Hardball | July 27, 2012
>>> back to "hardball." mitt romney 's trip to london has been overwhelmed by his comment on wednesday that london may not have been 100% prepared to host the games. it's not the first time romney has made an awkward comment that offended people and left others cringing. last year when he met with a group of unemployed floridians in a coffee shop , his effort to empathize was a little tone deaf . let's listen.
>> i should also tell my story. i'm also unemployed.
>> are you on linkedin?
>> yes, actually. and i'm networking.
>> a lot better than what we've got.
>> so here he is yukking it up with people who are out of work, and he is worth well over a quarter billion. back in april, when romney visited a small town in pennsylvania, he was less than thrilled with the cookies he was served. believe 80 not, cookie, didn't like them. let's listen.
>> i'm not sure about these cookies. they don't look like you made them. did you make those cookies? you didn't, did you. . no they came from the local --
>> bakery, the 7-eleven or bakery.
>> the cookies were the homemade pride of the local bakery. why does he keep saying things like? this? i want to start with scott on this. i don't think that these are ultimately the most important things in the world except it guess on and on. the guy is from another planet, he will have these problems. but this guy is running for president here and talks like he is from another planet. that's odd.
>> this has been going on for years. when you were playing the cookie clip, i was reminded in 2002 when rudolph giuliani was campaigning for him in boston's north end and some guy offers them a canolli. and mitt romney says no thanks, i don't want it. and rudy being the smart politician he is, picks it up and eats it. he knows when you are offered a canolli, you pick up up and take it. in his dfefense, he has never sold himself as that guy. with the comments you just played in london , it continues to get him in trouble.
>> wasn't it that remembered the canolli? this is a serious problem for this guy. he seems to be heading into three major televised debates an hour and a half each. he can script himself or be scripted for a while. at some point he switches to romney . it seems like he has good line here and there. and the minute he is caught with an unusual question, bryant asked him about the olympics, are you prepared? and he makes a shot at the londoners he is trying to woo, the first thing he says seems offensive. without a script by his bright team, he is lost in space .
>> he can perform well in debates. so i wouldn't count him out. the lower he sinks, if he makes a comeback and performance well, he'll get extra credit for that. he obviously has a gaffe problem and has for some years. and to be sort of a dime store shrink for a second, chris, i attributed it all to the most famous gaffe of modern american politics , which was in 1967 by george romney when he said in a local detroit television interview that he had been brainwashed in vietnam. so if you're george romney 's son, and you revere your father, the one thing you don't want to do is make a career ending gaffe. so he is in a situation now where it's like don't make a gaffe, don't make a gaffe, don't make a gaffe. and that's like don't think of an elephant, don't think of an eelephant, don't think of an elephant. you think of the elephant. you make the gaffe. and you you do exactly what you're try so hard to avoid doing.
>> that's line actually in -- i can't stop movie references" the anat my of a murder when the jury is told to ignore some testimony. they said it's like saying don't think of a blue cow . all you can think of is a blue cow . anyway, charles krauthammer was left nearly speechless, and he is rarely speechless by romney 's comment that he found some things about london 's preparation for the games disconcerting. here is charles, a usual friend on the right. let's listen.
>> when romney answered in that question is unbelievable. it's beyond human understanding. it's incomprehensible. i'm out of adjectives. all the man has to do is say nothing.
>> scott, he didn't say nothing. here it is a question. now put it all together. he doesn't like the local cookies. what else? he thinks he is unemployed, even though he is well worth well over a quarter billion. he thinks that's a cool thing to say to people who are suffering often the humiliation as well as the injury of being unemployed. people feel that in their souls when they're out of work and they're trying to get a job. here he is chucking over the fact that he is a multi, multi, multimillionaire is in the same straits as them when it's so obvious the all at the table he is not in the same situation. it isn't funny.
>> no. and i think one of the most ironic things about it is here is somebody who often gets knocked for trying to please everybody, for trying to say, you know, whatever his audience wants to hear. so you would assume somebody like that would be really good and really smooth, almost sort of too smooth. but that part of it is fundamentally missing with him. he doesn't know how to operate when it just off the cuff. we've seen it over and over . you can play a dozen clips that relate to his wealth alone over the last six months in which he has come across just looking stiff and aloof and out of touch. you know, the bigger question does any of this matter. and again, this is not something he is trying to run as. he is trying to run as the competent, maybe even boring technocrat who can fix the economy. so it may not matter in tend. but it certainly has hurt him at every step along the way in his political career.
>> john, you and i talk about these things. we think about them all the time. the difference between in this case a successful businessman, meaning a guy who has made a lot of money. that's a successful businessman, and a successful political or national leader. i think we're learning the difference here. learning how to deal with national sensitivities on the other side, recognizing that every country has a sense of patriotism, not just the united states , unless they have some terrible tyranny going on. even then they're proud of their country. not knowing that you're stepping on the toes of millions of brits when you say something like this, you mock their best efforts. and you're coming in from outside to do it. that is the difference between a successful -- a successful business guy can do that and still be rich. a politician can't do that very long.
>> yeah, there is really not much of a connection between success in business and success in politics. we've seen that over and over again with very successful businessmen have gone into the cabinet. remember don regan .
>> he was a sharpie.
>> disgrace. he had been head of merrill lynch . and then unsuccessful business people like harry truman whose haberdashery went bankrupt and he turned out to be a pretty damn good president. so i think there is a connection in the minds of some people between these two skills. and that might help romney in this campaign. by the way, when 130 million americans are voting in november, most of them won't have paid any attention to his awkwardness in one-on-one retail politics. so it may be that it doesn't end up mattering. but the thing for voters to focus on is whether they accept in an unthinking way that somebody that has been successful in business will necessarily have the right skills for the presidency.