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tv   The War Room With Jennifer Granholm  Current  May 31, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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competitive. >> could not agree more. former chairman of the financial crisis inquiry commission phil angelides, who is making a powerful and accurate point break up the banks. that's it for "viewpoint" tonight. good night. >> now this is more like it. a turf war breaks out on the campaign trail. team obama reminds voters about mitt's record as governor. and gets a reminder that team romney knows how to play dirty. >> thank you for the bubbles. you're just a hell of a lot better than the smoke mitt romney threw at us. >> mitt throws a sucker punch of his own making a quit pitstop at solyndra. better buckle up. it will be a big ole drag them through the mud no holds bar brawl tonight in the war room.
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>> you can shout down speakers, my friends but is is hard to etch-a-sketch the truth away. >> the president is going to have his people tell me i'm wrong and heckling, we conservatives have the same kind of capacity. >> well, that was mitt romney admitting that his brooks brothers brigadiers interrupted a campaign event headlined by president obama's chief strategist dade axelrod. he attacked the gubernatorial on the steps in massachusetts because, of course, it is romney's home turf. romney, meanwhile was in california which many considered to be obama friendly territory but mitt wasn't just anywhere. he was at solyndra, the now bankrupt solar panel company selected for a $535 million loan guarantee by the energy department. ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a turf war and here to
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discuss that and more is former san francisco mayor and friend of the war room, the honorable willy brown. welcome back. >> thank you. nice to see you. >> after having been through a lot of the campaign wars yourself, isn't there something inside you that enjoys a good, old-fashioned political fight? >> for those of us in the world of politics, this is it. this is the super bowl. >> this is great! >> absolutely. you really want people who are directly opposite of each other vying for the key position and you want a public who is interested enough and excited enough to start participating in making the decisions. that's what i hope we are. >> so you have axelrod on the steps of the capitol in massachusetts in boston then romney here. axelrod's got the cat callers and romney held it secret where he was going until he showed up. >> okay but that's typical of how the republicans operate.
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invariably, they operate. there's no such thing as total transparency. there's no such thing as sunshine on what they're doing or when they're doing it. they always do it in a very controlled way and they always do it for a selected audience, generated by them. they're not playing to the whole world. they're not playing to -- >> very disciplined. >> absolutely. they're playing to the selected group of people they hope will show up on election day and vote for them. >> don't you think so that he knew what was going on in boston and he would have been afraid that the obama people would have hauled out their troops to have made a messaging war right here at solyndra, right? >> very smart move on the part of the romney campaign. and i would suggest to you that everywhere in every time, there's anything noticed about the obama campaign, the romney people are going to have a quick response, sometimes even a
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quality response. >> okay so here's the third shoe to drop which is that he rolls this out at the same time as president bush and president obama are unveiling the bush portrait thereby muting his ability to get his word out. >> that hurt him. that, in fact, hurt him. as a matter of fact i got to assume that somebody did let somebody know that romney might be doing it because how do you make sure that you've got the entire luminary of the republican establishment in your presence where you are praising them, where you are having quick, wonderful civil exchange with them while your main opponent is out doing something inconsistent with that moment. it is almost like how reagan always played his enemies. he always had himself just above the fray. he always had himself looking the best. and on this day, with axelrod in
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boston and with romney in silicon valley or somewhere nearby and in the white house, the president looking -- acting like the president and talking to the whole world including the two guys and laughing. and this is more important. >> so funny. i just thoroughly enjoyed this morning for all of that. and knowing, i'm sure you've been in campaigns where you've had people track you and go around from place to place with you and maybe -- in my case, they had a jobs clock that was with me every place i went and you know one place we had a rubber chicken guy following the candidate george bush around. it is just part of the campaign. >> all of that is good and great politics but to have your candidate at all times when little things like that are occurring, appear to be above the fray, that's even better. and on this day obama is bo the
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fray. -- is above the fray. >> he started calling out mitt romney by name though which some people were saying brings him down into the fight too soon. >> i would not elevate my opponent to my status. >> interesting. you would never use his name. >> no. >> my opponent. >> you notice i've not exactly mentioned his name on this show. [ laughter ] because i'm a real obama supporter. and i want people to think maybe it is ron paul. >> i think people who watch this show know who is -- but anyway. i know. but that's the strategy always is you never mention your opponent. but that's the -- >> in my 40 years of being in campaigns, doing 250 or more races in california, we, in the process came to the conclusion that your opponent may never be known unless you call attention to his existence.
