Morning Joe | November 08, 2012
>> it's just i really wanted to be president. i was going to create 12 million jobs.
>> well, look, look, muck up. you created one job, except it was for me.
>> all right, very funny. you got me. you know what? i'm just going to focus on the good times. remember that first debate?
>> yep. you remember right now?
>> burn notice . that one hurt. isn't this great? two of us getting along, sharing a laugh.
>> you know, it's almost like i'm expecting that "dawson's creek" theme to play.
>> how's that go again?
>> it's something like "i don't want to wait for our lives to be over." i want to know right now what will it be i don't want to wait for our lives to be over will it be yes or will it be sorry
>> that was fantastic. top of the hour. welcome back to " morning joe ." john heilemann is still with us.
>> yeah, really. you should be. joining the set, msnbc political analyst and vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com.
>> richard wolffe .
>> vice president.
>> who's the top of that ticket?
>> that's powerful.
>> phil griffin .
>> so richard --
>> very strong.
>> let's talk about, you know, we were just saying earlier last hour, it's very easy, as a republican, my first reflex is, you've got just a weak presidential candidate , that's why we lost. that's legitimate in the presidential race . but then you start digging down into the senate races, the state-by- state senate races, again, where you have to deal with a broader electorate than just a focused race. and we republicans lost race after race after race. and as john cornyn said accurately, it wasn't just one wing of the party . it wasn't just todd akin . it wasn't just richard mourdock , it was tommy thompson in a state where scott walker republicans dominated every state legislative race. there is something wrong with the national republican party .
>> i think there are multiple things. there's a process question for start, primaries getting hijacked by the extremes when they got no interest in reaching out to the middle. but there's also a policy, a position problem that the republicans face. and if you dig into those exit polls , you know, it's really easy to accept the conventional wisdom that people are generally conservative with a small scene. they don't like change a whole lot. they like things the way they are, generally. but if you look at the positions in the exit polls , you've got big majorities that are against the litmus test that ran through the republican primaries , on abortion, 50%, 60% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. so forget the extreme stuff about rape talk. just on the question of the exceptions that republican party is not, at its heart, where 60% of america is. it's not where 60% of america is on immigration reform , on finding a legal path for illegal immigrants. it's not where america is in terms of tax cuts . and tax hikes for the wealthy and for all americans. you've got big majorities who are fundamentally not where republicans are. so both in terms of the primaries and the positions, there are some real soul searching for republicans to do.
>> and john, when historians look back on this race, they are going to wonder how the republican party ended up with a wall street guy 3 1/2 years after one of the greatest wall street scandals and one of the greatest wall street collapses in american history . the party seemed to go out of its way over the past couple years to alienate the middle.
>> yeah. and you know, look. i mean, mitt romney was an unlikely fit with this republican party in a lot of ways, you know. you think about a party that's mostly southern and mostly evangelical and mostly grass-roots populist now. he's not a populist. he's from the northeast. and a mormon. when the party was most animated by opposition on health care . he was an odd choice in a lot of ways. the thing you said is most acute. it's the era of occupy wall street and the tea party and you've got a guy that represents more than anything the 1%. $250 million and a car elevator in his house and all that stuff. it just made it so easy for him to be caricatured and/or accurately presented by the obama campaign as someone who doesn't share your values. and if you look at those exit polls , in the end, president obama 's likability was a huge factor for him. but also the fact that people did not, in the end, think that mitt romney would fight for them. that he understood their struggles. huge problem. you can't win in presidential elections like that.
>> you know what occupy wall street and most of the tea party members have in common? they don't trust wall street .
>> they just don't.
>> that's what i mean.
>> tea party 's a follow-up on perot's united we stand group, and it is populist. it is not pro-business. it is -- there's a populist strain running through it, and mitt romney offended both extremes.
>> and somehow the president of the united states took that ground. i'm the champion. i'm the populist. i'm for the middle class . i'm the guy who's fighting it. but it was made very easy by having a guy who represented very well the 1%. that is a little revisionist, though. if you look back, who would you have rather had in that seat? if you talk about the primary process, would it have been better to have gingrich or santorum or perry or bachmann? who was the alternative at least this time around? who was it?
>> i personally would say jon huntsman would have had the best chance. he couldn't get through the primary process.
>> because they couldn't see his values.
