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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 11, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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you know, ronny... folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? i'd say happier than a bodybuilder directing traffic. he does look happy. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. good evening. everyone. welcome to a special keeping them honest hour. we're focusing on the presidential campaign. specifically on the messages that the campaigns and their surrogates are putting out there. millions of dollars in campaign advertising. in recent weeks, more than 50,000 ads, and 97% of the ads were negative. only some of them stayed true to the facts. distorting fact from fiction takes more than 30 seconds or a minute it takes each spot to play. tonight, week taking some of the
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most factually challenged campaign spots and holding them up for a close examination. we're trying to figure out what is true and what is not. we begin tonight with a romney ad. >> in 1996, president clinton and a bipartisan congress helped end welfare as we know it, by requiring work for welfare. president obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. under obama's plan you wouldn't have to work or train for a job. they just send you your welfare check. and welfare to work turns back into just being welfare. >> you will hear from newt gingrich who defends that ad and makes a stunning admission of whether it's true to the facts. i want to show you how mitt romney is campaigning on the claims made in that ad. >> with a very careful executive action, he removed the requirement of work from welfare.
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it is wrong to make any change that would make america more of a nation of government dependency. we must restore and i will restore work into welfare. >> listening to that, the white house managed to undo all your elected representatives accomplished in the late '90s and welfare reform. you get the impression that the obama administration wants an america where some pay taxes and lazy americans collect welfare. and in case you missed the implications, romney's surrogate, newt gingrich, spelled it all out. >> i think on the hard left there is an unending desire to create a dependent america. it's not just the obamas, but the people he appoints are more radical. >> the campaign disagrees. they are not alone. a string of fact-checkers have blasted the ad as false. politifact gave it a pants on fire rating. the pants on fire rating weighed in with four pinnocchios when the white house and department
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of health and human services was doing was to give governors more flexibility to tailor the programs to their own states. these are changes requested by the republican governors in utah and nevada. but what about this claim? >> if president obama didn't want people to think he was going to waive the central work requirement and welfare reform, his administration shouldn't have written a memo saying they were going to waive the welfare reform. >> here's the relevant portion from that memo from the health and human services. i quote. hhs will only consider approving waivers relating to the work participation requirements that make changes intended to lead to more effective means of meeting the work goals. the administration is not trying to waive the work requirement. they are trying to make it less bureaucratic and more effective. precisely what those republican state governors have asked for. newt gingrich defended the ad. but later on in this interview, speaker gingrich also makes a surprising admission.
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i spoke with the former candidate a short time ago. mr. speaker, this ad said, and i quote, under obama's plan you wouldn't have to work or train for a job. they just send you your welfare check. according to every nonpartisan fact-checking organization, that is not clue. president clinton signed a law that you worked on said it's not true. even ron haskins, who worked on the welfare law, served as george w. bush's welfare adviser, said there is no plausible scenario in which it constitutes a serious attack on welfare reform. are they all wrong? >> the original developer of welfare reform worked with governor and president reagan. he was the first person to come out and say look, this will end welfare reform. his reasoning is straight forward. once you start allowing states -- this is why the law itself does not permit waivers. the president actually could not
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waive section 407 which says there can't be waivers to the work requirement. he fudged and found a way to get around it which i suspect will turn out to be illegal. governor mcdonald of virginia has come out and said this is clearly gutting welfare reform. the two governors that the obama administration is hiding behind from utah and nevada have come out and said that's not accurate. this is not what they want and not the flexibility they asked for. >> under obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work or train for a job. they just send you your welfare check. there is no evidence of that at all. >> given that this is an administration that maximized the increase in dependency and maximized the number of people on food stamps and the effort to get people to rely on the government, there is no evidence that once the waiver system is in place, you could rely on this administration to defend work. >> it would be up to governors as you said and according to the governors themselves, that is not their intention.
