in? it came up in the debate. >> had a great debate yesterday and i laid out a really specific tax proposal about the elimination of the bush tax cuts at the top end and taking away oil company subsidies all geared at avoiding the big sequestration cuts that will hurt the economy. david gregory said would you consider down the road a long-term tax proposal that would require some form of minimum taxation of everyone, and i said i'm open to that but then i pointed out, as you know, i used to be a mayor of richmond. the lie that some perpetrate that poor people don't pay a lot of taxes is wrong. i pointed out that that 47% that governor romney was going after, most of them pay a higher tax rate than he does, and so, suring i'm going to be open to considering proposals advanced because i want people to consider my proposals, but my specific proposal that i have on the table is one that deals with the elimination of the bush tax cuts at the top end. >> i think i have been paying the payroll tax since i was 14 and a lot of other people have.
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>> absolutely. >> when you get your first job as a teenager. everyone had to pay attention to that. thank you, governor kaine. good luck in the race. u might not ni patrick murphy but you know the man he's running against, allen west. west is infamous for saying stuff like this. >> i believe it's about 78 to 81 members of the democrat party that are members of the communist party. >> and that was no outlier. west has also wrote in his blog last summer, quote, i must confess when i see anyone with a obama 2012 bumper sticker i represent them as a threat to the gene pool. those are the words of a u.s. congressman. the race is a tossup down there. with me is the man trying to make a allen a former congressman, patrick murphy. mr. murphy, it doesn't seem like a hard job to proov this guy is a bit of a kook. do you think he is a kook? >> unfortunately, allen west has framed himself as probably the most divisive and the most extreme member of congress, and it's scary, truthfully, that he
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ever got elected. >> why do people down there vote for a guy that says stuff like there's 80 or so democrats that are communists? what is he talking about? >> not one knows. it's unfortunate. you know, i get asked that question continually, and we're getting calls from republicans coming out saying, look the patrick, i'm a republican, i've been a rap my whole life and i'm going to support you because what allen west is doing is dividing the country and created gridlock in our congress. it's scary he ever got elected but we have a great chance to defeat him. >> have you had a chance to go face-to-face with him in challenging some of his kooky ideas about communists and people being bad for the gene pool. i would call that rather personal. your thoughts? >> we're certainly looking forward to some upcoming debates with the congressman. we've been to four debates already in the district that he didn't appear at, so we have one scheduled october 19th, and i look forward to that discussion with him. >> who were the people that like him?
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be honest now. there -- if this is a tossup race, half the voters must -- why would any voter vote for a guy that was back in the 1950s with joe mccarthy kind of comments? why would anybody vote for a guy who questions the genetic makeup of the political opposition? i mean, we have a country with enough problems without this stuff. >> no, you're exactly right, and i can't answer that question who these people are. most of it is just partisan politics, people voting down the ticket. one of the reasons i think we have such a good chance in this race is because we're getting calls from so many republicans, from so many independents that are tired of it, that are tired of this extremism. >> patrick, let's take a look at your ad you've been running here. it's called west's war on women. it's a $1 million ad buy by an independent group. let's watch. >> what could be worse than allen west's vote against affordable contraceptives? or to eliminate cancer screenings programs? or to take away a woman's right to choose? what's worse than allen west's record on women?
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are the words he uses against them. >> all these women who have been neutering american men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness, to let them know we are not going to have our men become subservient. >> this is like rush limbaugh the way this guy talks about women, neutering men. what is his problem? you're afraid to say he's a kook. give me a description of your opponent, will you? help me out, patrick. he's not a normal republican even of the old school. >> i'm going to stick to him being the most extreme member of congress. i don't want to get into this name-calling game. that's what he's so good at. >> i'm just trying to figure him out. >> i don't want to stoop to his level. >> we'll have to do it ourselves. thank you. good luck in the race. i think the guy is off the wall. i don't think this is a normal left versus right or center right versus center left race. i think this guy shouldn't be in the congress. thank you patrick murphy. maybe you should be. which former republican presidential candidate says he'd have a substantial lead over president obama if he'd been the nominee? i think you can guess.
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that's in the "sideshow." this is "hardball," the place for politics. if you are one of the millions of men who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone.
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this is the pursuit of perfection. back to "hardball." this is the "sideshow." when politics shows up in unlikely places. first, espn. there's buzz in the sports world about john l. smith, the head coach of the university of arkansas. in addition to a dismal start for his fifth football team, smith's racked up $25 million in debt, personal debt, and recently filed for bankruptcy. so let's go to espn's outside the lines where the panel weighed in on smith's troubles and found a certain prominent political figure to compare him with. >> sitting down with john l. smith and saying, cut out the circus act, that's i am possible. no one in this country with the possible exception of mitt romney has had a worst two weeks than john i. smith. >> andy, how would you characterize the last couple of weeks in john l. smith's tenure?
