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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 8, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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the world. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. mitt romney's very bad day just got a whole lot worse tonight. conservatives are so mad at his campaign that >> anyone who donates to mitt romney, and i mean the big donors, ought to call mitt romney and say, if andrea saul isn't fired and off the campaign tomorrow, they are not giving another dime, because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has, to respond to an ad like this by citing health care in massachusetts?! >> but, listen. what we're watching and witnessing here -- >> no, i'm serious about this. >> i know you're serious. i agree with you. >> there's no reason doing your show, there's no point in us going to a convention and pushing for a man like this if he is employing morons like this. she has snatched defeat from the
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jaws of victory. off the campaign. >> good evening. i'm alex wagner in for lawrence o'donnell. moments ago, ann coulter appeared on fox news, where she called on mitt romney to immediately fire his spokeswoman for remarks she made earlier today. >> obviously, it's unfortunate when anyone loses their job. this particular case was a plant that was closed years after governor romney left the company. and to that point, you know, if -- you know, if people had been in massachusetts under governor romney's health care plan, they would have had health care. >> in response to saul's remarks, erick erickson, the conservative editor in chief of tweeted, "omg. this might just be the moment mitt romney lost the election. wow." erickson later deemed saul's comments the "read my lips moment of betrayal." a senior writer for the conservative "washington examiner" tweeted, "not sure if the romney camp realizes what a huge opening they've just created for democrats on obama care."
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and here is rush limbaugh's reaction. >> if people had been in massachusetts, under governor romney's health care plan, they would have had health care. >> oh. uh -- there's -- that's the potential gold mine for the obamaites because they can say, well, yeah, and romney care was the foundation for our plan, obama care, which they are already out there saying. >> a conservative editor for tweets today, "what conservatives are doing regarding andrea saul's comments is the same as how you housebreak your dog. romney needs to know not to go there." here is the dog urinating on the carpet today in iowa. >> we've got to do some reforms in health care. and i have some experience doing that, as you know. and i know how to make a better setting than the one we have in health care. >> with 90 days until the presidential election, a new
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"washington post" poll shows president obama leading mitt romney on favorability by a 19-point spread. 53% view president obama favorably, 43% view him unfavorably. 40% view mitt romney favorably, while 49% view him unfavorably. romney's unfavorable score has increased 18 points this year. the pollster notes that mitt romney is "laboring under the lowest personal popularity ratings for a presumptive presidential nominee in mid-summer election-year polls pack to," wait for it, "the year 1984." and today, a new reuters poll shows that among registered voters nationally, president obama leads mitt romney by seven points, 49% to 42%. joining me now, "the huffington post's" sam stein and msnbc's karen finney. thank you both for joining me tonight. but before we get to anything, let us listen to ann coulter once again. >> anyone who donates to mitt
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romney, and i mean the big donors, ought to call mitt romney and say if andrea saul isn't fired and off the campaign tomorrow they are not giving another dime. because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has, to respond to an ad like this by citing health care in massachusetts? >> listen, but we're watching and witnessing here -- >> no, i'm serious about this! >> i know you're serious. i agree with you. >> there's no reason your doing your show. >> i agree with you. >> there's no point in us going to a convention and pushing for this man if he's employing morons like this. this ad is the turning point and she has nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. she should be off the campaign. >> and here is what coulter said later in the show about how republicans outside the romney campaign are better at countering the obama campaign's attacks. >> we can do it better without the drag of romney's campaign spokesman who, by the way, came from the mccain campaign. great idea. >> sam stein, is this what is officially known as going nuclear? this is actually a two-part question.
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and secondly, does this make eric fernstrom's comments about mitt romney being an etch-a-sketch candidate, does that look like a walk in the park compared to this? >> this is the most over-the-top reaction. i mean, what are we talking about? we're talking about a spokesperson who -- and there's a strong likelihood that andrea was told to say this by her superiors, that this wasn't her going rogue, so to speak. that this was a talking point. listen, a lot of conservatives have been complaining for weeks now that romney's not out there touting all the good things he's done, not just at bain, but as the governor of massachusetts. the second that someone says something about his signature accomplishment as governor of massachusetts, which is health care, conservatives go crazy. i mean, ann coulter is talking out of her mind right now. why would andrea saul need to be fired for this campaign to go on or for donors to support mitt romney? isn't the cause a bit bigger than one singular spokesman? i get that she's upset. i get that andrea saul probably stepped on a very big moment for the romney campaign where they could have focused on bill burton's ad.