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i wanted people to really think that i was running unopposed. i never referenced who might be out there talking about taking willie out. >> i love it. are you a presidential supporter but you had a very interesting column this weekend in the "san francisco chronicle." >> yeah. >> the president had lost his mojo. >> absolutely. >> you were speaking truth to power. what was that all about? >> only your friends can really -- your real supporters and your friends won't lie to you. >> willie, could you pick up the phone and tell me this? >> wouldn't work that way. because he would never fully -- i created a dialogue and believe me, you should see how people are hammering me, real obama supporters. >> tell us what you were saying. >> what i said was 2008, obama was a phenom. obama was a rock star. obama was so new and so fresh and so bright and so able that
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we all were eager just to get a look at him. and then when he was able to string a sentence together like no other candidate on the public scene, like no other person at that level, it was just magnificent. and then when you got the contrast with sarah palin and john mccain, it became even better. so he was right up there with the first time the beatles were around. he was up there with every superstar you've ever heard of. expectations were much greater than anybody could ever achieve. come now three years later and he's seeking re-election. people are not ordinarily as excited. they're not -- he's no longer a mystery. he's no longer entitled to all of that star quality unless he somehow earns it. what my column was attempting to say to him is exactly that. you're now at the stage where
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when you walk into a room, you gotta do what bill clinton does. bill clinton in all of the years he's been on the stage is still a phenom. he's still somebody you want to grab on to and he grabs on to you because invariably, he relates to you in a way that makes some sense. he makes it personal. his pronouncements are just as powerful and just as interesting and just as comprehensive but they seem like he's only talking to you. so far, barack obama's campaign has not been able to do that. only seldom are we getting that out of barack obama when he was in let's say when he was in harlem and he looked out in the audience and he said oh, i see reverend al. he proceeded to break into the national anthem. that was an incredible moment. he needs to somehow develop that. i said to someone earlier today that with students all over the
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country screaming about the cost of education, about tuition and what have you, i'm the presidential candidate and i'm trying to motivate the 18 to 25s like i had them in 2008. i would open with their issue. i would open about how i'm concerned because my two daughters, one of them is getting ready to go into high school. who knows what the cost will be. i gotta figure out how to help you out. i'm going to tell you what i'm going to do as a president. that's the presentation we need to make so he gets that quality back. >> your column was in the context more of fund-raising and that there didn't seem to be the same kind of excitement among that crowd. >> no question. and there isn't the same kind of excitement. >> will there be -- the money will not follow? >> no, no, he'll get the money. in terms of raising the money, that is not barack obama's problem. he is going to do a billion dollars easily a billion
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dollars, 750 or 780 the first time around. he's got greater access now to a greater -- >> that's wall street money though. >> he doesn't have the wall street money but what i want him to get back to is the lady that works in the building that i'm in. she cleans the hallways. what have you. and she blew me away when within about two months of the november when barack obama was elected, she stopped me and halted english told me how proud she was and she and her family had been sending $25 a month. >> wow. >> to the barack obama campaign. that is star quality that you can't buy. that's what he's gotta get back. she hasn't said a word to me about obama this time around. >> all right. hang on. because this is good stuff! we're going to carry over. don't go away. we've got more stuff to talk about after the break. by the way we're also going to
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dive deep into the emerging voter suppression controversy in florida which i know the mayor is very much closely following. this is the war room. it is only on current tv. come right back. networks everyone's focusing on what's wrong. i want this show to move past that. i love creative people, and with all the vexing problems we have we need creative thinking. >>(narrator) with interviews with notables from silicon valley, hollywood, and beyond. >>at the end of the day this show's simple. it's about ideas. ideas are the best politics. ideas can bring us together. >>(narrator) the gavin newsom show. friday at 11 eastern/8 pacific. only on current tv. home of the brave. ♪ ♪ it's where fear goes unwelcomed... ♪ ♪ and certain men... find a way to rise above. this is the land of giants.
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♪ ♪ guts. glory. ram.
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>> we're not through just yet, mr. vice president. >> they're swimming against the tides.
