From Hardball Oct. 16, 2009. Pat Buchanan cites the Willie Horton ad as one of the reasons the "Tea Party people" liked George H.W. Bush and says it hit one of their "themes". When Matthews points out the overt racism in the ad, Buchanan back tracks and tries to say the ad had nothing to do with race, but only with turning murderers loose on weekend passes.
Pat Buchanan must think most MSNBC viewers have no idea who Lee Atwater is.
MATTHEWS: Pat, I have heard that some of the people that you`re in touch with on the right, the people -- the Tea Party people, they began to get disillusioned with the Republican party, as you did, I believe, personally, when Bush came in, Bush I came in. They don`t think he was one of them culturally, ideologically, whatever.
BUCHANAN: It wasn`t when he came in, Chris, because he had a lot of support from conservatives. He beat Dukakis by running -- remember those ads, the flag thing, Willie Horton and all that? He hit all these themes that hit these people when he won. When we broke with him and Perot broke with him, he was a big spender. He was adding regulations. He had a quota bill in. He had all these different bills, legislation. He was working with the Congress.
He became a man of the city of Washington, D.C. And these folks are anything but. At one point when I was running in may of 1992, Chris, Perot was leading in the polls, a three-way race with Clinton and Bush. He had 40 percent. That`s who these folks are.
MATTHEWS: If Perot hadn`t proven he was a bit off the beam, he might have went down better. But didn`t you just make a mistake there, Pat? You said, as long as he was against Willie Horton, he was OK with the Tea Bag guys. A lot of people thought that Willie Horton thing smacked of tribalism?
BUCHANAN: Willie Horton was, in fact, a big Massachusetts liberal, turning murderers loose on weekend passes. He`s nuts. If it would have been Charlie Manson, they would have said the same thing.
MATTHEWS: Pat, clinically, you`re right. But that Shroud of Turin picture -- that Shroud of Turin picture of Willie Horton had an aspect to it that went to criminal justice. Let me go to -- and responsible justice.