PoliticsNation | November 16, 2012
>>> we all know mitt romney was a loser, but until this week, we didn't know republicans thought so, too. and now, they just want him to go away. today, new jersey governor chris christie became the most high profile republican so far torre ject romney 's claim that president obama won because he gave gifts to minorities.
>> do you agree with bobby jindal , it was a terrible thing to say and stayed terribly?
>> you can't expect to be leader of all the people and be divisive. you have to talk about themes, policies that unite people. anding play to their aspirations and their goals and their hopes for their family and their neighbors. and i always think this kind of scapegoating after elections, i mean, when you lose, you lost. someone asked me the other day, why did mitt romney lose? because he got less votes than barack obama . that's why.
>> sure, it was terrible. you can't be divisive. . republicans have finally woken up and realized that is not good politics to insult half the american people . they just want romney to disappear.
>> is it time for mitt romney to move on and stop having conference calls ?
>> that's up to him. mitt romney is a friend of mine. i understand he is very upset about having lost the election and very disappointed. i've never run for president. we've lost elections. i've lost elections but never for the presidency. i'm sure it stings terribly.
>> it's not helpful, right.
>> of course not. but he's a good man and he will find his level. and i think it's still a little raw. so do i wish he hadn't said those things, of course not. but on the other hand, i'm not going to bury the guy for it.
>> i'm not going to bury the guy for it, but i sure am happy to go on tv and talk about it. and late today, romney 's former national co-chairman tim pawlenty joined the chorus, kicking the former governor to the curb.
>> i don't think it's a matter of people looking at the election and saying i'm going to vote because of, you know gifts. i think they looked at it and said which one of these candidates would they prefer because leadership considerations and also can understand their needs the best. i don't think it's as simple as saying the president gave out gifts. i just don't think it's that simple. there's a lot more to it than that.
>> so now of the biggest names in the gop have condemned romney 's comments, including a bunch of his former pals and some folks who may try to run for president in 2016 . these republicans have seen the writing on the wall . and are practically shoving mitt romney off the public stage. joining me now is melissa harris - perry host of the melissa harris - perry show here on msnbc and margie oh marrow. democratic strategies. thank you both for joining me tonight.
>> melissa , the romney comments have managed to doll what nothing else has, unify the republicans .
>> look, i guess i can say a couple of things. one, we already knew before this general election that republicans really did not like mitt romney . that was not, you know, if we can go back and remember the primaries they seem so distanced now but those republican primaries were ugly and bruising in a circumstance where mitt romney really was highly likely from the very beginning to be the nominee. so you have to ask why wasn't that ugly. in a certain way, i think you're seeing that same thing show back up that we saw during the primaries. but the second thing i would say and it goes back a little bit to the conversation that you were having about the issue of our president, president obama and his foreign policy efforts. what we have seen from the republicans in terms of them quieting their own discord during the election is that they are capable of being loyal when they feel like that loyalty is fundamentally important for reaching their goal. in this case, it was the goal of trying to defeat president obama so they lined up behind a candidate they didn't actually like. but they're unwilling to do it for our president on the foreign policy stage because there's still, despite the fact we're on the other side of the election, they're still battling this president.
>> now, margie , it can seems that the mr. romney , the former governor, is in denial. i mean, let me quote, give you a quote that he said on the call to donors. he says we are still having a hard time just contemplating what could have been versus what is and it just doesn't seem real. we're still in the stage of denial at my house. we still think the campaign is going on." what do you make of that?
>> i can appreciate ta that call was a difficult call for him to lead. undoubtedly. nonetheless, the comment that he made, the gifts comments is completely consistent with the 47% comment. it's consistent with paul ryan 's 30% comment. it's consistent not just a single comment here or there. the entire republican romney /ryan platform, the hot red rick, the makers versus takers language that we've seen from them. and this is really a gift for republicans , this gifts line because it allows them or gives them at least a first step to try and turn the age on the campaign.
>> melissa , it's not only former governor romney that seems to be in denial, some of the more renowned or influential republicans are in denial. when you look at the gop chairman rather of maine who worried about voter fraud because dozens of black people voted, let me show you what he said.
>> in some parts of the state, for example, in some parts of rural maine , there were dozens, dozens of black people who came and voted election day . everybody has the right to vote. but nobody in town knows anybody that's black. how did it happen? i don't know. we're going to find out.
>> i'm sorry.
>> he then went ahead to explain why he said this. watch his explanation, professor.
>> he's putting it up on screen. he says "i think we're the whitest state in the country. so if you go to the polls and see people who are black, it's unusual." there's nothing about me that would be discriminatory. i know black people . i played basketball every sunday with a black guy.
>> well, you have to wonder, resin al, where he thinks this black guy.
>> i'm not making this up. this is a quote.
>> and you've got to wonder, where does he think this black guy that he plays basketball came from? does he think he has a family and goes church and has a barber and has friends?
>> that is those dozens of black people who showed up. listen, that kind of unawareness, i think what you've done here is maekt exactly the connection that part of the denial that the romney campaign is feeling and look, i get the human part of that. i get the as we heard governor christie saying, it does sting to lose an election, especially one like the u.s. presidency . but that denial, that belief that they could win and then you know, hearing from maine we didn't know that there were black people who lived here basically.
>> other than the guy that plays basketball.
>> those things being connected i think are really connected in that they're part of the gop really failing to recognize what america is at this point. and this kind of like determination, this refusal to live anywhere other than a sort of 1950s version of what america used to be.
>> yeah. now, let me ask you. you are a political strategist, margie . tell me the political cost of all of this denial because in the middle of this, i mean, at one level it's sad. another level it's humorous. but in the midst of all of this, if they don't come to terms with the reality that america has changed, will they not marginalize themself and eventually not be a major party ?
>> i think the denial piece, look, having a tough time the first couple weeks after the election, i think that's understandable. i don't know if there's a long-term effect. but people expect politicians to argue amongst themselves and call each other names. they really don't want to see elected officials really speak so divisively and derisively about the electorate and say these voters who cares about them, they only wants gifts and they only want that. when you see people say, this was really about minorities, obama won because minorities turned out in record numbers and all voted for obama for whatever rainy, it's almost as if they're trying to invalidate the results. that's how it sounds to my ear. i think it sounds like that to a lot of other people, too. that in the long run isn't going to help their future goal of trying to woo some of those voters. i think chris christie and his comments and others are right that you need to ultimately be speaking to everybody in an inclusive way. that was why obama was able to expand the electorate in 2008 .
>> marjorie and melissa , thanks so much for your time. be sure to catch melissa harris - perry saturdays and sundays starting at 10:00 a.m . eastern time .
>>> ahead, it was a privilege and honor to meet with the president today. at the ran on fairness and he's about to deliver. reverend jim wallace was there with us. he joins me next. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. snug how on earth did mitt romney find out about the extraordinary bag of gifts that we got? something for everybody in this. oh. what did obama give us? oh,