tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS September 23, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
from washington, the mclaughlin group, the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest mindses, best sources, hardest talk. issue one. romney video. video recording of mitt romney addressing a fundraiser in boca raton florida, four months ago, created a fire storm this week. it was posted on the internet by a liberal media outlet named mother jones. named after the revered union organizer. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon them who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to them, who believe they are entitled to
food, health care, an housing you name it. it is an entitlement and the government should give to them. >> the number quoted by mitt romney in the address is correct. u.s. census bureau data published by the "the wall street journal" reports that 49% of american households receive some type of government benefit in mid 2011. that's up from 30% in the 1980s. social security benefits, 16.2% of americans receive them. medicare coverage, 14.9% receive it. food stamps, one in seven households get them. income tax, americans in 2010 who paid none, 46%. up from 27% 20 years ago. unemployment, 23 million unemployed or underemployed today. question, the obama team is trying to spin the video as meaning romney only cares about
the top 53%. not the 47% who get government benefits. is this damaging to governor romney? tim? >> absolutely damaging to governor romney. because he is writing off a portion of the population. it is not just that he is talking down to them, like barack obama did four yeersz ago, when he talked -- years ago when he talked about the bitter clingers who clinged to guns and religion, and obama says we can win them over and romney is saying i can't win this part of the population. anybody who writes off that population, i don't know where he will get off the 50% to win. >> the problem is they're not all democrats. a lot of them are republicans. they're veterans. they're people who receive benefits, social security. people do not think they're undeserving. so he is insulting basically much of the electorate. and there is a window of his soul. this is how mitt romney thinks, and when he was thinking of
that mansion in boca raton, this is i think how rich people talk when they're among themselves. they want to protect their benefits and they see themselves as in something of a war against the hordes of undeserving people. and a lot of the benefits that he is talking about were expanded by republican and democratic presidents. the child care tax credit was doubled under george w. bush. this is part of the reason a lot of people do not pay federal income taxes. before they pay a lot of other taxes. and they feel stressed, and they don't see that mitt romney is someone who is on their side. it is devastating to him politically. >> mark? >> well, i do think it is hugely damaging to him politically. i have to say, i don't believe this is the way all wealthy people talk. i've been to many -- >> i hope not. >> i was a waiter at these dinners and i listened to those conversations. [ laughter ] >> and i never heard them talk
that way. and when they tipped me, they didn't say you deserve this, they basically said i didn't deserve it because i wasn't serving. i do think there is a blind spot in romney that is really spon issuing in the sense that there is something about him that is not coming through. i don't know if it will before the campaign is over. but if it doesn't, he will be in real trouble. it is immense political damage. and the fact that it came out this way, the fact that he said it, and wasn't aware that you can't do anything, or say anything like this today, in this age of cameras and all kinds of things, so i find it really astonishing. it has done him enormous damage. whether he recovers or not will depend in my judgment how well he handsels the debates. and he will have to answer to this in the debate and he bet ver a good answer. >> some people say this is actually an improvement in previous democratic attack lines top 1%. you ever think of that? >> that is not true. he was a very effective governor of massachusetts. he was not focused on the
wealthy. he was focused on health care and a lot of very good things. i think that is just an unfair judgment about him. >> now, he's got the interest of the majority. >> that's what he says now. the problem is, our other colleague, rich lowry has been on this program numerous times editor of national review and says that it sounds like he was repeated something he overheard from a couple of conservatives and of which romney is not. he is a come lately kevin late conservative trying to sound like one. and there is a book written on it about half of the population not paying income taxes than is one for a longer decision. he was more than correct when he said his answer was not as elegant as it might been. >> what about obama, the redistributor? >> a tape came out a couple of days ago, with the president saying, yes, he believes in redistribution. i don't. i believe the way to lift people and to help people have higher income is not to take
from some and go to others, but to create wealth for all of mak that everybody's got a shot. >> question, is the idea of redistributing wealth popular with middle class voters? >> no, it is a toxic phrase. which is why the romney campaign has unearthed this video from 1998. but what barack obama was talking about was redistributing so that you have a -- to create a safety net, and if you played the rest of that tape, you would hear him go on to talk about the private market, and he gives a
wonderful exposition in defense of capitalism. so he is not for a classic socialistic redistribution. >> eleanor, he just said he favors redistribution. >> well, to create a safety net. >> well, that wasn't -- >> that's what it is about. but if you think this is going to rescue the romney campaign, this is not going to do so. >> does everybody think that this is anything else but dynamite? >> john, obama's redistribution is not just a safety net. the obama care subsidies go to the middle class. you've got cash for clunkers. cash for clonkers. cash for banks. everybody, big bank, middle class, millionaires, they're all getting the money redistributed and paul ryan said it very well once, it is instead of a safety net, it becomes a web that ensnares people and middle class don't like it. they want americans -- >> wait a minute. who does this remind you of? who does this remind you of?
