tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC May 16, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT
graduations upon us. but how do graduates and parents handle the heightening cost? is a university degree still the key you just have to buy? hi. i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today, the huffington post howard fineman. the bbc's katty kay. msnbc's norah o'donnell and time magazine's michael duffy. president alabama stuck with gas prices, a housing market and a jobs outlook that wobet won't be a big selling point a year from now. but the republicans are helping obama. every one of the top candidates comes with a potentially huge flaw. we're putting them in two groups. first the political liabilities that could be deal breakers. with the republican base. romney has romney care. tim pawlenty, cap and trade. mitch daniels, governor of indiana, supported some tax increases. and john huntsman has, too. he was president obama's ambassador to china and been pro gay rights. then there is the list of likely candidates with big
personal history flaws. trouble with independents as well as with the g.o.p. base. newt gingrich, on his third marriage. mitch daniels whose wife divorced him, left him with their in our daughters and then returned three years later and then they remarried. and of course donald trump. howard, this is a strange story. let's start with the personal ones and strange for people even thinking of running for president. maybe a situation of desperation they're in. mitch daniels, his story was in every paper this week. they decide to put it out. somebody did. his wyche many years ago left him, left the four daughters in his care, split, married some guy who got divorced himself, then came back three years later, they married again. is this going to be the kind of -- for lack of a better word ickey discussion that no wife or husband really wants to spend a year talking about? >> well, there are a lot of republican leaders who want mitch daniels to run. and my understanding is that he wants to run. and in his own mind has decided to run. but this is what he's dealing
with right now. i think this story is out because people don't want him to run on the one hand. on the other hand, supporters want to put it out now to see what kind of reaction there is. chris: it looks like that. >> because it's still only may. there's time to get in the race. he will be able to carry this because of his own character. and while there will be stories about the wife, and there will be things to discuss, it's not necessarily in this day and time an insoup rabble barrier. even though a side story all the way long. chris: maybe times have changed. happy rockefeller, nelson rockefeller, left her husband, all in our kids, dumped them and didn't have cust did i at all -- custody to them, married nelson rockefeller and took several months for that story to sink in and is t sunk him -- and it sunk him. >> the issue is not the divorce. several republican candidates have had divorces and at a
stage where people are more tolerant of divorce in a candidate's past. i do think that this issue of his wife and not even the candidate we're talking about, it's his wife -- leaving four children. and i wonder whether mothers in the country, independent voters, republican voters, who have children themselves, won't find this difficult to understand. and we're looking really at the balance between character and political prowess. voters in this difficult time of high deficits, are they going to think we can overcome somebody's past, we can overcome somebody's personal foibles because we think they have the intellect and the courage to be president or are they still going to vote on character? and this is going to be a character issue. chris: norah. and i'm sorry. we talked about this before we came on. we're not talking about our judgments here. we're not the gatekeepers. we're talking about can this candidate get before culturally conservative voters in iowa? can they go before the bantists
down in south carolina? who will be looking at this as very different from their lives. >> mitch daniels and his advisors have said the reason he hasn't pulled the trigger is because of his family. they're telling us it's because of personal considerations for his family who aren't sure they want to make that big step. and be scrutinized to that degree. so they've acknowledged that. and they have decided they don't want to talk about it publicly. it was mitch daniels' decision to have his wife, sherry daniels, who has been a very private person, give them -- chris: ambitious. >> give this public speech this weekend and invite the attention and invite this group. chris: let's move to newt gingrich. because there's a guy who -- you know, somebody, john alder, one of our colleagues from news week, said his attempt to make a comeback now politically after being thrown out of his speakership and after being reprimanded and having all the marriage messiness of getting a divorce from one wife while she is in a terrible sickness in the hospital and those horrible stories like nixon trying to come back after watergate. is this just too high of hurdle? >> definitely makes look good.
you -- the thing to know about newt, he always does this. he gets in. and even his video this week, if you watched him, good for hatch and began to go -- eventually goes off the reservation completely. and about three or four weeks or months later, he realizes this is a nonstarter. so i'm expecting this pattern again. and good to have us now past the first check. chris: the slopover effect. i don't think newt will be in it for many months. he's a smart guy. he could talk his way through a lot of these primary debates. here's the problem. if you have a campaign that has been silhouetted by donald trump's absurdity for months and you have newt gingrich, doesn't that mess it up for the other guys? >> yes. i think the republican party is dying for a great candidate. president obama is very vulnerable. our pollsters have told us that history, things like -- obama should have gotten about a 10% jump in the polls and instead only three to five points.
