tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current February 2, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
for being here. >> thanks a lot. >> that does it for our show tonight. i'm david shuster. for all evening. you are watching current tv. i'm jennifer grandholm, welcome to "the war room" from current headquarters in san francisco. we're going to begin with the latest news from the campaign trail. the gop presidential candidates are focused on the next state holding contests in nevada maine, colorado, and others in the next couple of weeks. and i'll be joined by california governor jerry brown, he'll talk about what he is doing to turn the golden state's economy around. and we're going big on those super bad super pacs. we'll tell you whether it is corrupting the american political system.
all of that and much more right here on "the war room." come on inside! ♪ >> so we are here inside the war room, and we may have had a decisive win in florida's gop primary, but neither mitt romney nor any of his republican rivals are close to lock up the nomination. i want to show you where we're at. current delegate counts. romney with 87 gingrich 26 ron paul with 4, santorum at 14. you all know the total number of delegates is 1144 so we have a
long way to go. as gingrich said last night in his not concession speech that he is taking this all the way to the convention. these are the degaits in the month of february. and we truly have a slow month for the presidential primary. let me just talk about nevada for one moment. nevada, just so that you know because it's coming up this weekend on february 4th on saturday, 7% mormon population but of the caucus goers in 2008 25% of those gop caucus goers were mormons. so obviously very well represented. 12% unemployment rate the highest in the country, foreclosure rate at 6% also the highest in the country. all of the experts that looked
at nevada's economy say that nevada needs to diversify. so what are those presidential candidates offering to help the state diversify its economy. we also are going to go to michigan. michigan is a state clearly that has -- near and dear to my heart, and michigan has a couple of things that is -- i think are interesting for the presidential race. one is an auto industry on the rebound. all of the statistics about michigan say that michigan is in fact going to do very well in this coming year going to be one of the quick estates to rebound because of that intervention by the president to the auto industry. and the second issue for michigan that i think is significant for romney is romney opposed the bailout of the auto industry on the one hand and on the other hand romney's father was the governor of michigan.
so was hi. but the vice president delivered his speech. it was a company mr. biden applauded for keeping jobs in michigan and not outsourcing them overseas. i would like for you to listen to what the biden crowd and what he was saying in grand rapids today. >> ladies and gentlemen, it is clear that the state of the union is improving. ladies and gentlemen, the middle class cannot be sustained unless there are decent-paying jobs, good jobs with decent wages. >> so now we're going to turn to the governor of the great state of california. what a pleasure it is to be able to welcome you into the war room. thanks so much for coming in. >> thank you good to be here. >> it's great to have you here. there has been an awful lot going on in california, but let me ask you a couple of questions
about the presidential race. >> sure. >> you have been around this track a couple of times. >> yes, i have. i wouldn't recommending it. >> well you get to see the level of money and investment. >> the more money, the more vicious. they are like civil wars in primaries. they are more vicious. >> we are seeing that. and we're going to talk about that in this show. we'll talk about how -- especially how the anonymous money can contribute to the viciousness. but today mitt romney made some comments, and i want you to listen to them and then if i could get your reaction. >> sure. >> i am in this race because i care about americans, i'm not concerned about the very poor we have a safety net there.
i'm not concerned about the very rich. they are doing just fine. i'm concerned about the 95% of americans who right now are struggling. >> later on in the day he clarified that because a lot of people were picking up on he wasn't concerned about the very poor. he said he would allow the safety net to take care of it. i'm curious what your reaction to comments like that were. >> i think he was trying to lay his business school background, create a statistic call thought in his head that it isn't the extremes, but the vast middle that you have to worry about where all of the votes are. obviously you have to worry about the rich and what are they doing, and how much are they paying. and worry about the poor and can they get out of it and how punishing is that state of
affairs. i can tell you in the campaign you get nothing out of the park every day. >> that's for sure. and you can certainly step on yourself but i tnk from an editorial perspective it adds to though list of things. >> it indicates as i said -- he is saying it in statistic call terms. and maybe i would be more accurate if i said he is probably thinking as a political consultant. where are most of the votes, but when you are talk about the president, you have to think about the country, and it's a very diverse place. >> absolutely. newt gingrich gave a speech that wasn't a concession speech but really vowed to take it all the way to the convention.
