tv Meet the Press NBC February 28, 2011 3:00am-4:00am PST
chairman, haley barbour. chairman of the congressional black caucus, emmanuel cleaver. host of msnbc's, the last word, lawrence o'donnell. and editorial board member and columnist for "the wall street journal," kim straser. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good morning, protests grew in madison, wisconsin, after days of demonstrations by pro labor supporters. the standoff started two weeks ago, after wisconsin republican governor, scott walker, proposed a budgets-balancing bill that would severely limit the rights of most public workers to collectively bargain. the bill would also require them to pay for 12.6% of the total cost of their health care premiums, and contribute almost 6% of their pay toward their pension benefits. walker's proposal is an attempt to close the $137 million deficit in this year's state
budget, a shortfall that's projected to grow to $3.6 billion in the next two years. here with us now from madison, the man in the middle of all of this, wisconsin governor, scott walker. governor, welcome to "meet the press." >> good morning, good to be with you, david. >> that context is important. because there's collective bargaining, which you'd like to limit. and there are those, the specific contributions that you ask the union. they said they would do that. they would meet those demands. so the question that comes up again and again, is if you want to deal with the budget and the deficit, why not take yes for an answer? well, because we've seen that actions speak louder than words. for us to balance $3.6 billion deficit we have, but not only now, but to insure we can continue 20 do it in the future, so our kids don't inherit the same consequences, we've to have those insurances and over the past two weeks we've seen local union after local union rush to school boards, the city councils and rush through contracts in
the past two weeks that had no contribution to the pension and no contribution to health care. in fact one case in janesville, they were pushing through a pay increase. >> but governor, you could have extended the bill to those local government agencies. you chose not to. >> no, that's the opposite. i was a local government official for eight years. this bill precisely helps local governments and it's effective once it passes. in fact, we're facing a $3.6 billion deficit. like nearly every other state across the country, we're going to have to cut more than $1 billion from our schools and local governments in new york and california where there are democrats for governors, they're doing that the difference is with this budget repair bill, we give those schools and local governments, almost $1.5 billion worth of savings. so the savings they get from our budget repair bill would seed the amount that -- >> let me be clear, if the unions, who it seems to me have been clear in saying that they would agree to those extra contributions, if they did that, and you say you're concerned about the budget shortfall, why not accept that?
>> but my point is, they can't. because they, the two people that suggested are statewide union leaders. there are 1,000-plus municipalities, more than 424 school districts, 72 counties, i know, i used to be a county executive for eight years. i know that collective bargaining has to be done in every jurisdiction. they can't guarantee that. and the actions of those local unions in the past two weeks show that. if they were serious about it, they would have offered up contracts that paid something for health care and something more for pensions. but they're not. the reality is, even beyond the five out of 12 collective bargaining does have a cost and in wisconsin, a great example of that. we have in many of our school districts, a requirement that they have to buy their health insurance from a company that's owned by the state teachers union, w.a. trust. it costs them $68 million more than if they could just buy it from the state employee health care plans. those are real costs, about putting real money into the
classrooms. instead of the collective bargaining. i tried to avoid layoffs. >> what's wrong with collective bargaining? unions organize employees, they're able to bargain not just about wages, but health benefits and pension benefits. you're trying to say no, you can just collective bargain when it comes to how much you make, but not the other benefits. what's so wrong with that, collective bargaining? >> our proposal is less restrictive than the federal government as it is today. under barack obama, he presides over the federal government when most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for benefits or pay. we're asking for something less restrictive -- >> i asked you a more specific question, which is what's wrong with collective bargaining? >> it's about the fact that as a local official, i can tell you personally, time and time again, because of collective bargaining when we had tough budgets in the past when i was at the county presiding as a c.o. there, i tried to do modest changes in pension and health care. one year, i literally tried to
