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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  April 20, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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blew it. what is with it thinking the of unbearable. okole, we looked it up. it means ass in hawaiian. viewpoint with eliot spitzer go time on that! ♪ >> good evening, i'm eliot spitzer. this is viewpoint point. the fighters are in the ring. the battle for the presidency is already getting down, dirty and ugly. presumptive republican nominee mitt romney lashed out against president obama as he addressed the national republican committee in arizona, painting the president of the united states almost as an ain't american apologist against american values. >> i will not apologize for success at home and i will never
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apologize for american greatness abroad. [applause] >> it's a recurrent theme in the campaign. barack obama isn't a real american. >> he doesn't understand the economy. he doesn't understand what it takes to get jobs for the american people. we don't divide america based upon success and wealth and other dimensions that have nature. we're one nation under god. >> and the rhetoric can be pretty wild on the other side as well. california senator barbara boxer not holding anything back as she attacked romney as the ain't woman candidate. >> i got to say as a woman out there, whether you're republican, democrat or independent, if you're a self-respecting human being, please vote for barack obama and for the men who care about
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women, do the same thing. >> democrats holding a four-sheet majority going into november. democrat elizabeth warren versus scott brown in massachusetts and former governor tim kaine against george allen in virginia. joining me, bob mccuen from ohio, democratic strategist and nia henderson, thank you for joining me. is the claim by mitt romney that some how the american is not american. is this the argument dressed up in a slightly prettier outfit. >> in some ways i think that's a fair argument. to make, that this is mitt
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romney kindeller gentler saying that president president obama is some how not american. this is what you heard since 2008. it was a strategy that hillary clinton folks toyed with, and there were ads out, it's time for americans to have an american president, alluding that barack obama was not an american. so i think this is something that we're going see. i think throughout this campaign, and it is--i think it is something very common for political campaigns to have this whole idea of some how the other guy doesn't get regular americans or some how doesn't get the struggles. i think you'll see that the democrats will make the same arguments about mitt romney. >> it seems counter intuitive. the public sees barack obama as being more empathetic,
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understanding, more likable and a common sense of what our every day problems are. and mitt romney who is more distant from the every-day concerns. it seems as though i don't think this argument is going to win and i don't think it will be persuasive. how do you respond to mitt romney's emphasis on this? >> i agree with you wholeheartedly. i think the narrative to try to suggest that a person is out of touch or whatever, i remember in 1984 with every issue who is best to have a beer with, who is best to walk your dog with etc. etc., etc. they all agreed walter mondale. but in the end they said who do you vote for? there was a question in there. is reagan a leader. and 84% of the people said yes. all these things, the fact is the country is in a position that it's never been in before. gdp ratio, only three other countries are worse, greece is one of those. we'll blow past that.
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the question is who can lead the country and people will have much more confidence in the former govern of massachusetts. >> i hear your argument but you're making a more sophisticated argument than governor romney is making right now. the public does see barack obama as one of us. even though the polls suggest he has a slight margin when it comes to leadership on economic issues, that's not where he's focusing most of the time. why isn't he doing what you articulated. >> when you're running for office, that's exactly what you say about everybody. i remember when i ran for office. he's not a farmer, you always draw the distinction. when it comes to who can lead the economy, you turn to your opponent. and if your skill is in community organizing, you're going to say that that man is a
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businessman, he built jobs and businesses. he never had gone up and down the streets organizing anybody. >> had you been a farmer? >> no, no, but i looking for something new. >> i was curious to see how this played out. i wasn't a farmer, not really a farmer. john, let me ask you this. in barbara boxer's commentary, there was a vitriol in that, she's very intelligent. if you're a woman, you can't vote for mitt romney. that's harsh. is that going to work? that edge and that anger pouring out of her? >> i could understand her frustration. there has been a war on women. whether folks like to use the term or not, it's true and its happening. we see what is happening with the gender gap. in general women agree with barbara boxer. >> let me ask you about that gender gap. we saw a yawning gender gap two weeks ago and then with the
