tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC September 5, 2010 11:00pm-11:30pm PST
>> this is the "the chris matthews show." [captioning made possible by nbc universal] chris: living dangerously. from last labor day t to,his barack obama has governed like there's no tomorrow. he's going after his bucket list like there's no tomorrow. fight or flight? can obama's people get voted to the polls warning of a republican reign of terror? and finally, the 2012 starting gate. our first in the country look at the morning line on the top
candidates out to take on the president. hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, "newsweek"'s howard fineman. msnbc's norah o'donnell, the "atlanta journal constitution"'s cynthia tucker and "time" magazine's michael duffy. first up, labor day is the official kickoff of the fall campaign. what a difference a year makes. this week last year, barack obama spoke to a joint session of congress to try to upgrade his popularity after a very tough august, getting beat up in those health care town halls. >> the time for bickers -- bickering is over. the time for games has passed. now is the time to deliver on health care. chris: that was the night a republican congressman called him a liar. by year's end, the white house was getting pounded for its handling to have cbs day bomber. scott brown won a seat on the
republican side in january. but on the positive side, the economy seemed to be getting better, even fit seemed drearp. >> because of the bold, swift and appropriate action we took we can stand here today and say we prevented another depression. the economy that was shrinking by 6% a year ago is now growing by 6%. chris: and also, have much struggling, health care got passed in march. this past season has been a meredith marakovits -- summer of discontents with gulf oil spill, unemployment at near 10% and the mosque crovers at ground zero. obama's approval rating has gone down to 44%. but among whites it's down to 41% now. mike, this is a big question and you've raised it. you say in your magazine that this guy is mr. unpopular and
the reason is because he missed the boat here. he should have been focusing on the economy. he's -- he was focusing on his number one goal, to make history passing health care. >> he came into office thinking that if he followed his promises the public would reward him. he tried to do both, fix the economy and do the other things he campaigned on two or three years ago and the public really only cares about one thing. the question is if he had to do it all over begin, might he have been much more focused on the economy? he was warned last year to focus on one. as a consequence they're paying a price. chris: does everyone agree that he focused too much on his number one goal -- remember the old poll question does he care about people like me? did he lose that question?
>> right. the unemployment rate as of friday went up to 9.7%. with barack obama you get the sense that he was reaching for history and taking the extra credit courses. this is an overachieving guy. his chief of staff said never let a crisis go to waste. they used the economic system as an opportunity to push not only health care but sweeping environmental legislation which basically used up all barack obama ice chips with moderate house democrats on one completely unnecessary vote. chris: you know, i think the president is really smart. maybe smarter than anybody here. just guessing. he knew that people wanted to focus on the economy but he passed this huge stimulus bill and while it was taking effect he passed his number one goal, which was health care. did he fly too high?
what did he get wrong? >> his messaging has been completely off. duffy used an important word -- presentation. his presentation has been all wrong. let's not forget that the very first thing he emphasized in february 2009, shortly after inauguration, is this huge stimulus package. he never sold it very well. do americans know that a third of the cost of that stimulus was a tax cut? the biggest one-year tax cut in u.s. history? no, they don't. chris: why didn't he say so? [laughter] why didn't he tell people that? >> it's an excellent question. he's never construct a narrative. chris: was he fiddling while rome burned? >> i think so. there's also a deep distress in this country towards government institutions and he spent the
last year creating what many thought was more government involvement in health care. you're right. there's also been so much in the news. whether it was the greek crisis, the gas oil spill. and yet americans are suffering in the economic message. that's why the president this week is going to hit the road and try and lay out new proposals. chris: is he going to go with a positive approach, maybe business infrastructure or is he going to do, look out? >> he's going to reverse your old theory about pennsylvania. you kick them first then lift them up. he's going to lift them up and then kick them. he's going to get small business things passed. anything he can do with the republicans, perhaps. he never had dinner with either of the republican leaders until a couple of months ago.
