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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 9, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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scheduling early finals. with that smile, you saw the true claressa. this young lady, once you speak with her, you would think you've known her all your life. i'm sure she will set new goals and obtain them. she'll only be 21 for the rio olympics. a 17-year-old giving everything she's got for her country and her hometown, yes. that's an olympic story we have seen. but this particular hometown giving everything it's got for its pride and joy and an olympic gold medal to show for it. flint has taken some hard knocks, but team claressa in flint, you are the best new thing in the world today. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. mitt romney enlists the departed pope in his campaign against barack obama. while harry reid continues to press the tax issue, signalling to his fellow democrats, be not afraid. trouble in sherwood forest.
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>> president obama stepped up his critique of mitt romney today. >> the centerpiece of mitt romney's entire economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut. he expects the middle class to pick up the tab to pay for it. >> one of the greatest ideas, something known as the ryan plan. >> governor romney wants a culture war. >> who shares your values? declare war on religion. go against their faith? >> what was he thinking? >> i'm not exactly what the romney campaign is trying to accomplish. >> trouble in sherwood forest. >> why doesn't governor romney have the same kind of hold as the activist wing in his party that barack obama has. >> if he had been in massachusetts under romney's health care plan they would have had health care. >> to respond to this plan by citing health care in massachusetts? >> omg, this might just be the
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moment mitt romney lost the election. >> they all go crazy. >> if she isn't fired and off the campaign tomorrow -- >> i like being able to fire people. >> they saw there's going to be a problem. >> democrats are unified. >> america has a serious choice to make. >> are you calling mitt romney a liar? >> yes. >> he is the worst republican in the country to put up against barack obama. >> we don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee and we will lose. i'm chris hayes in for lawrence o'donnell tonight. two national polls show president obama widening his lead on mitt romney as the romney campaign uses a new television ad to try to make nice with republicans. but first, we have new details, i suppose about the famous unnamed source that allegedly told senator harry reid that mitt romney paid no federal income taxes for ten years. here is reid's deputy communications director jose
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parra. >> all we can say is that we're comfortable with this person. this person is an investor in bain capital. a republican also, and somebody who, you know, who has been dealing with mr. romney's company for a long, long time. and he had direct knowledge of this. >> after that sound bite fopped up on the huffington post, he released a retraction saying i do not know the affiliate of the source or how long he invested with bain. democrats and the obama campaign are intent on making him pay the full cost of this secrecy. mitt romney's secret tax returns are the subject of a just released tell advice ad from president obama's reelection campaign. >> did romney pay 10% in taxes?
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5%? zero. we don't know. but we do know that romney personally approved $76 million of fictional losses in one of the largest tax avoidance rings in history. >> as for romney, he's still fighting the last battle, the battle he can never seem to win. the right wing is convinced he doesn't truly love them and want to be with him. ann coulter demanded he fire andrea saul for touting the romney health care law on fox news. they're still not over saul's remarks. >> we conservatives don't think the republican establishment knows what they're up against. the way to respond to that ad is not accept its premise.
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it scared me that they may not know what they're up against. >> mitt romney should fire his staff. remember the guy who said the mandate is not a tax? get rid of him. then get rid of andrea saul. >> you want to fire mitt romney is what you want to do. >> may be the timing of a new romney ad today look like another faemt to sol-- attempt solidify the base. >> who shares your values? president obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. mitt romney believes that's wrong. >> in 1979, a son of poland, pope john paul ii spoke words that would bring down an empire. be not afraid. >> when religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?
