tv The Last Word MSNBC August 16, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
his running mate's policies would make it so he would pay less than 1% taxes in the year that he has released. the last time he and eric fernstrom were up against a wall like this and he said to trust him, it turns out he was not telling the truth. do you trust him? do you trust him enough to be comfortable with him as president of the united states? that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow night. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> in the case of the united states of america versus mitt romney and his secret tax returns, the prosecution got in exactly one question today, and mitt romney made the mistake of answering it. >> day six of a political fight now dominated by one issue. >> the president, i'm told, is talking about medicare today. >> medicare.
>> medicare. >> medicare. >> they want to turn medicare into a voucher program. >> we want this debate. >> they're plan is to end medicare as we know it. >> we need this debate. he will win this debate. >> team romney is embarking on a new strategy. >> mitt romney is playing professor romney on medicare. >> this white board. >> a white board. >> white board medicare aptics. >> the plan stays the same. >> i'm good. >> he's bad. >> slash and burn. >> this is what an angry and desperate campaign looks like. >> nastier than any other campaign. >> take your campaign, division, anger and hate back to chicago. >> if you're still fired up, we will win this election. >> the president has personal likability. >> i don't think there's a hateful bone in this president's body. >> over the next three months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen. >> people still don't know what
mitt romney is or what he stands for. >> we all know who my husband is, don't we? and we all know what he stands for. >> paul ryan once again today failed to completely distract media attention away from mitt romney's secret tax returns, thanks to paul ryan's plan to end medicare. mitt romney started the day on defense, trying to convince america that paul ryan is not medicare's worst enemy and romney is not medicare's second worst enemy. romney got graphic in south carolina about medicare. >> this is a nice spot. i know there's effort by some people to bring as much confusion to the topic of medicare as possible. i prepared a small chart here that will describe differences
in our respective plans for medicare. it gives all of the next generation retirees the option of having either standard care, a fee for service-type medicare or a private medicare plan. they get their choice. >> romney never used the word voucher, but his desperate medicare defense turned out to be just a warm-up to the most important moment in the presidential campaign today when a reporter asked hem about his secret tax returns. >> michael finnegan of the "los angeles times" began his tax question to romney by reminding him of this moment. >> was there ever any year you maid lower than 13%? >> i haven't calculated that. i will go back and look. >> michael finnegan noted that romney has since then refused to answer the question whether he's paid less than 14% in income taxes. >> when you say i've refused to
answer the question since then, it hasn't been asked since then. >> because michael finnegan was not miked, you can not hear him. so now i'll read word for word what michael finnegan actually said. romney tried to evade the question and how michael finnegan actually tricked romney into actually asking the question. question, why shouldn't voters know what you yourself paid, in particularly in 2008 and 2009 the when many high-income americans had capital losses which were enough to bring their taxes to zero. >> i have described my view on -- >> question, many high-earning americans bring tear tax rates to zero. so i'm wondering why voters shouldn't know what your tax rates were in those years. >> you know, i just have to say,
given the challenges that american faces, 23 million people out of work, iran about to become nuclear, 1 out of 6 americans in poverty, the fascination with taxes i paid i find to be very small minded compared to the broad issues we faced. but i did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten year, i never paidless than 13%. i think the most recent year was 13.6%. i paid taxes every single year. harry reid's charge is totally false. i'm sure waiting for harry to put up who told him what they said he told him. every year i paid at least 13%. and if you add the amount that goes to charity, the number gets well over 20%. >> no, no. you don't get to add the amount you give to charity to the amount you give in taxes. none of us get to do that.
