tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current April 23, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
e between now and november. pete cox, writer of the village voice. that's viewpoint for tonight. stay here to enter the war room with jennifer granholm. thanks for watching. have a great evening. tonight it n "the war room" it's the 2012 campaign and you know who the stars are. how about the supporting cast. some in the gop are saying enough. former senator arlen specter tells us why. plus what do ann romney and bill clinton have in common? not just charisma. we'll talk secret weapons and who is getting a seat at the table. all of that and another bad day at the office for alec. this is "the war room." come on inside. ♪
this is "the war room." i'm jennifer grandholm. the gop establishment declares war on the tea party. so the question is now, who is going to win the battle for the hearts and minds of that republican party? first utah where on saturday rep can senator ore win hatch fell just 32 delegates short of avoiding a primary. he had some choice words for outside tea party funders, namely the koch bother's backed group. take a listen. >> we have got outside groups coming in here that are just vicious and awful, and they
don't tell the truth. and that has been really hard for me to take. >> it's not just hatch, jon huntsman said yesterday that extremists had driven the republican party so far to the right that even ronald reagan wouldn't get elected today, and huntsman said neither could do he. >> could you be nominated by the republican party of utah today? >> the answer is no and that's a sad commentary on where we find ourselves today. i think jeff it is an angry moment we're experiencing now in politics. >> still the tea party is now seeing it's popularity wane a bit. a washington post poll finds that 41% support the tea party, and 45% oppose it.
for incites on how the tea party actually operates, and how he was affected by movement on the right, we are joined by former pennsylvania senator, arlen speck for, who joins us to talk about the state of the republican party and american politics, which he describes in his new book "life among the cannibals." senator specter thank you so much for joining us inside the war room. >> nice to be here. this is a theme, jennifer, that i have been pushing since i was in the senate some two, three years ago, that what has hand and this is in my book "life among the cannibals," which i talk about cannibals devouring senator that the extremes have taken over the political process. a senator like bob bennett in utah, a very good senator, 93%
conservative rating, makes one bad vote and he can't win a republican primary. and senator hatch is facing that problem now. and on the democratic side a strong senator like joe lieberman can't win a democratic primary. and i have timed my book to come out right now in the midst of the election season to inform the people about what is going on behind the scenes in very blunt direct terms, and to offer suggestion as to how to bring the -- the center back and it is heartening frankly, to hear that the tea party is being weakened a little, when governor huntsman says he couldn't be elected. reagan couldn't be elected. perhaps we will have some sense for the senate to take back control. >> you do write in a very candid
way in this book, and you wrote for several years the fringes has been purchasing senator . . . now you say for several years but really this started -- i mean it has been going on a while, but particularly in earnest since the 2010 elections, right? >> well it happened in 2010 with bennett in utah and castle in delaware and lisa in alaska. and senator merkowski's story shows the way of the future. the tea party ran a candidate against her and beat lisa in the primary. she came back, jennifer with a write-in vote, unprecedented in
american political history, especially with a name like merkowski to win on a write-in, but she did it. but that shows us if the people are informed, and if they are motivated, they will come out and throw the rascles out. >> well, and it's a moment for the people to take back democracy. in your book you wrote that you didn't think that the tea party movement was an astroturf moment, but there is huge money coming from groups like freedom works, which is organized by dick army, but funded by the koch brothers and others. if that's not stoking the cannibalism, if that's not a cause of what is going on, i don't know what is.
>> well, i wrote that there were substance to the tea party because i saw them. i made it a practice of going to virtually every county virtually every year, and my first town meeting in august of 2009 was in lebanon where i usually drew about 80, 90 people. on this occasion 1200 people came out, and they were pushed by the tea party and heard than hell. one of the guys stormed me stuck his fist in my face about an inch away, and they were all riled up, and now, as you say, the big money has come in the supreme court of the united states has really wrecked the american political process in allowing corporations and unions to have unlimited anonymous expenditures, and if you add that to -- if you fund the tea party, all hell breaks
lose. and lugar is in jeopardy in indiana, hatch is in jeopardy orrin has turn so far to the right he is almost unrecognizable, just like romney. >> it is a horrible thing we are seeing because it is being funded by some very powerful interests. the citizens united case has enabled this to happen. do you believe we ought to have a constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united? >> well, i do and i thought that since buckley versus valaho came down in 1979. i think equating money with speech is just absurd. what i have been able to get, governor grandholm is a more balanced supreme court. i called you up last year and asked if you were interested in
being a supreme court justice. i think we have too many circuit judges. we have got nine out of nine. i like to see a governor like you with a good legal background come in and have some balance. somebody who has run for election. >> but don't you think that -- excuse me for interrupting but don't you think in this environment, someone like me who has been elected by a party would have a hard time being confirmed. >> no, i don't think you would have a tough time -- >> well not me but -- >> now that was your question tell -- tell the reporter to play back the transcript -- >> i mean, i'm just saying someone who is not in this judicial path who has never said anything.
