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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  September 22, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EDT

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sometimes there are no words. to describe the political event like the one we witnessed this week. that is no words except very, very big words like cognitive dissonance. it is nerd land so we will talk about cognitive dissonance. why? cognitive dissonance is when one person holds multiple beliefs, thoughts, or attitudes that are inconsistent with each other. cognitive dissonance seems like the best way to explain the m t muddle of ideas expressed by mitt romney in a video that emerged this week. >> there are 47% of the team that will vote for the president. 47% who are with them, that believe they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, housing, you name it. >> forget life, liberty and the
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pursuit of happiness. mr. romney wants to cut all bonds of the social contract. forget the most basic human rights of health care, food, and housing. mere entitlements of the dependent class to governor romney. this is where the murkiness of cognitive dissonance lies. romney is struggling to hold two inconsistent beliefs about the essence of the american condition at the same time. >> as pinpoint out, i recognize that among those that pay no tax, approximately 47% of americans, i not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. that's not as attract turf those that don't pay income taxes as it is to those who do. and likewise, those who are reliant on government are not as aracked to my message of slimming down the size of government. >> in one breath romney dismisses nearly half of americans. why? f for shirking civic responsibility of paying income
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teeses. the elderly, poor or spent time serving life in the military. paying taxes is the most important duty americans have. except in the next breath, mr. romney claims that any good, responsible american should support him because he thinks people should pay less in taxes. which is it? is paying taxes the patriotic duty of all citizens? or are taxes a job killing burden imposed by greedy bureaucrats? this type of cognitive dissonance is common in the right wing discourse of the republican party. and if you are a corporation that gets tax breaks, public subsidies, government contracts, and favorable trade protection, then you know in a. if you are a person-person rather an corporation person and you get tax breaks or food subsidies or veterans benefits, then you are -- undeserving and dependent. cognitive dissonance is the only thing that can explain why romney would in one breath criticize president obama because will are not enough jobs
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and in the next breath, claim that the unemployed simply refuse to work. it is cognitive dissonance that allows a man that inherits wealth and privilege to demean anyone that does not pull themselves up by nonexistent boot straps. cog mytive dissonance that lets romney claim he believes in may -- while handing out $200,000 bonuses who are not on their a-game. but no matter how muddled his reason is, i want to pause and take him seriously. we have been asking for the real romney to please stand up. well, here he is. romney has not called his 47% comment a gaffe. inelegant phrasing important what he believes. in this case we need to take him -- it may be his political plat form and a radical one at that. writing off half of his country, romney is giving as you peek at his economic policy, one that says simply if you have the you
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deserve it and deserve to keep all of it. if you don't have, well, good luck. no one owes you anything. bonds of community and country collective responsibility or even gratitude for years of services and labor are unimportant. only your economic productivity in this moment is what matters. month matter how tough the economic conditions of this moment are. and in contrast to what president obama has learned by actually doing the job of president, romney wants to occupy the white house and make radical change from the inside. it takes some of this cognitive dissonance and just a dash of willful blindness to insist the economy will never recover without cuts. when you see the -- the evidence that tax cuts do not necessarily lead to economic growth. 65-year study. once again, underscores the gdp growth is correlated to tax increases. not breaks. that's the thing about cognitive
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dissonance. it does not respond well to new evidence. you just go on believing things that don't really make a lot of sense. which explains why the romney campaign thought that this would be the right time to release the candidat' candidate's tax returns. the roller coaster of this week is katrina, editor and publisher of "the nation" magazine. mara jones. msnbc's alex wagner, host of "now with alex wagner." matt welch, editor-in-chief of "reason" magazine. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> mark, i want to start with you. we were talking before the show started that -- you know, i was -- saying this is cognitive dissonance. these things don't go together. you said this makes perfect sense to you. >> it is the one thing that actually ties everything romney has done for the past year and a half together. because it is actually -- not -- it is a philosophy. it is a philosophy that's rooted in the worst america's economic
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history. that particular philosophy that says that some people are worthy and other people are not and both that are not worthy are then subject to whatever those that are wish to do with them for them about them and s what is rooted back in the time when the united states was a slave republic. with that thinking it is what allowed for blacks to be -- their labor, native americans, dispossessed of their land. native americans should be dispossessed of their property because they hadn't created an effective capitalist society in a thousand years. >> the thing i love about i'm ran is ultimately in her old age she took social security. you know, i suppose there is a story there about sort of -- how -- you know, we have this sense that on the one hand we don't know -- we want to make it all on our own and built that ourselves. we do tend to avail ourselves of the help, assistance, that exists. matt, you wrote a little bit about this in your piece this
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week around economic determi determineism. i love this. i never took the -- practically guaranteed student loan, never enjoyed the mortgage interest deduction, that i as a taker, do. you are worried about government spending. yet, there was still something that -- did not sit right about this. >> it is the -- statements that because you fall into this income gap, that your vote, that your -- political beliefs are fixed. they don't move. i mean, i just spent a week at the republican national -- mention every speech was about how -- my grandmother came over here or grandfather and didn't ask for handout and worked really hard and changed their station in life. right? mobility, american dream and all that kind of stuff. it is did b -- it is about dynamism. this is the opposite of that. this is saying when i lived under the poverty line my vote was, therefore, predictable.
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that's not true. it is insulting and doesn't stand up to any kind of measurement and obscures an actual point that people like me who want to reduce the size of government want to make. which is that it is more that it is politically difficult to cut back on things that you can give to taxpayers and this is a bipartisan issue. the single recipient of giveaways or whatever you want to put it, benefits, from government, are the elderly. retirees and they are republicans. vote republican by a large amount. so -- that is an interesting issue to talk about. going after things like the mortgage interest deduction which -- lower class people don't receive because then don't buy houses. it is -- politically difficult and when we are borrowing 43 cents on every dollar that's something to talk about but it is not partisan issue. >> but so is this part of the invisible state problem that, like, we -- right, we see both but don't stand -- >> what interests me also is that -- not only is there a cruelty contempt in what romney
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said but there was a stupidity because as matt points out he is writing off voters who -- who his own voters, there is a misunderstanding of the nature of how government works, how tax policy works. and with all the attention to i think the -- ugly social policies, dog whistle races, ugly immigration policies, one thing that this tape, as you pointed out, real romney is extremeism and defense privilege. but -- yes, we have a submerged state, submerged -- there was a lot of work done by a professor. there are people that receive earned income tax credits. other benefits like that which -- people are not necessarily aware of where it comes from government. therefore, it becomes easier to launch the anti-government attacks when in fact, partly due to bipartisan support, because we have this low security, low-wage market, politicians decided it was easier to do these kind of submerged benefits as opposed to a more robust, i think, country where you have a stronger social safety net, as you see in the other -- many
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other western industrialized done reese. >> i'm wondering, is it bad politics? the policy, like -- is it bad politics -- >> based on this. when peggy noonan is writing in the pages of "the wall street journal," it is not just a bad campaign but a ruling calamity. we have problems. i think -- what this has done -- setting aside the actual policy side of this which is -- significantly requestable, given the fact mitt romney's father got government handouts when he came here from mexico and paul ryan's mother got government help, it exposed romney and furthers if not seem epts the narrative mitt romney is wearing a top hat and airying around big money bags and that's the real mitt romney. this sort of elusive person who only cares about the takers. you know, the -- important him to rye to reverse that momentum ask keep in mind, melissa, released his tax returns yesterday which to many people was exactly the wrong time to be bringing that question back to the fore. he has serious problems in his campaign.
