tv The Last Word MSNBC November 22, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
for everything. i hope it works that way. >> staff writer for the american prospect. thank you for joining me. >> thank you verymuch. take care. >> that does it for us tonight. see you tomorrow night. follow me on twitter. time for the last word. sitting in for lawrence, willie geist. good to see you? >> thanks. from way too early to way too late. in for lawrence o'donnell and up way past my bedtime. less than 2% will be patted down at an airport this weekend. why is everybody worked up? groping from a stranger wearing blue latex gloves never hurt anybody. trust me. growing public outrage over enhanced airport screening? >> i think this has caught the tsa and homeland by surprise. >> probably not as surprised as airport passengers getting patdowns.
>> you touch my junk, i'll have you arrested. >> you're hearing horror stories. >> they pulled me into another room and they searched me again. i just felt dirty. >> reporter: officials say the tsa would rather look and not touch. >> to avoid something like that, go through that screening device. >> say no, you'll be pulled aside by a tsa agent. >> you're in a tough decision. >> the government says 99% of passengers will be passed up for a patdown. >> a small percentage of passengers who get patted down. >> unless a scanner goes off. >> and that's when the fun begins. >> we're talking somewhere around 8% or so. >> homeland security secretary janet napolitano acknowledges there may be room for adjustment. >> there's wiggle room here not elbow room. >> the alternatives? >> we're not talking about profiling. >> the recent approach that some people would call profiling. >> these close encounters are leaving no one satisfied. >> i'm sympathetic frankly with the security guys.
they are trying to keep us all alive. >> some tsa screeners are now no, ma'am mustily complaining, molester, pervert, disgusting, creep, all words i've heard today at work describing me. >> would you submit to one of these pat downs? >> not if i could avoid it. no. i mean, who would? >> you can check anything you want. if you feel something you like and squeeze it, what am i going to do? >> good evening from new york. as americans prepare for this busy holiday travel week, inspire magazine is out with warnings. here is a quote. this strategy of attacking the enemy with smaller but more frequent operations is what some may refer to as the strategy of a thousand cuts. the same is to bleed the enemy to death. it's the new glossy publication from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the terror group that
took credit for the detroit plane bomb carried out by the underwear. it is ugly but the magazine holiday recipe on a budget really are not to be missed. can the strategy of a thousand cuts inspire the safety administration to beef up security with the more aggressive patdowns that stirred outrage among airline travelers and stirred comedy among "saturday night live" writers. >> feeling lonely this holiday season? >> looking for a little human interaction? >> do you want to feel contact in certain special places? >> then why not go through security at an airport. >> tsa. >> tsa arguments ready and standing by to give you a little something extra to feel thankful about this holiday season. >> tsa. >> what are you waiting for. i want to check under your testic testicles. >> it's forced our highest ranking government officials to
answer some very uncomfortable questions. >> i understand how difficult it is and how offensive it must be for the people going through it. >> final question, my time is up. but would you submit to one of these patdowns. >> not if i could avoid it. no. i mean, who would? >> secretary clinton might not like the idea but her boss says the occasional patdowns are the best way we have to stop the threat of another underwear attack. >> tsa, in consultation with our counter-terrorism experts, have indicated to me that the procedures they have been putting in place are the only ones right now they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the christmas day bombing. >> so how big a problem is this really and how much privacy are americans willing to give up in the name of security? joining me now are thomas sawyer, a retired teacher and
bladder cancer survivor who has become the face of the anti-patdown movement after he was humiliated during a tsa screening a couple of weeks ago. also rob mcneill, a transportation security officer and local president of government employees covering airports in rhode island and connecticut. gentlemen, thank you both for joining me. thomas, let's begin with you. you experienced a patdown at the hands of a tsa officer while traveling through detroit earlier this month. walk us through, if you don't mind, exactly what happened that day. >> i'll give you the short version. i was traveling from detroit, michigan, to orlando florida. i hadn't flown in a year. detroit has the new x-ray machine. that's what i went through. evidently at that time they saw my urastomy bag. i had cancer and had removed.