that would be more likely to be confirmed rather than someone who has been elected to office. >> well that isn't so. earl ward was confirmed. hugo black was confirmed. mitten was confirmed -- >> but then the tea party was not there in those days. >> well, the tea party doesn't control the senate. we ought to reject some nominees who won't answer any questions, but i think you would have had smooth sailing. >> let me ask you -- you are so funny. let's -- listen, i want to ask you a different question about whether democrats -- in your opinion -- do you think that democrats are benefiting from the republican's lurch to the right? >> oh, absolutely jennifer. romney has moved so far to the right, i think bill maher, the comedian had it might on satire
when he said that romney has changed to being a drag queen. look, you said i was funny. i'm trying to stand up now. >> it is totally great. you are getting the whole studio laughing here. i just want you to know. >> that's good. >> that is good. >> listen, if you can make people laugh you can get them to listen, jennifer. >> that is totally true senator. thank you so much for joining us inside "the war room." >> "life among the cannibals," amazon.com. >> it's a good one. and i just finished reading it today. former pennsylvania senator, arlen specter. coming up superstar surrogates bill clinton and ann romney are both looking at big roles in the 2012 campaign. but who's it factor has more
not known as approaching act i.v. you had hundreds of women show up, thousands signed petitions. they made their voices heard. what happens is that now, the legislators are running scared. very similar laws have passed quietly in other states for the past 10 years, really in the past two years have intensified. pennsylvania a similar law was shelved, idaho this proved to be political poison. women are paying attention and having their voices heard. >> thanks for coming in. >> the aclu considers a demand that to get a job you have to let an employer open your private mail, the senate wants to make it illegal to hand over a password to your facebook account.
give me a break. [ applause ] >> this whole thing is the biggest fairytale i have ever seen. what did you think about the obama thing, calling hilary the senator from punjag. >> i have to say this broodly. the former president, who i think all of us have a lot of regard for has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that i think is pretty troubling. >> that's former president bill clinton, and then senator barack obama trading barbs four years
ago. much has obviously changed since then, and that's a good thing. not only is hilary clinton, president obama's secretary of state, but bill clinton is now advising president obama on how to run house editor for "politico" and joins us from washington tonight to discuss the evolution of the obama-clinton relationship. thank you for joining us. we love all of the behind the scenes. when did they patch the differences up? >> they started patching up not long after president obama was innewing rated. the 2008 campaign was really rough and tumble but once obama was in office and hillary clinton had become the secretary of state, these two men had started to repair their
relationship. >> you guys even called him the obama whisperer, which i totally love, but do you think from what you have seen in your role that they actually like one another, or they have to do this? >> i'm not sure these are two guys who are going to get a cabin out on the lake together and go fishing together. but they are working well together. and bill clinton has already established himself even before as someone who could help spread the message for president obama and help guide him on a rougher approach. >> i -- i feel like after water under the bridge that they actually like one another. how could -- you know they share obviously similar goals. they are both affable people i would imagine that now that hilary and barack obama, that
all of that is bygones be bygones. now president clinton is suggesting a new attack. which is to take mitt romney up on his statements that he is a severe conservative, and i'm wondering whether that strategy is going to be what we see going forward. >> what we have seen saying that mitt romney had no core. he just put his finger to the wind, really making a loft the etch-a-sketch comment from his advisor. but what bill clinton had been advising him to do is saying romney has a core and it is a strong, severely conservative core and people should be afraid of that. what we're going to see is they will push both of these arguments and a third argument that romney has a core that is a
bain core. all about the capitalism that he practiced there, that the democrats will be very unpopular with voters. >> i think you will see bain and the ryan budget be key themes. or at least what flows out of the ryan budget. what -- we're talking tonight about secret weapons and how bill clinton is a secret weapon. although he is not so secret. but who do you think -- if you had to point at some other people around the president that he would want to deploy in this battle, what -- who are his other secret weapons? >> look, there is no one who is going to be better than bill clinton out there. he is the most famous name in politics. he is extremely popular in a way that has actually gone up in the years since he left office. i don't know anyone who can
