tv Meet the Press NBC November 7, 2011 3:00am-4:00am PST
good morning. exactly one year to election day 2012, as republicans battle for the right to take on president obama, and there's a new side this morning to the sexual harassment accusations against republican presidential front-runner herman cain. first reported one week ago, may, in fact, be affecting his standings with voters. a new online reuters/ipsos poll released just th morning shows mr. cain's favorability rating falling nine points from a week ago. last night appearing after a tea party debate fund-raiser with newt gingrich in texas, mr. cain, visibly frustrated, tried once again to put this issue behind him. >> i was going to do something that my staff told me not to do and try to respond. okay? what i'm saying is this, we are the -- we are getting back on message. >> thank you, mr. cain. >> end of story. back on message.
read all of the other accounts. read all of the other accounts. but everything has been answered. end of story. we're getting back on message. okay? >> but how does he do that with so many questions still to be answered. here with us to assess this and the rest of the 2012 race for the white house, the governor of mississippi, former chair of the republican party, haley barbour and the former governor of new mexico, 2008 presidential candidate and democrat, bill richardson. welcome to both of you. haley barbour, let me start with you, governor, you said this week herman cain's got to get all his act out on the table. now he says i'm not talking about it anymore. how does he do that? >> well, i think it's very hard to get back on message if everybody is interested in these other issues. when i was at the white house under president reagan, one time henry kissinger spoke to us and he said in politics and government, when it's bad news, get it out fast. the bad news is not like fine wine, it doesn't improve with age. so i think what he wants to do
is get back on message, and the way to do that is to get all the facts on the table, get it behind him. >> but nobody can say, governor barb boush -- >> i don't think this is fatal. >> i'm sorry, you do not think it's fatal? >> i'm not one of the people that think this is necessarily fatal. but people need to know what the facts are. and that's -- that's a challenge for him right now to get those out as quickly as possible. get it behind him. >> and i didn't mean to interrupt. but i was trying to make the point, but if you look at how he's handled it this week there is no way you can say this has been an effective, consistent way to just get the facts on the table. >> well, there's no way you can say it's been good for him. >> and governor richardson, how do you see this? does this disqualify him? >> i don't have all the facts on this case. but, sexual harassment is serious. we have to protect women in the workplace. i think mr. cain has to answer these questions. you know what is most disturbing is a poll that i saw,
"washington post" poll, 55% of republicans think this charge is not serious. i think it's important that he get the facts out. i don't have the facts. i think it's important, also, that we look at how women are faring in republican primaries. personhood amendments are sprouting out everywhere. the extreme right wing of the republican party has taken over to the point where we now have an amendment in several states that criminalize a women's right to choose. that prevents in vitro fertilization. that prevents birth control. even in cases of rape or incest. i think what you're seeing is a huge assault on women's rights, in the republican parties. and an extreme right wing that has taken over that is going to make it very difficult for anybody in a general election in the republican party to be a centrist. >> governor barbour, let me have you respond to that and put some context behind it.
because this is a personhood amendment in mississippi that says life would begin at fertilization and anti-abortion activists are trying to push this to a new level. you said you were uncomfortable with it, but you actually did support it. what concerns did you have? >> well, look, i believe life begins at conception. i'm not a physician or a theologian. i just don't know any other time you could say life begins, other than conception. concerns that i have were about out of what i call ectopic pregnancies where the fertilized egg lodges outside the womb, say the fallopian tubes. but have been assured that there's no question in medical practice that that's two lives and the mother's life would be protected. but there's no question that the wording down here is what concerned people. not the idea that life begins at conception. but that the wording of it is. but i am surprised my friend bill says that republican women are doing bad in our primaries, since a republican women won the
primary and succeeded him as governor of new mexico. >> can i ask one other question of you governor barbour, just about cain. look, his fund-raising is up, they say, this week. his poll standings seem strong. it would not really hurt him aside from the favorability rating being down this morning. in some ways, do you see the republican party at least an aspect of it doubling down on him on this thing? >> well, i think bill richardson made a point. when people said in the polls they didn't think it was serious, i think most of them were saying, they don't take seriously the charges. they don't believe they're true. that they believe that they're a political attack on cain. if that's the truth, then what herman cain needs to do is push very hard to make those facts plain. get all the cards on the table face up. i do think you have the smell here of clarence thomas. of where people thought he was clearly just being attacked by somebody that for years and years and years and years had never sa a peep about him
until he beca a conservative, african-american nominee for the supreme court. i think that is more than anything to whether it's bad. >> let's remember something here, his accuser here has decided not to come public to, you know, put her face on this, did not want to come out and endure everything here. this is a settled matter. this is actually a settlement that did exist. she's not coming out here to hurt him any further. >> well, you know, that's a two-sided coin for herman cain. it would be better to be able to confront your accuser, just like you can in a court of law. and it may make other people say, well, gee, i she's not willing to say it publicly, i'm not so sure i believe it. >> all right. she did have to sign a nondisclosure agreement. governor richardson i want to ask you about something else. we've been talking about sexual harassment. the fact is this is also a week where herman cain made me serious rookie mistakes on foreign policy, including china, saying they had a nuclear capability -- or they did not have a nuclear capability when they've had it since the '60s. he had lunch with henry
kissinger to try to shore up those concerns about his foreign policy credentials. she's also talked about an issue that you care a lot about and that's immigration. back in october, he talked about building an electric border fence, then i asked him about it the very next day on this program. watch this exchange. >> part of it will have a real fence. behind with barbed wire. electrified. with a sign on the other side that says, it can kill you. it would be in english and spanish. >> on immigration, you said it in an event in tennessee that you would build an electrified fence on the border that could kill people if they tried to cross illegally. >> that's a joke, david. >> it's a joke? >> that's a joke. that's a joke. >> how egregious do you think that was to talk about immigration that way, when this is a serious issue in this primary fight?
