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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 11, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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>> okay. doug wead and steve kornacki, read his piece at about ron paul, it's great. "the ed show" is-up next. the romney roll out. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. back in washington. fear or envy on the campaign trail? we heard it last night in mitt romney's victory speech and then again today. romney is clear. if you are concerned out there about economic fair innocence this country, you are an envious complainer. one of society's losers. president obama made a very different speech today, championing the middle class and the battle lines are being drawn
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and it's only january. the president may have some unexpected allies out there. if you closed your eyes you'd swear all the recent talk about romney and vulture capitalism came from democrats. but it's republicans like rick perry and newt gingrich who are trying to take mitt romney down with a populist message. are they doing president obama's work for him? but before romney makes his acceptance speech in tampa this september, he's going to have to get passed south carolina which has in the past been a killing field. his opponents know if he's not stopped there, it's probably over. so their strategy is clear. attack him as a job killer. and hope the south will be more hostile to romney than iowa or new hampshire. and don't forget. what w. did to john mccain down there 12 years ago. and michelle obama pushes back against the new book she says supports the picture of her as an angry black woman. is what's good for the romneys good for america? we start with the politics of envy as it's called by the
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republican challenger. chris cillizza is down there at "the washington post" right now. he's in the sitting room as we used to call it. and john harwood is with us with "the new york times." a somewhat superior newspaper, historically speaking. >> geez. >> let's go. mitt romney trounced his opponents last night and got to give the big speech in primetime. i think he gave a speech more appropriate to a convention as if he'd already won and picked up all the marbles. but his focus was clearly obama, not the guys he beat yesterday. >> president obama wants to fundamentally change america. we want to restore america to the fundamentals that made it great. he wants to turn america into a european-style social welfare state. we want to ensure we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity. this president takes his inspiration from the capitals of
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europe. we look to the cities and towns across america for our inspiration. >> chris cillizza, you can't see it. john and i can see it. his sons were lined up there like one of those motown groups. four of them lined up, all in unison. they were doing everything but clap and show their rhythms. >> four tops. >> exactly right. let me ask you about that speech last night. i want you to start cillizza. this politics of envy, trying to throw the democrats backwards on any charge there's unfairness in our tax system. it's set very easily that it's easy to become rich now, or doable and very hard to survive in the middle class. anybody who talks like that is some sort of trotskiite. >> you heard john sununu, the former new hampshire governor, push back. he's a romney surrogate. push back against that idea essentially saying if you believed in what -- if you believed in the idea of
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government intervention as anti-american. so a lot of hot rhetoric. one, chris, you are 100% right. that speech was 95% mitt romney aura of inevitablity. i'm going to be the nominee. this is what we'll be talking about in the election. still he has to go to south carolina. the most conservative electorate, trying to convince people through rhetoric, european style socialist, welfare state, et cetera, that he and they are not that far apart in how they view the world. he still has to get over that south carolina hump. he came in fourth in 2008 in south carolina. he spent lots of time and money there. it is definitely the most conservative electorate he's going to face. if he loses south carolina, i still think he winds up as the nominee but it's a bumpier road. he and his advisers know that. >> the president said his focus was -- the president was on the middle class. let's listen to the president to what he said in his speech at the white house about the american economy. this is president obama. you can tell whether is this a
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veiled attack against sghn let's listen to who he's really talking about. >> i don't want america to be a nation that is primarily known for financial speculation and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations. i want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words, made in america. >> john harwood, you know all about economics and politics. here's the clear overlap it seems to me. both the president and rick perry, of all people, and certainly newt gingrich, are all making the same charge. too many people in this country making money off money. the president and others have said we wish we had more kids coming out of college, the best colleges, in engineering rather than all wanting to go into equity. and it's a consistent charge the american people sort of share. our best minds are going into manipulating money. interesting to see the president and the critics have romney on the republican side all making the same charge. it's not a class argument. it's about economic future. >> it divides not only in a general election but in a republican primary.