in fact, the amount we get to give to charity reduces how much we pay in income taxes. if the romneys are intent on never releasing their tax returns as mrs. romney angrily demonstrated here last night, then it's a big strategic mistake to give any answers to questions about what is in those tax returns. and mitt, if you're going to stumble, you've got to stone wall. you can't open the door just a little bit and say i've never paid less than 13%. that's going to make more questions come out about the details in your secret tax returns. you don't have to go all the way back to nixon to learn how to stone wall with the press when you have something big to hide like your tax returns. just request the angry mrs. romney how to do it. >> i know it's not a question that is welcomed but must be asked because a lot of people are asking, why not be
transparent and release more than 2010 and the estimates for 2011. >> have you seen how we're attacked? >> it's been in the press quite a bit. are you angry that 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 and questioned and pushed. so wre have done what's legally required and there's going to be no more tax releases given. >> it's because you'll continue to face more questions? >> it will just give them more ammunition. >> i know it ain't pretty, mitt, but that's how you stone wall. and yes, she shouldn't have used the word ammunition since that's what comes out of smoking guns and your tax returns really are the beg smoking guns of this campaign, but she didn't make the stupid amateur mistake you did by mentioning harry reid's accusation that you've paid no
income taxes at all for many years. at least ann had the good sense not to remind people about that. harry reid issued this statement today after mitt romney's unprovable claim that even if true is embarrassing enough that he hasn't paid less than 13% in income taxes in the last ten years. >> we'll believe it when we see it. until mitt romney releases his tax returns, americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. romney seems to think he play s by a different set of rules than every other president in the last 30 years, a standard set by mitt romney's father. romn the obama campaign said this -- we have reasons to doubt his claim. our question to him is prove it. he's still asking the american people to trust him.
however, given mitt romney's secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date, and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him at his word. the inconsistencies the obama campaign is talking about there is that in the one partial -- and it's only a partial romney tax return that we have seen -- that revealed $100 million trust, nine overseas holdings and 12 partnership interests, including the swiss bank account that were never reported on any of the other financial disclosure forms that romney had to submit as a two-time presidential candidate and as gofr nor governor of massachusetts. >> i want to go to a key word that i brought up last night in this discussion. and that is income. income taxes.
neither mr. nor mrs. romney ever used the phase income taxes when they talk about paying their taxes. so yeah, they paid sales taxes on the cadillacs. they're carefully avoiding that word, income taxes. >> it jumps out at you. they don't qualify it as income taxes. it leaves them the wiggle room to deny the charge and say we paid because obviously, if you take people who have a lot of money and start adding in state tax and sales tax, lord knows how much sales tax and property taxes you pay, you can start to get the number up higher and higher. but it's so remarkable. we're at the point, are we supposed to stand up and applaud 13%? e oh, my god, thank the lord good sir that you have paid 13% over the last ten years. that's a remarkably, remarkably low number. he's saying it casually. don't worry, i'm paying above
13%. >> and i love the new part of the talking point is legal. we did it legal. nobody is talking about whether or not it was illegal, necessarily. >> i am. i strongly suspect there's a tax felony in his tax returns. he did not disclose -- the one thing he did not disclose with the return he did disclose was the document about reporting foreign accounts. he specifically withheld that. that is the area in which he is at this point, i think it's fair, not to completely assume, but very strongly suspect that he is susceptible to a federal felony charge on not having reported his foreign accounts, and then he sought and obtained an amnesty, which these returns would show. both most people with his kinds of accounts were lying about them to the government. and the irs had virtually given up on them. >> now if you saw it, you wouldn't like it, but it's technically legal. >> he legally sought an amnesty
for criminals like him that was set up specifically for tax criminals like him. >> what this speaks to, i like getting into the weeds of policy generally, and even i find myself really suffering through tax law. i mean, it is an incredibly ar cain area of law on purpose. that complexity benefits the people who have the most money and the people who have the most resources to use it. and what you're seeing here is that the window this gives you on the tax returns of the top filers is an extremely ugly picture. and whether or not there's things that are legal, illegal, whether he sot the amnesty or not, they know full well, they want to say this is a personal attack on me. no, no, no, no. this is a symbol of how the system currently works. >> but that's also part of what i find so outrageous. you know, michael finnegan asked him a very question. you see what everybody else's tax rates are. >> that's so small mind.