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>> there's breaking news tonight in a story we've been following about efforts in florida to disenfranchise minority voters. late tonight the justice department demanded that the state stop purging its voter rolls because the process that they were using was not cleared under the voting rights act and it violates the national voter registration act. this after republican governor rick scott ordered the florida election commission to clear the rolls of anyone being suspected of not being a citizen. actual cases of voter fraud are negligible .001% yet rightfully registered voters including a 91-year-old world war vo veteran has gotten letters demanding they prove their citizenship or be kicked off the rolls. that was not the only news out of florida today. a federal judge also blocked a
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controversial law backed by governor scott that kept groups like the league of women voters from registering new voters. the court found that allowing responsible organizations to conduct voter registration drives promotes democracy. here with me again former san francisco mayor the honorable willie brown. how significant is it, mayor that the justice department has stepped in this case? >> it is very, very significant. remember, barack obama won florida last time around. al gore lost florida under similar circumstances. they did a purge just before his -- the secretary of state order by then the governor to purge and they purged and mr. bush won by under 600 votes. but they purged almost 40,000 people. >> who were eligible. >> all of whom were eligible and should have been allowed to vote.
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they were voting in those areas overwhelmingly for al gore. bush never would have been president. that's not lost on rick scott. rick scott clearly understands that. in the time period since bush was elected to the present day the justice department has frankly been asleep. they should have been on florida's case a long time ago. they should be on the case of every other state in which there is an effort to deliberately -- >> well, they are starting to do that now. >> they're starting to do it now but they'll be accused of doing it only because it might have some effect on obama. obviously whether it has an affect on obama or not it should be done there. is no reason whatsoever why we should be trying to convince people you have to super qualify and super prove everything in the world before you vote. >> right. so a lot of these voter suppression laws are passed -- or at least come up through this american legislative exchange
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council which is that bill mill that's been funded by groups like -- and the koch brothers and others for the purpose of controlling the process so that you control the outcome. and today, there was an interesting piece of news which was that walmart has pulled out of that group alec, which was a very significant step because groups like the color of change are saying that those big corporations that take a lot of money from minority communities should not be then funding voter suppression in those very communities that they serve. >> corporate america really should look itself in the eye and not only say walmart you pull out but all of corporate america should pull out. people like the koch brothers and others using their own enormous wealth can engage in these kind of activities. this is not unusual in america. we have something called the poll tax and other kinds of preliminary steps that kept
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african-americans in the south from being able to vote. they had what they called double primaries. the justice department eventually eroded all of those things because they were designed to dissuade people from voting. dissuading people from voting in a democracy is a horrible step and governor rick scott ought to be held accountable. as a matter of fact, the justice department ought to begin to explore whether or not there is a conspiracy among governor scott and some of the other people in florida including the person he appointed to replace the secretary of state who wouldn't carry out -- >> resign. >> absolutely. he resign and some of his people quit. i maintain that we ought to use every element of the law that we can in order to make sure that no one becomes comfortable trying to discourage people from voting. florida, by the way is not the only state in which this discouragement is going on. there are some states in which
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they're reducing the amount of time that's available for you to vote. there are some states in which you can't vote on sunday anymore. there are some states in which the early voting activities are not there. there are some states in which same day voter registration can't occur anymore. all of that. >> all of these things that liberalized the ability to vote have been repealed in many states now that have republican-controlled legislatures. >> we are to be about trying to encourage participation in the process. i really am envious of those countries, emerging democracies that seem to have a greater number of people turning out than anything that we've been able to fashion in america and when you say to the league of women voters you can't register people to vote i mean give me a break! >> this is not america. >> definitely the justice department should be enthusiastic about it and the obama campaign should make it a
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cornerstone of his presentation and of his surrogate's presentation, discussing the right to vote. >> some of the same billionaires who have funded the organizations that have churning out the bills to repeal the ability to access the polls they -- we learned that those same g.o.p. funders the billionaires, yesterday, are going to spend another billion dollars on behalf of governor romney. so he had $700 to $800 million that he and the republican national committee were already going to spend and now the super pacs funded by the billionaires are going to say they're going to spend another billion. you talked in the previous segment about the president raising a billion dollars or more. we're going to have romney potentially doubling, fir time in -- first time in american history the challenger will outraise the president. does that concern you? >> that really concerns me because as newt gingrich says the only reason he isn't the
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nominee is because big money blew him out. the only reason that rick santorum won in some places, because great big dollars took care of that issue. i don't think, however, barack obama is the kind of candidate that you can beat no matter how much you spend against him. nor do i think his opponent is attractive enough and interesting enough so money will make the difference among the general voters and that's -- you know, that's -- >> you have saturation at some point, too. >> do you have saturation too. but in the states in which the decision is really going to be made, i don't believe that they're going to be able to spend enough money to achieve that. what i'm more concerned about is not the obama race on the money side. it is the senate and the house. those campaigns don't have the -- in all cases don't necessarily have the attractive quality candidate, they don't have a national media attention
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they don't have the organized group of supporters and grassroots participation. money can destroy them. >> i so love having you on our show. thank you so much mr. mayor for joining us again inside "the war room," delightful always. coming up, if you want to find out what bain capital is really all about, you're going to want to stick around for my interview with a bain former managing director. all of that and much more right here inside "the war room." we'll be right back. lives to for this country nearly 70 years ago. [ nervous ] i hope no one recognizes us... you...you think these disguises will... no. [ male announcer ] salty. sweet. and impossible to resist.