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remember, chris, the republican party has more working class voters than it has in the past. you have a lot of these people who are tea party identifiers, conservative christians who don't make a lot of money, who aren't wall street people. john mccain beat barack obama among white voters earning under $50,000. there's a lot of working class voters out there. they resent some of the wall street excesses just like democrats do. >> chris -- >> let me go to you, krirks on this. the gleaming romney family was rolled out yesterday, like this is what it's going to look like. if you vote for me you'll all look like us. look how well we've done. if you want to be like the romneys, vote for the romneys. maybe that's a brilliant roll-out as i called it in our cold open tonight. >> chris, i would say part of all politics, president obama tapped into this, too. part of all politics is making people vote inspirational. that is, this is what we want out of our country. now the other part of it --
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>> but they already have it. >> right. i agree. >> the romneys already have it. >> that's potentially the problem for mitt romney. there is clearly a strain, john touched on this. there's clearly a strain of economic pop limp that exists in both parties. but in the republican party, mike huckabee tapped into that. he was the populist messenger. it's why he beat romney in iowa. who is that messenger now? newt gingrich is not a populist. rick santorum, maybe, but his time in washington makes it hard. the best populist -- natural populist in the field is a guy from texas named rick perry who is at 1% in polls and largely irrelevant. and that's the problem. not that mitt romney isn't vulnerable to an economic -- that there's no message to deliver that argument in this field. >> you know, it's -- if you look at the history of the republican party, the democratic party. the democratic party has historically been much more open to old money. teddy roosevelt, frank
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roosevelt, the stevenson family. the republican party has been middle class. much more reagan self-made, nixon, people that made a few bucks but aren't rich, right, and got it their own way. >> but we've got an economy right now where there are more people with talent and high education who have the ability to make a lot of money. and the question is that enough? how much more broadly do we need to share opportunity? i talked to david axelrod about this, the president's adviser. mitt romney's idea of ameritocracy is if you are born with the joujs keep them. if you aren't born with them you don't get them. so there's concern both in a general election sense but in the primary. the conservative writer at national review tweeted during mitt romney's speech last night, careful, mitt. don't suggest the only people opposing you are the ones who resent your success. >> it's always interesting to watch a politician. they're aural politician they are all politicians, left, right and center. obviously, he wants them to stop
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what he's doing. you don't attack somebody because you want them to keep it up. this morning, matt lauer was asking him if anyone who questions it was simply envious and jealous. let's see what romney said. >> i think it's about envy. i think it's about class warfare. >> are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though? >> you know, i think it's fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like, but the president has made this part of his campaign rally everywhere we go, or he goes. we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and wall street. it's a very envy oriented, attack oriented approach. and i think it will fail. >> this, chris, and this gets into a broader discussion of why romney needs to be scripted. why he's really good with a teleprompter and always gets in trouble in spontaneous moments. he seems surprised by matt
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lauer's question. he came out with an odd answer. we can talk about tax policy in quiet rooms. >> yes. >> that just hit me as the strangest idiomatic sound in a democracy. let's not talk about what kind of a tax structure we have with the people. let's have it in the quiet rooms where the people don't hear it. >> well -- >> does that strike me as elitist. >> you are exactly right. mitt romney is what a management consultant would create if you were creating a political candidate. he's someone which the more rules governed and exchanged, a debate, a big speech, the better he is. the less rules that govern an exchange, out on the stump, interviews with people like matt lauer, the more difficult it is because he just has trouble thinking on his feet and relating to your average person. now that is something that the obama campaign is going to relentlessly hit on. mitt romney is out of touch. this is a guy who made millions by bankrupting companies. and i would say, newt gingrich and rick perry are really doing some of the obama campaign's
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work for them right now in south carolina. hitting on those same themes. that doesn't mean the obama campaign wouldn't have found this line of attack anyway, but they are getting it validated by republicans. romney is going to have to in the near term figure out how he has better answers than let's talk about this in quiet rooms. because i guarantee you it's not going away in the general election. >> chris, here's something that mitt romney is not talking about in quiet rooms is the counterargument to his complaint about billionaires and millionaires. all this stuff about european-style socialism and i believe in america and that sort of thing. dem -- what democrats see there is a suggestion that this president is somehow less than fully american. and there is nothing that is more european-style about president obama's positions than bill clinton's who also wanted to tax the rich, who also wanted activist government. so they are saying, a bit of a double standard when mitt romney says you can't talk about that inflammatory stuff about greed and envy and that sort of thing,
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but you can talk about the fact that i believe in america and suggest your opponent may not. >> it's interesting, chris and then john. john, you start. i didn't put this together last night, but you accuse him of being a socialist. he's getting his ideas from europe. he's a foreigner and socialist. newt gingrich has these ideas to think like a kenyan colonial. they almost deport him every night they talk, these guys. then tie in the envy thing. you are making him some kind of communist guy that wants to take away the wealth of the upper middle class and give it to the poor people. that's what they're saying. he's a socialist. >> i must say i'm struck in recent years by the rhetorical inflation that republicans have practiced. they seem to think liberal isn't as powerful as it once was. that word is drained of meaning. so you get all this socialist stuff and then flavor the socialist stuff with the european stuff. he's a liberal democrat who believes in slightly higher taxes than republicans do on some groups of people and
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slightly more government spending on education, scientific research and that sort of thing. it is not the difference between europe and an american-style state of nature. >> can we have an american discussion about the fairest tax system we can have without somebody being called out and called a foreigner? can't you discuss tax policy? we passed under president wilson the income tax amendment to the constitution. that was ratified by the states in conventions across the country with three-quarters of the states doing so. that was a matter of public debate. now along comes this -- i would have to say -- elitist thinking from romney. we can't talk about taxes in the company of the little people out there because they'll get too envious. we better talk about wealth and taxation in the privacy of the club. it's an amazing statement. i don't think he can handle this business sometimes. >> i think we can have that conversation but it's not going to -- and why i say that conversation, a reasonable conversation about tax policy. there's potential for it in 2013.
