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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 15, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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balance himself out with florida senator marco rubio or new mexico governor, susanna martinez. he did not choose one of the party's up and coming latinos, or someone who's more moderate on immigration. he picked one of the congressmen from the republican congress who now it's time for "the last word now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. and on this day in 2012,
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american politics came to this. the most important political interview of the day was done on "entertainment tonight." >> the romney campaign is going on offense now, on medicare. >> the president's cuts -- >> $716 billion. >> $716 billion -- >> from the medicare program to pay for obama care. >> they leave out the fact that they're for the same cuts. >> the campaign of big ideas has degenerated into sniping attacks. >> the issue of tax returns. >> tax return issue. >> the more we release, the more we get attacked. >> ann romney -- >> there's going to be no more tax releases. >> no more tax releases, period. will that put an end to it? >> john kerry never released the returns of his wife. >> you said something i didn't say. now, shove it. >> mr. president, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to chicago. >> here we go again. >> this is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. >> getting downright nasty. >> nastiness. >> the strategy of demonization. >> his campaign and his
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surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations. >> is this the same mitt romney who eviscerated his primary opponents? >> people don't like whiners in campaigns. >> the president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred. >> people don't like whiners in campaign. >> this ain't the bean bag. >> it's not full outrage. it feels like there's true hatred. >> could escalate into nuclear and war. >> chicago and boston, they're going to have a war. >> reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency. >> heated rhetoric. >> much tougher rhetoric. >> this is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. >> it's really escalating. >> boy, that escalated quickly. i mean, that really got out of hand fast. ♪ with 83 days until the presidential election, mitt romney's new campaign strategy is to launch personal attacks on president obama to distance himself from his new vice presidential candidate's budget
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plan. president obama responded to romney's attacks today in iowa when he sat for an interview with -- come on, who else -- it's iowa, it's an important state, an important day in the presidential election, nancy o'dell of "entertainment tonight". >> romney just accused you of running a a campaign of hate and anger. how do you react to that? how do you respond to that? >> well, nancy, you've been on the campaign trail with me for a day and a half, and this is april typical of what we do. we're going around the country, talking about, how do we put people back to work or how do we lower our debt in a responsible way, and i don't think you or anybody who's been watching me campaign would suggest that in any way, you know, we have, you know, tried to divide the country. we've always tried to bring the country together. >> okay. full disclosure. i've never done a day and a half on the campaign trail with
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president obama, so nancy odell is way ahead of me in terms of campaign coverage out there in the field. today, mitt romney, who has the worst mid-summer personal favorability rating of any presidential nominee since walter mondale, who, by the way, lost 49 states, mitt romney said this. >> the president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred. if you look at the ads that have been described and the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity, and so forth, it's designed to bring a sense of elm jealousy and anger. >> but mitt romney had a whole different take on the whole negative ad thing during the republican primary. >> we aren't running any negative ads at that point, but we may. this is, after all, politics. there's no whining in politics. >> today, mitt romney continued
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to whine and continued to distance himself from paul ryan's budget plan. >> are you running on his budget or your budget? >> well, my budget, of course. i'm the one running for president. >> can you tell us, then, how your budget is different, governor? >> reporter: well, we're very much on the same page. i get us to a balanced budget faster than the plan he originally put forward. my tax rate is 28%, that's my highest. his is 25. there are some differences, but they're very similar. >> the president took some shots at the romney/ryan plan today in iowa. >> they have been the trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before. and guess what? it didn't work then, it won't work now. it's not a plan to create jobs. it's not a plan to reduce the deficit. it's not a plan to move the economy forward. and, you know, secretly, i think they know this. i think they know their plan's not very popular.