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polls tightening up even though we haven't seen all the cross tabs you have to believe there is a parity between mitt romney and barack obama, you couldn't get there unless the gender grab narrowed significantly. is that going to carry through november. >> i think it depends--i think with the a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about things like redebateing birth control and invasive ultrasounds i think that really opened up the gap. i think we're going to see a gap both ways, and its scheming towards romney. >> barack obama has never won white men. either those at the very top of the income spectrum or those at the bottom of the income spectrum. those have been the most difficult for him to overcome, and for mitt romney, the gender gap, that's where the race will be determined come november. in categories with friends like this, i want to quote to you
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what mitch daniels said of mitt romney. kind of a harsh critique. he said, you have to campaign to governor not just to win. spend the precious time and dollars in explaining what is at stake to make life better, and then through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve. that's sort of a not so subtle shot towards mitt romney speaking in an elitist tone. why is mitch daniels saying this, and do you think the critique is correct? >> it's very difficult as you know. when you make an hour speech or 35 minute speech and there is going to be a 40-second zippen there is an impression of a scenario drawn of a person that might not be the case. i think what the governor is saying you got to be very careful. you have to constantly emphasize that while you're concerned about jobs and concerned about building businesses, you have to explain why you're doing that, and that is people would not have to look to the future
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scared thinking they're going live worse than their parents did, but that they can have hope. the way do you that is translate it from a business schedule into a personal schedule, and that quite frankly is a problem for many of us. >> you're being self deprecated for saying many of us. i'm just listening to you for a couple of minutes. i'm betting that you are managing to do it. but they don't flow off the lips of mitt romney quickly or easily, and you're saying use a different vocabulary, as mitch daniels was saying, relate to people in a different way. >> if i may say so we tend to look down our noses at politicians. >> i know it. >> and to get people to voluntarily do something is a tremendous skill. the problems that they had in eastern europe was there was no political clash. when you're in business and you can give orders and have people respond, that's one thing. but when you get people to paint a picture and move people
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forward, that is something that is tremendous talent. when you get what we want to get is an eisenhower who knows what to do but also be able to relate it in a manner that people feel comfortable. >> i'm sorry, nia, jump in there. >> you see mitt romney trying to do this. i was covering limb in pennsylvania over the last couple of days. he had a very intimate round table with four couples, and he was trying to be a little more personable. but there is a disconnect between some of the problems in the issues that particularly women were addressing, issues with medicare issues with taking care of aging parents issues of trying to pay for college that he has not been able to layout his own vision of how he would address those. even that was the event where he insulted the cookies and said i think they look like they came from the local 7-eleven. i ate them and they were quite good.
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but he was trying to label the president as a failure, but still has work to do in laying out his own vision. he very rarely talked about his own record as massachusetts governor. he does have a business record but 90% of the speeches are about laying the blame at the foot of this president and labeling him a failure. >> criticizing the cookies was a bizarre moment that i don't get. >> who does that exactly. >> even as a kid you get that. criticize mom's food, dumbest thing to do. i want to come back and pivot to the senate races. if seems to me that one of the ambiguities where is all the money coming from for the crossroads not for profit. one of them is a political entity. another is not for profit. $76.8 billion, and we have no idea where it's coming from. is there going to be clarity about this ever? >> apparently not. unless the donors come out and
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volunteer themselves. we're just one stretch away auctions votes off ebay. all these money is coming in. there is no way of knowing it's coming from. i don't think folks realize how dangerous this is for our democracy. >> the fact that those contributors are hidden is something that is quite horrifying. i want to pivot back to the senate races. there are critical senate races. congressman, let me start with you. the virginia senate race. you have tim kaine and george allen. and right now george allen has a 8-point lead and how does that play out and how does it effect the race at the end of the day. >> they're both friends of yours. they were both popular goshes. goshes--governors. i think virginia will swing back to the republican column and as a consequence they'll have a new republican governor.