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now we are seeing sort of departure from -- own -- party that will -- real walking back of romney support and -- some real convincing he has to do with the donor community. >> we will talk about this issue of the taxes and also sort of the politics around this and more on the policies. i want to take another -- i'm not prepared to call an election in september. if he is president, what does this end up meaning for us? romney is trying to resteer his ship and might be running it aground. we will look at those long-awaited tax returns when we get back. [ mother ] you can't leave the table
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long-awaited tax returns and prove romney is definitely part of the 53%, half of americans who do pay federal taxes. mr. romney contributed a hefty $1.9 million to public coughers from his $13.7 million in earnings. but don't do the math just yet. p mitt romney doesn't want to you focus on the tax rate he paid. along with copy of his tax returns they posted a memo from the family's lawyer about the past 20 years of his returns stating -- the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total adjusted gross income. see. he is not keeping it all! giving to charity and paying his tax obligations is one big romney family christmas gift to america. what do you think, guys? is this -- effective way to turn this conversation -- >> i think it was days and days
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late, dollars short, still incomplete. to me, melissa, the biggest question is -- the way he has done aggressive tax policy avoidance. is that how he would run his tax policy if he became president? and one thing we don't know from mitt romney, even though we have seen the real mitt romney in many ways, he talks about closing tax loopholes. he won't say which ones. we do know that the one tax loophole which he won't close is the one that truly benefits the very rich and which is the 15% tax on capital gains and dividends in this private equity carried interest tax. and -- that is what kept his tax returns so low. if you do the summary, you notice that our tax policy has become more aggressive because 10, 15 years ago, the -- taxes on capital gains and dividends were close to 30%. this country's tax system is perverse. we should tax wealth more and work less. work less. >> what -- what is the logic of
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releasing the 20-year summary? i would say political suicide but now the obama campaign can say then why won't you just release those 20 years? why did you give john mccain john mccain more information than you are going to give the american public? why would you keep that alive? why would you wait until this point? early voting started in swing states. notion that somehow this is going to lay to rest the question of mitt romney's tax returns is -- totally ludicrous. you talk about the political strategy here. there doesn't seem to be any. >> speaking of the -- i want to -- on "60 minutes," romney was asked about this sort of -- ceo's strategic position he -- positioned himself. let's listen to his response here. >> you are the ceo of this campaign. a lot of republicans would like to know a lot of your donors would like to know how do you turn this thing around? you have a little more than six weeks. what do you do? >> well, it doesn't need a turnaround. we got a campaign which is tied with -- president of the united states. >> all right. so -- typically i -- i dislike
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sort of, you know, the political commentary about whether or not you are running a good or bad campaign because in a certain way, if you win everybody thinks you ran a good campaign. if you lose everybody thinks you ran a bad one. even though you may have won great one and lost. right? but this moment where he says the reason that you should elect me is because i'm a good ceo, good decision maker and can turn around companies so we have asked how do you turn around the campaign. his response is -- doesn't need a turnaround. he can't diagnose that there is, in fact a problem here. >> i wonder -- go ahead. >> i think what i -- the problem is that this is a campaign that's only about politics or policy. a lot of times it seems he divides things into these styles. it is actualably the vision for the country and we are electing the person which is why the 47% comments are so regulatory because they reveal the person and in that, release of the tax returns, which makes no sense politically whatsoever, the 20 years, everything alex said is totally out of bounds in terms of someone that wants to occupy the white house. but -- he doesn't think he has
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to. he doesn't actually think that he has to reveal the way he made his money because all you need to know is that he's wealthy, he was -- a ceo, he knows what to do, he went to harvard, hi dad was a governor. i'm a good person. that's enough. but that's actually not enough. >> it is not enough. but you are not going to vote for him. >> picking up on a good point you made about how we are electing a person. i hate the idea america needs a ceo. we are not a business unless he wants to offshore and outsource the country. but -- we are not just electing a person. we are not just electing a person. mitt romney, though disliked by a lot in the -- many in the republican party, is a vehicle for forces. like -- the koch brothers, shelley adelson. in order to effect deregulation, lower taxes, a vision of an america that would set us back and dismantle the civilizing
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events to this country, socially, culturally and politically. you can see i care deeply about this. he is not -- he is not just a person. he is a vehicle important the force. >> i would say he is a mirror. we have a great piece talking about the role after consultant. he is the consultant's consultant. at most accounts he is very good at that job. you go in and you say to someone you flatter that person in order to get their business. you hold up a nice mirror to them so that you can convince them to hand over the strategy to this guy. and that's what he has done for the republican party. his views have been incoherent all along. he avoids as katrina pointed out. he does not have a specific tax plan. i don't care about his tax returns, i think most people not going to vote for barack obama, which i am not either, but don't really care about his tax returns like they didn't care about john kerry's tax returns. they do care what he will actually do policywise and he is
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so intentionally vague on that because he doesn't want to take a stand. >> they care about their -- remember, americans care about their tax returns. what is my tax return? >> and they care about everybody playing by the rules and care about someone who is occupying 1600 pennsylvania avenue and thinks about what is right for the country and what's wrong with for the country. mitt romney's moral compass has been speeding every which way. will is no true magnetic north. a wall of obfuscation built around his campaign gives nobody a seat he has at the table. there is no sense he wants to be the president of the united states because he has a vision for the country and wants to lift everybody up. that's why the comments he will be the president of the 100% are ludicrous. it makes no sense. >> you do -- i mean, strategically, nobody campaigns for 100% of the votes. right? that's a reasonable campaign strategy. do not try to get 100% of the people to vote for you. it was the sound about the notion that he also -- somehow
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did not govern for the 100%, that felt -- i -- that was the key. >> myself with these people. >> he does have a plan. i think the -- also not true. the tax policy center scored his tax plan. it is $9.6 trillion in cuts in eight years. if you go to his website and you look at his tax plan and add in his promise to balance the budget, that's the number. and it includes $5 trillion tax cuts for people like him, rolling back the estate tax by 30%, and -- eliminating the estate tax over $5 million. on and on and on. it includes a 40% increase in the defense budget. give a ways to industry that overwhelmingly benefits republicans. so he does have the tax plans and he -- he is trying not to be vague. in the course of running for president, 47% reveals it. >> by saying he supports balance, that does not show you how he will -- p you are going to score that -- >> cuts to medicare.
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>> there is a faith-based quality mitt romney tax plan. if you believe that he cares about deficit reduction which we hear ad nauseam, and you look at -- what you just described as his tax plan, it is not about deficit reduction. it is about moving around a kaks code to benefit. >> not that you and i care about -- >> but they claim that's what they want to do. >> everybody stay right here. we are not going away p there is more on this. i need to do a quick reminder because i'm excited. tomorrow i will be hosting a special edition of this show. it will be a student town hall as part of in's education summit. that's tomorrow, sunday, 10:00 mafshgs eastera.m. eastern.