governor richardson? >> well, i think this totally is irresponsible. what you're seeing is republican candidates for president tripping over more anti-immigrant. this is going to be very cost with hispanic voters there florida and nevada and new mexico, colorado, arizona, that are probably going to settle this election. and it's -- it's an irresponsible position. you know, you talked about foreign policy. every president has to have foreign policy experience. and this president has a great record. you talk about al qaeda. the elimination of al qaeda, more in the last 2 1/2 years than since 9/11. the president initiated the military operation against bin laden. he's getting us out of iraq. draw down on afghanistan. libya successful mission. a s.t.a.r.t. treaty reducing nuclear stockpiles with russia.
nuclear materials initiatives. free trade agreements. this president has restored america's respect abroad. we've strengthened our alliances. he's leading in the european effort to restore the international economy. herman cain, when he talks about not knowing that china has a nucleareapon here, china is probably emerging as the next superpower. you can't have presidential candidates not have some kind of interest and degree and knowledge of foreign policy. >> all right. i'm going to make that the last word. we're going to continue the debate for sure, governors, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we're going to continue our decision 2012 "meet the candidates" series with jon huntsman now. a man who is no stranger to the white house, having served four presidents over the course of his career. in 2004, he was elected as republican governor of utah, re-elected there in 2008. shortly after that, he accepted a post as the u.s. ambassador to china under president obama.
and he's making his very paris appearance here on "meet the press." governor huntsman, welcome. >> david, it's good to be with you. >> i have to ask you about herman cain. he's your competitor. he's on top of the polls right now. he's a front-runner in this race. i talked to a republican this week who said after the event, is he disqualified, unqualified, or will the conservative base just love him more? >> that's totally up to herman cain. a person i've come to know as a decent, decent man and a good candidate. and now, it's been said over and over again, it's up to herman cain to get the information out and get it out in total. but that's important because we've got some real issues to discuss in this campaign, and this is taking all of the bandwidth out of the discussion. so we're not able to talk about jobs. we're not able to talk about our position in the world. and that hurts. that hurts the american people. >> but you think he can't say, end of discussion, until he gets more information out there? >> no. the information comes out. it's got to come out in total. eleven legitimate questions have en raised and that information has to come forward. >> what is your bigger concern as a rival, the sexual harassment controversy or lack
of foreign policy experience as he's shown? >> well, i think at some point the substance really does matter. and you've got to have a commander in chief who actually understands the world in which we live. it's comple it's confusing. it's unpredictable. and it's not going to get any less so as we move forward. the more that we can spend time focused on the issues and plumb out whether the candidates have what it takes on the leadership side and experience side. and in terms of rebuilding trust in the system. the one thing that concerns me most as i look at where we are, there is -- we're running out of trust in terms of how the american people see our key institutions of power. whether that's washington and congress, whether the executive branch, or whether wall street. and when you start running on empty in terms of trust, that puts our country in a very vulnerable spot. >> you know china well. herman cain said this week they didn't have nuclear capability. what does that say to you about a level of preparedness to be president on his part that has to be a factor in how he's evaluated? >> i think there needs to be a
baseline level of knowledge from a foreign policy standpoint. but specific to china. as far as the eye can see into the 21st century the united states and china are on the world stage. and whether that's in the economic realm or whether it's in the security realm, we've got to figure out how to make that relationship work. and it would be nice to have a president in office who actually had a head start and actually knew them intimately well in terms of the economics and the security issues involved. >> mitt romney was the one who you were supposed to be drafting most closely. everybody talked about huntsman, romney, fighting this thing out at the end, new ham shiver and beyond. you haven't come close to him yet. yet you think there's a real issue with whether he can beat president obama. >> well, i think there is an issue on the flip-flops, as it relates to trust. i don't know that he can go on to beat president obama. given his record. i mean, when there is a question about whether you're running for the white house, or running for the wfle house, you've got a real problem with the american people. >> and his big flip-flop to you is what? >> well, i think there's a range of them. but when you have something as
