tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC November 13, 2011 11:00am-11:30am EST
>> this is "the chris matthews show". >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> the time for change has come. chris: lights, camera, action. the 2012 presidential election will be fought right here on tv. the battle will be broadcast like everyone since jack kennedy beat dick nixon. can barack obama exploit television like he did last time? can he relate the magic? beware of the blind side. john kerry got swift voted when when money is poured into destroy you. no limits. spend all you want wasting a candidate. can the democrats match the money power of those planning to do just that to obama finally
does, he really want it? is his heart in it it? president obama called himself the underdog. really, that is that how he feels. i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today. joe klein, katty kay, nia-malika henderson and major garrett. first up, in this next election, we will reup president obama or will reject him and whether it's regrettable or not, this media mirror watching will dominate that decision. ever since kennedy and nixon, television has been the decider. down in the polls, the obama campaign is not going to stick to the high road. they're going negative to use tv to try to take down the republican. but in the huge balancing act, they hope to reignite the positive passion obama aroused in 2008. >> this moment -- this moment,
this election is our chance to keep in the 21st century the american promise alive. >> to make tv work for them, the obama hopes for soft interviews like this. >> do you have a transition team for the dog? >> we don't. we're getting a lot of suggestions. >> you talked about your mother-in-law, is she moving in with you? >> well, i don't tell my mother-in-law what to do, but i'm not stupid. that's why i got elected president. >> you got a new dog and your mother-in-law moving in? >> steve, i'm not going to compare my mother-in-law to a new dog. >> they must know interviews are more likely to look like this one. >> does it disturb you that so many people hate you? it's a serious question. >> you know, the people who dislike you don't know you. >> they hate you.
chris: i don know why they let the president gave that interview to bill o'reilly. most of the people looking at this presidency says he came in like astorm of great television, the great acceptance speech we just showed, the wonderful inaugural, a fever we all caught on on the mall, a wonderful day and then flat performances, it seems. >> the reality of governing and among the most difficult times to govern in american history, complex, vastly complex and difficult international policies to confront and the greatest economic calamity since the great depression. those are realities. 14 months on the road covering the campaign in 2008, it was about possibility. people look add that at first and overtime the campaign said to themselves, he can do it. this is now possible and he is the real president. i'm good with that. the reality of governing took over and all of the hard decisions and all of the things
that president obama did in the first year, you look at the polling leader, he wasn't as strong and it diminished when he was achieving things. people took a different look at him because of the presidency looked bigger than he was. chris: other presidents, katty, can use those great oval offices like kennedy during the cuban missile crisis and nixon with the silent majority, powerful speeches that changed politics. i have watched him lots of times to go on television to no effect. he hasn't affected legislation, he loses fights on the hill. he doesn't bring any oomph with him by getting on the tube. >> was that the problem? was there too much exposure of those oval office events, too many speeches and it seems now you have to tune out what has happened in the country. >> henry hagen, words, words, words. >> victory begets victory and confidence begets confidence. i think that major is quite
right. they have watched their poll numbers decline. they have watched unemployment rise in the country and it is hard to stay boyant and up and successful and promise and hope and change in those circumstances. chris: does he lack edge? >> he is very cautious. >> he is very cautious. he doesn't actually like the media. look at president reagan, he clearly loved tv. he cleared understood it. one of the things they have to do with this president is get him out on the stump. if you look at his labor day speech in detroit among the big crowds, union folks, he seemed to regain some of that presence, that leadership, some of that rhetoric that he had and that was so successful for him when he was campaigning. so i think that's one of the things he hasn't done well i don't think in some of these settings. in the oval office, he is using his hands a lot when he is doing these speeches at the desk which is probably distracting. chris: that's not like admitting he can't be president on television, he has to be a guy
running for president on television. joe. >> i think the speeches have been pretty damn good. he has had to explain very complicated topics like health care reform and financial reform. i thought that the jobs speech in september was a great fighting speech. i thought the speech that he gave after gabby giffords was shot was an unbelievable speech. the reason why it hasn't happened is what you just said before. it is he gives these speeches and then nothing happens. >> i will also argue that many things did happen. the stimulus is not irrelevant. health care and wall street reform were not irrelevant. these were enormous battles that he took on. it's not so much speeches. the president with the big victim his and the budget fights with house republicans has said broad outlines and left the details making him look passive and less presidential than as he is on the jobs bill now.
