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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 22, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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back. >> e.j., dionne, thank you. i asked are the republicans playing politics with libya? 90% said yes. that's "the ed show." i'm edsltz. can you always listen to me on radio monday through friday and noon to 3:00 p.m. and follow mo friday noon to 3:00 p.m. "the last world" starts right now. see you tomorrow night. the president's strategy to support rebels in libya appears to be working, but deposing a dictator may be easier than working with republicans. >> it's clear that gadhafi's rule is over. >> the city is now full of celebration. >> president obama's libyan strategy is working, even though republicans say it's not. >> it's such a validation really of the administration's strategy. >> the president's approach certainly seems to have been the right one. >> the president is expected to
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speak momentarily. >> relinquishing power to the people of libya. >> that one american fighting man or woman got hurt. >> members of the gop criticize the strategy. >> they're always very quick to criticize the president. >> mocked when they decide this had plan. >> the president's biggest political battle is still the economy. >> this is about 2012. >> what can the president do on the economy? >> we can't touch tax cuts for the wealthy. >> we'll ail a tax increase on the average person? >> one republican is trying to prove he lives in reality. >> the republican party, the anti-science party. we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution. >> we teach creationism and evolution. >> the wrong side of science. >> mitt romney's economic reality is unreal. >> $12 million california homes.
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>> he's tearing down a 3,000 square foot house to build an 11,000 scare foot house. >> your biggest problem is to expand one of your houses. >> how many americans can afford to bulldoze their beachside z e home. >> this is governor romney's stim lar plan. >> corporations are people, my friends. human beings, my friends. good evening from new york. i'm malisse sa harris perry in for lauren o'donnell tonight. right now it's early in the morning in the libyan capital of priply. rebel forces say they control about 90% of the city, but there's fierce resistance from small pockets of pro-gadhafi forces. it shows opposition forces under fire at a former military academy in central dip reply. while danger flare-ups are
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expected, there's a tense calm throughout the city and country. the opposition's political party insists that the real moment of victory wouldn't come into gadhafi was captured. now, there are reports that nato-led forces are bombing the gadhafi compound tonight, and a few hours ago tanks left gadhafi's compound to try to stop the rebel forces. there are also reports of pro mif gadhafi snipers around the city, and two of the libyan leader's sons are in custody. we just learned that the third who was reportedly obtained has been seen by reporters in tripoli. leaders from around the globe are calling on gadhafi to step down. as for gadhafi's whereabouts, u.s. officials think he's still in libya, possibly held up in a tripoli military compound still under the regimes control. what we don't know is whether that's for sure. and president obama who is on a working vacation with his family in martha's vineyard spoke earlier today. he pointed to the success of the
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united states and our allies as well as, of course, the libyan people. >> an unprecedented coalition was formed that included the united states, our nato partners and arab nations. in march the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop gadhafi's forces in their tracks. in the early part of this intervention he was cut oof from arms and cash and his force rs were steadiliy degraded. to the western mountains, the libyan opposition courageously confronted the regime. for over four decades the libyan people lived under rile of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. now the celebrations in the streetlights of libya shows that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator.
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>> the president paid tribute to those americans that lost family members from past acts terrorism by gadhafi's regime and thanked the military. >> we pay trib buhl to admiral sam locklear and all of the men and women in uniform including ourle brave pilots. they executed the mission with skill and extraordinary bravery, and all of this was done without putting a single u.s. troop on the ground. >> stop. let's hear that last line one more time. >> aum ll of this was done with putting a troop on the grounds. >> despite the successes, protecting u.s. forces from danger while simultaneously helping the opposition take control of libya, the president is getting absolutely no support or credit from republicans. in fact, senators lindsey graham and john mccain issued a
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condescending and deeply political statements reading the end of the gadhafi regime was made possibly first and foremost by the struggle and sacrifice of countless libyans. we commend our british, french and other allies as well as our arab partners for their leadership in this conflict. americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat gadhafi, but here we go. we regret the success was so long in coming do you to the failure of the united states to employ the full weight of our air power. so that's well-done libyans, thanks britain and france and all of our allies, sentiments that are well deserved. whoo-hoo. america, we guess. i don't know if i've ever seen the world failure in a congratulatary statement before. many in the field of republican presidential candidates were quick to pile on. lawrence corb joins me to
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discuss the politics of libya in a few minutes. first nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in tripoli with the latest on the force's everetts to completely secure that city. >> reporter: we are now in tripoli's green square, and it was in this square that gadhafi promised to crush this rebellion. now the square is controlled by rebels. they have been coming in and out of here all day celebrating their near complete take-over the tripoli. it was a day of embraces, cheers, and of celebratory gunfire. libyans this morning poured into tripoli to see what they thought was their fully liberated city. >> the city is urge siege and control of the rebels. >> reporter: rebels were greeted like heroes, some kissed the ground in thanks.