clarence? >> rahm emanuel? >> it reminds me of a web that ensnares everybody. >> did you hear of joe the plumber? >> spreading the weth around, exactly. >> yes. and he said is to joe the plumber. >> and that has been the same for years. >> how is this any worse? recueing the same discussion we had four years ago about joe the plumber. have you heard of the progressive income tax? have you heard about the $10 million amount of money that bain received from the fdic. the companies that bain owned were receiving tax breaks as well. redistribution is the way government operates. the only political issue is who pays and who benefits. that's the real political debate. so let's have it. >> president reagan, who created the earned income tax credit. which bill clinton had expanded on. and that probably is classic redistribution. it is not over the top karl marx however. >> why can't you say something at this point? >> john, i have the feeling you
think i have to defend the 1% or something like that. [ laughter ] >> i don't defend the 1%. i actually believe in higher taxes on the wealthy. i supported it when the president introduced it in this particular thing. i do think we need to do things that require the participation of the wealthy. otherwise the politics will never let us do anything to get our budgets under control and our deficits under control. >> let's sober up a little bit. $16trillion in debt. >> that's right. >> $6 trillion has been added to the national debt since president obama took office four years ago. when the debt clock was at $10 trillion. david letterman slipped mr. obama this sly one. >> now, do you remember what that number one? was it $10 trillion? >> i don't remember what the number was precisely. >> right. but see now, if this is me and i got the credit card guy calling me every day, i start to get scared. i mean as americans, should we be scared that we owe that kind >> ?
>> a lot of it we owe to ourselves, right? >> get a load of that. he developed that train of thought. >> even letterman is scared. what do you think of that? >> i think letterman can handle it. the point that the president is making is that much of the debt is held in terminally -- internally, if one government branch of the debt and social security checks that we owe but some of the debt is owned by overseas credit by the chinese and he made an excellent point that interest rates are so low now, that borrowing money, now is the time to do our infrastructure recovery, and now is the time, while the rest of the world is still parking their money with us, because we're still a safe harbor, and he makes the point that the deficit is of concern. but it is not a concern for the next six months. it is something that you have to get on, on a pattern. but to dive into austerity is to invite the same kind of problems that europe is going through. and it only crimps any kind of recovery that we have. so i think --
>> don't you think -- didn't kn deficit, i'm sure republicans are going to go to town on that. >> that's not the issue. >> it is ignorant. >> that's not the issue. the issue is raising taxes now. or putting in an austerity program now. the issue is developing a program like the boll-simpson program that deals with our deficit over the longer term. because just like europe, we will end up in the same kind of difficulty. there is a wonderful line from a hemingway novel where somebody says, how did you go bankrupt? he says first, first, slowly and then suddenly. you know, that's what has happened in europe, okay? all of those governments had too much debt on their books. were running deficits. we're running a huge deficit. sooner or later it will burn us and burn us badly and we have to do something about it. and we not support -- he would not support the -- >> you can't seriously deal with the issue. >> he didn't deal with it when boll-simpson came in with the recommendation. >> romney is now rolling back
on obama care. and now maybe the pre-existing condition part is not so bad after all. and like he rolled back on the medicare theme as far as the $700 billion redirected by obama, over to obama care. all of this is in an election year, people are playing around with these issues. you're right. we got to deal with the deficit and the debt. >> the middle class cringes at the idea of redistribution. they know that people like mort and others are -- they can find their loopholes. but they cringe at it. >> social security and medicare are the federal government redistribution. >> do you think that -- >> i think people know -- >> let's talk about political correctness. don't talk about redistribution. it is reality. people like it. >> and people cringe at it. >> people call it earned benefits. if you earn these benefits as a citizen and pay into the programs, that's how people