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not between now and 2012 because the reality of campaigns is the kind of -- the kind of rhetoric that we're hearing. it's january. you know, we're a long way from the november election. i think it gets back to sort of a foundamential disagreement or conversation we're going to have in this conversation which is how much government do we want and when. >> thanks, chris. >> that to me is the election. >> i always latch on to the weird phrase like the quiet room. one of those you can't ignore. chris cillizza, thank you. we're all back to washington. john harwood. we were working together up there. what a long road trip this has been. romney still needs to get past south carolina. some are going on the road again where his rivals are attacking him as a job killer. and that's newt. and also rick perry blasting away on this populist issue that that man right there is taking away your job. we'll also get to the question of how well this fell oh, given his background, will do in the south among evangelical voters. we'll be right back. ♪
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we've been talking about the potential fight between mitt romney and president obama in the general election. we have new poll numbers on that. and the matchup. we'll check the hardball scoreboard for that. nationally, president obama leading romney by five. that's according to the new reuters/ipsos poll. but new numbers from key states. florida, romney has a three-point lead in the latest quinnipiac poll. three points ahead for romney in florida. look at north carolina. a state obama managed to win last time narrowly. he hopes to hang on there. the slightest of leads over romney there. but not bad. also in the ipso -- actually in the ppp poll. not bad given the way things are doing economically. 46/45. still slightly ahead in north carolina. we'll be right back. ery dollar car insurance companies say they'll save you by switching, you'd have, like, a ton of dollars.
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who is south carolina going to put forward? because iowa is a fine state. new hampshire is an interesting place. but the fact of the matter is, they winnow the field down. south carolina is who picks presidents. >> okay. welcome back to "hardball." south carolina picks presidents. that's the history mitt romney faces as he campaigns to win the state on january 21st. coming up in a week and a half. south carolina is known for its take no prisoners politics. and all the republican candidates have their sights set on romney down there. can a mormon win down there among evangelical winners? we'll see if it even comes up. and a state hit hard by tough economic times. almost 10% unemployment down there. much worse than iowa and new hampshire. will romney's tenure at bain capital be an issue as they go to the polls? here's a poll taken just last wednesday and thursday. romney's lead, 37%. santorum and gingrich in second and third.
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their combined total equals romney's 37%. and rick perry gets just 5%. a ppp poll taken gives romney a narrower lead down to 30% against gingrich's 23%. he's within striking distance. so is santorum at 19%. rick perry at 5% could jump into this race. congressman nick represents south carolina's fifth district. he's a rick perry supporter. and a member of the tea party caucus. and mark halperin is -- >> your district, does that include charleston? >> no, sir. i have the northern tier of the state. >> what are the towns some. >> rock hill would be the biggest. sumter. lancaster, cherokee county. it's the north central tier of the state. >> and that's why you are coming to us from charlotte, north carolina. you are close. i should have remembered that. let me ask you about rick perry.
