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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  August 13, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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joining me today, msnbc political analyst and former rnc chairman, the notorious michael steele. politico's senior political reporter, maggie haberman. the man who forever changed the vice presidential nominating process, msnbc and "times" senior political analyst, mark halperin. and co-author of "the real romney," scott helman. there is a consensus opinion throughout the media about mitt romney's vice presidential pick. the "wall street journal" headline read "mitt romney is going with a bold choice." the boston globe, "he went bold." the l.a. times, "a bold choice." the washington examiner, "romney goes bold with ryan as vp pick." the huffington post, "ryan is a bold pick." politico, "a bold choice for romney." you get the idea. but just how bold was the choice? four months ago, mitt romney had
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to clarify to a crowd in wisconsin that paul ryan was not, in fact, one of his sons, despite looking the part and being the same age as romney's oldest son, tag. now paul ryan is governor romney's running mate and today is pushing ryan out of the campaign nest to fight for their ticket on his own. ryan will hold his first solo rally in just a few hours in des moines, iowa. while president obama is set to speak this hour, just over 100 miles away in council bluffs. team romney is already creating distance between the governor and congressman ryan, hedging its support of the ryan policy including his signature budget plan. >> i have my budget plan, as you know, that i've put out and that's the budget plan that we're going to run on. >> it is the romney/ryan ticket and as president, president romney will be putting forward his own budget. >> i think that mitt romney appreciates and admires the work and the ideas that paul ryan has done but mitt romney has his own plans. >> mark halperin, you brought up a little-known e-book called
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"game change" and the phrase being bandied about in the world of political media is that this in fact may be a game change as well, this pick of paul ryan. what do you make of it? >> it might be and just like the pick of sarah palin, it's not clear if it ends up being a game changer, which side it will be a game changer for. paul ryan could help mitt romney make up the small lead that barack obama has now and help him put wisconsin in play and redefine the race, or he could cost mitt romney so dearly with senior voters and other groups in wisconsin and in florida and pennsylvania and iowa that he contribute to his losing the race. we have to see. >> it's an either/or situation, you're saying. maggie, it's very rare that both sides greet this political news with such fervor and so many broad smiles, yet both democrats and republicans were very happy about paul ryan as mitt romney's choice for vp. i guess the question is, we're beginning to see the creeping of daylight between mitt romney and paul ryan on the budget. i wonder if you think that
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effort can be successful. can team romney really effecti e effectively distance himself? >> it's very difficult. you saw that in the interview on "60 minutes" where you had mitt romney say this is what we are trying to do with medicare. what we are talking about is offering choice for people down the road. that is sort of embracing at least a piece of the reformed ryan budget. i think romney will get pushed repeatedly on what parts he will accept of this budget and what he won't as we go forward. to be sure, on the flipside, president obama is not exactly laying out a very clear vision for the future either in what he wants to do with a second term, and republicans seized, i think it was smart, i don't know how long it will last, but they seized on the cuts to medicare in obama care, and that's their push-back of he did it, too. i think that's still not going to get around the basic issue. >> chairman steele, you know, when we talk about policy, one of -- two weeks ago, the phrase was wall of obfuscation and the
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fact that mitt romney didn't want to get specific on anything at all under any circumstances. the question now is with someone like paul ryan, does he have to begin to answer some questions about policy? >> i think to maggie's point, yeah. i think this whole issue around issues becomes more clear. you have to begin to address the specifics of not just ryan's budget but romney's budget, and the president's budget, not just spending by democrats, but cuts by republicans. so this whole thing becomes much broader question. for me, i think what ryan brings to the table is not so much a bold choice. i don't buy the bold thing. >> you do not agree with them? >> no, i think it's appropriate. i think it's appropriate. i think it's consistent with romney's management style, to find people and surround himself with people who are in the same cut that he is in terms of looking at this through the lens of business, the lens of budgets, the lens of spending,
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and i think that ryan sort of fills that out for him. the flipside, of course, is what we've been talking about is how does it play out. mark has already talked about this could be a boon or a bust. that's going to tell the tale over the next few weeks. not before the convention, but when this thing really kicks off after the convention and guys like mark halperin -- >> helman, heilemann and halperin. >> right. >> and haberman. >> all of them start to really get serious about the questions. i thought the comments last night were kind of puffy. i thought the questioning was rather puffy. so that's going to change and how they respond in terms of policy will make a difference. >> one question, scott, there are two. mark, you made the point that this decision was really first and foremost about mitt romney liking paul ryan. this is someone that he felt a kinship with, that he was very much part of the sort of empires, prior empires mitt
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romney created, paul ryan fits into the character mitt romney would have hired at bain. scott, what do you think about the personality match between the two guys? i also want to know, i would love everybody to chime in on this, is the tax return question dead? certainly this has been a game changer insofar as we are now talking about paul ryan and mitt romney, not talking about offshore swiss bank accounts and tax returns. can romney get away from that now? >> no, because now we're talking about paul ryan's tax plan which would effectively mean romney pays almost nothing according to his 2010 return. there are all kinds of ways in which this tax thing will stay relevant. it's a separate question whether or not voters really care. i think we will continue to see them talk about it. i think mark's right. this is somebody who fits a profile, you know, sort of almost a younger romney in some ways. somebody who loves data, who loves to take on hard problems, who has a really deep commitment to his family and comes from a strong faith tradition. there are a lot of parallels.
