tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current February 7, 2012 5:00am-6:00am PST
>> we're back with a look at our state of our state. tonight, we're putting the focus on colorado, and that's where republicans will head tomorrow for the state's caucuses. the results are nonbinding, with the 36 delegates being decided at the state party's convention in april. a public-policy polling survey out today shows mitt romney far ahead of his rivals with 40% of the vote. rick santorum is second followed by newt gingrich and then ron paul. come november, the nominee and president obama will be battling over colorado's 9 electric electoral votes in this very important swing state. for a preview of tomorrow's colorado caucus and other issues affecting the state we are joined bay man who knows the lay of the land in the rocky mountain state about as well as
nirntion and a guy who is as passionate about clean energy as anyone i know, former democratic governor bill ritter joins us from denver, governor, thank you so much for coming and welcome to the war room. so glad to have you here. >> it's good to be here, governor, and good the talk to you. >> thank you. >> good to see you. >> great to see you as well, great to see you as well. so just quickly, on the colorado caucus situation can you give us a preview? i know that obviously in past years, colorado was a red state obama changed that in 2008. i think you had a lot of help in that. how do you see the republican candidates playing in colorado today? >> you know, romney won the state pretty handily in 2008, even though he didn't ultimately win the nomination. so i think mitt romney is going to play really strong. the poll indicates that. there's nothing really that cause me to think it's going to be any different. if somebody else surges in these other states, and he winds up having a tough convention race,
something may change, but i'd say the votes are going to ultimately go to mitt romney from here in colorado. and that's, you know, that's expected. now, ultimately, in the general election, i think it's a different question. the way democrats have won in colorado really since ken salozar in 2004 when he won the state senate seat, i won in 2006, mark udall serving in the senate as a democrat, we've been winning in independent and barack obama won the state by 9 points won heavily among independents, so it am be interesting to see where independents are in november of 2010, or 2012. >> and my guess is a lot of those independents were about persuaded by what i think was your and others aggressive stand on energy. today there was a bit of news that came out that said that the price of gas, this is from the oil price information service saying that the price of gas is going to go up another 60 cents
a gallon by may. and the question really is, do you think that any of the republicans have put forth a plan that really would get us independent of foreign oil other than drill baby, drill? >> well, i don't think -- i haven't heard anything on the republican side in the way of a proposal that really is a national energy policy that's workable. i, yup it's really interesting if you look at this governor, that there's a george mace poll that they polled the entire united states, and americans really favor clean energy. even if the intermountain west, we had a poll a year ago from colorado college that said in monday tan erika's wyoming colorado, new mexico new mexico, utah, she is are high-extraction states with a lot of fuels coming out of the ground. in each of those states, wyoming and utah, the voters preferred clean energy over fossil fuel energy. i'm bullish on natural gas, i think it integrates well with clean and renewable energy with
energy efficiency measures, as long as you do it in an environmentally sound way. and it's really where not just the west is, but it's where americans are. so i don't think there's a republican that stepped up and said we understand how americans feel about energy. >> there was a poll that also indicated last year that 63% of the tea party members also favor a plan that would get us off of our reliance on foreign oil that would make us more energy-independent. you were a democratic governor and for a period of time you had a republican legislature and you yet were able to convince them to be able to have robust energy policy that is created jobs in colorado. so in that vein, how many jobs were you able to create, and what was the state policy you were able to push through that created those jobs? >> actually, i didn't have republicans in the majority while i was governor, although we had a lot of energy bills that passed with bipartisan support. our last big one was called a fuel switch from coal to natural gas, and we had major republican
support for that, leadership in the republican party, who were supportive of that measure. we passed a 30% renewable energy standard. it was one of 57 bills that i signed over a four-year period that were clean energy bilsz. i think we did a lot of it in a bipartisan way and i'm pretty proud of that. it was helpful to have bipartisan support and as a result of that we see our emissions profile lower significantly by 2020, but also we brought in wind systems it's 2500 jocks. we brought in a group that makes solar inverter panels. we have, i think we're highest we're number one this terms of solar workers in america per capita. only a state of five million people. so we made a big leap there, and the numbers are really good. >> so if you were able to persuade a good number of republicans to go along with democrats, to be able to do this the question really is, how do we get these republican candidates for president or
republican members of congress or the senate to understand that it's not just about global warming, but it's also about jobs in our state? that's what we've got to do, right? >> yeah, i could make a real argument that philippine you don't believe in global warming if you believe in national security, that having a national energy poles and one that focuses on clean energy is extremely important, that you could do a lot with respect to improving public health. again, philippine you don't believe in climate change, public health is still really an important part of this equation, and actually i would argue, as well that economic development this is now a world competition. if you want to be -- >> it is. >> -- world competitors, we're seeing this all over the globe we're seeing countries outstrip, and they're our ideas and inventions. >> they're taking it it's driving me crazy. former governor bill ritter, now doing a lot of great work in energy, thank you so much for joining us. and coming up, the obama
administration closes its embassy in syria and this is a security situation that continues to worsen. michigan senator carl levin provides analysis of the tumultuous middle east, next right here in the war room. this is countdown south carolina. forgot the name of the show p.m. [ male announcer ] cookies with smooth caramel and chocolate. ♪ ♪ hmm twix. also available in peanut butter.
