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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 15, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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where we are in america. great work at the nation. that's "the ed show." "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening. thanks, man. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. it's happening again. we are embarking on another one of those national experiments in which everybody who watches conservative media, everybody who gets their news from fox news channel, everybody who lives on the right side of the dial is about to start talking about things in our country that makes no sense if you don't watch fox news. just like they did with acorn and the new black panther party and the fake stings about the guy that didn't wear the pump suit and the van jones panic that were not news but which fox news hyped for its audience until they became the most important story even as nobody
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else watching any source of non-right wing news had any idea what they were talking about. that is happening again. they are trying to take us on a new national trip like they have done before, but the new one is accusing prosecute obama of terrorism. they say he's a political terrorist, and not just saying this on sometimes wacky fox news website but saying this on the primetime programming. this is frank van der sloot. he's a finance co-share for the mitt romney campaign. he's one of the gazillionare donors. he's been active on issues surrounding gay rights. he's not been on the pro-gay rights side we reported on him and his political activities on this show. once in february and once again earlier this month. mr. van der sloot is the star of
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the new fox news hyped alternate reality conservative media scandal that makes sense to nobody outside the conservative media sphere. >> his business being attacked. >> he found himself listed on a obama campaign website. >> it posted the name of private citizen who is gave big money to support mitt romney and described those donors in less than flattering terms. >> flashing red sirens. fox news alert. private citizens, if you donate to the mitt romney campaign, the president of the united states is coming after you. to be clear, what fox news is talking about here is a blog
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item posted on april 20th at a website called, which is part of the obama campaign. it profiles a number of people who are bankrolling mitt romney's effort to become president. donors can give infinitely. frankly getting to know your candidate means getting to know their donors. he's not just campaign donor, he is a campaign official. he's the national finance co-chair of mitt romney's presidential campaign. he's not a random private citizen being dragged into the public arena. he's already in the public arena. he put himself there. he's a campaign official. his politics are totally germane to understanding the politics of
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the campaign. the campaign of which he is an official. still, it is palpable. fox news is so excited to have a possible new barack obama scandal to talk about that in some cases it seems like they have just rushed to get the story on to the air before they understand it. before they have figured out the basic facts of their scandal. case in point. >> i want the folks to know how intense this became for you. you're a big obama fund-raiser out in idaho, correct. >> romney. >> right, right. you're a romney supporter. frank van der sloot appearing with fox news's bill o'reilly last night. this is one of five segments he's done on fox in this little flurry of attention. last night he explained how this one blog post about him as a romney campaign official, he explained how this has ruined his life and his business. >> did it impact your business directly? >> it did right away. the first day we had phone calls and customers that wanted to cancel.
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>> they wanted to cancel because you're a lousy guy. >> they said that i hated gay people and i was anti-gay. >> anybody who was buying your products that were gay said i'm not buying it. they smeared you. they slimed you. >> they made that up out of whole cloth. why would they say this untrue thing about you? it's not really a rhetorical question. that's a question with an answer which mr. o'reilly had in his fingertips in the form of transcripts from his own tv show. mr. van der sloot appeared on the o'reilly factor in august of 1999 to talk about his public campaign against the gay. he just helped finance these billboards to go up across idaho warning about a public television documentary that
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promoted the quote homosexual lifestyle to idaho kids. he appeared as a guest to bring the homosexual lifestyle into the classroom and introduce it to our children as being normal, right, acceptable and good. he said of the documentary, it's propaganda. he described homosexuality as contrary to the moral standards of our community and nation. all of that happened on bill o'reilly's tv show. >> we have a lot of people we work with. >> they slimed you? they smeared you? >> they did. >> dude, you have interviewed the guy before about what he thinks is so bad about being gay. it can't be a smear, if it's a factual part of his record,
