tv Newsmakers CSPAN September 2, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
coverage of the democratic convention from north carolina starting tuesday. charlotte, n.c. starting on thursday. every speech, live on c-span. next, chairman of the democratic national convention. and later, q&a. on the documentary film that is critical of the united nations. >> joining us this week on "newsmakers," the mayor of los angeles. he is the president of the democratic national convention this year. we are here in tampa with major garrett and peter nicholas. the mayor is in our washington studio. before we leave tampa, let's start there. what is your impression of the republican convention this year? >> thank you for having me, by the way. it is good to be with the three of you. i thought that the madison
avenue advertising executives they brought in to recast governor romney did a fairly good job of making him warmer and fuzzier. aha i think that they also did a good job of talking in generalities. if you listened, governor romney asked to listen to a speech and there was not there. not a lot to talk about ending medicare as we know it, turning it into a coupon program. they did not talk very much about the tax cut. $5 trillion that will just extend the deficit, along with the ryan budget, 29 years before we solved it. if i did not see and hear the kind of specific -- i did not
see or hear the kind of specifics we were hoping to hear from them. >> the next set of questions comes from major garrett. >> i know it is your line to be critical of the republicans and their convention, but i want you to address two lines of rhetorical attack. one the came from paul ryan, one the came from it romney himself. he said that those who graduated from college need not spare any longer at their faded obama posters on the wall and think that a life at home is all the have to vote for. governor romney said -- there's nothing to be ashamed with voting for obama, but if you are disappointed, there is an alternative. many of the partisans like that. in a broader audience, those were lines of attack that might resonate. how concerned are you about a conversation along those lines diminishing the president's possibility of being reelected?
guest: you described them as lines, that's what they were. let's be clear, if you go with the mitt romney paul ryan budget, they will cut out student loans. they will cut medicare. essentially, they will this invest in infrastructure needed to stay strong. they will cut taxes that disproportionately impact the super-wealthy and, importantly, are paid for by the middle class. i will not try to suggest that those were not good lines. they definitely got applause. the question is, why did they not speak about their policies? there was not a lot of that.
there was soaring rhetoric and good applause lines, but i did not hear enough about the specifics. >> to press you on that point, the president has a record and is running for reelection. the indictment was that there was disenchantment. you know the polling data suggests this. the suggestion is -- where do americans fall on that line? disenchantment or willingness to give the president more time? it seems to be a thematic elements that you have to address in charlotte. guest: -- >> there is no question that the economy has grown, 29 consecutive months we have created more jobs in four years during the worst economy since the 1930's than the bush administration did in eight years. there is also no question that
there are still a lot of people lot of work who want to go to work. i do not believe that we are just going to talk about what is going on today. we have to talk about the future as well. this is not just about today's economy. it is about making investments in the middle class, i am working people, rewarding work, keeping a safety net while aggressively addressing the deficit. keeping taxes low on the middle-class. and not extending the bush tax cuts. look, this election is going to
be about choices. there is no question that it will be a very close one. i have not been one of those people to say that this will be a stroll in a park, but at the end of the day perhaps the president will prevail. he will, because he is right on the policies and they are wrong. >> peter nicholas, "the wall street journal." >> about the latino steep -- speakers that we saw on stage in tampa, there have been efforts on the part of the mitt romney paul ryan ticket to woo latino voters. i wondered if you thought the republicans might have made any headway along those lines. >> first of all, let me say something that might surprise you. i thought that marco rubio gave a great speech. the fact of the matter is, you can admire your adversaries from the other side of the aisle. i thought that they were both very good speeches. i also think that this is not going to be just about speeches.
it is going to be about facts. whether it is medicare or the budget, whether it is the tax plan, they do not go much into the specifics of all of that. what it means to the middle class. there were some great speeches, some soaring rhetoric. as a number of people have chronicled this morning, not a lot of facts, specifically. >> is the issue here illegal immigration? are there still concerns that they might have about the immigration plan from the mitt romney paul ryan ticket? or has that been addressed? >> it is a good question. this platform calling for self-
deportation, what does that mean? they're going to make life so miserable, conditions so intolerable for these people, the vast majority of whom are working, people who have 5 million citizen children, more than 1 million children who have lived here and know no other country but this one. it also means that they think that the dream act, fighting for your country, going to college and making a better life is somehow a handout. it means trotting around chris kovacs. you have not talked a lot about that. the author of the alabama and arizona law. it means looking at sheriff arbayo. another person they have trotted out in this campaign.