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>> 89 days until the presidential election. two national polls show president obama widening his lead on mitt romney. registered voters shows romney up 7% on romney, 52 to 45%, and a fox news poll shows the president up nine points on romney, 49 to 40%. the president's biggest lead in that poll since romney became the presumptive nominee. joining ema ining n ining me no discussing my father was a jesuit seminarian. i feel like i know you, father, already. in all seriousness, father, i'm curious to get your reaction to that ad. what was striking to me about the ad and what's striking me about going on this issue was there was a huge fight over this provision of the affordable care act and whether religious institutions like universities
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would have to cover preventive care including birth control for free. and that was a political battle that was waged and i think the democrats won that political battle in purely political terms. but it just seemed like a strange thing to me to be trotting out in august in a general election campaign. do you feel the symbolism there and the picture of the pope and the be not afraid and rousing music has some sort of power with the catholic voter that i'm missing? >> it might. i mean, it's still an interesting issue for a lot of catholics. the bishops are very concerned about it. but i think, you know, if you bring up john paul as kind of someone who's endorsing you, you have two problems. a, he's dead. and b, you know, there's a lot of things that john paul stood for in terms of universal health care with a particular option for the poor that mitt romney may not want to be associated with. i also like to say be not afwrad is actually something that jesus said, which i think goes a little mising in that ad.
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>> that's a very good point. the pope was quoting someone else. >> he was quoting his own boss, yeah. >> my basic feeling was once you get the endorsement in the election, basically the election is over. he's a remarkable person in the resistance of soviet tyranny. a strange calculation whose strategists and the candidate himself recognize that the economy is the defining element of the election but it seems to me day after day after day goes by, they're somehow not talking about that. >> thank you for not asking me about ka tholism. i'm totally ill equipped to talk about that. there's something odd about this. it's not just the contraception ad. we came off a two-day argument about welfare reform. not the topic we thought this campaign would be about. if you just keep the
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conversation squarely on the jobs, squarely on the economy, then he would win. in each of these case, both the welfare reform angt and the contraception ad we saw today were, you know, again, seeing an exhibition of why romney is sort of uniquely unqualified in this election. because one, obviously, it was reported he requested a waiver back in 2005. and a with the contraception rule, he signed a very similar law while governor of massachusetts. the romney campaign will throw a punch and then quickly be lexus nexus that they did exactly the same thing. it's curious he's not keeping the focus on the km i. i'm wondering why they're going off on these tangents. in. >> in the poll -- the cnn poll, will the economy get get better if obama is elected, 47%. if romney is elected, 45%. i think that's down from 50% in may which says he's moving in the wrong direction on exactly the key metric.
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>> right. the problem is the romney campaign has been running on the economy for two years. the economy is bad, elect me. now they don't have a second act. they seem to be sort of even. they seem to be thinking one guy, the other guy. we don't think either of these guys control the economy. i don't think the economy is any more what the electorate is looking at. they're evaluating these two people. and mitt romney can't win that argument so he's doing this sort of backwards things where he's going back and running the primary again, which doesn't make sense. he's going back and trying to rewin the primary. >> that's what strikes me so strange about the pitch. and not to say -- again, i'm not a political strategist. iner got anyone elected president so what the heck do i know. it strikes me strange that you're pitch on this culture war territory. >> correct. >> here's ann coulter tweeting, republicans have the best ideas, candidates, tv radio, writers, businessmen. why do we have the worst campaign spokesman.