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at the same time, as we talked about, mitt romney has been a pretty cautious person in his life and i do think this represents a bit of a risk for him, and there are, you know, maybe it's not a sarah palin bold choice but there were safer choices to make. >> let's talk about how this affects the president and his sort of -- in terms of the recalibration in the race. some analysts have said this is almost a win for the president insofar as the narrative he is trying to put forward in this election is that it's a choice election, about fundamental different paths for the american economy and for america broadly. i want to read a quote from the "washington post." the selection of paul ryan has the potential to turn this dreary presidential campaign into a meaningful debate over the size and role of the federal government. it could also sadly litter the debate with so many exaggeratio exaggerations, distortions and falsehoods that americans end up less informed and less able to make sensible choices. mark, you have been rallying around the flag of the media focusing on the insignificant. do you think we are going to
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actually focus on the substantive and that the campaigns are going to be able to effectively communicate different visions for the country? >> i hope it is the former. i'm pretty confident it will be the latter, unfortunately. there is so little time left and the complexity of the budget issues in play are so vast and neither candidate shows any sign of telling his operations you know what, let's have a serious discussion, let's stop making it frivolous. i guarantee you we will see in ads and e-mails and flyers distortions of both sides and that i think is unfortunately going to -- may be bigger than any forum in which they discuss the budgetary choices the country faces. >> don't you think -- look, i know the president's surrogates have certainly been playing small ball on a lot of issues with mitt romney but the president himself, if you listen to what he's been saying in his speeches, he has been trying to outline a broader vision and say this is what it's about. i'm not trying to vilify mitt romney but this is where he wants to take the country.
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>> they're both very keen on criticizing the other one's policies and the president is very keen and would have been, whether paul ryan had been picked or not, on saying things that are true, which is governor romney's budget policies don't add up, they are too few specifics to know whether it would really bring the budget into balance, and it contains elements like privitiization of medicare. i hear him talk about that a lot. i don't hear him talk about how he would bring the budget into balance and i don't hear governor romney talk about anything other than let's get rid of obama care, get rid of regulation, get the pipeline approved. they both have specifics but neither talk about them very much and neither is making particularly hard choices about balancing the budget any time soon. >> no. i think that's exactly right. i don't think -- everyone -- the discussion all weekend was this is now going to be as the piece you just read said, this is now going to be a discussion of ideas. this is going to be -- i see no evidence whatsoever that we are now going to go to a completely different race and part of the problem with that is that you
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know, mitt romney, the romney campaign has been talking up the bold, that you mentioned repeatedly but that becomes difficult when you are seeking some distance with the guy's budget plan. it's bold but i don't adopt what was bold about what he suggested. it's about vision but i don't agree, i don't adhere to everything in that vision. i think that's where it becomes complicated. >> sort of like italices rather than bold. >> one of the few pieces of data we had, the new romney rnc ad out today is not on defending a new vision of medicare. it's another misleading ad about the president's position on welfare reform. >> that's right. that'sight. >> you know, i thought this was interesting, chairman steele. e.j.dion writing in the "washington post" liberals and conservatives have switched sides on the matter of which camp constitutes the party of theory and which is the party of practice. americans usually reject the party of theory which is what conservetism has now become. romney has tied himself to the world of high conservative ideology as liberals learned long ago, ideology usually
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loses. what do you make of that? >> romney wanted to change the narrative for this presidential race and to the extent that there's any boldness or risk taking, it was moving from a discussion about a referendum on the president to actually creating this choice, this philosophical fundamental choice between the right and the left. big government, private enterprise. less taxes, more taxes. more spending, less spending. more government programs, less government programs. this big philosophical bubble is being created. romney's pick also says to me that he wants to be a consequential presidential. he's seeking a mandate under this philosophical bubble. he really wants to move the discussion away but to mark's point, when the ads still roll out with the petty snipes and swipes, it's going to be harder and harder to have that serious debate and the people will turn out or tune out in terms of
