Martin Bashir | August 24, 2012
>> let's get right to our panel now. we're joined by msnbc jimmy williams . this is a late friday in august. it's very busy. we're hearing that todd akin was going to give a press conference at 5:15 today. we were completely taken aback by his birther comments earlier today. you might have thought preparing to go to tampa that wouldn't be the best way to begin the akin overdraft or overhang followed by him then offering what seemed like a joke about the president's birth.
>> i think that's right. and what unites these two scandals that the republicans don't want to have, obviously, in a week leading up to the nomination is a very old concept in politics, which is the gaffe hurts the most when it reveals a truth. the problem with akin isn't that he's an obscure figure, but he was giving voice to a premise that has gained currency in the mainstream of the republican party and many people feel is completely anti-women. and the problem for mitt romney today, whatever he meant in his heart by the joke, which he can further explain if it was a mistake he should say it was a mistake. the problem, it speaks to the people that he's invited to be a part of this nominating convention in tampa. the donald trump and the sheriff who traffic in this kind. governor romney has to decide whether he wants to be responsible about it and say t to move on or whether he thinks like so many other gaffes that reveal a truth, this can just be swept under the rug.
>> right. jimmy, i was wondering about what the biggest applause lines could be next week. and so we as a team went back and looked at some of the big ones during the campaign. take a listen.
>> your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times . have you --
>> do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?
>> no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate , they know this is the place.
>> during executions --
>> if this is a party, i would suggest they go to home depot and buy a bigger one. it's pathetic. listen, it's code, it's code. the governor should not have stepped into what he did today. and i think that was a gaffe. i think it was a mistake, and he should say it was a mistake. he can't now sit down on the level with trump and bachmann and rush limbaugh , et cetera , et cetera , et cetera . those people are the spoke people for the party, the republican party to date. a reason i left the republican party in 1992 when i saw this kind of right-wing extremism when they were anti-gay, anti- equal rights , anti-women. and here's what bothers me the most. akin is now going to have this press conference this afternoon at 5:15, radight? he's going to say i'm in it to win it. that still doesn't mean you think, mr. akin, congressman akin, a sitting congressman for a number of terms that rape sometimes leads to pregnancy. that's your opinion, that's what your belief is. and if that's your belief and what is the republican platform? farther to the right than mr. akin. if i'm a woman in this country, i would be scared to death at this point.
>> ari, i noted earlier today that rush limbaugh noted that mitt romney may have even been attempting to trial that joke in michigan today in preparation for next week. surely that's speculative nonsense, he couldn't be doing that, could he?
>> that's what we get from rush limbaugh . whether he's right or wrong, he's happy to see that this kind of aspersion, which is based on the color of the skin of the president of the united states is still alive and well in the republican party . and, again, i would echo what jimmy said. if mitt romney sort of just awkwardly ran into it, it's very easy, he has a big platform and he can quickly resolve that. he doesn't have to stand back and let everyone wonder. i think it's important because what you see here is this pattern with donald trump . and if you go to politifact.com, it's the number one item on their site ever. i think that does turn a lot of americans off.
>> and isn't that the problem, jimmy? it's not just the joke and the gaffe, we've got seven speakers who are birthers at the republican convention . we've had ted nugent make the most appalling remarks about the president. we've had donald trump , sheriff joe arpaio , really?
>> these are the leaders of the republican party today. it's extremism. let me be clear. i'm a democrat. democrats have extremists, as well. you have extremists on the left and extremists on the right, i call them foamers, they foam at the mouth they believe it so much. much of the country is slap dab in the middle and they move this way or that way, but the foamers on each side. here's the problem, the foamers on the right are so much more vicious than the foamers on the left that it blows my mind just the concentration of their hatred for a man who, by the way, ari just mentioned the color of the president's skin. the president of the united states is, indeed, an african-american, he's a black american . he's also a white american . i hate to break the news to america, his mother was whiter than me and i haven't been in the sun in two years.
>> it fries the circuit of the objective press and the d.c. press that only wants to keep score because they have to find something that democrats have done that's as bad. but they don't have an echo repetitive racist argument coming from the democratic party . so they say, well, you made jokes, or the president's spending a lot of money attacking mitt romney .
>> it's false equivalency.
>> and that's another big problem. this is not a place where the jokes are equal. and i think it's very hard for a lot of the scorekeepers in d.c. to handle that. they don't know what to do with that.
>> i think it's difficult for all of us. thank you so much. and as we gear up for the convention, you can join the conversation on twitter at bashir live with msnbc2012, and chris matthews