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>> obama carried virginia four years ago and i don't think that will be the case. i saw that four key states were virginia, ohio, colorado, were targeted states, and both ohio and virginia at this point are looking as though they're going to go-- >> you think virginia goes republican in the senate and gubernatorial presidential race. and how do you see the massachusetts rate with scott brown and elizabeth warren. >> in virginia barack obama will spend a lot of time and tim kaine will have to embrace that. none of the presidential legacy also spent much time. in massachusetts it's very close. it's a race that democrats really want their seed back in their column. we'll have to see. warren has a lot of buzz. she has to shake this label that mitt romney has tagged as as
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being from harvard and being an elitist. >> i thought elizabeth warren would skate through that one and win with a 10-point margin, but i was wrong. who is going to control the senate come this november. >> oh, my god. >> after election day. >> it really could come down to who is the vice president. it will be that close. at this point, i would say the odds are with the republicans, but it is so close. and if the economy continues to improve, albeit slowly between now and november that will help the democrats, but it's 50/50 at this point. >> we're betting that the coin will end on its head. not a lot of clarity. could be mcewen from ohio. democrat strategist john hinko. and nia-malika henderson.
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>> thank you. that's why there's guys like me. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪ ♪
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>> for millions of americans record unemployment hit straight to the heart literally. no job means no insurance. today's number of the day 26%. that's the percentage of working age americans who are uninsured for some period of time last year largely because of switching or losing their jobs. 69% of them over 33 million americans reported going one year without any health insurance, and 57% over 27 million americans were uninsured for two years or more. while big insurance companies bottom lines have never been
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connectamillionminds.com >> if you don't know representative jerry nadler, you should. one of the smartest members of congress and his views don't shift with the political winds. even though he avoids partisan bickering, when house republicans provided a provision in the keystone pipeline that was too much for the normally reserved jerry nadler. >> for a year avenue, republicans refused to work with democrats, completely offending the historical traditions of our committee. >> joining me now the aforementioned congressman jerry nadler, thank you for being here.
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>> it's a pleasure. >> let's begin with the transportation bill. what happened, and why is the republican party doing so out of line and out of historical mode? >> that's a good question. historically, the transportation committee in the house has been one place where things were done on a bipartisan basis. the bill developed on an bipartisan basis by the two staffs. this year they refused to do that. they did their own bill. they put a million poison pills in it knowing that democrats could not possibly vote for it. they chose to eliminate mass transit. even a lot of republicans could not stomach. they did a lot of things that were impossible. then they found having made sure they couldn't get any democratsic votes for the bill they were so divided they couldn't get the majority of republican votes for the bill. boehner, the speaker, tried to change it in many different ways
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but was unable to. so finally--and the democrats are saying the senate passed a reasonable bill, two-year bill. no great changes in policy. let's go with that bill. the presidential year and after the election we'll worry about a much longer thing, and they won't do that. we passed a 90-day extension and hopefully we'll get into conference. >> is it one of those poison pills. >> yes, one of the policies pills but there are dozens. >> for mitt romney, the keystone pipeline has become a wedge issue. he's talking about it he's assess constantly--incessantly. he was going to build it himself. he was going to pick up a pick and a shovel, why? >> because it represents the alleged position of the administration against more drilling the truth of the matter the administration is not
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opposed to the keystone pipeline, which some of think it should be, but it is said that the law provides for environmental review to look at the effects, and they're in the middle of doing that. congress should not come in and say never mind the facts, go ahead with it. >> the processes set up should be observed. there is a rationale for them. it does make sense most of the time. i want to join another contrast. mitt romney when speaking to the nra last week, in one of his many contrasts, we used to be able to do this, but no longer. we used to be able to build the highways, but now we can't. is it because of his own party is unwilling to working bipartisan that a lot of these projects are stymied right now. >> pre-regan, we used to spend annually on infrastructure. last year it was one and a half percent. other countries are spending 6%,