it is the rhetoric that they use, this kind of mean-spirited rhetoric that you have even heard republicans criticize, and rightfully so. but it is not just that. how about the affordable care act? 9 million of the people who will get health care are disproportionately latino. they are working class, middle class people who do not have health care. it is the 2 million latinos who have been taken out of poverty. the 150,000 latinos who have gotten loans as a result of the president obama policies. it is all of that, some of the rhetoric and the people that have not been highlighted who have been there as well. it is just a combination of things that make it very difficult for them, despite the fact that they have some very great speakers and people that,
on a personal basis, we might admire. >> peter, did you want to follow that up? >> i was curious about another issue involving medicare. could you please preview a bit of what we will be hearing in charlotte? will democrats be going directly after the paul ryan plan? sometimes referred to as a voucher plan. do you think that that is a point of vulnerability that democrats will try to exploit? >> independent fact checkers have pointed to the vulnerability. they have said that, in point of fact, mr. ryan is actually proposing to take the same $716 billion to pay for the taxes that they want to cut. the $5 trillion in taxes from a
guy who says that his number one issue is cutting the deficit. i think that we will talk about the deficit cutters. they like to say that the president did not adopted the some symbols act, but what they did not say is that he did not vote for it. they like to say a lot of things that they cannot support. a lot of the independent fact checkers car, looking at most of the newspapers, these things are not true. what we have seen is an ability to just get up there in front of a television camera and say what they want to say, despite the facts. so, we will be setting the record straight. we will be setting a straight on medicare, the ryan run the budget, setting it straight on their plan to cut $5 trillion in taxes and, essentially, cut every program except for defense and the like.
so, we have got a story to tell. >> in that story, what is the ratio going to be of what wrong with them versus what's wrong -- what's right with the president? most americans believe that what they have heard from the president is what is wrong with mitt romney, not what is right with him or what he intends to do for the future. how will that shakedown in charlotte? >> i could not tell you exactly. i will say this, we have always been a party that speaks to the hope and optimism of the american people. i think there will be a lot of focus on the policies that vindicate that hope and optimism. we will frame the ryan romney budget and their record, up the
difference between the rhetoric and what they have said and what their policies are going to do. i expect that it will be hopeful, optimistic, and positive. every convention needs to compare and contrast, so we will do that as well. >> here in florida, i spoke to several republicans that obviously supported the mitt romney ticket but were practical politicians in florida. they had two observations about paul ryan. structurally, they were nervous
about what might happen with medicare debates in florida. their belief is that it has been fought to a tie. that they had been intermingled with allocations of medicare. in florida they feel like politically it has been fought to a net republican advantage. do you disagree? of the think needs to be something more forceful in the engagement on the plan? to make this a more cutting issue for you, bulova? do you agree that it has been fought to a tie, the matter the merits on the road polyp -- merits on the politics? >> i would agree that they have misrepresented their plan on medicare. they have had these diluted commercials that misrepresent what they want to do and mischaracterized the president's proposal. people are not clear yet about the plan. as you asked earlier, part of the compare and contrast is
making it clear. so, if that will not be something that is negative, it is actually very positive. people can disagree. they can think that the democrats of the better option, or the republicans, but they should do so on the facts. i was reading most of the papers across the spectrum and almost all of them have said that they have misrepresented the facts on what the president has done with his medicare plan and what they want to do with theirs. they did not talk a lot about specifics, so we will have to be more specific. i agree that we have to work it out for us, so i suspect that over the course of this campaign, we will be able to demonstrate the mitt romney ryan medicare plan and budget will be devastating to seniors and the middle class.
>> you are watching "newsmakers." our guest is the chairman of the democratic national convention coming up in charlotte, the mayor of los angeles, while reporters, major garrett and peter nichols, are with us in tampa. >> talking about one risk that democrats face in this convention coming up, there is some thought that the president's supporters are disillusioned and of the concern, or the fear, is that they may stay home on election day. if the presidents of voters are
not excited, is there a chance they may feel there is no reason to go to the polls? how much of a risk is that for president obama? >> i think that people will get motivated after this election -- after this convention. time will tell. i can tell you that we are prepared. we have put together over one year the deepest, most comprehensive get-out-the-vote effort in any party history. we are different from the republicans in that we are not just putting all of our money in television and in the mail. we are investing a lot in talking to the voters threw every medium. we will be knocking on doors. we will be talking to voters. we will be encouraging them to get out and vote. that is a good way to motivate the base, i think. certainly to get them out to vote, which is the most
important thing, motivated or not. >> do you think that president obama will be winning north carolina, where the convention is being held? guest: i think we're very close. we are going to fight, hand-to- hand, for the voters, for the hearts and minds of the people of north carolina. we are going to work across the nation for every demographic group in every state, including the 12 or 13 that are most in play. >> the conventions are right next to each other and so late in the season, there is a theory right now that there is this short attention span in american politics that will cause possibly what may not be a big bounce for the president. david axelrod briefed us not long ago and i asked him -- what do you expect this to be right after the convention, and he said right where it is now, with neither campaign gaining a lot of momentum and possibly
canceling each other out. your interpretation? >> axelrod is right. you know? this is going to be a very close election. i do not think that the republicans are going to get a huge bomb from this election. i do not know about us, but i think that we will probably be very close, all the way through. obviously, they have an advantage with their superpac, anonymous givers and super smears that come with it. we have an advantage with the ground game and our policy benefiting the vast majority of