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you talked about utah governor gary herbert's office. put out a statement and they said utah's request for a waiver is from increased customization to maximize employment among utah's welfare recipients. that's almost word for word what the hhs is saying. hhs, acting assistant secretary of hhs said this is all about trying to create innovative strategies, flexibility, policies and procedures, designed to improve outcomes for needy families. they're basically saying the same thing, no? >> sure. and the question you have to ask is given the track record of this particular secretary of health and human services, given the general between liberalism and radicalism of obama appointees. and part of what led to this strong reaction on the part of a lot of conservatives and republicans, this came out in the same 48-hour period as the president's famous speech that you didn't build it. you were not responsible as a small business owner for what you achieved. it's almost as though he was
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psychologically attacking work and achievement at the same time he was shifting the regulations and candidly this is not an administration that you will find any conservative give the benefit of the doubt to. >> i have to come back to the wording of this ad. again, it's you should obama's plan. you wouldn't have to work or train for a job. they just send you your welfare check. that's not saying you assume this or we worry about this, but saying as a fact this will happen. that's not supported by evidence. >> if the admakers asked me, i would say this makes it possible would be a good way. >> you think the wording is not accurate and it is too straight forward? >> i think the ad -- this is a political ad. in 30 seconds you tend not to get all the various amendments and things. i'm here tonight to support the idea and i believe absolutely
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that this obama administration is filled with people who do not believe in the work requirement. as you pointed out, even when bill clinton signed the bill, half the democrats in the house, 101 representatives, voted no. barack obama was opposed to it as a state senator from illinois. it was a huge defense of dependency without work. you say to me, do i think all those people who opposed the bill would try to gut it if they get a chance, of course i do. >> if you were running this ad, you would change the words of the ad to at least say this, i worry about this or based on what i believe about the president and he will do this. >> if i were running the ad, it would be a tougher ad. i start by saying as the leading food stamp president in american history and the person who increased dependency more than anyone else and failed with child poverty. with the clinton and gingrich welfare plan, child poverty went down by 25%.
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the largest decline in child poverty is we had a work requirement and people went to work and school and their lives got better. my ad would have been tougher in seth up the conditions you are looking for. but it would have been a 60-second ad and i don't know who could afford that. >> well, i think you could have afforded it. i have to come back to this. it sounded like you were saying earlier and want to clarify this. you do think that the actual wording under obama's plan, you wouldn't have to work or train for a job. they just send you the welfare check. that is not factually correct? >> we have no proof today. but i would say to you, under obama's ideology it is true he would be comfortable sending people checks for doing nothing. i believe that totally. >> speaker gingrich, i appreciate you being on. thank you. >> thank you. our listeners on facebook. you can follow me at twitter or instagram. we are not taking sides, but a
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pro obama line that draws a line between mitt romney and a woman's death from cancer. i confront one of the men behind this ad, made by a pro-obama super pac. chances are, you're not made of money, so don't overpay for motorcycle insurance. geico, see how much you could save.
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we're focusing tonight, on campaign ads and campaign claims and the truth. not as one side or another side sees the truth. but the plain, old-fashioned truth. keeping them honest. we begin with a factually bogus
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romney ad. it features a laid off steelworker named joe soptic. >> i lost my health care and my family lost their health care. a short time after that, my wife became ill. i don't know how long she was sick. i think maybe she didn't say anything because she knew we couldn't afford the insurance. one day she became ill. and i took her up to the jackson county hospital. they admitted her for pneumonia. and that's when they found the cancer. by then, it was stage 4. there was nothing they can could do for her. she passed away in 22 days. >> that's a very sad story. keeping them honest, though. as sad and heart wrenching as the loss of a job and a spouse is, virtually nothing else about the story fits into the timeline and the facts. romney was ceo when the steel
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mill shut down and he left two years before to run the olympics. he was still listed as ceo and had a hand in how the company handled. he said his wife was ill a short time when romney closed the plants and it was bain health care. turns out it was years in 2006 when he wife unfortunately died. in addition, we spoke to mr. soptic and he said his wife had other health insurance. her primary insurance was from her own job. and she still had that when he lost his health insurance. with the romney ad, the fact-checkers are not smiling on this either. "the washington post" gives the same as romney's four pinnocchio. including, on every level this stretches the desenses. they are trying to distance themselves. press secretary, jay carnie, saying, quote -- i haven't seen the ad. i read about it and don't speak for the third party group. i speak for the president and the administration and i defend his policies. they went further than the white house spokesman and no ads done