do a 35-hour work week to try to avoid massive layoffs and furloughing and the union said forget it. emboldened by the fact that they had collective bargaining agreements, they said go ahead, lay off 400 to 500 people. and to me, laying off people in this economy is completely unacceptable. if we don't get these changes and the senate democrats don't come back. we'll be forced to make up the savings in layoffs and that's unacceptable. >> we have satellite delay that gets us to bump up against each other. but i want to focus on inconsistencies in some of your arguments. you do have exemptions here. you said we're going to pass this bill. but if you're a cop or a firefighter, you don't have to make those contributions and can you still collectively bargain. cops and firefighters don't have to join this. are they more important than a teach another spends six hours a day with children in wisconsin? >> no. this is not a value judgment about employees, but it is ultimately about preserving public safety. we saw two weeks ago, when this debate first started, teachers here in madison walked off the
job for three days, that was an inconvenience for a lot of parents, i know i've got two kids in public school. any time you have a disturbance like that it's an inconvenience. but that contrasts the fact that even if there was one jurisdiction across the state, where firefighters or police officers weren't on the job in full force, i can't afford to have a fire or a crime committed where there's a gap in service and it ultimately boils down to public safety. >> fan, if you're talking about austerity and you want to deal with this budget deficit, doesn't there have to be a sense of shared sacrifice? that everybody gets hurt? >> well, there is. i'm affecting my family about this. as a legislator, my cabinet, as elected officials, we'll pay a higher dollar amount, a higher percentage because of these changes to show that we're that serious about it. now the statewide firefighters union president has come out and said they would take the 5 and 12, and i would suggest to every mayor that they take them up on that. but in terms of making that change, i can't afford to have a gap when it comes to public
safety. i think that's the one thing, universally, republican and democrat alike, liberal and conservative, people know that we cannot have a gap in and that's why we made that change in the bill. >> you are the subject of a crank call, a liberal blogger who was trying to draw you into a conversation about all this. and you had a serious conversation, not knowing who you were talking to and you talked about rnld reagan and him taking on the unions and the air traffic controllers. you talked about putting this moment in some kind of context. this is part of what you said. >> wisconsin seems to be big -- wisconsin's history, i said this is our moment. this is our time to change the course of history. >> change the course of history. this is where critics say you know, this governor is really more of an idealogue, than someone who wants to solve a serious problem. you're going farther than other republicans who have taken on pension and health care costs, to really go after collective bargaining. and by your own admission, you're saying, well there's some areas where we just can't afford that level of as you tate. but if you're serious about
austerity. doesn't it have been to be a situation where everybody gets affected? >> well, in the end, the reason i made that comment, i do believe this is our moment in wisconsin's history. it's one of those where for year after year, not just the last governor, but governors before, legislatures before, have kicked the can. they've taken one-time fixes to push the budget problems off into the future. we can't do that. we're broke. like nearly every other state eye cross the country, we're broke and it's about time that someone stood up and told the truth and said here's the problem, here the solution and acted on it. if we don't, we fail to make the commitment to the future and our children will face the dire consequences. >> governor, if you're really serious about the state being broke, you have a deal that you could take, to get the contributions you need to solve the problem at hand. why not separate that out from your views about collective bargaining? >> but, david, my point is repeatedly, as a former local government official, i know that
collective bargaining has a cost and when i'm cutting more than $1 billion from aid to local governments, in this next two-year budget, i need to do what no other governor is doing across the country. they're all cutting, all but a handful are cutting. the difference is we view as unique in wisconsin, we have to give the local governments some tools and it goes beyond the 5% and the 12%. as i mentioned repeatedly, i don't think we can take that 5% and 12% to the bank because unions have showed us the last two weeks that they're not going to do it. i think in the end, the best way for us to move forward is for the 14 state senators, the state assembly did their jobs. democrats in the assembly stood up. made their argument, made their case, did what they were elected to do. the assembly passed it. it's now to the point where we want to move forward. the 14 state senators need to come badge and do what they were aelected to do. they don't have to vote for it and support it but they need to come back and do the job. when we do, i have every belief the first four or five weeks we were in office, we passed an