as somebody who fought that battle yourself what advice would you give him? >> i would say that he wants -- throw out his ideas. make it a constructive debate. these primaries are just a horse race. and he has the experience and ability to articulate. so why not lay out what he thinks is not working in america, and how he would fix it. i think what happens to him, that would be a very constructive contribution. if he could keep promoting his vision and then draw out romney as to what his vision is. >> that's interesting, because the drawing out often is done by the super pacs and secret contributors. we'll have a discussion on that
as i mentioned. i'm wondering from your perspective because i think you have long supported campaign finance reform do you think we should have a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics in this country? >> hopefully the supreme court will wake up. if they don't do that maybe we could get a constitutional amendment. but that is highly unrealistic, given the conservative republicans who believe that a speech is still a speech. when i ran for president i took no more than a hundred dollars. >> you were like buddy roamer. >> i went a long way on that but obviously not enough. but it is a serious undermining of the process. but money is at the heart of capitolism, and democracy is working on eat principal.
putting money together with a free republic of people that have equal weight that's one that even though i have been at this game a long time i still ha to reflect on what are we going to do about? >> yeah. today quickly before we go to break, the president made some proposals expanded on proposals about mortgages about being able to refinance. obviously california had issues with foreclosure and people being underwater do you think that's good stuff? >> sure. the banks were bailed out, but the people weren't bailed out. the banks could take a haircut and the government could show the cut, and then you can refinance and if the people underwater felt more secure financially, they would spend more. they spent more as consumers,
and it would stimulate and make more jobs happen. so it's bold because you have to take on the banks, but it would be a good idea. >> and presumably you would have to work with the states to make sure it was done in a way that allows you to get it all out. there is a lot more i want to talk about with you. when we get back we'll take the focus to the state of california. and then later, as i said super pacs have met and exceeded goals for the super wealthy, but at what cost to our political system. only one who thinks an amendment to the constitution may be in order. that's next on "the war room."
almond joy and mounds. unwrap paradise. >>this is outrageous! [[vo]]cenk uygur calls out the mainstream media. >>the rest of the media seems like, "ho-hum, no big deal." we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. just refreshing to hear. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real. once again we are joined by -- we're back and once again joined by california governor jerry brown. since his election in 2010, governor brown has faced
significant challenges, including 11% unemployment. and yesterday the state's controller warned that california could run out of money next month. that? >> we have our ways of getting over the lean period. we'll handle that. that has happened before. the big thing is california is on the mend. when i took over last year there was a $26 billion deficit. we have cut that in half. and i have a plan to totally balance it and pay down debts built up over the last decade. and we want to create the investment in the future, high-tech, biotech, enough buildings. >> okay. let's break it down. you have done an unbelievable job in trying to balance the budget. and you got your legislature to go along. very tough cuts, i know.
and you have a plan that's slated to be on the november. >> i would have liked to have the republicans help me put it on onthe ballot. >> describe what it is. >> we have cuts to -- half of the cuts in the current budget, and the next will be a half cent sales tax, temporary for just a few years, and then a 1% on people -- families who make over $500,000, and 2% on the money they make over $1 million in one year. and that also will be temporary. and protect funding for public safety, and we do that, because we're shifting some responsibility from the state down to the local levels. it's called realignment bringing government close to the people.
protecting public safety, increasing taxes on the very wealthy for a short period of time. if we do that combined with the recovering economy and direct it to the schools. the budget is built on the assumption we're going to get this $7 billion. if we don't get it, we'll have to cut back. and since education when you education. >> there was a poll out last week which suggested that -- i was actually stunned to see that people were willing to go along with it, in pretty large numbers, like 60-some-odd-percent of voters plan. >> we have made pretty drastic cuts. higher education 25, aid to the elderly and disabled, this is not nice. and a billion out of our
prisons, so people know we're getting down to the point where the public service is not what most people want, and that's where you find over 50% of the people are saying okay. i'm take a temporary tax. >> so you are able to balance, so now you have got to find a way to invest the things that will help california grow. talk a little bit about what the plans. >> california by 2020 to have a 33.33% of electricity derived from renewable sources. that's the fastest growing source of jobs -- >> so many of the solar panels end up getting made in china. how do you bring it back here? >> we're doing the best we can, because of the dollar and the
rising cost of the china, these are equalizing. if you have to compete with somebody who makes $0.50 an hour or less, that's formidable. so you want to invest in those things that will stay here. and there are things that very quick in time you want to be able to supply quick changes and that means local manufacturing. we also have efficiency, the way we design our buildings. california saved $50 billion over the last 35 years because of efficiency standards. i want to keep that up. >> and that of course creates a lot of jobs. part of the challenge of the reputation for california are the manufacturers. would try to get people in silicon valley to take their technology to michigan. obviously part of the strategy is to change the reputation for manufacturing of california, and how can you do that?