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actually looking for that seriousness because everything up to that point will have been just fluff, puff and noise. so what he does in the next, i talked about what happens after the convention, what he does with his campaign specifically with ryan between now and the convention will set that tone. if he's able to really move this to e.j.'s point, then this thing could get interesting because the president will then be forced to respond with some specifics. >> well, yes. given the fact that on sort of day two of this whole announcement, he's trying to back away from paul ryan's philosophical -- >> not a good sign. >> not necessarily a good start. coming up, governor romney is already trying to position himself behind his own budget plan instead of congressman ryan's. >> well, i have my budget plan, as you know, that i've put out, and that's the budget plan that we're going to run on. >> we will focus on the ryan budget when ezra klein and jonathan chait join us next. [ a
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do you think that republicans ought to buck the public opposition? and really move forward to completely change medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors some premium support so that they can go out and buy private insurance? >> i don't think social engineerin is any more desirable than left wing social engineering. i don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. >> that was newt gingrich last year criticizing paul ryan's
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plan to overhaul medicare. since then, ryan has tweaked that controversial proposal but the rest of his budget plan remains intact. governor romney is now trying to distance himself from paul ryan's plan but there's no hiding what his plan would do. it would slash $5 trillion over ten years, 62% of the cuts would come from programs that help the poor, putting a gigantic hole in the social safety net. that would lead to eight to ten million people losing their food stamps, at least 14 million people getting kicked off the medicaid rolls, and since it would repeal the affordable care act, another 30 million people would become uninsured. republicans say they want to curb out of control borrowing and spending but these deep cuts would not balance the budget. repeat, they would not balance the budget. instead, government would see deficits until the year 2040. so really, what is the point? ryan's plan is coupled with big tax cuts that would mostly benefit the wealthy. this chart from the center on
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budget and policy priorities says it all. those blue lines show the lower income americans would actually see their after tax income decline while those making more than $1 million would end up with more money in their pockets, or as liberal budget analyst robert greenstein tells "new york" magazine quote, it would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern u.s. history. so newt gingrich wasn't really that far off. it's a form of right wing social engineering. joining me from washington is msnbc policy analyst and "washington post" columnist, ezra klein and jonathan chait of "new york" magazine. gentlemen, great to see you both. >> good afternoon. >> ezra, i want to start with you. on saturday, you have been writing some great pieces about the ryan plan but you made this point which i think is getting lost in a lot of this debate over medicaid, medicare and social security. the real north star, you write, of ryan's policy record isn't deficits or spending though he often uses those concerns in service of his agenda. it's radically reforming the way the federal government provides public services usually by prooif tiezing or devolving
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those public services away from the federal government. tell us more about that. >> ryan has voted for a lot of deficits in his time in office. he voted for the bush tax cuts, round one and two. he also wants to extend them now. he voted for the unfunded medicare prescription drug benefit. he voted for the iraq and afghanistan wars which obviously he did not have the funding component behind them. they weren't offset in the budget. and he even right now in his budget, he's got a massive tax cut. he kind of told the congressional budget office oh, yeah, i'll pay for that later. he hasn't said a word about how. what has been true throughout ryan's entire history in congress is that he likes to release really big ambitious plans to reconstruct social services. he was the key house architect of social security privatization in 2005. that plan was so -- that plan would have cost more than $2 trillion. the bush administration dismissed it as irresponsible. he wants to restructure medicare. his original budget was incredibly radical on medicare,
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completely taking the public current medicare option out of the game entirely. later on, he moderated that a little bit. he wants to turn medicaid over to the states. there would be no federal role at all and the federal funding would only grow with inflation meaning that about 16 million people would end up being thrown off of medicaid due to the size of that cut. that's a larger cut than his cut to medicare. he's not about reducing the deficit nor about reducing spending. he wants to increase defense spending. he is about taking the federal role in their programs and shrinking it, turning them over to the private market or to the states, then capping the amount they can actually grow. >> jonathan, ezra mentioned this. paul ryan in his career on capitol hill has put forward proposals that even members of his own caucus thought were too radical. you have done some great analysis on them, the mind of paul ryan. politico today says that ryan is defined by a belief that he is in a long term often solitary quest to save the united states of america from the ills of crushing debt, unsustainable