central as life, that you flip-flop on, when you have a second amendment, when you have health care, you have a range of issues that, on taxes, for example, that he's been on both sides of. and i think that what the american people want today, more than anything else, is a level of consistency. they want trust. they want a level of trust in their elected officials. >> you think that's a reason why he's tapping out at where he is among conservatives in 25% or thereabouts? >> i think that could very well be the issue with not being able to break beyond a certain level. so if you have 100% name recognition in a place like new hampshire, everyone's kind of done the analysis and made their evaluation, you know, there may be something there that doesn't allow you to get beyond a certain ceiling. >> i want to ask you about faith and the mormon faith. you're a mormon, so is romney. this was a poll that quinnipiac took in may that indicated, if you look at the numbers, more than a third think they're uncomfortable with someone of the mormon faith being a presidential candidate.
do you think there will be a mormon president? and when? >> of course there will be. i think this election cycle, we could very well prove that point. but i think it's a nonsense issue. i completely think it's a nonsense issue. there is no bandwidth left in our political discussion to focus any of our effort or time on religion when we've got jobs, when we've got an economy that's broken. when this country has hit the wall. i don't think people are spending a whole lot of time evaluating one's religion. they may have in years past but i think we're beyond that point this election cycle. >> you talk about other candidates in the race. we've talked about cain. we've talked about romney. but you've also talked about some who were too outside the main stream. so extreme in their views to be elected president. are you talking about some of your rivals right now in this race? >> well, i'm talking about a republican party that dismisses mainstream science. i think in order for us to be successful, we've got to win over some independents. we've got to do the math. the math has to be in our favor. you can't run away from
mainstream ience, for example, and expect to win the race. you can't be on an extreme end of politics, and expect to win over the independent vote. that's going to be a critical calculus in making sure that the next president is a republican. you can't avoid that reality. >> but, you would not put romney in that camp, per se, yet you're saying unequivocally, he cannot beat president obama? >> listen, when i stand on the debate stage after the whole debt ceiling debate has been had, and every single person on that stage who was in favor of default, i mean, i don't think you can get any more extreme than that. at a time in this nation's history where we've got to stand up as 25% of the world's gdp, we've got to fixhe problem as opposed to default. a default would have destroyed this economy. retirements and 401(k) programs would have been shipwrecked. >> but my question is mitt romney in your view cannot beat president obama? >> i think when you're on too many sides of the issues of the day, when you don't have that core, when there's that element of trust out there, i think that becomes a problem.
and i think it makes you unelectable against barack obama. >> you wouldn't support him if you were the nominee? >> oh, of course i would. of course i would support him. >> but you don't think he'd be able to -- >> i think the electable issue is a very real one. >> let's talk about where you are on the ideological spectrum because i think some people may have some questions. you talked about some candidates being outside mainstream issues and republican thought. here you were in 2008 at the republican nominating convention, national convention, giving the nominating speech for governor sarah palin. >> we are looking for a beacon of light to show us the way. our nation's challenges are real and daunting. but we will not despair. the future depends on leadership. the kind of leadership that carries a confident and independent spirit, born out of xperience, hardship, disappointment, and success. we are looking for sarah!