match up to him. especially since hilary clinton can't complain there is not another force in the democratic party who comes close. you also get this tactician who is able to hit on the kinds of messages and communications that really, really hit at the heart of voters. he has a natural sense for it that those of us who really work in politics have come to realize, but it's something that most people don't think of this guy as kind of the chess master who is able to craft messages that work for them. >> well, obviously a vice president can be a secret weapon, and joe biden certainly goes to the heart of working america, and people can relate to him. michelle obama would be a secret weapon as well. on the republican side sometimes the secret weapon turns on oneself. hence the selection of sarah
palin for john mccain. that ended up being the main -- the main weapon in a circular firing squad, i fear. >> right. the advantage that obama has with bill clinton is that he's obviously very known quantity as is michelle obama and joe biden. and, you know, look your boss vice president gore is someone we might see a little bit more of as the campaign goes on. there are a number of elder statesman who could end up being very help to the president. >> i totally agree. isaac dovere thank you for being in the war room. and up next a look at mitt romney's not go secret weapon. ann romney. she is wowing them on the campaign trail. plus alec supports go on the offensive! okay. so it is just one senator and a
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[ applause ] >> barack has done well but because i think people are hungry for change. >> so even the wives had some early missteps. hilary clinton and michelle obama then though went on to be important political aspects for their husbands. the same can be said of ann romney. she has a rocky start too, but she is now emerging as a potential secret weapon in her husband's arsenal. joining us from new york to discuss the evolution of ann romney and the context of the presidential cam bane is mckay coppins with buzzfeed. welcome into the war room. >> thanks for having me. >> i want to begin with a 1994 interview that ann romney gave to the boston globe. it shows her to be a bit out of
touch. she said: and getting buy on nothing but their american motor company stock. and in 25 years of marriage she and mitt have never fought. how did the public react to those statements and that article? >> several of the sources described that as a disastrous moment for the campaign. in fact, you know, the columnist and pundits really pounced on ann, and the boston harald described her as a daughter of privilege who knew nothing of the real world. and later it was said that ann romney who secured they boss's recollection. so it was a pretty serious flop
on her part. >> so how did all of that coverage affect her as an assist to mitt romney on the campaign trail and later too? >> well, she really grew to deeply mistrust the media. i -- i had one source who has worked closely with the romneys who went as far as to say she is disdainful of the news media, and we still get hints of that today. >> the early story was by a reporter that i think she thought it was going to be a puff piece and it ended up not being so flattering. today though, do you think she has come into her own in terms of her relationship with the media? >> you know, i think she is much better at -- she kind of wore our emotions on her sleeves in '94 and a few years after that.
i think she is better at hiding that now. but like any political spouse she still has plenty of misgivings, and she is careful not to show them. i mean i'm sure she doesn't love some of the coverage she is seen her husband get. >> from the people you have been talking with who have been traveling with her, do they get a sense that she is enjoying this campaign or that she would rather be home? >> that's the interesting thing. after '94, she was quoted as saying you couldn't pay me to do this again. and a lot of people who knew her at the time said she is never going to let mitt pursue a political career. she kind of had a turning point when she and mitt went out to salt lake to sieve the olympics. and they were kind of lie onized in the press. so people say that she -- she
really does enjoy this campaign now, and she -- she has kind of seen the upside to being in the limelight and she is kind of relishing the moment and the ability to speak out. >> so you can come into your own if you start out in a rocky way. and it seems like she has. she seems like a very delightful person. does she have her own relationships with the media? because he has been very distant from the media that follow them around. is she warmer with them? >> i have started to see her kind of be a little bit more open with the media in recent months and weeks. i was down in puerto rico covering their campaign swing there, and after one event, met with the governor down there and kind of retreated, but ann actually came out and chatted with the media and with reporters for a few minutes.