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entitlements and a broken tax code. he simply doesn't understand why everyone else won't march in lockstep. this goes -- this is sort of a piece with what you have written. tell us more about the psychology of ryan as far as it comes to this sort of crusader mentality. >> yeah. that's from the conservative movement, this idea the new deal state, the government we have grown used to is unsustainable, leading to collapse and often imminent collapse. it's also part of this sort of ayn rand idea that government will inevitably lead to massive societal collapse and this is dangerous and the threat is always right at our doorstep. so that's the sort of movement that ryan comes out of. it's really not per se about reducing the deficit as most people understand it. it's about a larger terror of the new deal and the regulatory state. >> larger existential terror.
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i want to play a piece of sound from mitt romney speaking on "60 minutes" about his thus far unknown love of policy. let's hear that. >> he's a policy guy. people know him as a policy guy. that's one of the reasons he has such respect on both sides of the aisle. i'm a policy guy, believe it or not. i love policy. i love solving tough problems. >> ezra, mitt romney loves policy. are we actually going to see policy as outlined by team romney? >> yeah. i mean, i want to say to mitt romney's credit, in his career before he began running for president, the guy really did love policy. i reported a lot on the process by which he passed the forerunner to obama care, the massachusetts health care reforms. that was quite a policy process he ran. it was very impressive. what's so amazing about the ryan pick is it is a detonation of the romney strategy thus far. thus far the strategy has been do not tell people what your policy is. you release these kind of big grand principles, it will be a
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huge tax cut, we'll have balanced budgets, then people say how will you do that, mr. romney and he doesn't -- it's been amazing how little policy there's been. now he brings on ryan and suddenly he's got to answer for well, there are large holes in ryan's policies, too. the most specific policy thinker on the right, one way or the other. ryan has really taken pretty aggressive stands not just in this budget but throughout his career. so in one day, romney's campaign went from being the most vague challenger campaign for the president in modern history to one of the most specific and frankly, one of the most ambitious. whether or not that's a good political tactical shift, i don't know but it is certainly a huge one. >> jonathan, if there is a romney presidency, the role ryan will play in crafting policy. we talked about this. grover norquist advocated we just need a president who has enough working digits to sign on the dotted line and put the ryan plan in place. now that -- if ryan is romney's
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vice president, sort of how is that dynamic, how does that change the future for american policy? >> there's no going back. i think romney was tied to ryan. that's why i wrote the piece in april. to understand what romney's going to do, look at ryan. ryan is really in charge. conservatives envision romney as a kind of ceremonial head of state who might direct foreign policy but in the domestic arena, he will do what ryan wants. ryan is not a deal maker. ryan's not a compromiser. ryan has a maximalist vision and strategy that he's been pursuing consistently since he basically gained control of the house republican caucus at the beginning of 2010. he's been very diligently and effectively subverting any bipartisan agreement to deal with the deficit over the long term, in the hopes they can win the election, have a majority in both houses and use it to push through his plan pretty much unchanged. >> ezra, i want to ask, in terms of the obama campaign and the medicare question, how to sort
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of best sell the fork in the road to the american public. the "wall street journal" on the editorial page writes our advice is that mitt romney go on offense on medicare. he could hit mr. obama with ads in florida and elsewhere for his $716 billion in medicare cuts and his plan to cut even more with an unelected rationing boards whose decisions under obama care have no legislative or judicial review and finish the ads with a positive view for more patient and medical choice. can romney really do that? can he go on the aggressive with medicare? >> they can give it a shot. it's usually a little tough when you're the republican party and you have paul ryan on the ticket who proposed privatizing medicare two years ago to run as defenders of medicare. as a broad point, i have found the medicare conversation thus far has made me want to slam my head into the wall. everybody keeps saying i want a serious conversation about medicare and not ever saying anything serious about medicare. from the beginning, romney and ryan have said obama's cut