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by priorities usa. she went on to say, we don't have knowledge of the story and the family. keeping them honest, the campaign should have some knowledge of joe and his family, because they used him in one of their own campaign ads earlier. >> i was a steelworker for 30 years. we're a reputation for quality products. something american made. we were not rich, but i was able to put my daughter through college. >> that was joe soptic in an earlier ad for the obama 2012 campaign. bill burton is a senior strategy for priority action. "the washington post" said about your ad on just every level this stretches the bounds of common sense and decency and independent fact-checkers say it's inaccurate. how can you imply that mitt romney and bain are to blame for that poor woman dying of cancer? >> my goodness, we don't and we would not. the fact-checks are saying
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that's what we are trying to do. and that's not the point of the ad. the point of the ad is to tell the story of the impact that mitt romney had on the lives of thousands of people. they lost their jobs and health care and pension benefits. that impact is felt still today in those communities. >> you spent. and you are a smart guy and had a lot of smart ad people in the group you are working with. half the ad is him talking about his wife's demise. and it ends with him saying i don't think mitt romney realizes what he has done to anyone. the implication is that he is responsible, or the actions he took led to his wife's death. >> the story is a very sad one. and the truth is that there thousands of stories that happened as a result of mitt romney and his time at bain. and some of them are really tragic. just because they are sad or tragic doesn't mean we should be off limits. it's important to tell the stories of the folks and how
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they were impacted by mitt romney. he put his business experience -- >> a woman dying, she had health insurance from her job after this man lost his job and she got an injury years later and lost her insurance. >> to say that, supposes that we are trying to link mitt romney with her tragedy? >> you claim and want people to believe you are not trying to link in any way even just subtly or not that there is a linkage between mitt romney and bain capital and business decisions he made and this woman's death? >> it would defy logic to do so. the point here is that, even to today, that community is completely worn down. the whole area and the factories they are abandoned. people don't have jobs and many folks still don't have health insurance. people who have jobs are getting paid much less. and the point is, mitt romney's business experience had a profound effect
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on the lives of thousands of people. and that effect is still being felt. that's what this ad is telling the story of. that's what all our ads tell the story of. >> okay. i don't want to go back and forth. but this ad told us a specific story, more than half of the ad is him talking detailed about his wife in a way that -- it's a sad story. but it jumps over and truncates time in a way that makes it seem like he got fired and she didn't have insurance which she did from her primary insurance. >> not at the time when she died. she had health insurance for a short time. >> because she lost her other job. >> ultimately when joe soptic needed health insurance for his family, health insurance that had been promised to him, by a contract that mitt romney helped to negotiate, he didn't have health insurance. >> under bankruptcy protection they were able to do away it. >> they voided a contract.
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>> that's bankruptcy law. >> they made plenty of money and all those workers got screwed. >> you can make an ad about that. but you are implying and i think any rational or nonpartisan observers look at this and say you are leaking this. or you would not put this in an ad. >> i actually think just the opposite. the rational thing to take away is how on earth you can possibly imply it? we're saying at a moment of true anxiety -- >> when you say how can you imply that, it's totally disingenuous. come on. you know that. >> i don't think that's true. >> appreciate you coming on to talk about the ad. thanks, bill. >> thanks, anderson. up next, donald trump's factually incorrect birther claims. do surrogates help candidates have it both ways? on controversial topics. we're keeping them honest.
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no hour with bogus campaign claims wouldn't be complete without a visit to birther land.
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mitt romney said he doesn't doubt obama was born in hawaii. but he's very publicly, and we might add, profitly, for his campaign coffers, supported the birther investigation by donald trump. investigation after investigation showing there is nothing to the birther story, mr. trump is not backing down. maybe he is just looking for attention. either way, the romney campaign has not backed away from mr. trump, since this controversy erupted several months ago. >> nothing's changed my mind. by the way, you have a huge group of people down the street who are screaming don't give that up. a publisher came out last week and had a statement about obama given to them by obama when he was doing a book as a young man a number of years ago, in the '90s, born in kenya and raised in indonesia. i mean this was a statement from obama. >> that's not true. the publisher said it was a typo. and for the record, president obama produced both a short and long form birth certificate showing he was born in hawaii.
