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Chris Matthews started Hardball with Chris Matthews this evening discussing the Romney campaign's gaffe today, that has been lighting up the Internet, including here at Dailykos with diaries like RedState in Panic: This May Be The Moment That Just Cost Romney The Election. Another RedState editor tweeted:

Matthews discussed this latest problem with Democratic Strategist, Bob Shrum, and John Heilemann, a journalist for New York Magazine. Chris Matthews made the comment, "We have no idea what he believes 'cause what he says is no guide to what Mitt Romney believes." To which Bob Shrum responded:

Well, that's certainly true. Although, if he wins this election, he would be, as Grover Norquist says, a pen who would have to sign the things that were sent to him by the Republicans in Congress. He wouldn't risk as we've seen him in the cynicism of his 2012 campaign, he wouldn't risk a primary challenge in 2016 by going against it. But, you know the real problem here, aside from the lack of a strategy? The real problem is that when you run as someone you're not, it's hard to keep straight who you're supposed to be. And every once in a while, the real you comes out. Romney instinctively says the wrong thing. In this case, he probably said the right thing on the merits, but it's wrong for him politically.
Chris Matthews then made the observation, that it's the "best case for telling the truth. You can be consistent. Just keep telling the truth." Ah, but if Mitt Romney had told the truth during the primaries, he wouldn't be the presumptive Republican nominee. And if he starts telling the truth now, he would absolutely lose the Republican base.

John Heilemann then observed, that in addition to his problem telling the truth, Romney made another tactical error.

I'd actually just go a little further. I mean, it's obviously true that they're an extraordinarily tactical campaign, and that's gotten them in trouble on a lot of different areas, but these aren't even good tactics. This is a tactical error. You would think at a minimum you could get the tactics here right. This is ... I agree he has strategic problems, and he has core government philosophy and ideological problems, but this just like Campaign 101. And To make this kind of unforced error this late in the campaign, when there's not as much pressure as there's going to be in September and October, I just think it bodes very badly for them what the Fall holds.
It certainly makes me look forward to seeing more gaffes from Romney in the Fall. That was the most entertaining and informative 10 minutes of television I've seen so far today. It blatantly pointed out that Mitt Romney is nothing but a liar, and the more lies he tells, the more he gets tripped up in his message. I'm sure Romney is longing for the days before the Internet and instant reporting of everything he says and does going viral. He was just born in the wrong decade. He would be a much more comfortable and successful candidate if he was running in the 1950s, which is where he wants to take our country back to with the extremism he his promoting.

Update: Wow! MSNBC is on fire tonight. The Ed Show followed Hardball, and Ed Schultz started out with a justified rant about the gaffe today:

This is why the story of someone like Joe Soptic is so very powerful. The conditions leading to his wife's death were brought on by a system that did not account for the most vulnerable among us in this society who lose their jobs and don't recycle back into the economy at the same level. Barack Obama himself has told this story before from a very personal level.
Video of President Obama: When my Mom got cancer, she wasn't a wealthy woman and it pretty much drained all of her resources.

Video of Michelle Obama: She developed ovarian cancer, never really had good consistent insurance.

As of 2014, all Americans will have access to affordable health care in this country. Mitt Romney, he wants to get rid of that.

Joe Soptic's story is not about character assassination. It's a real life story. Joe and his family, they're not alone. There's a lot of Soptics out there in America and that's what the Republicans are in denial about. This election will decide whether there will be more stories like Joe and his family, or fewer.

And I think for media people out there across the country to get on their high horse and say, "Well, the Obama team, they need to disavow themselves from this ad." Really? No, they need to embrace it. This is what's happening across America to workers who lose their jobs thanks to the vultures at the top who want to make more profit. We have got a culture in this country now where we treat workers like furniture. We just move them around, and when we get rid of them, we just get rid of it. Let me tell you something folks. This is what this election is all about. This is what Barack Obama's presidency has been all about. To get more people covered so that the Soptic story is not common place in America.

Wow! I can't wait until Rachel Maddow's show starts. Something tells me this is going to be a third home run on MSNBC tonight.