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>> we came across a few
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jaw-dropping statistics here in the war room. so between 1993 and 2000, the incomes of the richest 1% grew 58%. and for the rest it grew just 6.4%. and the top 100th of 1% now make an average of $27 million per household per year but the average income for the bottom 90% is just $31,000 per year. many economists and progressives argue that that's bad for our country and i'm really genuinely interested in my next guest's opinion on the income inequality trend and bain capital and all of that. edward conard is the author of the new book "unintended consequences," former partner of bain capital the private equity firm that mitt romney worked at before entering politics. he comes to us tonight from new york. welcome inside "the war room."
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>> jennifer, thank you for having me. >> can i call you edward? >> yeah, you can call me ed. >> all right, great. so let me -- as we move into this discussion, i want to cite near statistic. in 2008, the top 1% of income earners controlled 21% of income in the united states. and you say in your book that our society would improve if the number was higher for those wealthier members of society. do you really think or maybe you can explain that income inequality could be good for society. >> sure. i think if you believe the economy hasn't changed at all since the 1950s, you would scratch your head and wonder why is it the top 1% keeps earning a greater and greater share of the income. and it might concern you that they're doing that in ways that are unfair or that they haven't earned or -- but i think the economy has changed significantly from the 1950s.
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you think about the 1950s we're really capitalizing on the value of mass marketed material goods like automobiles for example and you needed large companies to build an auto industry and harvest oil worldwide. you have to pave millions of miles of road. you needed to build 250 million cars. that's the era of large scale, big businesses, individuals mattered much less, risk taking mattered much less. funding capital investment mattered much more. today, 13 people can create instagram and a billion dollars of value in two years. the commercialization of the internet has opened up a window of extraordinary investment opportunities, the growth rate of the economy today is much more driven by entrepreneurs by innovation, by risk taking and by the equity that underwrites that risk and if you look at the success of the u.s. relative to europe and japan europe and japan have been surprisingly unsuccessful at harvesting the opportunities. the u.s. pretty much stands
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alone in their ability to do it. the question i think ultimately gets to is do higher payoffs for successful risk taking motivate the risk taking which is driving the u.s. forward that europe and japan have been utterly unable to capitalize on. >> so, in other words, those at the very top have been able to stimulate investment and innovations, right? which is your argument. and in the last 30 years -- in the last 30 years the u.s. economy has doubled in size but the mean wages of workers have risen just barely above the inflation rate. a lot of that has to do of course with the global shift in those manufacturing jobs that you're talking about. but the money is -- the money that has gone into the economy for the doubling has really been funneled to the top. to folks in the .01%. i think a lot of our viewers would wonder how can you or anybody else in the top .01%, how would you be able to help, for example, a student or a
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teacher or a police officer by holding on to that money, whether it is in your bank account or in your investments if your investments are invested globally and they're not being invested to create jobs in america necessarily. i'm not saying being rich is a bad thing. i'm asking how you could justify the doubling of the wealth at the very top your own wealth and how could that help the rest of the country when the investments are occurring globally. >> yes, i think really there's two aspects to your question. the first looks at what has happened in the middle class relative to europe and japan. it would be worth going back and talking about that. you give a set of statistics but there is a lot of nuances in that statistics which you haven't brought forward. i think you would be surprised by it. the second that you ended with a second question really which is do the higher payoffs for risk taking in the united states that produce the kind of innovation that we've seen in the united states, does that moi it's the risk taking that produces this innovation? i would only say we see it in
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the united states. we don't see it in europe and japan. it would seem to me if they were comparable, you could make the argument that maybe they do, maybe they don't. when we stand in stark contrast to europe and japan, it is much harder to make that argument. the question you're asking is the growth beneficial to the working class and the working poor? let's look at some very important statistics. since the mid 1980s, the u.s. has created 40 million jobs on the base of 100 million jobs. that's a 40% increase. europe and japan is about half that rate. 15% to 20%. so one question you might say is we could have potentially had slower employment growth and higher wages for employee or we could have had the reverse which is more employment growth, slightly less wages per employee. remember, we brought $20 million -- yes? >> i was just going to say you're referencing a comparison with europe and japan of obviously they've had slower -- germany, i would take issue with because they've obviously done