aggressive agenda to show that wisconsin was open for business. we can get back to that, if they just come back to do what they were elected to do. >> if they don't, governor, how does this end? >> i'm an optimist. i'm an eternal optimist. as much as i understand there's passion. in america, that's great, we can be passionate and be civil about it. in the end, i believe at least some of those state senators will come back. if we fail to pass this bill by tuesday, we lose $155 million worth of savings. if we continue did down that path, we start seeing layoffs. i no he that was one of the most difficult decisions i ever had to make when i was a county official was considering layoffs. i would go to almost any ends to avoid that. and my hope is at least one of those 14 state senators feel the same way. >> governor final question, i want to clarify something. in the kous of this prank, this crank call thaw got, it was suggested by someone who was a liberal blogger, that you might think about planting troublemakers into the crowd. and you said, quote, we thought about that. is that right? you really thought about trying to bust up physically these
protests? >> we thought, as the call continues and i've said repeatedly, we rejected that. but we had people all the time who contact us for and against this bill and you can imagine, people with all sorts of ideas and suggestions. and we look at everything that's out there. but the bottom line is we rejected that. because we have had a civil discourse. we've had, a week ago, 70,000 people. we had more than that yesterday. and yet, we haven't had problems here, we haven't had disturbances. we just had very passionate protesters for and against this bill. that's okay, that's a very midwestern thing. but we're not going to allow anybody to come in from outside of this state and try to disrupt this debate. they can inform it, but we're not going to allow them to disrupt the debate and take the focus off the real issue here. and the issue is the people in wisconsin, particularly those 14 state senators need to come home and have the debate here in the state capitol. >> governor walker, we will leave it enter. thank you very much. thank you, david. >> we'll have much more on this debate coming up in our political roundtable where we'll be joined by afl-cio president, richard trumpka.
first to discuss the other big story this week, the unrest in the middle east and the violence in libya by the regime of moammar gadhafi. we want to bring in the ranking member of the senate armed services committee, john mccain, who has been traveling in the middle east this week, including stops in tunisia, lebanon and jordan and he joins us from cairo. senator mccain, welcome. >> thank you. >> i want to ask you about events about libya. the president has made it clear that he wants gadhafi to go. his ambassador to the united nations, susan rice, speaking out through a vote in the security council, in favor of sanctions against libya. imposing an arms embargo, urging member countries to freeze assets of the gadhafi family. this is what ambassador rice said during that debate. >> when a leader's only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against its own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule.
and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. >> senator, the question is, how is that achieved? >> well first of all, i agree with that statement. but i would also like to point out that we could impose and could have imposed a no-fly zone. they would have stopped flying, if that had been imposed. they're using air power and helicopters to continue these massacres. we should recognize a provisional government somewhere in eastern libya, perhaps benghazi. we should make it clear that we will provide assistance to that provisional government. and finally, we should make p absolutely clear that anyone who continues or is engaged in these kinds of barber oumsu acts will find themselves involved in a military tribunal. >> by tough, when you talk about a no-fly zone, would you stop
short there? you're raising the spector of stopping gadhafi, to force him to go. >> i think by providing the so-called provisional government, and there will be one, with the equipment and materiel that they could use, the no-fly zone, i think would be a very strong signal. i'm not ready to use ground forces or further intervention than that. look, gadhafi's days are numbered. the question is, how many and how many people are going to be massacred before he leaves, one way or the other? i think those measures that i just mentioned could hasten his demi demise. >> let me ask you about egypt. we had an image earlier in the day in tahrir square where there are still protesters. the question is building the building blocks of a democratic government there. how is that going? >> i think it's going along. we met with some of the young
opposition leaders whose real heroes are awed to be in their company about what needs to happen. there's still significant divisions. but i think they are headed in the right direction. i think there are questions about how soon to have an election. whether to have a presidential election before the parliamentary elections. but i believe that there's every good chance they can succeed. >> senator mccain, you're in the region, watching what could be called an arab spring, an historic most. it's also a game-changing movement for the united states and our interests there. it's my understanding the president has ordered a complete review of middle east strategy. i know that our defense leaders have also called for instant contingency planning. as you survey the area, how do we re'ses emergencies there and our interests there? >> well first of all, i'm not sure that this winds of change are going to be confined to blowing just in the arab world.