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we're simply having a huge infrastructure backlog. the country will not be competitive if we tonight don't start funding that, and they won't look at that. >> without that infrastructure we won't be competitive and engineers are the ones screaming all the time. >> the american civil engineers say we have $2.5 trillion backlog in infrastructure just to keep the system safe. but to modernize it, if you want to have modern broad band and grid, you have to spend money and they're unwilling to do that. >> i want to change gears the president's refusal to sign an executive order that extends rights for people working for the federal government not to be discriminated against if they're lbgt members. i'm mystified. >> the president has taken a lot
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of actions, he has supported a lot of actions for the lbgt community to support their rights. he's refused to carry the acts in front of the court. he has taken a hit for that. i don't under why he won't do an executive order against discrimination in employment. i don't understand the political rationale for it,. >> i don't understand the political or legal rationale based on what we've been told about the meeting, this is one of those things where you just put it aside. don't ignore it, but there's nothing we can do at this point. >> they have not articulated a rationale. >> the next tidal wave of debt, student loan debt. this is an area where somebody came to the adjustable rate mortgages when those rates jumped. people pro forced were forced into
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foreclosure. many students who have student loan debt and unemployed. what should be done here. >> we have legislation that has been introduced in the senate. it has been introduced to continue the federal government subsidy of those rates to keep the rate at 3.4%. it would expire at the end of the year and we should continue that. it will cost i think $6 billion over ten years. that's what we're doing. secondly, we have to--we have to have a situation where people who don't get high-paying jobs, who come out of school with high loans, with their liability is limited to some percentage of what they earn so it's not a drag on them for their entire lives. thirdly it ought to be made as it used to be pre-2005
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dischargeable in bankruptcy. congressman cohen has developed legislation for that, too. finally on a longer range basis we have to look at the degree to which we support public college and universities so people don't have to take out huge debt in ordering to through it as our parents did. >> tuition costs at even the public university versus crept up slightly more than the rate of inflation. >> not slightly. >> as the governor who is trying to keep it down, you're right. it's a real burden. there was a slogan, smart loans. they said college should be financed based on percentage of your post graduate income. take a fixed percentage. you make a lot of money. you pay 5%. >> that's along the same lines of what i said to limit liability to percentage of your income. >> an issue we'll talk about some other time.
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it's a brilliant notion. two nobel learates agree. trickle down economics coming next. viewfinder.
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you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine. other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd. spiriva helps me breathe better. does breathing with copd weigh you down? ask your doctor if spiriva can help. >> coming up, if wall street is hogwart's, then bruno iksil is voldemort. but first, when it doesn't fit anywhere else, we put it in the viewfinder. >> in modern era, americans celebrate april 20th every year by smoking marijuana. >> this is the closest thing stoners have to a holiday erin.
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it's stoner he is new year's eve. >> i think we should have glasses. >> and you have a plethora of people who served for a very long time, and there are highly talented people out there. >> thank you, thank you very much. >> i am the underdog. >> we all are going to fail at some particular point in life. it's not on a daily basis. >> three, four, six, seven years from now if i do a good job as vice president--i'm sorry. [laughing] >> it was the republican party and the nra that as always supported to protect themselves from the democratic complex plans. >> what about the opportunities for the poor people. >> hatch the ryan budget. >> oh my gosh,. [coughing] >> do you understand how rich guys like me who trickle down--i think a lot of americans feel tinkled on.
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>> that's what our budget does and that's what's going on now. >> first of all, i don't like romney. there's no way that he'll be nominateed. no one will nominate someone on that issue. >> excuse me. rose, blanch and sophia and i. >> this week we featured a teenage boy who seize himself sees himself as a girl. >> now i get to explain this to my eight-year-old if i want her to see a nice family show with nice music. [coughing] >> when i was a teenager and i saw james dean smoking it made me want to smoke. >> sure. that's like the beer. homosexuality, do you want to be a woman? did you? >> on sures thursdays. >> good show. i hope you're watching with your
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children. >> there's a lot of honest in that one. dodd frank can only go so far. we might need the help of harry potter. i'll explain next on viewpoint. spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. icy, cool flavor in a delicious 5-calorie stick of gum. ♪ ♪ polar ice. from extra.