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i don't want to get to into religion much. i hardly ever talk about it her on this show. does this protestantism, just putting it positively, make him more connected to the voters down there, or are we past that? >> i'll be more direct because what you are asking really is romney's mormonism an issue? it's absolutely not. i hear this a lot in washington. i hear it nationally. you very rarely hear that discussion in south carolina itself. i use myself as an example. i'm the first roman catholic member of congress, we think in the history of the state. we have a governor who was raised as a sikh, now christian. but religion is not an issue in south carolina, like folks who don't live here think that it is. >> mitt romney addressed whether conservative evangelicals in south carolina would vote for him. let's listen to his answer. >> there are people who want to elect a commander in chief. they aren't worried about electing a pastor in chief. i'm hopeful i'll get great support in south carolina, but i know that i have a lot of work to do.
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>> we don't know whether he's going to have trouble winning over south carolina evangelicals. i guess the question comes back, franklin graham, by the way, son of billy graham and not billy graham told "the new york times" it's going to be difficult for romney as a mormon with the evangelical community. for most christians, mormonism is an issue and he has a hurdle here that he's going to have to no whoers pretty far right politically. let's put that on the table. suggesting that mormons are not christians in the very statement he just made there. so he's, obviously, stirring up the pot there. right, congressman? that's not a helpful quote if you are romney. >> and respectfully, i don't know reverend graham, but he's certainly not from south carolina, not active in south carolina politics. look back to 2008, mitt romney got the endorsement of bob jones iii, a noted evangelical in our state. didn't help very much. he finished fourth or fifth in 2008. i think religion is an issue for folks who aren't from around here. we're going to pick our candidate based upon jobs and the economy, primarily and
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conservative values after that. >> well, let me ask mark halperin. is there any way of looking at this objectively at this point whether religion will cut down there, whether we should even be talking about it? >> i think it's similar to what race was for president obama in some states in 2008. are there people that won't vote for mitt romney because of his religion? i appreciate the congressman's optimism about the state of his state. i suspect there are some but i don't think that will keep him from winning the primary. he might lose a primary for other reasons, but i don't think there's a large enough number of people that won't vote for him based on his faith. >> let's talk about what could be the dominant issue down there, jobs. they've been hit hard by the recession. a pro-gingrich super pac called "winning our future" plans to have ads portraying romney as a jobs killer. let's listen. >> mitt romney became ceo of bain capital the day the company was formed.
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his mission, to reap massive rewards for himself and his investors. >> mitt romney and them guys. they don't care who i am. >> romney took foreign seed money from latin america and became a pattern exploiting dozens of american businesses. >> i feel that is a man that destroyed us. >> wow. i want to go -- let me ask you, mark, about that ad. that's a powerful ad when you see an older woman who looks in poor shape blaming romney as the villain who cost her her life. is this going to cut down there? >> we don't know what happens if you put hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars behind that kind of message whether that will have an impact. i think there's some people in the country who will look at this message which democrats would run against mitt romney. and it would impact them. i don't know that it would stop romney from winning the primary. it may cost him some votes but i don't think it will cut against him. nationally it will help him. there's been something of a closing of the ranks from
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republicans saying this is not a good message to have within the intra-party fight. even speaker gingrich today seemed to step back again for the second time and say this isn't a message we should be driving. >> well, read his latest iteration. he continues to go back and forth on that, mark. a new bulletin just recently from him. he doesn't like the headline in, what was it called? politico. the drudge report. one of them. let me ask you, congressman, about your candidate, rick perry. he's used terms like vulture capitalism. he's getting tough on the method by which romney got wealthy. >> he is. and i agree with mark. i don't think it's the winning argument in south carolina. i think governor perry got a little sidetracked yesterday. he used that term yesterday a couple of times. we discussed it with the campaign today. people are more interested in how they're going to go back to work. that's why rick perry has a good chance in south carolina. we haven't talked about that yet. i do understand that the last i had read in the politico article
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was that gingrich was walking that back. i think mark is right. i think it's not the -- it's not the direction that anybody wants to take the campaign. they want to focus on how to put people back to work. not what's happened in the past. >> they are taking issue with the question whether they crossed the line or not. they're saying that headline wasn't ever spoken by candidate gingrich but by the drudge report. one last crack at you, congressman mulvaney, do you think mitt romney in his private sector world was focused on job creation? was that the focus of his career? creating jobs? >> no, i think his purpose was creating wealth, which is what a lot of folks do and most folks do when they try and go to work. job creation comes as a function of success. i think beating up on somebody for going through the downsizing of companies that are no longer competitive, no longer efficient is part of the ordinary process. look at our history, henry ford declared bankruptcy twice. walt disney went bankrupt. the creative destruction that comes with capital simp part of
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the thing that nobody likes but it is part of the system and i don't think it's going to be a central part of this campaign in south carolina going forward for anybody. >> thanks for joining us. coming up, by attacking mitt romney's career at bain capital, are his republican rivals actually doing president obama's work for him? i think so. they are making the same charge he is that people who make money off money are not creating jobs. up next, the "hardball" side show.