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the outpouring the emotion wasn't only in tripoli. in benghazi the rebel capital savored by nato intervention and misrata a city they pounded with artillery and rockets and nearly destroyed. >> 25 years now. my life starts now. >> libya is free finally, and she's back for her sons. >> reporter: nationwide they tore moammar gadhafi's all green flag and paraded the rebels tri-colored banner. nearly all signs of state control here are gone. libyan government tv is off the air. but away from the celebrations tripoli is still at war. >> there's many snipers from gadhafi military. >> reporter: the rebels hold about 90% of the city, but don't control gadhafi's compound, fortified like an army base. we're 300 yards from the
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compound. loyalists inside have been firing tanks and mortars to defend it, making a final stand. it's unclear if gadhafi is still inside. his whereabouts are unknown. >> play his last card if you can say, his last game. even his big army loses control. >> reporter: rebels are preparing to take the compound and have it surrounded. a day that began with such joy ended with the realization these rebels still have fighting to do. the rebels here have changed the name of this square from green square to martyr square. melissa. >> that is nbc news chief correspondent richard engel in tripoli. joining me now for more on the politics surrounding the issues. thanks for joining us. >> nice to be with you, malisse sa. >> i think anyone who saw me in the first segment knows this is not my area of expertise.
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foreign policy. that said, i do know a little bit about american domestic politics around foreign policy. i have to say that statement from john mccain and lindsey graham was frankly pretty shocking to me. this statement about americans can be proud of the defeat but regretting that the success was so long in coming due to our failure. what are we to make of a statement like that from the out party, from the republican party. >> well, it shows that they were wrong, because they assume that unless we put, you know, troops on the ground or unless we did all of the bombing that, you know, we couldn't succeed. this did succeed because we were patient, and they don't want to admit that they were wrong. you know, they should have looked at benghazi today. there were banners that said thank you obama as well as prime minister cameron and president sarkozy. it's incredible these are the people that got us into iraq
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under false pretenses, and look what happened there. we overthrew the regime in three weeks, but nearly a decade later we're still having americans dying there. >> it seems to me that part of politics here has to do with where the president actually has control. there's a lot to criticize on unemployment, on the economy, but the fact is on domestic politics the president has to work with congress. isn't it true that in terms of foreign policy this is actually where the president has relatively more ougautonomy. we have the death of osama bin laden, back to the first 100 days with the shooting of the seo mali pirate up to, the potential overthrow the gadhafi. is there something here about when the president has some autonomy it seems to turn out better? >> there's no doubt about it. traditionally the democrats are seen as weak on defense, and the republicans have been the strong
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party on national security. they say it was really bush's torture, you know, that got bin laden. he stepped up the drone attacks and killed scores of al qaeda leaders. he saved afghanistan. afghanistan was falling apart buzz the bush administration was so fixated on iraq that the taliban had the momentum until he came in. they don't want to give him any credit because they feel that this will kind of undermine their narrative. you're quite right where he can do it, like going after bin laden, the secretary of defense didn't want him to do that, but he took a courageous stand because if that had back-fired, he'll be in a lot of trouble. >> you've made this comparison between libya and iraq. we certainly know how they compare in terms of lives lost for americans. how do they fare in terms of dollars, in terms of their impact on our budget? >> i mean, here's where i think obama -- you know, people say
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we're broke. we can't afford these things. this whole operation has cost at most a billion dollars. iraq is up to like $2 trillion. so why not let the international community get involved? they're the ones that rely on the oil as well as us. they're concerned about instability in that part of the world. you know, when we went into iraq under false pretenses, that enhanced the al qaeda narrative sxraeted a lot more terrorists. we have the arab league, nato encouraging us to know. this is not generating anti-american feeling. as that sign in been zaz said, it's pro-american feeling. >> that's a different effect than what we've had in iraq. thank you so much for joining me tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> thanks. coming up, if you think the gop is against every raising taxes, think again. there's one that they're fine with, and we'll explain that. i have to tell you, i want the