Update II: And MSNBC is three for three tonight. Rachel picked up the ball and ran with it, adding to the points made on Hardball and The Ed Show. Rachel also reviewed the Romney campaign's gaffe over the Soptic ad. Replying to the video of Andrea Saul appearing on Fox News this morning, saying "To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts under Governor Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care," Rachel, with a surprised look on her face, said:

Yes! Right, that is true. But they were not in Massachusetts, and so ... tragic outcome. If only something like Massachusetts health reform was in place for the whole country, right? With its individual mandate, and its government subsidies, and everybody having insurance. It would be awesome if there were health reform like that for the whole country, instead of just in Massachusetts. Right. So implicitly the message is, elect the guy who wants to do that; the guy who wants heath reform for the whole county and not just the guy who thinks that should only be in Massachusetts. Reelect President Obama, everybody. Do not vote for the guy who would repeal national health reform and leave it only in Massachusetts. Reelect President Obama. Four more years. Do not vote for Mitt Romney, says the Romney campaign chief spokesperson.

If there's one thing the Mitt Romney for President campaign should be good at talking about by now, it is this issue. This is an issue they really should not be screwing up. They are trying to run against health reform when their candidate is the health care reform governor. Sensitive subject.

Rachel went on to explain that Romney is desperate to get back the enthusiasm of the Republican base from the primary season. She showed several clips from the 20 debates showing the base happy and cheering. Romney wants that back! He's desperate to get that back. This was the purpose behind sending out Newt Gingrich as official campaign spokesperson this morning to talk about President Obama and welfare because, as Rachel said tonight,
The Republican primary was exciting. It was riveting. And a lot of the time it was ridiculous, and those things are not unconnected. But, exciting, and exciting was the point. And you sort of had to sympathize with Mitt Romney during the primary process because here is was, the favorite, trying to be a serious candidate being taken seriously as a potential serious American president.

But he had to make the case from a stage where he stood along side this transfixing cartoon cast of so surreal caricature of what used to maybe be the Republican party, if somebody were writing it up in fiction from a not particular sympathetic perspective. And now that Mitt Romney has got the nomination, he has a problem. Which is that yeah, he's got the nomination, but audiences who were tuning in for that cartoon reality show, they are not tuning in for the Mitt Romney serious candidate straight man act. So the Romney campaign apparently now feels like it needs to chase the interest and the enthusiasm and the almost rabid investment by those Republican debate audiences in the fate of the campaign. They need to chase that enthusiasm that really nobody has seen on the Republican side since the primaries ended.

Don't you just admire Rachel's command of the English language? And, in addition to Newt Gingrich, the Romney campaign is also bringing back Rick Santorum and Donald Trump in their effort to get the base excited again. Here's the video from the entire segment. I'm just not up to transcribing the whole thing tonight. I think I've given you some of the choices pieces, though: (1) Reelect President Obama. Four more years. Do not vote for Mitt Romney, says the Romney campaign chief spokesperson.; and (2) from a stage where he stood along side this transfixing cartoon cast of so surreal caricature of what used to maybe be the Republican party.

Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, the gaffe over the Priorities USA Action ad of Joe Soptic dominated everything. (Well, I didn't watch Fox News, so maybe they were carrying Romney's water today.) Poor, poor Mitt Romney. He's not used to not being in control of the world around him. He's used to being a big fish (albeit in a small pond), and now that he's swimming in the ocean, he's just having a terrible time adjusting. Poor, poor Mitt Romney has had another very, very bad day. There have been a lot of them lately. The other day Talking Points Memo posted a timeline of Mitt Romney’s Worst Month Ever. Looks like Romney is on track to make August the worst of the worst months. I wonder what September and October will hold?

Update III: And finally, Alex Wagner guest hosted The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, and started the show out with video of Ann Coulter going off on Mitt Romney's campaign, demanding that Andrea Saul be fired. Alex also reviewed other reaction to Saul's gaffe, confirming that today was Mitt Romney's worst day, ever! And we thought #Romneyshambles after the overseas trip was bad. Who knew just coming back to the U.S. would provide us with such a day of wonder! Wow!

I almost forgot ... Mr. Romney, We the People still want you to show us your taxes!

We The People

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