it's small minded? how dare you to say that something that 63% of the american people say you should show your tax rates and your tax records are being small minded? it's not small minded. it's a fair question. >> and his father didn't think it was small minded. is it small minded to take a $77,000 tax deduction for your dancing horse. they couldn't afford to get a horse into the olympics without the tax deduction? >> i can't come up with the proper characterization for the existence of the dressage. the whole story -- if you were going to have say let's come up request the worst character, you would come up with a dancing horse that's a tax writeoff. >> you have until saturday morning to come up with that. thank you very much for joining us. coming up, paul ryan's first
week on the vice presidential campaign trail could not have gone much worse. we'll review the ryan-romney first week failure. and in the "rewrite" rush limbaugh is attacking the presidential debate moderators before they've asked a single question. he's trying to force them to go easy on mitt romney, and he's actually using a strategy that has worked before. 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. [ male announcer ] to hold a patent that has changed the modern world...
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paul ryan has done everything he can to make the gender gap in polling even worse for mitt romney. coming up, how paul ryan will lose more women voters for the romney-ryan ticket. and in the rewrite tonight, the presidential debates. rush limbaugh thinks he knows how to force the debate moderators to go easy on romney and be tough on president obama. t'mo butul gi twrgirls.
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calling on women to tell mitt romney and paul ryan we won't go back. in a 2010 interview with "the weekly standards" paul ryan said, i'm as pro life as a person gets. paul ryan voted 59 times against women's reproductive rights. the national right to life committee gave paul ryan 100% pro life record. he co-sponsored the sanctity of human right act that would give legal rights to fertilized eggs. not only would that pave the way to banning abortions and some forms of birth control, but it could also outlaw in vitro fertilization, a process used by at least three of mitt romney's own children to deliver him grandchildren. paul ryan also voted to defund planned parenthood. paul ryan's signature budget
would cut child care and related assistance for the working mothers of 4 million children, and he voted against the first bill president obama signed into law, the lily ledbetter act, giving women more rights to sue their em pliers for gender discrimination. did it surprise you, mitt romney, showing a very big gender go ahead .with the women's vote in favor of president obama that he would choose someone so far to his right on all of these issues? >> i was shocked. i could not believe that he chose paul ryan, simply because they're having a hard time now getting on the same page. mitt romney has to point out at the media, well, i'm the one
running for president. they can't agree on the plan. they get on the air, one-on-one station, one on another and different question. they can't even get on the same page. but paul ryan is very pleased with himself that he voted against the lily ledbetter fair pay act. that's for families. that's voting against american families, and american families the right to get what they're legally earning and entitled to under the law. and he's also going to do away with medicare, social security, and that is two of the main items that i depend on. because i lost my case. i have to have my medicare just like it is. i need my social security each month. when that check comes in, and i'm the tip of the iceberg, lawrence. there's millions of families across the nation that's dependent on that.
paul ryan scares me to death. i did not like to hear him when he was just a congressman. the way he would talk about cut, cut, cut. we americans in this country in middle class and down, we will not survive. twl is no way, with these two on this ticket. mitt romney is going to cut. that's all he talks about, if he gets elected, while he'll cut out the first day and from then on. everything is cut pl and all the programs he's cutting belong to the middle class and lower americans. and this is not right. they're wanting to cut school funding, women's rights and the president is exactly right. they're taking women back to the '50s, because i go back and remember how it was. >> lily's point is crucial.
we frame these as women's issue, but fair pay for women in the work place is, as she says, is a family issue. when you have two-earner couples, male and female, the man is as interested in the female's earning power as the female is. he would love to see her come home with a stronger paycheck. >> i think the same goes for reproductive rights as well. men and women have the autonomy to make decisions about their lives. children being raised in single parent households, many headed by women. these aren't just women's issues. they're of personal autonomy and freedom. it's something paul ryan is supposedly interested in, until it comes to a woman's uterus. >> i haven't heard anything from romney about how they feel ryan helps the gender gap.
>> i think maybe they think women will find him cute. all it's really done is energized single women in particular who's going to be a crucial vote. all of people who might have sat this out are tweeting it all week. >> few both very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> coming up, a video review of the worst week so far in the romney-ryan campaign. yeah, i know. they've only had the one week. but it was a very bad week. and in the reite, how rush limbaugh is trying to tamper with the presidential debates and how you can actually make sure that he fails.