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problems of one of the republican candidates. 3,000 square feet on the ocean just isn't enough for mitt romney. he's planning on quadrupling the size of one of his houses, one of them. that's coming up. we're having mexican tonight, so another pill then? unless we eat later, then pill later? if i get a snack now, pill now? skip the snack, pill later... late dinner, pill now? aghh i've got heartburn in my head. [ male announcer ] stop the madness of treating frequent heartburn. it's simple with prilosec otc. one pill a day. twenty-four hours. zero heartburn. no heartburn in the first place. great. try smart balance buttery spread. it's heart-healthier than butter.
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coming up, john huntsman believes in science. if he wants to win the nomination, he has to stop making sense. mitt romney is in a bit of a bind. you would think running for president is a big project for the year. he's doing an extreme makeover of his home which includes tearing down the home, all white maintaining the president is the one out of touch. [ male announcer ] from nutritional science
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what's your policy? tinchts there are things we can do rights now that will mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country. we can cut taxes again. >> he wants to extends payroll tax breaks he signed into law last december. for those of you still employed, you might have seen the payroll tax on your pay stub. last year they paid a 6.2% tax on wages that went towards social security. employers paid 6.2% for a total contribution of 12.4% per employee. as part of the 2011 budget compromise passed in december, the employer contribution varied at 6.2%, but the employee
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contribution dropped to 4.2%. this puts an average of $1,000 in the pocket of each american worker. now, if the payroll tax holiday is not renewed before january 1st, the percentage returns to 6.2% for both employer and employee. here's the thing, though. workers only pay this tax on the first $106,800 of their wages. it's a capped tax. this is nice if you are wealthy, but means nothing if you're one of the millions of americans who makes less than $106,800 per hour. as warren buffett wrote in the "new york times," quote, the megarich pay income takes at a rate 156% on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in their payroll taxes. it's a different story for the middle class. typically they fall into the 15% and 25% income tax bracketts and then they are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot. president obama is pushing to extend a tax cut that primarily
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benefits the poor and middle class. now, you think he would have no trouble finding support for this or any tax cut in the republican party. all by 13 of the 287 republican members of congress have signed grover norquist's blpledge to oppose all tax increases including loopholes. would a pledge signer violate that oath if they let the tax cut expire? apply for the question of extending the tax rates. it governs how you vote. there's no vote on expanding the tax rait, and it expires. that's not a pledge violation. that said, letting tax rates go up on working americans absolutely violates the anti-tax principal of this pledge. to quote house majority leader eric canton in his "washington post" yesterday, quote, we know that the republican majority was not elected to raise taxes or
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take more money out of the pockets of hard-working families and business people. bottom line republicans should based on their own logic support extending the payroll tack cut, but they don't. republican congressman jeb hensarling who will co-chair the committee told them it's a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn but not all tax relief is created he'll squall. recent some realms koents believe it stlamts the economy is because it's not permanent. in june house budget committee chair paul ryan called the tax cut, quote, sugar high economics. a spokesman for canton said cantor didn't believe this type of temporary tax relife is the best way to grow the economy and increases the deficit. here's what the off of david camp, who is also a member of the super committee, told the ap. quote, tax reductions, no matter
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how well sbe-intentioned will t the task higher. joining me now is ezra kline. we started this kvshgs in ernest on friday when i joined you on martin bashir's shoem you were guest hosting and we talked about this payroll tax question. i'm excited to extend this conversation with you. there's no doubt that republicans are right about this in the sense they will increase deficit, but how do you score it on its stim laifb at a time rates. >> it's nice to see them say it costs money.
