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tv   The War Room With Jennifer Granholm  Current  May 3, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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sports football in all right. dr. team physician and director of the brain injury research institute, and michael o'keeffe, sports reporter for the "new york daily news," thank you both for your time. >> thank you. >> that's "viewpoint" for tonight. stay right here to enter "the war room" with jennifer grandholm. thanks for watching. when running a campaign you can always expect the unexpected. tonight, in the war room, we look at those wildcards. a china dissident situation was coming up aces for team alabama just 24 hours ago. a new day brings new cards. campaign spokesman ben lebolt talks about playing the hand you are dealt. team romney wants to get away from the war on women and move all of their chips to the middle. but jokers at the state level keep milking the deck. it's wild car night in the war room. so let's shuffle up and deal.
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there is nothing politicians like less than events not under their control. president obama, baring in the low of the one year anniversary of the death of obama. accord and he gets a wildcard. the blind china he's dissident, chen guangcheng. first chen took refuge in beijing after esc caping house arrest and then agreed to a u.s.-backed deal to stay in china. now, he rejected that deal and says he wants to leave his country and he is worried that the u.s. is abandoning him. chen's plight is now grist for the presidential campaign and presumptive g.o.p. mitt romney is calling out president obama. >> this is a dark day for freedom, and it's a day of shame for the obama administration.
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we are a place of freedom here and around the world, and we should stand up and defend freedom wherever it is under attack. [applause.] >> here to discuss that wildcard and the other top stories from the obama war room is ben leebolt, campaign spokesman for the obama campaign. he joins us from chicago. ben, welcome back into our war room. >> nice to be with you tonight, governor. >> well, i am really grateful that you are here. i know you don't want to talk about the chen case because of the sensitivity but from a political perspective, how does a campaign react to a political attack by romney when you've got your state department that's urging restraint? what's the process there? >> well, as you said i won't comment on an ongoing diplomatic situation but the fact is, governor romney flipflopped on this fortunately policy issue within the course of two hours today, just like he has tried to have it both ways on the keith warren policy changes of our
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time, he has been for and against withdrawing, sending a timetable to withdraw our troops from afghanistan, for and against the removal of gadaffi on issue afficaffic. a commander in chief only gets one chance to get it right. governor romney is trying to have it both waits. we have heard a lot of chest thumping from him on foreign policy but no specifics, no concrete plans. he gave a foreign policy speech at the citadel and didn't mention al-qaeda at all. he only mentioned iraq once. he has not outlined plans for iraq or afghanistan. so instead of these false political attacks, what he should do is level with the american people on what he is going to do as commander in chief. >> well, right along those lines, let me follow up with that because there was a romney advisor who criticized british prime minister david cameron today calling him not very skill skillful and saying that he lacked experience. your reaction to the slap of one of america's strongest alleys?
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>> -- allies? >> this is a shocking and i will advised attack on our strongest ally. i think you just summarized it and the fact is that the reason they did it is simply because the prime minister had praised the president. it's clear that they used this -- attempted to use this for political gain and raises additional questions about what type of commander in chief mitt romney would be if he would take these sorts of actions for his own personal political gain. >> well, let's take the politics back here at home and look at some of the new swing state polls, the washington post has the president up over romney 51 to 44% in virginia but it's surprising among registered voters and then according to quinnipiac romney leads obama in florida by 44 to 43. why do you think the president is doing so well in virginia but still has to push more in florida? >> well these state by state numbers will go up and down but
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we anticipate a close and competitive election across the country and in key states across the country. across the country we would expect that republicans begin to consolidate around their nominee after their nominee is selected, but the fact is that most americans don't know the facts about governor romney's economic record at this point in the race. he is running as a job creator but the fact is massachusetts, massachusetts lagged in job creation. it was 35th out of 50 states when he came into office t lagged to 47th out of 50. manufacturing jobs declined by twice the national average. as a corporate buy-out specialist, he profited off of outsourcing jobs and bankrupting companies. and so when those facts were laid out and presented against the president's record who entered office, lose can 750,000 jobs a month in the midst of a historic economic crisis. we have now created more than 4 million private-sector jobs. good morning is the number -- gm