>> also, they started their campaign off doing something you probably shouldn't do, kicking your own party around.
>> are you forgetting the hermanator?
>> as richard said, the primary process rewards extremes in many cases. so how could a guy like -- let's say jeb bush , this is just for argument's sake, 2016 , how does he get through a primary process given his stances on things like immigration? can jeb bush survive that process?
>> jeb bush can survive it, chris christie can survive it. it's just what i say on immigration reform . you don't go half in. you don't stick your toe in the water and then have a blogger write something nasty about you, then pull it back. you keep going in and you crush the blogger and you keep moving . and if somebody that's an extremist on talk radio attacks you, you march over them, and you keep going, and you try to pick up voters along the way . because for every one extreme voter you lose, you pick up four solid republicans in the middle. i said it. i wrote it back when herman cain and all of these other extremists were winning the republican primary . you know, extremists -- crazy never wins. crazy never wins. you know, richard , the problem is mitt romney never had the courage of his convictions. he never had the courage to stand up to the extremes of his own party .
>> the biggest voting bloc , self-identified voting bloc in those exit polls , are moderates. you know, we always say there aren't enough democrats alone out there. there aren't enough republicans . you cannot win a majority just with republicans . you've got to get moderates as part of your coalition along with your base. otherwise republicans and democrats, they're never going to win on a national stage.
>> and with mitt romney , it was gaffe after gaffe, and some of them were just gaffes that alienated him and binders full of women, how he alienated the hispanic vote, it did not help him along the way . he could not help himself. but about the party overall, you talked about jon huntsman making a mistake by criticizing the party . what happens to republicans when they speak the truth about the party ? you tell me because you know. what happens to a republican when they actually tell the truth about what the party needs to do? what's happening to chris christie right now? what happens?
>> well, i think chris christie gets rewarded.
>> the party eats their young.
>> no, no, the party -- the voters don't eat their young. you know, again, i won four elections, and i won them by large margins.
>> do you think jon huntsman could have done better than mitt romney ?
>> oh, my gosh, yes.
>> that's what i'm talking about. the party does not know what can help it win.
>> mika , you asked me the question. let me answer the question. i get elected four times in four landslides, and i did it by going after aggressively any extremist on either side that came after me. most of the time i was attacking extremists on my own side more than the other side. and i won 90% of the republican party vote and a hell of a lot of independents and a lot of democrats because i did that. chris christie is going to be fine. he's going to win big in 2013 , and there are going to be a lot of republicans that look at him and go, okay, let's see. we've got a guy that a couple of bloggers don't like, who won a blue state twice in a row. he's got the highest approval rating of any republican governor in the nation. he's a tough talker. he is taking on entrenched union forces .
>> i agree.
>> in one of the most pro-union states, and he's won every battle. he is loved and respected by his base as well as by democratic leaders in the senate. yeah, he may be a good guy to expand the base.
>> i hope they see it that way. but you made the very conclusion that jon huntsman spoke the truth about the party from the get-go, and that's what brought him down.
>> jon huntsman 's people went out of their way tweaking republicans , saying they didn't like science. there are better ways of doing it. bad subtraction. you don't want to engage in some traction in your own primary process. it's addition. the big tent . ronald reagan always said, i wear the white hat . and he always expanded his base.
>> and john huntman had the fund fej fundamental problem, he said, well, i'm a pragmatic, blah, blah, blah. you can't run in the republican party and not identify yourself as a conservative. republican party is the conservative party .
>> you can run if you have a plan that's called 9-9-9 and you can run if you don't remember your last name and if you're former speaker of the house .
>> those guys all lost. but those guys all lost. we're just talking about what john huntman could have jon huntsman could have done to win. he alienated the party he was introducing him to at the outset.
>> erick erickson and many other conservatives including myself said look at the guy's record. he's got the most conservative record. and he did have, of all the candidates --
>> you're talking about huntsman.
>> -- huntsman. but here is one of the biggest setbacks, one of the biggest problems the republican party 's had over the last four years, will willie. you are considered conservative -- the litmus test now for being conservative in this republican party is not your position on abortion, your position on guns, your position on gay marriage , your position on taxes or your position on the debt. it's whether you hate the president or not. and you know what? i don't like saying that, but if you go out and say, i respect the president, i think he's a good man, as i do all the time, i think he's a great father, i think he's a great husband, i just disagree with him on virtually every policy, you're immediately a rhino. and that was one of huntsman's biggest problems. conservatives never stopped long enough to look at his record to see he had the most conservative record of everybody in the primary. they didn't like -- they didn't like his style.