i think it's going to be all over the world. to wit, what's happening in china and in other countries around the world. second of all, return to our fundamentals. and that is, that all of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights, respecting democracy. and further, recognize that the longer there's a dictatorship, the bigger the explosion is going to be once the people become dissatisfied enough. recognize ha we have to assist these kuths and it's countries and it's in our interests to do so and the economy is the vital and most part of any successful transition to democracy and freedom. and frankly, we should have done more in the past. i think we should all admit that. >> what about contingency planning? are there contingencies that may arise now that are particularly worrisome to you? >> i think it's not clear where this revolution goes.
in all of these countries. and every country is very different from each other. i think we should understand that iran can take advantage of this unsettling situations in these countries. we should be standing up for democracy in iran. we should be backing their protesters with our moral support. which we didn't in 2009. >> i want to ask do get your reaction to something that secretary of defense, robert gates has said this week about u.s. intervention into the middle east and into asia. this is what he said at west point on friday. >> in my opinion, any future's defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big american land army into asia or into the middle east or africa should have his head examined. as general macarthur so delicately put it. >> how does respond to that? >> out of the highest respect
for gates, i think there are times where it does require u.s. military intervention. afghanistan was the genesis of 9/11, as you know. we had to stamp out the situation. get the situation there under control. so it would not continue to be a base for attacks on the united states and our allies. but i also understand the implications of the needs of a new kind of warfare. to counter this radical islamic extremism, wherever it rears its head. particularly in those continents he referred to. >> i want to get your reaction to something that came out in "rolling stone" magazine this week. here was a birkett of ypicture afghanistan with general. it u.s. illegally ordered a team of soldiers to manipulate visiting american senators into providing more troops and funding for the war. "rolling stone" has learned when an officer tried to stop the
operation he was railroaded by military investigators. as you know, general petraeus is now investigating this. what happened? >> well you know, that's been tried on me in the past, david. i don't know what happened. i do know that the general caldwell is a great leader and has done a great job in leading the afghan army. i also know that these briefers are briefed. senator x is interested in the following, a, b, c, d and e. and that i think is perfectly legitimate. if it went any further than that, i don't know. general petraeus will make a, a full investigation. general caldwell has steadfastly denied it. but i don't see how it could have affected my positions. in any way. and so we'll see what happens. but i'm, put me down as skeptical. >> senator mccain, we'll leave it there thank you very much and safe travel. coming up, as a government
shutdown looms, budget battles front and center in the capitol and in state houses across the country. ground zero for it all this week -- wisconsin. what is at stake there? what will it mean for the rights of workers? and how will it impact the 2012 race for the white house? a political roundtable weighs in. we'll be joined by afl-cio president, richard drumpk, mississippi governor, haley barbour, the chirm of the congressional black caucus, emmanuel cleaver. and msnbc's lawrence o'donnell and "the wall street journal's" kim starve. in 1968, as whaling continued worldwide, the first recordings of humpback songs were released. public reaction led to international bans, and whale populations began to recover. at pacific life, the whale symbolizes what is possible
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we're back now with our political roundtable. the president of the afl-cio, richard trumka. the republican governor of mississippi, former rnc chairman, haley barbour. chairman of the congressional black caucus, mississippi congressman, emmanuel cleaver. and columnist for "the wall street journal," kim strasle and the host of msnbc's "the last word" lawrence o'donnell spent a lom time on capitol hill in the early '90s. so he's seen some of these
fights before. welcome to all of you. mr. trumka, welcome to the program. you heard governor walker. this is an important moment for unions and as he says it, for taxpayers. how do you respond to what he says? >> well first of all, this isn't about the budget crisis. let's look at how his arguments migrated. first he said the budget crisis was caused because workers were paid too much in wisconsin. we now have studies that show they're not overpaid, they're underpaid. in fact people with a degree in wisconsin get 25% less than the private sector and then he said it was about the pension. now we find out that his pension plan, unlike a lot in the country, is almost fully funded. the assets match the liabilities. and then the employees said or the members out there said, his workers said, we'll accept your cuts. and he said, no. we won't accept your accepting our cuts. and the most outrageous thing that he did, and he talked about this, was he now saying to them, you either have to accept a loss
