Martin Bashir | August 29, 2012
>> we are following two big stories at this hour. day two of the republican convention down in tampa and, of course the severe conditions on the gulf coast with isaac now downgraded to a tropical storm but still bringing drenching rains and fierce winds to the same region battered by hurricane katrina seven years ago. this, of course, strikes mitt romney as a jolly excuse for another attempt at touching our funny bone . as he jetted off for the american legion convention in indiana.
>> i appreciate this invitation to join you on dry land this afternoon.
>> please, mr. romney, stick with private equity . leave the comedy to the professionals and indeed tonight is another big one for the gop. paul ryan just done a walk-through on the stage in tampa preparing for the biggest speech of his political career. he's got a tough act to follow after a speech last night from the other person that mitt romney once proposed to, his wife, ann.
>> i want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts. i want to talk to you about love. abiding love, profound love, love so deep, love, love. i love you women !
>> yes, indeed. clearly some in the convention audience were moved to tears. but will her speech move the needle with women voters snr that remains to be seen. in fact the gop might prefer it if women in particular return to regular programming after ann's speech since the next speaker, new jersey governor chris christie , quickly smacked down the whole idea of love republican style.
>> see, i believe we have become paralyzed, paralyzed by our desire to be loved. tonight we are going to do what my mother taught me. tonight we are bogey to choose respect over love.
>> that's interesting because there's little in the way of respect or love in the republican plat form endorsed at the convention fuss. the document that embraces paul ryan 's plans for deep cuts and medicare and medicaid, not a lot of love for the elderly or the poor or the disabled. little love for immigrants either with a call for english as the official language. not so much for gays and lesbians by reinstating don't ask, don't tell and preventing federal recognition of same-sex marriages. that's okay. they do get, quote, respect and dignity. not so much for women , though. with the platform raking back rights, offering no exceptions to a complete ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and now even barring or banning the morning after pill, again even in cases of rape. ing congressman ryan.
>> i a v always adopted the idea the position that the method of conception doesn't change the definition of love.
>> more from where that came from because guesses who sells speaking tonight, yes, mike huckabee . who says todd akin is not the real off ender. he says it is the president.
>> the issue is not someone comment that one person made and repudiated and apologized for. it is the litany of things that barack obama has done, actually done, has never apologized for gender selection abortion.
>> oh, boy. are you feeling the love yet? because i know i am. i'm joined now by my esteemed msnbc colleague lawrence o'donnell, host of "the last word" who joins us live from tampa . good afternoon. and it is --
>> martin , i'm just sitting here desperately wanting to be loved like chris christie says i am. he's absolutely bright that. he's got me.
>> please feel the affection that our broadcast conveys to you.
>> martin , that was the single worst phrasing and line i have ever heard in a convention speech. what could he conceivably have meant that anyone in this country who isn't a republican is curled up in some pathetic way desperately wanting to be loved and republicans don't need to be loved. it was -- how did they get into in a in the speech?
>> i guess in his defense, he would say that he believes there's been a lack of respect, i guess, for authority or government. and he wants to bring respect back nook america .
>> his only defense is the other guys wrote this speech. they forced me to say it word for word. it is their convention . they own every speech. they own every word of every speech.
>> okay. well, it is sort of a beauty and beast tonight because we have mike huckabee and paul ryan . but who is going to bring the love and who is packing the respect tonight? can you divide those?
>> well, you know, huckabee is such an interesting character. you know, he dropped out of theological ceremony and couldn't -- seminary. he couldn't make it through. but that didn't stop him from then becoming a pastor for several years before being governor. so this should be the night for religion in the hall where mike huckabee is up and there's absolutely no separation of church and state with mike huckabee . it is going to be the speech that congressman akin would make if they would let him be here. by the way, martin , congressman akin lives in these -- in these hallways here. i have seen plenty of akin campaign buttons here. people that try to pretend that everything he thinks isn't welcomed here. i don't know what those akin campaign buttons mean that i have been seeing in the hall.
>> you have been seeing quite a few. you called it perfectly last night on this broadcast, you say that -- said chris christie 's speech would be all about chris christie . we have been through the speech word for word. discover ad remarkable use of personal proceed nouns. mr. chris tee used "i" no less than 47 times. the word "me" on 11 separate occasions. but only used the words mitt romney eight times, five of those in a single paragraph. so how do you feel about mr. christie 's performance now n.
