tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe PBS July 24, 2010 11:00am-11:30am PST
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>> and by sam's club, committed to small business and the spirit of the trepreneu and proudo sport pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided by the the:. >> bonnie: this week on to the contrary, house speaker nancy pelosi tell us her work in congress has led to a new, new deal. then pregnant women may be unfairly denied home loans. >> bonnie: hello i'm bonnie
erbe, welcome to to the contrary, a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, the most powerful woman in american politics. in an exclusive one-on-one interview house speaker nancy pelosi called the flood of major legislation that has passed congress and been signed by the president tantamount to the new deal. we interviewed her for a half hour special profile story that will air on this program the weekend before the november elections. >> i spoke with speaker pelosi just after she returned from the signing ceremony in which president barack obama signed into law the most comprehensive financial regulatory overhaul since the great depression. pelosi is to you being called the most powerful woman in american politics, and the most powerful speaker in recent times. since she became speaker in 2006, she has shepherded through the u.s. house passage of the first increase in the minimum wage in a decade. the $787 billion economic
stimulus package to battle the recession and a massive overhaul of the health-care system. >> well, it's a... the enthusiasm and the boldness of the new deal but with less government. and we are... like to be thinking in entrepreneurial ways, more innovative ways then in previous recent memory. actually, the new deal was very innovative in its approach. and that is the tradition of america. our founders were innovaters, they were advocates of an entrepreneur all system, of public, private partnerships, of thinking in fresh ways. and from that came the industrial revolution and then a hundred years later, the technological revolution. and then well, almost 200 years later the technological revolution and now we'll have a green revolution. and we'll have a revolution in terms of the way we think
about our country as we go forward. >> financial regulation, is that as big? >> it's very big. the day the president signed the wall street reform and consumer protection bill was an historic day for us. his comments at the time were perfect, perfect about how our financial institutions must thrive and support invasion and grow our economy. and they can do so in a better way with transparency and accountability and not, without putting the taxpayer at risk and without putting the consumer at risk. and so this is a real change. its he on par with some of the measures that were passed at the time of the new deal to address the great depression. we're in a deep recession, a financial crisis, and this legislation is very needed. chairman barnie frank and chairman chris dodd did a
masterful job of orchestrating the legislation. and we had to work again with our colleagues here to have legislation that they all could support, that addressed the concerns of their constituents. and the taxpayers. >> now a couple of weeks ago someone in his administration talked about, you know, that the house or senate could be lost in the november election. if you talk to republican leaders they say as many as 100 house seats are in play. what do you think when you hear those things? >> i think let the republicans think that. let them think a hundred seats are in play. i feel very confident that we'll have a democratic majority come november. >> bonnie: what makes you think that? your individual polling in each district or... . >> we win the house of representatives one district at a time and our members
are the best communicators with their constituents. they know their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations in a very specific way. most people are in congress not because of some national interest but because-- national issue but because of what's going on on the ground. and their understanding of it and their relationship with their constituents there. so i have great confidence in my members. i know they love their districts. i know they know their districts. and we fully intend to win. i don't intend to yield one grain of sand in that campaign to maintain control. i think it's really important for democrats to maintain control. the republicans say their agenda if they win will be to have the exact agenda of the bush administration. we're not going back. >> bonnie: how would you characterize your relationship with
republicans? >> well, let me say this. i have a personally a good rapport with my colleagues. they were in another era now. i have complete respect for their disagreement with us on issues. we have disagreement within our own caucus. they make personal attacks on me. they think that's politically beneficial to them. let them do that. i know they have to do what they have to do. it doesn't even enter into what myra pore might be with them personally. but the thought that after the fight is over it's nothing personal, that's still true. >> bonnie: you have been called the most powerful woman in american politics and the most powerful speaker certainly in recent decades but maybe ever. what do you think about that?