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this is a preposterous theory. it's not the fact that andrea saulited the health care law in massachusetts. that's not the issue. the core issue is what you mentioned before. the guy has the record he has and here we are in august and it seems to me the conservative commentators are just waiting for him to slip up. they're so anticipating some grand betrayal that any small thing that happens is taken as finally oh, yes, the signal is here. he's touted robert zelic to head his foreign policy transition team. he's stabbing us in the back. andrea saul talked about a bill in massachusetts that worked out fairly well for massachusetts. he's stabbing us in the back. >> isn't what ann coulter doing the definition of shooting the messenger? that's what they're doing. it's unfair to andrea saul in so many respects. >> we go on one hand conservatives lamenting mitt romney isn't making a more formidable case for all of his accomplishments in the business community, olympics, as
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governor. then one minute after they stout the signature legislative achooemt of his time as governor, conservatives are apaplectic over it. i think they want to talk about some of the accomplishments he made. the problem is a lot of them aren't palpable in a campaign against idea. >> the idea is this someone could die of cancer because they can't get treatment because they were out of the job. the details of the ad are a little unclear what the causal neck nichls were. but the principle is that people should be skovr covered. there's a tradition of taking care of this outstied of the insurance industry in terms of charitable care. but also in the catholic tradition, there's a very strong catholic tradition of calling for something that looks like universal coverage. >> yes, there is. catholic social teaching, john paul ii called for it, particularly in terms of the
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rights of workers. but there's larger catholic teaching of the common good, just working for the common good. we're not all individualistic. and you know, frankly, it goes back even further than that to jesus, the guy who said be not afraid also said that we'll be judged by the way we help the poor. so absolutely. i'm not a politician, but it's something that governor romney should be proud of frankly. i mean, that's a good thing, to help people get affordable health care seems like a good thing. >> and not only, i think, be proud of. but i think it's the signature legislative accomplishment during the one time he occupied an executive office. >> it's in his portrait. >> the idea that you could -- i mean, i understand he's not going to talk about it in the primary. it enflames the base. but the point is they've draup such a tremendous no-go zone around it. not the romney campaign who understands that's a great argument who say look, we can be bridge builders, too, and we work with democrats and all these things. finally the tax issue remains. i think the con tours of this
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are pretty clear which is that people think the romney campaign is not going to release it. so now the point is to extract maximum costs politically. >> that is true. >> that's thestrategic play. is it a mortal sin to cast aspera aspersions on the taxes of an opponent? >> i would say it depends on your motives. >> very good. president obama takes on an important issue that romney cannot counter without a serious flip flop. that's next. and how much do republicans love the idea of paul ryan as mitt romney's vice presidential pick? almost as much as democrats love the idea of running ads about medicare coupons in florida. that's in "the spotlight." and later, we have found a
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it is rare that a candidate can take an enlightened policy position that's also a winner a swing state that also putting your opponent at a total loss of a counterargument that will not anger the opposing base. but barack obama has found that argument and is using it against mitt romney. that's next. and later, one of the guys who helped land the mars curiosity rover has become an internet sensation. he's the only one with a mohawk and he's joining me coming up. those surprising little things she does
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at a moment when home grown energy, renewable energy is creating new jobs in states like colorado and iowa, my opponent wants to end fax credits for wind energy producers. colorado, it's time to stop spending billions in taxpayer subsidies on an oil industry that's already making a lot of profit and let's keep investing in new energy sources that never been more promising. that's a choice in this election. >> that was president obama today in pueblo, colorado, attacking mitt romney for opposing a tax credit for wind energy producers. wind energy is an important issue in pueblo, colorado, home to the world's largest wind turbine manufacturing facility, employing 400 people in pueblo and another 1,600 workers statewide. which is what made today's campaign event so remarkable.
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because when the topic is energy policy, the politics whether they're regional, push politicians towards the absolute, worst, most craven positions. protection of the incumbent fossil fuel industry that's slowly cooking the planet. i'll note that july was the warmest month in the u.s. in to recorded history. but the distinct and strange contours of this year's political map are changing the political incentives around energy policy, at least in a few crucial ways. in colorado, one of the most important swing states, about 5,000 people work in wind production and 37,000 work in the wind industry nationwide. just last week in a rare show of bipartisan team work, the senate finance committee voted to renew a wind energy tax credit. it would cost $3.3 billion and help the industry create more jobs. after the summer recess, the bill will go to a full senate vote. but mitt romney wants that subsidy to die.
