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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 1, 2012 8:15pm-9:00pm EDT

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a lot of those people became criminals in the in the internet jury because they could flee the government selected as of the exploits as well as the mountain meadows massacre which is an 87 documentation of kansans murdered in utah on the way to california. this is a very key photograph. jane kaput the photographs and was particularly again interested in the 19th century the civil war in particular. these are to friends, union and confederate who knew each other prior to the civil war and fought against each other in 1862 triet he can out alive and remained friends after the war and here they are at age 107 on the porch talking about the old days. the university obtained the collection in 1985 from the
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arkansas gazette foundation and the patterson family high school daughter married into the patterson family and that is why the gift came from both. it was a large collection. it is the largest private collection of arkansas material to come to any university in the state and we're very pleased to have it. but coming up next, david corn because the inner workings of the obama administration from the 2010 midterm election. the present day. he spoke with administration officials to gain insight into the operations of the oval office and details the events that shape the political landscape over the last two years including the arab spring, the killing of osama bin laden and debates over taxes and the debt ceiling. david discusses his book and takes national phone calls and e-mails and rmt on the morning
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program washington journal. thisrn is about 40 minutes. state want to welcome back to guese and author david corn. showdown is the title of the book. idy did you write this?ns >> i werote it to really explaie what was going on inside the obama white house and what was probably one of up with the midm 2010 electionshen you the house democrats had just lost 63 seats. the republicans had taken over the house. john boehner was coming in as speaker. the bank terminus announces in the -- advances in the senate. people were starting to write off the obama president the bush presidency after what seemed to be a promising start. i was lucky enough to talk to people in the white house, obama's inner circle, and sort of chronicle what came after
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that. in the lame-duck session, then the very up and down year we had in 2011 with the budget fight and the debt ceiling fights, but of course things like egypt, libya, bin laden raid, which i think set up the campaign. this is sort of a pre-campaign book in ways that examines the with the president was thinking and how he was seeing his own presidency and how he was seeing things as he was trying to tee up is very decisive 2012 election. host: the book "showdown." you brought that bill clinton. this morning, the was a biography back in the 1990's, has the roots of two presidents, born on august 15 years apart at opposite ends of the baby boom generation. bill clinton in 1946. barack obama, 1961.
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both came into the world under circumstances which made it surprisingly unlikely that either boy would grow to be president of the united states. one sentence i will respond to -- among the characteristics, the young clinton and obama shared, a competitive will. guest: as far as i understand it, david is writing a book about the young barack obama. he is an expert on that. what i found in doing this book was the image we have a barack obama the we get from the media, from interviews and from observing, is a little different than the true barack obama. i do think -- he has gotten a bad rap from being a bad negotiator, equivocating, looking for compromises. but i do think he has this fierce competitive well, which is tempered by a real pragmatic streak. the sort of burden of office in terms of government responsibly. so there are times when he is in
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deep sort of try to cut the best deal and not looking for the big fight. there are other times when he is willing to throw the dice. a good example is on the bin laden raid. i tell the story in the book that on thursday, the thursday before the raid, which was on a sunday, there was the last meeting of his national security advisers. a very small circle of people knew about this. the cia, previously told the meant there was a 60%-80% certainty the guy in the compound was bin laden. they have given the information to a separate team. they went to the intelligence and said, you know what? we think it is only 40%-62% chance. it got a lot of people in the room nurse wondering if they should go ahead. as joe biden has says publicly, he was against it as was bob
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gates. some people wanted a missile strike from the distance. a minority of the advisers in the room favor of the helicopter strike because everyone else thought it was too risky. the intelligence did not bear going through this. he said, i am going to do this. he said there is a 50/50 chance. one of his aides later said, people do not always see this and the president, but he is like the athlete that at the end of the game, he wants the ball with 20 seconds left in his one attack the half-court shot because he is confident and fears in that way. i think you'll see this on the campaign trail. he is a fierce and vigorous candidate. i think what he draws the line and puts up his dukes, he is released and it to win it. that does not always come through and you have what he would call hostage situations, where he had to cut deals with boehner and mcconnell on the budget and debt ceiling in order
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to forestall a government shutdown or financial crisis. i think when he has the space and the political opportunity to do so, he does relish a good fight. you saw that with the payroll tax cut. host: our first look inside the book "showdown." you point out a former obama white house aide put it this way -- bill clinton every day of his life got up thinking, what is the best argument today to the republicans? guest: and it went on to say, he gets up every morning thinking how i can get boehner to see it my way. he does want to get the consensus. another aide told me he is very progressive and idealistic in his principles about what he would like to see, what he wants to and towards. but he is very pragmatic and how to get there. he is willing to go back and