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is the number 1 auto maker, we are on track to double our exports. they will put those records next to each, and they will make their determination. >> so do you think the jobs report tomorrow is going to be a bit of a wildcard? >> again, i am in no position to predict that. but i think that americans have seen this trend over time losing 750,000 jobs a month. we have now had two years of private sector job creation. the last thing we can do is go back to the same economic policies that caused the economic crisis in the first place, that benefitted a few folks at the top but devastated the middle classes and that's exactly what romney is proposing, more tax cuts for millionaires and billion airs. >> is the campaign at all worried about these endorsements or the quasi endorsements that have been made of romney by bachmann or gingrich? is there anything to worry about there? do people care about that? >> william, you know, i do --
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well, i think it took 119 days for congress woman bachmann to endorse romney. whether you are a democrat republican or independent, there are real questions of trust because romney has made promises to independent, republicans, and not followed through on them. so there is a trust deficit as governor huntsman put it that exists on all sides of the eye delogecal spectrum. speak gingrich offered his support this week but that's certainly not what we saw during the primary, raised questions about promney's tenure as a corporate buy-out specialist. he said that romney was the most conservative candidate in a very conservative field on the issue of immigration. i will always remember that debate exchange where governor romney criticized speaker gingrich for suggesting that somebody who had been in this country for decades, who belonged to their church, who raised their grandkids here, served in the military should be deported back to their native country. he attacked all of those candidates from the right on this issue and he lived up to
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the labels he applied to himself, the ideal tea party candidate and severely conservative. >> well, i expect that we will be seeing some of the statements that some of the other candidates said about romney somewhere along the way. i would imagine campaign will revisit some of that. >> i would imagine, coming to a web video near you soon. >> and so today, the obama campaign introduced an interactive web page called "life with julia." can you quickly describe why that was and what it does. >> what this does is it takes a typical middle class woman and walks you through the various stages of her life and ho the president's policies would affect her and governor romney's policies affect her. so, for example, the president has doubled funding for college scholarships. and romney, the romney/ryan budget would cut funding for pel grants and college scholarships by 20%. when she gets later in her life the president is committed to
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the preservation of medicare and sorry social security for future generations. governor romney has a budget plan that would cut funding from social security for current workers by 40% and turn medicare into a voucher program and pay thousands of dollars in additional costs out of pocket each year. so it takes you 3 each phase of her life and lays out, you know, i mean it's not just economic issues. that we see a real impact. as you know, women's health issues have been a big topic. governor romney was out there campaigning with governor mcdonald who has been one of the leaders in the roll back against women's rights across the country, past this extreme ultra sound legislation in the state. romney has adopted these same positions and tethered himself to some of these extreme governors. >> we are going to be talking a little bit about that, ben. you do a great job for the president's campaign. thank you so much for joining us inside the war room. >> that's ben labolt spokesman
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for the obama re-election campaign in chicago. we are talking tonight about wildcards, which really are the unexpected things, the surprises that campaigns have to deal with and how a leader responds to those events is the true test of his or her core. in this era of social media and 2-hour -- 24 minute news cycles when daily surprises can knock everyone off balances, the unexpected and unwelcome event is an opportunity to remind people who we really are deep down inside, even if it's the negative things. so it was a surprise, for example, when richard granagainel resigned this weekgrenell resigned this week romney could very many reinforced non-discrimination in the workplace. he was the openly gay advisor on foreign policy stepped down because of pressure from the right. mitt romney could have stood up. he did not. he could have looked at the hate-filled far right and said your bigotry has no place in my
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campaign. and instead, he hid. when a planned parenthood clinic was bombed in wisconsin while mitt romney was campaigning there, it was a moment to stand against violence. instead, mitt romney was silent. when a gay soldier was booed at a republican debate romney could have heroically said soldier, you served our country and deserves our gratitude, not our disdain. instead? nothing. i could go on and on. you know them all. sunlitra fluke, the lilly ledbetter act, ted nugent. romney's responses to these wild cards has been silence, hiding nothingness. instead of turning wildcards to his advantage, using them to dmop straight strength as a leader, he remains a bystander to event did frozen it seems, in fear of his own party's extreme far right fringe.