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which you put on the record. we asked mr. van der sloot about his involvement in that anti-gay billboard in idaho, and he just this year gave us this statement. he said quote, i'm a strong supporter of the argument that gay and lesbian people should have the same rights as all other americans. my arguments against the documentary was not against the film itself but its audience. i don't believe that sexual concepts should be introduced to students. most americans would agree it should not be shown to little kids. again, fox news has bothered to let the details around this thing get in the way of the good story here, right? a good scandal about the president having some kind of enemies list. after a wall street journal
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columnist wrote about mr. van der sloot being a victim of this enemy's list, fox news was so excited to put the scandal on the air that they couldn't figure out that mr. van der sloot was the victim here and kimberly was the columnist writing about him. kimberly is the person writing about mr. van der sloot. mr. van der sloot is supposed to be the obama victim. writer, victim. watch how they handle this on fox. they are so excited they screw the whole thing up. >> it's also something about some romney supporters that i think is significant. this kimberly is coming forward saying that she's been smeared in her life because of her support for mitt romney's campaign. her name down as a donor finds out the super pac's going around in her background to find out what she does and what she does want to do. >> no, no. that's not even close to what you want to be able to say. kimberly isn't the donor. she's the person at rupert murdoch who are has been writing about the donor and his name is frank. kimberly, it's totally, never
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mind. fox news is very excited about this scandal that they have uncovered. this scandal that as exciting as it may be, you should know is not true. it's false. the way it's unspooling is telling about our politics right now and how the conservative media is working in our politics. the claim from fox news and from mr. van der sloot, the basic allegation, the scandal that fox news has discovered that you will soon see in an e-mail is that the crime for being a mitt romney donor, frank van der sloot is the victim of terrorism. >> some believe this is economic terrorism. not economic, political terrorism. targeting a businessman like you, running an honest business because of your freedom to donate who you want to donate to but try to ruin you that's
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terrorism, political terrorism. >> terrorism. president obama is the terrorist. because of what president obama has done, because of what frank van der sloot has done to support mitt romney, the allegation is that frank van der sloot is being singled out. it's hurting his business. people are saying he's anti-gay when he isn't. barack obama put frank van der sloot on an enemy's list. he was targeted for retribution. >> you say i'm an honest businessman. what happened to your business in lieu of that? what happened? >> when first saw the list, i thought, this is scary. within hours of that then all kinds of things started to appear on the internet suggesting all kinds of accusations against me, rewriting history about all kinds of things the i was supposedly guilty of. >> did it impact your business directly? >> it did right away. the first day phone calls
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started coming in. we lost a couple hundred customers. >> as soon as president obama put him on this enemies list his business suffered. that's the scandal here. the president targets a private citizen and the private citizen's entire livelihood is threatened. flashing red lights. that whole line, the private citizen's livelihood is being affected, his private life is being pried into. that's what he told us months ago. months before president was conceivably involved, before that blog post appeared on the internets. we heard from mr. van der sloot and his lawyer soon after we covered him on this program back in february. we reported on mr. van der sloot back then in his capacity as mitt romney's financial co-chair. well as his efforts to discredit a gay journalist who is
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reporting mr. van der sloot disagreed with. they attacked our reporting. they asked us to pull it down. they claim our reporting on him hurt his business. customers called up and cancelled and we were to blame for his business suffering. that was in march. now mr. van der sloot said none of that started happening until after president obama's campaign blog mentioned him in late april. he's changing his story. >> when this came out, there were only eight people on it. i was one of them. when i first learned i was on his enemies list that really worried me at first, i'll tell you. my first anticipation was i've got a target strapped on my back and the attacks started coming. >> then the attacks started coming. not when we reported back in february and when other news outlets like and
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mother jones reported on him, but rather in late april. right after president obama's re-election team posted that blog item on him, that's when it started. he's re-invented his story and taking fox news along for the ride. >> gave a million dollars to a super pac supporting mitt romney and found himself listed on an obama campaign website. >> ceo says his business being attacked after he donated money. >> the romney campaign finance co-chair has reinvented the story. he's now saying the stuff he started complaining about in march didn't start until late april until after the president got involved and the president is coming after him and every american should be afraid of the president. mideast not just a mitt romney supporter. he's not some private citizen who has been targeted randomly by the obama campaign because they are thugs.
