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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  December 10, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PST

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hooting newt. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews back in washington. nailing newt. newt gingrich is finding out what it means to be the front-runner. he's under siege. romney is for changing positions and religions. now, a pastor is calling newt the kim kardashian of the gop
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and attacking his serial marriages and conversion to catholicism. they are going ballistic. republican voters are falling for newt. he can counter punch. the supporters are betting he can survive the onslaught. are they right? there aren't many house republicans that endorse newt gingrich. we'll talk about his chances of winning iowa. jack kingston joins us tonight. jumping trump. huntsman, paul, romney, perry and bachmann all passed. only gingrich and santorum are in. did they lose a ring master? the defense against republican charges proves if you underestimate this president, do so at your peril. let me finish with a line that
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may be a guide to gingrich. we start with newt gingrich under siege. can he be stopped? chuck todd and john harris. we have the heavy hitters. her's the question. nationwide, gingrich is at 36, way ahead of where romney has been nationally. romney below that 25%. he never gets above a 23%. ron paul, the libertarian is at 12. he's irreallevant to the debate. chuck todd, i have a theory. the more they attack newt, the better he looks. he looks more blooded, tougher, nastier with more dirt on his uniform. it's what he wants to look like. >> it's the rush limbaugh theory. more the establishment. >> a broken clog twice a day, we're talking rush.
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>> george will, david brooks, peggy noonan. now we have the superpack. that is the risk here. if you don't knock him out now, what does not kill him will only make him stronger as this marches on. that's why this is a risk strategy. the people have no choice. they can't let him get ahead of steam in iowa but it comes with risk. iowa is a place that whoever is the perceived conservative has the upper hand. >> isn't this definitional, john harris? if you get into a boxing match, you make him into a boxer. every time you land a punch, he can take a punch. he's rocky. he's standing there, the guy against the powerhouse. >> that would apply to both candidates. i can't think of any examples where somebody got a major party
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nomination bout a fight or brawl. nobody does. not even george w. bush who came close in 2000. gingrich is going to be stronger if he surmounts these attacks. the same is true with romney who looked weak. if he can find his spine, he's going to be more formidable. >> aren't you being too fair in a sense saying both of them enjoy this aspect of politics? newt gingrich is a grad yea tor. romney doesn't like this stuff. >> romney can't win a barroom brawl. he won't win the nomination unless he proves he can do it. with respect to gingrich, he's under attack from the right on the ground in iowa. he's under attack from above the
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elite of the party, the commentary in washington and new york. under ordinary rules, no candidate could survive this kind of challenge. what gingrich has to bet is the conventional rules do not apply. this is not a conventional year or moment. an unconventional candidate can prevail. he's got a lot of what would ordinarily be fatal weaknesses. >> there used to be a phrase you don't hit below the belt. i'm not sure where the belt is anymore. the first attack on gingrich was religion in the romney ad highlighting his con sis ten si in his fate. look at this mistake venturing into the issue of religion. >> i think people understand i'm a man of steadiness. you are not going to find somebody with more of those
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attributes. i've been married to the same woman were 42 years, been in the same church. i worked for one company for 25 years. i left to help save the olympic games. i will be true to my family, faith and country and i will never apologize for the united states of america. >> a lot of people convert from one religion to another. we do it in a free society. it's unfortunate for people who tried to convert people for missions to make fun of people who change. now for the below the belt version of what we just saw. an iowa pastor backing rick santorum is sending a message urging them to watch this inflammatory video attacking newt gingrich for his three
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>> there will be a backlash. the one thing about newt gingrich, he is not unknown. he's not introducing himself to the electorate the way michele bachmann or rick perry was. he's well known, his strength
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and baggage. it's a question in my mind how much the attacks will break skin. >> i wonder how much people will care about the past when they are worried about the future. people are economically secure. if you focus on something 20 years ago, you look like jimmy carter attacking ronald reagan. >> there are big issues on the table. the personal stuff goes away. i don't think whether it's religion -- i don't -- in mitt romney's defense, it wasn't talking about newt gingrich at the time. newt gingrich was an afterthought to him when he made that statement. >> when he said the same marriage, the same religion? >> it was said at that cnbc debate. it's an excerpt from the debate. >> they shouldn't put it out there. >> they made the decision to put
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it out there. they want to believe the family stuff is a big deal to evangelicals. i think you are right in this sense. i don't think voters this time are going to worry about the personal words. if newt gingrich is undone, he is going to have done it to himself in some form. realtime. i think the romney strategy is hoping to throw it at the wall and hope at some point he cracks. gingrich, when you have gotten under his skin, he cracks. he gets upset about air force one. that's the strategy. >> i have heard that today. thank you, chuck todd for coming on. thank you john harris for coming on. have a good weekend. what is it they simply don't like? we're going to ask a few members. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. breathe robert, out of your mouth.