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forth when the wind is against him, as a sailor would put it, to get to his northstar. in that way, he does not relish the fight. in some ways he is an odd combination of qualities. people sometimes do not feel they have -- do not know how to put their thumb on him. he has these very idealistic ames, which is were others would cheer, but a very pragmatic view of the world and how you achieve things either incrementally or by cutting the deals. i think it is hard to convey the grand ideas. we saw this with health care. when you're in the mud it tried to wrestle with the details, to get some form of consensus. but there was a great tennis. after the debt ceiling deal, use all the jobs package introduced, he adopted a much more populous and confrontational stance because he came to the realization -- some might say lake -- that finally, you could
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not cut a deal with john boehner because john boehner could not control or speak for entirely his own caucus. therefore, he had to take the fight to the public and say, listen, there are two divisions and to the sets of values. use the voters are going to have to decide. host: george w. bush called it a something and barack obama called the 2010 elections a shellacking from the bookie right -- guest: the explanation they give for the first two years is they were so busy and overwhelmed with countering crises and dealing with policy matters and health care and the stimulus and all that that they're really sort of dropped the ball on
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defining these issues. kind of thought by showing their getting a lot done in making congress work, even though it was a partisan fashion, that that would reflect well in the republic -- public would see that. after the election of 2010, they realize the made a mistake. then they got sucked into a budget fight that ran about twice as long as they expected. in the debt ceiling fight for it in each instance, they really believed -- in the debt instance, they believe if they took a stand and the government shutdown, or even worse, a financial implosion worse than in greece, that we would have a double-dip recession. the first and foremost obsession was to prevent any more economic harm, and they got stuck in these situations where they were arguing about debt and spending cuts and things that
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did not allow them to push their grander winning a future message the president put out in the state of the union. then after that all cleared, there were able to spend more time messaging on the jobs bill and so on when they thought the gun was not to the head any longer. i think if you look at the poll numbers now, you can see on messaging, the kind of pulled ahead in a lot of ways than the republican party. host: butler, tennessee, republicans david corn line with. caller: i am what you call an eisenhower republican. i am an old man, a lot older than all of you and even corn. guest: i am not so old. caller: i have been around a lot
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more than you have, is what i'm trying to say. i am a republican, but i do not recognize the republican party today. it is not the republican party. the democrats remind me of a case, the old saying, why do bring a knife to a gun fight? they have always struck me that way. i believe in obama because he is the most intelligent man out there. i know that for a fact. why theon't understand democrats ain't bringing this point of? to me, you are lame. guest: i feel your disappointment. i do think in the coming months you will see, as i said earlier, a fierce campaign waged
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by obama. just as a small example, in the last day or so, the obama campaign has embraced the obamacare label applied to the health care initiative that their foes have used. in talking to his top campaign strategist, i really believe they think they can win a lot of the health-care fight that will come up during the campaign, particularly with mitt romney as the candidate. but they will say, listen, you can get free colonoscopies, your kids can stay on our plans, you cannot be thrown off because of her previous condition or you have hit the maximum amount of health care coverage from your insurance company. i think they saw the democrats in 2010 ran away from this because they feared the way was been defined by the right. they have a vision of being able to take this head on and at
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least five to a draw on this or win. i really think watching of applying basketball, as we talked a few moments ago, he is a competitive purses -- person. he will do what it takes to win -- and i do not mean that in a negative way. host: them to get your reaction from the washington post article. rick santorum winning compared to mitt romney. pointing out the win in illinois, mitt romney's when, some in some as the likely nominee. do you see any scenario in which rick santorum could take as always to the convention? guest: if aliens land. no, i think he can take it to the convention. i think newt gingrich and ron paul and ticket to the convention. they can keep running to pick up a few delegates here and there. i think it is unlikely absent
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something completely unforeseen that one of these guys can get to the convention with more delegates than mitt romney. i think the only question with this possible breach is whether they can keep mitt romney below 50% of the delegates. host: and you can see the delegate count. guest: it is a pretty big gap. the mitt romney campaign is right with the barack obama campaign was right bunker 2008. it is hard to argue with math. unless something totally unforeseen happens, he is on the path to get there. the fact is losing seven primaries to rick santorum, i don't think as much bearing on the general election. there are states that will go for the republican candidate no matter who it is, even though it is mickey mouse.