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now to the side show. rupert murdoch has been mired in the massive phone hacking scandal surrounding one of the corporation's tabloid newspapers "news of the world" and the allegations continue, by the way. still, murdoch took to twitter earlier today to offer his thoughts on what seems to be stopping newt gingrich from
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gaining momentum in the 2012 presidential race. quote, this is from murdoch, can't blame newt g. too much. he was carpet bombed with negatives by romney. brilliant, visionary, but just too much baggage. and erratic. well, rupert murdoch to newt gingrich. you've got too much baggage. to the big screen. meryl streep is once again wowing audiences. this time for her portrayal of former uk prime minister margaret thatcher in "the iron lady." true to form, streep did her research and some of the information about the staunch conservative leader might surprise you. let's hear it from the actor herself. >> there's always stuff to be learned, especially many years out from an administration. but i was very surprised to learn that she didn't try to dismantle the national health. she thought that that was right to have the national health. that she was pro-choice. >> she would be drummed out of the american conservative party. there would be no question.
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>> wow, well, michele bachmann referenced the iron lady relentlessly during her presidential campaign and held her in high regard. with the views streep just mentioned, bachmann might have been first in line to drum her out of the republican party today. up next -- newt gingrich and rick perry are trying to take down mitt romney by calling him a culture capitalist who engages in financial manipulation. but are they actually doing president obama's work for him? yes, they are. and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney is coming under assault for his big business background. it's not liberals championing the populist anti-romney theme. it's newt gingrich and his fellow republicans like rick perry. so why is the gop taking a page from the democratic playbook you might say? and could they be permanently damaging the most credible candidate they have to take on president obama? chris is a former republican congressman from indiana who now runs the club for growth. and andrew ross sork sin the co-anchor of "squawk box" on cnbc and a columnist for "the new york times" and author of "too big to fail." this phenomenon here, i wouldn't have expected it. i think it's a perfect storm. i think newt gingrich is an opportunist. my assessment is he saw this movie that was made, this documentary basically trashing mitt romney's role as head of bain capital and he also has some money to pay for ads. he put it together and said here's a way to stop romney. what are you make thefg fact that gingrich is going after
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bain as a job destroyer rather than job creator. >> i disagree with the substance of the attack greatly that newt gingrich is delivering. but in a weird way, he may be helping romney a little bit. romney knew this was going to come. it gives him a practice round in south carolina where the stakes may be a little bit lower in the sense that if he can't rebut these practices, his response in south carolina in the general election, he would have no chance of doing that. he's probably helping obama, too, because obama gets to sit back and watch romney's response and hone his attack based on how romney responds to gingrich. so i think it's the wrong attack coming from a republican. i don't think it's a surprise on any business person running for office. they'll all be accused of these things. romney gets to have a practice round. >> are there businesses out there that go out there to chop shop, companies that were founded by their -- the person who founded the company. they chop them up like gordon gekko, sell them in pieces and reduce their efficiency to the
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point where they pretend to cut their costs so much they end up destroying the company but they make a killing. doesn't that go on, sore that just a phantom notion? that there are equity companies that basically are vultures. >> there's bad behavior in every industry and every profession known to man. but over a long period of time, people engage in the free market system, people that embrace economic freedom can't succeed unless they create value. i'm not here to defend bain capital or -- >> we see people in these ads as we've shown them tonight who have lost their livelihoods because of bain capital. >> there are probably very ugly incidents that bain capital was involved in. but when you look at -- >> are they fair game for a political opponent to raise? >> everything is fair game. >> here's newt gingrich defending his attacks on bain capital. >> there's a big difference between financial manipulation and capitalism. capitalism is what entrepreneurs go out and investors go out. they start something real.