i have a bag similar to this down by my belt line. i was immediately informed by tsa that i would be patted down. and i asked for a private room, please. we went to a private room. and when we got in the private room, the first thing they asked was to take my sweatshirt off, and i did. when i took my sweatshirt off my t-shirt came up with it. and my bag showed underneath my t-shirt. the tsa agent said, what is that? he said, that's a urostomy bag. he said, i don't know what that is. i have some issues i need to tell you about. he said no, that's okay. i said no, i really do need to do that. he started telling me about the procedure of the patdown, how it
was going to go. so i never really got a chance to tell him about my urostomy. i felt like he's in power, i'm not. let's just get it over with. so i just listened kind of. he started the patdown. when we got to the chest portion, he used his open hand to slowly start moving down my chest rather firmly. and i realized he was getting down close to where my urostomy bag was. i said to him, you need to stop for a minute. one, you need to go slower. and two, you need to go a lot lighter. what's doing to happen, you're going to catch your palm in the wafer and rip it off, so can you go a little slower, and he didn't. he didn't go slower and more gently. i asked him to do both. sure enough he got down who here. because i only had my t-shirt on, because he asked me to take
my sweatshirt off. his hand slipped between the wafer that goes on my stomach and the seal that the urine is collected in and it opened it up just enough that urine came out on my clothes and then started dribbling down on my leg, on my shorts. >> mr. sawyer, what happened from there? i know you ended up having to get on your flight in that condition. tell us about the rest of your day. >> a little more happened than that. i looked down immediately and i looked down. i believe he looked down. i'm not positive but i believe he looked down. by that time there was a stain that big of urine. he had to go out of the office where they were patting me down in, he was patting me down. he had to check for explosives on his blood -- his gloves. when he came back in, he said,
you can go now. never an apology. never are you okay, do you need anything, can we help you. so i tried to go to the bathroom in the terminal, but detroit metropolitan is a huge, huge terminal. and i just didn't know what to do. so i took off going to my terminal. by the time i got to my terminal, we board in five minutes. i had to wait until the plane took off. i carry a backpack with me with extra supplies, extra clothes. got into the private bathroom, got washed up. took off my soiled underwear, took off my soiled t-shirt and threw them in the bathroom trash can. i wasn't going to put them in my knapsack. cleaned myself up the very best i could. put a new appliance on. went back and got on the plane until we arrived in orlando.
>> i want to bring you in as the security officer. the head of tsa called mr. sawyer today to apologize. i understand that almost all of these patdowns are carried out professionally and without incident. it's important to point that out. what's your response as you listen to mr. sawyer's story? >> to mr. sawyer's story, my response, i really cannot respond to that, because i don't have firsthand knowledge of the incident. >> we take mr. sawyer at his words about the details that happened. what do you think when you hear that? >> i think something probably went wrong with that. tsos are trained how to deal with people with colostomy bags and other disabilities, whatever disabilities they would have had. if a tso had a question, he would have asked a supervisor. >> i've been saying all along, it's not like men and women
presidefrom tsa are enjoying the patdowns. tell us what you hear from your people, tsa agents working under these new policies? >> it's not a point of people enjoying what they are doing. what we're doing is we're trying to ensure people end up at their destination in a safe manner. we try to treat people with as much dignity and respect as we can to get that accomplished. one of the fears tsos have right now, we're hearing stories of tsos being assaulted, insulted by people who they have to perform this on. >> you're talking about the agents at the gate. you're getting reports of their being assaulted by passengers? >> the tsos at the check appoint as they are performing the procedures and also they are being insulted daily. >> as i said earlier, less than
2% of airline passengers are actually subjected to these patdowns despite all the noise. given the tank it's gotten, rob, do you think the tsa is going to have to back off this new policy? >> i don't think tsa is going to have to back off the new policy at all. just like when we implemented the liquids policy in 2007. at first it was a shock to the system for everybody, then after a while, the traveling public became more aware of the policy. that's all it needs to become is more media publication on a positive side of this. >> thomas, you've said you're not going public with this story to express anger but really to encourage tsa to change this policy. what would you like to see done here? >> well, i take a lot of exceptions with what i just heard. i was nothing but polite. i don't think that a trained tsa
