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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  May 17, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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rather than protesting what she's doing. pro-lifers and pro-choicers might think about giving her a little credit, or at least let her speak. thank you for being with us, "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. >> welcome to "politicsnation," i'm al sharpton. tonight's lead, fear and loathing from the campaign trail. for decades, the republican party has thrived on tearing down democrats in presidential elections. today, the gop may be writing an you thinkly new chapter in their long history of fear and smear. we start in 1988 with the attack add against michael ducaucus. the party has run entire campaigns on character assassination. with the latest effort, it's about more than just winning an election. it's about dehumanizing
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president obama. today, the "new york times" reveals that some top republican strategist presented a 54-page proposal to joe rickets entitled the defeat of brock hussein obama. it links him again to jeremiah wright, and to "let us do what john mccain would not let us do in 2008." the plan saying they should hire an extremely literate african-american to attack him. it wants to hit bral brock right behind the eyes. it would list a team of pirates qualified to carry out the
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mission. it's a shocking document. millions read it in print and online or heard about it on tv. yet by 10:57 this morning, the gop nom knee didn't know anything about it. >> looks like breakfast is served. >> sir, have you seen the report in the times this morning. >> governor, do you think reverend wright is off limits in this campaign? >> get a copy of the times. >> we have a copy you can borrow. >> apparently someone got a copy of the paper too, romney. a few hours later he came out to say he condemned the attack. >> i read the article on the aircraft. i want to make it clear that i reputuate that effort. i think it's the wrong course
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for a pack or campaign. >> you repudiate it? just two months ago you seemed happy to use exactly this kind of attack. >> i think the president takes his philosophical lanings in this regard, not from those who are believers, and from those that would luke to see america more secular. i don't what is worse, listening to reverend wright, or saying we must be a less -- >> how about that? romney was asked about this seeming hypocrisy today. >> i'm not familiar precisely with exactly what i said, but i stand by what i said whatever it was. >> he stands by what he said, whatever it was. this was another test of leadership for the republican nominee, and another failure.
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>> i'm not familiar precisely by what i said, but i stand by what i said whatever it was. i stand by what i said whatever it was. joining me is emanuel clever, and dana milbank. thank you for joining me this evening. >> good evening. >> congressman, let me start with you. what do you make of romney's "repudiation" of this proposal? >> i feel sorry for mr. romney. i think he is a good and decent man that is just confused. he doesn't know who he is or quite what he believes. the most dangerous thing is him saying he stands by what he said previously, it seems he could be setting up what will happen in the future. when this super pack comes out with this nasty tv ads, he can say i condemned it earlier,
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while at the same time getting the extreme side of his party cheering it. i pray on this and i hope that most americans would like to smoother their prejudices weather than airing them. mr. romney may think that going after reverend wright is right, but many americans will think it's wrong and this could backfire. >> dana, i think the whole debate of reverend wright or religion, we went through that four years ago, everybody knows where the president stands. this was more geared trying to bring race and dehumanize the president. i think the particulars are not as important. and the proposal itself makes this seem like a much bigger deal. however, i must say that rickets said he will not do it or turned
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it down. it's merely a proposal he rejects. but the fact that these major strategist would go and try to bring this plan about shows some very insidious political maneuvering that wants to dehumanize this president. >> right, on the one hand, the race aspect of is. >> tom: is outrageous, but this is a profoundly stupid idea. fred davis, the guy that came up with this proposal was the guy that wants kristine odonnel to say i'm not a witch. joe ricketts does want want part of this, but the reason -- leaving the race aside, they don't want this because it's not
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going to work. it's not as if barack obama, somebody nobody has heard of, he is the incumbent president. he tried this, everybody knows president obama now. he has high favorable ratings, he is personally popular, they will not be able to spend $10 million and redefine him. they're backing away because it's explosive, it will have a backlash, and the potential for success here is so low, and obama is already defined in the eyes of americans. >> before we back away too quickly, mr. chairman. the fact of the matter is the fact that it is even proposed. means that mr. romney may have a problem because there's segments of his party that wants to play this, and i just played a tape where he, himself, willard mitt romney himself referred to reverend wright in the context of the president not long ago on a radio show. before we give them all of this back away room, romney has
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brought up wright himself. >> that's absolutely corrects, and i'm not backing away, because i think they already achieved their objective, and that is they have thrown race into this election already. he can deny it all he wants. the truth of the matter is it's out there. and it is food for a portion of his voting block, that thinks this is okay. hopefully it's a very small group. they have succeeded in doing this. it doesn't take much pair know ya to conclude this is intentional. there is great intentionality saying i denounce it and later saying anything i said i support. it smells bad, and i think that think that bringing race into the political race for president has already been done, this was it. >> now, dana, as much as they're
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saying they are not going with it, they denounce it, the proposal itself, according to page 46, seem to give the perception they had preliminarily approved it. it says with your prelim ensure approval at the new york meeting, we have discussed this plan. we're ready to jump into action upon plan approval. it sounds to me like there was some kind of understanding in some new york meeting. >> reverend, certainly the very nature of this indicates this lengthy glossy report indicates it was more than a random brainstorm. i think it is correct that this succeeded in bringing race into the discussion right now. these guys were hoping to blow up the democratic convention closer to the fall by distracting people with this sudden burst. yes they succeeded in injecting race into it, but not in a way