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welcome back to "hardball." newt gingrich served at speaker of the house for four years in the 1990s. many congressional republicans are openly distancing themselves from gingrich. many more tell reporters how unenthusiastic they are about the prospects of newt gingrich returning to a position in power in washington. the most telling, 55 have given
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them to romney. only eight have gone to back newt gip grich according to roll call. one of newt's backers joins us, congressman jack caseman. let's look at current and former members of congress who worked with newt gingrich and aren't as excited about his candidacy as you are. let's watch. >> there's a lot of candidates out there. i'm not inclined to be a supporter of newt gingrich having served under him for four years. i found his leadership lacking. >> most of us are terrified that he would become the republican nominee. he has visions of grandiosity. >> as far as governing, he's too erratic. he's too self-centered. the time he was speaker, it was one crisis after another. they were almost all
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self-inflicted. >> what do you make of the critiques? >> they have their point of view. the dark days of newt's campaign happened in may. a lot of members of congress left the ship. as you know, members of congress, generally speaking are cautious about who they endorse. you embrace a candidate whose candidacy implods and you look silly. members of congress hold back and tend to be cautious anyhow. what newt did is okay, the fair weather friends, i'm going straight to the voters and talk to the people in new hampshire, south carolina and iowa. i'm going to do the debates. he started. it was a comeback charlie. he's come back hard in terms of his reserve, his staying power, if you will. now, what we are hearing and what i'm getting on the floor of the house, people are coming up to us saying i want to take a
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second look. tell me more about newt. when can i meet him? is he coming to the hill to talk to us? >> if you hire a staffer, you would ask around about what he was like or she was like to work with. we have people who worked with newt who don't hold back judgment, they offer judgment and it's negative. how do you explain that? what is their motive. >> sue and peter are from the northeast where we don't do well in new york city in general. sometimes it's in the congressman's district interest not to support somebody like newt. mitt romney is the safer candidate. >> tom coburn. >> he's outspoken regardless. i'm going to give you that one. when newt came to power as speaker, we had deficit projections of $2.7 trillion. after four years, surpluses of
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$2.3 trillion. unemployment, 4.6%. welfare reform was accomplished. childhood poverty was decreased. two-thirds of people on welfare got jobs. this was done under a bipartisan deal. despite the chaos, the achievements speak for themselves. that's why he's doing so well among republican voters who have been watching this process and tuning into the debate. debate after debate, newt gingrich seems to be the winner. >> back when i was a speaker, i watched things that i think are wrong with him. he's got strengths. he's very smart. he brought the republicans into power. he called democratic leaders corrupt. that was the word. he likes that word corrupt.
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special sessions in the evening, special orders where he went after the democrats as traders, not loyal to the country. his tactics are so vicious. is every democrat you don't like corrupt? are they traders? i know the ends justify the means sometimes. do you justify them there? >> no, i don't. his style has calmed down a bit. it's too hard charged in the day. i want to point out, i'm one of the few members of congress who sponsored a bipartisan piece of legislation that worked on it. the agricultural appropriation bill. i believe in bipartisanship. while newt does have a bombastic style, you have to remember balance in the budget, decreasing the unemployment numbers, medicare form with america, all those achievements were done with bill clinton's
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signature as president. despite the rough and tumble style, accomplishments were made. would newt gingrich left town and gone to indonesia while a supercommittee was working on deficit reduction? he would not do that. there's good and bad in that. still, i think he's a guy of action, which is what the voters are looking for. >> he would have gone to indonesia if he got to ride in front of the plane. he had a tantrum where he had to ride in the back. nobody is perfect. nobody is totally evil. i have a couple candidates for that situation. i'm not going to bring them out right now. one is dick cheney, of course. thank you, jack from georgia. joining us for a look at newt's chances in iowa is john heilemann. he's an msnbc political analyst. mitt romney released the dogs to
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attack newt gingrich. if he doesn't do it himself, he's going to look like pawlenty. will he be a pawlenty in the debate? john heilemann? >> we'll see, chris. i think the folks up in boston know the truth of what you are saying. i think they know, if this narrative is going to get changed and they are going to hold newt back and break the moment momentum, it's going to have to be mitt romney that does it. >> thank you. remember rick perry? he's so debt pratt to get back on track, he's attacking gays and lesbians. there are nine members in the supreme court, not eight. your watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." now for the side show. first up, lesson learned? not the right lesson in this case. earlier this week, we showed an ad release d by rick perry's campaign. a war on religion, it slams letting gays serve openly in the military. let's watch a portion of the perry ad. >> i'm not ashamed to admit i'm a christian. you don't need to be in the pew every sunday when you know gays can serve openly in the military and kids can't openly pray in school. i'll fight against liberal attacks on our heritage. >> no surprise it sparked backlash. it garnered close to half a million dislikes on the youtube channel. the campaign's response, they disabled the like and dislike
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icons for the newest addition of the lineups. perry stuck to his argument when asked about president obama's war on religion. true to form, it was not without a snafu. let's listen for it. >> do you believe he's waging a war on religion? >> i do. when you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective, inarguably judges whether it s was -- >> sotomayer. >> sotomayer. whether it's about prayer in school, whether it's you can celebrate christmas those are decisions that should be left to the states. >> oh, god. least he knew what the name
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rhymed with. perry also referenced the fact we have eight supreme court justices. i guess he had a brain freeze. how should a presidential candidate who hasn't been up vited know he's hit rock bottom? ask buddy romer. he looks like a one-man show. a piece from "the washington post" gives a lack of enthusiasm for him. the rally was scheduled to start at 6:00. roemer arrived 15 minutes early with two of his aids. they looked at the watch and realized the parking meter he received four $20 tickets in the last month. fearful of more tickets they tauzed to r every two urs. governor, we better deal with your car now.
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okay, said the governor, let's call it a night. there's no audience here, anyway. not quite the image associated with a presidential campaign, is it? i think calling it a night might apply to the roemer campaign. next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. what is that? it's you!
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