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but to act like andrea saul needs to be kind of sacrificed here is just totally absurd and it's wrong. it's unfair. >> wouldn't you say that's a gross miscalculation if she was, in fact, on message? i mean, you have conservatives of all stripes -- >> yes. >> -- really angry about this. >> but you got to that with your first point, right, that the boss of andrea saul, eric fernstrom, who runs communications for the romney campaign, had said essentially when you get to a general election you have etch a-sketch moments. and by that, we can presume that he means, you start to shift focus. everything romney did in the primary, which included a huge disavowal of his health care law in massachusetts, become sort of obsolete when you go to the general, by fernstrom's calculation. so if eric fernstrom isn't going to be fired for that offense, why should andrea saul be fired for this one? >> karen, let's bring you in. in terms of how this plays out, erick erickson had lots to say on this. he tweeted, "conservatives have put aside their distrust of romney on the issue in the name of beating barack obama. they thought he and his campaign
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team had gotten the message and the hints. consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again." a great visual picture there. >> let's be very clear what this is about. these guys are angry because andrea saul committed the cardinal sin in that she forgot not to tell the truth. that's what this is all about. because the truth is, as sam said, governor romney, romney care, passed health care in massachusetts. that's the truth. unfortunately, in the romney campaign, you're not supposed to tell the truth. similarly with eric fernstrom's etch-a-sket -a-sketc etch-a-sketch, right? that's the truth. you're not supposed to tell the truth. so that's her sin. let's be very clear.
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and you know, particularly when you see it's validated even more so by red state suggesting that, you know, it's pick the scab. that means, shh, we're just not going to tell anybody who this guy really is and see if we can squeak on through to get barack obama out. that's why her reaction is over the top and sort of the harshness of the reaction from the right and that's why people are angry. they're angry she actually told the truth and forgot that she's not supposed to. but the second thing i want to say, i'm going to say it a little tougher than sam did, it is outrageous that there is this kind of reaction to what andrea saul did. and you guys know, i am not one who would normally take up for republican spokespeople, but if they're going to fire her, it's very sexist to say that, and they didn't say that when it came to eric fehrnstrom, who not only made the etch-a-sketch comment, but who on multiple occasions have made far greater foot-in-mouth disease, caused problems for this campaign. so if we're going to talk about firing people who make big mistakes that are bad for the campaign, they should be looking at the men as well. >> karen, you have stood in the role of spokesperson. do you think that this could could be, in fact, that andrea was on message? >> i don't -- you know, sam and i were talking about this. i don't think so. i don't get the sense that this was the kind of thing that before she went out there, she said, here's what i'm going to say, is everybody okay with
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this? particularly watching the tape, it seemed more like, you know, on the spot she sort of thought of it and put it out there. because again, remember, when it comes to mitt romney's health care, supposedly the way they're trying to, you know, thread the needle and split the hairs is just that that was the massachusetts solution, that may not be right for everybody. but the idea of having some kind of health care reform isn't a bad thing. so i don't -- you know, i think she messed up in the context of this campaign, but again, i don't think that this was an intentional comment. >> sam, as we talk about how this sort of makes its way through the world and into the ether, one thing is probably for certain, and that is that the obama campaign is going to make hay out of that. the president has already sort of danced around the subject and touched on it a little bit today at a campaign event earlier today. let's play that sound with president obama talking about romney's health care plan. >> he wants to kill obama care. i'm implementing obama care, because it was the right thing to do.