>> you were under the weather, i should point out. are you a sarah palin republican? >> well, listen, i was asked to introduce her and nominate her because i think i was about the only person who actually knew her. after john mccain had picked her as a running mate. i was chair of the western governor's association. i worked to a limited extent with sarah palin, so when you're looking with somebody who can actually go up and nominate her, i was asked to do it, and i did as told. >> so you mean you pumped up the case there? you didn't really believe that the country was waiting for sarah palin? >> i wanted to help my good friend john mccain. i wanted to help his ticket. i wanted to move the republicans toward victory and i stepped up and did what i thought was right. >> do you think she was capable of being vice president of the united states? >> i think absolutely she was capable of being vice president. she was elected agovernor. she served a couple of years well. i think she would have learned a lot on the job. >> you share some of her views? >> well, i haven't put that to the test. i don't know what her views are in foreign policy. i don't know what her views are in terms of tax policy and
economic policy. but i assume that they would be in the tradition of conservative governance as we have seen with a lot of good republican governors. >> here's the satirical paper the union with a headline on thursday, huntsman quietly relieved to be polling poorly among gop voters, quote, these people square the begeezous out of me, says candidate. that's a fake quote. but sometimes satire has a ring of truth to it. are you a moderate? >> i don't think people should confuse a moderate attitude with a moderate record. look at what i did as governor of the state of utah. first of all i was twice elected in utah, which is a comp seven 2i6 state. the second time, 80% of the vote. got all the republicans. got a lot of independents, and won a lot of democts, too. that's called leadership. but you look at the leadership, and it's based on pro-life. always has been. pro-second amendment. pro-growth. the largest tax cut that state had ever seen in history. the second voucher bill ever in the nation, i signed. health care reform without a mandate.
i mean, the list goes on and on. you'd be hard-pressed when you look at my governing record not to say, that's a good, conservative governing record and style. >> i want to ask you about one of your own flip-flops that's gotten some attention and that's and the issue of health care. back in 2008, the issue of an individual mandate, can you compel folks to buy health care insurance under a reform plan, this is what you said, i wouldn't shy away from mandate. i think if you're going to get it done and get it done right, mandates have to be part of it, in some way, shape or form. now you're saying a mandate is unconstitutional. doesn't this smack of the same kind of flip-flop that you say, make somebody unelectable? >> you have to see what i delivered as governor of the state. what i signed my name to. was a market-based health care reform package. we had a wide-ranging discussion with health care -- this is enormously large and complicated as an issue and we still need to find a way forward that closes the gap onhe uninsured. that gets us more in the way of
affordable health care policies. we still don't have those today. but we looked at both sides of the issue. we spent months and months immersing ourselves in the data, in the policy implications of what mandate would do versus a market-based approach. then we opted for a market-based approach. did we live with both sides and debate both sides? of course we did. >> you said you've got to look at man dates. now you're saying it's unconstitutional. >> look what i signed. what we signed was where we were at the end of the discussion. i signed a market-based system. and today although it hasn't completely closed the gap on the uninsured i believe a market-based system with expanded choice and options is ultimately going to be -- >> you have to compel people to buy insurance to make it work. >> no, you've got to have affordable policies. and then you've got to break down the barriers state by state to allow somebody in the state of new hampshire to access an affordable policy in the state of utah. you can't do that today. that will drive the marketplace to greater affordability. i think that's where we need to be longer-term as opposed to a
mandate. >> you said the 2009 economic stimulus was too small. do you think government has to play a role if it's going to help us get out of the cycle of slow economic growth? >> we're not going to bail out banks any more in this country. the quantity tatdive easing programs have been proven not to work. they've proven not to work. we've blown through trillions and trillions of dollars with nothing to show on the balance sheet. but additional debt. no uplift in the well-being of our people. no improvements in joblessness. i say, you know, the stimulus that i thought was going to work and that we talked about initially, was that directed toward more in the way of business tax cuts. that's the way it was talked about initially, at least a significant part of t. and i think that would have been a good step. beyond that we've wasted a whole lot of money in this country. the will of the people is such that we won't do that again. >> if you were the deciding vote you would have voted against t.a.r.p.? if you were the deciding vote you would have voted against it with the heads of treasury and major banks say we could be risk the entire economy.
>> you can't go back and relive those days. you can say we've learned a lot of lessons. >> but you can, governor, this is important and i've asked other candidates this. it's easy now to look back and say i wouldn't have supported that. if you were the deciding vote under those circumstances when you have major figures saying we could risk the entire u.s. economy, if we don't bail o the banks, you would have said, wrong thing to do, i'm going to vote against it. >> let me tell you what i did say. i said we need more of a chapter 11 reorganization step first. that's what i said about the auto bailout, and beyond. we don't have a chapter 11 reorganization provision. we should have had something like that. i went on the record saying that about t.a.r.p. at the time and that's the way i feel today. >> quick one on social policy. the personhood amendment that we talked about in mississippi, for anti-abortn forces, kind of a next chapter, saying that life begins at fertilization. you agree with that? >> i think it goes too far. i am pro-life and i always have been. i have two little adopted girls to prove the point. i think life begins at conception. and you know, i have certain
calf at-s or exclusions, in the case of rape, insist, and life of the mother. but i have always been -- i've always been pro-life and proud of my record. >> let's talk about new hampshire. you're betting the house on new hampshi hampshire, doing well there. first look at your standing in the national polls with everybody, you've got romney and cain in front. you are down at 1% in the polls if we look at the national numbers. here are some of the trending polls in new hampshire, just over the past month. you're still well below 10%. you're not catching on. what has to happen in new hampshire for you to stay in the race, and what has to happen, or whatever happens, to get you out of the race? >> we're going on number 100 in terms of events in new hampshire in the next week or two. our town hall meetings are packed. we're connecting with people there. i have every confidence that the work we're doing on the ground, coupled with some advertisements on the air, we're going to be up and we're going to be up considerably. >> will you put your own money in the race?