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it's easy to criticize your political opponents, as romney has done on china but real courage is standing up for what you know is right regardless of the political costs. and sadley mitt romney has shown time and again, that he lacks that courage because he lacks a true core. and that lack of core reinforces that he is a hollow man, a weak man, easily knocked over by the flim seeiest of it wildcards. >> that's how i see it. much more to do right after this. weekdays six to noon.
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it's go time. >>every weeknight cenk uygur calls out the mainstream media. >>the guys in the middle class the guys in the lower end got screwed again. >>i think you know which one we're talking about. the overwhelming majority of the country says"tax the rich, don't go to war." >>just wanted to clarify that. ♪ >> we have been talking about wildcards tonight and one major wildcard for the obama administration is china. hillary clinton and timothy geithner are there now for two days of economic talks but that meeting has largely been overshadowed by the political drama over chen guangcheng, the blind chinese activist who is
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seeking u.s. protection. so here with insights into what's happening inside of china and the potential political fallout for the obama administration, i am joined by gordon change, a columnist for forbes.com and author of "the coming collapse of china." can you hear me? thank you for joining us inside the war room. >> thank you so much. >> great. so this story has been moving quickly. where are we now? >> right now chen guangcheng the activist, is in china. and he wants to come back to the protection of the united states. this is going to be very difficult because the chinese government is going to be resistant, and they were very unhappy that he was in the u.s. embassy for about six days and then decided today walk out on his own. so getting him back is going to be a hard task for us to do. >> well, now, chen phoned into congress today and asked for more him from secretary clinton. take a license.
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>> wants to come to the u.s. for some time of rest. he has not had any rest in the past 10 years. >> now, that was through a translator. we know that he is in a hospital in china now and not in the embassy, not under u.s. protection. what impact will that request have on how the u.s. responds, that he phoned in to congress? >> well, it certainly politicizes matters because congress is campaigning for president and the chinese are not going to make this any easier for us. you have mitt romney, of course with comments about what went on. and so this is going to be a state department that's going to be looking over its shoulder negotiating with chin but also thinking about how it reacts and how that's going to be played in the u.s. >> so this is a -- this is a dissident who has publically criticized china's policies including the one child policy.
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why wouldn't china want chen to leave? >> you know, china should want chen to leave because dissidents and activists who have sauté sigh lum out of china have become marginalized. chen didn't want asylum because he wanted to continue to change chinese society. i think beijing doesn't want to give him up because that would sort of set a pretty bad precedent. remember the beijing did agree to some assurance to his safety. that was deeply humiliating for the chinese. they would rather that this whole matter go away and under the way they think about it, they if they keep him, then they have won. >> interesting. so chen makes this daring escape. he gets to the u.s. embassy. they take him to a hospital because there is an agreement with china that he will be safe allegedly, and then chen tells cnn that once he reached the u.s. hospital the officials
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disappeared. did the u.s., in fact abandoned him? >> it certainly looks that way. and certainly, chen thinks that way. i actually think that there was a limited amount that the united states could have done at that time. i don't know what the discussions with china were on that particular point, but i think that their one failing of the state department of is to think about the optics of this and so if there was any possible way for state department officers to stay with him in the house bill they should have done all they could. now you have the fallout of this, which i think was avoidable. >> is there just to the just dial back a second, is there a reason to think that chen actually planned his escape to coincide on the eave of hillary clinton and tim geitner's visit? >> you know, it is certainly possible because the dates of that vitsit were well known. but i actually think that it's probably unrelated. >> really?