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better. >> they've grown at 20% and 65%. >> we may have -- when you say we've grown, a lot of the benefits of that have gone on to the top. but they haven't gone to the middle class because we seen a structural change in our economy with the loss of manufacturing jobs. and the question is if you are just benefitting the investor class and the investor class is investing, yes, but they're investing in a global economy and they're not specifically creating jobs in america how does that help us? >> i don't agree that's true. we've created 40 million jobs in america across the whole wage spectrum. we've put 20 million immigrant families, we've educated their children and we've provided offshore as well. it is hard to argue any high-wage economy has done more for the middle class and the working poor than the u.s. economy. let's go back and look at the median rates and -- i know the statistics you're quoting really overlook three very important
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adjustments that have to be made to those numbers. you have to adjust for household size because if people are divorced and their income is split, the income per family hasn't gone done by half. you have to make that adjustment. the second adjustment you have to make is for things like healthcare or social security that are nontaxed income. you have to add that income back. we have progressive taxes so you have to adjust for tax rates. median income in the united states over the timeframe you are describing grew about 37%. you have to make a second adjustment as well which is we have had a shift in the work force toward immigration, toward immigrants and toward working mothers, both of who on average earn less than the median wage. every time we bring an employee in below the median, it pushes another bo the median and drives the median down. when you make that adjustment, you see wages have risen 30%. that's not counting the nontaxable benefits. you're using to make the argument -- >> your adjustments are -- your
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adjustments are based on the fact that we are becoming a service economy but we're hollowing out the middle class. it is the middle class that have really been crunched here without any investment to create jobs here for those middle class workers. but without getting too bogged down in statistics -- >> i don't think -- >> hang on just one second because you worked at bain capital. everybody wants to know about private equity. i'm wondering us what you worked closely with him, does he share some of your views on the -- on the movement, the structure of the income inequality issue. >> i don't speak for mitt and the book covers a lot of ground. there are lots of provoc at this counterintuitive controversial things in the book. the highest level, does mitt agree that innovation is what is driving the modern economy forward, sure. i thinkhe agrees with that and it is essential to growth because the manufacturing economy slowed to a crawl in the 1970s and 1980s.
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we did transition to a more entrepreneurial service economy but that growth has slowed as well. and it is only the united states who has been able to increase productivity and growth and increase employment as well across the entire spectrum of the wages so you say we're hollowing out the middle class. if you look at the distribution of wages around the median it is almost as tightly distributed today as it has been in the past. and when you make comparisons of the u.s. to europe and japan, what you see is our top 1%, our most talented people are way more productive than europe and japan's are but our median incomes are at worse if you use your statistics, pretty much the same as europe and japan if you adjust the statistics -- >> not my statistics. these are the statistics of economists that have looked at this and i'm not the only one to say there has been the hollowing out of the middle class. i think respected nonpartisan groups have said it across the board. let me jump quickly to the race for president. because everybody knows the key goal of private equity firms is
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to create returns for investors. specifically, in deciding what criteria to use in evaluating targets for investment at bain capital, job creation in america, of course, was not listed as a goal right? >> well, i just think that's a -- a silly misnomer. mischaracterization of business. first and foremost, business is working for customers. >> i'm not -- i'm characterizing mitt romney's experience. i'm so sorry to interrupt. just to respond. i'm only character rising it as a relevant piece of experience for the man who's running for president who said his job experience is one as a job creator. that really was not -- wasn't one of the goals in prospect tie issued to get investors to invest in bain capital. >> i think the goal is to make companies stronger and to grow them faster. if you look at what business did over the last 30 years in the united states, we added 40 million jobs. it is true there was cost reduction along the way. there were setbacks, there were failures. compared to the businessmen in
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europe and japan, we created twice as much employment as those economies were able to create. >> i'm not talking about business overall though. i'm talking about this private equity firm, bain when mitt romney was in charge, he's using that as his experience for running for president is why he would be great in the economy. job creation was just not one of the things that bain was doing to keep afloat. >> i can only say i just don't think that's the right characterization. if you -- a small minority of businesses, bain invested in 350 businesses over the course of its tenure. a small minority of the businesses were unsuccessful. the rest of them grew two and a half times faster than the s&p 500. why? because you have to make businesses stronger and grow them faster if you want to make profits for investors. and what you need to do to make profits for investors really is you have to serve customers more effectively. >> absolutely. can i just ask you one other question. i know my executive producer is telling me we have to go.