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million governor romney released his 2011 tax returns friday afternoon, we spent pretty much the entire week obsessing over the number 47. 47 as in 47%. as in the approximately 47% of american voters who pay no income tax. who mitt romney said consider themselves victims, defend upon government largess and will certainly vote for president obama come november. amazingly on thursday, we saw that the would presidential contenders were tied at 47%. gallup's weekly rolling average poll. now that is just one poll. it is about as good as it has boughten lately for governor romney. in general the latest numbers are looking a lot worse for him. and for many of his fellow republicans hoping to win in november. 25 seats, that's the net gain the democrats need to take back control of the house of representatives. it is not expected but it is also not impossible. on the other hand, four seats,
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just four, is all that republicans need to take control of the senate. and they have lots of chances. 23. that's the number of senators that either are democrats or caucus with democrats who are up for re-election. that's a lot of turf to defend, folks. 77.7%. that's the chance "the new york times" political prognosticator 538 nate silver gives democrats of holding on to their fairly slim majority in the senate. that prediction is way up from the 39% chance that the model gave democrats retaining the senate a month ago. so the latest pollex plain the change. 4.4% is the lead that former virginia governor tim kaine holds over fellow former virginia governor republican george allen. yes. that's one. it is the state's senate race, according to real clear politics polling average. now, 2.6 points is the margin by
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which democratic challenger elizabeth warren currently leads incumbent republican senator scott brown in the years most talked about cincinnati race. also the 2.6 points nevada republican dean heller leads democrat shelley berkeley in nevada's senate race. the numbers are largely trending towards d, 5.3 points. that's how far back republican todd akin, he of the legitimate rape comments, has fallen behind claire mccaskill. despite a deluge much spending from outside groups, 7.2% is the average deficit ohio republican josh mendel still faces in his fight to unseat democratic senator brown. so you may have noticed that a number of these races involve women. well, 18 candidates for the cincinnati, that's 12 democratic women running either to retain or gain a seat along the six republicans. 163 women candidates for the
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house. 116 democrats and 47 republicans. in a year both houses of congress could change hands, one re-elected president, plus the number of women running, just could be the arithmetic that determines the ultimate balance of power. more on that next. full tank brain freeze cake donettes rolling hot dogs bag of ice anti-freeze wash and dry diesel self-serve fix a flat jumper cables 5% cashback signup for 5% cashback at gas stations through september. it pays to discover. oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign.
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count on this. this really may be a race for control to the senate. and the supreme court may very well hang in the balance. >> there cess a lot more at stake in move than just who will be the next president. as are obstructionism has shown news the past few years, also at stake is how effective that president will be in doing the work of governing. joining me now to discuss the down ballot races, the nation's katrina and mara jones. alex wag mother and matt welch. all right. we talk a lot about the presidential races. when we talk about, talk about, talk about, but the fact is down billion on the races a we heard from elizabeth warren, this may be where the real govern sing happen. >> three election this year, will is the presidential, the senate, and the house races. and i -- i thought senator warren -- jumping ahead. elizabeth warren, elizabeth warren, was very savvy, very smart, and -- linking, yolking, tying scott brown to the national republican party.
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because mr. brown has gotten -- senator brown has gotten a pass from mitch, my man, senator demint in taking votes he needs to take to stay viable in massachusetts. even though he's tried to get dodd/frank, et cetera. think also she brought up an issue that is too often under the radar for progressives, the nation just published an issue called the 1% court. which is about how the court has become a court for corporations and of corporations, by corporations, shafting ordinary people, and elizabeth warren's stake to the senate should be first defense of ordinary people and working, living in a rigged system for the benefit of the 1% and the mitt romney. >> it is so hard dash i mean, the -- situation we currently find ourselves in because we had the -- typical surge and decline. everybody shows up for the 2008 election. and then stays home for 2010. how do we get americans to say yes, there is this big presidential race, this guy that we are voting for at the top. this person. this personality.
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but the much bigger issues of governing may be happening at your much more local level. >> well, you know, one of the things i thought was good for driving that point home was when we focused on women's health and -- legislation targeting women's reproductive freedoms. the transvaginal ultrasound stuff. scott sbroun a -- brown is a co-sponsor of the amendment. he pulled back the curtain on what's actually been happening in congress and the kind of laws that the republican congress has been passing while nobody has been paying attention. i thought that was good as far as a wakeup call to the nation. like you have to pay attention to what's going on here. it is not just that the system is broken and cannot get budget passed. there is draconian legislation going on that's being passed by one party. it isn't being made law because -- you can't get it -- can't get it past the senate. >> i think going back to the person matters that democrats have great candidates. they show that the people running matters and one of the
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reasons why elizabeth warren is surging is because she reads authentic. having an entire summer being bashed for being inauthentic when one sees her she reads great, down home and people respond to that. and i also think that the surge of the demrats across the board shows the successful use of convention to nationalize the senate races and to nationalize the elections. democrats did a much better job of using the convention to showcase their senate candidates and that all got played and one minute, two-minute segments at home and just read well. she was the warmup act by her own words for bill clinton. elvis. and that -- that showed -- that made it -- made a difference. >> i think elvis, aside, who is remarkable at the convention, the problem democrats and progressives have is that the wind is not in their sails now. reality has not been their friend. lived-in economic reality under democratic governance and has not been as good as democrats
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themselves had promised all along the way. that's an actual problem. there is an enthusiasm. if you look at where there has been tangible and new political enthusiasm in the process, i would include scott brown in that, when he first got elected. not now as much. it has not come from people getting excited about progressive ideas. >> hasn't been a chance. let's be honest. we -- the scale of our problems have not been met adequately yet. there is a jobs bill that is in the senate that is being obstructed by republicans. there are all kinds of measures and programs that could have been taken whether infrastructure building or jobs build. >> i think we are actually seeing some evidence and says there is some enthusiasm coming back. and i think, as unpoint out, i think more women, obviously the mccaskill/akin piece is part of that shift but i have to say that virginia dash. >> unbelievable. >> virginia one is blowing my mind. >> gender gap in virginia is staggering. there was -- i mean, kaine is leading by 14% among women.
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so is obama. in 2008, he and mccain, i believe, tied for the women's vote. virginia's been ground zero as you pointed out for the intrusive odious assault on women's bodies and you have an attorney general that i think will be a factor. he is attempting to shut down the remaining abortion clinics in virginia through -- some, you know, regulations about reclassifying abortion clinics as -- as hospitals. but -- it has been so transparent that we may see a baked-in, as you put it earlier in the show gender gap for a generation or more to come if there is a republican party doesn't get on the -- >> important -- >> shift. >> to think about, one, in terms of abortion, is that unsettled law. another person that agree was elizabeth warren -- >> it is not just abortion. contraception, women's health. it is a whole set of issues. economics. >> much more on a local and state level and in insidious ways you point out. john roberts believes that roe
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versus wade is settled law, too. people, you, in that understandable they get excited about. i'm pro-choice, too. but ultimately it is probably -- not going to see -- >> going to go out -- highly likely, right, that -- ginsburg is not going to be any more part of the supreme court during the next presidency. right? >> next president, i think -- ability to make lee or four court appointments. scalia. >> what is on the table as far as, you know, the forces shaping the american electorate. >> more stuff on the table that's totally tripping me out. we spent time looking at the stuff really down, down, down ballot. i can't even -- alabama. up next, when you vote in november, and you are going to vote, right, in certain states you are going to be voting on something much more important than a candidate. seriously. come back and i will tell you about it. [ rosa ] i'm rosa and i quit smoking with chantix.