>> well, i accept the kind words on behalf of my house democratic caucus because any power or strength that i have springs from their working together to get a job done for the american people. and my effectiveness in leading them really springs from their willingness to have commitment and courage and do the right thing by the american people. >> bonnie: and you congresswoman norton are in that caucusment do agree she's the most powerful woman in american politics today. and did what congress just passed and the president signed these last few months amount to a new, new deal? >> bonnie, without a doubt the most powerful, handed an equivalent of a herbert hoover legacy. she decided that you needed the congressional equivalent, fdr in a skirt, that's what
she became. >> well, i would say he is and the federal government are probably more powerful than they have ever been because they are spend morning dollars than they've ever spent. frankly the new deal she is talking about say bad deal including financial regulations and i think she will be a little more surprised in november than she is relating to you here. >> i think what you said understates it. i think she's the most powerful elected female official in american history and the most powerful speaker period in a century since uncle joe canon. and what she has accomplished is especially impressive given the number of conservative democrats who she knew she would need to have majority in congress. >> powerful perhaps, but she's presiding over an absolute disaster. the legislation that has passed is disastrous for this country in the long-term. and you know we all know how history is jujd the architect of the titanic. >> bonnie: first i want to start with most powerful. you say most powerful. don't you think most americans would think of hillary clinton-- i'm not saying she's not as powerful,
and they have different realms. hillary clinton's global. she's u.s. >> i say as an elected official, i mean what nancy pelosi has gotten done as speaker, i think eclipses what hillary was able to do as one of 100 in the senate. >> bonnie: no doubt about that. but i'm just saying in terms of, forget elected. are you absolutely right about that. but i'm talking maybe more in terms of name recognition. >> oh, globally for sure. but i mean look at what she has done. i mean if they had done nothing but the health-care reform, it would have-- i would have gone home a happy woman. and they would have done financial reform and the house cap and trade. they have to my mind done everything obama has asked them to do and more. she may suffer for it because she ought to get extra-- because it was uphill. a lot of this stuff was not just sweeping but deeply unpopular and she got it done. >> and it's going to cost them in november. i mean most of the major legislation that we're talking about, the three
part, the financial reform, health care and the stimulus bill, she was driving the wave of popularity of obama and obama's hope and change message. a lot of the democrats went along with this. they are probably going to fall on the sword for it and so, you know, i think a lot of that has to do with her... with the wave of popularity of obama and wanting to support the presidency, to the necessarily her. >> on the contrary. >> i disagree. >> on the contrary. she was faced with the most obstructionist congress in memory. no one can remember a congress that stood in the way of getting every and anything done the way this congress did. and what she has shown herself to be is a master strategist. because she had to tailor these bills to get them through the house and the senate. she had to align her members. and we are the most diverse caucus imaginable, unlike our brethren on the other side. she had to tailor her caucus
to an agenda that was not of the making of all of them. and somehow to do that, member by member, and believe me this is not someone who called you in and beat you over the head and shoulders until you agreed. it is a woman who fought her way through every single step. and one reason i am so proud of her, unlike people like me who, and she and i came along at the same time, she didn't start out to be a career woman. this woman had five children in six years, was your quintessential housewife. and look what she's become. every woman in america should be proud of this woman, especially those of you who are home with children today. >> unless you care about what is happening with your money. look, what matters about power is not whether you have it is what you do with it. i think that is what is going to be judged in november.
americans did not want the kind of thing that she's done in washington on capitol hill, i can assure you of that. i mean the fact is... . >> wait, wait, wait. don't-- on one level i agree with you. on one level, though, don't americans want it both ways. don't they want low taxes, a small deficit. >> of course we all want it all. of course they do. >> but wait a secretary, the people who, i saw a recent survey, top issue this november, economy. so and that's out of both parties. >> right. >> second, however, is health care. you don't think the democrats are going to reap benefits from that? >> no, i don't think so because if you will recall this health-care bill, obama saiding it, i'm sure she said it, is going to reduce the deficit. we know it is actually going to add over $100 billion to that in the years ahead. but the fact is, bonnie, she talked about entrepreneurship and innovationment all the invasion is with other people's money. all the invasion, talk about risk-- we're taking the risk away from taxpayers. are you kidding me? the biggest risk for taxpayers and american citizens in this country is giving more of your life away to the federal
government that is what they have done in health care. >> i would say the expiration at the end of this year of the bush tax cuts. >> that's right. basically what happened in this congress, and this add p but this congress is them taking more power in washington and more power and choices away from the american people. in health care. they just now have done it with the financial regulations bill. they want to spend more money, obama budget in 2011 which i'm sure speaker pelosi is very fond of will increase welfare spending by 40%. what does that mean. at is putting more people on the government -- >> this republican interest in the deficit is a new thing. we certainly didn't see all that concern when bush was spending this amount of money. >> that not true. >> 9 heritage foundation -- >> we're not talking about the heritage foundation. one thing that interests me a lot about nancy pelosi is the attacks on her ef in ree-- in every district of this country that going be to be made from now until the midterms amount ofnd unlike-- and many of them are so nasty that we as women should all be appalled.