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>> you know, we won't know for quite some time. dissidents sometimes try to time their actions in connection with visits from the u.s. but we will find out later on this one. >> so how does the add miles per hourstration strike a balance between support for human rights and employing economic ties? -- and building economic ties. which is more important? >> i don't think you can separate them out. we saw over the weekend white house gron brennan talked about striking this appropriate balance. this is essentially the same formulation that secretary clinton used in february 2009, talking about balancing human rights with other considerations. the chinese took her words wrongly but took them as a cap itlations, so we really need to have a different formulation because this balancing hasn't worked. >> do you have a projection, a
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guess about how this is going to resolve? >> i think it's going to take a very long time discussions between china and the united states. we are talking weeks, maybe months. what we tried to do was to solve in three days before these talks started, a very complex matter, and that is always, i think, the wrong approach to this. i think that we are going to have very difficult relations with china because of this and some other reasons, and we just need to understand that, that sometimes, you have to have a timeout on diplomacy and further if you do that. >> well, i appreciate you coming on and explaining this. >> that's gordon cheng, columnist for forbes.com and author of the coming collapse of china. after the break, we will see how wild cards play out on the campaign trail with politico white house correspondent, joe williams, and we want you to join the conversation. connecticut at current.com/the war room. make your voice heard, and we will be right back. >>the bottom line is we need an
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amendment. >>now it's your turn. connect with "the war room" jennifer granholm. >>it's a call to arms. make your voice heard.
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we have a big, big hour and the i.q. will go way up. >>tv and radio talk show host stephanie miller rounds out current's morning news block. ♪♪ >> well, it doesn't come out until june. there is nothing salacious, we don't think, at least in the excerpts released so far but the new david moranous biography of president obama has got washington buzzing. the blogs were all about it today. here to discuss that and the obama re-election campaign is joe williams white house correspondent for politico.
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joe, welcome. >> hi. nice to be here. >> yeah. nice to have you inside the war room, political jumpingie that you are -- junkie that you are, we are glad to get your insight. your website is calling this yet to be published book dangerous. why? >> that's because in a white house and a re-election campaign, you don't want any surprises. you want your narrative tightly controlled. you want to be able to introduce the public or reintroduce you in this case, if you are president obama, to the public on your own terms. the book actually re-examines president obama's youth and his formative years in new york city and comes up with a few details that he didn't quite spell out so clearly until "dreams for my father." that's number 1. no. 2, you have a white house that images everything messages everything so they don't like something that's out of their control, something that they have no ability to manage. so that's a second possibility that they are really worried about.
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the third is the fact that these details, while they are not necessarily anything game-changing, it goes against the narrative of him as a very selfless person. it speaks to the fact that even at a young age, he was quite distant, obama was quite distancep distant, was self-contained and was ambitious to the point of knowing exactly where he wanted to go but i submit that it's probably less worrisome for the white house and probably something that will set tongues wagging in the short-term but won't have any long-term effect. >> well, it's very interesting to at least read the excerpts if the most damaging thing is that he said thank you rather than i love you back to a young woman he was seeing. you know, joe, you probably did that once or twice. >> i was going to say any person in their 20s who -- i would challenge you to find anybody in their 20s who haven't had that sort of awkward moment that they wish had never existed.
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>> for sure. so when we know that there are not a whole lot of bombshells in this book but are there things in there that were not quite revealed in "dreams of our father? father"? are there things the white shouse should be afraid of. >> generally speaking, not really. again, my take on the excerpts that i have read is the fact that it just opens a window into how he started thinking about himself along race lines. as we all know he is the first african-american president. he is the one president who doesn't look like the others. so that opens up a lot of areas for people to explore in his motivations and how he defines himself and in this relationship that he had with a young white woman in new york city. i mean that's one of the dynamics that i think really draws people's attention. but, also, you want to point out that there is a part of people that don't really want to go there, especially when we have got so many challenges facing our country and such a clear choice that we have to make in about five or six months about