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so, you guys grew up together. yes, since third grade... what are you lookin' at? not looking at i anything... we're not good enough for you. must be supermodels? what do you model gloves? brad, eat a snickers. why? 'cause you get a little angry when you're hungry. better? [ male announcer ] you're not you when you're hungry™. better. [ male announcer ] snickers satisfies. >> we've always known that wall street is the home of dark arts. one super trader is even now being called voldemort. but unlike that villain, he can be named. bruno iksil is the jp morgan chase trader who single-handedly moved the derivatives market last week with huge bets on corporate bonds. joining me now is "vanity fair" contributing editor bethany mclean. thank you for being here. you understand all this stuff. what was going on in the
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markets, and hadn't we taken care of this problem? >> well, i think it shows you that where there is a will there is a way. unfortunately wall street has a will to subvert regulators or congress' best intention world trade center volcker--intentions withthe volcker rule. >> let me pick up on a couple of things you said. it appears you have this one trader over in london placing huge bets with jp morgan chase proprietary money. meaning that their own money was at risk on these big bets. is that what happened? >> that is, but the justification from jp morgan's point of view is what the trader is doing. he's operating out of jp morgan's treasury and hedging the bank's other positions. he's not making proprietary bets. he's hedging. and it's under the volcker rule.
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it's not clear to me that anything else would be included under the volcker rule. >> you're drawing distinctions that only a securities lawyer could even begin to appreciate and understand. it seems to me the whole point of passing these laws is to keep these banks from doing something that would put their money at risk because when they lose we end up bailing them out. have we missed the boat here entirely? >> i think the only way to do this, i think banks are going to have found an exemption or a way around the volcker volcker rules. other banks say, o i'm losing my advantage, look at what this bank is do. they copy it and risk builds up in a dangerous a fashion. i don't understand if we don't back to the days of the glass siegal rule which we could go back to section 20 where they were required to be in separate
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companies. i think the world would be a safer place. >> i agree with you. anybody--not anybody, i can't generalize that far but a lot of people who have looked at this and you wrote a spectacular book about it, a lot of people agree that the exponential increase in risk that left us as taxpayers holding the bag at the end of the day took us over the precipice. you're saying that dodd frank has not done a lot of so far. >> i think there are ways around it, and on top of that the volcker rule will not be enacted for two-plus years. between now and then there will be a continueed ferocious lobby push. but the bigger issue let's make a decision. if we want a different banking system, let's have a different banking system. one that does not consist of firms that are too big to fail and all of these have measures
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are destined to failure, i think think. >> i completely agree. it's worse now than before the crisis. we are the formal back stops against these banks and we've gone the wrong way. the only positive sign was that shareholders stood up this week under the pay rule and said they had had enough, one of the nicer of guys of ceos out there. are shareholders beginning to flex their muscles a little bit? >> i really hope this is a sign that that's the case. one of the most powerful thing--one of the most powerful agents for change could be shareholders if they chose to exercise their power. in the past they've been unwilling to do so i think because big institutional invest investors their firms manage companies 401k businesses and they don't want to be too activist and lose lucrative money manage business.