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his spokeswoman said today, unfortunately under president obama's approach of massive subsidies and handouts, the industry has lost 10,000 jobs while growth of wind power has slowed every year of his term. now he wants to double down on another year at a cost of $12 billion. while romney is against subsidies for wind energy, he supported a filibuster which preserved $24 billion over ten years of subsidies to oil companies. joining me now, an editorial director and msnbc political analyst and josh green for bloomberg business week. great to have you here. josh, i think the politics of this are interesting for a number of reasons. one of which is that there is some bipartisan cooperation on extending the tax credit and part of this is the basic geography of interest group politics. you have folks in iowa saying that this is a mistake to oppose it. iowa republican governor terry branstead took issue with the romney campaign website using
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the term windmill instead of wind turbine? you have a bunch of people who put that website together that are a bunch of east coast people who need to find out what's really going on in the real world. how do you think the politics of this cut? >> obviously it's difficult for romney. i give him a little credit for this. because it's the only example of him doing something that isn't in his immediate short-term political interest. he's really taking a stand on -- >> he hates wind that much. >> he's taking a stand on principle. not just wind. he went to iowa. he said he was against ethanol subsidy. what's interesting about this, politics aside, is that it's a case where ehe's actually specified some of the tax credits that he says he's going to eliminate to bring down tax rates, broaden the base, that sort of thing. we never heard what he's going to get rid of and here's a tiny, tangible example of what he would eliminate. >> what's interesting, and howard, i want you to weigh on
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this. there's a story that mitt romney has tried to tell, about crony capitalism and subsidies. the republican party took that vote against getting rid of the subsidies for the oil companies. so it's hard to kind of hue to this kind of strict, beautiful pristine line against government subsidy of the energy industry. >> no, absolutely. and because he's only specified a tiny amount of what he would be willing to do, most middle class voters and most observers have no idea how they would benefit, if benefit at all from romney's tax reform. so as a result, people want to know what kinds of actual tangible things you could do. and i kind of disagree with josh here. because i think that mitt romney would have a line of attack against the president who made some big promises about what investments in alternative energy would do. how many jobs that would create. the president really and the administration hasn't come anywhere close to reaching those
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goals and mitt romney could attack him on that line saying you really haven't done enough in terms of alternative energy and he would have an open door to push on with the president. instead by taking the position he has, he asked the president to take the offensive and play the shining night as he did in colorado today. he gave up that issue. >> and i would say -- josh, i'll let you respond, but there's some history here, of course. which is that, you know, mitt romney, shocker surprise, as governor of massachusetts was quite supportive of a bunch of different mechanisms and remains -- the state of massachusetts remains to this day probably one of the most supportive. josh? >> sure. i would favor the extension of the tax credits, but i think the real case for them is if you look at what mitt romney claims to stand for, which is growing jobs and entrepreneurialism, these credits are vital to
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building the wind industry. and actually, there's a tortured history of the inner play between these tax credits and the industry going back to the 1980s when ronald reagan first killed them in 1985. the u.s. was the global leader in wind and energy. and what happened was companies immediately went bankrupt. the whole energy gravitated overseas. so the reason that vestus in colorado, that's a danish company. the wind industry gravitated to denmark. this isn't just a matter of tax credits and randian economics, it also hurts the very thing that romney claims to stand for in building up new jobs, building up new industries, which obama did try to do. i actually give him quite a bit of credit for the energy bill -- or for the stimulus and the money it gave for clean energy, despite the fact that, you know, there's a few examples that have gone bad and been demonized. >> they haven't created the number of jobs they had hoped. but the other interesting thing
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here, chris, is that a lot of republicans, a lot of investment banker types, a lot of republicans that we used to call country club republicans love wind energy, wind energy as an investment. one of them is george w. bush's cousin happ ellis of new englad who's an early wind energy investor. that's why george w. bush had nice things to say about it. it's actually something that has bipartisan support on the hill. and once again, mitt romney has found a way to find something that could be popular and turn it into something unpopular. >> let me note the elephant in the room. which is carbon emissions. i would offer, if we price in carbon we can get rid of all tax cuts and make a level playing field that way. howard fineman and josh green, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thanks, chris.