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medicare by $700 billion. what would they do? they are capped in ryan's budget so they agree on those cuts. as for -- they say oh, they don't have a plan. we have a plan to reform medicare to cut the growth of spending. romney and ryan and obama, at least ryan and obama, have the exact same envisioned spending path for medicare, gdp plus 0.5%. they get it in different ways and people can argue about which is more likely to work. but the degree to which this conversation has had no relationship to the actual specifics of the policies is fundamentally infuriating to me. >> for anybody that is interested in specifics, or finding out what paul ryan has actually been up to in the last few years, please go read ezra klein and jonathan chait. thank you for joining us today. after the break, did you know that paul ryan once spent a summer selling processed lunch meat for oscar meyer? there's a metaphor in there somewhere.
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12:30 pm paul ryan is well known around the halls of congress and inside the washington echo chamber but many americans are just learning his name. a cnn/orc poll conducted before his selection as vp candidate found 38% of voters had never heard of him. the "washington post" spoke to voters at a cafe in florida and quoted several people calling paul ryan rick ryan, mike ryan and paul from kentucky, confusing him with senator rand paul. but as voters learn his name, he's already had ground to make up. according to a new "usa today" poll, more than 40% of voters say he's a quote, fair or poor choice for vice president. so who is paul ryan? one glance at his resume shows that while he often rails against the evils of big government, he has spent most of his life in government. paul began as an intern on the hill for wisconsin senator robert kayston, working his way up to become a speech writer for
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jack kemp's think tank and later an aide to senator sam brownback. in 1997, ryan won the congressional election for wisconsin's first district and is now serving in his seventh term. scott, we have talked about sort of potential weaknesses as mitt romney and his team go forward in this election season. one of the things that mitt romney has talked ad nauseam about is his executive experience, something paul ryan has nothing of. the other thing of course is mitt romney blasting government as sort of broken and paul ryan has been there for seven terms. how does this complicate mitt romney's message? >> i think a little bit but i think in the end, those things will probably not matter very much. i remember a similar dynamic in 2008 when barack obama who was running as the ultimate outsider, the outsider's outsider, if you will, picks joe biden, who is a fixture in the senate for years and years. i remember that got a little chatter at the beginning but at the end of the day, it proved to be kind of a nice counterweight to obama's relative lack of
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political experience. in this case, you have somebody who has tried to be in government for many years, mitt romney, but come up short in previous campaigns, has only spent four years as governor. obviously spent his life in the business sector and then you've got paul ryan, who spent his life in washington. it's a fun thing to talk about. i'm not sure at the end of the day if it will matter. >> what about to republicans, you know, who have looked -- or americans looking at paul ryan's voting record. he voted for medicare part d, voted for t.a.r.p., voted for the auto bailout. ryan cites all of these facts in his piece in the "new yorker" but said he felt quote miserable as a fiscal conservative during that era. is paul ryan a team player despite deep convictions, is it vice versa? this of course begs the larger question of a romney/ryan dynamic. if paul ryan is the vice president, how does that affect mitt romney's policy making decisions and vice versa? >> i think there is going to be
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many, many questions to that effect and i think there are going to be questions to that effect in the debate especially. the vice presidential debate. there is no question that there is a litany of votes you amass after a decade and change in congress. romney has said over the weekend that, he had a line about how ryan didn't always want to go into government or wanted to do something else or something. i see no evidence of that in his bio. he was a hill staffer and he has been a congressman for a very, very long time. so i think they are going to have to just get comfortable with this is who the pick is and not make him some kind of outsider that he really isn't. i think the other problem is something you defined early on. with this litany of votes, this -- he is a beltway celebrity but not a celebrity celebrity so it's going to be pretty easy to fill in the blanks if you want to very aggressively. we have not seen a very heavy push, for instance, from chicago on women's issues yet but we will. you are going to see things like focus on the t.a.r.p. support, on the auto bailout. i think there's a lot coming. >> you are going to see more from chicago and specifically
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more from president obama. here he is. he begins a three-day bus tour across iowa today. now he's in the town of counsel bluffs. let's go to him now. >> good to be back! well, it is good to be back in iowa. i missed you guys. thank you. first of all, can everybody please give patricia a big round of applause for the great introduction. couple other people i want to acknowledge. your outstanding former governor, now i think the best secretary of agriculture we've ever had, tom vilsack. congressman leonard boswell. and mayor tom hannifan.