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the payroll tax cut is much more stimulant. the payroll taxes affects only the first $106,000 of your income. the people it helps out are people that spend their income to make ends meet. if you try to get money into the economy right now, what you want and the reason tax cuts don't work is a tax cut will be spent and not saved. a tax cut targeted to people that need to spend the money they earn as opposed to having a fair amount of money sxok away. it's more stim laifb. >> mitt romney said he did not flatly rule out an extra year for the payroll tax cut, but that he prefers to see it happen on the employer side rather than the employee side. ezra, i wanted to ask you this question. why not if we're going reinstitute this, why not just raise the cap so that instead of being at around $100,000 rate, it's at, say, 200,000 or 300 or every dollar that is earned will
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be subject to payroll tax. why? why is this the only assumption? >> rich people don't like to pay taxes and they're powerful. it's worth saying. remember, of course, the payroll is there for social security. if you raised the cap you raise about 0.6% to gdp. 0.6% happens to be the extra size of the social security shortfall. if you raised the tax cut, you would in one fell swoop close the social security tax cut. that would be it. you would be done. you don't have to cut benefits. it would be finished. if you don't want to do that because you refer to raise retirement wage as opposed to taxes, that's your prerogative. that's a very big step towards fiscal responsibility. >> so i feel what i heard you just say and what we talked about last week is this idea that the republicans appear to be willing to actually increase taxes on people who make 100,000
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or less by allowing this tax cut to expire, but unwilling to imagine raising this cap so that people who make even 200 or 300 would be paying the same kind of fair share in. i want to be completely clear that's what's happening here. >> absolutely. it has been striking over the last years as you see the republicans have a marked evident preference for tax cuts that affect the rich as opposed to the middle class. if you listen to their rhetoric you hear it come back very clearly. constituent raise taxes on those bho create jobs. you get the implicit economic theory is people drive the economy are the wealthy and rich and the people making money by hiring people. for the rest of us it doesn't really matter if you give us a tax cut, because we won't do anything that useful with it. temperature won't have a big effect on the economy. that does appear to be the model the gop is working off of if you look at policy preferences and
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the rhetoric. >> maybe buy more groceries or send your kid to school, that kind of thing. thank you for joining me. you're the only person i do that with. >> thank you for having me. coming up ratcheting up the whacky in the gop presidential primary and the one voice sounding out as reasonable. paging nelson rockefeller. people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. we're looking at you and all of your houses. that's coming up. ceably whiter e that lasts for months. hi. hi. [ female announcer ] two hour whitestrips from crest. life opens up when you do. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain
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as libya lunges towards freedom, we pause to remember a leader that helped make our own nation more free. it's dedicated on the 48th anniversary of hez generation defining speech. today america got the first look at the newest memorial on the national mall. the martin luther king jr. was unveiled to visitors for the first timing time this morning. the superpiece is a 30-foot granite statue of king. behind him is a wall insubscribed with his speeches. during his life he disliked a fuss made about him. he told his followers after his death they shouldn't mention his great achievements but remember him as, quote, a drum major for justice. this is a well deserved memorial. it reminds us in king's words, i don't have the fine and luxurious things in life to leave behind, but i want to leave a committed life behind.