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>> i'm so glad you said it that way. i was descended upon as if i was sacrilegious. we'll have a whole another section on that some other day. you said something critically important why about shareholders aren't doing what they should be doing. treasury is saying, tarp has made money for taxpayers. do you buy it. >> that's not the right question. i think you could quibble with some of theaccounting first of all. the question underneath it, the question is first has it made enough money for taxpayers. in other words, were taxpayers fairly rewarded for the risks we took. the answer to that is no. and the second question is has tarp left us in better shape? has the system been changed that
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this could not happen again? and the clear answer to that is no. look at the birdie, tarp didn't lose money. and don't look over here at this issue of the failed banking system that we're left with. >> to one extent it hides the system, and then to the other extent, it would drive shared values up, make the banks solvent and you could guarantee that you would be able to sell it at the end of the day more than we paid for it, but as you pointed out that's not the critical question. you deal with financial institutions. you have your finger on the pulse of the economy. the economy is outcome is determinative by the presidential race. do you think the economy will come back, the economy at large where reel jobs are created? >> i don't. i tend to be probably too much of a skeptic by nature, so take what i say with a grain of salt, but the conditions that led to
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the financial crisis were actually where people were taking equity out of theirs homes to spend and live. we haven't addressed these fundamental issues question yet. now we have the fundamental issues of an overly indebted society both consumers and government on top of that. we have two fundamental issues. where are jobs going to come from in the future, and how are we going to get rid of our debt both as a country and as people. until we start having a conversation about those topics, i have a hard time getting worked up over monthly job figures. >> you're exactly right. we deleveraged one sector by shifting the debt of the banks to the public sector. we have not deleverages the housing market which is why people are underwater and cannot use their homes as equity. and i'm with you i'm having a hard time seeing when the economy comes back. bethany mclean, thank you for
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your time tonight. >> thank you so much. >> you know what they say, 60 is the new 50. i wish i was talking about age. my view coming up. >>i'm a political junkie. this show is my fix. [[vo]]this former two-term governor is ...
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etch-a-sketch candidate, an image where romney is anti gas.
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>> still ahead. the two year anniversary of the b.p. on this matter spill. and offshore drilling safety has not improved. but first let's go out to "the war room" and check in with jen jen. how is it going? >> sundays is earth day. tonight in "the war room" we've got a blockbuster line as we have former vice president al gore here to talk about the weird and wild politics of
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energy climate. we have kennedy jr. and another son of an environmental zcion robert redford's son is here. we're not going to just talk about the problems but the solutions, too. >> that is an all-star line up. that's like the yankees in 1929. nobody could pitch past those guys. jennifer, i'll be watching. >> thanks, eliot. >> more viewpoint next. spanish? >>hola. >>hey mommy, how many miles are there to the moon? >>238,854. >>hey mom, are ninjas still a big problem? >>no, honey. >>ha! >>hey mom, how do they get the bubbles into the hershey's air delight? >>i don't know, but it's delicious. >>[both laugh]
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>>hershey's air delight milk chocolate. a lighter, airier, meltier hershey's happiness. >> up next, two years since the b.p. oil spill, is drilling any safer? but first my view. the buffet rule came up for a vote in the senate last week and 51 senators voted for it. several weeks before that, a stupendous judicial nominee was brought to the senate floor for confirmation.
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she got 54 votes. they both lost. how is that? don't we believe in majority rule? isn't 51 a majority of 100 senators? of course, but 60 has become the new 50 with the threat of a filibuster being invoked on every vote, nothing can move forward unless 60 senators are willing to vote to end debate. a process called invoking kloture. that includes every bill judicial confirmation, budget appropriation, that means 41 senators from the smallest states, representing 10% of the population can hold the rest of the country hostage. the founders intended that a super majority be required sometimes. that's why the constitution specifically mandates a two-thirds majority vote to override a veto or to confirm a treaty. fringe. so i could argue that extending the super majority obligation to every issue before the senate runs counter to the founders' sense of how we should run the
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congress and contrary to what democracy is all about. but whether you accept that or not it's clear that this filibuster rule has contributed to the reality that congress simply can't get anything done. there are easy answers. reduce the number of votes needed to end debate to 55, or permit filibuster only on a very limited set of subject matters. or actually require people who want to stage a filibuster to do what jimmy stewart did in "mr. smith goes to washington," actually stay up all night and work hard. changing the filibuster rules may sound like a techno cratic little issue, but if we want the senate to reflect what most of us want, and have congress do the people's guys, then it's time to get this changed. occupy wall street made the numbers 99 and 1 symbolic of the need for fairness in our income direction. and minute the next slogan should be save our democracy and the numbers should be 61 and 60,
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symbolic of the need for real majority rule. that's my view. so you can catch morning tee time in monterey and the afternoon meeting in los angeles all without running out of gas. just make sure you don't run out of gas. ♪ ♪ well-qualified lessees can get a 2012 jeep grand cherokee laredo 4x4 for $319 a month.