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he made the long form version public in part to quiet mr. trump, who claimed to have investigators in hawaii on the case. when we sent gary tuckman to hawaii, he found plenty of evidence he was born there and no sign of mr. trump's investigators. i asked him about it months ago. we had a team in hawaii talking to everyone from the state health department to the school where obama's mother went to families in the hospital at the same time as when he was born. none of them said they have been contacted by anyone working for you. >> maybe they are not saying it and maybe they haven't contacted the same people. >> we interviewed the former director of the hawaii department of health, a republican, with a two-state official, who has seen the original birth certificate you're talking about in the vault. she said she hasn't been contacted by your people. isn't that someone they should talk to? >> i have been told that the birth certificate is missing. i have been told it's not there and doesn't exist. and if that's the case --
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>> who told you that? >> i heard that two days ago from somebody. >> can you name one person who your investigators have talked to? >> i don't want to do that. it's not appropriate. >> you can't say anybody? >> it's not appropriate. >> he never named names. or anything they found out. as for the missing birth certificate, it was released there after. missing, in quotes. as for mitt romney, he said, quote, i don't agree with all of the people who support me and my guess is, they don't believe in everything i believe in. donald trump is not just a romney supporter, but aiming to raise $2 million and hinted to wolf blitzer that he might personally donate millions more. he's also made robocalls for the campaign. up on the romney website, this picture of donald trump as uncle sam, on one of the old fashioned recruiting posters. the winner gets flown to new york for dinner with mitt romney and donald trump. he is clearly more than a run-of-the-mill supporter. could his support cause the romney campaign votes? polling shows what a trump
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endorsement would make one in four voters less likely to vote for romney. the governor said he needs 50.1% support to win and happy to have the help of, quote, a lot of good people. back to the remarks we mentioned at the top. he was talking about president obama's lack of business experience. listen. >> sometimes i just don't think he understands what it takes to help people. i know he wants to help, but he doesn't know what he's got to do. i was speaking with a business owner who own a couple of restaurants in town. and he said, you know, i would like to change the constitution and i'm not sure i can do it. but i would like a provision in the constitution, that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birth place of the president being set by the constitution, i would like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he can be president of the united states. >> joining me now is republican
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strategist and romney adviser, kevin madden. kevin, some people are looking at the comments that the candidate made tonight and saying that it was a dog whistle. and the fact that he would bring up the birth requirements in the constitution on a day where donald trump talked about birtherism with a dog whistle on the issue. fair? >> i don't agree with that. i think the governor was relaying a conversation that he had with the voter. the voter's emphasis was on the business experience. that's what governor romney is finding as he engages voters across the country. they are focused on the economy. they're focused on somebody who can turn the economy around. quite frankly, that is the entire focus of the message today. when he was out there in colorado. he was talking about the energy. he was talking about how important energy is to help sustain the economy and that region of the country. and how important the economy is and turning the economy around.
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>> he is holding this big event with donald trump and he is up on the website and out there talking about birther stuff. when a supporter said something crowd about then candidate obama to john mccain, he set the supporter straight. donald trump isn't just an ordinary supporter. he is clearly a surrogate. democrats are saying that the fact that mitt romney had not said donald trump is wrong and asked donald trump to stop promoting something that has clearly been proven false, shows romney doesn't have a backbone. that's what democrats are saying. does he have an opigation to set his surrogate straight? >> he has. >> you think he spoke to donald trump? >> governor romney made it clear that he disagrees with donald trump. and he disagrees with the emphasis on the issue. he believes that the reason that we need to beat president obama in november is because he hasn't done enough to fix the american economy. every time they had an event he talked about what it is that he would do to fix the economy. >> does he have an obligation to say something to donald trump?