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from president obama and governor romney this fall, you are. yes, you, let me -- if you are gay and live in maine, maryland, minnesota or washington state, your freedom to marry whomever you love and have that marriage legally recognized is on the ballot. what other things that impact americans directly is at the deep, dark bottom of the ballot. here again, my panel. all right. i was tripping on the things people are voting on. down the ballot. in alabama, i'm sorry, this -- this just kills me. alabama, apparently jim crowe in -- in terms of referencing segregation and schools and also the poll tax are still currently in the state constitution. alabama voters will get an opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like jim crowe to still be in their state's constitution. we have an arizona land seizure
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piece sort of down the ballot. capital punishment in california. will these things drive in a way that affects the up ballot or driver it in a way that affects the down ballot races? >> i think it is a separate thing at this point. people using the ballot initiative process, particularly in the west, to -- the alabama thing is a way of saying i don't like what our government has done and expunge that. i'm super excited about marijuana legalization which is on the ballot. full legalization in colorado, oregon. that is the beginning of the end of the drug war. just like prohibition ended when new york -- if it pass necessary colorado the federal government is going to have to decide whether or not it is going to try to enforce its own laws over the express wishes of an entire state. >> i join with matt in support of those initiatives. marijuana legalization, absolutely. drug war failed. but boy, if you think this is going to change the course of that without some additional
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federal transnational pressure, i'm excited and think we have seen in the last three, four cycles where the initiatives brought out people of energized people and thinking of the minimum wage initiatives and a few cycles ago, one in florida. but there's -- you talked about a really odious one, i tight ask what the poll numbers look like in alabama. >> i'm afraid. >> with all due respect to the good state of alabama. there's progressive initiatives and one in michigan about -- protect our jobs which is an attempt to restore collective bargaining. one in montana which is to try and overturn the supreme court's overturning of the state ban on corporate contributions. these are interesting ones. >> this is -- every election cycle. initialtives on the ballot for turnout. there is a strategy here. with gay marriage, with something like jim crowe. this is an effort to get the electorate to the polls.
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divisive measures like jim crowe and seen, gay marriage, it is sometimes -- it does not favor the progressive side of the coin which is to say conservatives come out in force and, therefore, to your question, does this then -- influence up ballot? yes, you can see that being a -- you know, a good thing for mitt romney at the end of the day. >> marriage equality looks like it may pass. maryland piece that shift that occurred when the president said didn't change policy but said that he was in support of marriage equality and next thing you saw in maryland shifted on him. >> it shows the power of the presidency which -- seems the president has -- own admission late into the power. it shifts the presidential words mat their they do have that ability to influence policy in the -- that's an important thing to forget and it will turn given, you know, the controversy during football and the rest of it. the other thing, though, on -- going back to the alabama conversation, i mean, alabama
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constitution is a relative history anyway. so -- jim crowe should stay in it just for his to tore cal reference. it was the model for the apartheid constitution in south africa. in 1948. so -- exactly. so -- doing -- they are doing history a favor. one thing that's -- also important to think about the weight of these -- ballot initiatives, study done by progressives in california and every off-year election the elective is totally different. people that showed up -- off years are not the same people had a show up in other years. and so i think that we have to be careful about using and manipulating the down ballot process in off years and in general to legislate because we are manipulating the electorate. >> only in nerd land you get a progressive making an argument to keep jim crowe in the state constitution just for the value of history. thank you so much for being here.
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thank you so much for being here. you have to go. you have to get ready because alex is also hosting a special education nation show titled the parents teachers association tomorrow, sunday on msnbc at 6:00 p.m. eastern. up next, started more than 25 years ago and raised millions of dollars. mission to keep family farm others their land. musician willie nelson, of farm aid, is on the road again, and is here to talk with us next. now, that's what i call a test drive. silverado! the most dependable, longest lasting, full-size pickups on the road. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ] i'll take it. [ male announcer ] it's chevy truck month. now during chevy truck month, get 0% apr financing for 60 months or trade up to get the 2012 chevy silverado all-star edition with a total value of $8,000. hurry in before they're all gone!
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up next, started more than 25 it was 27 years ago today when musician willie nelson played in the first ever farm aid concert in champagne, illinois. a appraiser for family farmers. the event organized by nelson along with fellow musician neil young and john mellencamp raised more than $9 million. farm aid became nelson's passion
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to help america's farmers. this year he is on the road again. this year's event is being held today in hershey park, pennsylvania. willie nelson himself standing by via skype from his tour bus. we will get to mr. nelson in just one moment. i want to ask my folks sitting here at the table, the farm bill is currently part of our local discourse. what's going on? why no farm ball? what's holding this up? >> i had the chance a few years ago to visit with john mellencamp and the passion he and willie nelson and others that founded farm aid had was about the foreclosures sweeping family farms. this was before the foreclosure crisis which affected all of america. it is also about the importance of family farmers and farms. i don't think as much ace know about the farm bill that this farm bill is doing a lot for hose people. i mean, it is a real agra business. >> the question is centered on food stamps and food support
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that benefit the people say they are entitled to food according to governor romney. >> that there was the great moment that he said people think they are entitled to food. >> you name it. one of his cars maybe. but i think -- that's -- that's the problem. it shows the impact of the ideology and republican party getting in the waif getting things done for the american people. that's what is causing the problem. >> about corporate power as we see it through the prism of an area of too many don't see. i think that's been the power of farm aid. >> we have shirley sherrod on last week. how is it in our conversations about poverty in this country, we have very few, when we do have them, they are almost -- exclusively about urban poverty and not bought nearly enough about what is going on in terms of rural poverty. is there a way the 47% conversation might move us back to a broader conversation about who is truly -- >> i think that's that's it. as if mate thing is most of the people in this country who don't
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earn enough to live work. and that's the reason why there is no contribution on the federal income tax. they play the regressive 15% payroll tax which is more than governor romney's tax rate. but that's an important point the keep in mind is that one out of three people in this country are poor and either close to poverty, work and don't make enough to live. >> shame of this nation that that's the case. and the fact that there isn't as much attention as there should be in this campaign to the poor, i mean, every morning you wake up, this, again, is urban. but it is about poverty in the -- washington, d.c., area. in the -- just a few days ago, it was a story about growing poverty in this city, growing inequality. it should be on the agenda especially as a middle class and the working poor confront even tougher problems. >> when we come back, hopefully we will be able to get mr. nelson -- he had a few technical difficulties. we are going to come back and bring willie nelson in. i'm done!