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you can tell that, because they're being pretty dishonest about my plan. >> paul ryan has not increased mitt romney's poll numbers, according to the gallup daily tracking. in the four days prior to mitt romney's vp announcement, romney polled at 46%, president obama at 45%. in the four days after the vp announcement, mitt romney pulled at a statistically insignificant one point higher. that's in the margin of error, and the president remained at 45%. joining me now, msnbc's joy reid and richard wolffe, who i believe has spent more than a day and a half. you're ahead of nancy -- >> two and a half days. >> you're ahead of nancy o'dell. >> only in that regard. she beats me in the gravitas. >> richard, in the back and forth, where the dialogue is right now is not where the romney campaign expected it to be -- >> no. >> -- midweek after this vp announcement. where did they think they were going to be at this point? >> well, they thought the excitement would be
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overwhelming, that they would fire up the base to the point where they could lead this conversation, and it would be a conversation connecting deficit cutting with creating jobs. and that's obviously not where we're at. because we've never got beyond the scary parts of the ryan budget, and the fact that actually it doesn't really balance the budget, at least not for 30 years or more. so there's a problem here with choosing someone who isn't clearly ready to step up to the number one job. that's really the only test for a vp pick. can you imagine them as president? and instead, you get this back and the forth. you know, it's not enough just to say the other side is being negative. if you want to unite the country, you've got to do something that hope and change stuff. so mitt romney seems congenitally incapable of inspiring people. >> joy, i get the feeling that theyust expected rave reviews from conservatives, and republicans, anyway, on the romney -- on the ryan pick. and that they would then go in to carefully selected interviews, fox news, places like that, where it would just be very easy.
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they clearly did not anticipate the degree of difficulty in dealing with the difference between the ryan plan, addition one, ryan plan, addition two, which a lot of people don't even know happened, and then romney plan whatever that is. >> right. and i think they also got taken in just a little bit by kind of the beltway media's kind of enchantment with paul ryan. >> yes. >> and paul ryan gets called serious, and he's so thoughtful. and i think they might have thought that the political press would give them more of a break than they've gotten. and i don't understand how they possibly underestimated the power of the medicare argument, but they clearly did. they clearly weren't ready for the blowback and the immediate questions and demands for mitt romney to explain to the american people, if there are any differences between ryan's plan to turn medicare into a voucher program and romney's. >> richard, the thought was, in the romney campaign, who better to handle discussion of the ryan plan than paul ryan. >> right.
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>> it turns out, there wouldn't have been as much discussion of the ryan plan if you picked portman or pawlenty or someone else who wasn't associated with it. >> right. i do think you've got to ask yourself, they knew all of this, right? they knew they'd be discussing the ryan budget, but they obviously thought the risks were worth it. why would you take on that risk if you were in a position of strength? they're looking at the same research that everyone else is. they're look at the dramatic decline in romney's favorability rating, the lack of confidence in him as a leader, and they needed to change the dynamic. really, this is a redux of the sarah palin pick. and that didn't work then, it's not working now. but, of course, they thought they could avoid the sarah palin trap, because here was someone who could do the policy wonkish stuff that the think tanks love. which is where paul ryan came from. that's not going to change the dynamic. you've got to win this, in your own right, as the top of the ticket, and this doesn't answer the questions about mitt romney. what is his budget? where are his tax returns? there's still this giant
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question mark that hangs over all of these questions, where he says, oh, it's not my -- it's not his budget and i'm not going to tell you what the answer is. you're just going to have to figure it out. that's just not good enough. >> let's listen to the way that joe biden handled the day after this thing he said yesterday, where he used the notion that the romney people wanted to put you back in chains. he went off-script, ad libbed a little something. everyone said, hey, wait, that rhetoric's going way too far. a lot of crazy, fake outrage about it. let's see how biden handled it today. >> i know i am sometimes criticized for saying exactly what i mean. it's not going to change. but let me tell you something. barack obama does exactly what he says he's going to do. you don't have to worry about barack obama changing positions midstream. >> joy, as much as biden may have misspoke when he used that
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phrase, the not backing down, the refusal of any of this crazy romney talk about apologizing and all of that stuff, i think is a message to the romney campaign, we are going to hit you as hard as we can. we may not have meant to use that word, but we're not going to back down from it. >> and i think it's a message to democrats. democrats, i think in the base, particularly, are not accustomed to democrats fighting this hard and being this kind of forthright and saying, look, we're not going to back down. we're going to play the same as the republicans do. we're not going to back down, we're not going to apologize, we're going to double down on attacking mitt romney. their job in the obama campaign is to keep mitt romney's favorables as low as they are now. and you can tell that the romney campaign's response is to try to turn around and bring barack obama's favorables -- you know, his favorables down to where mitt romney's are. so that's the game these both are playing. clearly, the obama campaign has been more successful. and i think, ironically, in part, because mitt romney was such a rough, and i have to say, nasty campaigner in the primaries. we haven't seen nice mitt romney. mitt romney played it really
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tough in the primaries, and now he's trying to say the other guy is mean and nasty? it just doesn't work. >> joy reid and richard wolffe, thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, the ryan/romney medicare mess gets messier. wendel porter will join us on that. and paul ryan has failed to drown out talk of the romney secret tax returns. we have video of ann romney's latest interview on the subject. and now we know what mrs. romney looks like when she's really angry. and in the "rewrite," more on paul ryan's recent betrayal of his former love, ayn rand. ♪ spread a little love today ♪ ♪ spread a little love my way ♪ ♪ spread a little something to remember ♪ [ female announcer ] fresh milk and real cream makes philadelphia and the moment a little richer. makes philadelphia and the moment hey america, even though slisa rinna is wearing the new depend silhouette briefs for charity
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[narrator] can't wait for the honda civic tour featuring linkin park? neither can we. go to for details. paul ryan is failing miserably at his job of diverting attention away from mitt romney's secret tax returns, which is making romney very upset. i mean, ann romney. the angry mrs. romney is coming up.