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no one will win illinois because that is obama's home state. the fact santorum did so poorly there, is a much better indicator of what will happen in the fall if he becomes the nominee. host: a piece that connects mitt romney with ted kennedy, this photograph of mitt romney as governor of massachusetts son in the health care bill. the headline "kennedy's influence haunt romney's career." sang, tried to distance himself , mr. romney cannot escape senator kennedy's influence. guest: i did a piece in "mother jones" in the past for the found video ofi the bill signing ceremony. and it, mitt romney just praises ted kennedy profusely for the health care initiative. i answer -- i am sure she
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mentions that in this article. i am stunned that newt gingrich's campaign and a santorum's campaign have not used that in a commercial attacking mitt romney. pirelli is every conservatives nightmare to see mitt romney standing next to ted kennedy and acting like the best of friends. it is just part of this albatross that mitt romney has around his neck during his campaign. >> back to the book. utah, the so-called cable chatter. you're right -- guest: the guy is human. he knows what is going out
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there. he read and pretension to this stuff before he was elected to the white house and understands the importance, but a lot of interviewers have cost me, did anything surprise you when you did this book? i would not call it surprise. one thing that kantor over and over, the president has a lot of internal confidence in his long range vision, long-term ambitions and goals. he is constantly encouraging those around him not to be buffeted by the cable dispute of the nanosecond and sort of take the hits. an example in the book when the white house does something they know is going to drop a bad headline in the short run, but they think there is a long-term policy of political a drainage to doing this. the president -- the chief
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adviser, they sort of like to keep their eye on a long game. they say, okay, take a deep breath. we know the press coverage is going to be bad. let's not go running around it. rahm emanuel was more plugged into that and more concerned about the political moment of the moment. sort of an interesting way to govern. it shows a bit of a gap between what you and i who cover this day in and day out focus on, and what you as a leader, as the president, how you to think about what you're doing. host: good morning, atlanta. caller: good morning. what i would like to say is this, grover norquist has more than one aspect. he has a policy where he is not one to let the democrats another
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democrat. this is why you have of republican policies in place, medicare part c, the policies that mess up the post office and things. and also, this is what the democrats are not kidding their tax policies through. 3784 miss -- 378 former congressman are lobbyists. 43% who left congress are on k street. this is a problem. when democrats tried to put tax policies through, you have a very small group, what ever they does, they always vote against it. the democrats, they need to primary a small amount of these people. they could have got the public option through an could get the tax policy through. we're in republican policies. i will be clouded by nor book
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tomorrow. guest: thank you for buying the book and thank you for your question. there is a lot about the internal democratic conflicts in your comment. people have very strong reactions to the tax cut compromise that the president cut in the lame duck session when basically conceded and allow the bush tax cuts for the wealthy to extend for two years. but in return, he got what was a mini stimulus, the unemployment benefits would continue, things republicans basically had held hostage. i think was a tough decision to do that. but the end of the day, he won from a policy perspective, and had a greater impact on the economy which is good for politics and americans. in the whole fight, even remember there were a lot of democrats and progressives on the hill who wanted him to take
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it to the republicans and just have a standoff on that. i have a lot in the book about that. one reason they did this, the white house came to a calculation if there was a fight and a showdown on this, they would lose and perhaps enough democratic votes to lose overall. on a cup -- tough tax cut. so he felt like he was not meeting a unified party on this and amid a difficult. i think over the years there has been more corporate wing of the democratic party, more liberal progressive wing. they have clashed. in this instance, and it hard for the president to come out and have a tough stance to the republicans because he was not sure his own party would back him up. host: our guest is on david corn author from "shutdown."