he says this is mine, damn it, pass it! chris: that's a defining difference in his approach. i'm going to pose this again, the reagan standard. maybe it's too high a standard. every cab driver, if you will, in d.c. may not vote for ronald reagan, but everyone knew where he stood. i want to beat the soviets in the cold war and reduce the size of government. does everybody know in short-hand after all of this television exposure what obama is for? >> no, they don't. let's not romanticize reagan. look at some of those press conferences. he had some horrific presidential press conference performances. >> they got worse as he went on. >> he was a great communicator. he had fumbles. he dropped the ball. chris: george bush took this country to car, not an ingenious presidency there. he was able to use the tube to convince the country to go to war. that is more successful than obamas has been. >> look at the end of his presidency, george bush was a very divisive president and a
lot of people around the country hated him and hated what his presidency and him and who he was. actually obama has maintained a certain amount of affection amongst the american population even if they don't like his politics. >> even when reagan was unpopular, the same thing with obama. chris: there is certain to be a most lethal part of the coming campaign, like it or not, now that the supreme court has lifted all spending limits on what you can put on the air. even in the old days, democrats were ruined by attacks like that, humiliating tank ad we saw that sunk michael due caucus and the swift vote ads against john kerry. president obama is expecting a brutal campaign. he got a mere taste of it in 2008 in this jeremiah wright affair. >> for 20 years, barack obama followed a preacher of hate and said nothing as the rage against our country. chris: i think jeremiah wright
helped with that ad. there are no limits with citizens united. they can spend all they want. they don't have to put the name republican on it. >> right. he is going to face an onslaught. romney is really going to try to be a centrist here. you hear him on the stump saying obama is a nice guy, he is in over his head. we have the superp.a.c.s who can donate money and put them on the trail. is obama himself saying that the country is not better off now than it was four years ago? you'll see that on a constant loop as well as him when he talks about he owns the economy and if the economy hasn't turned around that he deserves to be a one-term president. >> there is a basic rule here. i mean, this is god help me, the 10th one of these that i have done, the 10th presidential campaign. negative ads work in campaigns for years and i'm still only 38. negative ads work in campaigns where the public isn't that
interested. they don't work in campaigns like 2008, the jeremiah wright ad didn't work. in 1992, the stuff they threw at clinton didn't work. in 1980 the stuff theythrough at reagan didn't work. people are going to be really involved in this campaign. chris: the lethal ads? >> people who care like 1988, the stuff on due caucus, 2000, nobody cared. >> people were exercised about iraq and the national security of the country, the ads did work against john kerry. chris: they were terrible. ok, well, television tell us who will be the best president? we watch this between now and next november and we see mitt romney looking sharper and sharper. the president looks good on tv, debonair as hell, cool. the issue is whether he is too cool? the issue is how good romney gets at this gives him more
confidence. people say he looks confident. >> romney, whoever the republican nominee conveys confidence and builds trust, in the false intimacy of television, that's the falsity of all this, you watch them over and over again, you feel you know them. you don't know them. because television creates that, if you can convey that level of trust, you can win. chris: you agree. he can play this role? >> yes, since 1960. >> whoever the nominee, obama or whoever can channel the anxiety that is out there amongst everyone. >> and still be good, he will still be out there he sat pretty well in the debates last time. >> mccain was dreadful in those debates. >> and romney was good. >> remember 1992. al gore had a great speech against george h.w. bush. everything that is up should be
down and everything that was down should be up. chris: point of personal privilege here. everybody that knows me says i'm exactly the same on and off the air. anyway, before we take a break, barack obama's worst video moments in 2008 was the cell phone they talk about voters clinging to their guns and their religion. no doubt the upcoming campaign will have moments on both sides. even the biggest pros are caught. richard nixon was surreally upbeat seconds before going on live television to resign his office as president and joking with tv crews in the oval office. >> get these light proper. my eyes always have, when you get past 60, that's enough. thanks. my friend holly wants to take a lot of pictures. afraid they'll catch me picking my nose. chris: then there was john
edwards primping for a live shot. this went viral after put to appropriate music. ♪ i feel pretty ♪ ♪ i pity any girl who isn't me tonight ♪ chris: and another time when behind-the-scenes stuff became an issue hurt rick perry down in texas. a few years ago, a local tv interviewer did this report about what perry said after he thought their interview was over. >> i told the governor try as i may, governor, i guess i can't win this one. 11 seconds after he said goodbye. he said this. >> try as i may governor, i'm not going to wait that long. adios, mo-fo. chris: check out urban dictionary if you want to know what that meant. and when we come back, barack obama has been taunted as un-american. does he want four more years of