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that they were hoping to, it is causing backlash. it may have riled up the more sinister on the right, but it's rallying up a lot of obama supporters. >> well, but dana, do they really think they need to do this? we have gone through the willy horton, john kerry swift boated, is this the way that the republican party wants to run this race? not about jobs, economy, health care? but this kind of ugliness to the president of the united states? >> there will always be someone. they could make a fair comment. that's what romney wants to do, but this is not a direction they want to be taking things in. >> the fact that these guys can
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get this close to a preliminary understanding where people with big money, given the way the rules have changed about money this year. does this make us have a need to stay on high alert on what can happen now? because we're not playing with the same rules we used to play with. any billionaire can come with this poisen. >> we thought this kind of thing informs our distant and dark past. there are people who still carry some of these ideas with regard to race. but what i would say to the people of good will in the united states, the majority of the people, be offended. and be on the lookout for subliminal injections of race, hence fort, until the convention is over. and maybe until the election is over. this is what a small group of
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americans are thinking about, and we have got to squash it. so everyone who is of good will, be offended, be very offended. >> well, we're going to be watching and i'm out of time, i wanted to ask you dana, what you thought of a presidential candidate that had not seen the "new york times" by mid-morning, thanks for being here. >> the right-wing attack goes beyond this. we'll tell you about a member of congress that says the president is "not an american." but joe biden is back on the road smacking down the claim that willard should get credit for saving the auto industry. >> he said "i'll take a lot of credit for the fact that the industry has come back."
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a sitting member of congress is now saying he misspoke after being caught on tape saying president obama is just not an american. i don't believe m.'s next. and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers.
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welcome back, over the weekend, republican congressman mike coffman of colorado was giving a speak when he unloaded this one about the president. >> i don't know whether barack obama was born in the united states of america. i don't know that, but i do know this, he is just not an american. >> he is just not an american. that's the direct quote. five days later, a recording wound up on a denver news station, and all of a sudden, he now says it was all just a big misunderstanding. "i misspoke, and i apologize i
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have confident in his citizenship." the real translation is i'm sorry i got caught. as shocks as this comment is, coming from a sitting member of congress, these kind of comments are not knew. >> i absolutely -- >> you think barack obama has anti-american views. >> absolutely, i'm very concerned he may have anti-american views. >> i can tell you that the general consensus is that he has produced a birth certificate, the question is, is it legitimate. >> i have a lot of doubts about all of that, but i don't know, i haven't seen it. >> our opponent seeing america as imperfect enough to paddle around with terrorist. >> i'm sick and tired of this class warfare coming from the president of the united states of america. >> the president doesn't have
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the same feelings about american exceptionalism that we do. >> now we can add congressman coffman to the hall of shame. where is the gop leadership to condemn it? joining me now is colorado state senator brandon shafer, thank you for being here tonight. >> thanks for having me on. >> what's your take on the congressman's comments? >> you know, i'm offended, but unfortunately i'm not surprised. you know? he was at an event with congressman gardener who happens to be a gentleman i'm running against in the fourth congressional district, and congressman gardener in 2010 made similar comments questioning the president's patriotism and his citizenship. so it's not something that's
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new. you see the party pandering with a very extreme almost to the american party. and willing to say one thing, but then when they get caught, as you said, they backtrack and they try to move back to the center. what we need are representatives in washington, d.c. who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. unfortunately i don't think that's what we're seeing with representative coffman or gardener in this case. >> for people around the country to know his resumé, he was elected to congress in 2008. supports the personhood amendment, calls social security a ponzi scheme, and wants english only ballots for voters. included in his apology, he says president obama's policies reflect a philosophy that
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america is but one nation money many equals. the statement read as a marine, i believe america is unique and based on a core center of principals that make it superior to other nations. clearly he talks way to the right. moon walks back to the center when caught, but this kind of shrill talking is the thing that concerns many of us that we have going to go through a season of this going into this reelection campaign. senator, is your fear in colorado that people like coffman are going to get an audience? tell me, do you share my fear that we're going to have an ugly season here? >> well, let me start out by noting that i'm also a navy veteran, and i don't think this is the example of leadership that i would like to portray for
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our armed forces. and certainly, not what we need out of a sitting member of congress. secondly, what we have seen here is a trend in the republican party where the representatives are catering to the extreme fringe groups of their own party. they're totally and completely out of touch with moderate values. here in colorado, the moderate values that we all hold dearly are not being represented by representative coffman or gou gardener in washington dc. >> thank you for your time tonight. still ahead, democrats launch a strong new effort to protect a basic right under assault in america today. the right to vote.