>> california, the real estate is expensive that's true. but this is a place where facebook started hewlett-packard started. steve jobs built apple computers just a few miles away. we have four times more patents going to californians than people from the next state, which is new york. we get almost half of the venture capital. when commodities get cheaper it gets harder to maintain that predominance. california has lost manufacturers at about the same rate as the rest of america. so this is a national problem that we have to all pull >> we need a president that has well. >> that would take a change in the tax system. so we privilege manufacturing. >> yeah. all right. we told people on facebook that
you were coming, and one of the questions people said i should ask you, because you are rumored to be a voracious reader. what are you reading now and what would you advise people who are watching to take up? >> i'm reading arubicon which is about caesar -- how nasty the politics were. they had more super pacs. it is quite nasty. it makes me feel good about our politics.
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♪ if there's one question that sums up super pacs and their impact on politics it's this, when is the last time you saw them run a positive ad?ad? >>s re>> supeweracs are a new phenen i n merin phenomenon in americ an pollitics.itics. th a they are restiro resultinfrom a su emsucourprcaem ke wncourt case known as citizen's united. >> ruthless vindictive. intolerant. >> liar is a good one. >> scares the hell out of me. >> the movie features a who's who cast of right wringers slamming hilary clinton.
but citizens united was prevented from airing the documentary on tv by the federal election commission. that's because it violated the act which was bipartisan election designed to reform campaign financing. the suit claimed the law violated their first amendment free speech rights, and the case made it all the way to the united states supreme court. in a 5-4 decision, the court struck down those provisions of the act that banned corporations from broadcasting messages about candidates close to election day. in the majority opinion. the justice wrote that money does not, quote give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption end quote. this
opened the flood get as for corporation spending. and the result $2.8 billion was spent on broadcast campaign ads in 2010. super pacs spending this year is exploding. >> money is not speech! >> earlier this month, on the two-year anniversary of the supreme court decision, hundreds of people around the country converged on state courthouses to protest the supreme court decision. the ongoing fight to reverse the citizen's united decision is takes place on several months. montana's supreme court recently upheld a century-old state law, banning corporate spending in elections, and there are several movements calling for a constitutional amendment that would overrule the citizen's united decision. >> our next guest knows more than almost anyone about how
money influences our political system. the author of the new book "republic lost." i'm so glad to join him. he's joining us from boston. i'm glad you are joining us. thank you for being in the war room. i was fascinated by this book, professor, because it's broader than the citizens united case, but you are proposing solutions on how to stop it. but before i get to the solutions, the real problem is the linkage between those who contribute and what they want; is that right? >> yeah, that's right. what we have is kind of corruption not like doing anything criminal. because members of congress spend between 30 and 70% of their time raising money to get
back to congress or get their party back into power, and as they do that, they begin to shape shift in the form necessary to raise the most money they need. and that very dependency they develop is a kind of corruption at the core of the corruption of our government today. >> in your book you really document a lot of that. can you give for the viewers an example of, you know, a law that was bought essentially. we have a tax code that's 72,000 pages, perhaps -- each one is owned by a lobbyist and maybe that's an example of how the influence of money has shaped our body of law to be able to benefit those who have. but are there other examples that people can latch on to? >> yeah, i think there are many examples of laws that strike anybody as kind of crazy. one of my favorite a law i
paved the way for that super pacs spending. the director and founder of free speech for people is leading the amendment that does just that. i'm going to get right to it. describe what you are proposing. >> thank you, governor for having me. we're proposing free speech for people dot org that would make clear that corporations are not people. whether it is we the people or we the corporations who shall govern in america. and the citizens united ruling allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money drowning out voices. >> larry has proposed a constitutional amendment also, the path he believes is necessary because congress is
not likely to approve a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment is to go directly to the people, to the states. well? >> we're engaged in the states. in fact the new mexico house of representatives just passed the resolution. our path is the way that we have done this 27 times before in our nation's history seven times to overturn egregious supreme court rulings. i recognize there is a tough road ahead but women did not get the right to vote because men thought it was a good idea. we can and must do it again. >> you're not adverse -- the bottom line is we need an amendment amendment, so the most rapid
path, i would imagine you would be in favor of. i think we have a bit of a sound bite on the floor making a case for this. >> in my view, a corporation is not a person. in my view, a corporation does not have first amendment rights to spending as much money as it wants without disclosure on a political campaign. >> of course, he is very powerful, very persuasive, and i think there are a lot of groups that have signed on to make this happen. you are working with a coalition are you not? >> we are. there are many groups in the country all over the nation who are fighting to reclaim our democracy. hundreds of thousands all over the nation have joined in
calling for this. a thousand business leaders have joined us for the american sustainable business council in calling for this. this movement is designed to ensure that we the people govern america. he is right, corporations are not people. but, you know, the point here is that we must return to that fundamental principal of government. and the citizen's united ruling is a departure from that law. >> one quick question, obviously there's been an interest on the part of groups like the occupy movement as well as the tea partiers, sort of strange bed fellows in talking about getting money out of politics. is this an opportunity to link a really diverse group of people to join together for the purpose of taking our country back?