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it should be on the agenda
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welcome back. i am melissa harry-perry. right now i want to bring in a very special guest who is joining us via skype from his tour bus in hershey, pennsylvania. country music legend and founder of farm aid willie nelson. mr. nelson, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. glad to be here. how are you today? >> i'm great. i'm excited because i know that this is farm aid and i know that, you know, this conversation about the 47% over the course of the past week, you are supporting president obama in this election year. what was your reaction when you heard mr. romney's comments about the 47% and the family farmers that you are hoping to help. >> well, i think a lot of people are were a little stunned to hear that coming from a presidential, you know, guy who wants to be president of the united states. should be a little more
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informed, i think. the farmers out there are really needing some help and they need -- there is a drought. we need to get more young farmers back on the land. that's -- mainly the message we are -- pushing this year. we immediate to figure out what it is for farmers to get loans, where they can put young kids back out on the farms. same take happened in russia a few years ago where they took all the land away from the farmers. and then they didn't know what do with it and start trying to give it back and the young farmers said the heck with you. we don't want to farm. there's month money in it now. you ran our parents out of the business. basically we are trying to keep that from happening over here. we need to get young farmers back on the land. >> you know, i know it is only the beginning of fall but folks may have already forgotten we a serious drought. talk to me about how that drought impacted these family farms you are discussing. >> it wasn't bad muff the drought came along and -- made it many times over worse.
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and -- this is the worst drought that we have had in 50 years, i think. and -- the farmers need help. we immediate them to get help. because they are the guys that grow our food for us and our fuel. so we immediate to keep those guys working out will. >> talk to me about the good food movement. what is that? >> well, mainly we are just trying to let people know that the -- there are good ways to grow food out there. you know, when you look at your breck past table this morning, most of the stuff you are eating came from 1,500 miles away. that doesn't have to be the case. there are farmers right around you who can grow farm-to-market stores are a great way to help yourself and help the food supply and help the economy and help feed your family healthy food. >> thank you, mr. nelson. i so appreciate you taking a few moments and all of us will be remembering the farm aid concert and you can see the webcast of the concert tonight and behind
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the scenes footage on farm aid at thank you. >> thank you. now, we are going to shift gears now and jump into our regular segment, the one we like to call "this week in voter suppression." a new pew poll released this week reports that voter engagement with the election has boosted the number of americans who say they definitely plan to vote on november 6. the same levels as 2008. surprising numbers given the organized efforts to suppress the vote that we have been talking about for weeks. unsurprising if you understand how americans have historically responded to being disenfranchised. because whatever mitt romney may say behind closed doors, americans have not believed we are victims when it comes to resisting those efforts to stop them from voting, americans have not acted like victims either. when black people in the south were confronted with poll taxes designed to stop them from voting, they pulled together their limited resources and tried to pay those taxes.
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they studied for tests, even though it was almost impossible to pass them. and from the end of jim crowe through today when americans have been faced with barriers to their right to vote they have never stopped trying to jump over those barriers. with me, katrina, editor and publisher of "the nation" magazine. mara jones. kristin, executive director, ceo and co-founder of ariberman, contributing writer for "the nation" magazine and author of "herding donkeys." ari, you have been on this issue so much so that we were looking at this amazing photograph that you took in pennsylvania at the penn dot offers where people were trying to go to get their valid i.d.
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it is mutts how long people have to sit and wait. people trying to get their right to vote back by getting these i.d.s. what are you seeing out there? >> absolutely. i was just in pennsylvania last week. and there's a lot of horror stories from the ground. there is extremely long lines at the penndot transportation of department offices where people have go to get voter i.d.s and voters are very confused about what the law is. law has been amended about five times since it passed in march. the state is totally unprepared to implement the law. i think can describe it as incompetence. bill clinton would say there is a problem of arithmetic. according to the state, 9% of registered voters don't have the i.d. they need to be able to vote. state says it is 1%. aclu says it is 12%. the judge in pennsylvania said who upheld the law in the lower court said it is somewhere between somewhere and higher than 1% of registered voters that don't have i.d. and lower
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than 9%. that means -- >> talk about this judge. i want -- we have been following this case. tell us what happened this week in terms of it going back to this judge. >> sure. what the pennsylvania supreme court did is they didn't uphold the law and didn't overturn it the. they found a third way and john roberts compromise. vacated the lower court ruling and sent it back to the lower court and said you need to look very specifically at whether the state is doing enough to got people i.d.s. this is -- the point i was going to make. somewhere between 100,000 to 500,000 voters, according to the judge that upheld the law, don't have the i.d. but penndot, department of transportation, has issued only 9,000 voter i.d.s. there is a staggering gap between the number of people who need -- get -- >> low end of 100,000. so it could be half a million. but the -- even lower than 100,000 and 9,000 i.d.s -- >> that's since march. do you the math. there's no way that penndot is going to get there. they asked in the lower court
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trial they asked -- a person from the department of transportation, how many i.d.s do you plan official ewing? he said less than 10,000. that leaves a 90,000 person gap according to the low estimates of the number of people that need goat i.d.s. people are not going to be able to vote in pennsylvania because of the law. that's according to the math. that's not according to a theory we have of the case. that's according to, as bill clinton would say, arithmetic. >> this is exactly the key about this question that's a voter suppression effort. not a voter fraud issue. because if we know these are folks that have voted previously, we have no reason to believe they have behaved fraudulently, and there is somewhere between, you know, 100,000 minus 10, right, or 500,000 who will not be able to vote, that is just sort of -- voter suppression. >> you are more likely to be struck by lightning. >> 39 more times struck by lightning. >> this is a solution in search of a problem.
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i think it is staggering in 2012, particularly, by the way, as america goes around the world preaching democracy and not a left/right issue. we are seeing attempts not to enhance and encourage voting but to suppress voting. it seems to me that there are -- we need a democracy stimulus package. and there are simple things we should be doing like universal voter registration, complicated to make constitutional amendment to vote. gillibrand, senator gillibrand, and the important john lewis, great civil rights voice, representative from georgia, have put forward a vote empowerment act. so these are steps that could be taken very simply. and if i might, color lines of the nation, have in the last year dawn voting rights watch. where you can go and communities of color on september 25 voter registration day, are using technology to help register people. i think our -- our -- what we need do right now in the face of what is going on in places like pennsylvania is direct people to places like color of change and
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vote latino. how do you register. the hurdles are not going to be lifted by a republican party which has decided its future is staked on voter suppression. >> the only way to get those folks out is you have to pay the poll tax whether it is fair or not. >> couple of things. one, first of all, we spoke about the alabama constitution as -- the last. this is a living relic. the relic hasn't gone anywhere. and it is designed for the same purpose. this is a dash suppression effort. because unless there is a dramatic change in the republican party, demographics are on their side. this is an attempt to remake the electorate, taking out certain jelly beans to make the whole jar a certain color. it is problematic. one of the things that was written about is the way this shifts the burden from the state having to ensure that people have the right to vote to people having to prove that they have the right to participate. this goes back to the 47% comment about who is worthy and who is not. and -- this disproportionate
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limb pacts the people in the 47%, the piece in the earlier this week in "the washington post," the -- is the -- will is a woman, i think, her name is cheryl moore and works the night shift at a hospital. she took out six hours and there is no way 90,000 people who are working at $20,000 a year are able to take out six hours between now and election day to go get a vote. >> particularly -- this was "the washington post" was about this woman who -- 30 years, she had been voting, that's -- that kind of time, particularly in that people are working folks. >> exactly. and -- as a representative of moms rising we know three-quarters of moms are in the labor force. election day is already on a tuesday. it is hard to get that time off. to make it even harder is a significant problem. election day is the one day that we are all equal. that rich or poor, no matter where you are from, no matter if you are male or female, we all have one vote. and that's an important day for us all to make. our voices heard so we can live
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in the true democracy we are raising our children in and teaching our children is their civic duty to participate in. so to have laws that are disenfranchising specific types and groups of people, students, elderly, women of color, men of color, and low-income people, it is absolutely undemocratic and i think that it is actually the true voter fraud is in these laws that are being put out there. the exciting news is what you said at the beginning. that is people are fired up and planning to vote. we are hearing they are going to take on this obstacle and vote anyway. >> we are going to come to exactly one of these groups and one you represent. clearly which is -- the fact that there is a tax on being a woman at this point, particularly in pennsylvania but around all of these laws. if you are a woman, and you are recently married, congratulations! are you sure you can still vote? that's next. ♪ these are the days [ male announcer ] 6 years old. then 7.