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on abc yesterday john huntingman warned that opponents michele bachmann and rick perry are so much to the right that's true unelectable. in between the speeches on fixing the economy and getting americans back to work, mitt romney has been working on construction plans for his now 11,000 square foot mansion, and that's only his california home. that's coming up. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day
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john huntsman has had enough. one republican presidential candidate has decided to directly confront the extremism in his own party. the campaign hasn't broke out in the single digits in the poll unlike rick no relation perry and michele bachmann who have
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rocketed to top tier status in the republican primary. in spite of or perhaps because of rhetoric like this. >> printing more money to play politics at this particular time in american history is almost treas treasonous in my position. >> how many of you love the irs? the first rule of war is know your enemy. i went to the inside to learn how they work, because i want to defeat them. >> we need to be free in this country from overregulation. we need to be free in this country from overtaxation, from overlitigation. >> the best thing we can do is shut down and close the federal department of education. >> in texas we teach both creationism and evolution. >> i guarantee you the epa will have doors locked and the lights turned off. >> i'll work every day to try to make washington, d.c. as
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inconsequence shall inkon inconsequenceal in your life as i can. >> in an interview on abc this week, huntsman warned them extremism could cost the election. he criticized bachmann and perry. >> when you find yourself at the extreme end of the republican party, you make yourself unelectable. the minute the republican party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. we lose a whole lot of people that would allow us to win the election in 2012. i'm not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that treasonous remark that says that sounds like the president. gas prices won't rebound like that, but it's not founded in reality. >> would you trust a president bachmann to do the right thing with the economy? >> i wouldn't necessarily trust any of my opponents right now who are on a recent debate stage with me, when every single one of them would have lyallowed th
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country to default. >> that's what huntsman said. will republicans listen? consider what happened in 1954 when they were enthralled by berry goldwater. nelson rockefeller was practically run off stage when he tried to warn the party of the perils of going too far to the right. >> the republican party is in real danger of subversion by a radical well financed highly disciplined. they have no program for america, no program for the republican party. no program to keep the peace and bring freedom to the world. >> shortly after that speech. republican delegates nominated goldwater. he went on to lose to lyndon johnson who won with an astonishing 60% of the vote.
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no presidential candidate has done that since. >> alex wagner. >> it is a pleasure to be here. >> it's lovely to see you. we were distracted earlier before the shot talking about all that of. that film with nelson rockefeller is amazing that's from 1964. it feels like he could be speaking about the tea party right now. >> sure. >> so when huntsman takes this roll and says, whoa, we are going too far to the right, who is the audience for that? what gap is he trying to fill? >> huntsman in std aid in that interview i'm the center right candidate for a center right country. that is very much tdb. if you look at the footage and we see how far this country and this party, the republican party has come to the right, i mean, it is now -- we're in a position where ronald reagan on a lot of things looks like a moderate.
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george w. bush worked with teddy kennedy to pass no child behind. i mean, that was a handful of years ago, and i mean, it to a certain degree the questions remain. could we even have a george bush in this election season? >> when i'm driving down the ronald reagan freeway as i left this weekend, i was like ronald reagan would be a much better political xhois at this point. what is exciting to me about huntsman, i've made this argument many times. we're always in a country generally divided. 50% are wrepublican and 50% are democrats. we want a strong republican party. is huntsman viable or is this a repeat of '64? >> if we look at his numbers, he's not viable. he made a choice to sit out in iowa. he thinks he's not going to try to vie for the most conservative in the party.