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>> absolutely circus act. >> so romney's the new tackling dummy on espn. anyone else had a worse circus act than mitt romney? anyway "the washington post" reports that smith, the coach, is trying to win over critics with his, quote, engaging personality, and infectious smile. not exactly qualities people have been tossing around for mitt romney. homer votes for mitt romney but there's more to this story in this online promo. >> oh, man, not another election. why do we have to choose our leaders? isn't that what we have the supreme court for? >> you're going to vote, we'll need some photo i.d. >> but i lived here all my life. >> stopping all americans from voting is for the protext of all americans. >> but i'm a 40-year-old white guy who didn't go to college and gets all his news from monitors at gas stations. >> in you go. >> barack obama, i don't know. i already got one wife telling me to eat healthy. mitt romney, his horse totally choked at the olympics. on the other hand, he did invent obama care.
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>> thank you for voting for mitt romney. you may now see his tax returns. >> wow, medical deduction for personality implant. the government paid him taxes for five years! i've got to tell the press! >> you are now being outsourced. >> did we really just see the simpsons tackling voter i.d. laws? finally, remember herman cain. at one point he was the front runner the gop primaries. his self-confidence hasn't taken a hit. he talked to reporters about how he would be doing if he had scored the republican nomination. quote, cain said he would have been doing better if he is the nominee saying that he'd probably have a substantial lead on president barack obama at this point. quote, the reason is quite simple, i have some depth to my ideas, he said. well, cain also said he'd turn down a slot on mitt romney's cabinet. instead, he's focused on an upcoming stint as a radio host and maybe a career in tv. remember, when cain was blasted,
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critics who said his campaign was more a publicity stunt than a serious political run. maybe he was auditioning for tv. up next, as if things couldn't get worse for the romney campaign, more and more republicans around the country are running away from mitt romney, and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. you know what i love about this country? trick question. i love everything about this country! including prilosec otc. you know one pill each morning treats your frequent heartburn so you can enjoy all this great land of ours has to offer
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i'm hampton pearson with your cnbc market wrap. the dow falls 17 points, the s&p 500 ends flat and the nasdaq gains 4 founts. apple ended higher. many were less than impressed with apple maps. users say it contains inaccuracies. in the fall gas prices
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usually fall lower. they're down 4 cents but still 50 cents higher than they were on july 1st. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." how big of a drag has misdemeanor romney become on republicans in tight races around the country? since his caught on tape remarks came to light on monday in which he wrote off nearly half the country a steady stream of republicans have distanced themselves from the candidate. they include senate candidate linda lingle of hawaii, linda mcmahon of connecticut, george allen of virginia, tommy thompson of wisconsin, senators scott brown of massachusetts and dean heller of nevada. all in tight races. what does it say about romney that so many of his allies don't want to risk being seen too close to him or his words. david corn broke the story this week and he is the washington bureau chief for mother jones,
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the much respected mother jones, and also an msnbc political analyst. robert costa is a political reporter for "national review." thank you for joining us. we had this in iowa in a radio interview ann romney had strong words of conservative critics. >> what do you say to your fellow republicans who are -- >> stop it. this is hard. you want to try it, get in the ring. this is hard. >> who was she talking about? well, people like conservative columnist peggy noonan today. she wrote today, this week i called romney's campaign incompetent, but only because i was being polite. i really meant rolling calamity. a lot of people weighed in and i suppose in expected ways. glad you said this. mad you said this, but some surprises. no one i know defended the campaign or argued you're missing some of its quiet excellence. that's sarcastic. romney's surrogate responded to peggy noonan's criticism on msnbc tooted. let's watch.
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>> i wouldn't hire peggy noonan to run a campaign. i don't ask her to have me write her columns. >> well, there he is. let me go back to david corn on that. you know, getting sununu out there, sort of a canine aspect to the way he defends the president. he'll say anything in defense of romney. but smart people out there, let's go through the list of people. dean heller, close race in nevada. tommy thompson having problems in wisconsin. george allen, neck and neck in virginia. these people are real pros who are trying to keep alive politically, and they want some real separation as they say in the nfl from this guy, romney. what's going on? >> well, you know, romney's taking all these hits in the last four weeks from his miserable trip to london to clint eastwood and not mentioning the troops in afghanistan, the disaster with the libyan statement. of course, the video that i made public earlier this week. and the thing is if he had a
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real good overarching strategic plan and message that the conservative republican elites hear and members of the senate had any -- could see, could discern, i think people would be more willing to stand by him, but he doesn't have a strong rudder. every day it's like he changes strategy. he's going to be a little more moderate, a little more red meat to the conservatives, he's going ton an outer, an insider. obama says black, i'm going to say white today. the campaign is sort of like bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. it's being buffeted by winds, and again without a strong rudder, you move back and forth. i think that's really what peggy noonan and everybody else is responding to, that there's -- you know, we talk about abother being no core to mitt romney. >> i say the ping-pong ball in a bathroom. you can hear the sound of it. tommy thompson running for senate against tammy 3w58d win had that explanation for why he's trailing. that's tommy thompson. well, he's blaming romney. watch this.