agent who i had to ask three times, could i tell you my medical history and refused to let me, i don't feel that's very dignified. if that's the way they are being trained, there's something really wrong. i take um bridge. i never raised my voice. i don't advocate anyone injure a tsa agent. that's wrong, too. i was not dignified by either tsa agent. when i talked to the director today, i was really glad john called me. we had a good conversation. he asked me what i thought should be done. i really believe more training needs to be done. my two agents didn't know what an ostomy was and said so. i can't believe in my heart it happened and i went to detroit metro and i found the one agent in the united states that hasn't been taught what the word
urostomy means. that immediately clicked him in to know what that is, where it's at, what might happen. i just really have some problems with the other gentleman's explanation. it's not compatible with the explanation i got with the director today. >> rob mcneil, a lot of people saying there's got to be a better way than patdowns. you study this stuff for a living. there is another way with the scanners, number one, and patdown, number two. >> at the present time there isn't a better way. like mr. sawyer says, the train -- i believe what mr. sawyer said, and i don't believe he was treated with dignity. but the tsos for the most part are all professional. they do know how to handle the situation. it's just going to take a little bit of time for everybody to get on the same page with this. >> all right. let's hope they do. >> the traveling public and the tsos.
>> rob mcneil, thomas sawyer, thank you both for your time tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. if it already feels like the holidays, that's because tonight is sarah palin's new book "eve." what is motivating her on this relentless media blitz. does she really want to be president or is she doing it all for the money. gop on capitol hill, with the balance of power shifting soon, is there any chance in hell they will work together or will republicans play four corners and hold the ball.
should expect even less from our government, if that's possible, over the fedex two years. that and russell simmons ahead on the last word. ♪ i had just turned 17 ♪ a harmonica and a box guitar ♪ ♪ in a canvas-covered wagon stuffed... ♪ [ male announcer ] while the world's been waiting on the electric car, maybe the whole time, the electric car has been waiting for this... the wattstation from ge. it's going to change the way we get to where we all want to go. ♪ i didn't think much of it till i took it apart ♪
nearly 5 million people watched the premier of her tlc show and millions more will head to bookstores to buy a copy of sarah palin's new book. the former alaskan government begins her 16 stop book tour which will skip over new york, washington, d.c. and other points in nonreal america. palin will make two stops, though, in iowa fueling
speculation she's laying the groundwork for a presidential run. the quinnipiac poll shows palin ahead of the potential republican primary field. today she would be the gop pick with 19% of the vote narrowly edging out mitt romney, mike huckabee and newt gingrich. some in the republicans are not as excited. >> what's your read about sarah palin? >> i sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful. i think she's very happy in alaska, and i hope she'll stay there. >> the former first lady barbara bush suggesting there that sarah palin stay put in alaska. joining me former speechwriter for george bush and alex wagner. she's got the tv show, the book,
her daughter out in front of people every week on "dancing with the stars." what is up here? >> she's running for president. i don't think it's right for people to go through this long thought process and press the go switch, it's more you press the stop switch. you put in the predicate and there's opportunities to exit with dignity but this is the buildup for a run. >> you've been critical saying what's good for palin is not good for the party or the country. why do you think it would be a bad idea to run. >> republicans have to worry in 2012 it's going to be a heavy lift to beat an incumbent president. that's always true. if you lose badly you can do damage not only at the top of the ticket but down the ticket. 2012 should be a good republican year in the senate. class of 2006 where democrats did so well, they are up for re-election. there should be a lot of opportunities to take the senate, if there's a strong candidate on the top of the ticket, even if they were to lose narrowly. if there's a weak candidate on
the top of the ticket, you could do bad things. you also have to worry about the long-term image of the party. the republican party is going to have to be a party relative to the americas of 2020s, 2030s, 2040s. if you form an image exclusive and divisive it could have implications down the road. plus we want to win, that means we want to offer a good conservative president who can really do a good job governing the country. >> let's take a look at the tv show, sunday's episode of sarah palin's alaska where she flat out beats the holy hell out of a halibut. >> she got that billy club and started stunning those fish. i was looking at her out of the corner of my eye thinking i wonder what she's picturing making her mark on those fish. >> i love it.