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>> if that's what mr. romney wants to get rid of, despite the fact that he did the same thing in massachusetts and it worked pretty well, then that's a different -- that's a choice in this election. >> sam, is it a day, is it a matter of minutes? is it a matter of hours before this becomes a new web ad from the obama campaign? >> i mean, it looks like this thing could take off at any moment. i mean, the visual of one campaign, the romney campaign, talking positively about romney care and getting just absolutely hammered by their base, and the other campaign, the obama campaign, talking positively about obama care, ostensibly the same bill, and getting absolutely huge cheers from his base, is striking. and it goes to show you that republicans never actually expected much out of mitt romney. the fact that ann coulter expected him to just summarily ignore his signature legislative accomplishment as governor of massachusetts goes to show you what kind of respect they had for him as a politician. they weren't voting for someone
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who was governor of massachusetts. they were voting for a vessel, i guess. and it's sad to say that andrea saul is going to take the brunt of this, because on strict policy terms, she did not contradict the romney message. the romney message has always been that he passed a law as governor of massachusetts for massachusetts, not for the nation at whole. she said nothing that contradicts that message. but apparently the rules for the republican party is, you can't even talk about romney care, and i think that's absurd. >> you can't tell the truth. that's their message. and here's the thing. if governor romney had any credibility on any of these issues, if it wasn't for the fact that we've been talking about all the various things that he either won't answer, won't respond to, won't show us, you know, is trying to be -- is being very, you know, nontransparent about, he would have more credibility, and therefore this problem of the lack of trust that the base of his own party actually has with him, would be less of an issue, and a single comment by a spokesperson would be far less damaging. so mitt romney really needs to bear the brunt of this. but i think sam's right, they're
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going to make andrea probably take the hit for it, but the candidate himself should take a lot of the responsibility. >> it's almost like they can't make her take the hit because if she's fired it reflects very heavily on mitt romney as a manager and as someone who leads a campaign. what does it say about someone who would throw someone overboard for simply touting the virtues of a policy he passed? i think the bigger picture here is that there's always been this perception of romney as someone who lacks any compass with respect to the legislation or policies he espouses. and this is conservatives basically admitting that they don't trust him and that the second that he starts talking about the stuff he's accomplished, stuff that they abhor, they're going to throw anyone overboard. i mean, it's just a very remarkable thing for ann coulter to say. >> the other truth is that mitt romney is not having a very good summer. >> that's one other point, yes. >> sam stein and karen finney, thank you both for your time. >> thanks. >> no problem. coming up, another romney campaign surrogate slipped up tonight. newt gingrich was trying to defend romney's attack on the
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president over welfare, except newt didn't really defend romney's attack on the president over everywhere. newt did, however, remember to say his favorite line. food stamp president. after that, from the department of insane conservative ideas, a family policy expert publicly suggests creating an organized system of kidnapping to remove children from their gay parents. and in the spotlight, if the obama campaign is already using the term "romney hood" now, imagine what they'll come up with if mitt romney picks paul ryan as his running mate. and breaking news tonight, susan g. komen for the cure faced backlash for joining the political fight against planned parenthood. now the organization is making big changes. my parents had kraft mac & cheese without me. so this time, i took precautionary measures. looking for these? [ rattling ] [ male announcer ] kraft macaroni & cheese. you know you love it.
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after being obliterated in the primary, what would it take to get newt gingrich to speak out for mitt romney? how about the chance to say food stamp president again? the republican race-tinged welfare attack gets worse and so does the romney message problem. that's next.
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and how do you campaign in florida with a running mate who wants to turn medicare into coupons? mitt romney will find out if paul ryan is his running mate. that's in the spotlight. this is the plan that revolves around you. introducing share everything. unlimited talk. unlimited text. tap into a single pool of shareable data and add up to 10 different devices, including smartphones and tablets. the first plan of its kind. share everything. only from verizon. now add a tablet for only $10 monthly access.
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it is wrong to make any change that would make america more of a nation of government dependency. we must restore and i will restore work into welfare. >> how low is mitt romney willing to go to advance his welfare lie? he's willing to go to the guy who started the bain attacks. the guy who first asked what romney might be hiding in his tax returns. the guy who accused him of carte blanching taxpayer-funded
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abortions through his government-mandated health care program. the guy who taught us all about right-wing social engineering. the guy who has single-handedly done more than anyone else to set the table for the democratic campaign against him. yes, mitt romney is willing to go as low as newt gingrich to play resentment politics. this morning, speaking as the expert witness on an rnc conference call, gingrich went hardcore. >> hardcore liberals, hardcore left. >> on the hard left there is an unending desire to create a dependent america. there is a deep repudiation of middle-class work ethic. there is a faction on the hard left that is desperate to do it. it's not just that obama's a radical, but the people he appoints are even more radical. >> obama, whose entire record as president has focused on increasing the number of people on food stamps -- >> you get the gist. gingrich was asked by a reporter about the racial tone of his attacks, and he responded with this. >> the average normal american
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understood that far more white americans get food stamps than blacks. that to have an honest discussion about dependency doesn't mean you're a racist, it means you're worried about the future of people who are being taught to be dependent on the government. i think you can have an honest conversation about whether it's good for americans, notice i said americans, not any particular ethnic subgroup, to make them dependents, deprive them of their jobs, and have them lean on the federal government. but i'm confident that some people in the elite media desperate to re-elect bill -- to re-elect barack obama will in fact yell racist because they don't know any better. >> for a second newt gingrich thought it was still 1996 when bill clinton was the worst president ever. tonight newt gingrich took resentment politics to primetime tv. but true to form, gingrich couldn't even make it through one day as a romney messenger without going off message. >> you wouldn't have to work, you wouldn't have to train for a job, they just send you your welfare check.