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>> i think he has said it. i think he's said it clearly publicly. he sent a message time and time again that the focus of this campaign has to be the economy. >> you were saying it doesn't matter what surrogates say. when hillary rosen, a supporter of president obama who visited the white house said something about ann romney. the obama white house was very quick to distance themselves from her. and a lot of conservatives jumped on her as speaking for the candidate. so, isn't it fair, then, for democrats to do the same thing about what donald trump is saying? >> i think all the scrutiny is fair. the difference is that crystallized the debate about the economy and women's role in e workplace. the different visions that each party has for the economy. that was what really crystallized the debate. i don't think there a lot of people sitting at home with the
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unemployment and consumer confidence going down, not a lot of people are talking about the issue that the media is talking about and donald trump keeps bringing up. >> but it's not just the media talking about the birther stuff. in arizona they were demanding birth certificate from president obama to prove his citizenship to have him on the ballot there. there initiatives across the country since he has been in office. >> do you think right now that voters and that will drive what the main decision is on the campaign? i don't think so. over kitchen tables across the country, there is so much economic anxiety about the state of employment and the lack of jobs and people that have one are worried about losing it and people who don't can't find them. that's what the american people want to see debated. that's the focus that they want to see in the campaign. a lot of this is a distraction. >> i appreciate you being on. thank you. >> always great to be with you. when we come back, a trip across the aisle to the top democratic lawmaker.
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senate majority leader harry reid is from nevada, of course. and despite his mild manner, is a former boxer and known to enjoy landing a political punch. he has. the question is though, is it a cheap shot? reid has made and is standing by unproven allegations about romney and taxes, claiming that romney didn't pay any taxes for a decade. without the chips, the facts in this case, to back it up. governor romney reacted sharply to the claim. >> it's time for harry to put up or shut up. harry will have to describe who it is he spoke with. of course that's totally and completely wrong. it's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. it's wrong. i am looking forward to have harry reveal his sources. and we will probably find at the white house. >> he is offering no facts or evidence, just allegations and
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insinuations. before we go further, you should know we are not being partisan here. for weeks, we reported on michele bachmann and her house colleagues, making unfounded allegations about islamic radicals infiltrating the government making claims about the top secretary of state clinton. the standard should be no different than democrats and libertarians or anyone. allegations require extraordinary proof or any kind of proof. michele bachmann and company don't have ordinary proof and neither, so far, does senator harry reid. this began when mr. reid said a bain capital investor said harry said he didn't pay taxes for ten years. he went on. do i know that's true? well, i'm not certain. that was harry reid saying i'm not certain. so, you'd think that not being certain about the truth of an explosive allegation, you would keep it to yourself, right? well instead, senator reid, the highest ranking democrat in congress
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went further with some local reporters saying, quote, he had a number of people telling me that. it went from one person to now a number of people. and today he went even further. >> so, the word is out he hasn't paid any taxes for ten years. let him prove he has paid taxes because he hasn't. >> now, this is on the floor of the senate. he is now saying the word is out. the word is out because harry reid put it out. when what he hasn't put out is anything that anyone can check. not the name of his source or anyone. here's what john mccain said earlier. harry reid on the floor of the senate today reiterated this idea that mitt romney has not paid taxes for ten years. he said, and i quote, on the floor of the senate, so, the word is out he hasn't paid taxes for ten years.