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plus in this day, in 1954, the supreme court took a huge step forward for equal rights. we'll talk about brown verses the board of education and the work that still is left to be done. eggland's best eggs.
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today, may 17th, is a day in
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may to remember. 58 years ago today, the supreme court's decision, brown verses the board of education, ended legal segregation in america's public schools. it began with linda brown, who in 1951 had to walk past the school in her neighborhood, clear across down to the black school she was forced to attend. at the time, federal law mandated that schools be separate but equal, and school boards continually. they said enough and took their case to the supreme court which ruled, on this day, that separate but equal could never be equal. even after the brown decision, it took nearly 30 years, protests and more lawsuits, for some schools to be desegregated.
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today, equal access to education remains a key issue. especially for people of color. more needs to be done, but today, this day, we must remember how far we have come thanks to the warriors that took a stand against injustice. uh, i'm in a timeout because apparently riding the dog like it's a small horse is frowned upon in this establishment! luckily though, ya know, i conceal this bad boy underneath my blanket just so i can get on e-trade. check my investment portfolio, research stocks... wait, why are you taking...
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welcome back to "politicsnation," in a democracy, there is nothing more important than the right to vote. and it is certainly precious to those segments of societies denied the right to vote. african-americans, women, some that have come from other countries and fought for citizenship. so as we saw a huge turnout in 2008, many that are the product of those constituents and segments in this country, were
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very happy to see the great turn out. since then, there seems to be a move to reverse that. voter laws in 17 states changed since 2010. they made voter id laws saying we need to stop fraud. but when we look at the fact that in the national data, that we have been able to obtain, voter id and other forms of trying to suppress the vote, in my judgment, is trying to find a pob. it is a solution looking for a problem. rather than a problem leading a solution. voter fraud convictions since 1947, 349 cases, or.00006%. so what is the need for these
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laws to solve a fraud that is not occurring. now, am i just picking at minor points? the fact that the brenan center has established that thanks to these efforts and others, more than 5 million americans could be disenfranchised. 5 million. that could decide congressional races, local races, senate races. it could decide the election of the president of the united states. so, i couldn't understand how we have come so far, and are going to reverse our forward movement. i sat down with republicans and said explain this to me, there is no fraud. you're risking millions of voters, and they could not answer or give me a rationale, watch. >> now, representative dakotasly, has there been widespread voter fraud in
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florida. >> i don't think we want to wait. >> in the last three years, we had three people convicted of voter fraud in alabama. >> you're cracking jokes, right? three people in three years. >> how do you call that wide spread fraud? >> if you or the person on the receiving end of that fraud it's very important. >> there has been voter fraud over the years in alabama. >> you just didn't catch it. >> you changed the law, let me give you another -- >> joining me now is a democratic whip from maryland and one of the sponsors of the voter empowerment act unveiled today. thank you for being here. last time i saw you, two months ago, we were marching across the
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bridge in selma. today you did something about it. tell me about this new bill and what you're introducing. >> john lewis was our lead sponsor on this particular piece of legislation joined by a lot of people on our side of the aisle represents majority and minority groups. what john lewis was saying look, in america we ought to facilitate, encourage, and make easier voting. not doing what is happening in so many states, al, trying to make voting more difficult to do. we want to modernize registration and have a responsibility of the state and local subdivision to make sure voters on are the registration roles and included. that people with disabilities have access to the poles. >> you also had with three million americans were turned away from the poles in the 2008
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election. so this is a problem. >> this is an extraordinary problem. one of the things we deal with, you were the sponsor and drafter in the 2008 election. we wanted to provide provisional ballots. if somebody comes to the polls, and the volunteers who are trying to do their job, they may not be able to check that particular day or hour, what we said was, okay, they will cast a provisional ballot. that ballot will then be put aside, taken to the election office that day or the next, and if it's verified that ballot will be counted. >> this sounds like it's designed to accommodate making voting easier and more practical for people to exercise their vote rather than to put up impediments to discourage people or make it so complex they just