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this is the president and brought a 2011. he is on the phone with speaker john boehner with a football in his armed and wearing a black berry. guest: that was the night we almost had a government shutdown, when the budget fight was coming to a head. throughout the whole day -- it was very dramatic. jack woo was then head of the budget office and did not know whether the government would shut down or not. at the end of the day, he is on the phone with the hill with the chief legislative 5 negotiating, and on another line with people riding the government and dictating memos on how to do government shutdowns. that night the president was walking around from office to office with his jacket off and carrying a football, trying to figure out what was happening as the work cut in the last deal. the deal was sort of put
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together midafternoon, but it was not until closer to 10:00 at night that boehner's office finally said, ok, and shook hands. no one knew what was happening. it was really -- it was one of the cruiser moments i think in government dysfunction because it was just -- a concern six months of spending. there were more -- there were never more than a couple billion dollars apart. there were hung up on the planned parenthood issue. every time it would have a deal, they would going to meetings after boehner in the president had met, the negotiators would meet on capitol hill and all of the sudden the deal would unravel and it would have to renegotiate all over again. it was a very tense moment. one reason it was so tense for the white house is because they believed if the government shutdown, it could really have a terrible impact on the economy. they were willing to do almost anything to prevent that from happening. host: another photograph from
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your boat. explain. guest: he is visiting the martin luther king memorial that had just opened. i love this shot. i cannot take any credit for pictures in the book. there were all taken by the white them. that was a great shot showing what must have been a great and contemplated moment for the president. when i was there and he made it a point to show off that there was a bust of martin luther king in the room. he also has a program from the i have a dream speech. he gave him a framed copy. he has set up. on the floor of the oval office
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there was a rug with his favorite sayings woven in. one was that the art -- art of history tends to bend towards justice. in the book i note that he is often in the room trying to come up with compromises that he thinks will advance his principles. but he is surrounded by these totems of martin luther king, which do not advocate a political compromise. it is an interesting juxtaposition. >> one of our viewers has this point on our twitter page -- >> yes, he worked on it and a lot of democrats were not in favor of the bill and now a lot of republicans are not in favor of that bill.
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there were unfunded mandates for some. president obama has revisited it. even here other republican candidates bashing away at it. >> california, good morning, welcome to the program. >> the republicans won the 2010 elections by doing the same policies they had been doing since reagan. this trickle-down does not work and it has put us in the position we are in. this policy is what has created the massive deficits that we have. obama, who obviously cannot just change policies instantly, is also going to run up record deficits, but it may be a necessity until the economy gets going again. when the tax policy gets shifted
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to the middle-class, it hurts them. the country was in much better shape when we did not have the super wealthy. guest: i was surprised by the paul ryan budget that just came out. basically it is a replay of what happened one year ago. i thought that at the end of 2011, that barack obama had gotten a leg up on republicans by arguing that if we are going to be dealing with deficit reduction, we need to have shared sacrifice. liberals on his -- on that side hated this, making changes to the social security cost of living and, in return, also having more taxes on the wealthy, corporations, millionaires, and billionaires',
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to close this whole and protect the ability to invest in education, r&d, scientific innovation, so that we can compete with china and emerging economies throughout the centuries. i thought that his package was more attractive to republicans. but they came out with a budget a few days ago that was not enough to reply. we are drawn in again and mitt romney endorsed it. as a fundamental debate, with a new government and should they be involved in reinforcing the social safety net and nudging the economy in the right direction, making sure that there is more fairness in taxation. i know that in december 2010, one month after the shellac of
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november of 2010, this is how he looked at it. he said the tea party would go too far and attack medicare and social security and tax cuts to the wreckage. eviscerating middle-class americans. because of that, they are going to give me the opening for a resurgence for a fair fight. even if the economy and unemployment numbers are still high. and that is exactly what is happening. >> we are talking to david corn, about his book, "showdown," and inside of the book you quoted his campaign manager, but it would not be shared with reporters who asked. but the his campaigns were always about the future. >> it was a conventional point
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that you could try to litigate the past. mitt romney, when you were governor, how has it worked out, but when it comes to choosing the leader of a nation, we are usually someone -- looking for someone who will guide the nation forward and who represents our feelings and attitudes as a nation. and what we the country want. there will be a fair amount of fighting over who did what and where. in terms of overarching message, the president wants to talk about how he sees the country moving ahead against what he sees mitt romney and republicans wanting. mitt romney came out the other day and said that if we reelect of, we will be living in the
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middle ages within two years and we will be under the threat of a nuclear iran. it was like a zombie horror film, the way that they had it. barack obama has since talked about his state of the union speech and gone to the more recent one in the state of kansas and his vision on what we should do as a community. >> there is this point from our twitter page with regards to the republicans in the midterm election -- host: body is on the phone from new york city. good morning, welcome to the program. >> i just want to say that i am by racial, like our president. mr. corn is a constant contributor of msnbc. everyone is entitled to their
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opinions. i am conservative, not republican. i do not believe in these extreme thing, but mr. corn is on the extreme. republicans are not monsters. they have a different vision for our country and you should respect that, but you do not know -- but you do not. i respect the president. i am by racial, just like him, but you should respect people that disagree with you. >> i do not think -- you have a hard time going to the tapes and finding me calling paul ryan a monster. i think his budget proposal is wrong and i would love to see that argued on policy grounds. i would love to see republicans deal with health care without talking about death panels.
