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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  July 8, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT

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tavis: good evening from los angeles. i am tavis smiley. a conversation with one of the country's leading opinion makers frank rich. after a decade writing at the "new york times" he is writing for "new york magazine." he will talk about president obama and his chances for reelection. michael rapaport is here to talk about his film about a tribe called quest.
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columnist frank rich and actor michael rapaport coming up right now. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it is a cornerstone that we all know. it is a place where i walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> nationwide supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nation why it works with tavis to move -- remove obstacles to economic empowerment. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from the worst like you. thank you. -- viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute
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tavis: always pleased to welcome frank rich back to the program. after more than 30 years with the "new york magazine" as a theater critic and opinion columnist, he makes his debut for "new york magazine." his article is called "something run" obama's failures to right the wrongs of this crash. >> great to be with you as always. tavis: i am glad that as many others are. your fans are glad to have you back and see it -- digging into what you have to say. why this particular piece about obama as your debut? >> as i was looking at various subjects, what really grabbed me and pushed me in this direction
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was the fact that mitt romney, a dye that is associated with corporate america, americaguy that is associated -- guy that is associated with corporate america, a guy associated with corporate buyouts is presenting himself as a new fdr. how could that mitt romney get away with this pose? a lot of it has to deal with obama and the economic avoid he has left. tavis: you talked about how they got away with demonizing john kerry when he served and george bush did not. recordhat case, kerry's was an exemplary. there is just enough wanting in
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the obama record so far that he gave romney a slight opening for his exaggerations' and characters. tavis: you have a lot of words in the new peace. what is it that obama has not done that has led to the failure of righting the wrongs, specifically about the crash? >> the two biggest things is that nobody who created the circumstances for this crash has been punished. low level con people have, bernie madoff has, the people who made the housing bubble have not. they took their fortunes and left while america was holding the bag. that is a failure in law
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enforcement. obama pledged to do that. he started a task force within the justice department called operation broken trust. it has never had any significant prosecutions or any significant investigation of what went down. the second is a failure to reform wall street. the dodd-frank bill was not great to begin with. poorly staffed agencies have to implement the rules that are besieged by lobbyists. that is on the democrat and republican side. obama failed to fight for a elizabeth warren or appoint her in the consumer protection agency. the third thing that is unfortunate is his record on jobs, while hardly worth less, and the stimulus save several
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million jobs, has never been the full focus of this administration. the image of favoring big corporate status quo and wall street even though in his heart of hearts, that is not what he believes. tavis: that may be a enough of an albatross to make sure that he does not get reelected. the first two well, he did not control. was all about law enforcement. the second was about congress, not necessarily the white house. it is the third one that could mess him up. he gets on the campaign trail, he can s u responsibility for the first two, can he not? >> the law enforcement part of that has been under his watch.
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it has and a lax effort. they have not been aggressive. but that's what the obama mentality of let's turn the page on tour -- if fits with the obama mentality of let's turn the page on torture. the dodd-frank, that is a shared responsibility. i wish the obama administration has taken more of a leading role when they were fighting on health care and pushing that forward. health care was taken by his opponents and used to demonize them and helped give him the congress that he now has. tavis: i am curious as to your take on this. how have the obama people so badly missed focusing on jobs?
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i have said many times, between mccain and obama, the worst poverty never came up in one time. poverty never came up. it is a word that he still does not want to utter. i am trying to figure out how a campaign that was sold on being focused, so good at staying on message, could so badly misty issue of jobs -- miss the issue of jobs. >> there are several theories. he was too much in the grip of people that he appointed. that was not that focused on jobs as the main thing.