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that's not saying we assume this or we think this or we worry about this. it's saying as a fact, this will happen. and that's just not supported by evidence. >> i think if the admakers had asked me, i would have said, this makes it possible, would have been a good way to enter into -- >> so you think the wording of the ad is not actually accurate? that it is too straightforward? >> well, i think that the ad does assert -- but this is a political ad. in 30 seconds you tend not to get all the various amendments and things. >> if you were running this ad, you would change the wording of the ad? >> if i were running the ad, it would be a much tougher ad. because i'd start by saying as the leading food stamp president in american history -- >> joining me now are former governor ed rendell and nbc news political analyst, joy-ann reid, managing editor of the grio and an msnbc contributor. my friends, newt gingrich is back. we didn't know when, but he is officially back. and joy, i want to go to you first on this. we are now hearing the phrase
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"food stamp president" again, we're talking about obama's radicalism. i want to play a piece of sound and explanation. newt gingrich said, oh, it's the elite media concocting this. this is perhaps where the elite media may have gotten the idea that gingrich's food stamp charge had racial overtones. let's take a listen. >> obama is the best food stamp president in american history. more people are on food stamps today because of obama's policies than ever in history. if the naacp invites me, i'll go to their convention and talk talk about why the african-american community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps. >> because the naacp would be, of course, disproportionately interested in food stamps. joy, how much of a liability is newt gingrich right now for mitt romney? >> well, you know, i guess it depends on how you look at it. at least he didn't say he was going to make black people's lives better with other people's money. which is the other way he could have gone with this. the thing is the romney campaign has essentially run out of ideas. their original plan was to run on the economy. that's not working. the polls aren't budging. people have already factored in
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the economy. so he appears to be going to the well of the base that he never was able to court before. he's going to try to use the strategies of his primary opponents. he's going to try to appeal to the tea party base with this old, tried and true, go to the well of racial resentment, go to the welfare queens argument. so i think that from romney, i think he thinks that gingrich is an asset, because he thinks that this can gin up that base for him. but here's the problem, that's not who his audience is right now. we're in a general election. newt gingrich is not useful in a general election. >> governor, we've been talking a lot about bill clinton and the white working-class voter. when we're talking about sort of breeding or fostering class resentment and using that to drive a wedge between voters and, of course, the american public. is this an effective strategy for mitt romney and his surrogates? does this appeal -- does this kind of rhetoric, this kind of -- i'll call it class warfare, does that appeal to voters -- blue-collar voters in swing states? >> first of all, a lot of those
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blue-collar voters are on food stamps. in pennsylvania literally 1 out of every 11 people is on food stamps. and that includes a lot of people who are construction workers, a lot of people that worked in manufacturing companies, they're on food stamps. their cousin may not be on food stamps, but they know that they're on food stamps. so this whole myth is exploded, number one. number two, it's not barack obama who increased the number of people on food stamps, it's the republican administration that preceded him that careened us into a recession. the reason there are more people on food stamps today is because we're in the midst of a recession that's almost the worst since the great depression. so newt -- the people who that attack is going to appeal to, they're already voting republican. the fallacy and the stupidity of this strategy is that these folks already are voting republican. they're going to turn out because they don't like barack obama. and joy's right. since you're not increasing turnout, you're losing