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there are a lot of reasons republicans want paul ryan as mitt romney's running mate, but wanting paul ryan because you don't believe mitt romney can
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>> we know what direction we want to go. we want a paul ryan budget. we just need a president who will sign this stuff. hit a republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the united states. >> that was grover norquist's proposal at cpac on february. today, "the wall street journal" with its editorial, why not paul ryan? he's put entitlement reform at the center of his agenda and provides the best opportunity to dramatize, quote, the nature and stakes of this election. it's a gross overestimation of both the seriousness and the p
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popularity of the ryan budget which rely on the same fantastic call math that the romney economic plan is now being knocked for. it promises a surge of new tax revenue resulting from a surge of resulting growth resulting from tax reforms and spending cuts that ryan has yet to specify. it's also an overestimation of ryan's political appeal. a new cnn poll out tonight shows a plurality of voters either don't know or don't care who he is. he comes far behind senator marco rubio. the most serious assertion is that a closer association with a ryan budget would be a political winner. the reason that spending cuts of the depth and destructiveness of the cuts ryan is proposing have never happened before is precisely because they're unpopular. do republicans want ryan on the trail in the flesh and blood to serve as a constant reminder of that fact? most voters don't follow beltway
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nick pliks and have never heard of the ryan plan. but with ryan on the ticket, the presidential republican nomination that has never digits that to sign it into law, you bet people are going to learn how it impacts them. cuts in discretionary spending in the ryan budget would have on each state in the first full fiscal year of a romney presidency. nearly $1.17 billion in cuts to schools and law enforcement. or $1.3 billion to florida sound to voters in the sunshine state? that's just the first year. the cuts get more severe over time and that's not counting the radical changes to medicare ryan is proposing about which voters in florida are going to be very familiar by the time election day rolls around. joining me now is karen finney and dave wiegle.
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it's great to see you guys. my understanding of the affection for ryan, the desire to see ryan coming from the right are two things. one, they're constantly searching for signs that romney really is down with them. this is this unending set of signals that he's sending they're not liking. then he had this flap, et cetera. two, it strikes me as partisans or ideologues often do, overestimate the popularity of their own extreme positions. what do you think about that? >> well, they do. you can't really understate how much ryan is tied in with the conservative movement. he worked for jack kemp's empower america in his 20s. he was tipped by "the wall street journal" the editorial page asked for him to run against john boehner in 2008. when he was 38 years old. so he's very much a chosen one. and there has been, i think, a little bit of a mobeus strip of
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re-enforcement. they convinced them headquarters he's popular. they have little data points to point to to prove he's popular. a group put out a poll to voters and put the most glowing plan of the ryan plan and 52% of people liked it. >> paul ryan doesn't have a distrakt that's overwhelming republican. carry ren, the ryan budget seems like the proverbial albatross around the necks of romney and the rest of the republicans, although i think it hasn't been as central to the campaign thus far that i thought it would be, given how central the republicans made the $500 billion in cuts to medicare during 2010. >> well, remember, though, the ryan budget was central to one very important upstate new york race that the republicans should have won and of course, i'm talking about kathy hoakle.
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if they put ryan on the ticket -- the reason democrats are thrilled with this potential idea it means again we bring all the issues you laid out in the opening back to the fore. they're very unpopular. they've completely overestimated how popular those ideas are. and again, they couldn't win in a district where they should have won on these idea so we already know, there's already proof that that's going to fall flat. the other thing that's really important from a tactical perspective, when i look at those numbers and you see how many feel don't even know about paul ryan, what that means is tactically somebody is going to define him. and democrats have done a very good job of defining mitt romney thus far. as his popularity continues to fall. so once democrats get out there and start talking about paul ryan, it won't just hurt mitt romney, but i think there's real potential there to make others on the down ballot races, senate and house races have to justify why they would support such a ticket. >> i think the sort of risk
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averse case we've heard coming out from the romney camp of the boring white guy kind of thing, with the bizarre racial specification bracketed for a moment, and gender specification, that the -- the basic idea of risk aversion in the vp pick makes sense to me. it doesn't seem like a vice presidential pick can't help you that much. it can hurt you if you get a whole bunch of stories about the ryan budget, but there's a desire on the conservatives and romney to make this election a clash between alternate visions of the role of the state and the individual. let me read this little bit from ryan liz's great profile of paul ryan "the new yorker." ryan was key in causing enormous federal budget deficits, sweeping tax cuts, prescripti s t.a.r.p. all in all, $5 trillion was added to the debt. he said he was miserable during
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the last majority and determined to do everything i can to make sure i don't feel that misery again. why is it that paul ryan is able to get away with all that apesty during those years and others aren't? >> the rest of the media have welcomed him. the fact that the democrats went in that special election and he didn't switch from that. his punishment at the end of 2011 was being written up in "time" magazine as one of the man of the year. they believe that barack obama was appealing -- and you hear republicans sometimes refer to ryan as their obama. less so now because it sounds like a bit of an insult. it's someone the media adores but can get away with anything.