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who we want to lead us out of that. again, to me, it wasn't anything i didn't already know or at least suspect and it wasn't anything other than the sort of core that you find, somebody finding your yearbook with big thick glasses. >> we have all had some of those we don't want to emerge publically. president obama officially launches his reelection campaign on saturday and you started our conversation by saying campaign does not want to be surprised, and that's really sort of the thread we are weaving through this show, obviously campaigns want to control things and don't want stuff popping up. how did this campaign and this administration deal with those wildcards in your assessment? >> i think they have got a mixed record. on things like this bark where certainly the president granted access which is a good move. he can try to push back on some of the narratives and get his own say in, they have handled
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the chinese dissident situation a little less well although that was a big wildcard but it's something that the opponents of president obama, mitt romney and some of the republican talkers can really dig in to because they can see it as a political football that got fumbled by an inept white house which it's a lot more nuanced than that but campaigns and commentators tend to talk in broad strokes and the finer points tend to get lost to people who are busy and don't have time to dig into the details. i would give it a plus 1. >> a plus 1. what great would you give mitt romney for handling his wild card of yesterday which was the grenell resignation and not saying anything about it? do you think that was a good way of handling that? >> i don't think, in abstract terms, no, because you always want to manage a crisis by getting information out by having your say before it gets defined by other people. but in this situation, romney made a difficult choice. he can seek out in defense of his aid of his gay campaign aid
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and say look. it really shouldn't matter. this guy is with me. he knows what he is doing and i trust him or he could say yeah, you know what? it wasn't working out. we had to dismiss him over fill philosophical disagreements. but now it looks like he was the victim of a bullying campaign by right-wing thinkers who don't want to come anywhere near the gay agenda and makes him look big and small and not egalitarian. >> greed. quick last question before we go to the break. this time, campaign the obama campaign it was hope four years ago and now it's forward. what does that mean? "forward"? >> it means whatever you want, which i guess is the whole point. they want you to think about progress. they want you to think about not going backwards which they assumed the republicans, you know, they will try to print them with that. but i think it's abstract yet specific enough that it can mean whatever you want and will resonate very positively. >> i think it's personally my
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he hadorial comment makes you think the of not going backwards. a brilliant move. we will talk more about campaigns and the ramifications of wild cards after the break. joe williams of politico is going to stick around and coming up next, the war on women is a card that mitt romney hopes gets buried in the deck. but local g.o.p. legislators have not gotten the message. we are going to see how it plays out. >> that's next. and it's only in the war room. don't go away. developed connect a million minds. to introduce kids in our communities to the opportunities that inspire them to develop these important skills. how can my car go faster? maybe your child will figure it out. find out more at connectamillionminds.com
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fetus to be aborted but makes the mother certified she had reviewed the ult straysound imageshers. >> do i believe the separate property should overturn roe v. wade? i do. >> the democratic national committee released that ad linking mitt romney to the string of recertificate laws and they can add one more to that list. georgia just passed a law requiring women who get an abortion after 20 weeks to "bring the fetus out alive" to induce the labor even thought the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. a law has no exceptions for rape or incest and if doctors break the law or commit criminal abortion, they can be jailed up to 10 years. the war on women has gone nuclear. democratic women in the state
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legislate temperature in georgia walked out in protest, but it still passed making georgia the 8th state to pass such a law in the last two years. it continues to shock the conscience, this extent to which the party of personal freedom and personal responsibility, how far will they go to undermine the constitutional right of all women to choose what to do with their own bodies, to have personal integrity over our own choices. this war is not yet over. here to talk about the continued assault on women's rights and how the issue will play this election is michelle brenard for the scepter for women. michelle joins us from washington. welcome back inside the war room. >> good evening. >> hi, michelle. thanks for joining us. we asked ben labolt of the obama campaign, the spokesperson about the life with julia spot that the obama campaign is
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pushing. it's an interactive web tool. will that attempt to tie romney directly to the war on women will that stick? >> you know, for example the ad that you showed a little earlier before the segment, i think, is very, very effective. and i think it's going to stick not just against romney but against republicans across the country. the republican brand right now, if you really think about it, is -- did has been harmed not just as at the federal level but at the state level. we continue to see state legislators all across the country attacking women on a variety of issues. we see it at the national level all of that is going to harm mitt romney in campaign and quite frankly, we've got his own word saying that he would be -- that he is someone who would want to overturn roe versus wade. >> it's amazing to me the republicans continue to say that the war on women is a fiction and yet every day, there is this