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reasonable voters who may be a little bit disenchanted with the president but who are going to be turned off by this stuff. >> so these are conservative dog whistles for a pack of dogs that's already running with mitt romney. >> already there, yeah. >> let's talk a little bit about the reappearance of newt gingrich because why not? it's such an endlessly entertaining point of discussion. let's -- newt gingrich talking on cnn about his role as the republican national convention. let's hear what he had to say. >> we're going to actually -- working with them right now on a project that i think you'll love, that has a lot more time than just an evening speech. >> what does that mean? >> it means we're going to probably have something, a very large amount of time working with the delegates and doing things -- >> but not delivering a prime-time speech? >> not delivering a prime-time speech. >> because a lot of people -- >> trust me, anybody who wants to see me will have more than enough opportunity during the convention. we'll probably have more total time than anybody thought possible. >> more total time than anybody thought possible. joy, if mitt -- we talked yesterday about sarah palin and
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her role in the republican party. newt gingrich, obviously, has a different role. how difficult is it for mitt romney to have newt gingrich in the shadows and to be calling in, theoretically, favors from him right now that ultimately he's going to have to pay for later? >> well, yeah, and that's the problem. this is a guy who obviously feels that he could be doing this better than mitt romney. and now mitt romney is opening the door for him to put on salons for mitt romney on how to appeal to conservatives. but again, back to our orange the point, that is not newt -- mitt romney's job right now, appealing to the base. if he's still doing that, he's in deep, deep trouble with less than a month to go before his convention. this is not the time to be trying to relearn how to appeal to your base. >> and governor, we talk about wild, wild surrogates who go off message. untamed surrogates. >> are you implying -- >> i'm not saying anything. i'm just saying. but gingrich was asked about michele bachmann on cnn today, her comments regarding a conspiracy regarding the muslim brotherhood. inevitably, gingrich is almost
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his own worst enemy. he can't control himself and he kind of takes this bait and then it puts mitt romney in a very difficult position. how does mitt romney deal with that? >> well, mitt romney should have, as he's -- he's blown opportunity after opportunity during this campaign to look like a strong, independent leader. when michele bachmann made that absolutely absurd insinuation about -- >> huma abedin and her association -- >> one of the most loyal americans who works her heart out for the secretary of state, who's doing a great job. when he makes this absurd allegation, when she, bachmann, romney should have gotten up, forget surrogates, forget what the base says, he should have said, that's ridiculous. that's ridiculous. i know huma abedin and she's a good, patriotic american. he should have done it, a, because it's the right thing to do and b, because of all of the big swing states, he was doing best in michigan. what state has the highest number of arab-american voters? michigan. if you're an arab-american, how are you going to vote republican after that? michele bachmann, we want her on the ticket. we want her as vice president.
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>> what's amazing is that mitt romney has been given a chance to plant a flag of conviction in the ground -- >> and he blows it. >> -- time and time again -- >> he goes back to the gay soldier. the gay soldier. >> but he's not even allowed to say he likes his own health care plan. >> he's not actually even allowed to tell us what he's having for dinner. he has a long way to go. joy-ann reid and governor ed rendell, thank you, as always. >> thanks. coming up, after backlash for defunding planned parenthood, there's a big change at susan g. komen for the cure. [ donovan ] i hit a wall. 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. for their "destination wedding."
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paul ryan may be a good pick for mitt romney's base, but imagine the obama campaign ads about "ending medicare as we know it." the paul ryan pitfall is next. and it's not just the romney campaign giving president obama an assist on his policy record today. rush limbaugh says he's been in the trenches, lending a helping hand in the war on women. and after joining the fight against planned parenthood, there's a big change at the top of susan g. komen for the cure. [ male announcer ] if you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air.