of your rights or i'm going to lay you off. now no person should have to face the right of their loss of their job or the loss of their rights. i know governor barbour would never say to his employees, you have to give up your rights or give up your job. >> a lot of people are confused and have questions about the roles of public-sector unions. you raise a lot of money from public employees. that goes to finance campaigns, to try to get somebody in office that you can do business with. and ultimately, you are supporting someone, in some cases that you're ultimately negotiating with. they also know that political employees, rather public employees are politically active because they're organized by the unions, so they make concessions on things like pensions, on health care, knowing that the promises don't come due until well down the road. isn't this the cycle that we've gotten into, that public unions have to take some responsibility for? >> well public employees do take responsibility for t. and the governors that are willing to
sit down and work with their employees can actually work out problems. we can solve them. but that's not what governor walker is doing. he's saying, i won't talk to you. i'll talk to all my big contributors, he talked to the coke brothers, but he won't talk to plies. the five states in this country that prohibit collective bargaining by state employees, have a collective debt right now of $222 billion. this isn't about employees. this is about the economy. what we need to do is create jobs and that's what we should be doing. >> governor barbour, is this an idealogue? or is it getting serious about shared sacrifices? >> it is about budgets. it is about the fact that wisconsin, like many states is broke. and the idea is okay, let's make a very narrow agreement over wages and for one year, is going to solve the problem. governor walker understands, as every governor understands, it is not enough just to kick the
can down the road the next year. because these problems snowball. they cascade. and that's why it's critical to ge get ahold of this. for most states -- >> but his argument is that the unions are so unreasonable, they won't ultimately make concessions. they've made the concessions. >> for a year. that's the whole problem. they've got to change the system. about half the states in the country don't allow or limit collective bargaining. the federal government doesn't have collective bargaining for wages, for health benefits. people act like this is some right. you know, that these are collective bargaining rights. there's no right to this under the constitution. >> lawrence o'donnell, how do you read this? >> one of the things i was struck by in your interview with the governor, was he said that he rejected, rejected the idea of sending in troublemakers to the demonstrations. that means the idea was discussed. that means someone in the governor's office said -- how about we send some people in there to cause physical trouble in these demonstrations and this
governor thought about it. discussed it, rejected it. okay, he rejected it. but to say he rejected it and think, that's the end of it, that's a noncontroversial moment. it's quite shocking to think that there was a governor considering that. >> what if he added the word "physical." >> let's just say troublemakers. it's shocking to think that the governor, among the things this he were discussing, was should we send in troublemakers. how long would you have to discuss that? >> let me bring you in, we talked about tone. we talked about inappropriate public discourse. and i want to show you some of the placards that have been used by demonstrators, pro union supporters out there. they have cast the governor, this one here, one dictator to go, one dictator down. talking about hosni mubarak. he has been compared to hitler. we spend time on this program talking about the nonsense about obama being a muslim or not being born in america and asking republicans if they reject that.
should that kind of discourse be rejected in this fight? >> absolutely. it's inappropriate. it should be condemned. not only by people close to the governor, but by those of us who are observers. i think that's something that we've got to squash in this country. we've come to a point in this government discussion where you know, one side says anything goes. to get my point across. and i think it would be certainly something that i would condemn. but, but it goes even further than that. we're not even involved in trying to solve the problems. one side proposes, the other side opposes. that's why we're not making progress. you know, the governor is saying here, you know, you know, you come back, let's prevent me laying off employees.
