The Last Word | March 04, 2013
>>> mitt and ann romney have been spending a lot of quiet time at home with their secret tax returns since the presidential election . this weekend they decided to take their nightly dinner table conversation why mitt lost to fox news. which means i owe the romneys a small debt of gratitude to the romneys for this first segment, serving it up on a silver platter.
>> good morning, y'all.
>> he is the worst republican in the country.
>> mitt romney sat down for his first interview.
>> my heart said we were going to win.
>> the great princess biline, mostly did.
>> i'm mostly over it.
>> i went through a number of my mistakes.
>> corporations are people, my friend.
>> i'm not concerned about the very poor.
>> any --
>> i'm speaking, i'm speaking.
>> had to be careful.
>> he still can't quite explain that 47% comment.
>> the enduring legacy of his campaign.
>> what i said is not what i believe.
>> not familiar with what i said, but i stand by what i said, whatever it was.
>> mitt romney .
>> i'm mitt romney .
>> was viewed by suspicion by conservatives in the last election.
>> can we drop a little bit of the pius bologna? the fact is, you ran in '894 and lost.
>> he is the worst republican in the country.
>> if mitt were there, we would not be facing sequestration.
>> sequester day.
>> shaking off a sequester hangover.
>> the two parties could not agree.
>> the sequester is now in effect.
>> i don't know whether it's going to hurt the economy or not.
>> are the two sides playing chicken with each other.
>> the president got his tax hikes. the president got his tax hikes. he got his tax hikes.
>> what about the next budget fight to avoid a government shutdown .
>> the president doesn't believe in manufacturing another crisis.
>> they won't do battle to fund the government. it takes the prospect of a government shutdown completely off the table.
>>> mitt and ann romney gave their first interviews since the presidential election , in which they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the best man won.
>> it was not just the campaign's fault. i believe it was the media's fault as well. is that he was not given -- being given a fair shake, people weren't allowed to see him for who he was.
>> mitt insisted that this was not who he really was.
>> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the people no matter what. there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government. so my job is not to worry about those -- i'll never be able to convince them they should take responsibility and compare for their lives.
>> yeah, it was a very unfortunate statement i made. it's not what i meant. i didn't express myself as i wished i would have.
>> just as he was trying to leave the 47% to take far behind him, mitt just couldn't resist this.
>> obama care was very attractive. particularly those without health insurance . and they came out in large numbers to vote.
>> the weakness that our campaign had, and i had, is that we weren't effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters. to hispanic americans , african-americans, other minorities, that was a real weakness. we did well with the majority of the population, not with minority populations, and that was a -- that was a failing. that was a real mistake.
>> why do you think that was?
>> well, i think the obama care attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated in -- particularly among lower incomes. and we just didn't do as good a job of connecting with that audience as we should have.
>> romney did resist the temptation to join the conservative chorus condemning chris christie 's praise of how president obama handled hurricane sandy.
>> chris did what he thought was best for the people of his state.
>> honest, as we sit here right now. do you wish he would have been a little less effusive in his support of president obama ?
>> i'm not going to worry about how chris was doing what he thought was best for the people of his state. i lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did.
>> joining me now, msnbc's krystal ball and steve kornacki. i want to play that last line of what he said.
>> i lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did.
>> krystal that's the whole story right there.
>> that is the whole story right there. he didn't seem to totally buy into that story. i mean, the truth is, he still can't explain his 47% comment. and in fact, it's because he still really believes that. and i think the obama care comment is so interesting, republicans for so long thought that obama care was the albatross that would be hung around the president's neck, it would be their key to winning the election. romney has decided that obama care was the golden goose that he was able to give all these gifts to minority voters and that was the key to victory. it was kind of a fascinating look at his psychology.
>> steve kornacki nothing in there about, well, gee, i guess i was wrong on tax policy , and maybe it wasn't so great to have these secret tax returns and cayman islands accounts and foreign accounts and all that stuff, that no one. we've never seen a presidential candidate in modern times , who didn't release their tax returns and had all these sleazy foreign accounts that he never explained. there are some unique factors about the romney campaign, that the two romneys don't seem to understand are unique to them.