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legislation coming out of state legislatures. i don't even know if it matters whether or not mitt romney's views are as extreme as some of these state republicans because he is going to be branded with it anyway. don't you think snfrn. >> yeah, he was going to be branded with it no matter what. and, you know, quite frankly mitt romney has a lot of problems on his own, even if we are not talking about abortion rights. for example, i think earlier this week, the chairman of the democratic national committee, desser wasserman-schultz called on mitt romney to tell the country what is his stance on paycheck fairness act? what is his stanchion on the wage gap? people are asking him: what is his stanchion, for example, on the violence against women act which is on its way back to the house of representatives to be stripped down by republicans. women going out in november are going to have to say, give us an answer or if you won't give us an answer, we have to assume
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it's in the negative and that means you are going to see a lot of women check the democratic box in droves. >> and in fact we were talking about this. he may not want to talk about this stuff. but his silence is deafening, and it's killing him because it makes him look weak. he cannot stand up to the far right extremes of his party and his silence tells you that he doesn't have the courage to say something something. i mean even if he said that he was against it. nothing is almost worse. >> absolutely. you know, one of the things that i talked about earlier in the year, for example, is when we saw rush limbaugh attacking saturday are a fluke, that law student from georgetown university and calling her a slut. you know, you had to sit back and say to yourself, where are the people running for president on the republican side of the ticket on this issue, and why did it take that long for any one of them to say anything? and quite frankly, mitt romney's statement was very, very tepid. i believe he said he would have used different words? >> yes. >> other than what rush limbaugh
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said. it's very, very scary. the republican party, the party of abraham lincoln, is supposed to be the party of individualism, the party that protection people's privacy interests and to see people attacking women on levels that are so absolutely fundamental to individual liberty is really very, very scary. >> i don't know -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt. >> no. congressional republicans are doing it in addition to the state republicans because they are pushing a bill that would effectively force 17 states, including california and massachusetts and new york to discontinue funding for programs that help low-income women pay for abortions, 30 house republicans have signed on to pay. the question about that is, if you use block grants like paul ryan's plan, is that also part of the republicans' war on poor women? >> yeah, and i would venture to guess that the republicans would say that this is not, you know, this is not a war on women.
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they would probably say that all we're doing is giving the power back to the states to deal with these issues any way that they want to. but the thing that's interesting about the legislation that you mentioned is, they are giving the power back to the states on every issue except for this issue. when we talked about abortion rights for the poor, the bottom line is what they are saying is, you can't use federal money and you are going to have to go out and incur additional costs to get separate policies that cover abortion rights. and there is really a huge problem with that, particularly i mean i kind of find it a paradox, governor, to be so absolutely against abortion rights but then, again not want to be able to put women and children, particularly low-income women and children in a position where their healthcare needs can be met and where they have health care insurance for themselves and for their children. >> all i care about children is before they are born as opposed to after. michelle, don't go away.
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you are going to come back with joe williams and we will take a quick break, but later, brett erlich becomes pen pals with the g.o.p. republican love letters. it feels so wrong because it's with someone on the right. don't go away. we will not settle for easy answers. (vo) the former governor of ny eliot spitzer, joins the new news network. >>every night we will drill down on the days top stories in search of facts that inform. >> we don't stop until we get answers that are truthful, serious, and not based on simplistic answers. >>we're here because we're independent.
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america would be a legalization of american's energy a legalization of millions of high-creating jobs. >> that's our future in america , that's something to get excited about. it's why we must elect mitt romney as the next president of the united states. >> that was michelle bachmann on campaign front in portsmouth virginia, pledging her support to her former rival and back with us for insight into today's happenings on the campaign trail is politico white house correspondent, joe williams and michelle bernard. thanks, you guys, for coming back. let me start with you, michelle. i want you to listen. i will ask you both but listen to another sound by the of michelle bachmann. here is what she told abc news about mitt romney. the day before the iowa caucuses. take a license. >> he can't beto bameat obama.