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let him prove he has because he hasn't. he offered no proof at all about this. what do you make of this? is this politics and is it acceptable? >> first of all, i have known senator reid for many, many years. and occasionally he displays rather erratic behavior and to accuse somebody of doing something without a shred of proof that the allegation has any substance is really something i frankly don't understand. i think politics are tough. and i enjoy the give-and-take. but i think harry might have gone over the line here. >> let's bring in our panel. paul begala, who is advising the pro-obama super pac and republican strategist, mary matalin. you cannot defend harry reid on this, you can? >> you watch me. >> harry reid doubled down on this. he went on the floor of the senate and said well, it's out there that he hasn't paid for ten years. it's only out there because he
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said it two days ago without any evidence whatsoever. >> there is ton tons of evidence. the one release that he prettied up and turned -- >> evidence he has not paid taxes for ten years? >> evidence of tax avoidance. incredibly tax avoidance. >> that's not what harry reid said. >> they are pointing out this guy has an incredible history of tax avoidance. the shell corporation in bermuda, cayman islands and switzerland bank accounts and in bermuda. whatever that is. this guy goes to -- freshman philosophy. when you are confronted with something, you have limited information and you choose the simplest most obvious choice. what do you think it is? is he secretly owning the bunny ranch brothel? i don't. he is a man of extraordinary personal morality. he has impeccable moral character. i don't think he is like secretly owning liquor stores that sell to children or
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something. but i think he is a billionaire who doesn't pay taxes. i am trying to show it's the most logical explanation. people should like on the twitter machine. give me your ideas. what other reason is he hiding his taxes? >> mary? >> anderson, i will tell you -- >> we have lots of evidence. >> go ahead, mary. >> really? to answer paul's question, this is a fallacy logic. this is how they argue. they make the accused put the burden of proof on the accused. do you really think and does this pass the smell test that this man would have been governor and running for president for years that he has all of his money? yes, he has a lot of money and he is an american opportunity inspiration. he would be doing something
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illegal? they called him a felon. the sad thing is harry reid is not some goofball pincher. he is the democratic senate majority leader. doesn't that give -- if i were a democrat, that would give me great pause that majority leader in the senate is behaving like eugene mccarthy or the other mccarthy. >> it just seems hypocritical to me. when louis gomer went on the floor and said that some unnamed former fbi agent told hithat middle eastern women were coming to the united states pregnant to have babies and taking them back to the middle east to raise them for 20 years as terrorists so they could then come back as american citizens and attack us 20 years from now. and he had sources on this and we didn't call the fbi, they said we never heard of this. we asked for evidence, he wouldn't give us any.
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what is the difference between that lunacy and what harry reid is saying? >> what gomerposited, is ipsio facto crazy. reid is the most logical simplest explanation for why this man who is obviously burning with desire to be president is hiding his tax returns. he knew or should have known getting into this it's not pleasant perhaps. but the guys and women at the presidential level, they all have to relax tax returns. >> i tell you we know he paid $6 million and $7 million in contributions. may i? quit imitating james. it's this. the obama imperative is to distract. he can't run on his record. they announced they will destroy romney. this is a distraction. he put out two. if he put out four, he would ask for six. if they put out six, they would ask for ten.
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jon stewart said he played the dead card. his father would be embarrassed? what happened to your party, paul? >> romney has the evidence and we can't see it. he is choosing the most sensible explanation for a puzzling political thing. why is romney feeding this distraction? why? there is something he doesn't want us to see. i have been in this for 28 years. when politicians don't disclose their taxes, it's because they can't. >> we have to end it there. before people say i'm supporting romney on this. my point is simply for any sitting member of congress or the senate, republican or democrat or whatever party, to be making allegations about somebody without offering any evidence whatsoever, i think seems a troubling precedent and it surprises me that more people are not upset about it whether it's this or bachman making allegations against the infiltration of the muslim
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brotherhood without presenting direct evidence. we have to leave it there. thank you. what's the strategy behind these lies by the obama and romney camps? we'll dig into that when this keeping them honest special continues.
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you're keeping them honest special continues. as we have shown you this hour in the battle for the white house, both sides are using campaign ads that are light on facts. what's the strategy? does it help or hurt the campaigns. john king, political correspondent, candy colely crowley, who is the anchor of the state of the union and "the washington post." mitt romney had an interesting observation yesterday. i want to play it for our viewers. >> you know it's interesting too when the various fact-checkers look at some of the charges in the obama ads and say they are
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wrong and inaccurate. and yet it keeps on running them. you know in the past when people pointed out that something was inaccurate they pulled the ads and they were embarrassed. today, they just blast ahead. >> the interesting thing is he and his supporters were just as much if not more guilty the obama reference is they were focusing on the super pac by the romney campaign. is this sort of argument par for the course? or worse than usual this year? >> first of all, i think it's amazing that he can remember a time when campaigns pulled ads that were deemed to be wrong. i can't remember one of those times. okay. i'll take him at that. first of all, i think there a lot more watchdogs out there. in this campaign. >> we know about it more. we pay more attention? >> we're do know about it more and pay more attention to it. the rise and the television advertising has been out there for a while. but now it's almost a campaign unto itself.