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>>just refreshing to hear. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real.
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>> some day soon it will be deja vu all over again. pelicans smothered in black oil. wildlife drowned in the dark slick. ruined marshes and wetlands. industry and livelihoods crippled. today marks the two-year anniversary of the largest oil spill in the u.s. history and sunday is earth day. it killed 11 people and sent 4.9 million barrels of oil gushing into the gulf for three months. two years after negligence and greed wreaked havoc in the gulf congress has yet to announce any laws to make offshore drilling safer. environmentalists say big oil
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companies are taking the same risks. it's not a matter of "if" but "when" the next disaster happens. let's bring in bob cavnar 30-year industry veteran who is author of "disaster on the horizon." will it happen again. >> definitely. we've really done nothing to improve the safety of off-shore drilling in the last two years. congress has gone backwards. they've actually passed in the house three bills that actually reduced the amount of environmental review for new offshore leases. we're not making much progress in terms of preventing something like this from happening again. >> bob, i hate to say this, but i'm not surprised given they've done the same thing in the financial services sector. let's go through a couple of different areas. in terms of containment. is there any progress at all
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made in terms of the issue of containing the damage once there is a blow out of this magnitude? >> you know, this is one area where they have made progress. there are two new organizations that have been formed. one by the independent operators in the gulf of mexico, and one by the major operators in the gulf of mexico. they have developed deep-water well containment in case a blowout happens again. the challenge, though, is getting on the well if the rig collapses and sinks. they have not figured out how to do that yet. they have not tested this equipment in a real live situation. some of the equipment used in the deep water horizon disaster. some has not been tested at all. also keep in mind in deep water oil spills like this, about 80% of the oil never even comes to the surface, so it has to be contained at the well head, otherwise it stays in the deep water column for months and
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years. >> is that what you referred to as remediation. >> remediation is typically on the surface where they're trying to clean the wetlands and the grasses and the beach and those kinds of things. but for remediation down below you could use the same term there. >> but what about the design of the wells. have the designs of the wells changed at all since a couple of years ago? >> the boeem, the bureau of ocean energy management has put a new regulation in place where two hull barriers need to be on each well. on the bp well they only have one barrier and that was at the surface of the ocean floor itself. typically in big deep wells you want a seal at the bottom of the well also. that is now required where before it wasn't. >> the administrative level within the administration, within the interior department there has been some effort to address the design errors, the remediation roars but where
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there is significant lobbying in congress, things have gone backwards? >> that's exactly right. we don't have the real problem solved and liability of the companies. in the 90s the government putted a $79 million liability cap on off-shore spills. bp could have walked away and put it on the american people. they chose not to. thank goodness for that, but the government legislation has not fixed that liability, and it's still there today. >> the liability cap creates a problem for safety. you get all the upside of extracting the oil but your down side is capped at $75 million and there is no incentive to invest in safety techniques. >> that's exactly right.
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there are 12 or 13 companies that drill in the deep water. most of those companies are smaller than b.p. if this would would have happened to to the smaller companies, all the cleanup and remediation would have been on the government and not the company. >> has there been personal liability or criminal cases or sanctions imposed on individuals? >> there is a lot of discussion that the justice department has investigation ongoing, but so far no one has been charged. there is a lot of work being done on the private and government side but i don't expect anyone will be charged criminally. there will be civil penalties that will be substantial, but that's as far as it will go. >> bob cavnar, author of "disaster on the horizon." thank you so much for being here. you heard the metaphor between
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