msnbc | August 30, 2012
>> the mcpain/palin campaign in 2008 , what did mitt romney most need to do and did he do it?
>> i think mitt romney needed to show who he is tonight at a personal level. i think he needed to offer criticism of the obama administration and he needed to offer an economic vision for the country and i think he did all of those things. it wasn't the greatest convention speech ever. it wasn't even the greatest speech at this convention. it's the best speech that mitt romney has ever given in his life and that's what he needed to do tonight. i agree with chris in the sense that the first two-thirds of the speech i thought were stronger than the last third of the speech. and just one point, roughly 87,000 american soldiers , not a single mention of the word afghanistan in the speech which to me is evidence that it's time to come home from afghanistan.
>> reverend al sharpton , as a former presidential candidate yourself, as someone who is an excellent order and pretty hard-nosed judge, what do you think about this as a work of art?
>> i think he was better as a performer than i thought he would. he showed a lot more energy and passion than i thought he would. i happen to agree with both steve and chris that he got a little dark of trying to figure -- when he says we do big things we need an american. was that a shot at the president or other people in the world? i don't know where he was going with that. but his delivery was better. he was careful, unlike his running mate not to say things that you could easily fact check and go after. that might have been what he did last night, he didn't get a plant that really closed under bush. but he did say things that we clearly could question in terms of policy and he really didn't deal with a lot of things. you know, this whole definition of success as being equivalent only to entrepreneurship, like people can't be successful just working every day or can't be successful working in social -- in public service , like there's something wrong with barack obama that didn't want to be a businessman, he wanted to go help somebody in the community.
>> or paul ryan .
>> or paul ryan . so i think this whole definition of one-dimensional definition of success really bothers me. that's why i said that. and i must say as an opening, i suspect that clint eastwood has talked to an empty chair more than just tonight.
>> i want to do a whole episode on the clint eastwood speech.
>> i want to get ed's reaction to the speech and then yours, chris .
>> well, first of all, i thought it was set up really well. what they did before mitt romney came out on the set was effective. it captured women in the crowd tonight. it did reach them in a way that romney has not been able to do in any other speech. there was emotion there tonight and it was clearly a pitch that i'm good for women. i need women to realize that i'm going to be a good president and i thought that was very clear. but, again, the $716 billion lie was in there tonight.
>> that's true.
>> and one other thing, he says, let me make this very clear, unlike president obama i will not raise taxes on the middle class . president obama has not raised taxes. president obama has cut taxes. and i was also intrigued by -- he says, the skyrocketing cost of health care . that's helping out a lot of seniors in this country right now because of obama care. and he said they want to repeal it and replace it. this is now the third direction that the republicans have taken. first it was repeal and replace and it was just repeal. now we're back to replacing. i want to hear what he has to say about that. but i thought it was an effective speech tonight. i thought that clint eastwood was bizarre and i thought it was demeaning to the presidency. i thought it lowered the standard of the convention and i thought it was completely unnecessary.