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even in the stimulus, a jobs program to put people directly to work was essentially shot forces.the geithner this administration took a year to have a jobs coucil. that is amazing given the circumstances you describe as he came in. then there was the health care focus. what i really do not understand is how, after health care waltzed past jobs as a focus and moved into deficit reduction almost as if he was intimidated by the tea party. every poll shows that jobs and
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unemployment for most americans are a higher priority than the deficit. tavis: when the time came to reshape his economic team, maybe we will get a new team of people that might understand these issues better. when romer leaves when peter leaves, there is hope that this new at the team -- an economic team might get it. is there a new team that might understand these issues better? this their time between now and election day? >> the first one is no. i see no change. you could argue that romer and gerald were all on the side that we think is important. on the side of pushing jobs, more spending, larger stimulus,
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the more proactive job creation. they lost, they are gone. they are not being replaced by people picking up that argument. it is a long time between now and election day. in american politics, things can change in a week. if he can be strong and change his priorities, it could make a difference. you have to remember that some hethe swing states tehat won last time like florida and nevada, they have higher unemployment rates than the miserable record in the rest of the country. it is imperative that he do this for the rest of the country and for his own political survival. them: we talk about political survival. you talk about -- tavis: we talk
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about political survival. you talk about obama versus romney. how is he going to run best against him? >> he has got to smoke romney out. his record is terrible. when he was governor of massachusetts, they have the lowest record of job creation except for the louisiana who had a huge exodus because of katrina. his record is one of downsizing companies. he has to do this from a position of strength. obama has to have his own record and a renewed vigor that can be a clear-cut alternative. he cannot just be another
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seemingly corporate guy running against another corporate guy. tavis: i hate to use these words because they have been so overused. as i read the piece of -- i am not saying you say this explicitly, there is a sense that you believed that there is time, more than just time, you believe that obama is still capable. there is something inside of him that you can connect to. something there that we can perhaps get the president to understand and respond. if my read on that is right, why are you hopeful? do you think he is going to stand strong on the debt ceiling and not give them what they want on deficit reduction? why did you remain hopeful? >> i may be just the a fool to hold on. argument,ave any great
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except a fundamental conviction that this is a decent guy, much of whose record including as a community organizer says that his overall passions are not the ones we are seeing presented and so compromised in the past couple of years. i also feel that he is somebody that when his back is against the wall, tends to wake up and smell the coffee. in the press conference that he gave last week where he was insulted by the republicans for being so out there and angry when all that he did was show some spine, that got him called a four letter word by another
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network. that obama is there. the history has said that he does this fitfully and then retreats. he called some of the bankers fat cats and then retreated from its three months later. we hope that he will stick to it. a lot is at stake for him as well as america. tavis: the american people want to see somebody fight for them. now would be and the time to start if you want to be reelected. >> you bet. i hate to peck on the runway. let's do that. everybody else does. he may not be the nominee. for now, he pulled even to obama. romney is the most transparent
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phony. he is rolling his -- rolling up his shirt sleeves and getting a few hairs fall out of place and he is from "the grapes of wrath ." a few years ago, he presented himself as a religious conservative. that is really a paper tiger if obama is going to be the real tiger. tavis: frank rich's back. i am happy about that. his first piece is out. we will talk about this in the coming days and weeks. "something rotten." welcome back, but to see you. >> great to see you, my friend. tavis: a new documentary about the hip-hop group a tribe called quest.
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michael rapaport is a talented actor who has gone behind the camera for a documentary about the grammy-nominated him pop group a tribe called quest. here now a scene from "beats, rhymes and life." >> the yin and yang, that was the perfect marriage. >> he picks the best loops. we would not be here. >> the only change is seeing those guys' relationship deteriorate. what's he had a problem with me. >> i am in a group with you. you are not my daddy.
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>> that was in it for me. >> good things to come to an end. tavis: we will talk in a moment about a tribe called quest. what is it about music documentaries that make them work? >> music documentaries, obviously, the music is always the star of the show. if that is really well done, it can be something more revealing, or interpersonal about a subject or the groups that you are doing a documentary about. i have been inspired by many documentaries before i thought about this. one by martin scorsese or "give me shelter" by the rolling stones and their concert that went terribly wrong that had nothing to do with the concert. tavis: is this one done well?