>> i wasn't going to hesitate either especially when the fish are piling up and slapping around. they could do some damage here. we need to calm these boys down real quick. >> got to calm these boys down, alex. you and i know that's how you subdue a halibut on board. some people watching that might not think it's terribly presidential. >> it's sort of killer orca more than it is mama grizzly. i think the thing about the reality tv show and sarah palin, it's absolutely an attempt to humanize her on the national stage. i think to a certain degree it works. she's tough. she puts her money where her mouth is, being part of the alaska wilderness and a great frontiers woman. someone pointed this out to me. there's a level of recreating that the palins do that americans don't do.
effectively they are on vacation all the time climbing glaciers, clubbing hal butts to death. this is not what john q. public and his wife do. as far as connecting with the american public on that level, i'm not sure it actually happens. >> we say it doesn't look presidential. she doesn't care. this builds her brand further. this is what she does. >> absolutely. sarah palin has proven herself to be unconventional. most in theory engage with mainstream media. sarah palin has communicated largely by facebook, twitter and conservative media and it's worked great. i'm not sure she's hindered by the prerequisites for a classic presidential nominee. >> david, sarah palin was on fox and said her husband, first dude, is leaning towards a white house run. she didn't say she was but said the first dude was interested in it. a couple of polls from quinnipiac. the polls say she can't win. you may be right.
in this hypothetical with obama and eight points. any chance that changes over the next two years. if unemployment stays high, can she close that gap? >> it doesn't matter what i think. i'm one man's opinion. the more relevant thing, the thing that's doing to form the story, the people, the republican party, like the democratic party, we're very committed to the party, the donors. the chairman of state parties. these people form what we call, for lack of a better term, fapay establishment. people in the republican party that weren't important 10 years ago will be important now. we're just saying coming above the surface some of the intense work being done. barbara bush expressed it, to rescue the party from what a lot of people, not just me, see as a big problem. that is going to be a back story over the next few years as that group of people looks around and
says who can do the job being a better representative what the party has to say, being a better president. also winning in iowa, winning in new hampshire. these decision are not made by aggregated polls but place to place. >> david talking about something you hear, i hear privately. established republicans do not want her to run. why are they so scared to say this out loud, they don't want to offend sarah palin's base. >> they are worried they will be like halibut. she will just -- karl rove has been vocal about his objections to sarah palin. that said, there is the enthusiasm and the fact she has captured the national imagination and is a compelling figure regardless of whether you like her or not. we're talking about her. we talk about her all the time. enthusiasm and energy is a big selling point for the gop. i wouldn't say to those quinnipiac polls, take that with a grain of salt. according to a cbs poll last week, 48% of americans do not know that the republicans won the house.
there is a processing gap between what happens in washington and where the rest of the country is. >> alex, we'll let you go. you're going to camp out for a copy of the book. >> i am. >> david frum in washington, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. sarah palin had some reality show competition from music mogul russell simmons. does russell have begrudging respect for palin's promotion? he joins us in the spotlight tonight. snl took aim at nancy pelosi for staying put in her leadership position after the democrats midterm wipeout. chris van holland reacted to the skit and tells us why pelosi is still the right face for his party. at the walmart in marinette, wisconsin. that first job launched my career. since i've been with the company, i've been promoted ten times over the span of 11 years. today, i'm a divisional learning and development manager. we can actually help people develop in their own careers. my job allows me to make a difference in the lives of almost 100,000 associates in the northeast.
still ahead, running russell simmons. the hip-hop mogul has his own reality show, bringing cool to the world of cable news. he'll talk about his palin-based competition. tom brokaw learns the ropes on facebook. a look at the company changing the world. a programming note tomorrow, we'll be joined by chad condit, son of gary condit. today the long legal saga of who killed chandra leafy came to a close with the conviction of a man from el salvador. the vindication of his father, that's tomorrow on "the last word." nationwide insurance, i'm all ears.
you know, i've found when you're a hip-hop pioneer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, you need a lot of good help around the office. that's the idea of the new oxygen show, "running russell simmons." unfortunately you don't end up with the best interns. >> i nearly died when i saw t.i. he's even hotter in person. ♪ >> don't stand back there. >> we don't have interns around here like that, russell. the clients can be a problem, too. tomorrow night's show courtney love stops by for career advice. >> young. really young. >> we need young people. >> i want a crew in front of me so i can be like diddy and come in and come out.