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>> how do you think that mitt romney is going to use michelle obama on the campaign trail? >> you mean how is he going to use michelle bachmann. >> did i say om bam obama? you don't want to mix those two up. >> that's for sure. >> well, as long as you don't call me michelle bachmann, myself. >> you are another michelle. my god. how is he going to use her, michelle bachmann, and santorum for that matter when they both said such negative things about mitt romney. >> this is going to be the problem for mitt romney with everyone he ran against this election term. it was such a brutal and nasty primary season in the republican party. and, you know, you now see all of his former colleagues coming in and subtling or tepidly endorsing him. and i assume it's because they feel like they don't have any choice. but i don't know how he uses them effectively because we have all of their own words that you
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know are going to show up in campaign ads, used either by the dnc or the obama administration or super p.a.c.s that are in favor of an obama administration, and i mean, quite frankly, tying him to -- to the -- tying the massachusetts health care plan to quote/unquote obamacare, particularly ther this summer when we know the supreme court is going to make a decision on the constitutionality of the patient protection and affordable care act, it's going to be very difficult for him. i think he is going to go have to keep an arm's distance away from michelle bachmann and everyone else. he's got to do this on his own. >> it's going to be so interesting. i was asking joe josh -- ben labolt billion whether the obama campaign was going to use the language of his opponents. of course they said that they would. to unleash that does it start dribbling outright away, or does it even matter? >> well, at this point, i think
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that they start using some of their ammunition while it's still fresh because the republican primary literally still is going on. but we do have a sort of decision where they are going to go. so i think they will probably start rolling out the ads one after another pretty soon and to michelle's point, i think that the way you use the former rivals as sur 0 gas is using their -- surrogates is using their words. their mere presence reminds everybody these were the same people now backing romney who said some harsh things about him when the 2012 campaign was going on earnest. i think that's probably what their strategic decision is going to be. >> there were a few polls out today, thein quin post and washington post poll. michelle, the big three states that the quinnipiac poll out
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today, florida, ohio, pennsylvania. in florida it was basically tied and ohio it was basically a tie. i am curious about which state you think the swing state focus is going -- and in virginia, of course, the president was far up. which state do you think that the president is most concerned about, the president's team? >> i think the presidency is probably going to be most concerned about ohio. ohio is a very difficult state given the demographics of the election. i am somebody who really believes that despite where we are economically in the country, the demographics versus economics are going to be the deciding factor in this election and the president has a very difficult time with middle income and low-income white males, the dem graphics act against him in ohio. in florida, he has seniors, the hispanic population or at least a great deal of it that he can more or less rely on or make some sort of inroads with. it's going to have to really fight hard in ohio.
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i will tell you, though, i think it's very interesting that the president is ahead eight points in virginia. you know, virginia, you never really no which way it's going to go in the election. virginia was a very important state in 2008. it will be interesting to see if going forward we see that gap continue to expand in the state of virginia or if it kind of goes back and forth between the two con tenders. >> joe, do you think he is going to take virginia? >> i think that he's got a very good shot. i mean one of the things that virginia has for the democrats as an advantage is over reach. you were talking earlier about the war on women. virginia is one of the simple fronts. we are talking about the ultrasound bill. we are talking about some very restrictive policies and bob mcdonald, when he was running, had problems with women voters. he had written a very famous thesis or a thesis that became famous arguing against birth controls and some policies that would advance women. i think that's where they can have a crack to perhaps open up the pinata of delegates there if they get a good start on it.
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>> nice metaphor. michelle, today there were eleven state democratic party chairs who issued a statement urging the party to add a same-sex marriage plank to the democratic party platform. do you think that issue could end up dividing democrats as they go to their convention? >> you know, i don't. you know, i read the statements and i know people think it's an if fy thing for the democratic party to do. i don't think so. we are all americans and we have to see our elected leaders pay respect to every single demographic, every single individual in the country, and the rights of, you know gays and homosexuals are just as important as the rights of women, of african-americans or anyone else. right now, the republican party seems to be the party simply only for white males and that leaves everybody else to the democrats. the democrats have to pay a great deal of attention to everyone in their country. i think it's a smart thing to do. >> i do, too. it meshes with your point about
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demographics. thank you so much, michelle bernard and joe williams. appreciate the really smart conversation about politics and policy and coming up next brett erlich to take us in an entirely different correction begins a core respond he knew course in republican politics. believe me, you are not going to want to miss it. 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.
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in 2012 alone. go to our website, current.com. up next it's out to the campaign trail.
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a surprising new poll, and that's next right here inside "the war room."
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