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we talk about the money. and certainly we talk about the content. there so many people watching these ads now. i'm not sure there is more. but there are more ads. numerically, they are earlier. and there are more. they went negative earlier and not just stretching the truth, but lie being stuff. that happened so much earlier than i have seen. >> because of the power of the super pacs and the money involved, they took it to a new level. >> they're taking it to a whole, new level. more advertising in many key markets around the states, anderson. last july there wasn't the final month of the campaign in 2008. when it's at a new level, the super pacs say hey, that's proven to be wrong. they shrug and say the other guys are doing it, too. the other guy is robbing a bank so you can. the other guy is cheating on a test so you can. it numbs you a bit. they believe -- the obama side needs to disqualify romney. there's no question about that. they are running these things
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this particular ad you're talking about, i asked bill burton, will you take it off the web? it's never been on paid tv. and he said no. >> romney's favorability numbers have taken a tumble. the false attacks. is it possible they do more damage to him because he is more unknown? >> that's what the obama campaign and his supporters are betting. they are looking at 2004. you saw in that campaign bush really moved to define john kerry very early and he ran ads in march. this campaign has started in may. and almost -- a lot of what we've seen has been negative. the thing about negative ads is they've always been around. and they also often work. what you are seeing particularly now in august is that each of these campaigns is trying to generate some feeling among their base. among those voters because if you generate a feeling or moral outrage and anger, those are the feelings that prompt people to act and actually donate and
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start knocking on doors and mobilizing behind the candidates. so, that's what you're seeing. these campaigns really trying to grab people by will the collar and get them to feel and act. >> that's behind the expenditure by the obama campaign early on. to find his opponent early on. >> yes. president obama and people have gotten used to him. he has been on tv every day. he has a record now and the white house is much more difficult to redefine president obama. i think what's interesting to me, the obama or the romney campaign knew this early on. they admitted that the idea of making people dislike president obama was not going to happen. what they wanted it do was make people like mitt romney. the negative ads, i agree they were aimed much more at mitt romney getting his base activated than trying to drive
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down president obama's favorability. the really key question now though is whether mitt romney at this point can come back and use the big opportunities he is about to get to define himself a positive way and bring up the likability. >> do you think he can do that? >> there is no question the obama allies have done the most damage. they hurt mitt romney and they are most effective and there more of them in many of the key markets around the country. they are winning, if you will, in terms of moving the numbers with negative ads. some happen to be reprehensible. can mitt romney change things? of course, he can. we have a lifetime left in politics. the vice presidential role will be a part of it. he has to work on the economic plan and convince people he will fight for the middle class. the damage that has been done in the spring and the summer said he is a rich guy, he's hiding his taxes, he doesn't care about you and the community.
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it's a steep hill. that's a scar the obamas have put on him. he will own the second half of august. he has a big opportunity to do that. the question is, can he? are they up to the challenge? >> thanks very much. we'll be right back. well that was uncalled for. uhh... mr. gallagher. incoming!!! hahaha! it's wasteful. you know jimmy. folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico sure are happy. how happy, ronny? happier than gallagher at a farmers' market. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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there is a lot more we are following tonight. we have the "360 bulletin." >> anderson, the lebanese militant group had iran continuing to pose a terror threat. that's according to the state department's counterterrorism
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coordinator. the feedback comes as the u.s. treasury places more sanctions on hezbollah, for support of the syrian government. across syria, opposition groups say at least 160 people were killed by government forces. they say most of the deaths happened in aleppo, syria's largest city. the ohio man arrested for bringing guns, ammo and knives to the latest batman movie said he had the gear for protection. he feared an attack like the colorado theater shooting spree. police say the items were found in a bag smith was carrying last saturday night. after a two-year legal battle, anti-muslim cries of not in my backyard, a new mosque opened in tennessee today. security is tight, with fears of vandalism and arson. and a dramatic rescue at sea, caught on video. this 49-year-old fisherman was forced to tread water for 20