>> with paul ryan well on his way to becoming the next losing vice president who will never become president, i'm now ready to announce the front-runner for the presidential election in 2016. that's coming up. and it's hard to imagine the second week can be as bad as the first week for the romney-ryan ticket. we will have a video review of the romney ryan fumbling first week next. [ female announcer ] most whitening strips
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youthful energy from paul ryan and a republican right wing so thrilled that that thrilled would somehow miraculously become con tais you and that independent voters would suddenly start dreaming of how great this country could be again if we could have a simple minded right wing fanatic in the vice presidency. but as paul ryan approaches the fin herb line of his first week of campaigning for the vice presidency, republicans are not singing happy days are here again. in fact, they're publicly worrying that ryan might sink their chances of winning not just the white house, but also lose them seats in the senate and in the house of representatives. ryan week one has left the ryan running mates on the offensive every day, trying to convince voters that they will not destroy the most popular social program in america.
>> the next vice president of the united states, paul ryan. >> this was a man who lored the unemployment rate. >> he has a plan for medicare. >> a referendum on paul ryan's budget plan. >> well, i have my budget plan. >> if the ryan budget had come to his desk as if the, he would have signed it, of course. >> are you going to cut medicare? yes or no? >> any principles in the ryan budget or significant provisions you disagree. >> i'm sure there are places my budget is different than his, but we'll work on the same page as i said before. >> can you tell how your budget is different? >> we're very much on the same page. >> our job is to strengthen and protect medicare. >> $716 billion out of the medicare trust fund to pay for obamacare. >> $716 billion. >> doesn't your budget also
contemplate cutting medicare by the same amount? >> my medicare blan is similar to his plan for medicare. >> how much? >> the -- i -- the -- i joined the romney ticket. >> how many years to result in a balanced budget? >> uhh, well, i don't know exactly. >> are you running on his budget or your budget? soo. >> my budget, of course. i'm the one running for president. >> did you roll the dice a little bit with paul ryan? joining me now, krystal ball and howard fineman. howard, we need your memory here. i cannot think of a first week of a have thetial part of the ticket rollout where the talk has been how much damage might
this candidate do, not just to the pottial ticket but also house seats and senate seats. i know people are worried about what dan quayle might do to the first president bush's ability to get elected or what sarah palin might do, but what they weren't saying was this candidate has a record that could hurt us in to the congressional elections. >> well, dan quayle comes closest. i was there at the dan quayle convention. and roger ailes said it was like throwing a hot dog in a shark tank. that was the first week of the dan quayle experience, but you're right. it was that dan quayle didn't have a record. paul ryan very much has one. and that's both his appeal and his great drawback. and yes, republicans are worried about congressional seats as well. it mystifies me, lawrence, because they had to have known. romney and ryan had to have
known that the ryan budget plan, especially the medicare part of it would be at the center of democratic response to the pick. and yet when they announced down in norfolk, virginia, there were only couple of lines about it. ryan didn't even mention it. what romney said was dm demonstrably hypocrite cat also best because the ryan plan assumes the same amount of cuts in waste and fraud and inefficiency that obama plan does. and just because obamacare, quote, unquote, is not universally unpopular doesn't mean that americans want to dismantle medicare. most americans don't. while they prepared in great secrecy to unveil paul ryan off the u.s.s. wisconsin, they were kind of unprepared for the natural questions that were
going to follow and you summarized the results of. >> let's listen to paul ryan speaking today about president obama's cuts in medicare and what they think they're trying to do. >> so krys a l, he's asked, why are you criticizing the obama medicare cuts if you have the cuts in your plan? and he uses the word you must not use, which everybody on the budget committee understand andest mo people in congress understand, baseline. >> baseline. >> howard is laughing about it now. you've got to find an merge language way of answering this question, not the congressional language way. >> that's exactly right.