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and in the "rewrite" tonight, episode three of paul ryan's relationship and his lying about his relationship with the russian atheist philosopher who he says shaped his thinking. he's now pretending that he didn't know she was an atheist. now, i, for one, really don't think there's anything wrong with being russian or an atheist, but republicans sure do.
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humans -- even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why, at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? this week, you've been criticizing the president for cuts made to -- that the health care makes to medicare. but congressman ryan's budget makes those same cuts to medicare. how do you square that?
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>> well, first of all, congressman ryan has joined my campaign. and his campaign is my campaign now. and we're on exactly the same page. and my campaign has made it very clear, the president's cuts of $716 billion to medicare, those can cuts are going to be restored if i become president and paul ryan becomes vice president. >> that was mitt romney on cbs this morning, trying to avoid talking about his running mate's medicare plan. but as romney ryes to avoid it, speaker john boehner is embracing it. on a conference call last night, boehner encouraged house republicans to actively defend paul ryan's medicare plan, saying, "the best defense on medicare is a good offense, and paul ryan gives us the ability to play offense." today, for the first time since mitt romney chose paul ryan as his vice presidential candidate, president obama took the time to explain, piece by piece, the
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difference between his medicare plan and mitt romney's. >> my plan's already extended medicare by nearly a decade. their plan ends medicare as we know it. my plan reduces the costs of medicare by cracking down on fraud and waste and subsidies to insurance companies. their plan makes seniors pay more so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and billionaires. that's the difference between our plans on medicare. that's an example of the choice in this election, and that is why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states of america. >> joining me now, wendel potter, former executive of cigna, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, and democratic maryland congressman, chris van hollen. let's listen to paul ryan speaking tonight at his alma mater university of miami -- what is it, miami university of ohio, about medicare. let's listen to that. >> the president, i'm told, is
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talking about medicare today we want this debate. we need this debate. and we will win this debate. what i don't think he'll be telling people is that the president took $716 billion from the medicare program, he raided it to pay for obama care. >> wendel potter, what do you think paul ryan won't be telling people about the ryan medicare plan? >> well, you know, i did agree with him that we do need to have a debate about this. but we need to have a debate about what's actually in his proposal, which would be to
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privatize medicare, to hand it over to the private insurance companies, and the ceos of those companies are among the millionaires who would benefit from this. and at the expense of medicare beneficiaries, who would be seeing that more and more of the cost of health care would be shifted to them. and that's what paul ryan will not want us to know about. >> chris van hollen, i think most people watching this show understand the difference between what president obama did in the affordable care act, in terms of trying to keep medicare more solvent and find some efficiencies in it. democrats have done that with medicare throughout the history of the program. bill clinton pulled about $200 billion in savings out of medicare in his very first year in office, so the democrats know how to do this. but your challenge, politically, is explaining to voters who say to you, wait a minute, what are you complaining about paul ryan and romney for? they say president obama cut $700 billion from medicare. what is your clear, quick,
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effective political response to that in town halls? >> well, the quick and effective response is, we made savings in medicare by cutting overpayments to insurance companies. the ryan/romney plan saves -- makes cuts to medicare by cutting medicare beneficiaries, some immediately. so for -- in the immediate term, if you have high prescription drug costs, you will see your costs rise. not ten years from now, now. if you get preventative health care services under medicare, under the romney/ryan plan, you will see your costs rise now. and as wendell said, when they phase in this new plan, the romney/ryan approach doesn't reduce costs to the program overall, as the president's plan does. the president does it, as i said, by cutting back on overpayments to insurance companies. romney/ryan does it be by simply transferring those costs on to seniors and in doing so, they give seniors a much-worse deal
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than members of congress give themselves under the members of congress insurance plan, pause members of congress have a plan that makes sure that as health care costs go up, they continue to get an equal proportion of support. it's a fixed percentage, whereas the romney/ryan plan for seniors, actually saves medicare money by making sure that the voucher that seniors get does not keep pace with the rising costs. so, under their plan, seniors have to eat that cost while members of congress are protected. and i think when you boil it down in that personal way, that what they're offering to seniors is something that they don't have for themselves, and that they've got a much better plan, i do think that can cuts to the quick. >> wendell potter, you've always been great about showing us exactly how to health insurance companies you used to work for benefit from different kinds of legislation in their area. what would they like about the paul ryan plan?