when i see how her sexuality is attacked. when i see mike huckabee say that if he only had a choice between a tour defair with sweet sweet nancy pelosi and helen thomas than he might be for same sex marriage. when i see steve moore say if he has a bad day he thinks at least he's not mr. pelosi. i mean and she has a -- >> that is outrageous. >> that's unacceptable and we shouldn't, it happens on both sides. hillary clinton was attacked to. sarah palin, that is not acceptable. but there is enough meat on the bone here f republicans to go after nancy pelosi and her policies. and the stimulus package which was $787 billion we've lost 2.4 million and the job, lack of jobs in this country, that's what is going to sink the democrats. >> i do want to go to this new new deal as i'm calling it any anyway am will it work for or against the democrats in november,
congresswoman norton. >> if, to be sure, if you look at the intense intensity of the tea party, you will say well, that's going to spread. those people were there all along. when members get home, and here's where nancy pell os syso wise. and relate what they did in congress to their own election, those of you who are calling the election, here in august, are going to have mud on your face. >> like i said, 2.4 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus package was signed into law. people, they can go back, the democrats can go back and say we passed this and passed that and people will say but i still don't have a job. where is my job. where is my neighbor's job. i still can't afford my house. and it is the economy, stupid, clinton got that right. and that's what is going to affect things. nancy pelosi herself said well, we're going to pass these massive bills and find out what is in it later after it's passed. and the more the people look into what is going on and see how it affects them every day the more they
don't like it. that going to resonate through november. the new deal wasn't exactly that great. the more that economists look at it, it was extended seven years. the depression was extended 7 years because of the overspending. i mean the taxesing everything t hurt the middle class. we have at least 7 years longer of the depression than we needed to because of the new deal policies. >> the new deal, i don't -- >> but the point is, they may suffer in november. i don't think they're going to lose the house. but again, when george bush did things that were ununpopular but right you called that brave. i think that she's taken a big calculated risk to do the right thing. and we should -- >> but let me ask you, in 1994, the year newt gingrich became speaker or the next year, rather, but the election when he became speaker and took over the house for republicans for the first time in 40 years, there was all this, there was the contract for america. there was all this anti-incumbent sentiment. and 90% of house incumbents
in this sweep year were re-elected. >> right. >> how bad do you think, compared to '94, how bad are democratic losses going to be now in november. >> well, look, i don't have a crystal ball. i don't know if republicans are going to take the house or not. i don't think there's any doubt they are going to make some significant gains based on what we see today. and it's to the because there is more republican voters out there than there were just two years ago. when you look at the polling among independents, those who voted for obama and brought in a lot of other folks, that made nancy pelosi speaker, those are the people that are very unhappy. and so i think they were wrong to look at that if you are a democrat and say that doesn't matter. those are the people who put new power. it's not just the democratic base. they've got some serious -- >> none of it matters today. because we're nowhere near the election. and because we're just getting back home. every election is based primarily on what people think close to that election. that's where you got to watch.
>> that's right. >> now let's get back to, because i do-- she unlike any other, or almost any other female american politician i've interviewed and i've interviewed a lot of them, she really, she not only owns up to the fact. i mean we discussed this a little bit, eleanor, that she's a woman. but she actually revels in it. she says that she -- >> she owns up to being a woman. >> you know what i mean. she owns up to being a feminist. >> but what she says specifically, you know, i didn't make this up. but a lot of republican women say we're no different than the men. that's what i mean. she says we are very different. she also talks, in the full half hour interview, she talks about how running a household is exslefernt-- excellent credentials for running a business, going into politics. are we going to see more of this because essentia essentially-- conditions with i interrupt. >> i wish you would run the government the way households have to run their
budgets, are you kidding me? i mean that is-- i mean i wish that was the way nancy pelosi was running congress. she is spending everybody else's money, not her money. the government is completely, their checking account is completely out of balance. i mean it is just insanity. i wish. >> the way, the way you manage a household, taking into account what every member of the household needs and how to bring them all together is how she has run the house of representatives in washington and done it so well. >> and she's looking at the long-term, not like what's right for the family, for the next ten minutes. >> i couldn't-- so she's spending her grandchildren's inheritance. >> when i look at the 11% approval rating that congress has, it reminded me of when harry truman ran against the do-nothing congress to pass the marshall plan that came up with the precursor to the clean water act. i mean i think this congress has gotten a heck of a lot done. >> but i do want -- to throw one quick thing out there.