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they grow something. and it has real impact. >> and you don't feel like that's a class warfare argument? that is what some -- >> i think that's -- >> -- romney defenders are saying here. >> okay. is he allowed to cite his record or not? if he's allowed to cite his record, is somebody else allowed to criticize his record or not? criticizing one businessman for one set of practices is not an assault on capitalism. >> well, chris, i think that this is a preview to the whole election and the general election. this will be an election about do we believe in -- which candidate is better that communicating their experiences in life to the voters. president obama believes in more and bigger government. if romney is the nominee he'll believe in economic freedom and -- >> this isn't about economic freedom. it's about the perform achbs bain capital and job production or destruction. let me go to andrew ross sorkin. reporting on this is it hard to figure out what the net effect of bain capital was? was it destructive or constructive for american jobs? >> you know, the hardest part,
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now covering this industry for the past decade or more, it is very difficult to actually ascertain whether it's destructive or constructive. having said that, i think mr. romney, governor romney has made job growth part of his platform. he has put out there that he has created, as he likes to say, more jobs than president -- in the private sector than he says that president obama has created in the public sector. as a result of trying to take credit for that, he then has to answer for all of the jobs that were lost. that becomes the issue. we had mitt romney on the show this morning. and we talked about this issue. and the question becomes actually, does he deserve credit for either of them? ultimately, i give him credit for starting bain. and being a good investor. but that's what he was. he was a good investor. did he create all these jobs? i'm not so sure. did he kill all these jobs? i'm not so sure either. >> here is gingrich defending his attacks on romney by saying the republican nominee must be
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vetted before the obama campaign has a chance to take him on. let's watch. >> i am a middle class. my dad was an army officer. i grew up in middle class background. i have middle class values. and i find powerful rich people rigging games very distasteful. >> you think what you've done once the super pac is done, he's going to become less electable or viewed as less electable? >> i don't know. but i think the time to find out is now. the last thing republicans ought to do is nominate somebody who has not been thoroughly vetted and then stlit watching obama and axelrod destroy them. >> he sounds like my dad who was a cloth coat republican who voted republican almost every election but was upset during the ge price fixing scandal years ago because he thought they were manipulating and abusing the free enterprise system. newt gingrich makes a blue collar argument. it's a cloth coat republican argument. we believe in free enterprise. we don't like people who are banded.
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so use this system to basically make a lot of money but not create any wealth for the country. he knows what he's doing here politically. >> this is a political play. you asked if it is fair game. i suppose it is. it's not fair in the sense that you can't judge the free market system or one person's career in that free market system by a very small slice of it. you can't take a few people, talk to them and say do you like this guy or don't like this guy? did this deal work or not work? i'm not here to defend bain. bain is looked at as a respected company that has grown value for their investors and their investors are people like teachers pensions, firefighters pensions, university endowments and some individuals -- >> it seems what romney did and newt is exploitsing is romney made a calculated decision. don't run on his record as governor of massachusetts. don't talk about his public sector career which is intended to help the general public, which would be a logical argument. so he picked his private sector career which is not intended to help the general public and
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bragged, oh, i created jobs there. that's when i was really a public servant when i was out making money. >> i think that's the hardest part to justify on either end. it's the issue that you raised at the very beginning of this segment. does this take the wind out of the sails of president obama later on? are we going to be talking about this issue? if he is the prepre sumptive nominee, are we going to be talking about this issue in the fall or over this issue? and does this punch land now or will it -- will it land later? and oddly enough, despite the sort of popular rhetoric around this issue, it doesn't feel like it's landing. you know, i've seen the movie now. i think it pulls as your heart strings, but i don't know if it fundamentally lands with the american public and then again, more importantly, whether it can be exploited again come this fall. >> good question. thank you, chris and andrew ross sorkin. up next -- first lady michelle obama pushes back
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against a new book she says tries to portray her as an angry black woman. i don't know if that's a fair charge. we'll listen to it. here it is. "hardball" coming back in just a moment on msnbc.
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so far the republican contests have been played in states whose economies are on relatively solid grand. iowa and new hampshire both have unemployment rates among the low nest the country. new hampshire's at 5.2% and iowa at 5 clnt 7%. far lower than the national average of 8.5%. now the race is shifting to three states whose economies are among the hardest hit. earlier, south carolina's unemployment rate is 9.9%. the next two states, florida and nevada are even worse off. nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 13%. we'll be right back.
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i guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and, you know. but that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day barack announced that i'm some angry black woman. i just try to be me, and my hope is that over time, people get to know me. and they get to judge me for me. >> we're back. that was first lady michelle obama responding to her portrayal as she heard it as combative and meddlesome in a new book about conflict inside the white house. the book is called "the obamas."