that's the thing that's so shocking about this rollout, how fundamentally unprepared they were about the obvious questions. i mean, like howard said, obviously if you pick paul ryan, medicare is going to be the central question. and they see to not only not have good answers but not have any kind of a strategy. and, in fact, their entire campaign, one thing i've been surprised by is how much of a fly by the seat of the pants kind of campaign it seems to have been. from the very beginning they've had a hard time even defining what mitt romney's narrative of his biography will be. when first questions came out about his tax return, they still haven't figured oit a good answer for that. and now they've essentially crumpled the up the their own strategy of being the alternative and picking paul ryan and had no idea of the initial introduction, what they were going to do and how to answer these questions. that's the thing surprising to me. i actually thought mitt romney would be swa of a poor candidate but with an effective campaign
at least and that hasn't even been the case. >> we haven't heard someone on the presidential ticket talking in congressional language since poor bob dole in 1996 who didn't come close to the victory line there. >> no. and i -- i think that again, my sense from talking to republicans, including ed gillespie who you showed there a number of times and generally regarded as a pretty shrewd guy on their side, they threw that $716 billion thing out there. yes, that had some effect, by the way, in the 2010 elections. some republicans were able to neutralize or even advance their cause based on accusing the president by using such numbers. but overall, the republicans can't win this argument this way because just because you have some doubts about obamacare, if you're a swing voter, doesn't mean you want to dismantle medicare. that's the key thing here.
and i think if the democrats are lucky enough to have the whole rest of the campaign argued on the question of who's going to preserve medicare -- >> right. >> the republicans are going to lose. they've got to be crazy. there's 8.3% unemployment. the economy is muddling along and so forth. if everything that mitt romney and paul ryan are not on that message and not on that message exclusively is a day they' lost the chance to advance in this campaign. >> howard, all they have to do is buy half an hour of national television time for paul ryan to come on and explain to the country baseline assumptions in legislative packages. >> winning message. >> nothing to it. howard fineman and krystal ball. thank you. >> thanks, lawrence. >> coming up, rush limbaugh is lying about the presidential debate moderators before they've asked a single question. why you need to fight rush's lies this time and not let him influence the presidential debates. that's coming pup .
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liberal democrats. rush is targeting two of them, two of the ones he's targeting are far left wing liberal democrats, and the other two are far, far left wing liberal democrats. by now you've probably guessed who i'm taking about. far left wing liberal democrat jim leher, candy crowlie, along with far, far left wing liberal democrat bob shieffer. >> first presidential debt bait, moderated by jim lehrer of pbs. far, far liberal democrat. town hall in new york, moderated by candy crowley of cnn.
far, far left wing democrat. third presidential debate, october 2 in boca raton, moderated by bob shieffer, far, far, left wing lib rat democrat. and dinosaur, correct. and dinosaur. and the vice presidential debate will be october 11 in danville, kentucky, posted by martha raddatz of abc, far, far left wing democrat. >> of course, none of them are far, far left wing liberal democrats. and none of them are far left wing liberal democrats. and none of them, as far as i know, and i know them personally, are left wing democrats. i don't know what they are personally. they are established journalists
who never turn overtheir political cards. rush is accusing them of being far left liberal democrats because he is trying to intimidate them now, right now. he wants the debate moderators waking up every morning thinking about how they can prove in these debates that they are not far left wing liberal democrats. how can they prove they are fair? well, the way rush wants them to prove that they are fair is tor really tough with the democratic candidate on the stage and go easy with the republican candidate. he's trying to get inside their heads. he knows when the moderators first heard what he's saying, they thought it was just ridiculous but wouldn't affect how they mod moderate the debate. but rush is going to keep saying this and the other republicans
are going to echo it. you try to make the refs think twice about calling a foul or penalty on their team. now, if the democrats had an irresponsible liar with a big microphone that rush limbaugh on their side, they could try to work the refs this way, too. they could say jim lehrer who moderated more presidential debate than anyone in his vi a far right wing conservative republican. they could say that about bill shieffer, candy crowley and martha raddatz but it would be a lie. we can let the debate moderators know what we want to ask. governor romney, you gave the campaign tax returns.
why shouldn't voters be able to see your tax returns to see your tax returns to make the judgment. paul ryan, why won't you let the american voters know what's in all of the tax returns instead of the two years you say you will release. and congressman ryan, you voted yes for a 90% income tax on bonuses paid by banks that were bailed out by tarp money. that tax was unconstitutionalal and opposed by vice president biden and president obama. why did you vote for an unconstitutional 90% income tax in 2009 and are now opposed to a 4% increase in the top tox bracket?
we'll come up with a lot more questions fullbackn't debate moderators in the next two months and we hope you will too. you can suggest questions to me on twitter or on facebook. and thanks to twitter, you can politely suggest questions directly to the moderators. rush limbaugh is going to keep lying about these debate moderators. and you should keep helping the debate moderators understand what the american people want to know.