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so by now, we should all be familiar with the list of voters who are the target of disenfranchisement from restricted voting laws, elderly, people of color, disabled, students. all of these groups are the least likely to have government issued voter i.d. and bear the heaviest burden of the laws. but there is another group of voters miss prosecuting that list. and they are the ones that are the most likely to be without the proof of citizenship showing their current name. women. laws requiring a voter's legal name to match the maim on their photo i.d. could pause a problem at the polls for women who have changed their names or addresses in marriage or divorce and women face considerable barriers to even getting a valid i.d. 34% of voting age women with access to proof of citizenship
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have no documents with their current legal name. that means as many as 32 million voting-age women without these documents will not be able to vote in these states. back to my panel. all right. pennsylvania, all right, we are looking at from the governor and the secretary of the commonwealth some frequently asked questions about a substantially conforming voter i.d. there's a bunch of different ways your name can show up, it can be joe, j., earl. this if you are a woman, if n this example about margaret smith voter, a voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage present as valid pennsylvania driver's license or pennsylvania i.d. card, accompanied by a penndot update card which is sufficient to satisfactory the requirements of the voter i.d. law. you need not one but would forms of i.d. if you are -- officially
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a tax on being a woman in pennsylvania if up want to vote. >> it is issue of substantial conformity if our -- are you who you say you are, could be the hanging chad of 2012. because there's going to be a lot of confusion. in pennsylvania, will's 9, 3shgs 00 different po -- 9,300 different polling places. we are talking about at the very least a lot of chaos on election day. according to the aclu study of people that don't have voter i.d.s, 11% of registered vote of men don't have i.d.s but 17% of women don't have i.d.s and women are more likely than men not to have voter i.d.s in a place like pennsylvania, elderly women, african-american. >> elderly, may not -- >> their name may have changed because they were married and divorced. there is a whole number of
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reasons why women could have problems conforming to this law. i have to say that the good aspect of it is that women have really been at the forefront in fighting the laws. i was they have been doing this work. jumped through all these new hurdles for no reason. but they are out there mobilizing their constituents and educating people about the law. there are a lot of difficulties inherent in the law it self this feels like the one exciting or good piece of news in this crazy town madness of this -- this voter i.d. is once you have women organized and they feel like that -- a cross race shall cross-class, women are being tax order this. when you see pink ribbons and as you were saying fired up battleground stuff. is this the moment when the coalition gets big enough? >> this is absolutely that moment. one thing that's important is that for this year, it is the first time that we are networked online using new communication in ways we have never used before. 90% of people are now online.
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90%. 36 million women are active either writing or reading blogs. this means that our communication networks about how to vote and about how to make a plan to vote, about how to make your friends and family assure they can vote are advanced beyond comparison to the last presidential election. and we are seeing people fired up and ready to go on that. i want to add will's also a phone number if you are watching in pennsylvania, you are worried about whether you can vote or not, there is a number 1-866-our-vote. it is pulled together bay coalition of 160 organizations from the lexapro text coalition led by the lawyers commit i don't civil rights under law. >> you end up then with these sort of old-fashioned forms of voter registration like the league of women voters. these new forms that enter in lieu technology. i just -- there's something about sort of talking about the voter suppression and needing to point out to so many folks at home who say, well why don't you just go get an i.d. like -- why is this hard? why would this be a burden? i have one.
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and, you know, it -- every time i see one of these pieces like if you are elderly, you may not have the birth certificate if you are a woman and may have gotten married since your registration or divorced and your name may have changed or your address may have changed, if you are a transgender individual and you self-present as something different than what your i.d. is and people are using their discretion to decide whether or not you are joe versus jane voter, i mean, in each of these cases, it is not the likelihood of fraud. it is simply your identity, simply who you are, that is then taxed and you are unable to vote. can we, can we finally get bipartisan determination from the folks at the top who are implementing this? you know what, we are -- there's too much cost to our democracy for doing this. >> there have been decades of work to make voting easier. i'm thinking of francis piven and richard.
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you know, then will is the idea that reverend jesse jackson had which is high school students should graduate with a diploma in one hand and voting card in the other. will are ways. this is both -- a great country. we have -- innovative, creative people. what we are witnessing, though, is that that innovation is moving in a different direction. but i don't know the full details of it. will are people at brennan, you, too, followed this more closely, there are people that know the ten steps to making our democracy more perfect union and the steps one needs to take universal registration. it should be opt-in. i'm sorry, opt-out at the dmv or any of these institution. >> up next, stay on exactly this topic. also, the big voter suppression effort that comes from the pocketbook. bob...
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oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad we're both running a nice, clean race. no need to get nasty. here's your "honk if you had an affair with taylor" yard sign. looks good. [ male announcer ] fedex office. now save 50% on banners.