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there are a lot of real issues to discuss their. without coming up with this excessive rhetoric, without saying that the president is a muslim. i write these books because i am obsessed with the intersection of policy and politics. this book is a narrative from behind the scenes and looking at how the president makes decisions on these grounds, not the best way to spend on these grounds. i think he believes strongly in how to the engage in good policy and governed at the same time. i am struck by how he has to deal with these crosscutting and conflicting demands. i wish you would read the book before you judge what you think it is going to say. host: daniel is on the phone. good morning.
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caller code good morning. david, i am a big fan and have been following you for years. a small fact that hardly ever gets brought up, when george bush -- george bush left office there was a projected deficit as far as the eye could see. obama was elected in 2008. his first budget was in 2010. could you only imagine if he had waltzed into office like george bush didn't, with a half of a trillion dollar surplus? my second question, do you think that later in the fall, when the president is campaigning -- needs to appeal to the 40 million people that do not have insurance and tell him that the republicans already told you that they are going to take it away.
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the kids under 26 on their parents' insurance plan, republicans already said they would take that away. he needs to embrace the health care reforms that he put in, because they are fundamentally good. and i am a big fan of c-span and david. thank you. guest: thank you for saying that. i know for certain that that is already part of the playbook in the coming months. you have seen them start to do this, the obama campaign, they have put together nurses for obama. just yesterday, friday, they started to put out messages to their volunteers and funders. calling it obama care, trying to appropriate that terminology that has been used by critics and foes. it is exactly the case the you
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just outlined. have no fear, they want to win and they know that health care is going to be used against him. if not so much by mitt romney, then certainly independent advertising campaigns. they will be putting up a strong fight. host: your words -- striving to reelected president at a time of economic misery and profound popular doubt. it is a contest of great clarity compared to 2008. the more contrast, the better for obama. >> it is obvious, in a way. unemployment is very high. if you ask the country, the people in the country if we're going in the right direction or longer -- wrong direction, there is a split.
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these are negative indicators for any incumbent president. mitt romney should be 10 points ahead and in a matchup with president obama right now, but right now the president seems to be leading, showing the weakness of the republican side. there are two ways to look at this election. will it be a referendum on barack obama? that is what republicans want. if it is, all mitt romney has to say is that unemployment is still too high. put me in and give me a shot. it will be a compelling argument to some. obama wants to make it a comparison. do you comply with this budget, tax cuts for the rich, going after medicare, or do you want a president who has brought down
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unemployment, gradually, and who has a different set of visions and values? let's compare those. it seems that at this point in time, mitt romney, by embracing the paul ryan budget last year and this year, is allowing -- the more contrast that there is, the better he will be. this has led to stop the we talk about everyday and it is working to the president's advantage, at this point. host: we ask you about the gridiron dinner, which you -- we asked you about the gridiron dinner, which you attended last night. there is robert gibbs walking in, in a white tie and tuxedo.
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first of all, what happened last night? what did you learn? and what was memorable? >> i learned that journalists cannot sing very well, except for a few of us. basically it is a series of skits put on by the gridiron club. they poke fun at democrats and republicans -- for instance, the skit about newt gingrich was them singing fly me to the moon. it was very funny. but then you have speeches on the democratic side, the republican side, without representing the ministrations. this time it was leon panetta, the defense secretary. republicans were represented by
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rick perry. i have to say that it was quite funny and self-deprecating. everyone had the exact same reaction. that he might still be in the race today, if rick perry had hung in. host: can you remember any of the lines? guest: something like -- there is one podium here. "ice -- i studied animal husbandry. that is what rick santorum thinks gay marriage leads to." really sharp, and a good line, as well. "it is always interesting to stand next to mitt romney. i kept expecting him to turn to me and ask -- pardon me, do you
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poupon"?great coy host: they denied cameras in the court, but the court to allow same day audio release. in this letter -- we request the you go further in your efforts to be transparent. guest: i do not think that we
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were surprised by that. most of the journalists get up there, where funny costumes, and saying, and probably do not want it on youtube. i do not think you would either, and i would not if i was making a fool of myself in that fashion, because i do not sing them well. host: has the gridiron outlived its usefulness? guest: it is not the supreme court, nor is it a public or taxpayer funded institution. i do not think they useful or not useful is a way of judging it. people view it for its entertainment value. i do not see it playing a public role. but i am glad that what goes on there is open to coverage. and perhaps a good compromise down the road would be a public officials would appear. rick perry is a public official.
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if their remarks were recorded or put out, you know, you would see that this is more about salinas then setting constitutional president. host: david korn, of mud -- mother jones. the book is a "showdown." thank you for being with us. guest: there is more information guest: there is more information on my facebook


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