regard them. >> but they know that their there are loopholes and tax havens and those who have the bucks can get the lawyers and the account assents to finds t and they issue two. insider attack. >> this is a war. we're engaged in a war. and every day, when you're engaged in war, there are serious risks that confront those who fight the war. >> secretary of state leon panetta is particularly concerned about quote-unquote insider attacks. these in side attacks are ones perpetrated by afghan forces who have been trained by u.s. and nato forces. in other words, our allies in afghanistan are turning their fire on the american force who
trained them. 51 deaths from insider attacks have occurred this year alone. an increase from 35 last year. on sunday, september 16, four u.s. soldiers were lured and then killed by afghan police, supposedly on our side. on friday, one week ago, a particularly audacious attack occurred at camp bastion, a major air base in hellman province. afghan militants scaled the perimeter of the heavily guarded facility and killed two u.s. marines. harrier jets were also destroyed. in response to these ongoing assaults, the u.s. military has suspended most side by side nato/afghan field operations, like joint patrols. quote, it will apply only until the threat level returns to a tolerable level. unquote. so says u.s. colonel and senior nato spokesman tom collins. the u.s. has been fighting in
afghanistan since october 2001. 11 years. as of this past wednesday, 1,994 u.s. troops have died in afghanistan. 17,619 u.s. troops have been wounded in action. how much money has the $443billion. so reports the congressional research office. question, the u.s. exit from afghanistan, slated for 2014, assumes a successful training of afghan forces to take over the security of that country. so how will this training suspension affect that exit date? clarence? >> it is going to be a -- it is obviously a problem, i don't think it is going to hold up the official exit date really, but it is something that we have had to reconfigure our troops and the way our squads now have to have somebody
watching our afghan allies, afghan security force, at the same time they're looking out for the visible enemy. it is a chaotic situation in that regard. but i don't think we're going to really delay our pull-out. >> but the issue there is that the joint efforts of both the afghanis and the american forces were to train the afghanis so they could handle the security issues when the americans left. you're not going to have that now. they're not going to be able to handle the security forces when we have made the commit to leave in 2014. so that means that afghanistan may become once again a base for terrorism, against the united states, and this whole effort has been a disaster. >> and it undermines the trust that they hope to build between the americans and the afghanis. but i think it is a little bit of an overreach to say this is the difference between leaving a relative success and a huge disaster. i think whenever we leave, whether it is in 2014, which is when it will be, or 10 years
into the future, afternoon is still going to be an unsettled place. but i don't think we can fix that forever. >> what percentage of nato forces, including americans, have been killed by reason of these insider attacks? >> a small percentage. >> 15%. >> oh, 15% of -- from insider attacks? >> it shows -- >> it is a vial situation. >> it shows exactly why, what george w. bush tries to undertake there in -- after driving out the taliban, and the al qaeda supporters, just that regime, then trying to build it as a nation, that that was folly, and president obama has tried to do that, too and we're playing make-believe, oh, 2014, maybe we won't be able to leave. we will leave. it will be more than unsettled. it is going to be a mess. >> what is wrong with doing what we did in vietnam. just go? you know? >> it is called cutting and
running. and it would be a political disaster at the very least. and also send signals to the rest of the world that -- >> you want staying and killing? >> no, i want staying until the determined -- it is determined with our allies deadline in 2014. >> there comes a time when you reach critical mass. and it is not only folly, but it is probably sin -- >> in reality, the only real stable parts in afghanistan as far as we're concerned are the capital and kandahar, major centers like that. most of that country is still controlled by various tribal chiefs et cetera. >> the president of afghanistan has remained remarkably silent since this. >> afghanistan has been a disaster from beginning to end. and there were other alternatives when the president added 30,000 troops when they had done that is correct and it is too late. it is what it is. and we are now where we are. and when the troops leave, it will be a disaster. >> it is when, 2014?