>> well, romney did manage to -- win or lose , he did manage to get through the enfire campaign outputting out any more of his tax returns . i don't think he's going to start now. i do think we can talk about whether it's health care , 47%, whether it's the tax returns , all the wealth gaffes he committed in the campaign and the interview yesterday. he didn't help himself in so many different ways. one thing he didn't say, and i haven't heard republicans saying in the wake of the november election. is that actually, they spent two years of that campaign basically assuming they were going to win because the economy was going to be so bad, and no incumbent president could win with the economy in that condition. the thing they ignored for the entire campaign and they're continuing to ignore. most political scientists who looked at the 2012 campaign said, you know what, these economic conditions are probably favorable enough for the incumbent to get re-elected. the economy is actually growing, the unemployment rate is high, but it's not as high as it was a year ago. generally, it's not a great recovery by any means, the economy was moving in the right direction, and obama was favored to win that election pretty much all along.
>> let's listen to more of ann romney complaining about everything except the actual governing positions that were proposed by mitt romney in the campaign.
>> the thing that was frustrated to me is that people didn't really get to know mitt for who he was.
>> i'm going to pick up on that, there were reports that you and your oldest son tag were frustrated with the romney campaign, that they didn't let mitt be mitt. they didn't let him show his more open, compassionate side. true?
>> of course, it was partly true, but it was not just the campaign's fault, i believe it was the media's fault as well. is that he was not being given a fair shake. people weren't allowed to see him for who he really was.
>> david letterman invited mitt to come on the show and be mitt. and he was just refusing all sorts of opportunities like that.
>> even now, he still can't sort of be comfortable, be intro spective and let people in in anyway. if ann romney wants to blame the media at all. she should be looking at conservative media . conservative media allowed them and the republican party to delude themselves into thinking this president was so weak, he could be beaten by a toaster oven, and this was going to be a landslide. and deluded them into believing that the president was hated and they could run on this just anti- obama message without offering any of their own ideas and win. so to the extent that she wants to look in that direction, i think that would be a worthy place to place at least a little bit of blame on the media.
>> steve kornacki, you know who i think did the most important post election interview of a republican?
>> i think i know who this is going to --
>> ooh, ooh, i know.
>> it's mr. steve kornacki. gingrich as we know, can think, and every once in a while he's willing to do that, fairly, honestly, publicly. you got him to do it publicly. he said to you, among other fascinating things, i think conservatives got in the habit of talking to themselves to the extent to the degree which we believed the other side was kidding themselves. it turned out in the real world , we were kidding ourselves .
>> obviously, that's that whole echo chamber crystal was talking about, gingrich talked about in classic gingrich fashion, he came up with the 25 thesis and he gave them the 25 guiding principles he came up with for reforming the party in the wake of the election.
>> and some of them are sort of bashing washington. some talk more about reaching out to minority voters. nonwhite voters. one thing that he did mention to me in the interview was, how surprised he was on election day . i think he said like 5:30 he got calls with exit polls , and just -- he's sitting there with his wife, and they're seeing these numbers come in from all these different states. there's this sense of, we totally completely got this wrong, if you listened to gingrich in that interview, he said he thinks conservatives are more skeptical of their media outlets now. it is interesting to hear and be that introspective.
>> with the republicans speeding as fast as they can, away from mitt romney , let's listen to governor jeb bush this morning with matt lauer declining to rule out running for president.
>> i want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the republican party can regain its footing. we lost our way.
>> you clearly have not ruled out. you will not definitively rule out a run for president in the year 2016 ?
>> i won't, but i'm not going to declare today either, matt.
>> that is in effect a declaration of running for president?
>> yeah, he sure sounds like he's running. he definitely sounds like he's running. and the immigration plan that he released also shows some positioning for a republican primary , endorsing a path to -- not a path to citizenship, but just a path to legal status is a way to undercut some of the other republicans who have taken further to the left positions on immigration. so he definitely looks like he's positioning himself, although politically, i think he would have been a lot better off at this moment, just keeping his mouth shut on the whole thing.
>> krystal ball and steve kornacki, the man who got newt gingrich to tell the truth. thank you both very much.
>> thanks, lawrence.