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campaign say it's for real. representative paul ryan of wisconsin, the budget king of the gop, may be mitt romney's veep." team romney has, no doubt, been making lists of pros and cons for each veepstakes contestant. taking a look at some of the items likely to be on paul ryan's two lists, in the pro category, paul ryan's budget could help give vision to romney's campaign. that after months of the candidate essentially doing everything possible to maintain absolutely no position on anything of any importance. secondly, while not as risky as a chris christie or a sarah palin, paul ryan is well regarded by fellow conservatives and not one of the gop's so-called boring white guys. and location, location, location. paul ryan is, of course, from the battleground state of wisconsin. on to the cons. congressman ryan has none of that executive leadership
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experience that mitt romney is always talking about. paul ryan is also a member of congress, and with an approval rating of 12% in last month's "new york times"/cbs poll, americans really hate congress. a lot. a lot, a lot. and, of course, paul ryan's budget plan ends medicare, which will not exactly go over well with older voters, particularly in the critical battleground state of florida. but responding to paul ryan's budget plan back in march, romney praised ryan "for taking a bold step towards putting our nation back on the track to fiscal sanity." team obama was ready with a counterpunch saying "governor romney has said he's on the same page as congressman ryan, so america's seniors and the middle class should take note of what that means for them." there's also the issue of romney care, which we now know team romney has nothing but love for. >> you know, if people had been in massachusetts under governor romney's health care plan, they would have had health care. >> paul ryan, on the other hand -- >> no, actually, i'm not a fan of the system, and i think that was part of it. i've got some relatives up there in massachusetts.
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my uncle is a cardiologist in boston, and i've talked to a lot of health care folks up there who what's happening is because costs are getting out of control, premiums are increasing in massachusetts, and now you have a bureaucracy that is having to put all these cost controls and now rationing on the system. this idea of having the government be the sole, you know, single regulator of health insurance, defining what kind of health insurance you can have, and then an individual mandate, it is a fatal conceit, and these kinds of systems as we're now seeing in massachusetts are unsustainable. >> "these kind of systems as we're now seeing in massachusetts are unsustainable." so i guess you could add being sharply and publicly critical of romney care to the list of paul ryan's cons. joining me now, jonathan chait, daily columnist for, who's written extensively on congressman ryan. and john nicholls, washington correspondent for "the nation" and associate editor of the
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"capital times," who is an expert on wisconsin politics. gentlemen, thank you for joining me. john, i want to go to you first. paul ryan is one of the most experienced and also influential people in the republican caucus. he's definitely pulling the strings as far as the fiscal policy and strategy there. tell us a little bit about his governing philosophy. ryan's own philosophy, as he sort of illustrated it and wrote it out in his road map, is "only by taking responsibility by one's self to the greatest extent possible can one ever be free. and only a free person can make responsible choices between right and wrong, saving and spending, giving or taking." how is that made manifest his policy decisions? >> it sounds an awfully lot like a section from an ayn rand novel, and that makes sense because paul ryan is obsessed with ayn rand, the extreme libertarian novelist who wrote books like "atlas shrugged." he said the reason he even went into political was because of
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reading an ayn rand novel. so we have to begin with the fact that this is a guy who really hugs an ideological extreme. he's obsessed with and fascinated by obscure austrian economists who have theories about getting government out of everything. and he has done well politically because in a republican caucus that is pretty cutthroat, he's actually a very nice guy. one on one, he gets along with people quite well. he's got a good sense of humor. but the thing that needs -- that mitt romney needs to understand is this -- he may get along very well personally with paul ryan, but if he chooses paul ryan as his running mate, paul ryan will define the romney campaign. not mitt romney. and that's what he's done in congress as well. >> jonathan, you've done what i deem a national service in terms of outlining some specifics of ryan's plan. there are going to be two tax rates. the top level will go down to 25%. unspecified tax deductions.