>> two years. >> two years from now. do you think we should wait that long? >> that's the commitment we made. i agree with eleanor, you just can't pull out, okay? it is a staged withdrawal. but the whole idea, the timing of the withdrawal, was to train the afghani troops so they could defend themselves. and now it is not possible. >> this weekend, we're seeing the surge, the afghani surge has been dropped down. our surge there. and now there are afghanis saying look the surge of troops created more ailation and now they're abandoning us, and the terrorists made by the u.s. president are free to operate. >> it is not that different from iraq. there are bad things going on in iraq, too. it is not completely peaceable. >> but iraq has a history -- >> the american people really, are on a quasi-isolationist move right now. they don't care for it at all. >> that's a big reason why -- >> there are circumstances that can intervene. which change plans quite legitimately. >> that's right. >> there is not much to exit question. president obama's aim is to
transform afghanistan in a way that is commensurate with the military and economic means that will do do the job. isn't that true? carney? >> i don't think they will be able to bring enough force to make afghanistan be peaceful or anything. i think obama is looking for an excuse to cut and run without making it look like cutting and running. >> do you think he can find it? >> yes, i think he is very good at finding excuses. excellent. >> eleanor? >> he has put in place a withdrawal plan and i think he is going to stick to it. maybe after the election, president romney or president obama, they will reassess, but i think for the moment the plan is pretty well set in stone. >> he has put in place for a withdrawal date. the plan for the withdrawal date has fallen apart completely. he will stick to the date without question. but let's face. it we will not be able to train the afghani forces to do what we think they should be able to do when we set the date. >> and i didn't say the date would change. >> we have the latest of many
empire builders and semi-em pisser semi-builders to try to go into afghanistan and -- semi- building, to try to go into afghanistan and change it, and then leave. >> and mujahedin, that resulted in al qaeda. >> this moral rut, the ethical rut. >> can you elaborate, john? >> yes, i can. soldiers side by side. one training the other. and they kill each other. >> you may call it rot. but they believe they have a reason to be doing this and that's what we have to deal with. >> three. the bounce. take two. >> the latest nbc "the wall street journal" poll taken between september 12-16, goes president obama's post- convention bounce going strong. despite a week of world turmoil. among likely voter, mr. obama leads g.
turmoil. among likely voter, mr. 50% to 45%. obama's overall approval rating is also up. hitting the 50% mark for the first time in six months. the bad news for romney is that he and obama are w tied on which man is better equipped to handle the economy. there is also some bad news for obama. his approval rating for foreign policy dropped 5% since august. driven lower by middle east troubles. the intensity gap also persists. among those voters who say they are very interested in the election, romney leads. 49% to 46%. the shift in public opinion have led to the emergence of three new swing states. colorado, iowa, wisconsin, are down to single digit differences. question, is this the tail end
of president obama's post- convention bounce, or is he now on a roll? tim? >> i think he is on a roll. hand is his natural lead is a couple of points. and romney is going to have to make that up somehow. obama's low approval ratings are good, but romney's low approval ratings make it almost impossible for him to overcome it. given how much stuff with the horrible stuff, in libya and afghanistan and obama not knowing the size of the national debt, if obama is still up by this many points, i don't know what romney is going to to do to make it up. >> all of the key battle ground states, the president is pulling ahead. some of the states that went for obama last time that should be natural gifts for republicans like north carolina and colorado are now, at least colorado is move nook the obama column -- moving into the obama column. and the pathway for romney to get to the 270 is much steeper. he is probably 60 or 70 votes short. the president is only 33 votes short. if the president captures
florida, ohio, virginia, almost one of those, certainly two of those, and in virginia, you now see the president pulling ahead, and bringing along the senate candidate tim kaine with him. and the momentum is really with obama right now. now, whether la is going to last, we don't know. but romney has a lot to worry about. >> to whom does obama have to be grateful for making it appear that he, obama, pulled the chest nuts oust the nuts -- oust the fire? >> i really give a lot of credit to bill clinton. he really framed the opinion against the republicans and he worked in florida. and look for clinton triangulation to return if he wins. >> and we heard about the performance of bill clinton. was there anything comparable in the republican convention that would help romney? >> no, i don't think there was anything comparable. i don't think there is anybody in american politics who is comparable to bill clinton,
frankly. look, the issue is -- >> has romney done a badon about explaining five elements in the economic proposal and is time on romney's side? >> time is not on romney's side. and he lass not done a good job, i will put it that way. the issue is going to be determined one way or the other on the debates. that's when the candidates are up there. and if romney does it well, and he will have a chance and if he doesn't do well and obama wipes him out, he vill no chance. >> what is your brie diction? >> i think he will -- prediction? >> i think he will do very well. i have seen him in debates and in massachusetts, he is a good well and obama is a very, very very good speaker. >> and he doesn't have clinton at his side. >> and he has had four years. four years. and this is where we are in the economy today. what do you think? >> that's because -- well, considering how obama -- well, the economy doing so badly, obama according to precedent
should be about 10 points behind right now but the fact that he is not to, and neck and neck and only a point ahead indicates anything two predictions. dim? >> the lame duck congress will avert the fiscal cliff only by kicking the can down the road. >> eleanor? >> both campaigns turning to debate prep, the white house bringing back anita dunn to oversee the pret. >> mort? >> the israelis will not attack iran until after the election. >> clarence? >> mitt romney will do surprisingly well in the first debate because expectations are so low. >> two parts of spain will break away two months from now and the
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