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give up or are in some way their voting rights are interfered with. >> we're very proud, you and i and all americans, very proud of this democracy. we're proud of the fact that we're the world's oldest constitutional democracy. one of our responsibilities, moral, ethical, legal, ought to be to make sure we facilitatfac not impede, a person's ability to vote. facilitate ease of registration, getting on the roles and being about to cast our vote. and we have a responsibility, moral, ethical, and legal to make sure every american can exercise that. >> the whip of the house democrats, thanks for your time this evening. >> you bet, thank you very much. >> joining me now is judith brown, codirector of the advancement project, and temeca
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mallory. thank you both for being here. judith, let me start with you. your group is involved in a non-citizen perge effort going on in florida right now. tell us about this and how big of an impact could it have. >> that's right, thank you. so florida is at it's old tricks again. this is deja vu. they have created a new list of people they plan to take off of the voter roles as a last minute scrub of the election. they matched driver's license records to the voter rolls to see who was citizens. we know florida has a history of doing this last minute before an election and using lists that are flawed on so many different levels. so much so that some of the
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election supervisors in florida are refusing to do this. i fought this. we sued the state in 2000 for this same thing. for making up flawed lists of so called felons, and in 2004, we had to do the same thing and say don't use this bad list. here we go again, last minute efforts that are partisan to get people of color off the list before the election. >> people are getting letters in the mail i understand? >> yes, it started off with about 1200. now they're saying there are 180,000 people that will get letters saying we believe you're not eligible to vote. you 30 days to respond or we will perge you from the roles. people have to come in and prove their citizens. this is about the last minute
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shenanigans that happens in 2004. it looks like michigan is doing the same thing. >> it's happening in florida. other states are having different challenges with voter id, other things that we feel is really designed to suppress the vote. national action network, and i'm going on a national tour for this. why is this happening and why is it important? >> it's very important because first of all we need to make sure people are educated on the ground about these laws. they need to know what do they have to have. they need to have certain things with them. an id, know about early voted if it is limited or ended in their state. so national action network is going on a national tour in 20 plus cities across this country in the states where these laws are applied. we started a 100,000 member drive. a campaign where the resources from the drive will help us to
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deploy people into these states to make sure that folks are educated on the ground. we need to make sure new voters are being registered and they have the information they need so there is no excuse for why they cannot be part of the political process. we need to make sure again that people know exactly what they have to have. how they can organize their own community to go out and be, again, not disenfranchised. we need to make sure people know what they need. >> judith, with your group on the ground in florida, what are people telling you as you go and deal with them? are they intimidated? are they ready to fight? what is the mood of those being targeted as alleged noncitizens? >> people are ready to fight. we know that this particular his is targeting latino voters. basically the state is saying they're suspicious of the fact that you might not be a citizen.
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people are fired up because we already found people who are actually citizens who are on this list. so what we did, advancement project today has urged the department of justice to get involved because the department of justice can come in under the voting rights act, and make sure that the state does not use this list. people are fired up because they know what this is about. it's about this partisan effort, cutting off participation of those that turned in and out record numbers in 2008, and that's people of color, young people, and elderly voters. >> now in national action network, a lot of the leadership is young. you yourself are in your early 30s, there was a record turnout in 2008, my fear is a lot of young voter wills have been taken off the books or don't know the new requirements and will not vote.
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is there a focus on this. >> absolutely, we're going to colleges and high school students registered to vote. they need to know the laws, what do you have to have, you need to have no excuse for why they are part of the process. while we're fighting the laws, at the same time you have to be educated, so we're ensuring that people are organized and empowered. >> thank you for your time tonight an your work on this very important issue. >> thank you. >> ahead, why is willard romney plazing bill clint praising bill clinton on the stump? and she went from gospel choirs to disco floors. we rem donna somers. this is an rc robotic claw.
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and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard." then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. that's good morning, veggie style. hmmm. for half the calories plus veggie nutrition. could've had a v8.