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>> well, they would like it that they would have this the guaranteed stream of income, that they don't have now. it would be billions of dollars that would go straight to them, because the way the ryan plan is structured, those premium support payments would go straight to the insurance companies. and also, they, as the congressman said, the premium support would not keep up with inflation and with medical inflation. so people would be paying a lot more out of their own pockets, which is a continuation of what insurance companies are having us -- we're experiencing in the private market. they're shifting more and more of the cost of care to us. keep in mind that medicare beneficiaries only make $22,800 a year. they can't afford that. >> yeah, and the increase costs i've seen are about $6,500 a year of a typical beneficiary. quickl congressman, before we go. >> well, that's right, and of course they want to provide tax breaks for people like mitt romney and off-load additional costs on seniors in medicare. but there's another really important point where the insurance companies benefit.
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when we reduce the payments to the private insurance companies in medicare, that reduces the cost to the overall program and saves seniors money. romney wants to put those overpayments back in. medicare beneficiaries have to share in the cost, through premiums and co-pays, so he's essentially saying seniors should pay higher premiums to restore the overpayments to private insurance companies and medicare. and no one has really talked about this issue. another immediate effect, about $300 on average, per year, if you do the romney approach. >> thanks for pointing that one out, congressman. congressman chris van hollen and wendell potter, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, ann romney's flash of anger at nbc's natalie morales for daring to ask her about the romney secret tax returns. it only makes you wonder, once again, what the romneys must be hiding in those tax returns. and i think it could be, it really could be, a felony.
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seriously. and in the "rewrite" tonight, paul ryan, ayn rand, and johnny carson. we'll show you the video paul ryan's former love, ayn rand, when she did "the tonight show" with johnny, when she did it right here in this build at 30 rock. ♪
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imagine you with less pain. cymbalta can help. go to to learn about a free trial offer. in the spotlight tonight, the angry mrs. romney. paul ryan continues to fail totally at his primary job of making journalists forget about mitt romney's secret tax returns. natalie morales did not forget about the tax returns when she sat down with ann romney in an
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interview for "rock center" with brian williams that will air tomorrow night. and mrs. romney didn't like that one bit. >> i know it's not a question that is welcomed, but must be asked, because a lot of people still are asking, why not be transparent and release more than the 2010 and the estimates for 2011 -- >> have you seen how we're attacked? have you seen what's happened? >> it's been in the press quite a bit. now, are you angry it's been in the press? should you not be questioned about your finances? >> we have been very transparent to what's legally required of us, but the more we release, the more we get attacked. the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. and so we have done what's legally required and there's going to be no more -- there's going to be no more tax releases given. and there's a reason for that. and that's because of how -- what happens as soon as we release anything. mitt's financial disclosures,
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when he was governor, are huge. if people want to really look and see, any question they have. the other thing they have to understand is that mitt is as honest -- his integrity is just golden. >> well, no, mrs. romney. that's the problem. his integrity is not just golden. he is not honest. it is hard to think of a nominee for president who has done more public lying on his way to that nomination than mitt romney. he lies about himself, he lies about what he has said. he lies about positions he has taken, and then contradicted. he lies about his opponents. he has lied relentlessly about the president. he has lied about what the president has said, and so he has left america with absolutely no reason to think that lying about his money and lying about his taxes and even lying to the internal revenue service about his money is somehow beneath mitt romney.