>> yes, we already put a little bit in. as with arms control, policy, you don't want to unilaterally disarm. we've gotten the race off to a start. at least by putting some of our own in. but what is noteworthy is as we go up in the polls in new hampshire, we've come from zero and now we're 10 or 11 in a recent poll the fund-raising has come up about 250%. soits follows the marketplace. as we do better in new hampshire we do better fund-raising. >> if you don't win new hampshire, can you stay in this race? >> well, new hampshire is this. we're putting everything into new hampshire and we're doing it right. new hampshire is the window through which the people of that state and indeed the people of this country get to see, meet and and liez the candidates. there's another artificialty it's all the real thing and they want leadership and ideas. >> so surrogates in a campaign matter a great deal to any campaigner and you've got three of the best. your three older daughters making some fun about herman cain's smoking ad and they've put it up there. this is what it looks like in part. >> no one's ever seen --
>> we need you to get involved. make sure our next president has not sound bites. check out our dad at jon2012.com and follow us at jon2012girls. >> i don't think i've seen anything like that. what can your daughters do for you that you can't do for yourself? >> you give a major speech on foreign policy, david, changing america's role in the world and you get three hits on youtube. my daughters come up with some silly adnd they get half a million or whatever it is today. so it's the world of politics we live in today. you get your message outin different ways. >> all right. governor huntsman, thank you very much. >> pleasure to be here. >> coming up, a wild week in republican presidential politics as herman cain struggles to get his story straight. will the event be a game changer in the ration and can romney pick up any more conservative support? plus the road ahead for obama's re-election campaign as the economy remains sluggish.
a political roundtable weighs in. msnbc's crist matthews is here talking about his new book on jack kennedy as well as maggie haberman of politico. "the wall street journal's" kim strassel and republican strategist alex castellanos. right after this break. - - i volunteered. - i was drafted. - i enlisted. - i was nervous. - and there i was in asia. - europe. - the gulf. - and i saw things. - incredible things. - and people you never forget. - i did my job. - for my country. - my buddies. - for total strangers. - and i was proud. - so grateful. - for my family. - my freedom. for all who served and all who serve, we can never thank them enough.
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member and columnist for "the wall street journal," kim strassel. senior political writer for politico covering the cain story, part of the team that broke that story, maggie haberman with politico. republican strategist alex castellanos, and our friend chris matthews, host of msnbc's "hardball" and the author of a new book "jack kennedy: elusive hero." really breaks new ground. chris, great to have you here. >> thank you. >> for the first time. welcome to all of you. let's talk about herman cairn and where we are now a week after politico broke this story. he appears last night with newt gingrich, maggie habermannd then comes out and talks to the press and lays it out there as we said at the top. this is what he said. >> i was going to do something that my staff told me not to do and try to respond. okay? what i'm saying is this, we are the -- we are getting back on message. >> thank you mr. cain. >> end of story. back on message. read all of the other accounts. read all of the other accounts. but everything has been
answered. end of story. we're getting back on message. okay? >> so, how does he really do that when there are more questions, which are primarily what? >> well, i think among the questions are, does he remember the second woman who we reported on. he says he has no memory of her whatsoever. other media outlets have confirmed that there was another woman who had made some kind of complaint about sexually inappropriate behavior. and mr. cain's campaign last night not only said they don't nt to talk about this anymore, but they, you know, said they were going to e-mail peop the code of ethics from the society of professional journalists, and gave to one of my colleagues. i think this is where you're going to see the pivot. they are going to say the media is out to get him. i think it has served them well this week. i think that's how he's gotten around some conflicting answers about what's happened. i don't know that he's going to be able to notnswer questions, or at least not get asked them anymore. >> one of the issues, though, kim is that you have the women involved who are saying we don't really want to get involved. and kind of the final word on this if it's the final word coming from them is what joel
bennett said outside his law offices on friday, he's an attorney for one of the accusers who got a financial payout from the national restaurant association, and he said this -- >> my client filed a written complaint in 1999 against him ecifically, and it had very specific incidents in it. and if he chooses to not remember, or not acknowledge those -- that is his issue. >> i think the average american out there is not paying attention. the press is paying attention to all the details and the ins and outs of this. i don't know if the average american has absorbed much other than herman cain potentially has some scandal. they don't know what the details are. you are going to run for office, there's two things you have to ask yourself. one, do you have anything in your past that might come out like this. because it will come out. it's just a function of modern politics. the second question is, if it does, how do you handle it? and i would argue that the real issue for herman cain right now
and the problem that he has had is his handles of the entire sort of episode. people look at that and they absorb it. they want to know how a presidential candidate will react in a crisis situation. and they seem to be prolonging this and making the problem worse. >> yeah, yeah. chris? >> it seems to be basically the rule of president, if it's better than it looks they'll tell you and if it's worse than it looks they won't. if he has a story to tell, which improves the image of this somewhat murky case, he'll let us know. he's probably looking at his polls and saying as long as it stays like this and i'm head-to-head with mitt romney, which is all i have to be, the top alternative to mitt romney going into iowa, i'm in like flint. so i think he won't change his pattern. >> i think it's just the opposite. i think there's like an alternative universe thing that they're doing here which is to say, not only are we not going to talk about the substance of this, not only are my answers going to be all overed place in the course of a week, but what this is really about is the press.