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welcome back to "politicsnation." today, the vice president was at a chevy auto factory in ohio. mocking mitt romney's claim that
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he of all people should get credit for the awe toy bailout. >> governor romney seems to go both ways now. he says "i'll take a lot of credit for the fact that the industry has come back." whoa. i'll -- by the way, i'll take a lot of credit for a man having landed on the moon, because although i was in school, i rooted for it. >> the vice president also took aim at mitt romney's record at bain capital. >> that's romney economics. two sets of rules, one for wealthy investors, and one for everybody else. if it creates jobs in the process, good. if it cost all of the jobs in the process, okay. it's to make sure their investors get a return on their investment. but that's not the job of a
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president of the united states of america. the job is much bigger than that. joining me now is steve, a political writer at, and a msnbc contributor, and erin mcpike, reporter for real clear politics. thank you for being here. steve, the vice president has hit romney all week. they must think this line of attack is effective especially in certain states. >> yes, i think we will hear it all the way to november because i think the most essential thing for the obama campaign to do is break the mental association that voters have between success in the business word and economic competence in government. we have a tendency as people who have good business skills, good leadership skills, we can put
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that to work and get the economy going. so the job of the obama campaign, is to say look, what he did in the business world you cannot apply that to being president of the united states and setting economic policy for the country. his job in business was to make money for a very select group of people, and really the heck with everybody else. >> isn't it an added plus to the obama people to use vice president biden, especially in the rust belt states, because he identifies and is really like a lot of the people that he is talking to in those states, and they can look at themselves and him and see a guy that comes out of their same kind of working class struggling background and relate to what he is saying? >> that is certainly part of their strategy, to deploy vice president biden throughout states like ohio and michigan and wisconsin.
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but the more important part is the message. central to the obama cap pain strategy in places like ohio and michigan is to talk about the policy on the auto bailout, and how that did save jobs in places like upper ohio and the general election, where it will play out and where romney thinks he could have an advantage by attracting some of the working class voters. this is the difference in the economic message we're talking about. by saying we saved part of the ohio economy, the obama campaign thinks they have a leg up on mitt romney. >> talking about the message, steve, the vice president today talked about how the economy works best, listen to this. >> we're not anti-capitalist, it's the system that built the country. we hope investors do well. but you can't build an economy of the future, and the only people that do well are the
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investors and everybody else pays the price. you can't do that. >> is that the message that's going to resonate? we're not anti-capitalist or envious? but you can't have an economy where only the guys at the top are doing well. >> right, and i think that's the fundamental point they have to make here. you can like rich people, want people to get rich and be millionaires, but for people to become millionaires, there needs to be a vibrant middle class people with purchasing p.o.w. that can spend money in the economy, and that helps everybody get ahead. they have to make that chase. look at the climate in this which election is playing out. we're seeing widespread prevasive pain in this country and there is a super affluent
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elite that have not been affected by it. they're trying to connect romney with that. >> erin, i notice something a little different. willard romney on wednesday, was actually invokes bill clinton, comparing him to president obama. watch this. >> a generation ago, bill clinton announced that the era was over. >> what's the strategy there, erin? >> mitt romney's strategy is to attract lots of independents and centralist democrats who may have been turned off by the president in the last couple of years because, in large part, of how big the government is. that's not necessarily a fault of the balm administration, because of course the government did grow under the bush
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administration at well. president clinton was seen as a centralist democratic and mitt romney needs some of those voters. it is a gamble because obviously he supports the president and has been campaigning for the president, and invokes president clinton in a 2008 primary by what the obama campaign did was a gamble as well because it sort of unleashed the loose cannon part of bill clinton's personality and political persona, and romney is baiting that as well. we'll see how bill clinton responds to it, but i would manage he will come out even more strongly for obama in the coming days. >> maybe romney didn't read the paper that day, that bill clinton was campaigning for president obama. erin, steve, thank you for your time. saying goodbye to the king of disco, donna summer, that's next.
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♪ so let's dance, lets dance, let's dance ♪ ♪ let's dance, let's dance tonight ♪ >> donna summer whose songs were the sound tracks to the '70s died today after a long struggle with cancer. she went from the gospel choir to welcome the queen of disco floors ushering in a new way of music with her hit anthems racking up five grammys and a slew of chart toppers. ♪ i work hard for my money.
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hard for my money ♪ ♪ so you better treat her right ♪ ♪ ♪ i like to like you baby. i like to like you baby ♪ ♪ looking for hot stuff >> here music was always on the radio, and she sold more than 100 million records worldwide, but she didn't have the easiest life. she had struggles like many others, but she came out all right thanks to her faith. her family remembered that today saying she was "a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith." we lost, also, the godfather of


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