the economy, the way the american people feel about in economy is really hurting president obama. he is vulnerable. so where is the great republican that can really put a strong contest? and yet the republicans have so many personal foibles. and flip-flopping on issues. aren't conservative enough. chris: let's talk about mitt romney. here's a guy who this week came out and gave his speech. ok. hit me. i did it. i did obamacare in massachusetts. but i only did it at the state level and i believe in the 10th amendment. and it comes oument in the campaign for the senate when he was trying to beat teddy kennedy and the good race he ran he was for a national mandate just like obama. so what's he going to do? >> he's stuck. he had to make a choice between being the ultimate flip-flopper and rejecting his entire past. and saying, you know, i'm going to have to try to stick with it. very, very difficult. but there's a lot of hypocrisy among the other republicans. "the wall street journal" which clobbered him on this issue, a few years ago, they were for an individual mandate or at least
graduated -- congratulated mitt on what he was doing. newt gingrich used to be a big proponent of it. chris: use that term lightly. and the flip-flop on marriage three or in our and wife leaving husband and coming back and dumping the kids, three years, coming back later, those kind of flip-flops, what are worse? >> i think -- the defining issue is in the next presidential election campaign, if in the republican primary season repealing obamacare catches on as the main issue by which you're defined it's going to be very hard for mitt romney -- chris: socialism they call it. >> european socialism. >> can i also say this is against the background of president obama who yet didn't get a huge bump because of the killing of osama bin laden. but who has shown a lot of strength and character and has a nice family and whatever else you want to say about him -- chris: let me go to one other guy. we have a lot of people to cover. john huntsman was for civil unions. and could hurt him the cultural right. but john weaver will run his
campaign. he said unless huntsman gets in the field in will be the weakest republican field since 1940. before -- i guess before wendell wilkey got in it. is it that bad of field? is that why we're talking about these flawed candidates? >> it's bad. there's no question. even the people in it say it's bad. chris: and a movie you go to when your movie is sold out. >> the reason you can be weak on the economy, and be -- and still be pretty good is romney is struggling because you think the frontrunner would have the advantage. but he's so unchallenged. there's no one to spar with him and no one can punch in his way that he is weaker than a normal frontrunner would be. chris: let's take a look at this. we put it to the matthews meter. 12 of our regulars, howard, katty and norah, which candidate has the best shot to overcome the flaw? seven said mitch daniels. three said john huntsman, two, one for mitt romney and one for pawlenty.
you like huntsman. >> he was pro civil unions and worked fo' years for president obama as ambassador to china and said we have to have someone who can unify the country and i know about china better than anyone else who is stealing american jobs. i know how to get back and fix that problem. and put more jobs -- >> and back to china this week, $3.4 million house, that's a neighborhood you -- that's not a neighborhood you run for president from. >> huntsman's other weakness is he's been pro cap and trade. and that's a bit like obamacare for the republican base. this is another of those socialist issues, that can be a policy litmus test. and i think that if he decides to try and find some way to flip-flop his way out of cap and trade, or a civil union, that could be a character -- chris: who climbs to the top? >> if i said tim pawlenty can fix his flaws because his main one is he's so boring to anyone -- to everyone.
set his coat on fire and he's in good shape. >> i think john huntsman. >> huntsman. >> i don't know. i give up. i'm sorry. chris: before we break, commencement time. 1.5 million college seniors are crossing stages in this country and losing any excuse to carry on like these guys and the all-time great college movie "animal house." >> girls, welcome to the delta toga party. let me take your coat. great pair of togas. why don't you help yourself to some delicious delta punch and i'll join you. >> ♪ you want to make me shout throw up my hands come on now come on now yeah, yeah ♪
>> i'm so glad you could come. >> get me a drink. >> that was the dean's wife. and one kind of social networking and that can be around forever. but now there's facebook. the thing that keeps millions of kids occupied and the more sober activity, updating their pages. endlessly. well, this past year's big hit the social network is a different kind of college movie. it's about the kid genius mark zuckerberg who created facebook when he was a student at harvard. he was way ahead of his class. look for him in the back row here. >> anybody? we have our first surrender. you have tried and failed to clap. mr. zuckerberg.
that is correct. >> fast forward to this scene, let me set it up. zuckerberg is sued by some fellow harvard undergrads who say they invented facebook. >> they have a right to give it a try but not a requirement i enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. you have the minimum amount of my attention. the rest of my attention is back at the office of facebook where my colleagues and i are doing things that no one, including and especially your clients who are intellectually incapable of doing. >> you can tell zuckerberg doesn't put a high value on college. when we come back we're not all geniuses but solve the zuckerberg question. what good is college? what does college prepare you for? is it worth the huge cost? scoops and predictctions right out of the notebooks of these top reporters. we'll be right back.
chris: welcome back. i gave the commencement address at templeton university in philadelphia where 9,000 were awarded their degrees and howard, speak being at his alma mater, colgate university, 1.5 million four-year students will graduate and they receive their diplomas and their parents get a huge raise in income. that's because the average annual cost of a private college was $32,000 a year in 2009. many of them are charging more like $50,000. the average for public colleges in 2009, that's a couple of years ago, was $14,000 then, and all that is a huge burden on the middle class. most parents can't even afford it and two thirds of graduates will owe $24,000 in debt or much more as they start their lives. mike, 30 years, college has doubled the rate of inflation. not just doubled. doubled the rate of inflation. is that sustainable? can people looking down the road keep this up? >> it's not sustainable and that's why colleges are a
little bit of a crisis and some are investing in -- educating their students from a very long distance, through computer programs. and that -- college is worth it if your kid goes away and at the end of high scoom. and it's not worth it at the end of college he comes back. on sunday night, pew put pout a study that they're -- put out a study that they're working on for years, the american public is deeply doubtful that college is worth it. worries about the costs and the financial burden that's putting on them and whether what they get at the end of the day is worth it. it will shake up this conversation. chris: we say that but isn't this country run at the management level by college grads? the occasional exception. maybe steven spielberg or somebody will not finish and others. but most people have a pretty good college degree to get started. >> when "social network" came out my 17-year-old son said look, mom, mark zuckerberg can make nays book and a billionaire many times over why should i go to college?