>> the united states closed its embassy in syria today and evacuated all personnel after diplomatic efforts to end months of bloodshed failed to gain traction at united nations. senator carl levin democrat of michigan and chairman of the armed services committee is joining us from washington tonight to talk about syria the middle east and politics here at home. i'm so pleased to be able to welcome you into the war room, senator. >> it's just great to be with you, jennifer, as always. >> all right. well, let's start because there's obviously been an awful lot going on in the world.
with the failure of the united nations this weekend to pass a resolution on syria the question on everybody's manipulated, i think is, is it possible to bring about some sort of regime change without military intervention? >> well, it's going to be very difficult, particularly without russia without china supporting the international effort. we've got arab countries with us. the rest of the world is with us really, except for those two major countries and that's what the problem is, and even if they were supporting tough sanctions it would be uncertain. but without them, i think that just kind of gives syria the kind of support that they don't deserve, and it's a tragedy that china and russia have so isolated themselves on this issue. >> do you think that because of the number of people and the killings that are kinking that some additional, would hope, diplomatic pressure will be
brought to bear on china and russia? or is there -- what's the next step to make -- to make this stop? >> the next step, i think is with china and russia, another effort at the u.n. to bring about a u.n. resolution that would impose very significant hopefully, sanctions and pressure on syria. but that veto stands out as a blockage of the kind of stronger action which might work, but without those two countries changing their mind, i just don't see it happening. but again hopefully there will be another effort at the u.n. and world opinion and maybe opinion back home, too in russia and china might even have a little hope of changing things. >> well, another, you know, as we look at all of these hot spots, especially in the middle east and what's happening with egypt, and the continued movement by egyptian government to put americans up for trial or to detain americans i understand that you might be
meeting later this week with some officials from the egyptian government to talk about what secretary clinton talked about this weekend, which is to withhold the u.s. support of military $1.3 billion in money that supports the egyptian military. is that going to be a message that you and maybe senator mccain strongly deliver in addition to her? >> we had a meeting scheduled for today which the egyptians canceled at the last minute, so we have to rely upon the letter that we sent which does exactly what you just said, which is to say, we cannot have a normal relationship and we can't be considering military aid to egypt while these circumstances exist. you can't have, i think 19 now americans who are going to be charged with some kind of crime i goldberg in egypt that they were trying to work with the people who were running for office, so they didn't make discontinuing shons. anybody who wanted to learn what it's like to run for office, these are people, democrats and
republicans, both organizations who are there with the knowledge of the egyptian government, training folks who wanted to get involved in public service in egypt. they haven't had that kind of free election in the past. and so they were performing really what is so important that we do around the world, which is to spread our values where they're welcome. they were welcome until recently, and we're going to continue to put pressure on the egyptian government. >> well, and so there's syria there's egypt, and of course there's iran. and i know you are a strong friend to israel, but there are many who are concerned about the sort of mutual saber-rattling that seems to be happening with iran and israel, and so, can you let folks know what, you know, obviously no one wants iran to have the capability of nuclear of a nuclear weapon, but will we get some -- some notice as a country if there is an effort, if israel plans on taking
action? >> i'm not so sure we'll know in advance if israel decides to act, but we will know whether iran is going to move towards a nuclear weapon when they cut off the inspections that are there. these are inspections which take place, i believe every 30 days. that's not much notice, by the way, and it's not enough notice, because it would put iran on the decision course that they're going to have nuclear weapons. and in everyone's interests, in the region's interests not just israel, but there's no arab country that i know of that wants iran to have a nuclear weapon. and it would really start an arms race in that region, which could spread not only to other countries in the region, and when i say an arms race, i mean a nuclear arms race, but also could spread beyond that. so what the united states has successfully done is to pull together the world here at united nations. that's a very significant action on our part, and that pressure