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he's the national finance co-chair of the mitt romney campaign. he's an official in the mitt romney campaign. whether he likes it or not, that makes him a public figure. that means his record is up for public discussion. since he's chosen to involve himself in such political causes over the years. frank van der sloot's role in this year's presidential campaign is he will be the star of the new fox news scandal about barack obama. five segments and counting so far on fox news about how president obama is a terrorist and the target of his terrorism is frank van der sloot. there's been five segments so far. he's appeared in three of them. a private citizen who has nothing at all to do with
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politics other than being the finance co-chair of the mitt romney campaign. now fox news has their brand new barack obama scandal. >> some believe this is economic terrorism, not economic, political terrorism. targeting a businessman like you running an honest business because of your freedom to donate who you want to donate to but try to ruin you personally and professional, that's terrorism. >> frank van der sloot a victim of terrorism. how do we wage counter terrorism in this case? very specific answer to that. mr. van der sloot is the national finance co-chair of the mitt romney for president campaign. that means his job is to raise money and that is exactly what he has been doing with this story on fox news. watch. >> there's your check to restore our future. >> i think the only response is to make another donation. another $100,000. i would like to invite everybody; i don't suppose this will reduce the attacks. >> it will probably accelerate them. >> we thought we were done with
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our donations. we thought he had done our part. clearly, we're going to stand up and get more involved in this campaign. we hope that other people will join us in that. everybody should get out their checkbooks. >> everybody should get out your checkbooks. that's how this ends. that's where this goes. giving mitt romney money is what frank van der sloot and fox news say is the cure for this victimization tale that he appears to have reinvented out of thin air. get ready for that e-mail from your crazy uncle. it's coming. glen, thanks for being here. it's nice to have you here. >> good to be here. >> frank van der sloot appears to be saying now that he's been victimized by the obama campaign. they say the obama campaign is
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targeting him to keep him and other private citizens from donating any money to the romney super pac. does that comport at all with your understanding of the timeline of mr. van der sloot's political activity? >> it's hard to believe that people that sit in front of the television watching fox news all day can be moved by this story. here is somebody who has over the last decade used his vast fortune to dictate the outcomes of some of the most controversial debates. the question of whether this is a person who is a legitimate subject of media scrutiny in terms of his belief, his prior actions, his agenda, whether that's a legitimate subject for scrutiny is so absurd. to ask the question is to answer it. he has the right under our campaign finance laws and under the constitution as the supreme court is interpreted it to donate unlimited money. he doesn't have the right to do that while hiding in the dark.
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i think it's not just the right but the duty of media outlets and even opposing campaigns both for obama funders and romney funders to shed as much light as possible on who these people are and what their interest is in funding that he has campaigns. >> when you google the name frank van der sloot as of today, the top results are about him speaking out about being targeted. might that be how this fox news hype scandal benefits him? he is trying to affect and create a narrative around himself as a victim rather than as somebody who is using resources to affect political change? >> he's clearly very concerned about the damage to his reputation. this is somebody that's lived in a cocoon who is never challenged and throws his weight around. we got the same kind of threatening letter you did once we reported back on him in february. i think there's a couple of amazing ironies here.