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>> karen? >> the other thing is obviously he's young and they recognize, there have been a loet of stories about the challenges the republican party is having attracting younger voters, energizing younger voters. let's not forget, we're having this conversation the day after yet again we saw how much romney really is in and how fragile the support romney has with the core conservatives of this base. andrea saul's comment should not have created the kind of firestorm that it did. and it shows that that is such a fragile alliance. if they have to throw paul ryan's name out there and try to gin up some more support to say hey, we'll do something to make you happy, that just shows you there's a lot of opportunity between now and the election. i think democrats recognize this, this issue of honest and trustworthiness. it's not just do moderates and democrats trust him? but people of his own party don't trust he's a true conservative. >> are that i setting sthemss up
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for disappointment if they don't do go with ryan? >> there's already a twitter campaign, #giveusryan. >> we are full of new testament references tonight. >> i wanted to stick with the theme. tim pawlenty used to be this kind of politician. but they believe he's just -- he can win any policy argument. they don't have that confidence with the other nominees. >> thanks so much. >> thanks. coming up, there's not one voter i.d. law that's been passed in this country that would have prevented this serious case of election fraud several republicans are facing felony charges. that's next. and later, one nasa scientist who helped land the mars curiosity rover has gotten an enormous share of attention and marriage proposals. man is aboue the millionth customer. would you mind if i go ahead of you? instead we had someone go ahead of him and win fifty thousand dollars.
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>> one of the totally bad ass nasa scientists that helped land the mars rover is coming up. the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at [ male announcer ] you work hard. stretch every penny. but chances are you pay a higher tax rate than him... mitt romney made twenty million dollars in two thousand ten but paid only fourteen percent in taxes... probably less than you now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break... and raises taxes on middle class families
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in republican-controlled states across the country, we have recently seen a rash of strict new voter i.d. laws and voter role purges. the claim from republican lawmakers and fox news, as jon stewart bril lantly lampooned last night there's an epidemic of voter fraud in america being perpetrated from a back from the dead zombie acorn or something. >> conservatives in their media division are up in arms over voter fraud. >> the national republican lawyers only found 340 cases of voter fraud over ten-year period in all of america. >> oh, my god! that's almost.7 cases per state per year. and it also includes registering the wrong address, writing mickey mouse on a petition, which photo i.d. would not address. but still -- ahhhh! >> the truth is there's
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allegedly a serious case of election fraud happening in the battleground state of michigan. there's just one problem for republican legislators worried about election fraud, thaddeus mccotter resigned from the house 34 days ago citing, quote, nightmarish circumstances. that included his re-election campaign submitting pages with invalid signatures to the michigan abort board of elections. mccotter then asked his name be removed from the ballot. and now fur of mccotter's former staffers have been charged in connection to those invalid election petitions. they are paul seawald, mary melissa turnbull and schedule ler lori ann obrady. 11 felony charges went to deputy
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district director don yaoshung. they include election law forgery and conspiracy charges. unless you happen to be mr. mccotter, one of his loved ones or criminally charged former staffers, the nine-page report is an amazing read. some highlights, quote, employees of michigan's bureau of elections concluded that the filing contained numerous duplicate and triplicate copies of election sheets. the investigation conducted revealed that petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral come pass. staffers functioned with the arrogant attitude that the rules simply did not apply to them. michigan's attorney general is calling the four the mccotter crew. and even though thaddeus mccotter has not been charged with any crime, the republican attorney general saved his harshest criticism for the