>> that's good. >> i'm good at mentoring girls. that's my strength. let me ask you a question. >> i want to make you look good. i want to make you look as good as you can look. >> will i get paid? >> no, you don't get paid. >> you want to be my husband? >> russell simmons, the star of the reality show, from oxygen, we should point out oxygen is our parent company. nice to see you. >> nice to see you. >> how did you handle courtney love. >> she has a reality show. we thought we'd produce it. we still might. we're talking a lot about it. >> why let the reality cameras follow you around? you're busy. >> it's a good branding exercise. i run five charities, i have philanthropic, social, political action toss help people. although you see fun parts. the show is about the gay rights, animal rights, anti-war,
all the dialogue i have and all the social action i take is on my show. i think it's kind of a good vehicle for that. i notice courtney love -- i'm sorry kim kardashian had my twitter followers than the president. i sent her to my school in africa. i think that kind of access is powerful. >> you think reality tv, there's been so much analysis of our media culture, is it good for us? some people point to it as the end of civilization. >> it's fun but still has lots of good work. we talked about sear ierra leon. we had supermodels came. the men came and we raised the money. the second show is about simone, my assistant, the animal rights activist, a big protest. it was international media but
nothing was bigger than having her do it on television. the third show, all the shows have philanthropic, social or political applications also business. it's a fun exercise, a branding exercise. i'm having fun. >> as a guy who follows politics and business so closely, we were just talking in our last segment about sarah palin. i'm curious what you think about -- i know you don't agree with her politics. do you have a begrudging respect for the way she's branded herself. >> i think she's done an excellent job of branding herself. there's such divisive talk not only from her mouth but the tea party. she seems to be the face of the tea party today. and you know, as the chairman of the foundation of ethnic foundation, all i do with religious and etd nick dialogue i find it repulsive in america after so many years going forward. the amount of islam phobia, anti-semitism, anti-white on
black, a lot of divisive talk from the far right and i think she's the face of it. she makes statements that are hurtful and contribute to that kind of state where we're moving backwards regarding tolerance in all religion and race. that's an issue for me. >> do you worry about her politically? do you think she can come out of the republican party, we showed a poll if the primary were held today, she would be the republican choice. do you think she would give president obama a run for the money? >> i hope she's the choice. today, but things happen quickly. what happened in germany, rwanda, places where there's ethnic cleansing, horrible things happen in history, it's happened in only a few years. so we are at risk. but if it was today, i would hope that she was the candidate against president obama. >> you've been a big supporter of president obama pretty much right out of the box when he announced his candidacy. how do you feel two years into his presidency now?
some people on the left express disappointment? how do you feel? >> can't do everything at once. we were losing 800,000 jobs a month when he took office. there was some -- kids were poisoning their community, going to jail, coming home. he did some of that. health care reform. he did some of that. education reform. he did some of that. he didn't get to do everything i would like. he missed don't ask, don't tell. he made a lasting impression in that area. as an animal rights activist i supported him. he's made some statements and done some work on this subject. he's done a lot in a short amount of time. i think americans are impatient. there's still a lot of room to do more. i think what he did was in a short time turn this country around. people are comfortable now. he's not the messiah, so maybe they are disappointed. but i think he's been pretty impressive considering the odds have been against him. >> were the expectations too
unrealistic of the guy? he was going to be post partisan, real the country. things are more idea logically -- >> the far right, just by his presence of i think that's something america has to deal with not only because of the political but the social implications of this far right movement. like sarah palin running, like some of the other tea party candidates, some of the divisive talk. america was built on the first amendment, one was religious freedom. as a person who sees this research, what happened when 29 out of 30 community members voted to put that prayer room, prayer center, interfaith prayer center by ground zero and then within a few months what we were able to do, the media has been able to do, find a guy to burn a book with 30 members of his congregation and create an international crisis. he was the face of america and
hate. that was done by the medmedia. i'm afraid of what can happen in a short am of time. we have to watch it closely. individuals can make choices. to promote tolerance. that's my job and should be every americans job. >> you have a lot of jobs. philanthropist, media mogul, tv star, "running russell simmons," big ratings, tuesday nights on oxygen. russell, thanks so much. good to see you. coming up next, as representative boehner becomes speakers, things in d.c. going from bad to much worse? democratic congressman chris van holland will get tonight's last word on how he plans to try to work with the gop. ♪ [ male announcer ] they've been tested, built and driven like no other. and now they're being offered like no other.