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if you look at the 2008 presidential election, almost every single one of the people associated with candidate obama was put under all kinds of microscopes. not people closely associated with him but even remotely associated with him. fox news led the way in those investigations of private citizens. bill o'reilly has doze exposes. here they are the minute that happens to a conservative funder and they act as though the mccarthy convention has been rejuvenated. frank van der sloot is somebody that has spent a decade really engaged in campaigns of intimidation and bullying against people that are defenseless and ordinary citizens that say negatively
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about him get threatening lawyer letters. people are petrified about writing about him. the minute somebody wants to look at your believes, agenda, he turns himself into this victim. it's really amazing to watch. >> glen greenwald. thank you for your reporting on this. i know you and i have talked about what it's like to get the lawyer back splash when ever you mention his name. thanks a lot. >> same to you. >> i should mention when we asked mr. van der sloot to be on the show, we got a letter saying he would not be on the show. the show has presented false
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information. i deny we have said anything false about mr. van der sloot and i would look forward to being disproven about him. make i'm about to get the show. mr. van der sloot did offer to come on the show by telephone. i would like you to be on the show properly. as soon as we can arrange for you to be in front of camera for a proper amount of time for us to discuss these matters as fully as you would like to, i sincerely look forward to that opportunity. tell me where i'm wrong. we'll be right back. science test. the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards.
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virginia state republicans. the only objection raised to this judicial nomination was the fact that he's gay. 31 no vote, all from republicans and now he will not be a judge. virginia democrats say they are livid. the blatant prejudice that republicans displayed last night has no place. i thought we had made more progress toward a just society than this. republicans voted against his appointment just because he was gay. statements from virginia democrats. that happened last night. that vote happened last night at 1:00 in the morning in virginia. in lincoln, nebraska last night, the city council voted for gay rights. they voted to pass a nondiscrimination measure. when i say they voted for it.
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when i say they, i mean the non- republicans. the only republicans on the city council did not vote citing conflicts of interest while everybody else voted for it. in colorado last night, for the second time, the republican speaker of the house did some maneuver to avoid the threat that civil unions would be approved. civil unions have majority support in the legislature. the republican house speaker took matters into his own hand to block it from coming up for a vote, there by killing it last night. even as public opinion and republican public opinion changes in the united states to become more friendly toward gay rights, republican policy is still really anti-gay. colorado republicans position, which is also mitt romney's position, which is not only should there be no marriage rights for gay people but no civil unions either, that's a
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position now only held by 33% of the public. republicans in office do not seem to care. the has been their agenda for ever and they are sticking to it. there's a trend worth watching. republican official who is are speaking to the whole country are still technically aspousing all of the same anti-gay positions. the positions are staying the same but they are talking about themselves as if they don't hold the positions. this is sometimes called lying. right now, for example, in the case of governor ultrasound, it sort of feels like the guy is losing the thread. he's losing his own thread. listen to this. this is how he reacted to the would be judge being voted down
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in the legislature with the votes coming from republicans because he's gay. his office said the governor has long made clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not acceptable in state government. that's not true. he's made no such thing clear. back in the real world of his real world before he decided to whitewash it like this, you want to know what he did. one of the first things he did when he became governor is rescinded the executive order that had been put into place. he rescinded the anti-discrimination policy and put into place a new one. the only difference is he took sexual orientation out of it. one of his first act offense governor was to make it okay to fire somebody in virginia because they are gay. he didn't make it a full month in office before he felt the need to do that. less than a month later he did
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half backtrack. he said even though he's taking it off the list, he thought that under federal law that discrimination might not be seen as rational. he didn't put the protections for gay people back in his state that he took away. he said federally maybe they will take care of it. when he was in the state legislature, when he was chair of the justice committee and house, he said maybe people shouldn't be allowed to be a judge if they are gay. they said it would raise some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge. he's been super anti-gay. now he wants you to believe he's long made clear that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is acceptable. that's absolute bull. it is amazing to see it. it's politically interesting that he feels like he has to say