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disgraced congressman. >> any position of republican trust, the elected official has a duty to be engaged and involved and mind the store. here, former congressman mccotter was a sleep at the switch. this brazen attitude of indifference of public service is disgraceful. >> mccotter responded with a statement this afternoon, i thank the attorney general and his office for their earnest, thorough work on this investigation which i requested and their subsequent report. so as it turns out, michigan anyway, the trick to stopping election fraud isn't voter role purges or voter i.d. laws, it's governor bureaucrats in the attorney general's office doing their jobs well. up next, the guy with the mohawk in his first live tv interview. [ thunk ]
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>> all 13 flight controller, listen up. give me a go, no-go for long. >> boouser? >> go. >> we're go. >> surgeon? >> go flight. >> ecom? >> we're go. >> go. >> control? >> go flight. >> procedures. >> go. >> fao? >> we are go. >> network. >> go. >> recovery. >> we're go, flight. >> houston, we are go for launch. >> seriously, if that does not give you goose bumps i don't know what's wrong with you. that's ed harris playing gene krantz in "apolo 13." tonight, sporting a mohawk with
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stars, bob was the flight director who helped land the $2.5 billion rover on mars on monday. a frenzy broke out with a tumbler page, tens more follows added to his facebook account. marry me. you're my ideal man, i.e. smarter than me with better hair. congratulations. >> thank you so much. it's a pleasure to be here. >> the look you're sporting tonight as swag, as i was expecting you would have. you have more swag than almost anyone i know at nasa. my question to you about -- we got the first color photo from mars today, which is just a remarkable image. it looks like it's taken from a desert in california. what was it -- we saw you crying in the b roll we just showed. what did it feel like when you actually pulled it off this week. something is, from what i've been reading, so fantastically
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complex, i can't believe it actually worked. >> it was an incredible experience. obviously the team has put years of their lives into this moment. and we saw there was an outpouring of years of hard work finally paying off. friends and families that have made sacrifices to work those long hours. then you saw us crying and hugging. and a lot of emotions coming out there. >> you tweeted today, nasa inside secret, we actually practice those high fives. please tell me that's actually true. >> no, we actually have team practices. there's two of us. we go out for high fives. and a third guy actually guides both of our hands. >> the mission of nasa seemed a little indeterminant for a period, as there was obviously trem setbacks and tragedies with the shuttle program.
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once the shuttle program was tapered off, the question is what exactly is nasa's role. we're not going to land on the moon. we're not using the shuttle to do a lot of space stationy type of stuff. the curiosity project seems to me for the first time in a while, it felt like space exploration was in the public consciousness again for a genuine and exciting fashion. do you feel there's a real scientific project and justification going forward? >> absolutely. all of us think this is an incredible project. this technology which seems so crazy and actually worked fl ee flawlessly is the what we see for future mars missions. i think the science we're going to get out of it is i amazing. the pictures are beautiful, but one of the cool things is that this rover carries instruments onboard that are really a lot more like what geologists on
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earth would have. 16 times the mass of instruments of the previous rovers. it's going to be absolutely amazing for the upcoming years. >> my final question for this, your job seems awesome. and you also seem -- you seem pretty young. my question is, how do you end up doing your job? if someone is watching this and you're 13 years old or 8 years oled and you love space, how do you become the next boba bobak ferdowsi? >> i started out in a small role on this project. but i went to undergraduate and graduate for aerospace then started working there, small roles, worked my way up, did some testing. finally when operations came around, they gave me a chance to be a flight director. and yeah, it's an incredibly rewarding expeerps. i think what you've got to do is find what you love. and of course, i think the biggest part for us was the team bonding experience. so they put their faith in me, i put my faith in them. and, you know, together we were able to put a rover on