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in that same interview he called out america's almost like heroin-like independence on foreign oil. the guy is clearly making a very, very strong at the center, whether there's any center left after this fight in the next year remains to be determined. >> back up a second, though. the fun thing, if one were a democrat and looking at this would say, if this is like '64 no matter what happens on the domestic economic front president obama is going to win in an lbj fashion. that's not what these polls, these daily tracking polls look like. it looks like president obama is tied within the margin of error with most of these candidates. we are saying they look like goldwaters to us. >> in one poll today obama chs two points ahead of ron paul, which gives you a sense. there are 15 million people out of work. 30% of mortgages are underwater. people are angry. to that degree they want something that looks different, and anger and blood lust has a
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certain part to do with that. you know, change is something that people do believe in. i think that the president, on his part, has to make an elegant and forceful case he can do something in 2012. right now if he's elected, re-elected i think there's a sense on the part of the american public they don't know what he stands for. in terms of the ideals and what he does to move the ball forward and help this country, there are a lot of question marks. >> is this really the power of this discourse, of framing -- i was talking earlier about sort of the president's successes in foreign policy. on the one hand, it looks like we have a record of success, of passing big legislation like health care reform, for example, and still the sense that people feel like we don't know what he stands for. is it something governing here? >> i think he's had an enormous number of legislative accomplishments and he has washinged back from then a
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little bit because obama is a conflict-adverse person and some of the issues the republicans have managed to dominate the argument on this. i think he's got to make a forceful case for himself and his administration and what he will do, and that be a great contrast with the gop is offering. >> it's nice to be here and getting to talk to you in person. thanks for being here. alex wagner. coming up, rick perry's campaign is saying that his book "fed up" isn't, quote, to reflect his person views. kate middleton is wearing dresses from multiple public events to show solidarity with the millions of british people with economic crisis. mitt romney decides to triple the size of his home? that's coming up. ♪ be okay, be okay ♪ i just want to be okay today
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thinks social security is unconstitutional. 2011 rick perry doesn't remember that. it's extreme makeover mitt romney edition as his plans to triple the size of one of his houses gives romney a bit of an optics problem. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz for an exceptional price. but hurry, this offer ends august 31st. ♪ i like your messy hair ♪ i like the clothes you wear ♪ i like the way you sing ♪ and when you dance with me ♪ you always make me smile [ male announcer ] we believe you're at your best when you can relax and be yourself. and at thousands of newly refreshed
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holiday inn express hotels, you always can. holiday inn express. stay you. and now stay rewarded with vacation pay. stay two weekend nights and get a $75 prepaid card. irchltsz. republican presidential candidate rick perry is bearly into his second full week on the campaign trail. one person is getting in the way of that. rick perry.
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perry's communication director ray sullivan is trying to do damage control after news organizations like the "wall street journal" started to take a closer look at perry's book, "fed up: our fight to save america from washington." he goes after social security calling it a crumbling monument to the failure of the new deal and at the expense of respect for the constitution and limited government. many american seniors that live with dignity and security instead of hunger and fear might disagree with perry compares social security to, quote, a bad disease and ponzi scheme. sullivan, the perry spokesman, told him last week that he never heard perry suggest the program was unconstitutional. ma maybe he needs to read the book. it's not meant to reflect his views on how to review the program, but "fed up" was published nine months ago. he said it was written as a review of critique of federal
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excesses not as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto. how do you think perry responded in iowa last sunday bha he would do to fix the nation's entitlement program science. >> let the whole issue of -- have you read my book, "fed up"? get a copy of it and read it. i talk about the entitlement programs in there. >> perry didn't scare people away from the book. he sent voters straight there to answer a question as sullivan put it about the path forward. he ended with this. >> i know our friends on the democrat side will jump up and said those bad, old mean republicans will take away your social security and medicare. no, we're not. >> perry is both referring people to his book, the one that called social security a ponzi scheme, and in the response to a voter promises republicans wouldn't take it away. on thursday with protestors
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outside reading hands off my social security, perry went into a new hampshire pastry shop and was asked repeatedly to clarify and explain if he thought social security was really unconstitutional. perry ignored the questions and stuck to the photo op. if perry's own camp is any judge, the road ahead will be filled with contradictions. as the journal wrote mr. sullivan acknowledged that many passages in perry's "fed up" could dog his presidential campaign. i actually don't think to happen that flip flop is always a bad thing. i think it's bad to punish a candidate and elected officials to develop new ideas. if leaders are willing to stop, listen, and learn and evolve, that's good for them and for you. president george w. bush aka the deciders often boasted of his it tee nace yus determination to stay the course even when everything suggested that the country needed a new course.