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get something i didn't expect. >>ty thought tim pawlenty had a shot simply because he had fewer problems in the resume than anyone in the field and he was the least crazy of the republican candidates. when tim pawlenty ran into problems in iowa, he knew who to blame for his fill you're in the presidential campaign. >> i think stit was actually th lawrence o'donnell endorsement that sank my vote. the weight of your endorsement, i could feel it by the day, the hour, the minute, dragging me down as if it was a political quick sand. but i do appreciate you're rhetoric, but i think the weight of it just took us out.
>> i didn't endorse him. i just said i thought he was the front runner for the republican nomination. then, of course, i thought tim pawlenty's timing of his surrender to mitt romney early was the right route to the vice presidential nomination. >> in the official view of this show, tim pawlenty remains at the top of the vice presidential list for the obvious nominee to be mitt romney. >> you're killing me. you're killing me here. you should just take out a dagger and put it right through my political heart now. >> but tonight, having been passed over for the have thetvi presidential nomination, pawlenty's future could not be brighter. paul ryan is on his way to being the next losing vice presidential candidate who will never be vice president. he will be alongside sarah palin
whose careers never recovered. and since republican primary voters like to run candidates who have run for the presidential nomination before and lost, like ronald reagan, john mccain and mitt romney, tim pawlenty has that republican primary loser advantage over chris christie and marco rubio who didn't have the courage to go out there this year like tim pawlenty and lose their way to the next republican presidential nomination. and so tonight, i am declaring the front runner for the next presidential nomination is tim pawlenty. how does crazy does that sound? >> i give you 7. >> i'll accept a 7 on this one. >> it's as crazy as the base is crazy, which is to say in a normal year. >> remember, the base is crazy.
s in this is not john mccain's new party in 20088. r it's not that party, is it? >> if you were running a computer model, if it was lawrence o'donnell merged with nate silver and all your inputs were other cycles, then the prediction is really sound. we have seen a level of extremism in the base demanded of the commands that excelled and then demanded of mitt romney that huge a huge impact on his decision making. >> when they lose this year, will there be a lesson to the republican paefrt an republican primary voters of don't be tricked into going right? i guess there won't be because romney was the least right wing of those nuts running this time who survived. >> that's the question. if you lose bad enough, i do think there's a medicine there. and the classic example is goldwater where you basically
said boy, we went really far in this libertarian thing and we need to reassess. >> so let's go to someone reasonable next time like richard nixon. >> richard nixon as we all know created the environmental protection agency and does look like a liberal guy for where the party went later. i do think he was less of the angry libertarian. ryan is an extreme right winger. he can bring down senate and house candidates with them. if they get some form of what have they think is a wipeout because of the ryan effect, doesn't that wake them up in any way towards being more reasonable? >> yeah. look, there's 435 house races. tlp aren't enough white boards in the country to explain the romney ryan or ryan romney plan.
you can't just circle the world solvent over and over and over. there's going to be that fish sure between what's on top of the ticket and what a lot of republicans have to sell. >> the other advantage pawlenty has is that he's been tested. he got out there and did all those things that you go through, the marco rubios haven't gone through, that christie hasn't gone through. they haven't tested their appeal, those guys. >> yeah. and the other thing about pawlenty is if you want to run towards the median vote every and not the voter on the right. he has a record where he was a fiscal conservative in certain way, but he also did propose additional educational funding for the first two years of tuition, for example, math and science students in his state. and he can go out to other states and talk about that as a model. there was a time people used to like governors because they would campaign around the country. what has paul ryan done in office? increased the