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it's written by new york reporter jodi kantor. we're going to try to get her on. she interviewed, by the way, the author, 30 current and former obama staffers, but the white house has pushed back against the book saying it's an overdramatization of old news and noting kantor did not interview the obam as. of course, they don't let them interview them and they say they didn't interview the governor of pennsylvania is an analyst, i don't know how he got dragged in this thing, there is no way, governor, you can say anything about that this doesn't cause more trouble, that is why we're doing it. i'm not going to knock it, i have another book on kennedy i would rather people read, i wonder if it's overwritten? is there something that justifies 200 or 300 people hashing over the relationships between the obamas and their staff, like valerie jarrett and the rest of them? >> look, it's fascinating, it
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actually is, we care about these people, they are our leaders. so i think there is enough potentially there. i think the problem is i respect jody kanter, one thing she does is put herself in the first lady's head. she does what a lot of reporters do and writers, she acts like she is sitting there and is michelle obama when she hasn't talked to her, she is reconstructing if other people's accounts and i think that is dangerous. i also want to say i admire the first lady and i have that in common with the rest of the country. she is one of the most admired women in america. so this notion the right -- she is behind hillary clinton and oprah winfrey. the notion people won't like her if they know her and damage her is ridiculous. we love her, i wish she wouldn't bite down or dignify people by responding to some of the garbage that is thrown at her. >> the interesting thing,
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governor, she never said nor did he, barack obama as a candidate you get two for the price of one. there was never any presentation of the two of then as political partners as hillary clinton certainly has been for all these decades with her husband bill, both players. she has been between laura bush, and bit more modern, but also not trying to run the west wing in any way as a co-president. i'm trying to find the right way to say it, i think she is being subtle about the role she drawn for herself. >> i think that is true, chris, i think she is the anti-thesis of the angry african american woman or angry first lady. she is a very happy, upbeat optimistic movement. her move it campaign is terrific, inspiring. i have been with her at a couple speeches she made, she lifts the crowd and people love her. i think this is -- this won't
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have the slightest effect on the campaign or her image. her image is great. >> i wish they would give us more interviews to be honest. i would love to have her on this program for a or hour or a college tour and have her talk to the students, she would be a wow. jody kanter portrayed pretentious relationships, her strains with the advisors were part of a continuing debate over what sort of president mr. obama should be. with her reenforcing his instincts for the overall of health care and immigration laws casting herself as a foil to aide sz more intent on preserving seats and poll numbers numbers. should obama be more aggressive, more historically transformational president or do what is more practical, protect
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his power and get done what he can, why wouldn't they have these discussions? >> exactly. >> seems to be the most normal thing in the world. >> the most normal thing in the world, and i'm reading the book now, i haven't finished it, my feeling is i'm so glad she is there, she has his back, and honestly, i think she has our back. she is representing the higher ideals and the transformational goals and values that this president has, that can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of politics. she is also a woman who had her own career who is now being kind of shuffled around and told to do this and that, stand there, that is disconcerting there. >> i only want her here, please sit here. i think anybody who cares about the democrats success this november want her every where. governor, thank you and joan walsh.
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when we return, we'll finish whether what is good for the romneys is actually good for america, that is the question. you're watching hard ball, on msnbc. having triplets is such a blessing. not financially. so we switched to the bargain detergent but i found myself using three times more than you're supposed to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. thanks, honey. yeah. you suck at folding. [ laughs ] [ female announcer ] just one dose of tide original liquid helps remove food stains better than an entire 40 load bottle of the leading liquid bargain brand. that's my tide. what's yours?
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let me finish with this. there was something startling about romney's appearance last night. it was less a victory speech on a primary night, more a restoration. in presenting himself and his family the former governor of massachusetts seemed to be confronting the american people
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with a fait accompli, we're here to take the country back. what they're doing, romney and the advisors is clear, they're offering the people a comfortable picture. you want it all back, the economy of the 1990's, profits, new house, high net worth, new gadgets in the communication age, brilliant outlook for kids, security your parents fell, want that positive feeling back that we knew before held hit? i'm here to show it to you to see how a family is doing. see how attractive and successful we look, self confidence and good life that shines forth from us? that what is i'm bringing back to america. that is what i am to you the promise of the same life for you and yours, perfected in the armor don't get caught up in politics, don't be thinking what has been good for us isn't going to be good for you down the road. don't vote for someone who says those wealthy republicans built up their wealth by unfair tax policies. don't resent us elect us.