on iran is now a united pressure. it's a worldwide pressure, and it's going to continue to grow. we're going to continue to increase that pressure. just today the president issued an executive order which goes directly towards not just the iranian bank, the central bank, but also for their accounts in the united states. so that everything's frozen here. and that's going to get to their oil exports and what the president has also done is to line up alternative sources of oil for countries that are willing to join in that embargo. >> and, of course, now with all of this happening in the middle east, at the same time as i know there are budget cuts proposed clearly for the defense budget, and you have people like mitt romney who are saying that the pentagon's proposed cuts are going to significantly weaken our -- not just preparedness, but our strength as a nation. do you have some concern with
all that is going on in the middle east that now is not the time to be putting significant cuts on the table for the military? >> well, i rely very heavily on our top uniformed leadersment they very strongly in support of the president's budget. they have embraced the budget. they worked very hard to produce that budget. they were involved very deeply in the discussions that led to this budget. and so when mr. romney, governor romney talks about weakening defense, it's obviously a political statement. it's the kind of partisan statement which has no place, as far as i'm concerned in our politics, because when it comes to defense and security issues, there should not be partisan statements. obviously, there's going to be differences. those are legitimate. but the kind of partisan comment which is he's been coming out with just are going to run smack into the statements of our top uniformed military leaders that this budget will not weaken the
united states. it's a solid budget, addressing the kind of shift in the threats which have taken place since the cold war and with the onset offal al qaeda. >> so cuts more in europe, but maintaining our defense in strategic places around the world like in the middle east. >> right. it's maintaining our defenses where neernt to be maintained, which is to be able to go after al qaeda and their supporters. >> so let me quickly hit you on some politics, because, of course, mitt romney, as you and i know, born in michigan. and i'd like to get to you comment, if you would, on this issue about the swiss bank accounts. i know you've been a big proponent of transparency and disclosure and fairness, and i'm just wondering should mitt romney be able to hide assets in swiss bank accounts, or anybody who may have made money in the united states? the question that a devil's advocate might pose is, what's wrong with allowing those who made money to put it where they
want? >> providing they're not hiding it from uncle sam who has to collect taxes which might be owing on money. the trouble with these off-shore tax havens particularly like the caymans and other places, are hedge funds like romney's former head fund, uses phone corporations in order to attract money from other places and in many cases we don't know if this is true yet with governor romney's hedge fund, but also to avoid paying u.s. taxes. that's the shument we can close these offshore tax havens. the issue isn't whether what he did was legal or not. i assume it was technically legal. the issue is when we come to close down the offshore tax havens like the caymans, we have bills on the floor president obama supports them. will governor romney support closing down the use of tax havens to avoid paying taxes? it's not enough to say he didn't
use these illegally that's not the question. the question is whether or not we're going to close these tax havens because they are used illegally all the time by people to avoid paying tax and as far as i'm concerned if it's not already illegal tax avoidance by using these tax havens should be made illegal. that's the battle we're going to be waging on the floor of the senate. and hopefully we'll get some support from a few republicans but obviously governor romney wants to defend the use of these gimmicks, these corporate loopholes, like the use of offshore tax havens, like the use of the so-called interest which is used by hedge funds to not pay their regular rate of taxes. the carried interest is a technical kind of a loophole. but the bottom line is governor romney is paying half the tax that is he should be paying in terms of the kind of income that he earns and the folks that are in hedge funds that make a lot of money paying half the tax
rate that the people working for them are paying is wrong. we're going to try to end it and we're going to be running right into the romneys of this world apparently. >> yeah, the romneys of this world and those who follow them, and obviously you need allies in congress both the house and the senate. i know you have bills that you in particular introduced to close some of those loopholes. it's so great to have you join me thank so you much for coming into the war room, especially with your expertise in armed services. this is obviously a political war room. it's great to have your political insight as well. senator carl levin chairman of the armed services committee democrat from michigan. i want to thank him for being here. and coming up, political ads stole the show at this year's super bowl. we will look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
we'll tell you things about him that you might not know, when we return. [ jody ] four course feast. man it's great. the guests love it. [ male announcer ] red lobster's four course seafood feast is back. get soup, salad, cheddar bay biscuits, dessert and choose one of 7 entrees. four courses for only $15. offer ends soon. i'm jody gonzalez, red lobster manager and i sea food differently. twizzlers. the twist you can't resist.