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just a quick response. there is a reuters article today that said that bain capital was itself sought public incentives, state government incentives when taking over troubled businesses. from your perspective as someone who is hands off about this, isn't that a form of picking winners and losers, that you would go to the government to ask for incentives in the companies that you guys invested in? >> i think that business is extremely competitive. >> you know what? >> any time the government provides any kind of incentive payoff whatever, no single business can afford to go it on their own. the competitors take those incentives. you have to do what the competitors are doing to remain competitive. so if government has a program that's put in place to help business, whether you agree with the program or not you have to do everything you can to make your company stronger and grow it faster than competitors if you want to be successful in
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business. >> totally agree. i know governors are doing it all the time. it is just a very interesting thing when there is a lot of criticism about picking winners and losers. mr. conard, thank you so much for coming inside "the war room." author of "unintended consequences." up next, mitt romney made solyndra the focus of his campaign today and to that, i say bring it on! we'll be right back.
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>> this morning, mitt romney visited the solyndra plant in california and attacked the administration's investment in the clean energy economy and in the company. mitt, mitt mitt. i gotta call out on this one, too. first off, you of all people know better. investing in new technologies is risky. not every investment works out. solyndra is an example of that. but so is the facebook ipo and countless private and public companies, including, by the way, some that bain capital took over. investors have to make the best decision they can with the information they have at the time. and sometimes the government needs to place bets on technology when private industry won't to jump start them for the good of the nation. nasa, the internet, the auto industry, some bets pay off and
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some fail. but if you place no bets, you will lose every time. in case you doubt that government should invest in clean energy, a certain 2008 republican presidential candidate said that we should "dramatically increase federal spending on projects that hold promise for diversifying our energy supply, including that candidate said bringing clean energy to market through commercialization of large scale renewables." you recognize those words? mitt? that was you. and mitt, how quickly you also seem to forget that your own record as governor of massachusetts, in that record, you picked winners and losers all the time. you invested millions of taxpayer dollars, yes, in life sciences and clean technology companies. you remember your massachusetts green energy fund? some of those investments worked.
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and some didn't. i don't fault you for trying. i did it in michigan and here's a secret, a ton of other governors are doing it, too. republicans, democrats from texas to new york to nevada, all of them trying to create jobs for their citizens and industry for their states. as they should. so, mitt quit pretending that you never took the risk to invest public money in start-up technologies. quit pretending it never happened. it is yet another example of your hypocrisy. you were right back then. and i wish that you had the courage to be right today.