>> i think you are right. this is a very unique moment in our nation's history, come together around the vision of what we are about. we have done research across the political spectrum people are opposed to the citizen's united ruling. >> director and cofounder of free speech for people. thank you so much for withing with us in the war room, and being a warrior for taking our country back. it is a super bad, super pacs wednesday here in "the war room," and we'll dig deeper into what has become one of the major issues. we're all about the big bad
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republicans elected. and the super pacs backing mitt romney restore our future has raised $30 million. and that's more than the romney campaign itself has raised. this despite the fact that mitt romney claims he is not a fan of super pacs. >> they set up these new entities which i think is a disaster. we ought to let campaigns raise the money they need and get rid of these super pacs. >> i want a big eye roll there. he may not be a fan of super pacs but a bunch of his friends are. here to break down the somebodies and provide analysis for us for us.
welcome to "the war room." >> my pleasure. >> first of all can you explain why suddenly we're getting all of this information about individual donors right now. >> the way that the law reads, super pacs have to disclose their donors, but not like they have to report the expenditures that they make. when you make an expenditure as a super pacs you have to disclose that within 24 hours. but we saw yesterday for many of the super pacs they were funded by individuals giving 6 and in some cases 7 figures worth of donations to the super pacs and in the case of restore our future which is a pro-mitt romney super pacs we had 25
different corporations make donations of $10,000 or more. we're starting to see that the corporations are getting in the game in a very major way. >> let me ask you about that. if you make the linkage you have all of these very wealthy individuals and corporations a lot of hedge fund folks who are giving to support mitt romney is there something he is proposing, like, for example, keeping capital gains tax at the rate it is or carried interest or something like that that obviously benefits that right? they like the way the system is so they want to make sure their guy gets in. >> without question. but we're seeing it happen in a way that perhaps it never has before in modern presidential politics where super pacs are
collecting huge sums of money who are very like minded from the candidate they are supporting. there is nothing below board about this it's just people who support mitt romney who like his pollties, his experiences at bain, have the ability to write a check for a seven-figure sum and hand it over to a super pacs. >> can you name some of the interesting names that people might recognize? >> sure for restore our future which is again supporting mitt romney we have businessman harlan crow from dallas where i used to report. he gave i believe $500,000. and there are a whole variety of other corporations -- >> he is a businessman. what kind of business does he have? >> he runs crow holdings which is an investment company and a real estate company in dallas which has investments all over
the place throughout the united states. but, you know, we look at some of the other super pacs rick perry who of course is not in the race right now, he also had a similar situation where he was receiving six and seven-figure sums from a lot of powerful business people. one of his donors was the president and owner of the houston texans football team. so there's some pretty prominent business people and americans who a lot of folks would know. >> i so appreciate you laying it out a bit for us. it really adds to the conversation we're having tonight which started with the proposal to stop the congress or those who are running from bending their decisions, as he says towards the money, and that's really the way the laws in our country have been written. so dave thank you so much for joining us and as the saying
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>>this is outrageous! we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. >> you when they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? lipstick. >> we can really win this thing. >> i'm not sure how much she knows about foreign politics. here. >> it wasn't my fault. it wasn't properly prepped. >> i love it. that was a scene from hbo's game change due out in march, based on the book of the 2008 campaign
from two of the country's leading political reporters, so for those of us who like to talk about politics all day and then watch shows about politics all night, i love it. i actually played sarah palin for joe biden in the debate in the real election. so tina faye you have got some what is in a name? when it comes to super pacs nothing. here is brett's edition of shhh, breath's talking now. >> hey, super pacs you are really great at coming up with money, but you are really terrible at coming up with names. gingrich's pac is called winning our future. which is a great name if you are winning. rick santorum pac is called red
white and blue which are also the colors of britain and france. why not go for something more explicitly american, like the nuts pac. and then restore our future. this name makes no sense. you don't restore things that have already happened. the future hasn't happened yet, because it's the future. how can you restore something that hasn't happened yet? ow. is my brain exploding? the club for growth action, because it's so ambiguous people don't know why they are giving money. grow my hair back, cash. grow my -- i don't feel comfortable talking about it, but it needs to get bigger, cash.