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♪ ♪ ♪ every mom needs a little helper. that's why i got a subaru. announcer: love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. i i had pain in my abdomen...g. it just wouldn't go away. i was spotting, but i had already gone through menopause. these symptoms may be nothing... but they could be early warning signs of a gynecologic cancer, such as cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer. feeling bloated for no reason. that's what i remember. seeing my doctor probably saved my life. warning signs are not the same for everyone. if you think something's wrong... see your doctor. ask about gynecologic cancer. and get the inside knowledge. voices of american voters
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are not being silenced laws that disenfranchise them, those voices are competing to be heard against another threat of our political process -- money. so far this year, nearly $400 million have been spent in this election cycle by outside groups who are taking full advantage of the supreme court's citizens united decision. allowing corporations and unions to dump money directly into political campaigns. and unlike the voters that are challenged to prove who they are in order to vote, so-called nonprofit political donors are under no obligation to clearly show who they are to gulf money. while those millions are not enough to sway an election at presidential level it may be enough for all those down-ballot races. i don't think you buy presidential elections. i totally think you can buy a senate and house race. certainly you can buy the school board. >> you know, the presidential race may be -- moves in a direction where it becomes clearer and i'm not being complacent, president obama
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re-elected. you will see a lot of that money move down ballot. you are already seeing it in ohio which is another state with voter issues -- voter suppression issues. where the chamber of commerce every -- literally has bought up every piece of time on the airwaves. we have an intern at the nations from toledo and went back least week and said you cannot see anything except negative attack ads. most of them against brown. >> we have a graph, you can see here where the political parties are absolutely dwarfed in their spending compared to the super pacs and the -- 501-c-4s. i wonder if this is an ultimate form of voter suppression. we talked about voter i.d. in ohio, early voting restrictions. if i can throw all of this at it is that the ultimate way of voter suppression? >> one of the reasons why the electoral system such a mess with supportivesy sense united and the voter suppression laws is because it is not in the interest of both political
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parties to support an electoral process, more transparent and includes everyone and that levels of the playing field important money. until we have that it is going to keep being a mess. it is kind of like -- actually donald rumsfeld had a phrase which is that if you have a problem and can't solve it you enlarge it. what the republicans are doing is that they are enlarging the problem of muddying the electoral playing peeled because they believe in some corners, their interest, and that that's a larger problem. >> absolutely. citizens united law and the voter suppression land goes hand in hand. what you are doing is taking away individual choice. we are already know that a congressional race is the candidate with the most money wins 90% of the time. already the choices are determined by money. then you are saying to voters even if you have a choice between two candidates and the candidate with most money is going to win anyway, you still might not able to cast a ballot for that candidate under a system that's already rigged. it is taking a rigged system and further rigging it to protect
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the wealthiest citizens in our country. >> there has been a great wakeup call. i think after the citizens united decision, 70% of conservatives and independent thought it was a terrible decision. have you seen in the last few months, 300 cities around this country passed resolutions opposing citizens united. and you have seen president obama and the democrat yuck plat form say that they would, if pleaded, support a constitutional amendment. people need to hold him accountable to it. but i do think that -- that -- we are witnessing the hope that organized money could be overtaken by organized people. remains part of the american dream and becomes harder and harder. on the other hand, if those with less money do win in this election, we immediate to be careful because we can't overstate the power of money because it also leads people to be more april thet wrik and despairing. we immediate to find a way to talk about it. >> it feels like a key what happens if there is a win, even
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if -- particularly a big wins that goes down ballot how do you not lose momentum so you get the rules of the game right? thank you to everybody. you are going hang out with me longer cars trina. the next segment is something i have been looking forward to all morning. the president campaigns are trying to win over older voters. bingo. flo: every driver is different. we've got great news for them all. you can try snapshot from progressive before you switch your insurance. [ horn honks ] just plug snapshot into your car, and drive like you -- to see if your good driving could save you up to 30%.
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a short word that's a tall order.
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up your game. up the ante. and if you stumble, you get back up. up isn't easy, and we ought to know. we're in the business of up. everyday delta flies a quarter of million people while investing billions improving everything from booking to baggage claim. we're raising the bar on flying and tomorrow we will up it yet again. the combination of mitt romney's 47% comment earlier this week and the paul ryan's proposed plan for medicare might have a particular group of american voters raging right now. not only is the republican ticket in danger of alienating the poor, but also seniors. let me tell you when you wrestle with grandma and grand pa you better get prepare. look at the reception paul rhine got yesterday in new orleans at
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an aarp event when he talked about medicare. >> the first step to a stronger medicare is to repeal obama care because it represent it is worst of both worlds. [ booing ] i had a feeling there would be mixed reactions. let me get into it. >> to the extent poverty made it into the national conversation, it has been mostly about poor children which is reasonable. but that's because the signing of the social security agent in 1935, the passage of medicare in 1965, many thought that we solved the problem of poor old people and why shouldn't they? those laws were part after bipartisan government success that included a broad commitment to the greatest generation. but now that commitment is back on the table. it has been replaced by plans of seniors today and tomorrow to get over themselves and stop looking for entitlements. with 36 million retired workers
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receiving social security benefits, 49.4 million medicare beneficiaries. the reality of seniors quietly letting go of their entitlements without a fight is you pretty unlikely. the way seniors may fight back come november is where w their vote at the table. brenda gardner, actress and volunteer at aarp's patrol. a retired postal worker. so nice to have you all here. i want to ask you, you actually talked with other seniors in your role as an aarp volunteer. what are you hearing now? >> i'm hearing a lot of things. we have these sessions where we go to different members of aarp. and ask them what they are thinking. we are trying to bring these particular issues, social security and medicare, out into the open. and not just being discussed in washington behind closed doors when we don't know what's going on and they are making the decisions without our input. i think that you are seeing --
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in 1935. a contract in there. they could -- government contracted and we would pay 6.2% now and no sure what it was back then. of our taxes for the social skoort fund so that when we retired -- we would have income and it was a contract and we agreed with that. and if they are going to change the contract they have to listen to both sides as far as i'm concerned. >> so -- listen, what's inning. i want to come to you on this. when we come to the polling will is an odd sort of mismatch between on the one hand the fact that governor romney is polling ahead with seniors overall. he has sort of a 49% to 41% over president obama. but look at this poll which is from before the 47% comment, this poll when -- when asked who is better on issues affecting seniors, this contract, as you were just talking about, president obama has a big lead over mitt romney so we have seniors saying that president obama is better on specific
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issues. how do you think this ends up getting reconciled in the polls? >> i feel as i speak to seniors that they have trust in president obama. and -- at a time in their life when it is -- it is -- actually crucial that they get their been pits and they have a say on how it is going to be used, and -- the ones that -- kind of are interested in romney is those people, some of them are not really into it. and i will be honest with you, you speak to them and -- they are neither here nor there because of the pagts that they know or don't know. but i think as time goes on, especially now, after the boo session, lit wake them up. >> let me ask about -- >> trust. they don't trust politicians. this i'm getting all the time. they don't trust anybody because of their -- they are not taking care of business. it is one of my questions. okay. we are using our vote to elect people.
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in these discussions, fun yind of thing happened with one of the gentlemen who -- last monday, he went a little off subject. and was saying about the budget which would not -- social security and medicare are not about fixing the budget. they are separate, we have a trust fund that will last until 20 years at 100% to paid been pits and after that at 75%. we are trying to fix something ahead of time. it takes time for things to go through congress. >> in the sense that when you said something so important earlier it is a contract, but it is also -- social security is too often discussed as an entitlement and an earned right and i think that -- one of the great things roosevelt did was not simply lift this country out of the greatest depression but provide for economic security. especially for seniors. i fear that there is a bipartisan kind of establishment, austerity class, in washington as we head towards a possible fiscal cliff. there is talking about
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simpson/bowles which -- will damage seniors and others that have borne the brunt of a disaster caused by wall street which has not had to paw for that. >> if -- interesting to hear you say this in part because ryan, boo session moment, i expect that, ryan claimed is he's being brave by touching this thing that i think he would say there has been bipartisan agreement that we are never going to fix it, we are never going to touch it. in part because aarp stands there as this powerful source in a can mob lies voters and say no, you will not touch this. >> ryan had been brave before. it is important. i think democrats have been conflating paul ryan, the pre-vice president with paul ryan vice presidential nominee. that's not what mitt romney, the actual nominee, has been campaigning on. he campaigns every single day against barack obama's medicare cuts. every day. there isn't a day he doesn't make that point.
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he campaigned against rick perry talking about social security as a ponz write scheme. we need to guarantee our contract with seniors. mitt romney is not campaigning on anything like cut entitlements and -- >> ryan -- >> six words. when people describe paul ryan as brave or courageous, it makes me think about how we have really degraded the term political courage in our system. it does not take political courage to take a whack at the most vulnerable in this country and society who have already borne the brunt of the economic -- >> seniors are not the most vulnerable. seniors -- you might be most vulnerable, my mom might be the most vulnerable but as a class seniors have 47 times -- >> like everybody else. we have similar problems. from birth to death. everybody has similar problems. overall, we are interested in a good quality of life. what that good quality of life is depends on the individual.