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the angry mrs. romney wasn't finished. >> we pay our taxes. >> notice, and this is very important, notice that she said, "we pay our taxes." she did not say, we pay our income taxes, our federal income taxes. of course they pay property taxes on their mansions. of course they pay sales taxes on their cars. of course she pays gasoline taxes when she fills up her cadillacs with with gas. what we don't know is whether mr. and mrs. romney pay any income taxes at all. senator harry reid says he has reason to believe that they haven't paid income taxes for ten years. mitt romney, like his wife, is very careful to never, ever, ever use the phrase, "income taxes" when he talks about them paying taxes. the romneys are so careful not
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to use the phrase "income taxes," so lawyerly coached on that, that they have now entered a zone of reasonable suspicion, that their accounting shenanigans have really left them paying nothing in federal income taxes, nothing in the tax returns that mrs. romney just angrily promised to continue to hide. >> we pay our taxes. we are absolutely -- beyond paying our taxes, we also give 10% of our income to charity. >> i'm sorry, but i don't believe you, mrs. romney. i don't believe you give 10% of your income to charity. what income? your gross income? your net income? as defined by you or mitt or your adjusted gross income? i don't believe you give 10% of your income to charity. and the only way you can prove you give 10% of your income to charity is by releasing your tax returns.
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i know that the mormon church expects you to give 10% of your income, but i have no reason to believe that you do. and how embarrassing would it be for you and mitt to release tax returns that revealed that you did not consistently keep your promise to the mormon church of donating 10% of your income. is that one of the pieces of ammunition that you're so afraid that we will get if you release your secret tax returns? >> the only reason we don't disclose anymore is, you know, we'd just become a bigger target. >> so it's because you'll just continue to face more questions? >> that -- well, it will just give them more ammunition. >> ammunition. ann romney is saying right there that she knows that there are things in the romney's tax returns that are ammunition against them.
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there are things in their tax returns that are bad, that are politically disastrous, that america will not accept as reasonable. she calls it ammunition. ammunition is what comes out of a smoking gun, and the romneys have decided that that smoking gun is so dangerous to them that they would rather go through another 83 days of questions about hiding their tax returns, they'd rather do that then reveal their tax returns, because of that smoking gun. they have clearly made that calculation. releasing the tax returns would be more damaging to them than hiding the tax returns and hiding the tax returns has been very, very damaging and will continue to be very damaging to them. but the romneys are absolutely resolved about this. >> there's going to be no more tax releases given. >> that's it. that's final. the romneys are spoken. it continues to be perfectly
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reasonable and becomes increasingly reasonable to now suspect that the romney tax returns contain the political disaster, the political ammunition of a tax felony in them. he is one of the precious few americans who hold swiss bank accounts and other foreign bank accounts. so many of them were violating the law by not reporting those bank accounts that the government, the irs, gave up and they came up with a special amnesty program to allow them to finally get straight with the government and report those accounts that they were illegally hiding for years without being subject to felony charges. they created a tax amnesty program for people like mitt romney with accounts like mitt romney mitt romney is exactly the kind of person, exactly the kind of foreign bank account manipulator, exactly the kind of
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tax filer who has taken advantage of that amnesty program and avoided felony charges. that process, if he did that, would show up on precisely the tax returns he is hiding, the years of tax returns that he is hiding would have that amnesty in there, if he used that amnesty to avoid felony charges. it would show him, in effect, confessing to a felony and then being granted amnesty for that felony. mitt romney's candidacy could not survive the revelation of that tax felony, not for one day. he would be denied the nomination at the convention if he released tax returns now showing us such a felony. the romneys know that. the romneys are absolutely right to hide their tax returns, if there is a felony that would be revealed in those tax returns. even one they got amnesty for. and they may be right politically to hide those tax returns if harry reid is right, and they have paid zero in
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federal income tax for ten years. if what ann romney calls the ammunition in their tax returns is that bad, then they are politically, absolutely right that they must, they must continue to hide those tax returns in order to continue the viability of their presidential campaign. >> there's nothing we're hiding. you know, we've had a blind trust for how many years. we don't even know what's in there. it's been managed by a blind trust since before mitt was governor. >> oh, mrs. romney. you remember what mitt taught you about blind trusts, don't you? >> the blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will, which is to say, you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. you give a blind trust rules. >> joining me now is david cay johnston, pulitzer prize-winning reporter, a tax writer for syracuse. david, on the blind trust, those
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are to my eye the phoneyest things that politicians ever try to hide behind. >> they are. and notice how she slips off the question of the tax returns by going to the blind trust. but what i see in this, lawrence, is a preemptive defense. if those tax returns come out, the return -- the response you're going to get from the romneys is, the blind trust did it. we department do it, the blind trust did it. >> ah, i see how they would rye to play that. i don't think it would work, david. i believe now that we're at the point in this story where the romneys know there is something in those tax returns that is so politically explosive, they couldn't survive it. i mean, they take political hits. they know how to take political hits. they've made a calculation. those tax returns will destroy us. >> yes. i agree with you about that. i think that's very clear. i'm also struck by ann romney's taking the position that we have met the minimum standard. when i was a mormon president, i taught doctrine.