>> i think that's part of the reason anyway why mitt romney -- why conservatives never fell in love with mitt romney because he never went that far. i think they knew he was more moderate than he was letting on. and also that he did say things like the president has a good family. he's a good man. i just disagree with him. i don't think conservatives -- and you tell me -- felt like he savaged the president enough. like he didn't bring out the knives sharp enough after the president.
>> mitt romney ?
>> yeah. like it was never personal enough.
>> well, i just remember talking to people very close to the president who said, who are they most afraid of? what candidate would they be most afraid of who could really give president obama a run for his money? it was jon huntsman . i guess republicans don't like winning either. i'm serious.
>> the responsibility lies with the candidate to pull voters to him. and i will say in mitt romney 's case --
>> -- mitt romney had 100 different sister soulja moments over the past three years he could have taken. when glen beck came out several years ago and called the president of the united states a racist who hated all white people , that would have been a great time -- and igsd said and on the show -- to show he was distancing himself from the hate or extremism.
>> or when he called that woman a slut. it would have cost mitt romney nothing to say something more forceful to rush at that moment and yet he refused to do that. it would have helped them. very weak. very weak.
>> they make a couple of really big mistakes. one was that they thought the anti-obama hatred would drive enough people to the polls. there just weren't enough -- there wasn't enough hatred out there to turn out enough people, number one. number two, they thought the economy would trump everything else. and in the end, the economy was picking up just enough to push the president over 50 points and weaken that argument. and republicans will not have that argument in 2016 . last mistake, they didn't run on reform. mitt romney should have said, you know, washington 's broke. and someone will still be able to do this in 2016 because it will still be broken.
>> he should have gone in there saying we're going to fix this place because the other guy is the creature of washington . he gave that up when he chose paul ryan . he should have said i'm the business guy. the governor. i'm going to choose another person from outside washington . we're going to ride in on a white horse and we fix the whole place. he didn't do that. he couldn't do that because he had to get stuck into all the budget questions that his veep choice had posed. those three things, we can talk about the small things, should he have said this, that or the other, if you're not a reformed candidate, you think hatred's going to be enough and you're relying on the economy, it's not going to be enough to carry you over the line .
>>> power is out to additional homes in the northeast as a powerful nor'easter dumps snow and rain on a region that's only started to recover. today's several inches of wet snow are threatening to topple already weakened trees. there's also renewed headaches for millions of commuters as bus and train service grinds to a crawl. hundreds of flights also kept at the gates at the airports as well. let's go to nbc meteorologist bill karins for a look at what is unfolding now. bill.
>> by itself, this nor'easter, very impressive for early-season snow. it's unheard of in most areas. on the heels nine days later of sandy, it's absolutely incredible that we're dealing with this. we just got word that central park in new york city officially 4.7 inches of snow. why is that significant? it's the earliest ever in 130 years of recordkeeping that new york city 's had four inches of snow. this on the heels of remember last year at the end of october, they had two inches of snow, the earliest ever in history. new york city has been one of these places we've been flagging records left and right. as far as snow totals, connecticut got nailed, six-plus inches of snow up there. the jersey shore didn't do too bad snowwise, only a couple slushy inches, but power outages in central jersey were numerous as mika mentioned. let's show you where is the storm right now? it's just south of cape cod . if you have family or friends in eastern mass down there in the cape, the winds are howling this morning, up to 60 miles per hour. the power's been flickering on and off there. thankfully the snow portion is over with. temperatures are warming up. but look at these wind gusts. martha's vineyard, up to 50. provincetown, almost 60-mile-per-hour gusts. we shouldn't any additional power outages in jersey, connecticut or western massachusetts . notice the temperatures. a lot of people are saying the main roads have greatly improved. the secondary roads are slowly improving. after the storm exits, mika , no new storms on the way. temperatures in the 40s today. 50s over the weekend. so we'll be all done with this white stuff shortly.
>> unbelievable. bill, thank you very much.
>>> up next, nbc political director chuck todd . also san antonio mayor julian castro . you're watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks. humans -- even when we