duh. and then he'll attack. chris: they need to have a good food taster. will he be afraid of these guys? >> the problem with health care is, as grand as it might be, most of it doe't come into effect until 2013 or 2015. chris: the poll numbers, among white voters, the whole elek detroit is down. is there -- eelectorate is down. is there any way he can keem from having a real cindy:? >> al-- at the end -- tsunami? >> at the end he's going to talk about -- he should ask what would have happened to your doctors and cops, would g.m. still exist? chris: will it work? >> to some extent but the damage is going to be
significant. chris: it never works because the voters don't like being told they have no choice. if the incumbent says the other guy is worse, you're basically telling the voter don't even bother. >> it may help the democrats this time because some of the tea party candidates are so extreme. there is a whole lot of voter discontent. we haven't talked about the elephant in the room. race. fear of a white minority. obama's election has suddenly made many white americans aware of the loss of a white majority. that's what this crazy summer has been all about. anti-mosque construction. anti-immigrantav rings. that fear is very difficult or obama to overcome. chris: you back this up? >> i think obama is not a great man to frame these issues.
one of the polls last week, something like 84% of republicans think he's a muslim. it's an astonishing number. richard nixon, ronald reagan, george bush even were excellent at that framing a conversation late in a race. i'm not sure obama is good at doing that last-minute clarifying the differences. chris: we asked the matthews meter, if the democrats take a licking this fall, who would get the blame? nine of our people say the president gets hit personally. three say the leadership generally. the president gets nailed. >> of course, the president is the leader of the democrat preart. he will take the blame for this, despite the efforts of the republicans to run against nancy pelosi and horrorry reid. they want to take the country
back. a phrase from obama. >> it's the way he ran for president as well. this was a singular candidacy about one guy who was the change we supposedly believed in. the very personal nature of it will make whatever blame even more personal. because he was not from the political system and he was going to have to change the political system. chris: is there any way they can break this stampede? the democrats? >> they might slow it a little. >> slow it a little, that's a possibility. not a great o.ne >> it would be very difficult to turn around the anger out there. >> two months the a life-time in politics. don't nope. chris: that's a big thought. [laughter] that's a pretty strong trend out there. we're going to turn from politics to prep. preppy culture originated with the old money well-connected wasp elite that once dominated the eastern portion of the
country. howled you know somebody was part of that club? if you went to a new england club you used summer as a verb. you would drink gin and tonics with mummy. 30 years ago author lisa brohm beck lampooned the life stereotype with "the preppy hand book." now she has a sequel, "true prep." she names two new members. guess who? barack and michelle obama. that's right, the first black president has followed in the footsteps of previous presidents known for their elite education, significant personal worth and preppy trappings. franklin dell nor roosevelt, john kennedy and both jorgee bushes. he went to columbia. she went to princeton and both
went to harvard law. for the second year in a row they've summered at martha's vineyard. they have that was pi sartorial style under control. barack obama with the jacket over his shoulder and michelle has made the eternally preppy j. crew label a major part of her wardbe. even beau is preppy. what's next? time to bring back the sboya with cole porter music wafting through the potomac evening? wow. all the bad news for the o bob: administration means the g.o.p. nomination is a rize p worth having. weho's definitely running for president on the republican side. plus tell me something i don't know.
chris: welcome back. we're close to go or no go time for the republicans, believe it or not andho are gointo be the top competitors to take on barack obama two years from now? because they have to start now. who's running for real? there are two really g.o.p. brackets you might say. on the second bracket, mitt romney and tim pawlenty are running hard already. this year -- month pawlenty made it clear he's going to run against obama on health care. anher serious possibility is mississippi governor haley barbour. here he was just two weeks ago. >> if i run for president, what you see is what you get. i am from mississippi. i do have a southern accent. i was lobbyist and a pretty damn good one. the next president of the united states on january 31,
2013 is going to start lobbying. as far as southern accent and mississippi. the country may be looking for the andy obama in 2012. don't know. could be. chris: what a matchup that would be. and also, new apology mahan courage jeb bush to run. this week george w. bush actually beat barack obama in a theoretical poll. then the water may be safe for jeb. on the christian conservative bracket side, mike huckabee is running but sarah palin polls best among republican voters. in a new "vanity fair" article, in july, the quarterly filing by palin's p.a.c. revealed a foormedable war chest and hefty investments in this fundraising and direct mail. the hottest part, the glenn beck part of the party. you have huckabee out there. pagen boub the star, right?