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stella: hmmm. we're getting new medicare benefits from the new healthcare law. jane: yea. most people will get free cancer screenings. and 50 percent off of brand name prescription drugs if you're in the donut hole. stella: you read my paper. jane: i went to medicare.gov. it's open enrollment, you know. so i checked out all the options and found a better plan to fit my budget. stella: well, you know what they say...knowledge... jane: knowledge is power. snl made a joke of democratic leadership on capitol hill so after the pasting democrats took in the midterms,
why is nancy pelosi still calling the shots? we'll talk with democratic congressman advice van holland. . look at this. [ security agent ] right. you never kick off with sales figures. kicking off with sales figures! i'm yawning. i'm yawning some more. aaaaaaaand... [ snores ] i see your point. yeah. [ snores ] [ male announcer ] we understand.® you need a partner who delivers convenience. next time use fedex office.
sir tim says sites like facebook urges people to wall themselves in from the web. that defeats the purpose of the internet. tom brokaw takes us inside the internet the least exclusive gated community in the world. >> reporter: social network, began as a college stunt, quickly went beyond the campus, around the world and across generations. >> this cannot be happening. >> it finally happened. your mom is on facebook. >> reporter: chief operating officer carol sandburg couldn't be happier. >> facebook is more valuable as you get older. you think as you get older you've interacted with more people, lived in more places, more jobs, more kids and grandkids, there are more people to get in touch with. >> sandburg joined in 2008 from google where she sent advertising revenue into the stratosphere. a former whiz kid, now 41, harvard mba, veteran of the world bank and treasury
department, she arrived at facebook to a new reality. >> i had been there for about a month and someone called me middle aged. it was a meeting, a group at the meeting and a guy alex says we have to take into account all demographics, including middle aged. i thought, i don't know who he's waving at but -- >> you think facebook will have virtual college and high school reunions and not real reunions where we go together and tell the old stories all over again. >> the barriers of time and geography become more important in our lives particularly as you get older. facebook breaks down the barriers. >> pretty easy finding folks on facebook doing just that. >> this is a page created by a group of people who went to high school. this is dedicated to those of us who grew up along bird road corridor in the '60s and '70s. >> vicki lives in las vegas, a long way in time and distance
from the miami of her childhood. >> we all grew up in the same neighborhood. and weapon found each other again on facebook. >> but like nearly 5,000 others on facebook, she relived the days of bird road. >> it's a repository of memories. it makes me feel connected. i'm home. i go on that site and i'm home. >> what's really important. >> not everyone of a certain age is so enthusiastic. >> why should justice o'connor be on facebook? >> i'm not. heaven help us. >> and a stanford symposium on aging sandburg made her case. >> even people as famous as justice o'connor can be on facebook. >> why would you resist it? >> i don't need any more publicity, even on facebook. >> justice o'connor does not
weren't to go on facebook as we heard in that exchange but she did acknowledge that she uses skype to communicate with her grandchildren. your parents don't need to use skype, they can find you morning, noon, and night right here. >> tom, thanks. yes, i live in this studio. tom brokaw. how lame will the lame duck session in congress be. fights over s.t.a.r.t. treaty, nuclear arms and don't ask, don't tell. democratic congressman chris van holland gets the last word.