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he who must be commanded in all things a slothful and a not wise servant. and i was instructed to teach that that applied to every aspect of your life. you were not to do the minimum, you were to do the right. you were to choose the right. in fact, there's a mormon song for little children, "choose the right." well, this is not choosing the right, by any stretch of the imagination. >> and let me just say, i see no evidence so far in anything that the romneys have done with their tax returns that would in any way be a problem for them legally or otherwise, if they were not involved in a presidential campaign. if they were not involved in a political campaign. the point you were just making, david, is that you live to a totally different standard there. if he were just a regular businessman, took advantage of the amnesty, as so many of them have done with their kind of money, that would be no big deal. the guy's running for president. that changes thing. >> that's right. in the case of timothy geithner, all he had to do was pay the penalties as well as the taxes and interest when he cheated,
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and in my view, he had met the standard of the law. in this case, the romneys, if he were not involved in running for office, you get an amnesty program and take advantage of it. but if that is what they did, yeah, that's the end of nip candidacy. >> david cay johnston, thank you very much for joining me tonight. coming up in the "rewrite," the next episode in the bad romance between paul ryan and ayn rand. [ male announcer ] aggressive styling. a more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine. and a completely redesigned interior. the 2012 c-class with over 2,000 refinements. it's amazing...inside and out. ♪ join mercedes-benz usa on facebook for the best summer sweepstakes.
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you know who would not be surprised by paul ryan's betrayal of ayn rand? ayn rand. johnny carson and ayn rand are next in the "rewrite." vehio re.
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what's unique about what's happening today in government, in the world, in america, it's as if we're living in an ayn rand novel right now. if ayn rand were here today, i think she would do a great job in showing us just how wrong what government is doing is. not the quantitative analysis, not the numbers, but the morality of what is wrong with what government is doing today. >> well, that was then, just a few years ago. in tonight's "rewrite," episode three of paul ryan's relationship and lies about his relationship with that woman who is not his wife. in april, we showed you how paul ryan instantly turned against ayn rand when catholics united
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issued a statement questioning, quote, why ryan has a self-professed catholic would put the teachings of ultracapitalist ayn rand, of who she has spoken glowingly, before the teachings of jesus and the church. that's when paul ryan, who had made reading ayn rand's books mandatory for his staff, that's when he started saying, quote, i reject her philosophy, it's an atheist philosophy. here's how he put it to brit hume yesterday on fox news. >> it's something i completely disagree with. it's an atheistic philosophy. >> here's what he used to say about his hero. >> i grew up on ayn rand. that's what i tell people. i -- you know, everybody does their soul searching in trying to find out who they are and what they believe, and you learn about yourself. i grew up reading ayn rand and it taught me quite a bit about who i am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. the reason i got involved in public service, by and large, if i had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be ayn rand.
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>> in 1967, when late-night tv truly was great, the greatest of them all, johnny carson, dropped the jokes one night and introduced ayn rand to america. johnny did his show in those days in a studio just three floors above me, above where i'm sitting right now. it's where are jimmy fallon does his show now. >> welcome, please, miss ayn rand. [ applause ] >> the basic principle of objectivism is that man must be guided exclusively by reason. reason is the fact that identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. that's the formal definition. that reason is man's only tool of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his only guide to the choice of valors. >> all of rand's writings, all of her books were very clear on this.
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reason is the only guide to values. religion should have no role in forming values in ayn rand's world. paul ryan now claims he had no idea he was following the teachings of an atheist, and that her philosophy was purely atheistic. he is, of course, lying about that. but since you can't be a good republican and an atheist, ryan is now locked into that lie. johnny carson certainly understood what ayn rand was saying. >> it's a belief, which you do not believe in, i assume, the existence of a supreme being or god or creator? >> no, i do not. >> the discussion with johnny went on for half an hour, and johnny's sidekick, ed mcmahon, a distinguished graduate of catholic university, chimed in with this. >> in our culture, it seems that everything springs from family relationship, the little tiny individual groups of husband, wife, child, or whatever.