>> she is the star already. i was down at the southern republican leadership conference meeting in new orleans, which is the base of the modern christian evangel cal republican party. haley barbour, who's from next door, was a blip on the radar screen. it was all about sarah palin and everything she did there, including handing out souvenir moose meat beach jerky for everyone showed me she's runnorg f president. it looks like she's running. >> that's a sign you're running for president, if you hand out moose meat. >> if you're from alaska. chris: you've seen the spark she creates in the crowd. do you think she's decided yet? >> i don't think so but i think she'll get the bug like others do. she'll notice that there are adoring crowds and she'll think she has the right to be president and that she could win. she might be able to win in iowa, zphilet that she lacks
organization. because she is such a celebrity in the republican party. i also think she's the candidate for the aggrieved. she is both a victim and she is powerful. chris: how is she a victim? >> of the needa, of the sexism that exists. she plays that card well. it helps her not only sell books but in a country where americans feel grieved it is a very, very powerful connection. chris: i like the way she went after that report yesterday. limp, impott? she plays hard. >> she's been brilliant all summer. and she has an advantage. she can be the last person to decide. i think she'll run but she doesn't have to decide until december. >> i think she's in because she loses her excuse to be out their -- there constantly if she doesn't. >> she may not have an
organization but she's a great tweeter. she knows knew media much better than anyone else. chris: mitt romney a tim pawlenty, how are they doing? >> pawlenty has set up the most extensive organization already in iowa. mitt romney is organized but they may lack in the charisma field. chris: how about jeb bush? >> he's said all over he's not really interested but he's now working with 15 republican governors on their education agenda. he's choosing his targets really well. if all the others fail -- chris: will these others come in and say, jeb, you have to run. barbour, in or out? >> i don't think he'll go. >> it sure sounded like he was interested. >> also what encouraged him was when mark samford got in
trouble. there's a sub category nor southerners. chris: meg whip et, spent over $100 million in california. if she wins will she go? >> she was to conquer some of california's problems first. chris: tell me somethin [ indistinct conversations ] [ female announcer ] this is not a burger. it's better. because with 57% less fat than regular ground beef, it's better for you. you see, this is a morningstar farms® meatless griller.
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from kentucky is going to end up being mitch mcconnell's big ally in the senate. if paul wins he's going to be the ambassador to the tea party senators. >> this wave election that we're going to have. this wave is going to wash out a lot of women members of congress. chris: why is that? liberal democrats? >> not just liberal but most of the women in congress are democrats. this will be the first downward trend in more than a generation. chris: they'll also win big jobs. >> they may. >> members of the black congressional congress are already angry about the congressional caucus that nancy pelosi set up. they may find favor in john boehner so he could move to get rid of that independentth eics office. chris: so a bipartisan fear of investigation. that is really heartwarming.
>> the unseen factor in the wave election if it happens, will be money. the outside groups, which no one can keep track of, will out-raise the democrats by 100%. chris: how about the cooperate thing? >> that's part of it. chris: when we come back, if republicans take the congress, should obama deal with them like clinton did or fight with them? [ female announcer ] we know jerry brown was mayor of oakland,
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chris: welcome back. this week's big question, if republicans win the congress this fall, would president obama be smart to join them like bill clinton did whenew nt gingrich's troops took the house, or smarter to fight them like harry truman did back in the old days? howard, fight or join? >> i think he'll have to join because he said he could make washington work and this is probably going to be the only way he can do it. >> he would be better off politically to fight them. >> he would but he won't because he's temperamently inclined towards compromise. chris: where hillary would fight them. >> cintia is right.
he can't be truman. he'll be clinton. thanks to a great panel this week. norah o'donnell. a new book. this is great but norah is so multitalented. she has great kids, including convince. the name of the book? >> baby love. chris: it's how to make your own baby fooled from scratch. >> it's all about being more healthy with our infants and children. chris: you against gerbers. and sintsinlt and michael duffy. thanks for watching. happy labor day. see you here next week.
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