Martin Bashir | March 14, 2013
>> let's get right to our panel. joining us, dana milbank live at cpac . msnbc political contributor jimmy williams in washington. jimmy, we know now who was responsible for recording mitt romney 's infamous 47% speech. of course, conservatives are complaining this guy wasn't a mutual observer, that he was pushing some kind of agenda. but for argument's sake, let's assume he's not a mutual observer. so what? it doesn't change what mitt romney said, does it?
>> it's almost like the movie "can "the help". they are mad at this guy, at a fund-raiser for multi bazillionares. they're pissed off because they defended the help? how out of touch could these people be? they're blaming the guy who recorded the video. that's pathetic and an affront to working people across this country. it really is.
>> dana , i realize you're wearing a somewhat impressive badge today. there we are. don't believe the liberal media . who was that given to you by?
>> i picked that out myself, martin. i'm under cover as you can see at cpac . i'm a few feet away from governor perry talking to fox news. i want to say in contrast to your earlier segment, i find him to be an intelligent and handsome man and quite a bit larger than i am.
>> thank you for that. as you know, it may be a bit late for mitt romney , jimmy, but it's not too late for the new generation of republicans all strutting their stuff there at cpac . in fact, we heard from two potential white house aspirants. here are both of them. senator rand paul from kentucky.
>> the gop of old has grown stale and moss covered. i don't think we need to name any names.
>> jimmy, who could he possibly be talking about?
>> i don't know. i mean, is he talking about the same presidential candidate that he just voted for? i mean, i could be wrong. i don't know.
>> is he referring to john mccain or mitt romney ? or paul ryan ?
>> or george bush . or any of the old stale predecessors that -- maybe he's talking about mitch mcconnell . the guy that didn't want him to become his junior senator . i'm not sure who he's talin talking about. i don't have many personal conversations with rand paul . i know barry goldwater went to the senate floor in 1981 , you know, after having run for president. the leader of the conservative movement . ronald reagan was now the new president. right? he said something very interesting. he said, i'll paraphrase, i'm tired of these religious groups coming into my office telling -- he said this on the senate floor. telling me that i have to vote a certain way because of their mo i'll fight them every stret step of the way. this was the leader of the conservative movement . this is the guy they should be actually working after and trying to be like. but instead they're nothing more than little tea party fringe people and they're nuts. they're crazy.
>> okay. dana , cpac also heard from senator marco rubio of florida today . that's the other potential presidential candidate . and as i'm sure you know, each of the last three republican presidential nominees, mitt romney , john mccain , and george w. bush all placed either first or second in the cpac straw poll at some point in their bid for the white house . are you expecting this year's straw poll to be just as predictive? may i say, what beautiful music appears to be playing behind you.
>> reporter: yes, i believe it's a funeral dirge they're playing for me, perhaps. the straw poll here has been unpredictable. often these things are hijacked by the likes of ron paul . wouldn't be surprising in this case if it comes out to be rand paul . i think what you are getting this year which i have not felt in previous years is there a lot of friendly fire here. it's -- you saw it a little bit in that clip you played from rand paul in the backroom, the breakout sessions here. people are actually shouting at each other as they talk about what went wrong in november. and how they fix things going forward. so there's a whole lot of wrestling over the soul of the party here, even among this conservative core of the party.
>> and yet, dana , i noted that marco rubio said barely nothing about immigration. that's supposed to be a topic that he's supposed to be leading on as far as the republican party is concerned. why would he not wish to mention immigration at cpac ?
>> well, he may be leading on that, but he's going to leave that behind when he's here because he wants to shore up his credentials. this is how he speaks to his conservative base. immigration is how he's going to reach out to the middle. so he wants to do both at once, but he's no fool. he knows he's not going to get much of a reception for that. they did have a session on immigration earlier in the day and it was that predictable dispute about border control versus acknowledging the reality of legalizing the undocumented who are here.
>> now, jimmy, you may describe this as a tea party circus. but in fact, magnificent mitt romney is back tomorrow. wayne lapierre will be speaking as well, as well as the great sarah palin and the great donald trump . what do you expect mitt romney to say to the cpac crowd given what was a fairly poor performance in the presidential election ?
>> last time he said he was severely conservative. i wonder if they actually believe that now, and so i don't know, i don't know why -- it's almost like lazerous risen from the dead. why would he come again? he's not going to run again. ran 17 times for president. lost every single time either in the primary or the general. i'm not sure what he's going to add to this except maybe he thinks he's the moral leader of the republican party having just been the banner holder. i'm not sure what he can add to it. let's be honest who the moral leader of this group is, that's grover norquist . you heard the reaction he got. no one cheered more wildly for anyone than grover norquist . guy who says if you raise prices, i'm going to beat you in a primary.
>> dana , what do you expect magnificent mitt to offer us tomorrow?
>> he's getting a lot of abuse in the back sessions blaming him for what happened here, so i think they will be polite to him. but he wants to come out and say, look, it wasn't my fault, it was x, y and z. i believe he'll get a reasonable reception here.
>> let's hope so. you stay safe. dana milbank , jimmy williams ,