what it's really about is official washington. i'm an outsider. see they're just trying to take me down, alex. and it seems like he's -- they say they raised a million six in the past week. i talked with their iowa folks who say they're getting new captains, they've got a core group saying right on, we're behind you. >> i talked to the campaign last night, it's now up to $2 million since monday morning. the campaign knows they stumbled all week long. and they think they've learned something from this. but, yes, this is their anti-establishment strategy. it's much like the obama strategy. let's make this a choice, not a referendum on herman cain. the other choice is the news media. is it working? you bet. these stories don't usually destroy a candidate, in positive support right away. the first thing people do is freeze in place. >> they go home, i got a bucket of cold water. what's happening here? but if these charges aren't extended? if there isn't more information, what will happen is these antibodies that have rallied around him will make him stronger, protect him from future attacks and chris, i
think, is exactly right. if herman cain wins iowa, he could be the nominee. >> well, there's also the specter of race here. you heard haley barbour, governor barbour say this has the ring of clarence thomas to it. when herman cain was here a couple of weeks ago on "meet the press," it was very interesting. i asked him about the supreme court. and there was a foreshadowing going on in this race, it was very interesting if you look at this exchange. wh's your model of the ideal supreme court justice who you would appoint? >> i would say that there are several that i have a lot of respect for. justice clarence thomas is one of them. i believe that justice clarence thomas, despite all of the attacks that he gets from the left, he basically rules and makes his decisions, in my opinion, based upon the constitution, and solid, legal thinking. just us clarence thomas is one of my models. >> has he been targeted unfairly you think? >> i think he has been untargeted unfairly.
>> david you said double-down is the right phrase. i think there's a mood in this country right now of crankiness. don't mess with me. stop attacking me. america has to stop taking these blows. remember chris christie. >> yeah. about where -- >> none of your business. that's none of your business attitude, it's an attitude now. and this guy personifies it. it's the most self-confident man i've ever met. you could walk throu thunderstorms this guy. he does happen to be black. but that is almost a happenstance. he's homegrown. he's southern. he's conservative. he's a businessman. he's everything that the right wing wants. >> but we bring up clarence thomas again. what's he saying? there's a message out here. >> he prevetted this whole issue back in may where he said i expect to be the victim of a high tech lynching also. so he had awhile ago brought up this concept. he said he doesn't want to have race be partf this campaign. that's not a factor here. he has introduced it. this is a difference, you actually raised it before with governor huntsman. this is not quite the same as
clarence thomas because there were settlements, agreements with these won. and these allegations were made 15 years ago. it's not coming up just now. >> the time thing actually matters, too. this is a 1990 thing. you've got to remember when you had clarence thomas, and anita hill, this was the early '90s when all those hearings brought this heightened awareness of sexual harassment. and the claims came flooding in. and if you look at all of the numbers, this was the height of when all this -- and i think as a result a lot of voters in some way write off some of that period and sort of say, this is just one of those things that happened at that time period and that may also have something to do with the fact that people are not taking these claims as, you know, as a killer for his campaign. >> can i just also point out this is also a week when he had foreign policy errors. you heard huntsman say very clearly, if there's an area that's disqualifying, it's going to be that. so my question out of all of this, favorability down, is a 25% guy like we've been saying about romney? can he not really get above that? >> republicans are going to have to make a compromise this year,
whichever way they go. if they pick romney it's going to be a candidate they're just not passionate out. if they pick any other candidate that's left, they're going to pick a candidate that they really think is not quite ready to be president. >> i think -- >> and so can one of these candidates mature or can romney cach fire? either way romney's going to have to settle here. >> to not know that red china as we used to call it has nuclear weapons and has had them since the '60s is really a problem. it means you haven't read the newspapers for half a century. how could you pass over that fact. there's also -- >> we talked to the house government oversight committee, a former businessman from california part of our press pass conversation that you can see online, he's a romney supporter, i should point out. this was his take on cain that might be interesting as we go forward here in this campaign. watch. >> i've always thought as a businessman turned politician, that herman cain has the same problem i had in my first race back in '98, to go directly from being a businessman, without