americans and not just a privileged few, but we have got our work cut out for us. they have their work cut out for them. it is going to be a very close election. >> i would be derelict if i did not get your reaction to clint eastwood. >> i have a deep admiration for him and consider him a friend. i represent hollywood in he is there from time to time. i was kind of like anne romney, nonplussed. but that is just me. well, and her as well. [laughter] >> will the democrats have their own mystery speaker in charlotte? >> it will not be clint eastwood, that is for sure. [laughter] i could not tell you that we were going to have a special guest. it has not been announced. i do not know any plans to do that. i do not think that it went well for them, frankly. but, you know, we are going to
have a good convention and you are going to see the most open and accessible convention. it is not just the speakers on the platform. i want to the pan across the audience. you are going to see a very diverse, the most diverse convention of either party. you will see people from every walk of life. a family friendly festival, we will be celebrating working women and labor day. and then, of course, at the football stadium you will see 65,000 people, not just delegates, from every walk of life. the rich, the poor, black and white, people who speak one language, speaking with speak -- with people that speak 5. it will be a very representative group of people that represents the big tent that we are. >> to these conventions still
have utility and value? there was a time when real businesses conducted these conventions and the nominees would bedowd. that -- be dowd. apparently television viewership is dropping and people are tuning out. does that worry you a little bit? are these conventions -- has the expiration date kind of come and gone? >> if you look at the history of conventions, they have changed a lot over time. the convention 30 years ago is not the convention today. i expect that it will continue to change. i am not an expert, but for this convention i can tell you that we will have three or four days going into the future. i do not know about the tv show, because as you said, they
are not covering these conventions in the way that they used to. it may be because, as you say, there is not enough theater for them. the aspect of these conventions will change over time. it is an opportunity, with folks not really tuned in until around labor day, this is an opportunity for us and the republicans to frame the election, launched a campaign where people are actually looking. >> of course, c-span will be providing coverage of the democratic convention, just as they did republican convention. >> thank you for that. >> before we let you go, i want to talk about former president clinton. there was a tough relationship between them in 2008, no surprise.
i was there and covered it firsthand. they have certainly come together. i have spoken to many democrats, perhaps you may have as well, think a while it is important to have him there, they are concerned about memories of the clinton economy, so much more positive, and by comparison they are afraid that in some measures the president obama economy that we are living in now will not compare favorably and that might not be as positive a presentation as they might have hoped. similar concerns? >> absolutely not. first of all, president obama is not running against former president bill clinton. he is running against the bush tax policies, the bush economic
policies, the mitt romney adopted bush tax cuts that goes even farther than president bush did. what the president will remind us of is a time when the democrats were in the white house and actually cut the deficit and had a surplus. if we continue down the road that president obama has charted, a road that cuts for dollar trillion in our deficits, but also makes the investment that we need in education and infrastructure to protect and extend medicare another eight years, that keeps taxes on the middle-class down, you will see the 12 million jobs that governor romney talked about actually happened during president obama's next four years. >> we will see quite a bit of the mayor next week at the
democratic national convention, which kicks off on tuesday. thank you for joining us, sir. i want to turn to our reporters here in tampa. peter, what is the strongest thing, in your view, coming out of this republican convention? what is the biggest weakness for the republicans? >> i thought they made a concerted effort to win over latino voters. the mayor talked about this. marco rubio took the stage. goodna martina's give a speech. i wonder, however, if they made the sale. illegal immigration resonates so deeply in the community, there is so much that latinos are not hearing, like, prances solutions to the issues of immigration.
no path to legal status. i am wondering if republicans have been able to close that large gap when it comes to latino voters. if not, that has got to be worrisome to the mitt romney campaign. >> i think that what the mayor conceded was that there were a couple of lines from this convention that may resonate and that he will have to respond to at some level as this campaign dialogue continues. paul ryan, a living at home, faded obama posters. the assessment that many obama voters had excitement and a sense of disillusionment, that it needs to be taken and put in a different direction. he said that those were good lines. he knows that those things are potentially cutting. that the democrats would have to deal with that in charlotte and elsewhere because for those few remaining undecided voters,
there may be as few as 2 million spread over eight states who are genuinely, legitimately and decided. we are talking about a huge fraction of the american political electorate who has not already established themselves in one camp or another. but those are probably the takeaway lines from this convention. the mayor conceded that those are potentially troublesome areas. >> those lines are kind of the same line of brown the republican national committee commercials. that it is ok not to re-elect president obama. is there not a whole organization going on here? >> and there has been an evolution for republicans along with line. for a while it was -- he is a good man, we are disappointed,
but he is in over his head. then there were these ads were he was completely out of touch and they have tried to shift backwards to the idea of the it is ok to be disappointed and now we have to harness your disappointment. i still think that on the republican side that that needs to be filled in more directly. that there is a place to carry this appointment and i am not sure that this convention fill that out as much as they might have wished. >> peter, looking ahead, the strength for the democrats? biggest weakness? >> president obama, to some degree, will be a victim of past success. past success. there will be so many