there is one mark zuckerberg and there are thousands of people who are not mark zuckerberg. and for the thousands of others my son included, not getting a college degree is simply not an option if you want to then go on and have a professional job. >> chris: what are you going to talk about to these kids? >> what i'm going to say among other things, try to keep it short, the undivided, the relatively undivided attention of a real scholar and teacher, face-to-face, not via skype, not on facebook, in a setting, in a setting where you can really focus on substance, is the essence of what a good college is about. the old statement about mark hopkins, at williams college, was -- the great education is mark hopkins and a log. you just sit there with him and you learn. that's the ideal. and i think it's still very valuable. i think it's the thing that colleges are still charging for in a way that makes it worthwhile. chris: isn't it what you make of it? a kid who tries hard, gets a
lot out and the kid who sloughs along -- and you're probably saying i could have done better. when are you going to do better? the greatest challenge of life. >> the greatest determinant of success is hard work and a little bit of good luck. most people who get good luck work very hard for it. and not those who go to harvard and yale and princeton and the greatest schools in america but those who work very hard and persevere. and i think the key thing is more and more people i talk to about this and give the credit to tom friedman who talked about this, the love of the ability to learn. because the stuff we all learned in college is not really relevant to today. and even if you're an engineer, you have to be able to keep learning and have that sort of love of learning. >> the process of learning. chris: thank you so much for that, mike duffy. >> you absolutely do. chris: we're not going to the university of phoenix in 20 years? >> we hope these universities and colleges are around in years. that's the challenge for america. chris: tell me someth whole grain oats.
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chris: welcome back. howard, tell me something i don't know. >> we've been focusing on the presidential campaign. but democrats are increasingly worried about the senate races in 2012. the republicans are going to clean up it looks like. net eight to 10 pickups -- chris: in the senate. >> in the senate. which means if they hold the house, and they get a senate that's veto proof which is possible, whoever gets elected president, even if it's president obama, is going to be dealing with a truly co-equal
branch. chris: they can get 67 seats in the senate? >> they can overcome the filibuster. chris: wow. katty. >> a college education in the u.k., chris, costs about $45,000 at one of our top universities. that is less than half of a college education here in the u.s. at a private college. i'm thinking -- chris: that's for four years. here it's that much of a year. >> a bargain even with price rises. $45,000. i'm thinking of sending my kids to the u.k. because of the cost. the prospect of four children going to university in america is just -- chris: pay a lot more for an american accent, don't you? norah. just kidding. >> i think the most underreported story this week was president obama's courting of latino voters with the big speech about immigration in el paso, and interview with telemundo. we will see more of this from the president in part not only because hispanics the fastest growing population but look at the battleground states, new mexico, colorado, florida, nevada, and north carolina.
chris: and pure politics. he's not talking about real reform this year and not pushing -- >> on monday mitt romney will make a big deal out of trying to raise $2 million to $3 million in a one-day financial lola ds palooza but a sandbag show. will probably nail three or four times that. chris: why is that important? >> so they can win the quarterly financial sweepstakes and appear unbeatable and they might do that. >> the republican primary process will be more extended, and who wins has the best organization and the most cash. chris: and stick it out through defeats. that's so interesting. when we come back the big question of the week, won't both sides in the big budget talks go on prefer to walk away so that they can have an issue for 2012 in be right back. hey marcel, watch this!
hey marcel, watch this! [ buzzer sounds ] [ cheers and applause ] ♪ hey marcel, watch this! yeah, marcel! -marcel! -hey marcel! are you listening to me? marcel! [ male announcer ] only at&t u-verse lets you follow your favorite channels on one screen. just $29 a month for the first six months -- dvr included. in the network there are no hard choices. chris: welcome back. vice president biden and
congressional representatives continue to work on a debt compromise involving spending and taxes. our big question this week, won't both sides, democrats and republicans, prefer a 2012 campaign issue more than a deal this year? howard fineman. >> it's not they're going to prefer it. that's what's going to happen because they wopet be able to make the deal -- won't be able to make the deal. >> politics. the republicans have seen from their attempt it doesn't go down well so keep it for 2012. chris: posturing. >> a big political issue. chris: we'll fight about this through 2012? >> i think they will make the deal. 3-1. a great roundtable this week. and duffy may be right or may be wrong. howard fineman, katty kay, norah o'donnell, and michael duffy. that's the show. thanks for watching. we'll see you back here next thanks for watching. we'll see you back here next week.
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