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on. i spoke earlier with chris van hollen of maryland, the man who will head up his party's effort to work with republicans on the daunting issue of the budget. congressman van hollen, thanks so much for joining us. >> it's good to be with you. congratulations on your new book. >> thank you. i appreciate it very much. let's talk about what happened a few weeksing a you as head of the campaign committee, losing the house and some seats in the senate as well. i want to ask about the new reality in washington for you. in today's "new york times," paul krugman wrote this, one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no in making america governorable unless it's doing the governing. elite opinion has been slow to recognize this reality. congressman van hollen, how bleak are things going to be over the next two years? any chance you two parties can
get together? >> i have some worries, willie, because for the first time the republicans now share some responsibility for helping to clean up the mess that was largely created by their own policies and yet every indication so far is that they do not want to work with the president. they don't want to work with the democrats. the president invited them all down to the white house, the new republican leadership right after the election. they said, no, sorry. we've got other things to do. they are working hard to try and block the new s.t.a.r.t. treaty, which our nato allies on a bipartisan basis national security experts say is important for our security. they are trying to hold middle class taxes hostage for folks at the top. by every single they are sending, they seem not to have heard what most of us believe the voters have said, which is we want you guys to work together to try and get the economy back on track and put people back to work. >> if what you're saying is true, you might have one of the worst jobs in washington as the
ranking democrat on the house budget committee where a lot of the fighting is going to be done. let's talk now about the bush tax cuts. will it be picked up in the lame duck session? you said previously on "meet the press" the idea that tax cuts for the rich create jobs as, quote, nonsense. now lately you've showed a little willingness to, perhaps, compromise. how does this shake out? >> i think it's clear the tax cuts for the folks at the very top have not created jobs. after all we've had them in place now for more than eight years. we know what jobs situation is. the notion that you've got to continue them in order to boost the economy when those are in place right now and we have a lot of people unemployed, is a clear indication they are not a big job creator. >> will you vote, congressman for a temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, an idea you previously called nonsense. >> what i declared nonsense was the notion providing tax breaks for those at the top was
necessary to keep the economy going. i also think it's important for the economy we provide middle class tax relief for 98% of the american people. i hope we will decouple these two things. i think we should send a strong signal that we're not going to allow our republican colleagues to literally hold middle class hostage to providing tax breaks at the top, which is why in the house we are going to decouple them. we're going to say we're going to provide tax relief for middle class americans and that will be the step we take. >> congressman you've been a close ally with speaker pelosi, democrats being hammered not from the right but some on the left for keeping the same leadership in place after the midterm elections. the message was so clear. i want to play you this clip. a bunch line on snl over the weekend. take a look. >> this week you held off a challenge within your own party with your own leadership position. does that bother you? >> nothing bothers me, rachel.
that's why i always have the same expression. but i want to assure my enemies that it will take more than one election to put me down. if you want to get rid of me, you better be ready to cut off my head and sever it from my body. >> rachel pelosi who always look like she's watching someone not use the coaster. >> cutting the head off the body notwithstanding, for someone who said this is what change looks like, were lessons learned from the midterm elections? >> the midterm elections were about 9.5% unemployment. the fact of the matter is, no matter who was speaker of the house, no matter who was president at the time, when you've got people out of work and hurting, they are going to send a message. in this case they sent a message that the recovery had not moved fast enough. we agree with that. we were the party in power. we were held accountable.
anybody who thinks nancy pelosi is going to be the issue over the next couple of years rather than the economy and the presidential election doesn't understand american politics. the fact of the matter is we're very quickly going to move to a debate over priorities, how we're going to get people back to work. i think our republican colleagues run a big risk thinking this election was about repealing health care reform which they say is going to be their first order of business, repealing wall street reform and essentially putting back in charge the special interests who ran the show for a very long time in washington. so the next election is going to be about how we move our country forward, president obama's leadership, and whoever the republican nominee for president will be. >> all right. congressman chris van hollen, democrat of maryland, wish you the best of like on that budget committee. thanks so much for being with us tonight. >> thank you. >> that is tonight's last word, follow the show on msnbc.com,