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>> a legal battle over same-sex marriage appears headed for the u.s. supreme court. a unanimous decision by a court of appeals panel today ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny benefits to gay, married
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couples. for context and perspective on what today's decision means we turn to aisha moody mills in washington, an advisor for lgbt policy and racial justice at the center for american progress. so aisha why don't you tell us, what was the -- what does the defense of marriage act do in practical terms and what does this decision mean? >> well, it is great to be with you, governor. thanks for having me. quite simply, the defense of marriage act discriminates against married gay and lesbian couples who are already married by restricting them from receiving the same benefits as any other married couple does under federal law. so there are a lot of economic incentives and obligations that you receive when you're married that are federally-based and when you are a same-sex couple that happens to be married in the handful of states that we have, you are denied those rights by the federal government under the defense of marriage act. that's why today's ruling is
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really critical and a great gain for us who are working to create equality for everybody in america. for the first time a federal appeals court ruled that the defense of marriage act is, in fact unconstitutional. because it is discriminating against the minority group. we don't view that or we shouldn't be doing that anymore in america. >> so do you think that the supreme court is going to hear this case? >> yeah. it is probably going to go all the way up. when we look back at history and how our moral arc is bending toward justice it actually happened in the supreme court. we do expect that there's going to be an appeal. unfortunately, boehner and republicans in congress are trying to fight tait and nail to keep gay americans from having equality. they'll likely appeal it and the process will continue. >> aren't you concerned about that given the composition of the supreme court? >> you know, one of the things
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that's really interesting about today is that there was a three-panel -- a three-member bench of the appeals court. two of those judges republican-appointed judges. i think what we're seeing is that equality is not a partisan issue. there are a lot of conservatives who really believe that everyone in america should be treated equally. that's our founding principle in fact. we'll see which way the supreme court moves when we happen to get there. if we get there soon. but what we saw today was really an interesting precedent. some very well-respected conservative judges found that doma was unconstitutional. >> it is very interesting. obviously there are a couple of cases that could land at the supreme court, depending on the timing. let's just jump a step forward. what would the impact be if the supreme court found doma unconstitutional aside from all of the heterosexual marriages being left undefended? >> well, i don't think that
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heterosexual marriage has ever needed defending. because it has never been under attack by anyone. in fact, i'm married. i'm a lesbian. the fact i got married here in the district of columbia has had nothing to do with any heterosexual marriages. but ultimately, it will create very basic equality. all we're saying here is that everybody in the united states should be treated the same. should have the access to the same institutions. we fought this fight on a racial playing field. we had women who were struggling for parity years ago and now it is gays and lesbians who are being treated differently. what doma will do, what will happen when we get rid of doma is that gay and lesbian americans who are married will be treated like every other married couple. >> i'm just curious from your perspective, how big a part has the president's endorsement played in the movement for equality in your opinion?
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>> i would say that the president coming out in support of marriage equality has really liberated other folks who have also been evolving on the issue. by him making a statement and really allowing us to be a part of his evolution and his grappling between his faith and trying to reconcile his political beliefs and values, he's given license to everyone else who's on that journey to also find themselves on the side of equality. i think that has been really impactful and we've seen it in all of the polling around the nation in terms of the uptick and support for marriage equality. >> wow, it is incredible arc of history we're witnessing and participating in. thank you so much, aisha moodie mills for coming into the war room and for joining the battle with the good guys. and for you all out there don't miss our next segment because, of course, it is brett ehrlich. we'll be right back. >> we're not through just yet,
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mr. vice president. >> they're swimming against the tides. (vo) brought to you by pradaxa. i have the most common type of atrial fibrillation, or afib. it's not caused by a heart valve problem. i was taking warfarin, but my doctor put me on pradaxa instead to reduce my risk of stroke. in a clinical trial, pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) reduced stroke risk 35% better than warfarin. and unlike warfarin, with pradaxa, there's no need for regular blood tests. that's really important to me. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have a bleeding condition like stomach ulcers, or take aspirin, nsaids, or blood thinners, or if you have kidney problems especially if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all medicines you take any planned medical or dental procedures
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and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. pradaxa is progress. having afib not caused by a heart valve problem increases your risk of stroke. ask your doctor if you can reduce your risk with pradaxa. >> this country has a lot of proud traditions and some really, really awkward ones like when the sitting president has to unveil the official portrait of the guy whose job he took. it all went down today at the white house this afternoon. so shh. press talking now.
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brett's talking now. >> so, george and laura bush went to the white house today for the unveiling of their official portrait. it is an event the obama administration is calling here's a portraiture. laura bush's photo is absolutely breathtaking. here she is wearing an open neck version of the same tunic that andrew jackson wore 170 years before. what of george's? how could it possibly one up his last portrait where he's sitting on the edge of a couch leaning forward suggestively as if to ask you want to watch? this is exciting. drumroll please. can't afford a drumroll? slide whistle? wow, that's something. there he is in his living room in boringtown, u.s.a. i can't believe they chose this over the other portraits they commissioned. they rejected other ones.
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here they are, the official rejected. >> this first one didn't work out because of a miscommunication. they told the artist to draw the person who ran the country between 2001 and 2009 and he came back with this. true but awkward. now the second portrait tips its hat to one of the moments in bush's presidency. his portrait accomplished but much like the mission it is referring to, it wasn't. finally, they flirted with the idea of communicating just how bush feels about his legacy to america. well, i'm sorry that one didn't work out but this is a handsome portrait! and i'm sure obama will treat it great. for as they say, keep your friends close and keep your enemies hung on a wall in your house. i'm done talking now. >> gotta love that brett. thank you all for
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