>> look, i have seen him give much better speeches. i think he got -- i think he got nervous in front of this audience. he got stiffer than he usually is. and they locked him on the teleprompter which every convention does. and christie on teleprompter is not as good as christie just working a stage in new hampshire or as i have seen him many times up there on the stump. just playing it fast and loose. you run the risk of him saying something he regrets. that way. but the performance is always much better if you let christie get off prompter.
>> so in a sense he was somewhat shackled. last night ann romney says she loves the women . but today the speakers, if they are entirely honest, may be a little less kind to the ladies. is the advice to women to switch off the republican national convention for the rest of the week? because the sort of stuff they are going to hear is not going to be very full of love.
>> yeah. if they could have gotten swing voters who are women to watch one speech here, absolutely would haven't ann romney 's. but the challenge that mitt romney had was not just to deliver a puck tour of mitt that we haven't seen before and she didn't do that. there was nothing other than the actual -- the literal pictures of mitt that were on the stage that mostly were not in the television shots of her speech. there is not one person in america with a new sentence today about mitt romney after his wife's speech. she also had the challenge of delivering to the country the idea that this is not some out-of-touch family that lives with their hundreds of millions of dollars at some isolation and insulation from the way the rest of the country lives. and i don't know what in that speech actually delivered that message successfully.
>> well, she talked about her own personal suffering. she reflected on the fact that she said she had a normal marriage and not a story become marriage. not cutting the ice with you?
>> i think -- actually i think the most effective part of her speech and truest part of her speech was when she actually was advising high school boys in america how to get a date. she said -- she said that mitt made her laugh. she said that mitt was funny. as hard to believe as that is. what is true is that is the way to get a date in high school , be funny.
>> i'm delighted you learned something from the speech. lawrence , we have seen --
>> no, martin , i have known that for a very long time.
>> of course you have. i'm sorry. forgive me for questioning your skills in that particular area. we have seen an early draft of senate minority leader mitch mcconnell 's forthcoming oration. can i quote something from you? for four years barack obama has been running from the nation's problems, he hasn't been working to earn re-election. he has been working to earn a spot on the pga tour . how about that?
>> well, we know exactly what he's trying to do there. he is trying to align to tiger woods . surely, the -- lifestyle of tiger woods with barack obama . obviously nothing could be further from the truth. they find every way they possibly can to --
>> lawrence -- don't you think -- don't you think that what he's really trying to do is to suggest that the president is not paying attention to the central issues that come with the responsibility he has? is he really -- mitch mcconnell really making a connection with tiger woods who, of course, has become infamous for chasing various cocktail waitresses around las vegas and so on?
>> martin , there are many, many, many rhetorical choices you can make at any point in any speech to make whatever point up want to make. if he wanted to make the point that you just suggested and i think he does want to make that point, they had a menu of a minimum of ten different kinds of images that they could have raised. and i promise you, the speech writers went through reject three or four before they land order that one. that's the one they want for a very deliberate reason. that -- there's -- these people reach for every single possible racial double they can find in every one of these speeches you really believe that about mitch mcconnell ?
>> i know these people are insensitive. i know the speech writers. i know the way they work. they do not have the same sensitivity level that other speech writers do. but when you get to the tiger woods reference, there were people in the speech writing room, i know this, without a shadow of a doubt , who said wait a minute, do we really want to go there? we really want to go to tiger woods and the vote and the room was yes, we do. mitch mcconnell agreed to do it.
>> wow. things are getting lower and lower by the day.
>> martin , that's the way this speech writing works. okay. they are not all completely tone deaf . there were people in that speech writing room who knew that we are taking this speech directly to a barack obama / tiger woods comparison. we are trying to put those two characters together. is that something we should really let the senate republican leader do and they all agreed yes, we should. and then the worst thing is the senate republican leader agreed to do it. because he doesn't control his speech, martin . every speech here is controlled by the people running everything that happens in this room. that speech is not up to him word for word.
>> okay. lawrence o'donnell, thank you very much indeed. lawrence will, of course, be a part of prime time convention coverage which follows this broadcast. keep it here.