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we know that a lot of that stuff is going to be balanced on programs for the poor and middle class. medicare is unchanged for those 55 and older. he's going to repeal obama care, uninsuring up to 30 million americans in total. it could be as much as 50 million americans. this is a fairly draconian prescription for the country, is it not? >> it is draconian, but the thing you have to keep in mind is that paul ryan is an extremely good politician. and i think you shouldn't underestimate his skills in that regard. his district in wisconsin is not a republican district. it's right in the middle. and he's won it strongly. he's also very successfully managed to craft this image of himself, who he is, what he believes, and where he comes from that's wildly at odds with the reality and peddle it with almost total success. and make himself a beloved figure, not just among the movement, conservative who is share his beliefs, but among a
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lot of centrists, a lot of people who don't really share his beliefs, but he's persuaded to make due. so that's a potent combination. >> john, i want to talk to you a little bit. jonathan chait writes about the romney and ryan relationship and where this might go. he says, romney has shown no inclination to challenge ryan praising him fulsome ly and eve promising him according to the weekly standard's stephen hayes he'd enact ryan's plan in the first 100 days. and republicans envision an administration in which romney has relegated himself to a head of state role, at least domestically, with ryan as the actual head of government, which very much echoes what you were saying. so effectively, i mean, this kind of goes back to the grover norquist contention that we don't really need a president, we just need someone who can sign on the dotted line. well, we did have that back, from 2001 to 2009 with dick cheney. and though they are very different figures on the surface, the comparison between paul ryan and dick cheney is not an inappropriate one. just as dick cheney came up initially as an aide and a
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washington hanger-on, went into congress, and then moved himself ultimately into the vice presidency, paul ryan is a washington hanger-on. he's been in washington for the better part of 25 years, as a congressional aide, as a senate aide, as a think tank member, and then as a member of congress. he is not of the midwest in most senses. he really somebody who spent his entire adult life in and around congress. that, as with cheney in the bush administration, would make him a very powerful figure. because mitt romney would arrive in washington as someone who's never really worked much with congress, and here he'd have a vice president who could go up to capitol hill and actually be an intimate player on all the policy issues. >> jonathan chait and john nichols, thank you for trying to lift the veil of mystery over paul ryan. we look forward to speaking to you again soon. >> look forward to it. coming up, the susan g. komen foundation faced blowback when it joined the fight against planned parenthood. now late tonight comes news that the group is making changes.
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and the war on women didn't do mitt romney any favors with female voters, but rush limbaugh isn't putting down his battle-ax. that's coming up next. and what kind of family organization advocates kidnapping to steal children from their parents? you'll meet their leader, next. with the spark cash card from capital one, sven's home security gets the most rewards of any small business credit card! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right? put them on my spark card! why settle for less? testing hot tar... great businesses deserve the most rewards! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? here's your invoice.
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yesterday, conservative radio host and issues director for the american family association brian fisher took to twitter to make the case for a
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modern-day underground railroad. an underground railroad to, quote, deliver innocent children from same-sex households. fisher, who last month pointed to the penn state sex abuse scandal as evidence of why children should not be put in same-sex households, chose yesterday to invoke the memory of harriet tubman and frederick douglass as part of a broader campaign against gay rights. while large parts of the thinking world might pause at the strategy of using a seminal example of the historic struggle to secure basic freedoms for a persecuted minority to undermine basic freedoms sought by a persecuted minority, we'll leave mr. fisher's questionable semioticstrategery aside. fisher was outraged in particular regarding criminal charges filed by the u.s. justice department against a group of people who participated in the international kidnapping of a 10-year-old to nicaragua in an effort to evade court-ordered visitation with the child's lesbian mother. never mind the criminality,
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absurdity, and wholesale disregard of what is actually in a child's best interest. a director for the american family association is advocating kidnapping as an alternative to raising a child in a same-sex household. according to a study posted by the department of health and human services, children of lgbt parents seem to, quote, benefit from egalitarian co-parenting. research shows that the adjustment and social relationships of children does not seem to be impacted by the sexual orientation of their caregivers. there is no evidence that children of same-sex unions face greater stigma, nor is there evidence that these children are more likely to be abused or to suggest the children of these parents are more likely to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender themselves. the research concludes, quite obviously, "children will, in fact, be who they are." so, wait, it's not better to remove a child from a two-parent home, flee the country, and
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abscond to nicaragua via canada to raise a kid on the lam? no? perhaps instead of offering passage on an underground railroad to children of same-sex couples, we should, instead, offer amnesty to the men and women who live with and are forced to put up with the nonsense, libel, fearmongering, and comedically awful parenting advice of people like bryan fischer. coming up, mitt romney is taking fire in the war on women. and breaking news, there's shake-up at the susan g. komen for the cure, months after it waded into fight over planned parenthood. the power of technology. we believe in the power of people when technology works for you. to dream. to create. to work. if you're going to do something.