and it's interesting even as the press who covers the campaign, they almost feel a little protective of mrs. romney. because she really is a very authentic figure. >> she is. i like her a lot. in looking at this issue of secret weapons and spouses, and their impact on the candidate, do you know whether the spouse actually does have an impact on the race in a positive or negative way? >> it's really hard to say. at the end of the day when voters go in to pull the lever, they are probably not thinking of the candidates spouse. they may be thinking about the running mate. i think kind of branding the campaign, softening the candidate, but also being a sowning board and one of the closest advisors to the
candidate. a lot of people i talked to said that mitt really looks up to ann. they said he really does run major decisions by her, and tries to get her input. >> well, mckay coppins of buzzfeed joining us from new york. fascinating article about ann romney and her relationship with the media and ann romney. up next marco rubio name has taken up a permanent resident on the vp short list. later the entire western world maybe be done with the gop primaries, but that does not mean that brett is. >> coming up just as no one is excited about the five primaries, doesn't mean i didn't be. >> we don't stop until we get answers that are truthful,
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running for president that will help us reclaim and recapture the things that make this nation of ours different from all of the other countries on the earth, and he happens to be here today. his name is mitt romney! the next president of the united states! [ cheers and applause ] >> that was florida republican senator marco rubio, in the philadelphia suburbs, thumping for votes with mitt romney today. rubio's name keeps showing up on the short list of running mates. wisdom shows that rubio could deliver many hispanic voters but a recent poll shows some holes in that theory. if romney selects rubio, susanna martinez, or the other hispanic under consideration, brian sandoval, he doesn't even win hispanic voters in the veep's
home state. for a break down, and what we can expect next on 2000 campaign. he's now the head of the jess unruh institute of politics at the university of southern california california. he joins us from los angeles. dan, welcome back into "the war room." >> jennifer, thanks for having me. i appreciate it. >> you bet. let me start with hot campaign news of the day. today the senate candidate democrat, elizabeth warren campaigning. she released her second tv ad. i want you to take a listen. >> today washington lets big corporations like ge pay nothing, zero in taxes. while kids are left drowning in debt to get an education. this isn't about economics. it's about our values.
>> so tomorrow the president starts thumping on the issue of student debts, student loans, et cetera. the democrats often think they may have an edge but today romney cut the issue out from underneath him by jumping on board with the plan to keep student interest rates low. good strategy? >> it's not only a good strategy. it's an ideal strategy as soon as you wrapped up your party's nomination. when george w. bush was running for president all the way back in 2000 he began to criticize the republicans in congress at that point in trying to establish some political policy differences between himself and what was going on on the hill. candidate barack obama four years ago talked a much more strident line in terms of being
suspicious. mitt romney has been seen over the last several months. today was the debut of general election mitt romney. mitt romney likes college loans and understands it is important for him to separate himself a little bit. >> what is going to be really interesting, i think dan is whether the republicans in congress go along with him. because up to this point, they have objected to keeping these interest rates low, because it will cost the federal government money to subsidize those low-interest rates. do you think he'll be able to bring his republican colleagues along with him? >> i would be surprised if he did. it's probably not all that important to him to convince republicans in congress to come along with him. he doesn't want this to be an issue that would harm him in the general election. >> well, it is going to be really interesting, because i think democrats might say where is your leadership? put your money where your mouth
is. let me switch over to the veep states. you heard as we came into this segment, marco rubio stumping and there's all sorts of talk about who might be on that short list. what do you think -- who is on your short list for romney's vice president. if you could wave your wand. >> i don't get to have a short list and i don't have a wand. >> you do here. >> yes he called me this morning and told me who is going to pick. my guess is that mitt romney has two short lists, and those are entirely dependant on where he is in the polls the week before the republican convention. if he is ahead or running close. might i suspect you see a fairly safe choice someone who is reliable, someone who is thoughtful, someone who makes romney look exciting by comparison. [ laughter ] >> if he is running several
points behind then maybe someone like rubio or chris christie becomes more of a possibility. running mates almost never make a difference in their own states. barack obama would have carried delaware even without joe biden. you probably have to go back 50 years to lyndon johnson before you find running mate who really swung a key state for their candidate. what rubio would do for the ticket much like -- christy is fire up conservatives. >> and i think christy is a problem because it would be hard for the media to focus on
romney. but what about the number one choice republicans seem to be gravitating on which is condy rice. >> condy rice would be a tremendous choice. going back years and years and years, i tried to advocate for him appointing then stanford process for rice to be his running mate. >> how likely is it? >> it is unlikely if for nothing else that dr. rice said it is not a position she is particularly interested in. but it is pretty clear from the way the candidate is behaving that the romney campaign still know they are running an uphill fight. >> and jeb bush said he would answer the phone if the call game in. do you think jeb bush is too
much bush dynasty to even be considered. he could probably help in florida. >> jeb bush could certainly still help in florida. and he would motivate conservatives. having said that, though jennifer, i may be the first person in the history of current tv to quote george will on air, but george will pointed out that should governor romney put governor bush on the ticket that would mean seven of the last nine presidential elections in this country had a bush on the ticket. >> yeah to quote jesse jackson, he would probably say get out the bushes. that is dan schnur. coming up alec loses another fortune 500 backer. but gains an important ally in
congress. the details are next now let's hear yours. >>the war room needs your help. >>the only online forum with a direct line to jennifer granholm. >>our goal is to bring you behind the scenes with access to stories that you've never seen before. >>politicallydirect.com join the debate now. i look at her, and i just want to give her everything. yeah you -- you know, everything can cost upwards of...[ whistles ] i did not want to think about that. relax, relax, relax. look at me, look at me. three words, dad -- e-trade financial consultants.