if you, when the lion and the lamb lie down, if you look closely, when the lion gets up, the lamb is missing. when the governor says, come back home, he's not saying, let's negotiate. he's saying, come back home so i can do what i want to do to the unions. >> kim, i want to get to you. the president said it was an assault on unions, he's then gone quiet. back in 2007, on the campaign trail, this is what he said. if this were to ever come it pass. >> and understand this -- if american workers are being denied their rights to organize and collectively bargain when i'm in the white house, i'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. i'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the united states of america. because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner. >> so here he said he was an assault on unions. in the past he said i'll be out there walking with you. he's now gone site. meantime, he's trying to move to
the center politically and trying to create jobs. he's in a difficult question. >> well as the governor said, he needs to have a pair of shoes on and picket in washington, d.c. because federal workers are not allowed any of those collective bargaining rights. >> it's not necessarily a winning issue here. what's going on in the states is a maicrocosm of the federal debate about fiscal responsibility. what the governors are saying, it's chris christie in new jersey, scott walk anywhere wisconsin, john casic in ohio. >> they're not going that far. >> but we talking about the bigger issue of budgets. you even have democrats like andrew cuomo in new york saying when you look at the budgets, ho huge ballooning parts of the budget are because of collective bargaining. we need the flexibilities and tools to fix this. so that's, it's an argument that
resonates with americans. people are trying to cast this as the soul of the middle class. it's middle class taxpayers that elected these guys. >> is president obama doing enough? is he satisfying you? >> look, it's important for the president for middle class voters to know that the president is on their side. but this isn't about president obama. >> but i'm asking you -- if he's doing enough. you heard what he said in 2007. he would be out there with you. he's not out there with you. >> this is is a about a governor who is taking on nurses and emts. >> answer the question, i asked a very specific question. the president as a candidate said in 2007 said if this ever happens i'll be with you. >> he's not taking on workers like scott walker is and trying to take away their ability, to come together and negotiate a middle class way of life. he stands for that. >> could he be doing more? >> everybody could be doing more. >> well, in this specific case -- lawrence i want to go back to politics here. it is very difficult for a president who wants to mover to the center who before the, after the cannon fired initially said
it's an assault on unions, then he's gone quiet. and now he's got unhappiness on the left and on the right. and he just wants to be more of a centrist guy right now. >> it will be interesting to see what his choice would be if he was in the second term. this is someone who won wisconsin. he has to win wisconsin again. there's chaos there right now. politically, he doesn't know how this is going to play three months from now. if a large majority or significant majority of wisconsin likes the outcome, whatever it is, a few months from now, that's where the president wants to be. going into his re-election. >> and you know, talking about -- i want to talk about the politics some more. howard fineman in the "huffington post" had an analysis. about how in many ways it's about the gop's attempts to win more governor seats around the country. he talks about the real political map of wisconsin. what happened, why did republicans only get 12 the last go-round? according to gop strategist and governor haley barbour of mississippi, the power and money of public employee unions was the reason that the gop's
strategic gains are enough. if they can abolish the power of collect i have bargaining rights, shrinking the treasuries and reducing the union structure and membership will make it harder for democrats to communicate directly with workers. >> that's what howard said. that's what howard said. >> do you disagree with that? >> this is a state issue in a state where they've got serious budget problems. because payroll pensions are such a huge part of the budget. you've got to deal with it and you can't deal with it for one year. >> let's talk about -- you ask about the president. the president is one of the greatest politicians in the history of the united states. and he, he's quiet? because he understands that most americans know this has to be done. >> congressman -- >> let's sue him for breach of promise and move on. you know -- the reality is that the president needs to be in washington, dealing with a
plethora of issues around the world, not the least of which is libya. but i want to go back to something that you said. actually twice, governor. and that is, you said that you know, this would be a one-year agreement. the governor was just elected. he'll still be governor in a year. and you know, the agreements that we have, we're not made by gadhafi. they were made by people who sat in a room and worked out an agreement. and i think labor unions are saying, and public-sector employees are saying, okay, maybe things have gotten out of balance. we'll reduce some things. but the governor is saying, i don't care. you know, i want to crush the union. >> i want to get to a break. i want to ask you about the tone of the debate. you are one of the leading labor voices in the country. you condemn the hyperbole, the