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>> the presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election, you know, whether you're a democrat or republican. if you're a standard bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it's going to reflect on the down ballot. >> let's get back to robert costa, you're close to the romney campaign. it seems to me if you have a true believer at the top of the ticket, people don't mind associating with that person like ronald reagan, of course, the great example of a true believer. it is because romney, as david said, doesn't seem to be a true believer that people don't want to stick with him? >> i report on the conservative movement and i do not see a mass desertion from mitt romney. are there some grumbles, sure. but that list you just read out, those candidates mostly come from blue states and they're backing away not from romney particularly but -- >> nevada? wait a minute, i'm checking you there. nevada, virginia, you think those -- hall haley barbour from mississippi. let's watch him here.
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he isn't running for any office. he told bloomberg, quote, i don't know what the question was but it is not correct that 47% of americans are on means-tested entitlements, on welfare. many of those people are retired military. perhaps a better way to say it is, you know, i made a mistake on that number. there's haley barbour. he's not exactly blue state. >> i agree haley barbour is from mississippi, a real red state, but what i'm seeing from the romney campaign is you see the 47% comments, were they a big problem this week? of course they were. but look at the gallup poll. romney is still neck and neck with president obama, so conservatives, they're wary of some of the tactics romney is running, but big picture they still see this as a pretty close race. >> why. yegy noonan beat the hell -- her column will be in saturday's "wall street journal," it's one reason i read that paper every saturday morning, peggy noonan. why do you think she's down on romney? she's a true believer. >> peggy noonan's column is very interesting. she's calling on romney for a staff shake-up. from everything i'm hearing from
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boston romney is not going to do that. there's a lot of concern among some of right about the stuart stevens who is the chief strategist for the romney campaign. there's a sense he's doing too many jobs been the campaign and the campaign is not running a big message. conservatives wnt this to be a big theme election. unless stevens gets out, a lot of conference will continue to be angry and as peggy noonan said, look for someone like jim baker to come in. but that's not happening. this is the team romney has and he thinks he's going to run on a referendum on the economy -- >> david corn, let's get to the substance behind the numbers. no really care about the weaker numbers. they're going to shift around. it seems to me romney has dug his own grave. he's the guy d they have a racially coated language about welfare. it couples out he believes the counsel and outers are losers. the supreme court in pennsylvania threw that back, that voter i.d. card, that voter suppression thing, he approves that. the republican congress, he's been with them and their say no and their filibustering all along. he's been part of the stuff the people don't like about the republican party from day one. >> you know, the interesting thing here, you know, people focus on the campaign and the
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mechanics and the staff, should there be a shake-up or not, it really is mitt romney. to put it on the other side, you know, my book "showdown" i talk about barack obama really developing the strategic message of a contrast in values and vision and really he's running -- he's not running his campaign, but he's decided the type of issues he's going to stand on, the type of message he's going to bring across. it comes from him. he believes it. now, mitt romney, everything is shifting back and forth and you don't see a strong hand. when he didn't say a word about the troops at the convention, that wasn't anyone's fault but mitt romney's. >> right. >> he wants to be commander in chief and he gives a speech, the biggest speech of his career and he doesn't think to do that? a lot of this comes from him. i don't think he has a strong idea of what the campaign should do for him. >> as mike dukakis said the fish rots from the head. thank you, robert cass that, thank you david corn. >> yes. up next, 60 years ago this weekend when richard nixon took
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to the airwaves to defend himself against charges of improperty by the new york post while running for vice president. that's what he was doing back then. it became known as the checker speech and it saved nixon's career. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ols? tools are uncomplicated. nothing complicated about a pair of 10 inch hose clamp pliers. you know what's complicated? shipping. shipping's complicated. not really. with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service shipping's easy. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that's not complicated. no. come on. how about... a handshake. alright. priority mail flat rate boxes. starting at just $5.15. only from the postal service. gives you a 50% annual bonus. and everyone likes 50% more [ russian accent ] rubles. eh, eheh, eh, eh. [ brooklyn accent ] 50% more simoleons. [ western accent ] 50% more sawbucks. ♪ [ maine accent ] 50% more clams. it's a lobster, either way.
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they can save you up to 30% more by bundling your policies. well his dog's stupid. [ dennis' voice ] poodles are one of the world's smartest breeds. are you in good hands? we're back. it was in september of 1952 that richard nixon gave the most important speech of his life, the checkers speech. nix won was eisenhower's running mate facing heat for a fund that had been uncovered where he was raising money for his political expenses, so he took to the airwaves to disclose every tlar he owed to the banks for his mortgages the loan off his life insurance, the money he borrowed from his parents but it was a gift that he refused to return. he said an unexpected package to the family one day. >> do you know what it was? it was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he had sent all the way from texas.