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that because he now has national vice presidential aspirations. it might just be that the chairman of the republican party is not that good at his job, but if you give him the benefit of the doubt, the chairman said something that's mind bending. it's totally untrue. it is interesting that he feels like he has to tell this particular lie. >> do you believe that gays and lesbians in america deserve equal rights? >> i think they deserve equal rights in regards to discrimination in the workplace. issues such as mitt romney has pointed out numerous time t hospital visitations. i think for the sake of dignity and respect, sure. >> aww. except that's not your position and that's not mitt romney's position. the employment nondiscrimination act that been around 20 years would ban discrimination in the
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workplace. it says you can't get fired because you're gay. most republicans are against it. the republican party is against it. mitt romney is not for it. he's against it. quote, i don't see the need for new or special legislation. we reached out to the republican party to ask whether the party through its chairman unveiling some surprise new position on there issue either for the republican party itself or for mitt romney as well. we have not heard back from them and i don't expect to hear back from them because they don't want to change their policy on any of these issues. they want you to think maybe they have changed their policies. they do not want to change their position. they are just now, in america today, they are just now embarrassed about what their position is. they want to keep doing what they are doing, but they don't want you notice and they don't want you to ask about it and they don't want you to think about it when you vote. there were two things i could tell:
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in high school, i had a physics teacher by the name of mr. davies. he made physics more than theoretical, he made it real for me. we built a guitar, we did things with electronics and mother boards. that's where the interest in engineering came from. so now, as an engineer, i have a career that speaks to that passion. thank you, mr. davies. about a year after president obama was inaugurated, this billboard went up along side a highway in minnesota. it's george w. bush waving miss me yet? was that a rhetorical yes? for time, the machine settled on the idea the billboard was fake. that's why you can find pictures of it at it was not a photoshop hoax. it was real. if the desire was to get, of course we miss george w. bush, i
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think it missed its mark. the question of what to do with george w. bush has been basic awkward for the mitt romney campaign from the start. it was to skip over him and get the blessing of the republican president before him, george bush senior. mr. romney, it came with some awkward political baggage. >> i was an independent during the time of reagan-bush. i'm not trying to return to reagan-bush. >> that might explain some of the awkwardness when he met with mr. bush to receive his endorsement. there was nowhere near as awkward as what the former president asked in front of that meeting right in front of the
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reporters. >> have you met with george w. bush and sought his endorsement? >> i haven't met with president george w. bush. we speak from time to time. >> now you see why. >> we speak all the time. >> has he endorsed yet? >> no, no. >> has he? has he? we'll talk about that later. we'll talk about that behind closed doors. less said in public, the better. it's a dilemma, right? miss me yet? in his last year as president he had the highest disapproval numbers of any president in the 70-year history of the gallup poll asking americans that question about their president. if you were mitt romney, would
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you want that guy's endorsement? my colleague steve schmidt tried to convince me that mitt romney would want that endorsement. >> i suspect as mitt romney gets to the next stage of closeness to wrapping this up, you'll see president george w. bush weigh in as well. >> you really think so? you can talk me into a lot of things about the republican way of looking at politics, but the idea it's going to be a good day when george w. bush endorses mitt romney, i finally found the thing you and i are living in totally opposite universes and can't see the same facts the same way. will you come back the day that happens? >> absolutely. it will happen and it will be a good day for mitt romney. >> it will be day we realize there are two different ways of seeing these things. >> that was at the end of march. today the endorsement happened. i'm going to quote to you the story.
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here is how it went down. here is the first line of the story. quote, mitt romney has the support of george w. bush. here is the second line. quote, i'm for mitt romney bush told abc news this morning as the doors on a elevator closed on him. that was it. no tape. no press lease. just hope into the elevator and say i'm for mitt romney and let the elevator doors close and up, up and away you go. was this a good day from mitt romney? endorsement from behind the closing elevator doors day. i'll ask my friend in a moment. before i do, i want to add one more piece of data between the distance of the republican mind and the liberal tv news mind. they released what they think is a gotcha video that hurts president obama. they saved this up, i guess, for the day that george w. bush gave his endorsement to mitt romney. this is the the gotcha tape to slam president obama today.