overstatements, comparing scott walker to hitler and hosni mubarak. >> we should be sitting down trying to create jobs. look, if you think that the arguments that you're doing in wisconsin is winning, as you said, kim, the polls show that every wisconsin vast majority of the people think this governor has overreached. his popularity has gone down. they're saying to him, sit down and negotiate. don't do what you've been doing. so he's losing. if that's the argument you're going to do this year and next year, it's a loser. >> i don't know if you're saying democracy. you're saying it's a temporary agreement. it's a result of democracy in wisconsin. republicans won wisconsin. and republicans ran on this. and now they're doing this. if the idea remains popular and if it has democratic support in wisconsin, meaning support of the democracy of wisconsin, why would you worry about leaving this agreement out there so that, and allowing collective bargaining so that wisconsin can
democratically express itself in the future as being in favor or opposed to more or less government spending orrin workers? >> it is precisely because i do believe in democracy. we had an election in 2010. and wisconsin voted for a republican governor. republican senator, two republican houses of legislature and they have determined this is the best way to go forward to get the budget of that state in effect, which they were elected to do. look at indiana. in indiana, this was done six years ago by the governor. it has been very popular. nobody put mitch daniels' picture with a crosshair over his face. like they're doing in wisconsin. you know, if sarah palin did that, it would be the world -- >> quick point and get to a break. >> actually in fairness, since governor daniels did get some blow-back when he did this six years ago and his approval ratings can go down, but the question is, what happens in the end. people want to see balanced budgets and what's interesting is governor daniels is one of the few states, because he ended up with that flexibility in his budget, to negotiate, he's had
been in the black for the past five or six years. and when other states have not. >> let me get a break in here. i want to talk about the budget woes here in washington, as well as what's going on in the middle east, right after this. opportunity can start anywhere. and go everywhere. to help revitalize a neighborhood in massachusetts, restore a historic landmark in harlem, fund a local business in chicago, expand green energy initiatives in seattle. because when you're giving, lending and investing in more communities across the country, more opportunities happen. [ male announcer ] from jet engines that have fewer emissions, to new ways to charge electric cars,
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and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at anga.us. we are back with round table. congressman cleaver, i want to talk about the president's spending and the showdown here in washington. we're not talking about the budget debt because there's the prospect of a government showdown because democrats and republicans can't see eye to eye on spend forge the rest of this fiscal year. this is a statement you put out. rebuilding our economy on the backs of the most vulnerable americans is something that i
cannot accept. i one that now is the time for us as a night to sacrifice in order to protect our children from a mountain of debt. cutting funding to programs that assist hard-working americans, happy families heat their homes and expand access to graduate-level education conflicts with the notion of winning the future. do we have the balance wrong? as we approach spending this year and look ahead? >> absolutely. let me preface my comment on that by just saying, you know, this agreement does not equal disassociation or disaffection, and disagreement among friends is the insignia of a healthy relationship. we got to disagree with the president when we think that he's moving and i direction that's disturbing. but, at the same time, i do think that real cuts need to be
made, but let's keep in mind, you know, i think we're dangerously cutting. ben bernanke has warned congress in a hearing that cuts could hurt what is a rickety recovery. goldman sachs in an analysis released last week said that even if the proposed cuts are reduced to a 25 billion for the first year and 50 billion for the next year, that it would still create a 1% cut in economic growth of the gdp. >> lawrence, there's a stop gap measure that will head off a shutdown. the president has to engage on the fact that republicans and democrats are far apart on cuts that republicans want. >> looks like they will avoid
this friday shutdown and have a two week extension. they agreed to that by john boehner taking the cuts that the president identified in the future and said let's start doing them now. that's the cut package that they will include in their ongoing resolution. the problem with this dialogue it all begins after our failure on recognizing what the top tax rate burdens should really be. and keeping them down has created this much more serious deficit situation going forward. we've been ignoring for years the reality of what has happened in the super rich level of income in this country. we should have several higher top tax brackets. it shouldn't stop at a couple hundred thousand dollars. we have short stops making $15 million paying the same tax rate as two ucla married professors. this is outrageous. people on wall street in deals making $300 million and i day and pay that same top tax rate as people making a couple hundred thousand dollars.