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how does that grouping fit in with your philosophy? in other words, how do you share -- >> optionally. i don't think that family is the necessary unit of society. >> so doctrinaire paul ryan has shaped his thinking, based his career on a russian atheist writer who says she doesn't think the family is a necessary unit of society. imagine! imagine if barack obama had been a devoted follower of a russian atheist who insists that the family unit is unnecessary. imagine what mitt romney would be saying about that foreign philosophy. imagine what the fox news players would be saying. fox news will never ever, ever, ever let fox news viewers see paul ryan's favorite philosopher saying what she just said. how disappointed would ayn rand be in her formerly devoted public disciple paul ryan?
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well, she wouldn't miss his devotion very much. because his recent betrayal just wouldn't surprise her. because paul ryan was never true to rand's philosophy. right-wing hero ayn rand couldn't stand ronald reagan. she urged people not to vote for ronald reagan and insisted that reagan clearly did not believe in freedom and respect for the rights of the individual, because among many other reasons, reagan opposed the right to choose abortion. that's right, paul ryan, a republican anti-abortion fanatic, has until very recently been publicly proclaiming his philosophical hero to be a woman who was a relentless champion of a woman's right to choose.
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and ryan's pro-war stance in the congress on every issue and every funding issue involving the iraq war and the afghanistan war would have disappointed rand too. here she is, telling johnny her opinion of the american war of choice at that time. >> but i am against the war in vietnam, because it is a useless and senseless war, and it does not serve any national interest. >> ayn rand was a much clearer and much more consistent thinker than paul ryan could ever be. and she would have seen through paul ryan's phony devotion to her long before catholics united and vice presidential politics made him turn on her. ayn rand was smart enough to know that paul ryan used her. used her to appeal to wacky conservatives who oppose every abortion and support every war, and then delude themselves into thinking they are devoted followers of ayn rand, sighting ayn rand was the right wing's cheap way to sound intellectual. trying to sound like a thinking
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conservative. ryan was using rand to label himself that way. paul ryan couldn't have disappointed ayn rand, because she would have always known he was just using her, and despite all those pretty words he said about her for years and years, she knew he never really loved her. [ female announcer ] to get a professional cleansing system you could spend as much as $200. olay says challenge that with an instrument that cleanses as effectively as what's sold by skin professionals for a whole lot less. olay pro x advanced cleansing system. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications,
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just two hours after paul ryan was named the republican vice presidential nominee, the national republican congressional committee sent out a directive, advising candidates on how to address ryan's budget plan for medicare in their own campaigns. "do not say entitlement reform, privatization, every option is on the table, the national republican congressional committee said in an e-mail memo. do say strengthen, secure, save, preserve, protect. predictably, the nrcc wrote,
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democrats are already blasting mitt romney's selection of congressman paul ryan, as his vice presidential running mate. expect your boss to get questions from reporters on how this selection of a fellow house member impacts your race." joining me now, sam stein, political editor and white house correspondent for the "huffington post." sam, republicans are running away from the ryan thing everywhere. i want to run a quick ad from the montana senate race. this is the republican ad, danny reberg's republican add up there. let's listen. >> reberg refused to support a budget plan that could harm the medicare plan that so many of montana's seniors rely on. in a very partisan town, denny rehberg stands out and that's good for montana. >> that's about as hard as you can run away from your party. >> yes. i think they realize the toxicity of this and don't want to be attached to anything that has a voucherized system. and then to attack obama. you see adds from a conservative health care organization saying it was actually obama that
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changed and ended medicare as we know it. so there's a two-pronged attack they're using. one is to run away and the other is to accuse obama of doing exactly what they've done. >> and the house has actually, obviously, taken an organized response to it. what about on the senate side. how much worry is there on the senate side for republican candidates? >> well, i think it's a worry across the board to the extent that democrats can nationalize this. i talked to steve israel, the democratic campaign chair for house races, and he says, listen, by choosing paul ryan, you can nationalize the issue, you can make it a senate and a house thing. we think we can run on that. i think it applies across the board. obviously, in certain states, it's more than others. in florida, it's going to have a big impact. even in montana and ohio, it had a big impact. >> crazy linda mcmahon, in connecticut, who would normally support anything crazy, has said linda mcmahon would never support a budget that cuts medicare. she's even running away from this. >> it's easier to say what you won't do than what you will do. and i think in this case, paul ryan forced a lot of people on the record. there's only ten house