>> and the majority of americans, 55% think he'll be a one-term president, are you the underdog now? >> absolutely. chris: welcome back. that was president obama being candid about his chances. when they hear that kind of talk, some ask how much does he want it? have the frustration of the republican road blocks and some the refusal of americans to accept his presidency, the simple dealing with people cause him or his family to lose the passion? not all presidents or presidential candidates have the same passion. on that point, here is what the "new york times" frank bruney
wrote about another president who he said could accept a loss. "the prospect of the presidency didn't light a fire inside of george w bush, the kind of fire that was in clinton and gore." joe, does he have the fire? is he losing it? >> i don't think he is losing it. he lives in history. he does not want to be the first black president and turned out of office after four years on the job. i mean, he is obviously frustrated and at times resentful, but who wouldn't be given what he has been dealt the last three or four years. i think you'll see him come out and run a rousing campaign. he isn't, on the other hand, he isn't bill clinton. bill clinton just loved, wanted everybody to love him. chris: i was thinking about jackie robinzon who broke into baseball, broke the color line finally. he had to put up with a lot of bad stuff. he didn't just have to be a super player. has the standard been set too
high? >> he has the fire and really competitive. you talk to the people in the white house, that's what they say, he is a competitive guy. if you look back, you get a glimpse of how much he likes the one to one fight. if you look at the way he dismantled donald trump over the birther incident in the spring, he loved to relish it. chris: i love that scene. >> he did, too. if you look forward to the 2012 campaign, you can see he will relish that man-to-man combat. >> i agree with joe. he wanted to govern the country differently, he did exactly that he is trying to hold and protect what he put. he has to win a second term to consolidate which he achieved in the first two years of his presidency. he is not indifferent about that at all. if he gregarious like bill clinton? no. he is academic and at times acidic and has disdain for the political people and the process. it doesn't mean he doesn't want
to win. chris: he is a competitor. does he have a vision for the second term? >> i don't know. chris: katty, what do you think? >> he wants to win. look at the guy that took on the clintons. hillary clinton was going to be the nominee, it was their turn. he fought tooth and nail to get the nomination. he wouldn't have done that. of course, he is frustrated. there is one issue which is perhaps michelle obama, it is hard to live with a politician who loses a race, but my understanding is that if he lost, she would be there. chris: she has a lot to show she hasn't shown. >> you talk about the vision for a second term, it is really hard to have a vision when you're in a bunker and these gigantic economic bombs are landing on you every week. it's been a very difficult place to be and to plan ahead. i think that -- >> that vision will have to be dictated by the outcome of the
elections. he has a republican majority, he'll have to be a different kind of president. chris: he will have to have a picture this to show us to win a second term. >> the risk is he comes in and the idea of consolidating his first term and having big changes and a visionary president, if he comes in and the republicans hold the house and the senate, he could end up doing nothing. >> you got to find the sweet spot. he came in thinking he could do everything, anything, and now he thinks he can't do anything. that's why he said he was an underdog. the president of the united states has never said that. >> doesn't face primary opposition. chris: we'll see the unemployment n
chris: welcome back, joe, tell me something i don't know. >> there are over 200,000 children with attention deficit disorder that are on social security disability getting payments from the federal government. this may well become an issue over time. the expansion of social security disability to include people with alcohol problems, drug addiction and things, margin al things like a.d.d. >> katty. >> there is no secret i would like to see more women leaders in business and in politics and to see them pay more as well. new numbers out show that 25% of american women now earn 10% or more than their husbands. that number is rising. that is a big shift in terms of dynamics at home.
chris: how it goes over at home. >> chris matthewsy will continue to be mitt romney's bodyguard and hopefully from romney's perspective really fend off tea party folks, rick perry and the other far right people that are in this race. >> the long ignored issue behind the economic recession is the housing crisis. the administration has tried to intervene, most has been unsuccessful. republicans are beginning to understand that if you don't solve housing, you can't rejuvenate the economy after the supercommittee, later on there will be more talks and an effort to create something different than exists right now. chris: when we come back, the big question of the week -- will the clintons may a big role in the 2012 campaign? love this question. be right back.
play a big role in 2012? joe klein. >> so long as bill clinton draws breath, he will be a big factor in american politics. chris: the clintons, will they play a big role? >> they always have. >> selfishly i hope so as a reporter, i love to cover it. >> we need the juice. >> at the top, of course they will. there are still a lot of clinton partisans that harbor some resentment on thousand she was treated in the campaign. they may not be all in. chris: thanks for the roundtable. thanks for watching. roundtable. thanks for watching. we'll see you next week.