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the sun is coming out. i love being back in iowa. now, we're starting here in council bluffs but we're going to be heading east and i think i'm going to end at the state fa fair. michelle has told me i cannot have a fried twinkie. but i will be checking out the butter cow and i understand this year there's a chocolate mousse so i'm going to have to take a look at that if i can. the last time i went to the state fair, secret service let me do the bumper cars but they said this year, i wasn't president yet so i could do that, but not this time. now, before i get started, i
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just want to say a few words about the drought, because it's had such an impact on this state and all across the country. right now, folks here in iowa and across the heartland, we're suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years. farmers, ranchers, depend on a good crop season to pay the bills, and put a roof over their heads, and i know things are tough right now. the best way to help these states is for the folks in congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes some necessary reforms and gives farmers and ranchers some long-term certainty. unfortunately, right now, too many members of congress are blocking the farm bill from becoming law. i am told that governor romney's
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new running mate, paul ryan, might be around iowa the next few days. he is one of the leaders of congress standing in the way so if you happen to see congressman ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to iowa and our rural communities. we've got to put politics aside when it comes to doing the right thing for rural america and for iowa. now, it's always a problem waiting for congress, so in the meantime, i've made sure my administration led by tom vilsack is doing everything we can to provide relief to those who need it, so last week, we announced $30 million to help ranchers and farmers get more water to livestock and rehabilitate land affected by drought. today we're announcing the federal government will help livestock producers by purchasing over $150 million worth of meat and fish right now while prices are low, we'll
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freeze it for later, but we've got a lot of freezers, and that way, that will help ranchers who are going through tough times right now and also over the long term, obviously, that food's going to be spent by folks at the pentagon and other places. america depends on farmers and ranchers to put food on the table. depends on farmers and ranchers to feed our families. so we've got to be there for them. not just today, but tomorrow and every day until this drought passes, because we are americans, that's what we do. we take care of each other and when tough times strike our neighbors, we give them a hand. >> that was president obama speaking in council bluffs, iowa today, kicking off his three-day bus tour. i don't have an exact time signature on how long it took him to mention paul ryan but right at the top, talking about the drought. mark halperin, talking about what congress' inaction over the farm bill and if you see paul
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ryan around here, tell him he needs to do something about it. this is not the last time the president is going to say the words paul ryan. >> he fused a bunch of stuff there. that's the excerpt the white house put out. first of all, incumbent president dolling out largesse saying here's money to help with the drought. tying ryan to an unpopular city, washington, and an unpopular congress and the republicans in congress. you will hear that from him and joe biden through the convention and i think chairman steele is right, we will see if there's a reset after that. for the next ten days, you will hear a lot of discussion of paul ryan as an obstructionist republican member of congress. >> mark is absolutely right, it would work, but the senate is still in session. so why hasn't harry reid put a bill on the floor to address the drought? so that's the push-back. so the reality of it is yeah, you can call out paul ryan because he's a member of the house and the house is adjourned, they're not there to do that, but the senate's still here. >> how many people know the
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senate -- >> that's a fair point. that's a fair point. congress is painted with a broad brush but the reality of it is there's still an opening to push back and sort of diminish the impact of the initial impression you want to create going after paul ryan on something like the drought, when his own party has failed to do really anything substantive either, because they have not produced a bill to address it. now, opening up government freezers to meat, okay, maybe that helps, but i think we're looking for something a little bit more than the president putting meat in a freezer. >> well, i don't know about that. but it's a reminder of the office of president, reminder of the president opening his largesse and the role of government which is again, back to this fundamental debate about the size and scope of government. we have to go to break. after, foreign policy may be a bit of a foreign concept for paul ryan. will congressman ryan's lack of experience on the world stage compound a mitt romney weakness? newt gingrich does not think so.