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when i was verbally attacked earlier this year, the difference between president obama and mr. romney became very
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clear. mr. romney could only say that those weren't the words he would have chosen. well, mr. romney, you're not going to be the candidate we choose. [ cheers and applause ] >> that was the new voice for women's health care rights, sandra fluke, introducing president obama at a campaign rally today in the all-important swing state of colorado. president obama decisively won the women's vote in 2008 and most polls suggest he'll do the same again this year. a new quinnipiac poll on swing states finds the president beating mitt romney among women voters by eight points in colorado, 14 points in virginia, and 23 points in wisconsin. but with women making up more than half of the electorate, the obama campaign isn't taking any chances and has enlisted the help of celebrities like "the hunger games" star elizabeth banks to spell out the difference between obama and mitt romney when it comes to reproductive rights. >> planned parenthood is
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something i care very deeply about. planned parenthood was my health care provider when i didn't have insurance after graduating from college. yes, i got birth control, but it was for my massive migraine headaches and my heavy flow. yeah, i'm on record saying i had a heavy flow. and unfortunately, these are the types of things that i don't want to discuss with employers. i don't want to talk about that with my employer. that's between me and my doctor. and at the time, my doctor happened to be at planned parenthood. president obama has not compromised on women's rights, and that's why president obama needs to stay in office. >> and speaking of planned parenthood, earlier tonight susan g. komen for the cure announced a huge shake-up among its leadership team. nbc news confirms that after 30 years, its founder, nancy brinker, is stepping down from her position as ceo and taking on a new management position. its president, liz thompson, and two boards members are also
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leaving the organization. this comes about six months after a firestorm erupted when the breast cancer organization decided not to renew funding for planned parenthood. susan g. komen for the cure eventually backed down on that decision after protests from supporters. joining me now is erin carmon, a reporter for salon. great to see you. >> hi, alex. >> let's talk about the komen decision first. is this not evidence of how contentious the issue of women's health is at this moment right now in american politics? >> i would say, it's not only -- it's evidence that some people are trying to make it contentious. if you look at what used to be consensus issues, the republican party has moved so far to the right on women's health that now what you have is a situation where they think they have successfully stigmatized planned parenthood, that when people hear planned parenthood they think crazy lady abortion factory and they hear sl uchl t when in fact what they hear is that's where 3 million women got care last year, that's where i got free birth control, that's where i got an sdi or cancer screening. so it was contentious, but when komen defunded planned parenthood and you're trying to
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see them do the same thing on the federal government level and states' levels, people got mad. you had this amazing outpouring of support just like you had for sandra fluke. and i think they really overplayed their hand. >> giving how much seeming ground republicans need to make up with women, you would think that the outreach would be better. i was shocked to learn that today mitt romney announced the creation of women for mitt, which is a coalition led, of course, by ann romney. why didn't he do that earlier? >> look, the whole time they've been saying the war on women is made up. they have now looked at their poll numbers, they're looking at this tremendous gap that they have with independent women, with women in swing states, single women in particular, and now they're freaking out. and so what's amazing is that i went and i looked at the announcement for women for mitt, and i was trying to figure out, what does women for mitt stand for? women for mitt -- >> there are so many questions relating to what mitt romney stands for. >> republicans who have to be women. right. and they say something vague about the deficit. but you know, to obama's credit,
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he can point to a list of specific things that he's done for women's health care to, you know, support the paycheck fairness act to the lily ledbetter act. if you want to say women for mitt, they want to say there's no such thing as a women's issue, i've had republicans say that to my face, but now they're obliged to say, okay, women for mitt. who happen to be biologically female are really worried about the deficit. >> but irin, no matter how hard romney tries, he seems to be continually undercut by members of his party, elder statesmen in the conservative circles. rush limbaugh, who has had much to say on women's health, did not shy away from commenting today. let's hear what he had to say about sandra fluke. >> when i say the name sandra fluke, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? no, no, no, not -- never mind. never -- no. the first thing that comes into your mind is my name.
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he says it's not the first -- when you mention her name, my name is what most people think of. i should be getting a finder's fee. >> rush limbaugh wants residuals for getting sandra fluke onto the national stage, which seems to only help president obama. and to this notion that, you know, no matter how hard mitt romney may try to court the women and the female vote, you have rush limbaugh on the side cackling evilly, calling her whatever he did, and then you also have actions on the state level which seem to bring up the basic issues around women's health in a really sort of draconian way. you wrote about this today. talking about personhood amendments. i mean, you look at what's happening to the gutting of women's health care problems. this keeps this a front burner problem for republicans on the national stage. >> you can even just think about who does he have -- you know, who are major mitt romney surrogates? mike huckabee is one of the greatest and most visible supporters of the personhood movement. they want to say that fertilized eggs are people, they want to ban the iud. they want to ban ivf. there are all sorts of people he