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black and white, spotted, and our little girl, tricia, the 6-year-old named it checkers. and, you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and gist want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're going to keep it. >> well, sunday, this sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the >> this sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the checkers speech, a moment of transparency and survival. romney released what will be two years of tax returns but not the 12 his father put out or the ones nixon said we all should put out. chief investigative national reporter and also he reported on this anniversary. jeffrey franks, the author of the upcoming book, "ike and dick, portrait of a strange political marriage." i always remember the interesting point that, when nixon was making that demand that all the politicians should release the facts about their tax returns and everything else, eisenhower broke his pencil point listening to it. he was so angry because nixon was saying to ike, you phony
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s.o.b., you won't put out all this information, and i'm out here on the cooker having to explain my finances. >> nixon knew just what he was doing. he had no idea what eisenhower did not want to reveal, which was that namely eisenhower had gotten a great tax deal himself. his memoir "crusading europe" had earned him $50,000, and he paid the capital gains tax, not income tax. so ike didn't want the whole world to know about that. watching nixon right now, you realize how extraordinarily -- what an extraordinary speech it was. he was under such amazing pressure. here's this 39-year-old junior senator from california ask, and he's the running mate for the most beloved man in america, the five-star general, the legendary dwight d. eisenhower, and he was really trying to survive. that's what that speech was about. >> i agree with everything you said, jeff. i have very interesting feelings about richard nixon, he's very complicated, as we all know.
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michael isikoff, today's implications, it's one thing to say that romney is not meeting his father's standard in all the 12 years he put out when he was a politician, but not to meet nixon's standards, that's tough. what struck me about the speech, after reading that excellent book, we all remember checkers, but the issue was financial disclosure, about putting everything on the table, telling everything about his finances. that's what nixon was doing. that was the spirit of the checkers speech, and that resonates right to the 2012 campaign. what was so fascinating about it was, as you read it through, after nixon goes through this litany, naming his oldsmobile, mortgage, how much he paid for in life insurance, how much he owes his mother. he goes through that, and he says, okay, now let's talk about the democrats. he makes a sly reference to
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adlai stevenson's wealth. i have no problem with governor stevenson, who inherited a fortune from his father running for president. and he talks about how john sparkman, the vice presidential candidate, had his wife on the payroll. and he says, now that i've done what i've done, it's time for stevenson and sparkman to do the same thing, release every detail about their finances, and this was the really brilliant twist -- and if they don't, the american public can conclude they've got something to hide. exactly the charge the obama campaign is now making today about mitt romney. >> isn't it funny, jeff. you've written about this great history. it's so rich and redolant of what i remember. as a kid, i remember it different differently, but it's so '50s, the double breasted suit. we basically have to take our clothes off financially to get in politics these days. do you think about his current residence? >> just thinking about nixon,
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nixon was in a completely desperation situation. that's what completely astounds me about it. half an hour before he went on the air, he was at the el capitan theater in los angeles. he gets a call from thomas dewy. he says, dick, i hate to tell you this, but i've been listening to the speech, and we think you should offer your formal resignation from the ticket. there's a long silence. and dewey goes, furthermore, we think you should resign your senate seat, and you can run in a special election and win this huge plurality and be a great hero. >> nixon said, tell them to watch the show, and tell them i know something about politics too. >> and he really did. >> what a shot he took at these guys. >> he really did. he had earlier said this is up to general eisenhower, but what he did on the speech was say, it's up to the republican national committee. >> turn it over to the reince
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priebus of those days, the general that beat the nazis. jeffrey frank, you'll be back on to talk about it when it comes to pub date. when we return, let me finish tonight with a question. what is mitt romney hiding in those tax returns? he's taking all this heat. why is he taking the heat if there's nothing in there? [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar,
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let me finish tonight with this. i still want to see mitt romney's tax returns.
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it's one thing not to be this beloved father standing for disclosure. i think you ought to at least belly up to richard nixon. the question is why. with all the pressure on him, romney is keeping his returns a secret. at least to us. his accountants and lawyers know what he's paid, know where he's made his money, where he's invested it and why. this little caucus of people know the facts and not us. this isn't some family secret, some old story the family has a perfect right to keep to itself. it's about some failing in the part of the family members, some fight between an uncle and aunt or something, it's not about a problem a child might have had. it's simply business information. isn't this guy running on how he's done business? isn't this his resume? make a fortune, and run for the country's highest office. shouldn't the voters ho who put him into the history books as one of the presidents know it? shouldn't they know as much so they can figure out the guy's record, his methods, his attitudes towards citizenship? romney thinks that he's outrun the foxes on