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it's tape that they dug up from 2004 when barack obama was running for senate. the republican party thinks this make republicans look good and president obama look bad. watch. >> senator obama. >> i think it's an enormous problem. >> what will you do to cut it or stop spending or to raise revenues? >> i think it's an enormous problem. this has been the most fiscally irresponsible administration in my memory. we have gone from trillion dollar surpluses to trillion dollar deficits. not all of those costs are not the fault of administration. 9/11 occurred and the decline in the economy. what is also true is it was aided and abetted by a set of fiscal policies that i think
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were on the wrong course. we can take a look at example of yesterday's vote. >> that's where it cuts off. that's where this republican video ends. there's nothing else happens. surely we do live in two political different universes if that's a republican attack ad. barack obama saying that george w. bush left large deficits and had bad fiscal policies. right and your point is? this is a republican attack ad. do republicans think that didn't happen or they like that george bush did those things? is he endorsing mitt romney from behind a closing elevator door day, that day, is that a good day for republicans? steve schmidt joins us next. need any help? uh, nope. just, uh, checking out my ad. nice. but, y'know, with every door direct mail from the postal service, you'll find the customers that matter most:
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i suspect as mitt romney gets to the next stage of closeness to wrapping this up, you'll see president george w. bush weigh in as well. that will be a good day for mitt romney. >> that would be a good day for mitt romney. joining us now is steve schmidt. who said it would be a good day for mitt romney when president george w. bush endorsed him? do you still feel that way?
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>> it means mitt romney is the republican nominee. the bush endorsement would have meant that mitt romney was the republican nominee. he's going to endorse him. i don't think you'll see him actively campaigning for him. there's a terrific new book out there by nancy gibbs and it charged the relationship between all of the former presidents going back from truman and hoover and it's a fascinating dynamics and there is a traditionalist approach to this. a library and -- >> a political speech. >> he's giving paid speeches but he's not on the campaign speech. >> he's doing policy stuff. he was doing his paul ryan budget stuff.
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>> what i would say is nonpartisan stuff. he's education reform where there's a number of people on the left who have been involved with president bush's activities on that front who have praised him. but out -- he is out of the combat and conflict of day to day politics. someone who worked in the administration, worked on the campaign, the bush alumni network, we all enjoy getting the facebook pictures of him with wounded warriors out on bike rides, running with him, i think he's a former president through eight tumultuous years. i think he's confident in history's judgment. notice that history's verdict will be a long way off. i think that over the long horizon, i think president bush's estimation will rise in the eyes of a lot of people. he was a controversial president. he left office unpopular.
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elections are about the future. they are not about the past. and it's an indictment of the weakness of the president's political. >> i don't obviously disagree with george w. bush. we still and in terms of the impact on the current race you have to read something to the fact that they made the endorsement while the walls are closing. >> i think someone who is retired from politics and doesn't care about that and is it reasonable to surmise that he knows that the george w. bush record is going to be a bad thing for mitt romney rather than a good thing? >> i think he's a very smart guy. he's very sophisticated politically. he knows exactly where his standing is in the polls and how
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his tenure would be used in the campaign. but the reality also is, as we just talked about, all elections, no matter how you look at them, no matter what side they are on, they are about the future, not the past. this will not be an election where the debate is about the bush presidency. >> the reason it's going to be, i think actually more than the connection between romney policies and bush policies, although that is there on both some economic and foreign policy issues is that romney took on so many bush advisers. it's 17 of the 24 foreign policy advisers are bush guys. if you do that, if you've got 17 of your 24 guys and going to have to answer for the alumni and filled with clinton advisers. one of the realities is when you have a controversial president even like george w. bush,
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democratic president, the next administration of either parties is going to be stocked with alumni from that previous parties and i think bill clinton left office in a pretty controversial way. his numbers have been up, back up, that's part of the charm of the bill clinton. and i'm not trying to analogyize them completely. the country is in a different place there was a very different dynamic involved in that. the point is, the image of the former presidents are dynamic. they evolve over time. jimmy carter has evolved in the eyes of americans. i don't think at the end of the day when you look at the president's endorsement of mitt romney. >> not a good day but not a nejurious thing.
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