substantial time in the government arena, both the vetting and the knowledge of it, is really hard. it's virtually impossible. and that going directly to president seems to be a bridge too far. >> i mean just the handling of this story may really be the evidence of that. >> right. i mean i think that's right. with mitt romney, especially, right, you're seeing the value of when you run before, you have experience running, it really does help you. i don't think that's the only thing at play here with herman cain. i think that they had ten days to respond to this. they couldn't quite figure out where they were going for it. >> with herm cain -- but if mitt romney collapses. mitt romney's about to get two months of brutal television. some of mitt romney's flexibility and uncertainty is built into the stock price. but america's never seen $20 million worth of flip-flop ads. if he collapses, any of these republican candidates could end up as the nominee. because then you're going to be picking from a basket of fruit in which none of them are really ripe. anybody could win. >> let me get a break in here. we'll come back and talk more about the republican race and
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i feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world. ♪ we're back. we talked about herman cain but i want to talk about president obama and his re-election effort and what he faces. these are the unemployment figures that came out this week, and the total, as you look at the arch of his presidency, now at 9%. look at that flat-line, if you look at 2011. this is a real problem. i mean we're talking about slow growth in the economy. the jobs bill doesn't really seem to have much prospect. chris matthews, you write about former president kennedy. i should just point out i don't refer to him as jack kennedy but i've been around you so much this week that i've just been saying jack kennedy. that's just not me. i just don't refer to him as that. but your book is "jack kennedy: elusive hero." and you write in "time" magazine about what i call the leadership legacy of, you know, kennedy to obama. but even obama's leadership legacy in his first term.
you write this in "time" magazine, word is out that obama is a transactional politician and he cuts deals with people but he doesn't forge bonds. when is he going to bolster his political forces? i keep waiting. he doesn't have a lot of time. >> i know. and he doesn't like the company of fellow politicians. you have to like their company. this forging of bonds is essential in politics. i thought that's what politics was. jack kennedy started accumulating troops in high school when he was in the navy. he saved the lives of ten crewmen. they looked up to him. he went out and risked his life in the middle of the south pacific to save their lives. he looked out for his troops. word like that gets arnsz. hey, this guy looks out for his troops. the kennedy party, a unique party of people that looked out for one guy, jack kennedy. and he was their hero. they were this high class from the pt-109 days. they fought for him. they died for him. they killed his enemies for him. bobby kennedy was the number one enforcer. who is barack obama's bobby kennedy?
>> also the development of leadership, not just a style, but it's a core belief, that's really what you're writing about in kennedy. >> tremendous authority. jack kennedy got it in the navy. he was a commander of a ship, basically, a boat, and these guys looked up to them and he saved their lives. he had to build his own political party in massachusetts. the regula were all against him. the tip o'neill crowd were all against him. then he had to build his own political party to defeat the fdr crowd, the adlai stevenson crowd and he had to create a political party which was loyal to one person, him. and he built it from the ground up. obama cuts deals. he raises money. he does all the normal things, but there's no -- there's no -- >> he makes guys like jon huntsman ambassador. >> that's exhibit "a." if the guy isn't mad at you personally, i made you ambassador to the most important country in the world and you come back and run against me in the same term? >> this is particularly dangerous with congress. in that there's actually anability of dealing democrats
in congress not only has he not built up but he has done things that hurt them. as you go along and remain 9% unemployment, it just hasn't happened exactly yet but you've got 20-some vnerable senate democrats, dozens of vulnerable congressional democrats, when do they abandon this guy? he's been going around to places in the country, they haven't been showing up standing next to him. >> there's a theme all along where people do not fear this president, also. there is no fear of retribution. it's fear of just like jon huntsman is able to go -- >> -- the president responded which i sit and watch. i keep waiting for somebody to come along, and you hit him with tough questions, i keep waiting for somebody to say like durban who basically grew up in the same territory as him, this guy is a good man, damn it, and quit trashing him. i never hear anybody do it. >> that's not the culture of the obama administration. he is an intellectual. and sometimes you get those intellectuals in politics who think, politics is this thing that is really beneath --
