tv The Last Word MSNBC August 13, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
past ten years? are you more likely to believe that or are you less likely to believe it? and maybe wanting to bolster your belief in it by actually seeing some evidence? this tax returns problem just got worse for mitt romney and not better. that does it for us today. we'll see you again tomorrow night. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a good one. and now we know how paul ryan's political career will end. he's 85 days away from becoming the next losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president. >> i'm thrilled to be a part of america's comeback team and together, we will unite america and get this done! >> tryin' ryan. >> paul ryan. >> paul ryan, paul ryan. >> he's everywhere. >> this weekend's romney had with paul ryan's budget. >> will his budget drive a wedge
in their bromance. >> budget plan. >> where's that romance? >> romance. >> why do you purposely put a medicare and budget proposal you didn't write on the ballot? >> there are about 100 pages here of details. >> it guts medicare. >> changes maerd to essentially a voucher program. >> cuts social program. >> cuts the medicaid, food stamps, transit infrastructure. >> that is what is so controversial. >> the medicare conversation, thus far, has made me want to slam my head into a wall a thousand times. >> we're finding out what paul ryan has actually been up to in the last years. >> how many years of tax returns did you turn over to the campaign? >> is the tax return issue, is it gone? >> this tax thing is going to stay -- >> i'm going to release the same amount of years that governor romney has. >> is it going to come back? >> is paul ryan a better pick than sarah palin? >> i would say he's less -- well, he's -- >> yes, much better. >> give it a little bit of time for people to really get a sense. >> he's sarah palin with gravitas.
>> at least he's believable! >> thank you. >> no one believes mitt romney. >> if you don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee and we'll lose. >> it was a rough first day alone on the vice presidential campaign trail for medicare's worst enemy, paul ryan. >> are you going to cut medicare?! >> i think it's -- [ shouting ] >> it's a simple question! are you going to cut medicare?! >> i would like to be respective of one another. >> like i said -- [ shouting ] >> hey, hey! >> paul ryan, who has been falsely praised by washington republicans as a detail man, obviously doesn't believe that details can help him now. >> congressman ryan, what do you think should be done about the drought problems here? >> oh, we'll get into all these
policy things later, alex. right now i just want to enjoy the fair. >> our job is to strengthen and protect medicare. that's what we do. president obama, they're hopefully rationing medicare. >> mitt romney made a futile trip to florida today, after decisively losing that state on saturday by selecting medicare and social security's worst enemy as his running mate. the biggest problem romney had in florida today was, as expected, paul ryan. >> well, i can tell you what's radical and extreme is to spend $1 trillion more every year than you take in. i'm sure there were places that my budget is different than his, but we're on the same page, as i said before. the items that we agree on, i think outweigh any differences that may be -- we haven't gone through piece by piece, but my plan for medicare is very similar to his plan for medicare. there may be -- we'll take a
look at the differences. >> president obama was in iowa today, where he welcomed paul ryan, the vice presidential candidate he and joe biden were hoping to get a chance to run against. >> this weekend, my opponent, mr. romney, chose his run -- as his running mate, the ideological leader of the republicans in congress. he is an articulate spokesman for governor romney's vision. but the problem is, that vision is one that i fundamentally disagree with. >> a new "usa today"/gallup poll finds paul ryan scores the lowest initial ratings of any vice presidential pick since george h.w. bush picked dan quayle. the nationwide survey taken sunday found 45% of registered voters think ryan is a fair or poor choice. 39% said ryan was excellent or pretty good. 16% have no opinion.
joining me now is former chairman of the democratic national committee and vermont governor, howard dean, and msnbc's steve kornacki and krystal ball. governor dean, a lot of democrats are saying, you know, this is the dream ticket. this is who they wanted on there. i actually don't think it's spin. as much as this is a time for spin, and you were going to get a spin reaction, no matter what in these situations, i don't think they're kidding. i think this is the ticket that the democrats want. >> well, you know, i think you have to be careful of talk like that, because it sounds like you're taking things for granted and you shouldn't. but ryan clearly is not going to help in florida. and it's true that if the democrats win in florida, then it's game over for the republicans. so i do think that governor romney has weakened his position significantly by picking paul ryan. he's an amiable guy, but his views really are extreme. they're extreme on women's issues, they're incredibly extreme on medicare issues. we did -- democracy for america did some polling in six swing
districts, in colorado and pennsylvania and a couple of other states. by three to one, people do not think that medicare should be a voucher program. three to one. even in conservative -- these are swing districts. in some cases, where our candidate or congressional candidate is down. so, you know, he's articulate, he's attractive, i'm sure he says what he thinks, which is always an attracti ivive idea, the problem is what he thinks is way outside the american mainstream in terms of the social compact and in terms of women's rights. >> crystal, he has a fake reputation as being a detail guy. the ryan plan, in fact, leaves out an awful lot of details. for example, it says, we'll lower tax rates, but we will eliminate loopholes. he doesn't specify any of those things that he would eliminate. but today you see him running away from details. how long can he run away from details on the campaign trail about the ryan plan? >> well, obviously, both of them are going to continue to get questions about exactly what's
in the plan, exactly which parts of the plan they're going to implement, if there is a romney presidency. and the problem for romney, as much as he wants to distance himself from the ryan budget, his own budget plan, such as it has been spelled out, which is not that much, is very much along the same lines as the ryan plan, and, of course, he has endorsed the ryan plan and said if it came to his desk, he would sign it. but the romney architecture is the same. it's cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes for the poor and middle class, and pay for it all, also, by cutting social programs that primarily benefit the poor and the middle class. so they are exactly ideologically aligned, and romney's also endorsed, and his plan on medicare voucher grants with, the very same idea that paul ryan has put forward. >> steve, i want you to go way back, all the way back to before the paul ryan vice presidential candidacy. all the way back to friday and think about where the campaign
was then and think about it when you listen to what laura ingraham, conservative radio talk show host, laura ingraham said about how she felt romney was doing on friday, pre-pall ryan. let's listen to it. >> i might be the skunk at the picnic, but i'm going to say it and i'm going to say it clearly. romney is losing. i don't like to start a friday show like this, but i feel like i must. i don't pretend to have all the answers, but i know one thing. conservatism wins. if the election were held today, mitt romney would lose. >> and if the election were held today, mitt romney would lose. but steve, that's where republicans were. they were depressed. >> absolutely. and that's how i interpret this move. i think, there is a large element of panic to it. a large element of desperation to it. but i wouldn't say it's entirely panic and entirely desperation.
if it were all of that, i think romney would have gone andiced chris christie to be his running mate. but there was something here that was report, a chemistry between ryan and romney. romney generally likes him and they thinks he can work with him, doesn't generally think the same of chris christie. i think romney was always intrigued with him. but if this campaign was going the way romney believed it would, where you would have soaring economic anxiety, he thought that would translate into a race that would be tied right now or he would be ahead in. and they said the pick was made august 1st. even if you roll the clock all the way back then. it was still very clear by that point this campaign was not going where romney thought it would be. he was consistently running three or four points behind obama, and that's significant, over time. when that sort of locks in place over two, three, four months, that's significant. when your negatives are rising, that's significant. when you're coming off that foreign trip from hell that he had, that's significant. i think at that point he looked at it and said, portman, pawlenty, thune, they're not going to raise two, three four
months, and ryan may not either, but he's a gamble. the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward or the bigger punishment, but i think they're looking at that. we need something that's going to shake this up and that's where this came from. >> let's listen to the vice president's welcome to his new debating partner in the campaign, joe biden. >> congressman ryan has given definition to the vague commitments that romney's been making. what's gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break? what's gutsy about gutting medicare, medicaid, education? what's gutsy? ladies and gentlemen, we've seen this movie before. and we know how it ends. >> howard dean, it's going to be a great debate between joe biden and paul ryan. >> well, the fundamental problem here is that romney's out of the frying pan into the fire. before the debate, it was about whether he'd paid his taxes or not. that's still going to go on. now the debate is about
republican economic policy. which is not so good for most people. for most of the vast majority of people. so the big problem, and i'm a little surprised at this pick, because it wasn't very strategic. the big problem is, they need a referendum on whether barack obama has managed the economy well. they now are going to have a referendum on whether giving tax cuts to people who make $1 million a year is the right way to manage the economy. i don't get it. i truly don't get it. i do get that they have good chemistry. i don't think that's how you pick a vice president. jack kennedy and lyndon johnson didn't have very good chemistry, but it worked. and in this case, they may have good chemistry, but they're going to have chemistry with about 210 electoral votes by the time we get done. >> rush limbaugh actually made yet another point. i think the second one this year. >> rush limbaugh? >> yeah, he made appoint i agree, governor dean. let's listen to this. >> the pick signals that the decision was made somewhere that we're going to go head first up against -- we're not going to
skirt it with a traditional campaign. we're going to take it straight to them. and we're going to win or we're going to lose, articulating exactly who we are and exactly what we believe and exactly what our vision for america is. ryan can do that. >> krystal, i think that's true. they're going to win or lose articulating what they really think. i think they're going to lose articulating -- >> i think they're going to lose, i don't think they're going to articulate what they really think. i think they're going to try to run away from the ryan budget. >> as close as a politician can. they're going to evade and all that, but they'll try to come closer. >> their big talking point has been, well, forget about pall ryan and medicare. let's talk about the president and all these alleged cuts to medicare that he made. so actually they don't want to really lay out where they stand and where the president stands. they want to obfuscate and do what they've been doing.
as you saw in joe biden's clip, this is something that americans understand. it's very easy to understand what paul ryan stands for and what mitt romney stands for and it's going to be hard for them to run away from that. >> howard deen, steve kornacki and krystal ball, thank you all for joining me tonight. coming up, mitt romney destroyed two things by choosing paul ryan as his running mate. first, he destroyed any chance of the ryan plan actually becoming law, even under a republican presidency, and second, he destroyed paul ryan's political future. and in the "rewrite" tonight, the romney campaign's plan to change the subject from tax returns to paul ryan has so far failed. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+.
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a republican with enough working digits to take orders from paul ryan. but in truth, the ryan plan is dead. deader than ever. it is more dead tonight than it has ever been before. first, senate democrats killed the ryan plan. president obama would have killed it if it ever came to him for his signature, and now mitt romney has killed the possibility of enacting the the ryan plan, even if we have to suffer a romney/ryan administration. but giddy right-wing republicans have not caught on. they don't realize that mitt romney has now done everything he can to kill the ryan plan. rush limbaugh certainly doesn't get it. >> ryan's plan puts you in charge of your medicare. and ultimately, your social security. although, i don't want to muddy the waters with that. forget -- i don't want to scare people with that, but that's eventually what's going to happen. >> but mitt romney knows that he has killed any hope of that happening. any hope of the ryan budget plan
becoming law. >> there's no question, your campaign has been trying to make this election a referendum on barack obama. now, some people are saying, you are making it a referendum on paul ryan's budget plan. >> 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. >> so mitt romney has no intention on running on the ryan plan or enacting the ryan plan, and if he's president, what better way to eliminate the possibility of a ryan plan competing with a romney plan than removing paul ryan from the congress and sticking him in an office where he has to take orders from mitt romney. joining me now are ezra klein, columnist for "the washington post," and an msnbc analyst, and bruce bartlett, who served as executive director of the joint economic committee, as a senior policy analyst in the reagan white house, and as deputy assistant secretary of the treasury, he is now a columnist for the fiscal times and a
contributor for "new york times." and bruce, you also served, in a sense, with paul ryan. tell us about your work overlap with paul ryan. >> well, it wasn't so much we worked together as we have a common person in our lives, which was jack kemp, whom i worked for the in the 1970s. and when i first met paul ryan about 20-some years ago, he was actually an intern for jack kemp when he was head of a group called empower america. and paul has long believed or aspired to really be the jack kemp for today. >> and he's on his way to that, which was jack kemp's experience as a losing vice presidential candidate, i think. but bruce, your "fiscal times" piece of august 10th -- and i say this, remember, i'm the guy who said tim pawlenty was first going to win the republican
nomination for president. and when he dropped out, i said, obviously tim pawlenty is going to get the vice presidential nomination, but your august 10th headline of "fiscal times" is paul ryan will not be mitt romney's running mate. what happened here, bruce? >> well, the operation was a success, but unfortunately the patient died. well, look, my argument was essentially political, that it simply makes no sense for romney to put ryan on the ticket, if only because he doesn't attract a single new vote to romney that he didn't already have. and he brings along a lot of baggage, the ann rand stuff, the abolish medicare stuff. so it just made no sense to me. and i still think that's right. i have yet to find a compelling argument for why romney picked ryan. >> well, i don't think you're going to find one from me. ezra klein, let's get into the ryan plan, and what his stardom
is based on. what is in the ryan plan and what is left out of the ryan plan. >> so what is in the ryan plan at this point is a somewhat softer, from its initial version, way of moving medicare over to private insurance, or retain the option to be a normal medicare, but you pick from a bunch of private insurers too. >> that's the latest -- that's the thing that -- >> that is the new version. that is ryan 2.0. >> that he worked out with ron wyden. >> exactly. >> but that was never voted on or put into legislative language in any way. >> no, no, it is in the latest budget, in the second iteration of the budget, this year's budget, that is the version of support that is in there, to my knowledge. >> okay. >> but the big cut wednesday to medicaid. >> go ahead, yeah. >> so it softened medicaid's cut. in the next ten years, nothing really happens to medicare. they keep obama's cuts. medicare takes $650 billion cut, you lose about 30 million people
who had been covered by medicaid in addition to another 15 million or so who would have been covered by the affordable care act through private insurance subsidies. so right there, you have the ryan/romney budget, probably taking about 45 million, 50 million people out of health care insurance. >> and bruce, it establishes the -- the ryan plan establishes only two income tax brackets. it's pretty close to a flat tax. a 10% bracket for singles making under $50,000, couples under $100,000, and a 25% bracket for everything above that. and the ryan argument is, it will be deficit neutral, because he will eliminate whatever deductions and loopholes need to be eliminated in order to gain the same revenue in the tax system, but he offers absolutely no specifics on what would be eliminated in the deduction group. >> that's exactly right. but in that respect, both mitt romney and paul ryan are on the
same boat, which is, they are very, very specific about precisely what huge tax cuts they would enact, especially for the rich, but have said not one single word about what deducti n deductions or loopholes they would get rid of to pay for those tax cuts. and as the brookings institution has proven, it's mathematically impossible to gain enough revenue by getting rid of deducdeduck ductions and loopholes to pay for that reduction in tax rates for the rich. and pby the way, the corporate tax rate also comes down to 25% in ryan's plan. >> so, if, for example, you wiped out every deduction including the home mortgage deduction and then wreaked havoc on the housing mark in america, which is already in trouble, you still wouldn't be able to do what ryan claims his plan would do in taxation. and ezra, ryan has this reputation as being a deficit hawk, and the press just puts it
in there, automatically, beside his picture, beside his name, every single time. and what, exactly, does the ryan plan do to the deficit? >> over time, it brings it down. you don't get a balanced budget until about 2030. and by the way, i sort of think this is unfair. because what you need to know about the ryan plan, when you hear all these deficit numbers about how low it goes over time, they went to the congressional budget office, the people who score this stuff, and they said, assume our tax plan doesn't lose any revenue. assume, our frankly insane level of cuts to long-term discretionary spending. they bring everything the government does that is not an entitlement program down to over 4% of gdp by 2050. it's just ridiculous. they say, assume that works out, assume everything goes the way we want it to, and that's how they get to their current deficit number. so it does bring the debt down as a percent of gdp over the next couple of decades. it doesn't balance until about 2030, 2040, but you're dealing with very unusual and unlikely assumptions to get it there.
>> and so, bruce, the ryan plan was not bring the budget into balance during mitt romney's lifetime, or what an act wactua would say his life expectancy is, yet still they say he's our greatest deficit hawk, our real fiscal conservative. what happens to fiscal conservatives on the republican side that they think it's okay to just do all of this kind of budget cutting, tax cutting, and forget about deficits? >> well, they become obsessed with cutting taxes. i would like to just add that paul ryan voted in favor of the medicare expansion in 2003, an unfunded, new entitlement program. he basically torpedoed the simpson/bowles commission, by refusing to support it. and he essentially torpedoed any effort at a long-term budget solution last summer, all because for one reason, basically. he refuses to accept the necessity of raising even one penny of additional taxes to
reduce the deficit. but as ezra points out, he ordered the cbo to simply assume that revenues would go up on the basis of nothing. >> but he did -- and we're going to discuss this in the next segment, he did vote for the single craziest tax increase ever proposed in congress, a 90% income tax on certain income earners. we'll discuss that next. ezra klein and bruce bartlett, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. coming up, why running with mitt romney is the road to nowhere to paul ryan. and in the "rewrite," the one thing the moderators at this year's presidential and vice presidential debates must ask. and later, sister simone will join us to explain to me what she was trying to explain to bill o'reilly about poverty in america.
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mitt romney's selection of paul ryan as a running mate is not a good thing for paul ryan or mitt romney and it's not a good thing for deer in wisconsin, because he's going to have an awful lot of time to spend with them after this election. what you need to know about the next losing vice presidential candidate who will never be president is next.
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never be president. the television age has been harshly unforgiving to losing vice presidential candidates. many of them have run for president after that, but none of them have won. they include henry cabot lodge, william miller, edmund muskie, sergeant shriver, bob dole, walter mondale, geraldine ferraro, lloyd bentsen, dan quayle, jack kemp, joe lieberman, john edwards, and who can forget, sarah palin. even if paul ryan is re-elected to his house seat in november, he will be forced to give up his budget committee chairmanship under the house republican term limits rules for chairman. he will also, of course, be blamed within the party for helping to sink the republican ticket with his radical plan for repealing and replacing medicare. and, so, he will sit in the house of representatives with all of the power of a junior member, plotting his run for
president in 2016, or he might reasonably find the power of a junior member so dispiriting, after having had the power of a chairman, that he resigns from the house to plot his run for the presidency from the comfort of the only private sector job he has known working in the ryan family business, a business that has made him rich, the same way paris hilton got rich, through inheritance. some of the same pundits who were foolish enough to think that sarah palin was a front-runner for president this time will surely take ryan's presidential candidacy seriously, but he will do no better than dan quayle, joe lieberman, and john edwards did when they ran for president after being losing vice presidential candidates. and he will watch the republican presidential nomination next time go to one of the lucky ones, one of the lucky republicans, who was not selected by mitt romney to be
the next losing vice presidential candidate,, who will never be president. joining me now, karen finney, former dnc communications director and msnbc political analyst, and msnbc contributor, joy reid. we now know enough about paul ryan's future. i think that's settled. we should talk about his past a little bit, because i think he's not as well known as he should be at this stage for a vice presidential candidate. first of all, he's a rich kid, okay? let's just get this straight. i was reading his financial disclosure forms today. i don't have his tax returns, so i was reading his financial disclosure forms, house of representatives. it's pages and pages and pages of stock ownership that he has, that just goes on for 20 pages. and big, big numbers. and the biggest numbers being things like the ryan/hudder
partnership. his great grandfather started a very successful business paving roads, which is to say government contracts. his grandfather was also rich through that same system. his father, rich. listen, i'm sorry, i speak from the world of those who have inherited nothing and are going to inherit nothing for the rest -- we think, if you inherited something, you're a rich kid. i'm sorry. i mean, he's inherited millions. this kid -- only in romney world is he not a rich guy. >> i was going to say, compared to romney, he's kind of a poor kid. >> or to romney's kids wit. they've got $100 million. >> he's like the sixth son of the five romney boys. not to mention, now you have a guy who after his father passed actually relied on social security, survivor benefits, to help pay college, and yet he wants to take that away from other kids who aren't rich kids, who didn't -- don't have an inheritance to fall back on, as they rtry to get to college. >> joy, the history of paul ryan
is that he voted for every single thing that blew open the budget deficit under george w. bush. voted for the tax cuts, obviously. then he voted for completely unfunded provision, the expansion of medicare prescription drugs. so he built this deficit, just as much as george w. bush did. >> and he voted for t.a.r.p. which i love to remind people, john boehner wept on the floor of the house, begging republicans to vote for. and he did vote for it. so, yeah, the guy did -- that he's a fiscal conservative is kind of ridiculous when you look at his voting record. but i think paul ryan, because he's a rich kid in part, is the triumph of ideology when you know that the consequences will never fall on you or yours. it's easy to say, people should just get used to over time not having medicare and social security. they'll just get used to it. we'll start it ten years from now. we'll phase it in. we'll phase these programs out. because it's never going to affect you.genital wealth. his cousins are running the firm he's still heir too.
that's why he can be a pure ideologue, even when his voting record completely blows away the idea he's a conservative fiscally. >> and he married rich too. his wife recently inherited about $5 million. and speaking of t.a.r.p., glad you brought that up, paul ryan voted for the single craziest tax increase in history. in 2009, march of 2009, charlie rangel introduces in the house this bill to put a 90% -- a 90% income tax on bonuses for any of these wall street guys who get bonuses, who all -- in companies that also received t.a.r.p. funds. paul ryan found a tax increase he would vote for. and by the way, unconstitutional. senate didn't even bring it up. everything about it was crazy. he voted for that tax increase. >> but remember, for the bush budgets, he'd say, it wasn't his fault. now the story is, well, i was a junior member and i had to do what i was told. and gee, the fact that i've been
in washington some 20 years, that doesn't make may creature of washington. i'm actually a leader of washington. >> two bills passed. >> so you've got to get with the new program, there, lawrence. there's some new talking point os out there. >> everything he has brought to a vote in the house of representatives, none of it has become law, since he's been chairman. he passed one little thing about taxation of arrows, literally. he, himself is an archer, an archery hunter kind of guy. but there's a lot more we're going to learn about him over time. i think we're going to see a lot of these detailed studies in the press about what's in these financial disclosure forms of his. but i think, as i said earlier in the show, rush limbaugh's right, isn't he, joy, that this really is as focused a version of the difference in the ideas between the current republican party and the democratic party as you could ask for. mitt romney wasn't that. paul ryan is that. >> no, i think you're absolutely right. this is mitt romney completely buying the blue plate special of the right, right? and of the part of the right
that believes, because most of them are rich, that we can wean america off of the social safety net. that we can get rid of it solely over time, as long as we don't need the current elderly, because we need them to vote for them. that's what mitt romney has decided to embrace. i think it's the boldest pick he could have made, because everybody else is boring. but other than that, i think it's not a good thing for him. >> but consider the message. what they're saying is, it's not going to go into effect for ten years, and then we'll make it better. while obama says, why don't we just make it better now? how about that? >> we know it's bad for current medicare beneficiaries -- >> but we're not going to the touch it. >> but romney will fix it. >> we can't tell you how, but trust us. >> karen finney and joy reid, you guys just keep going. the one question that mitt romney and paul ryan do not want to be asked in the debates is the one question that the debate moderators absolutely must ask, and that is next in the "rewrite." and later, one of the leaders of the nuns on a bus,
sister simone, joins me to talk about paul ryan and bill o'reilly. max. this is the plan that revolves around you. introducing share everything. unlimited talk. unlimited text. and a single pool of sharable data that powers up to 10 devices. the first plan of it's kind. share everything. only from verizon. add a smartphone for just $40 monthly access.
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bundle and save with an allstate agent. are you in good hands? paul ryan's worship of ian rand tells you everything you need to know about his budget philosophy and his recent public betrayal of his devotion to ian rand tells you everything you need to know about him as a politician. that's coming up. and next in the "rewrite," the question that the presidential debate moderators must ask. preparation for events to come. well somewhere along the way, emily went right on living. but you see, with the help of her raymond james financial advisor, she had planned for every eventuality. ...which meant she continued to have the means to live on... ...even at the ripe old age of 187. life well planned. see what a raymond james advisor can do for you.
job one for mitt romney's running mate is to make questions about candidates' tax returns disappear. let's see how he's doing. >> how many years of tax returns did you turn over to the campaign? >> well, it was very exhaustive vetting process. it's a confidential vetting process, so there were several years, but i'm going to release the same amount of years that governor romney has. but i got to tell you, bob -- >> and how many was that? >> two. he's -- i'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing. >> well, okay. that was his first interview. his very first interview. but, surely, the political media is going to get tired of this tax return thing. >> how many years of tax returns did you provide to the romney campaign? >> well, i don't know the exact number, george, but i, you know, it was over several years, i
believe. >> several years. so more than two? >> well, we don't get into the details of the vetting process, but i gave them a bunch of tax returns. i don't remember the exact number of years. >> before we leave the subject of the vet, can you tell us how many years of tax returns you submitted? >> no. but thanks for asking. >> that's right. republicans are betting that mitt romney's choice of paul ryan will save them all from answering questions about their tax returns. but that can happen only if the presidential debate and vice presidential debate moderators go along with the republican strategy. there is very little chance of mitt romney or paul ryan submitting to anymore interviews outside of the safety of fox news. they have obviously made the calculation that they can seal themselves off from legitimate media inquiry and just hope they get through the debates without any of them asking a question
about tax returns. most debate moderators prefer to ask high-minded policy questions instead of seemingly small questions about individual tax returns. but this year, we have a presidential candidate who has broken with precedent and refused to release his tax returns and he happens to be the richest presidential candidate in history. and he has said, publicly, that he will not release his tax returns, because he believes there is politically damaging information about him in his tax returns. >> our democrat friends take what's there, twist it, distort it, dishonestly use it, in attack ads. i just don't want to give them more material than is required. >> and so tonight, the only people standing between mitt romney and his quest to win the white house without answering questions about his tax returns
are the debate moderators. they will have plenty of time to ask policy questions and they will each have time to ask the candidates who are hiding their tax returns a simple question. why? governor romney, given the fact that you found it perfectly reasonable to release 23 years of your tax returns to the mccain campaign four years ago when they were considering you for the vice presidential nomination and given the fact that crow demanded to see several years of paul ryan's tax returns to evaluate his fitness to serve as vice president, why shouldn't voters be able to see your tax returns and paul ryan's tax returns to make the same judgment you did about candidates' fitness to serve? congressman ryan, you found it perfectly reasonable to show
your tax returns to the romney campaign. why won't you let american voters know what's in those tax returns? we know that mitt romney and paul ryan will give evasive answers to those questions, but that is not a reason not to ask those questions. they will also give evasive answers to most of the moderators' policy questions. but knowing the candidates will be evasive about policy will not stop these moderators from asking them about policy. you might want to take a minute right now to tell the debate moderators you want them to ask romney/ryan why they are hiding their tax returns. [ obama ] i'm barack obama and i approve this message.
[ male announcer ] you work hard. stretch every penny. but chances are you pay a higher tax rate than him... mitt romney made twenty million dollars in two thousand ten but paid only fourteen percent in taxes... probably less than you now he has a plan that would give millionaires another tax break... and raises taxes on middle class families by up to two thousand dollars a year. mitt romney's middle class tax increase.
tell me what you want -- >> what i want is money in the pockets of hard-working people that are living below the poverty level. >> okay, so if they can't earn it, you want to give it to them, to a certain extent. >> my point is that people are earning it. the other challenge we face, is that for every job opening right now, there you are four applicants. so i believe that, one, we have to deal with the debt by raising taxes. we can't afford the bush-era tax cuts. >> but, wait, if you raise taxes, what if that makes the economy worse. >> oh, it won't. it won't. >> but it has in the past. >> excuse me. it won't. >> joining me now, fresh off her attempt to explain poverty to bill o'reilly, sister simone,
national executive director of the lobby. bill o'reilly throws out that old idea of, oh, if you raise taxes, it will make the economy worse. he apparently slept through the 1990s, where he raised taxes. president clinton did the biggest tax increase in history in 1993 and the economic growth in that decade was just astronomical. >> well, that's certainly true. he also lived through a number of other lessons, i believe, one is that people should make a living wage. they should be able to support their families with what they earn. and also, the very real concept that families deserve to eat, to have housing, and in our richest nation on earth, we're not bankrupt. we can afford this, if we're responsible. >> sister, i'm guessing that one of the o'reilly unstated agenda items tonight was to have you on to kind of, i don't know, chip away at your aura, as it were,
because you have directly opposed the paul ryan budget. and the fox news job is to get paul ryan elected to the vice presidency and they certainly don't want you or anyone else standing in the way of that. what is it that paul ryan doesn't understand about budgeting, that you would like him to understand? >> well, there's several things he doesn't understand. one is that we have a faithful budget that put together by the jewish, christian, and muslim community here in d.c., which says that we need reasonable revenue for responsible programs. and in 55 pages, we set out a fair amount of detail about it. the other piece that he doesn't understand, as a catholic, which really saddens me, is the fact that we are community. that we are in this together. we need to have each other's backs. only wealthy people can ever begin to pretend that they can live in a gated community all by themselves, and not be reliant on everyone else. in the places where we visited
on our fabulous bus trip, we were in low-income communities everywhere, where we saw amazing community built. where people know how to share, where their lives are better because they know each other, and where they can engage in service to the community, and in that way, create a better life for their families. paul ryan doesn't have a clue about that. we would really love to show both he and governor romney the reality of hard-working folks at the margins of our society, making a difference. >> well, sister, paul ryan has said that -- i'm just -- he said the reason he got involved in public service -- i'm reading something he said, word for word, if he had to give credit to one thinker, one person, it would be ayn rand, who was very much someone opposed to any of the kinds of treatment of the poor that jesus christ, another political philosopher, who was available as an influence to paul ryan, as possibly even the most single most important influence to him, that he
rejected the teachings of jesus christ over the teachings of ayn rand. >> right. one of the things that's concerning to me is that a year and a half ago, i believe it was, that he said all these things about ayn rand. and now he's saying many of the same things about catholic social teaching, without acknowledging the difference between the very basic philosophies. and as a catholic myself, i look to jesus' work to be at the margins with the people who suffer. but the other piece that gets missed is that catholic social teaching talks about the positive role of government. and it's the positive role of government to offset the excesses of any culture. and in our nation, i believe the excess of culture that needs to be offset is excessive individualism. paul ryan seems to think only that the responsibility of the individual should extend rugged individualism and not counter it with the rest of catholic social teaching. >> well, of course, being the politician that he is this year, he very conveniently dropped his