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at my most charitable i like to believe rick perry has a moment of clarity that allows him to see the danger in declaring meshgs's crucial associate safety net is unconstitutional, even if he's having trouble saying it. when a staff says to ignore what he wrote in a book less than a year ago and when perry answersanswers policy questions saying, read the boong then maybe we need to involve an our thinking and look at how similar rick perry and george bush really are after all. coming up, mitt romney says he understands all of that stuff about unemployment. he's unemployed. he's so unemployed he has time to plan to have one of his houses tripled in size. why it doesn't matter if a candidate is rich but it does matter that mitt romney is next. . it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours.
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the central message of mitt romney's presidential campaign is that unemployment is high, and he gets it. unlike president obama. >> there are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery. >> i'm an american, not a bump in the road. >> so, while many americans struggle to pay their underwater mortgages and face home foreclosures, romney is taking a surprising step, that's about as sensitive as the time he joked to a room full of unemployed floridians. >> tell my story, i'm also unemployed. [ laughter ] >> romney's campaign confirm today that he plans to bulldoze his $12 million beach house in
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california and build an 11,000 square foot beach house in its place. in addition to his california house, he owns a townhouse outside of boston and $10 million vacation home in new jersey. why should we care? i do not believe just because a person is wealthy they can't or won't provide leadership in tough economic times. after all look at fdr who led the country out of the great depression. but mitt romney is no franklin d. roosevelt. his policy positions reflect his belief that corporations are people and the wealth of the top 1% should be protected at the expense of everyone else. before romney cuts another ad portraying himself as the hero of the downtroddenen and working place, he should have an ad that can be recycled this time around. >> when asked how many houses he owns, mccain lost track. he couldn't remember. well, it's seven. seven houses, and here's one
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house can't afford to let john mccain move in to. >> joining me now is the "washington post" editorial writer and msnbc contributor. hello, johnathon. >> how are you? >> i feel like we call you in to do the snark thing with me. >> this is too much fun. >> it is. but is it he jait jit mate? people presidents are wealthy people. they have ivy league degrees. is fair for us to make fun of romney bulldozing his mansion and building another in its spot. >> when you put it like that it is. mitt romney is smart. he's handsome. he's rich, and on top of it, he's changed his policy positions on a whole host of things that sort of feed in to, sort of makes you not want to like him in that way. remember in the 2008 campaign, there were stories going around how none of his republican
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opponents even liked him. so the fact that he has a fabulous beach house in california, he's bulldozing it and going to build an 11,000 square foot house in its place -- if you look at guy like really, you were just in the diner in florida saying you were unemployed and even when he did that we crossed our eyes like are you serious. really? are you serious. >> is this a timing issue? we asked last week should the president go on vacation to martha's vineyard during a time of economic crisis and i was one of the people who said, sure. he can take a blackberry and everything. >> me, too. >> he is a millionaire and he can build all the thing talking about all the things that can are fit in the house. jennifer anistons old house, the largest whale.
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>> i have others, too. >> you could fit three times the area of air force one in that space. >> oh. >> 4,000 square feet. and just for a comparison's sake, president jefferson's monticello, president jefferson's estate is just a little bit -- they are about the same size at 12,000 square feet and both al gore's homes that he was made fun of. the mansion in tennessee and the villa in california. the villa is twice, is half the size of romney's new compound and the tennessee house is just a thousand square feet smaller than romney's. >> one could argue that monticello was built with slave labor. maybe that was worse economic condition for some folks than the current unemployment crisis. >> right. >> is there something -- i recently moved from princeton,
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which is a privileged enclave to a pretty struggling neighborhood nb new orleans and it was a choice my husband and i made to be in a community that was struggling because we wanted to be sure we were part of the work we care about. it is true you get a different perspective in different kmooirnt communities. is there a danger to be represented in the federal government in local government, in any of our representations, elected representations by people who basically live in protected bubbles and don't experience firsthand what this economy is like for most people? >> absolutely. people want to go to the voting booth and vote for someone they feel gets what their life is like. especially in down economic times when people are struggling and hurting. remember when george h. bush was on the tour of the supermarket and he did the scanner thing. there is legend that he didn't know it was an electronic scanner, but it played in to this narrative that h.w. bush was someone that was removed