>> and what about other people do. they don't play hard ball. >> look at the new clinton book. back to work. when i was covering bush, he used to say the shadow returns. and it was the shadow of bill clinton, which they were always trying to piet. now here again the shadow returns and obama doesn't like it either. >> how many clinton people are out there today? there are more clinton people than obama people. if hillary calls them and says i'm going, i mean, they're there. she won't do it, of course, but they're ready. eddie rendell is ready this second for bill to call. he wants it. >> we'll take a break here. we'll talk about swing states when we come back. and before we do that i want to point something else out. we are marking a special day here at "meet the press." our 64th anniversary. the first "meet the press" broadcast 64 years ago today, november 6th, 1947. i was not watching that one. the longest-running television program in the world. you can take a look back by the way at some of the
history-making high lights from six decades of "meet the press," it's on our website. you can also find an extended conversation that i'm going to have with chris matthews about his new book, "jack kennedy: elusive hero." that's our take 2 web extra all on our website, mtp.msnbc.com. we have to take a quick break. we'll come back with our trends and take aways. a look at what was said here today and wt to look for in a look at what was said here today and wt to look for in the coming so i'm glad it's with fidelity. they offer me one-on-one guidance to help me choose my investments. not just with my savings plan here at work. they help me with all of my financial goals. looking good, irene. thanks to fidelity, i can stay on top of my financial future, huh? good one. why, thank you. whether it's saving for retirement, college, or anything else, contact a fidelity investment professional today.
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we're back. reminder of what made news here this morning. jon huntsman and his gop fight for the nomination, taking on mitt romney in our interview. watch. >> i think when you're on too many sides of the issues of the day, when you don't have that core, when there's that element of trust out there, i think that becomes a problem. and i think it makes you unelectable against barack obama. >> saying that about mitt romney, kim strassel, echoing david plouffe who a week ago said romney has no core. >> this is romney's problem. you ask people in this campaign, even, the reputation sz a flip-flopper. the problem is this has put romney in a box in that everything he comes out with, he's unable to respond to the dynamics of the primary. he's unable to respond to some of these things because people want him for instance to back away from romney care in massachusetts. they want him to keep pace with 9-9-9 or the flat tax plan. but he is worried if he goes out there and amps it up and changes his views, he gets nailed again as flip-flop. >> trend tracker, as you might
expect, what we've been talking about the sexual harassment controversy topping the list, the debate with cain. i don't know if we can really call that a debate. and biden defending romney on the issue of religion. but alex castellanos, look at the swing states, according to "usa today"/gallup that shows widening field onwhich to operate in and if you look at the approval rating for obama he's upside down in the key states that are going to matter. they say they've got numerous ways to win this thing, the white house does, but republicans are looking at some pickups here. >> i think right now in all the swing states, look, no president has ever won being 10% below the consumer confidence index. when presidents usually lose, obama is under that right now. but here's to good news for mitt romney if he's the nominee. he's running against a president who's also flipped flopped on a lot of stuff. whether it's the bush tax cuts, taking money from lobbyists. having lobbyists working at the white house.
he attacked mccain and hillary clinton for health care mandates and taxes cadillac health care plans. it could be one flip against a flop. >> and on that. on that note, thank you all. before we go a quick programming note on wednesday you can watch the republican presidential candidates at eight again as they debate on cnbc. your money, your vote. cnbc wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. finally here today, we want to take just a moment and remember a legend in this business. andy rooney, who passed away on friday night. if ever there was a sunday evening staple, he was it. most famously known for his commentary on "60 minutes," where he would put a fine point on some of life's daily frustrations, and at times say things that were controversial himself. he always considered himself a writer first. and he sat down with nbc's tom brokaw recently and talked about how he got into the news business after covering world war ii for the army. >> i was there. i don't know why i was there. i mean i don't know, i risked my life, but i was there, i had
this newspaper, came out every day, and i wrote my story and they were printed, and all the guys i was with every day, soldiers, read my stories. i've never been seen or read like that since. >> well, that's obviously led you into a career that we're all grateful for. >> i'm grateful for it. yeah, i like being in the news business. >> our thoughts go out to his friends, family, and of course his colleagues at cbs news. andy rooney who was 92 years old. terrific life. [ male announcer ] your hard work has paid off. and you want to pass along as much as possible to future generations. at northern trust, we know what works and what doesn't. as one of the nation's largest wealth managers, we can help you manage the complexities of transferring wealth. seeking to minimize taxes while helping maximize what's passed along. because you just never know
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