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i'm going to shock you. i think it is an advantage that they are not part of the current mess. remember first of all, paul ryan's about the same age as john f. kennedy and theodore roosevelt so you can have young, aggressive leadership that's pretty impressive. second, remember that mitt romney has exactly the same amount of foreign policy experience as ronald reagan. ronald reagan defeated the soviet empire decisively at eight years. so i would rather have romney and ryan rethinking everything. >> that was newt gingrich calling paul ryan's lack of foreign policy experience a quote, advantage. maggie, we have a lot going on in the foreign policy arena. a quick summary, stuff in syria happening, iran, egypt, afghanistan, israel. newt gingrich out there saying he would like mitt romney and paul ryan to rethink everything vis a vis foreign policy. do you think there is an
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appetite among the american public for our leaders to rethink everything on the foreign policy front? >> there is certainly an appetite within the party for mitt romney to express more clear views about where he stands on foreign policy. this has been a complaint about him for months and months and months as they literally made the setbacks, waited for the economy to wash over voters and let that be the entire thing. i think this is not going to be the majority of what moves votes but i think it is important. i think you are also going to see with the ryan debate that's being moderated by a reporter who has got a foreign policy background and so i do think there is going to be increasing focus on this going forward. an outstanding question is does anything happen on the global stage before the election that could then underscore either heighten the president, the sitting president's bona fides on this and make romney and ryan look bad. we just don't know. >> that's the big question, whether it's israel actually hitting a nuclear site in iran, who knows. there's not that much time. but some big flare-up, does that expose the fact that neither romney nor ryan have really any
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foreign policy experience to speak of. here you've got two guys talking about deficits and budgets and the economy and are they sort of caught out. i don't know. >> let's not forget mitt romney's first trip overseas was a debacle. you couldn't get in and out of -- >> that's a strong word. >> how would you describe it, chairman steele? >> challenging. >> challenging. >> it had mixed results. >> mixed results. it started off bumpy, but again, how you land on the shores of europe is not necessarily how you are going to govern and run foreign policy in the united states. you look at some would argue that the obama administration landed perfectly on the shores of europe but the hot rhetoric and the beautiful flowery language that he spoke in germany was not the policy that he executed. it was pretty much right down the line with bush. so these guys when they get into the office, to newt's point, really do have an opportunity to kind of either take what's there and kind of build off of it or
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as newt is arguing, do something different. >> mark, foreign policy is one of the areas where the president has shown a considerable amount of strength, has followed in the vein of many of his conservative predecessors. some would say he pushed a lot of our tax -- especially in terms of national security and counterterrorism, to the right, much to the chagrin of the aclu and others. how does mitt romney stake out a policy prescription that's in any way markedly different than that of the president? >> i think what they're doing is they're cherry picking particular groups that are unhappy with the president's foreign policy. some american jews, some evangelicals are unhappy with his policy towards israel, some polish americans and others who think he has not been tough enough on russia. i don't think foreign policy will be a big part of the debate. one of the things i do in reporting by anecdote is every time i talk to people, i look for voters who voted for mccain, senator mccain in 2008 who are now voting for the president. i found two in the last year, people who didn't vote for the president last time who will
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this time. both of them were on national security. both of them said i want a president who will be tough on terror, who will be tough projecting force around the world and they think barack obama has done that. it's an advantage for him. but again, i don't think that will decide the race. >> is foreign policy also maybe a dog whistle for a sense of experience, and i think in that vein, when you think about the biden/ryan, the paul ryan/joe biden debates, here you have an expert in foreign policy, also seasoned member of congress but someone who can speak with an age-old authority on all things relating to the government. that's going to maybe be an issue for paul ryan who as we know looks and is the same age as one of mitt romney's sons. >> yeah. look, i think the flipside of the obama/biden analogy you were using about the ticket last time is that that was sort of an older figure. it's a little different when you're picking a younger figure. it's not quite the same balance. i do think this is an area where the ticket is going to have to do some very quick catching up pretty fast. i think paul ryan is going to have to do a lot to show and you are already seeing from the
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right support for ryan. there was a story in the daily beast that he's been getting briefings and so forth and they are concerned about this as a sensitive spot. whether he can overcome that remains to be seen. i think this remains as mark said a real strength for the president and i think also unfortunately for the president, not one that's going to be a determination of the election. >> maybe paul ryan should wear a white beard and carry around a passport with a lot of stamps in it. coming up, cold cuts and deep cuts. it is all part of paul ryan's special brand of baloney. that's next. you do a lot of kayakingno. whoooa i'm in a river. what are some good kayaking words? like...rapids? look, i'm going through the rapids. ok. i'll take it.