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>> you have to be the judge of that. i am proud of it. making this movie took everything out of me. i put everything into it. tavis: why put everything into a it? there are any number of musical groups or individuals you could have done a documentary on. >> i said why not. i grew up in new york city in the first generation of hip-hop. i was exposed to the young. a tribe called quest is just as important and significant as the beatles, the rolling stone, and led zeppelin. my mother talks about seeing the beatles at shea stadium. seeing ibbiz asy've been as much to me
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the beatles and rolling stones and older folks. i am just playing. tavis: glad to have you. when you say the beatles and other groups that you mentioned a moment ago, that have impacted your mom and the others because of the way they influence the culture. when you put a tribe called quest up there with the beatles, a lot of people are laughing at you. a lot of people do not seen these -- see the same cultural impact between the beatles and a tribe called quest. they impacted you that way. how do you make that argument? >> that is a cut question. a tribe called quest, and everything before it, everything from the golden era, you see the
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t-mobile commercial with the white kid wrapping and michelle obama doing be dougie, that brought such a community together. in hip-hop, africa bambada used to say peace, love, and unity. that has done more for bringing together the racial divide than anybody in the last few years. -- 30 years. seeing somebody like eminem sound like jay-z. obviously, the beatles are the beatles, but in hip-hop terms, a tribe called questare the beatles. big daddy cane is jimi hendrix.
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i understand why people are saying, what do you talk about? age thing. if you are 45 and under, you perk up. that appeal to everybody. it was not soft or corny. tavis: there are a number of artists talking about the impact tribe had on them. what is the documentary trying to get us to understand about their influence on hip-hop? >> they make people feel like they were comfortable being themselves. i talked to quest love, the beasitie boys. when he was younger, he was seen
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as a weirdo. after tribe came out, that became the look. it made people feel comfortable being themselves. after hip-hop, it was cold chains and very much seasonal. tribe said that the not have to be like that. musically, they way they sampled and used the samples, took it to another level. musically, they broke the mold. tavis: i know that you are here today and not q tip. you have not seen him out there and we're talking about the documentary. >> you would have to ask him. he has come around. the film became a lot more interpersonal then any of us suspected when we first started.
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seeing that was hard to swallow. we had our differences on what film should be and the business aspects. they started getting aired out on twitter. we have spoken recently and we agree to disagree on some things. hopefully, before the movie comes out, are opening day, i have offered them all to buy them popcorn and soda and watch what an unbiased audience. tavis: you mentioned that in a music documentary, the music is always the star. it is certainly the co-star in this. how much does n.y., the setting a the time, the era influenced a
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tribe called quest? >> new york is the epicenter of hip-hop. it is in me. new york is where it started. it inspired all of us. representing your neighborhood and putting more neighborhood on the map was the thing that was going on. tavis: this is a documentary about a tribe called quest. that is our show for tonight. see you next time on pbs. goodnight from l.a., as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today'show, visit "tavis smiley
12:26 am tavis: join me a next time for a conversation with don cheadle about his upcoming projects. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it is a cornerstone that we all know. that is where you can stand together with your community to make everything better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. nationwide is proud to join tavis in improving economic literacy and removing obstacles to economic empowerment one at a time. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. pbs station from viewers like you.
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steves: like so much of budapest, hungary's parliament was built for the big 1896 party. its elegant neo-gothic design and riverside location were inspired by its counterpart in london. it's enormous, with literally miles of grand halls, designed to help administer that sprawling, multinational hapsburg empire. by the end of world war i, the hapsburgs were gone, and hungary, while much smaller, was fully independent. but then came the nazis, followed by the communists. that illusive freedom was finally won after the fall of the soviet union in 1989, and since then, the city has blossomed. today, hungary rules only hungary, and it's ruled not by an emperor, but by democratically elected representatives
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who legislate from what's now a palace of democracy. like vienna, budapest feels more grandiose than the capital of a relatively small country, but the city remains the cultural capital of eastern europe, with a keenly developed knack for good living. you can enjoy that hungarian joy of life at the széchenyi baths. soak with the locals. of the city's two dozen or so traditional mineral baths, this is the most accessible and fun. budapest is hot, literally. it sits on a thin crust over thermal springs, which power all these baths. both the ancient romans and ottoman turks enjoyed these same mineral springs. they still say, "poke a hole in the ground anywhere in hungary, and you'll find hot water." magyars of all shapes and sizes squeeze themselves into tiny swimsuits and strut their stuff. babushkas float blissfully in the warm water.
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the speedo-clad old boys club gathers pensively around soggy chessboards. and the circle of rapids brings out the kid in people of all ages. after 2,000 years of experience and innovation, locals have honed the art of enjoying their thermal hot springs. budapest straddles the danube river. on the west side is hilly buda, dominated by castle hill. the royal palace marks the place where one of europe's mightiest castles once stood. since the 14th century, hungary has been ruled from this spot.


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