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but basics are roof over your head, food, and clothing and the -- the ability to survive by with those basics. and health and i like to add in activity every day that gives you joy. >> pursuit of happiness. i promise, we will stay on exactly that because i think what you just articulated was in par what we heard in the 47% comments. how dare you think of yourself as entitlement to food and housing and joy? >> i never did finish my comment. >> i didn't finish my comment. >> we will let you fin thaish t. i promise. [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] introducing zzzquil sleep-aid. [ snoring ] [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] it's not for colds, it's not for pain, it's just for sleep. [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] because sleep is a beautiful thing. [ birds chirping ]
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♪ >> it frightens me someone could think that way and is running for president. >> these people he's talking about paid income tax, many years. and they worked to get to where they are today to be able to have maybe a little free time and a lot of them are still working part time with their social security and still aren't making enough to pay. >> it offends me. it puts me in that group. we paid into social security. all our working life. and we, therefore are getting what we have invested in. it is not like we are getting money from the government. >> brenda, this is the point you just made about this being a contract. >> everybody agreed on. before woe started talking, will was a gentleman that got off subject, social security, medicare, talking about the budget. and what about his idea was barter, what about a barter system, which i said? little off subject. but i kind of love the idea like
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the barter theater in virginia, when it started in the '30s, you could bring a chicken or produce and get a ticket to the theater. and the image of our congressmen being paid with chickens really makes me smile. >> right. that is something that brought you joy for the day. >> we were talking about the fact that your retirement is from the u.s. postal service. and i'm thinking that -- certain ways represents an entire economic shift for us as a country. certainly we are talking about social security, medicare, policies. but also how are seniors at this moment thinking about the economy, not just for themselves but for the young folks who are coming behind them who can't work these kinds of jobs anymore because they don't exist anymore? >> well, it is not only the jobs that don't exist. it is the -- rules under the -- that you will come into the system. and -- totally drastic compared to when i started. i did 43 years and by the time i retired, i was ready to retire.
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i had -- i was financially set. then the -- the recession came. i suffered. i suffered. not that i'm broke but i don't have a swiss bank account. >> that's not a small thing. the mum of folks i run into who are in their late 60s, early 70s, working small jobs, you know, i will get in a cab and i have a 67-year-old cab driver who is retired from a government job maybe but just does peel like he has enough to, you know, live or to survive or pokes who are working as baggers and cashiers. like is will a store why you about, again about the economic side of this and you want to hear from the candidates? >> i -- i believe that obama is on the right track. he still has things to do. but romney is just too
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disengaged. it is an element of fear. he projects an element of fear. and when you are a senior, you reached this stage in your life, and -- you worry about your medicine, worry about your food, worry about all kinds of benefits, and that fear, when you see romney up there, he represents that fear. that certain unknown that comes out and i think that's what is keeping him from connecting with people. and at that stage in your life, even now, 50-plus, doesn't sound old. it isn't old. >> it is not. >> 50-plus becomes 60-plus very quickly. >> did you see that story in -- was in the paper yesterday about mortality rates for women and -- it is quite stunning in this very rich country. first of all, we don't really have much upward social mobility anymore which was part of the american dream but that women, particularly, i believe, single women with high school
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education, are now dying at much younger rates because maybe health disparities and other factors. it seems to me that economic security is something that binds seniors and younger generation which is growing up in this environment where joblessness is the new normal and i think this scars a generation, scars a country, scars the possibility of democracy in many ways or sense of a contract so it is a very new period but the danger i hope is that well, i hope we don't allow this joblessness and the insecurity for seniors to be a new normal. that should not be the new normal. >> let's talk about something bill clinton brought newspaper his speech at the democratic convention which was math. this is the problem with our concept of a contract for medicare. the math of medicare, according to urban institutes of study last year, if you retired at 65 in 2010, more or less, you put in to payroll taxes about $58,000 into the medicare trust
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fund and you will receive about $185,000 coming out. that number is growing. and will grow only further as baby boom generation retires. that is a math problem and it is a big one and trying to say it doesn't exist is a problem. >> it is a math problem that's solvable p you have young people who are larger population who are working and paying in. right? because it is -- it is not actually savings account. it is your money. it -- it is today's workers paying in so that our parents and our grandparents can have moments of joy, can have some relaxation. >> look at -- in social security, which is a hell of a lot more solvent than medicare is, in 1940, 149 of those workers for every one recipient. now there's 3 to 1. that's going down. the share of social security and medicare as program spending right now is 37%. it is going to be 50% by 2030. if we don't address that math, the math will eat us whole.
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so -- >> math, i mean, first of all -- all i said is there's sometimes hysteria about social security going bankrupt. there is a manageable shortfall with smart changes and reforms social security would remain solvent. >> medicare i'm talking about here. >> first we have to take a quick
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test. test.
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. >> education nation student town hall. in preparing for today's students, i've been reminded students have long been the foot soldiers of change. in 1951, 117 high school students and their parents went on strike to protest at their all-black school in virginia lacked indoor plumbing. they went on to join students from washington, d.c., south carolina, delaware and kansas. they became brown v. board of education, the case that established in 1954 that separate is inherently unequal. three years later, nine
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teenagers in little rock, arkansas put that decision to the test. the little rock nine carried the courage of the court's conviction on their should ers when they walked through the doors of central high. in 1960, four students from north carolina a.n.t. stood up to inequality when they sat down at a woolworth counter in greensboro. in 1963, high school students and college students in birmingham, alabama, put their bodies in the line of fire during the children's crusade. the willingness to bear the brunt of police clubs, dog attacks and fire hoses paved the way for federal civil rights legislation. in 1970, students at kent state university took fire of national guardsmen who sprayed more than 60 bullets of students protesting the vietnam war. they were part of the movement that preshd the u.s. to end its intervention in vietnam. students on university campuses
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in the 1980s were at the forefront of demanding divestment from south africa, a policy that crippled apartheid regime. it's not students of some by gone era who have made change. in 2008 more than 1,000 students of texas's prairie view a & m university marched seven miles to protest the lack of an early voting location on their campus in 2010, thousands of students in newark, new jersey walked out of classes in protest of governor chris christie's decision to slash education budgets. and this year the relentless efforts of a generation of dreamers moved an american president. according to the u.s. census, there are more than 79 million students in the united states. for being at the forefront of change, these students are the foot soldiers of yesterday and today. tune in tomorrow to hear them speak for themselves. and thank you to ca tree yeah,
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matt, brenda and eddie for sticking around. tomorrow i will be hosting a special edition of the show. it will be student town hall as part of nbc's education summit from where else, nerdland from the new york public library. . cer ] sponges take your mark. ♪ [ female announcer ] one drop of ultra dawn has twice the everyday grease cleaning ingredients of one drop of the leading non-concentrated brand... ♪ [ crowd cheering ] clean 2x more greasy dishes. dawn does more. so it's not a chore. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now i can be in the scene.
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