for state lawmakers. today procter & gamble announced it would drop out of alec. and that makes it the 13th company to do so. and in a somewhat desperate attempt to start a counter protest, charles grassley tweeted, miss spellings and all: those leftists continue to turn up the heat, though. common cause filed a complain friday with the irs they wouldn't declare themselves to be leftist but they did turn up the heat. it is asking the irs to review alec's tax-exempt status, because it must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, this is a quote, and may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activity. that's quoting the law.
in its complaint common cause argues that alec violates these rules, calling it quote, a corporate lobbying group masquerading as a public charity. alex said basically in response i know you are, but what am i. so now to untangle all of this. for more on the show i'm joined by eric the lawyer for common cause. so tell us what have you done. >> the issue is actually very simple. under the law, alec cannot engage in substantial lobbying and corporations cannot get a deduction. so for instance, if exxon wants to change some environmental rules, and they have a meeting
in a legislator's office in the capital and say we want you to change these environmental rules, and the legislation says great let's write some law together. they have exactly the same meeting at an alec junket then alec claims that is tax deductible. >> so you have submitted this complaint to the irs, with also documentation attached to show that what is going on at an alec junket where they invite corporations or representatives from corporations and legislators together to craft legislation that is in that corporation's interest that that is essentially lobbying and you have the documents to prove it. >> yes. and alec says we do lobbying
but we think it's more research and analysis. so i want to know how is it research or analysis when you send a petition directed to speaker pelosi and senator byrd saying oppose the healthcare legislation. >> but you are saying they admitted they are doing lobbying. >> they are saying it is lobbying, but there is a loophole. what they are really doing is research and analysis even though it looks like -- to the rest of us lobbying. >> so why should anybody out there care about that? >> because we're losing millions of dollars in tax revenues. >> because all of those corporations can deduct what their dues from alex? their junket expenses? >> that's right. in the last year one corporation gave almost $400,000
to alec, and deducted that from their taxes. and lobbyists have to be registered. we made a decision we don't want them operating in the dark but these companies if it weren't for common cause coming out and revealing these documents all of this would be unser the radar. >> how by is the filing? >> 4,000 pages. >> woe! how long it will take to sort through that. >> irs guys love paper. [ laughter ] >> and it does -- >> will they get fined then? >> the taxpayers get their money back. >> so they go after the companies and say you can't deduct these. >> that's right. and if you made a mistake or worse, you may back. >> all of these corporations have been dropping out voluntarily from alec do you think with the speck for of an
irs investigation that that might cause more to reconsider? >> i think so. there is nothing that makes these big companies more nervous than the irs starting to look over things like this. it's not worth the hassle. it seemed like a good idea at the time. it was fine when it was all under wraps, but now that it has been publicized most of these companies don't like that kind of publicity. >> what is the next step in terms of the irs? >> first they will do a preliminary view to see if this passes sort of their first stage. and then they'll send it out to the field examiners, and they will start looking very carefully at alec books and records. >> once that happens. once the irs starts asking some of these corporation members, i
just can't believe they would want to stake with them. but who knows. >> eric is working on behalf of common cause. up next. timing is everything when it comes to comedy and after the break, brett will put that theory to the test when he weighs in on the gop primary race. this is "the war room," stick around. ♪ weeknights on current tv.
>>this is outrageous! we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. ♪ what a difference a few weeks make. a candidate or two drop out of the race, and all of a sudden no one cares about the primaries. well brett ehrlich cares, and he wants to make sure you do too. so shhhh, brett's talking now.
>> so while most election talk is swirling around whether mitt romney will pop the question to marco rubio, get a bumper sticker you two, people are forgetting there are five primaries tomorrow. here is the state-by state breakdown. pennsylvania. >> today mitt romney gave a speech at the south park township and folks were so excited to hear what they had to say they forgot to take off their protective headgear. new york new york. >> the streets are completely overcome with excited voters. way, that's not a live shot of new york. that's the part of "ghost busters ii." wow, people are so excited, they are literally asking police officers for what i can only
assume are directions to a deli. delaware. newt gingrich spent the way talking to as experts would call it, the only group that would have him. connecticut and rhode island are so important they would be the top story on cnn if some guy hadn't made his house out of beer cans. wow, i'm so excited. i'm done talking now. we want to hear from you. someone is also in our "war room." you can check us out on current.com/thewarroom. and you know we are all calling for stuff to decorate "the war room." here is a great poster and then from michigan, a great ballot