>> the new york giants may have won the super bowl last night but it is that fantastic clint eastwood ad, that chrysler ad about detroit that has everybody talk and i don't think i'm biased it was fantastic. eastwooded two-minute "halftime in america" spot referenced not only president reagan's "morning in america" speech, but also president obama's auto industry bailout. >> how do we come together, and how do we win? detroit's showing us it can be done. and what's true about them is true about all of us. this country can't be knocked out with one punch. we get right back up again and when we do the world's going to hear the roar of our engines.
yeah. it's halftime in america. and our second half's about to begin. >> oh, that is so fantastic! chrysler denies that the ad is pro-obama, but the administration seemed pretty pleased with it. top obama campaign advisor david axelrod had a powerful spot tonight and if there was any doubt, karl rove said he was offended by it. >> i was frankly oh feppedded i'm a huge fan of clint eastwood, it with a as extreme extremely well done ad but the political minions are in essence using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and the best wishes of the management benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they'll never pay back. >> i just really want to roll my eyes, oh my gosh. the republicans might be getting a little worried now that the economy is on the uptick and the bailout is getting prime time positive attention from clint
eastwood, a one-time republican, no less. so north joining me to talk about chrysler's ad and some of the other most buzz worthy political ads from the big game is democratic strategist and media consultant jill alper, who is by the way the strategy strategist of my 2006 reelection campaign. jill comes to us from detroit. and jill welcome inside the war room. so glad to have you here. >> hello from detroit, thank you so much. it's great to be here. >> oh, did you not love that clint eastwood ad? was it just fantastic? >> i loved that clint east qood ad and it seems like everybody around the united states loved that ad, but especially here in michigan. you can imagine in the detroit the proud -- the proud -- the feelings that people have about what's been accomplished. i mean, there was so much at stake. and you hear karl rove really just out of step and a little bit off message there.
i mean, even clint eastwood himself said, how could anybody not be for what the spirit of this ad was all about? the resilience, hard-working americans that needed really a hand up, not a handout and the obama administration saw to it to step in and to stick with these people. mitt romney, what did he say? >> right. >> he had four words. he said, let them go bankrupt. >> right. in fact, back on the ad for one moment, of course, sergio marquione, the head of chrysler said it was not political at all, just an ad about an industry getting up off of its knees. there was another super bowl ad, though, this one run by senate candidate, republican senate candidate at the super bowl in michigan pete hookstra, which has been getting a lot of flak today. let's listen to it and i'm come right back to you.
>> thank you michigan senator spend it now. you spend so much american money, you borrow more and more from us. your economy got very weak. ours got very good. we take your jobs. thank you debbie spend it now. >> i think this race for the u.s. senate is between debbie spend it now and pete spend it not. i'm pete spend it not hookstra, and i approve this message. >> so he got criticized by all sorts of groups today. the michigan chapter of the asian and pacific islanders voting group. the group of detroit black pastors, members of his own party, even senator mike murphy said this is a really dumb ad. from your perspective because you consulted on a huge number of ads will it be effective? >> well, i don't think it will be. it was so over the top it was so off message it was so distasteful are and mike murphy knows michigan quite well too. i think what's really interesting about this i went to
look at it, and hoax to hoax came up, and i went through that tete is hoekstra hoax. >> that's right, and what you said there is really that pete is the big spender in the senate race and debbie is not. when you peel back the layers of the onion, what you see maybe as a candidate who is going after a sitting senator but was worried about winning his own primary because he's not the true conservative in the race. and there is another man here, clark durant, who raised nearly $1.3 million nipping at his heels. it was so over the top i don't think any viewer could see it with any seriousness, there was no specificity and it's going to back fire on pete hoekstra. >> in fact it was made bit same person as frank davis who made
the wild sheep ad, and the christine o'donnell, i am not a witch ad. but it is true that there is a great a. fear out there about china. you know very well that, in full disclosure there was an ad i ran, i didn't run it but the michigan democratic party ran on my behalf, in my race for governor, and that and a few other ads evoked this notion that my opponent had cut jobs in michigan and invested in china so that china issue is effective, is it not? >> look, i think that this ad was all sizzle and no stack. -- steak. and really it's set pete up to have to explain very problematic record in terms of voting to raise the debt ceiling five times or voting to cut taxes for wealthy people, a a budget-busting scenario. >> i'm going to have you back on the war room, because you're so fantastic. unfortunately we've got to go. everybody, stay with us, because we will be