we're ignoring this massive revenue possibility in the high end of incomes. >> as this debate goes on, kim, i want to talk about another threat to the economy that's coming from the events that we're talking about in the middle east. i thought this cartoon captured it. syndicated cartoonist. the price of liberty he says in the cartoon is $5 a gallon. we're talking about library area only 2% of the oil market but very important in europe and it's the speculation that causes folks to pay more for gas here. how does this imperil our economy? >> that's the real problem is speculation. libya is 3% to the oil market. you've already had the saudis come out and say we can replace the oil that's not coming out of libya. what you're seeing is traders worried this arab revolt will spread to place like saudi and building in the worry into the price. this acts as a tax on the economy. i think we import or use 7.5
billion barrels of oil a year pry time $10 a barrel price hike that's a huge new tax on the economy. some of this isn't just libya and speculation. we're also seeing in here part of ben bernanke's quantitative easing. >> the administration's energy policy is affecting. shutting down the gulf of mexico, issues they are raising. america will produce 13% more domestic petroleum. how is that in our interest at a time like this or any other time? new talk about that in terms of energy policy. as someone who may run for president and we'll talk more about politics after the break. as you look at the middle east what concerns you about u.s. posture towards that region? >> look, i'm one of these guys that believes as senator v
vandenburg said it should stop at the water's edge. on the domestic energy policy it's compounding this problem. we're blowing past $3 a gallon on our way to $4 a gallon. $4 gasoline brought my state and a lot of places to their knees in 2008 before there ever was a meltdown on wall street. there are a lot of questions out there about retirement.
we're back with our final moments with rournds table. everything has political implications. let's talk about the politics. this news this week for 2012, senator thune has decided he won't run for president. john thune from south dakota. huckee and romney at the top. governor barbour at 3%. this field is unsettled.
how will you make the calculation whether you'll run. >> didn't know my family was that big 3%. it's a very critical decision. it's a family decision in many ways. in fact in most ways. i'm not going make a decision until april. i'm is going to finish my legislature, get my job done. >> how do you make that calculation. there's a lot of late entries. >> whether or not anybody else runs is irrelevant to my decision. i'll make my decision based on things i think. i don't want to take over everybody's else's time. >> how do you assess who you organize against. >> there will be a lot. >> who is most formidable in your mind? >> don't know. i wouldn't go there. i wouldn't go there on either side, democrats or republicans. that's a debate that need to take place. governor walker, what he's done and people like him, governors like them, they've are energized the working class voters. that momentum we picked up, the
demonstrations we see in madison isn't just in madison that's around the country. that momentum will continue on. haley i hope you don't stake your whole campaign on taking away the right of workers to able to earn a middle class income because i don't think that's a winner for you. >> i'm going to take my campaign on the right of taxpayers table pay so state employees can keep their jobs. >> state workers are taxpayers. >> let me ask you about health care. mike huckabee has taken on mitt romney. this is what he said. the potential white house rival romney should offer an apology for health care overhaul he oversaw as massachusetts governor. it's not a killer but he has to say i hate it, i love it, i tried it, it didn't work. he goes on, he's got to figure out how to deal with it. it's the 800 pound elephant in the room. romney has stood by it but said
it's something the state should work out. >> huckabee is right. you can down through the list and do that with pretty much of every one of the possible republican candidates with the exception of tim pawlenty who i think is the one who will start moving ahead because he has no serious negative. you have thoughtful republicans starting to support him. the ideal candidate is a midwesterner and that's true for both parties. that's where the battleground states are. with thune dropping out pawlenty becomes more important in the field. this vir taurl dicaprio cal to the problem hillary clinton had going into that primary field where she had to disown or own that vote in support of the iraq war. this is much more serious. what romney did on health care is a much more difficult thing to overcome in the primaries. i don't think key. >> that's not the only issue. i agree with richard. what's happening in wisconsin will have very big implications for the primaries on both sides. in particular this case because
the other 800 pound gorilla is fiscal responsibility. this will play into republican governors. >> are republicans running circles around democrats and the president on the issue of fiscal responsibility from the states to cutting in washington? is that how you view it? >> no. absolutely not. what the republicans are mistakenly doing is pushing cuts that will hurt the very people who voted for them. and when people realize what is happening to them and their families, there will be, i think, a great deal of buyer's regret and we'll look up and see that president obama is surging again. to beat somebody you got to run somebody. this is the only person that i'm endorsing to run against barack obama at the moment. >> really? you would endorse governor barbour. >> to run against him. >> we have to leave it there.
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