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into baloney has a first name, it's o-s-c-a-r. my baloney has a second name, it's m-a-y-e-r.
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>> welcome back. as a college student holding down a summer job, paul ryan once worked as an oscar mayer salesman, peddling a new brand of processed lunch meats. he found himself driving the wiener mobile. while his time behind the wheel was brief, he only drove it once, you could make the case that in fact, paul ryan has never truly stopped selling his distinct brand of baloney to the american public. that in some metaphorical sense, he's driven that wiener mobile to capitol hill and spun a series of doughnuts on the floor of congress, much to the hand-clapping glee of fellow republicans. this march, he crowed about his signature budget, that it quote, took on our generation's greatest domestic challenge, reforming and modernizing government to prevent an explosion of debt from crippling our nation and robbing our children of their future. that it would ensure a level playing field for all and that it would return power to individuals, families and
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communities. a good sell from the former baloney hawker but what congressman ryan was really offering was simply his own version of the sulfite rich artery clogging processed red meat that has been on republican menus for the last 30 years. to start, slash programs that might perhaps actually benefit individuals, families and communities or give our children a better shot at the future or ensure a level playing field for all. that includes deep cuts to food stamps, housing assistance, education, general science and basic technology programs, social services, food inspection, reconstruction of bridges and airports and hiring air traffic controllers. and then give the wealthy a tax break, a big tax break, a tax break that even a lot of wealthy people say is too big a break in the name of spurring the economy. while those people who aren't wealthy get, wait for it, a tax hike. and to finish, tell customers that the trillions of dollars lost to these gigantic tax breaks will be paid for by the
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closing of loopholes and economic growth spurred by really, really rich people having even more money in their pockets. like all baloney, tasty but also very bad for you. last week, mitt romney and the people who program him came up with a weird line about president obama. >> we've been watching the president say a lot of things about me and about my policies, and they're just not right. and if i were to coin a term, it would be obama-aloney. he's serving up a dish which is simply in contradiction of the truth and it relates to everything from how i'm going to help the middle class to tax policy. >> it was weird not just because it was kind of awkward and definitely not very funny but because by that point, and in fact two days earlier, governor romney had already opted for baloney and a former baloney salesman to be his running mate. these days, ryan and romney may prefer to travel by private jet and chartered bus, but perhaps it's time to gas up the wiener
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mobile one more time and hit the road. it certainly seems the most efficient vehicle to deliver their message. that does it for me today. thanks again to chairman steele, maggie, mark and scott. that's all for now. see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by patricia murphy, steve kornacki, nicholas confessore. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. here's a look at your business travel forecast on this monday. a pretty simple forecast. there's not a lot of dramatic weather out there today. the heat wave has broken in many areas this past weekend, so temperatures will be summer-like, very typical for where we should be, 80s and 90s. one cool, rainy spot, chicago. possible airport delays. the heat continues in many areas of the west. this happy couple used capital one venture miles
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for their "destination wedding." double miles you can "actually" use. but with those single mile travel cards... [ bridesmaid ] blacked out... but i'm a bridesmaid. oh! "x" marks the spot she'll never sit. but i bought a dress! a toast... the capital one venture card. fly any airline, any flight, anytime. double miles you can actually use. what a coincidence? what's in your wallet? [ all screaming ] watch the elbows ladies. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" where medicare matters. mitt romney in florida today defending paul ryan's proposed cuts. >> he's come up with ideas that are very different than the president's. the president's idea, for instance, for medicare was to cut it by $700 billion. >> while ryan crashes president obama's party in iowa.


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