gallop poll out this week showed that americans are now, it's above 50%, want to ke their democratic in control. so what -- >> republicans are below the democrats in popularity. >> but i read that poll and if you look further into it, yes, on a generic ballot democrats shot up 6%. but the enthusiasm gap is huge. 51% of republicans are more enthusiastic about voting and going to the polls where it's 28% for democrats. and midterm elections are all about turnout. so this is the first time democrats have actually been ahead on the generic poll. it's also the middle of the doldrums of summer. no one is a paying attention and the enthusiasm g for us is so high. >> and we're out of time. got to go to the next topic. thank you, that was great. from politics leading lady to borrowing while pregnant. >> this week the federal housing department or hud announced it would look into whether some mortgage lenders illegally denied home loans to pregnant
women. this, after "the new york times" documented the obstacles some pregnant borrowers have faced since the foreclosure crisis hit. it's illegal for a lender to ask a woman if she's pregnant,ut lenders can do have the right to ask a borrower if she is anticipating a change in employment or income. as a result, some families report getting turned down for loans and being told to reapply once the new how many returns from ma attorney leave. other dual-income families are being advised to take out a loan for just one income. lenders have always required borrowers to prove they have the income to pay their mortgage on closing day and for the next three years. but the housing bust has made underwriters even more cautious. not everyone thinks that's a bad idea. some experts believe stricter oversight in the past would have produced a far better economic climate today. >> bonnie: so should mortgage lenders tara
setmayer be able to look at a woman say you're pregnant n their own heads, i mean, so i'm going turn you down and ask you to am can back when i know for sure you are going back to your job and are you still going have an income? >> that's not exactly what was happening. when i read the articles and i saw the actual, what was happening, these mortgage lenders and the underwriters were saying wait a minute, we have a certain criteria. you have to be able to prove you have income for three years for your mortgage. you have to, you know, you are a temporary ma attorney leave income whether you have some or not doesn't qualify for that because we don't know if are you going back to, without. just because are you pregnant, that is not why they are discriminating. they are saying you may choose not to go back to work and it is a risk for to us give you a house based on that level of income when it may not be there any more. so they're looking at the regulations but it's not exactly discriminating just because are you pregnant. there is an income eligibility issue here that they are risk averse now, understandably. >> it may be. but this is an era of two income familiesment and are you going to have to adjust to the fact that most of these women will get
pregnant. yes, you really do need to make certain that the level, that the income to pay for the home is there. but we may be back in to where we were before, where the woman's income wasn't even counted before. that's how we got into this. now we've got to make sure, yes, if you are a lender, that that income will be counted and that the woman who intends to go back to work because she's on maternity leave, are you on maternity leave because intend go back to, without, you have to the resigned. >> but they allow them to requalify once they proved they have gone back to work on get the verification process is more difficult now or more scrutiny because anyone could walk in and get a loan before and that had to stop. >> right. >> and i was going to say, the bottom line is you can't guarantee anybody going to have a job a year from now. truth be told. but i think tara is exactly right. we are wanting people to be more accountable. as long as are you not discriminating, you don't get this loan because are you pregnant. what is wrong with asking the followup questions. >> melinda, quickly.
>> i just think it's kind of funny that as you say, we could all be out of a job tomorrow but the first place we go is to the pregnant woman. that has a familiar ring to me. >> you said before the lenders all have eyes, they can see, they don't even have to ask. once you are beyond four or five months. but in most people's case. that's it for this edition of to the contrary. next week on a special episode of to the contrary, we look at the impact the country's growing population is having on natural resources. please join us on the web for to the contrary extra and whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary. please join us next time. funding for to the contrary provided by:. >> while other luxury
carmakers are still building their first hybrids, lexus hybrids have traveled 5.5 billion miles. imagine where we'll go next. >> the life technologies foundation is proud to support to the contrary on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by sam's club, committed to small business. and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's to the contrary with bonnie erbe. additional funding provided erbe. additional funding provided by: