tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC August 15, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
stone" executive editor, eric bates. msnbc contributor, sam stein of the huffington post. patricia murphy is a contributor to the daily beast and mr. sunday morning himself, "new york times" magazine editor, hugo lindgren. with 83 days to go in the election of great big issues, it's back to small ball. the last 24 hours have been consumed by outrage from team romney over this comment made by vice president joe biden. >> romney wants to -- he said in the first hundred days, he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. unchain wall street. he's going to put y'all back in chains. >> the vice president later said he meant to use the word unshackled, a term he got from mitt romney's running mate, paul ryan. this is what congressman ryan said in his state of the union response last year. >> i see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what lincoln called the central ideas
of the republic. we believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people of every background to succeed and prosper. >> still, the romney campaign is hammering the vice president's remarks, saying it is a strategy of demonization. this morning, romney said the obama campaign was trying to create distractions from what really matters. >> the comments of the vice president as i heard them, i thought were one more example of a divisive effort to keep from talking about the real issues. >> with that, you would assume team romney might be eager to talk about some of those big issues, right? not so much. a day after mitt romney refused to say how his medicare plan would or would not differ from congressman ryan's, his own running mate was unable to explain how mitt romney's medicare plan was different than president obama's. >> doesn't your budget also contemplate very major changes on medicare with something like the same amount? >> only president obama raids
$716 billion from the medicare program. he cut $716 billion from the medicare program to pay for obama care. >> right. >> we don't do that. >> you say how much? >> the point -- i join the romney ticket and what mitt romney is proposing to do is repeal all of obama care. >> he did a similar dodge comparing their respective budget plans. >> the budget plan that you are now supporting would get to balance when? >> well, the budget plan that mitt romney is supporting gets us down to 20% of gdp government spending by 2016. >> i get that but what about balance? >> i don't know exactly when it balances because we haven't -- i don't want to get wonky on you. we haven't run the numbers on that specific plan. >> so if you don't want to actually get into specifics, maybe it's just better to go back to flame throwing. >> this is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. mr. president, take your campaign, the division and anger
and hate back to chicago. >> sam stein, big ideas, big ideas, big ideas, but when it comes to the question of what are those ideas, it seems like team romney, paul ryan included, has a very hard time enumerating and explaining those big ideas. >> yeah. you hit on it in the introduction. a lot of this is just a distraction from actual substantive conversation. full disclosure, my wife works in this administration and has been staff with biden. he stepped in it yesterday but we have a conversation between what we want to pick up. it could have been about campaign ethics and what's over the line and what isn't over the line. we in the media are as guilty as anyone else. we chose the latter and are in a situation where we're discussing what's out of bounds, what's inbounds, who said what first, who's to blame. it's a disservice in a lot of respects but also, the campaigns kind of want this. they want to talk about minor
things because it's easier to do that than debate substantive issues. >> it's worth noting that this went from, you know, what is effectively a biden gaffe given his past history to mitt romney using some of the strongest language we've heard yet, calling the president someone who is filled with hate and really accusing him of being a dividing force in this country. >> i do think, though, that joe biden needs to take a little more responsibility for what he said. to be in danville, virginia, which was a capital of the confederacy, speaking to an african-american audience. if a republican had said the exact same thing, there would be calls from the naacp from a lot of groups to say you need to retract those words and i think biden, i think, should take more responsibility for what he said just to get the small piece out there. obviously the romney campaign will take full advantage of something joe biden does. that's just very natural. but i do agree that this is just dragging us back down into small ball when we need to be up here.
i think that brit hume interview was very impressive because he really pushed ryan to give details and this is the first time i have ever seen paul ryan refuse to give details. this is his bread and butter. it's very clear the romney campaign has said nix on the details because you're getting us into trouble. >> it was in the words of one republican strategist i spoke with, it was clunky which i think is a euphemism. you look at that and cringe. >> it was cringe-inducing. to the joe biden thing, without getting too bogged down in this because i think we are culpable in making this more of a story than it actually is, and it is more about the big issues facing the country. jonathan capehart had a very strong rejoinder to the contention that joe biden needs to apologize more. i will read you this from the "washington post" this morning. the high judgment of the romney campaign is rather precious. this is the campaign that seemed perfectly fine with john sununu saying he wished the president quote learned to be an american. this is the campaign that continues to be a-ok with donald trump's birtherism. this is the campaign mute in the face of representative allen
west's assertion that obama would rather have you be his slave. eric bates, how do we get past this and go to the big issues? >> i think it will blow over pretty quickly. i don't think we will have to do much to get past it. romney's response is interesting. he called the obama administration angry and desperate. well, you can call obama a lot of things. angry isn't one that comes to mind very often and i think his own supporters would like to see president obama more angry than he is. desperate, if you want a sign of desperation, latching on to something that joe biden said as evidence of anything, that's an act of desperation. >> he is the vice president. >> yes. >> i think it's fair game. >> he's almost gaffe-proof in terms that we have come to expect that and it's a reflection of who he is and how he talks. >> there's an interesting point, which is what is signified by what biden was trying to say,
regardless of his choice of words. what he was trying to do was really play to the base and try to sort of inflame people who are already voting for obama, people -- and it's interesting because in the context of the ryan choice, you would kind of think that would clear the way to the middle for the democrats, and instead, biden comes out and says something like this which is not a play for the middle at all. >> why isn't it a play for the middle? what he was basically trying to say and he did it incredibly inartfully is they will let banks write their own regulations again. >> the first part, i agree, but then he goes into this rhetorical flourish that plays to a house full of -- >> but to eric's part, he also said if you win this, you can help us carry north carolina and he was in virginia. >> we're in an interesting time where the reaction to ryan has been maybe unique in politics, where both sides cheered it. when ryan was picked, democrats said great, that's what we want. republicans and conservatives said great, that's what we want.
the reason that's so is because it's the base on both sides saying that. both bases see hay to be made out of ryan. the question is how does he play to the middle. >> what i want to know, and i ask you guys this and sam, you know, i have said this before, what is the plan? mitt romney has not seemed to have had a plan for any of the major sort of planks and pieces of his candidacy, whether that's the tax return stuff or the well stuff or religion stuff. he went out there and nominated paul ryan or chose paul ryan to be his vice presidential pick. this dude, this is the standard bearer for the republican house caucus. he is the guy that has put forward this very signature, extreme legislation and yet they have no sort of strategy, it seems, to address that and how the romney plan and the romney administration would be different than what paul ryan's proposed. >> yeah. you're hitting on the point, bring it back to what biden was talking about. mitt romney has said he's not for dodd-frank. he wants to repeal the regulatory legislation which by standard measures probably falls
very short of what we need but let's put that aside. he says let's put in something more streamlined, more 21st century, more modern, but he hasn't actually said what it is. he's talked about cutting the size of government, getting us towards a balanced budget. he hasn't filled in the specifics about what he would actually cut or what taxes he would -- tax credits he would let lapse. today he was talking about pbs, national endowment for the arts. >> amtrak. the evil money sucker. >> it doesn't cost that much, all things considered. they could use better internet, too. >> side note to amtrak. >> my point is, your point is right which is that they haven't actually filled in the blanks. you would think by picking paul ryan, you would get those blanks filled in. but the first step they've taken actually has been to say listen, there are areas of disagreement between us and yet they won't tell us what those areas are. >> this is not the first time something like this has happened in the history of presidential politics. >> no, but they get credit for being bold, right? >> yes. >> yesterday, romney said i haven't gone through point by point to figure out how these plans are different.
i'm like how can you not have? i hope you're lying right now. >> he's been busy talking to the media. i think it will be interesting to see as those things emerge, they will come out. this is a question that's not going to go away. they will come up with an answer. >> i would say two things about this. first off, the plan is not to have a plan. that's the plan. >> exactly. >> because -- >> i thought that was obama's plan. >> we don't put anything out there, you can't attack it. >> don't nominate the plan guy to be vp. >> number two, you nominate the plan guy. the plan guy's plan isn't a plan. it's blank on the part that matters. we're going to cut taxes, we're going to blow a hole in the deficit, then we will make it up somehow. >> growth. >> through some cuts that we're not going to specify. that's not a plan. >> there's enough detail in there to really send a shiver through the spine of a lot of independent voters. there is a lot of detail and there have been multiple ryan budget plans and the reason conservatives love paul ryan is because of his budget. so if you want to get conservatives on your side and
you pick paul ryan, you better stick with the paul ryan budget. >> the other reason they love him is because he's a good spokesman, good politics, very affable, good face. i think ultimately what romney did, he picked the talent over the tactics. that is an interesting choice. now there's a chance of like, you know, a pretty good speech by the vice presidential nominee for the republican party which is, you know, exciting. >> exactly. i would take issue, they have chosen him because he's well-spoken and can talk about policy but they're not letting him speak about policy. so you have what you had last night. which was far from an elegant -- >> they're going to clear that up. they are. >> you know, when you talk to democrats about this, the main source of frustration is not necessarily that the policies are all wrong, although they think they are. it's that the republican ticket they feel gets credit for being bold when in fact, what they're doing is being opaque and not bold. there's one thing to do what obama did which is to say i'm going to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and then risk the backlash that comes with saying
you're going to raise taxes. it's another thing to do what romney has done which is say i'm going to cut taxes but it's going to be balanced and not listing where you are going to let the loopholes expire. one's bold and one's not and the whole narrative is backwards. >> smoke and mirrors is another word for it but that's just me. after the break, the paul ryan pick may do absolutely nothing for mitt romney among hispanic and female voters. but the congressman is a magnet for campaign cash. we'll discuss ryan's donor magnetism, next. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life.
that was a new spanish language ad from the romney campaign and it couldn't have come at a better time. an nbc news/"wall street journal"/telemundo poll shows romney losing the hispanic vote by 44 points, a near historic low for any republican candidate in the last decade. his selection of paul ryan likely will not help him improve his standing among those voters, nor among women. ryan will, however, be helpful with rich people. case in point, ryan hit the vegas strip last night for a closed door meeting with billionaire casino magnate sheldon adelson who also happens to be under federal investigation. was it a fund-raiser? the romney campaign insists it was only a finance event. what we may think of as a fund-rai fund-raiser, they call a finance event since no money was paid to attend. just like outsourcing is different than offshoring. and a tax may be different than a penalty.
>> the governor believes that what we put in place in massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the court's ruling that the mandate was a tax. >> but he agrees with the president that it is not and he believes that you shouldn't call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine? >> that's correct. but the president also needs to be held accountable for his hypocritical and contradictory statement. >> hypocritical and contradictory statements or stripping away the social safety net is going from an entitlement society to an opportunity -- to an opportunity society. the romney dictionary is growing, the definitions ever longer. i want to talk to you guys first about the spanish language ad. patricia, we know mitt romney has a problem with hispanics. we talked about the paul ryan pick and where it will help him and where it may hurt him. it may hurt him even more among hispanics given ryan's opposition to the dream act and certainly among women it doesn't
look like he will do many favors. >> no. again, i think it goes back to not just each individual specific group, hispanics or african-americans or women. i think the problem with paul ryan is the overall thrust of his cuts to medicare and medicaid and yet that does start to hurt individual groups. women, very, very concerned about the details of the paul ryan plan. obviously african-americans, hispanics. there's nothing he has in his resume to change that dynamic other than to make it worse for those groups. i think also the republican party, this is just the price they're going to pay at the polls for what's been going on with the republican party over the last for years. not one single republican senator backing comprehensive immigration reform. marco rubio came out with a much more modified plan for the dream act but then wouldn't spoupport what the president did for the dream act. believe in him if you want to but hispanics are not going to
support you when it comes time for election. >> today is a day the president's new amnesty plan goes into effect which is likely to win him some favor among the hispanic community which has very much been in favor of amended policy. eric, the one thing paul ryan has shown some prowess is fund-raising. we were comparing paul ryan's fund-raising hall to sarah palin's when she was nominated. in three days, romney and ryan raised $7.4 million. mccain raid $8 million. what remains to be seen is if paul ryan ends up being as bad a choice for the ticket as sarah palin ended up being but there will be no shortage of cash infused into this campaign in the interim. >> the difference is that paul ryan is closely tied and a favorite of many of the big conservative donors, particularly americans for prosperity and the club for growth which are two of the key drivers of the conservative, far right conservative policy agenda. palin was sort of a darling but
ryan is an insider. he's somebody who has built up connections with these guys over the years. mitt romney didn't need a lot of help with fund-raising. he was doing pretty darned good in that department. i think all the talk of that's why ryan was picked is sort of overblown but he brings that to the ticket for sure. >> that goes back to the riddle of the selection in the first place, like the places he helped are the places where romney didn't have a lot of problems. yes, the conservatives had lukewarm feelings about romney but they weren't in any danger of voting for obama so sure, he doesn't help with hispanics or any of the key demographics. >> paul ryan does have a two-faceted addition with fund-raising. first is grassroots donors. that 7.4 came from about 101,000 online donations. >> which is a change for his fund-raising base. >> in the super pac era, you can have the koch brothers write a check for $10 million to the super pac. that's something mccain and palin never had.
so if we want to get the true sense of how big an impact this has on fund-raising which was never romney's problem, we will have to wait to see what restore our future has in their filing. i have a sense it will be big. >> and as eric points out, paul ryan is a favorite of a lot of the super pac super heroes, the koch brothers and sheldon adelson, who he met with last night. i don't know if he's a favorite given we don't know paul ryan's position on a lot of adelson's key concerns but he is someone i enjoy discussing on this program because he is such a powerful figure in republican politics and such a figure of mystery and intrigue. i think the question is at what point he becomes a liability for the republican party, given the fact that he is under federal investigation for his actions in china and alleged bribery, and now that he's making requests, public requests of the candidate which is to say mitt romney, asking him to promise to release an israeli spy, usually as far
as i understand it, these things work like the guy gets elected, you go to the white house and then when the doors are closed, you say these are the favors i need. you don't do it before he's actually elected and you don't do it publicly. >> he does have his very own style. i don't think sheldon adelson is really going to hurt among voters. i think it's pretty inside baseball and it's certainly not going to hurt him on voters within the next 90 days unless something really goes down. all you have to do is really look back at the clinton years. there was all kinds of funny business going on with their donors and it didn't -- >> behind closed doors. >> all the hurt is erased by $10 million worth of aid for the campaign. >> absolutely. you take your lumps and go cash your check. not a bad plan. >> we will see. coming up, another fast and furious sequel. house republicans file a suit against eric holder, frequent foil and witness of darrell issa. >> have you and your attorneys
produced internally the materials responsive to the subpoenas? >> we believe that we have responded to the subpoena. >> no, mr. attorney general, you're not a good witness. a good witness answers the question asked. let's go back again. >> we will discuss issa's suit and pursuit when the ranking member of the oversight committee, congressman elijah cummings joins us live ahead on "now." but that doesn't mean we should be penalized for it. that's why liberty mutual insurance policies come standard with accident forgiveness, if you qualify. learn more at libertymutual.com. his morning starts with arthritis pain. and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve.
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they lied to congress. they then covered it up for ten months and that's what they're claiming privilege. much of what we're asking for is who lied to us, who produced the document behind the scenes, did they know or didn't they know they were providing it. >> that was chairman of the house oversight committee, darrell issa, who announced this week he is suing attorney general eric holder for failing to turn over documents related to the fast and furious program. this civil lawsuit comes after the house had voted to place the attorney general in contempt of congress, but the department of justice refused to push forward with criminal charges. minority leader nancy pelosi argued in june that republicans have an ulterior motive in their pursuit of holder. to make it harder for the doj to carry out investigations into voter fraud. >> it is no coincidence that the attorney general of the united states is the person responsible
for making sure that voter suppression does not happen in our country. these very same people are holding him in contempt, are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote. >> meanwhile, a pennsylvania judge today upheld a new law requiring voters to bring a photo i.d. to the polls. the case will likely move next to the pennsylvania supreme court, with democrats claiming the law will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters who don't have the proper i.d. joining us from baltimore is ranking member of the house oversight and government reform committee, congressman elijah cummings. congressman, great to see you. >> good to be with you. >> congressman, let's talk first about eric holder's tenacious pursuit -- sorry, darrell issa's tenacious pursuit of the attorney general. i wonder what you make of now that we have this civil lawsuit on the table, what do you make of minority leader pelosi's comments this is part of a broader agenda to undermine the efforts of the department of justice? >> i believe that she's absolutely right.
i've watched this investigation now for more than a year as a ranking member of government reform committee, and one of the things that i've noticed is that there has been a constant series of allegations in search of facts, and every time one of those allegations was disproved by the attorney general turning over all kinds of documents and e-mails, chairman issa then moved to a new allegation and a request for new documents, and it's gone on and on. in a way, in a way i'm kind of glad that this thing is going to a court because finally now we have a clear set of what they want, and so we now have a set goalpost that we can address. but again, i think this has been a fishing expedition and it's interesting that you're tying these two issues together, that is the investigation with regard to fast and furious and this
issue with regard to what i deem to be voter suppression because i do believe that there is voter suppression involved in at least 37 states that have passed laws similar to pennsylvania. >> you think that congressman issa's pursuit of the attorney general is directly related to the attorney general and the department of justice's investigation into some of these incidences of voter fraud? >> you know, trying to make those kinds of assumptions, i don't want to do what chairman issa does, that is make these broad allegations, but let me say that senator cornyn made it clear, of texas, made it clear that one of the reasons why they wanted the attorney general to resign is because they didn't like the idea of him not enforcing these so-called voter fraud, anti-voter fraud laws, and so it doesn't surprise me. come on, this is not
coincidental that 37 states put forth laws to basically require all types of i.d. when in fact, it is not a problem in the united states. you know, so -- and the thing that bothers me about this whole voter suppression thing, as i term it, is that we have been a country that has been about the business of making sure people gain rights, not take rights away from them. so it wouldn't surprise me if this is a part of the republican playbook. >> congressman, i have to ask you, we started to hear shades of this line of attack in the last few weeks on the part of republicans in terms of the white house withholding and the notion that they invoked executive privilege over some of these documents related to the fast and furious investigation. i wonder if you think that sort of complicated the message insofar as it gave fodder to the argument that the white house is engaged in some sort of cover-up vis a vis fast and furious.
>> no. i think that the situation here, and everybody who knows anything about the attorney general's office knows that -- and the presidency knows that the president can assert privilege over various documents. here, these were, the documents we're talking about here are certain deliberative documents that are internal to the department when responding about various issues. by the way, one of the things that's very interesting about this is that the attorney general has been extremely cooperative with chairman issa. i think that's what's so upsetting about this to me personally, to watch him and the clip you played, where we've got the chairman speaking to the highest law enforcement officer in the country, basically chastising him when in fact, this attorney general has bent over backwards trying to cooperate but the republicans just don't want to accept it.
hopefully by this court proceeding going forward we'll be able to resolve this matter. >> congressman, sam stein from the huffington post has a question for you. >> let's play devil's advocate on the issue of voter suppression. people say you need an i.d. to do a lot of things in this country, to buy alcohol, to buy tobacco, to go into government buildings, to drive a car. what exactly is the problem with showing some form of identification to actually cast a vote? >> i think there is nothing wrong with showing identification. it's just that we've got a situation in pennsylvania where it's been shown that 9.2% of all the voters don't have this identification right now. and then if you don't have it, and you need to get it, if you're not in a position to get a driver's license, you've got to show a birth certificate with the raised seal, you've got to show all kinds of other documents to get this. and there's been a lot of testimony, sam, where people have said that they have been
voting for 50 years and now suddenly, after president obama wins, in these various states and suddenly people are saying miss jones, you can't vote, although you're 83 years old, and the question is what is the problem? see, it's one thing if we are going to have laws to address a true problem, but as a most recent report just came out a day or so ago clearly stated that one out -- there's maybe one case of voter fraud for every 15 million americans. so the question is, do you jeopardize people's right to vote, do you cause them to have to sit to the side and not participate? let me tell you, there are two things happening here. i think this election, first of all, we've got people trying to suppress, that is republicans trying to suppress the vote, and the other thing is we've got folks trying to buy the election. i believe with all my heart and it saddens me to say this, on
our watch, we are seeing democracy slowly but surely being taken apart because the voters vote is being diluted by this ability to spend all this money, by these rich people, and when you suppress the vote, by telling people they've got to go through 50 million changes to be able to cast a ballot, then what you've done is basically attack the very essence of our democracy and that is the vote. >> congressman, i want to ask you one last question before we have to let you go. you've worked with paul ryan, congressman paul ryan, for over a decade. what is your opinion of mitt romney choosing him to be his vice presidential pick? >> i think that we've got a situation where we've got -- well, ryan is a good guy, a very smart guy. i just disagree with him. his budget is one that would basically decimate the middle class. would be very harmful to the students that are in my district trying to get pell grants and medicare, i mean, what he does
with regard to medicare should be of concern to anybody who thinks they might get a little older. >> was the mood in congress one of surprise when the pick was announced? >> yeah, i was a bit surprised because i knew this was going to happen. you got to remember that before this came along, he could barely get a vote for that proposal. the reason why he could barely get a vote for that proposal out of his republican party is because they knew it was too far to the right. it is over the cliff to the right. and i guarantee you that's going to play a very significant role not only in the presidential election, but i now have a lot of hope that we'll be able to take the house back based upon that one selection. >> congressman elijah cummings, thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you. after the break, scorched earth and scorched earth policy. we will look at the very real ramifications of drought and climate change on the global economy when dr. jeffrey sachs joins the panel next. if you are one of the millions of men
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one a day 50+. the u.s. is experiencing the worst drought since 1956. as evidence, take a look at this map. those red and dark brown areas show the parts of the midwest that are in a drought so significant that it's considered either extreme or exceptional. the unusually dry conditions are killing crops, leading to the lowest corn harvest in 17 years and the lowest soybean yields since 2003. the possible result, higher prices for all food products next year from grain to meat. washington politics are also forcing farmers to pay a huge price as their crops die, congress cannot come to an agreement on a farm bill that would provide disaster aid. earlier this week in iowa, president obama called out his new rival for holding it up. >> the best way to help these states is for the folks in congress to pass a farm bill.
i am told that governor romney's 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. >> the drought is likely yet another sign of climate change and come as last month ranked the fourth hottest july on record. joining the panel is dr. jeffrey sachs, director of the earth institute at columbia university. great to have you on set. >> thank you so much. >> certainly not good news as we talk about economic stability and sort of the global -- our global ecology. let's focus on the drought. the impact seems to be quite serious in terms of everything from grain to meat, a number of products in the u.s. are tied to corn and soy, for that matter. i guess my question is we talk about climate change and energy policy, sometimes in a vacuum, but now that there is a very tangible effect that it's having
or will have and will continue to have on economics, on our economic system and agra business, do you think there will be more of an impetus for our leaders to do something about this? >> definitely the public is seeing what this climate change means. it's not a theory. it's not something about the distant future. it's hitting the planet now and not only in the united states. i spend a lot of the recent months in africa. massive droughts in the horn of africa and in west africa. we know that beijing has had the worst floods in modern history because there, it's massive rainfall. weather is being disturbed everywhere. i think all over the world, people know something's not right. the world is changing. indeed, it is. that's what the science shows. but we have been so much in the grip of the oil lobby which is the world's most powerful lobby, that it has turned off the debate on this for years and now people are saying what is going on. it's reckless what we've been
doing. just driving the world economy to disaster, pretending it's not there because the koch brothers or somebody who have the largest private oil industry buy politicians and then they turn their eyes, but everybody else in the world now sees it. >> well, eric, in "rolling stone" you guys printed a series of pieces by a great authority on these matters, and this week you focus on the melting of the greenland ice sheet abruptly and sort of in terrifying fashion to those that watch it. but you also talk about, you know, how the world has sat idly by. for example, in 2009 in copenhagen, nobody did anything when it was sort of a pivotal moment and as dr. sachs mentions, here you have mitt romney who was also in iowa the other day talking about energy and was doubling down on coal and oil and gas. >> that's right. you've got extraction, you've got drilling, you've got the same old kind of, you know, plan at a time when the planet is literally before our eyes being
transformed by our actions. one of the points that bill makes is the movement to mobilize against global warming has never really had a clear enemy because the movement has never been willing to say who's to blame here, and the oil lobby is really who's to blame here. those fossil fuel industries are what's killing us. bill points out in one of his articles that those industries hold so much carbon in reserve now, they have already got their hands on so much carbon that they want to burn that if we were to place any real restrictions on that, their value would plummet. so they're in a real bind where they are just promoting their bottom line at the expense of the planet. >> but dr. sachs, agra business is certainly not a shrinking violet when it comes to making their cause known and getting -- securing sort of political capital to further their interests. you look at this drought, the repercussions on the agricultural sector are fairly dire. why is there not more attention paid to the thing that is affecting the agra --
agricultural sector and how we might mediate the effects of it? >> great question. this is a shock being felt by middle america. >> exactly. >> this is right to the core, the midwest of the united states hasn't seen anything like this. i'm sure it's going to change politics. i think you're completely right. what we see already in the opinion surveys is that americans, but it's true all over the world, who say something's wrong, humans are changing the earth in dangerous ways, those numbers are soaring. people don't need to be convinced. actually, they see it, they feel it with their own eyes, the storms we've had on the east coast here, electricity knocked out, the dangers, people killed, you see it all over the world happening right now but we have corporate propaganda leading the way. it is the koch brothers. who else can you point out? they buy up election after election, politician after politician. of course, not just them. it's rupert murdoch, it's "wall
street journal," these are powerful interests that have been trying to maintain the status quo and they have been playing on doubts and uncertainties but i think those uncertainties are really fading and some of the climate skeptics are saying oh, you know, we looked at the data, this is really serious, which it is. >> i think it's almost -- it's important and very relevant that this is affecting the heartland. this is the middle of the country. this is not sort of the bastian of the liberal elites, coastal cities. these are farmers having to slaughter their cattle because they can't afford the feed. that anecdote alone, if that doesn't ring alarm bells that the president is now talking about meat in freezers and holding on to surpluses because we can't afford to feed the cows, that's what you think of when you think of end times in america. >> the poor all over the world have been experiencing this for years already. there have been food riots in a number of cities over the past several summers because of rising food prices, because of drought and crop damage. i don't know that we're going to have food riots here but come next summer, we will have higher food prices. people have gotten accustomed to higher prices at the gasoline
pump. they kind of understand why that may be happening. it's going to be harder to explain to middle americans why their grocery bill is going up so dramatically. >> i think neither a politician, neither of the candidates nor neither party really walks away scott-free in this. >> that is absolutely certain. >> what's also true is we are putting a huge part of our corn production into the gas tank where it does not belong, taking it out of the food supply. so that whole ethanol scam which has been a scam for powerful corporate interests, is something that has to go and it should go right now before this builds into huge food price increases. >> dr. jeffrey sachs, this is not the last time we will entice you on to talk about food insecurity, climate change and other energy concerns. thank you for your time as always. you can read "the arctic ice crisis" in "rolling stone" on newsstands this friday. in the next hour, andrea mitchell will discuss the drying up along the mississippi river and how it affects tourism throughout the u.s.
that's at 1:00 eastern. coming up, one of the most sweeping immigration policy changes in history faces its first test today. we look at what millions of young people can expect from the obama administration's new dream act like plan, next. [ male announcer ] when this hotel added aflac to provide a better benefits package... oahhh! [ male announcer ] it made a big splash with the employees. [ duck yelling ] [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. ♪ ha ha! ♪ until i had the shingles. i have never encountered such a burning sensation... it was like a red rash. like somebody had set a bag of hot charcoal on my neck. i had no idea it came from chickenpox.
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welcome back. time for "what now." the department of homeland security starts accepting applications for the obama administration's new immigration policy today. the program would grant deportation and work permits to 1.7 young illegal immigrants, a very good day in america. >> yeah. listen, this is part of the whole concept that obama tries to promote with respect to multiple different constituency groups but it's we're going to provide you avenues to achieve your dream. we have a reporter there covering it right now in chicago, looking forward to her dispatch, but this is one of those clear divisions between the romney and obama ticket. >> couldn't highlight the differences better, could it. >> no, it couldn't.
but it is only a small token of -- >> of course. it is the first step on a long road. >> you have to wonder what happens under a romney administration, it's just a two-year policy. >> i believe romney has had a gentle ballet around the issue of immigrations. i look forward to more rafalca like behavior. thanks to eric, sam, patricia and hugo. that is all for now. see you back here tomorrow. until then, find us at facebook. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon, andrea. thanks so much. coming up here, outrageous or unhinged? the campaigns are on the attack today. romney talks about the tax question. the historic drought affecting nonfarm industries as well. chelsea clinton's first big interview, next.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" down and dirty. the attacks and counter attacks. >> i think unhinged would have to characterize what we've seen from the president's campaign. >> what i meant to say. joe biden, take two. >> i think i said instead of unshackled, unchained. outrageous to say that. that's what we meant. i'm using the wrong words. i got a message for him. if you want to know what's outrageous. >> bus stop. the first lady joins the president for final event in iowa minutes from now. while ann romney in an exclusive interview with natalie morales for tomorrow night's "rock center" is taxed by the tax question. >> we have been very transparent to what's legally required of us, but the more we release, the more we get attacked.
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