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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  September 10, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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r takes on politics. >>science and republicans do not mix. >>now it's your turn at the only online forum with a direct line to eliot spitzer. >>join the debate now. >> david: the august jobs numbers may not have been great news for president obama. fortunatelily there are another set of numbers that are reassuring. the obama campaign for the first time in months raised more than the romney campaign. the margin was slim, according to the obama camp, 98ers 98% of those donations were $100 or less. joining me now, ken vogel whose recent piece democrats lower sites on donors tackle this very issue. ken, thank you for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure tonight.
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>> eliot: if i read your article properly the super rich democrats are fleeing for the hills, basically saying to the president, don't chase us, we're not interested. >> there has been a little bit of this dynamic in play for most of this election cycle. a number of these wealthy democrats are philosophically opposed to the super pacs and raising and spending unlimited money in politics. as a result, they don't want to play the game. the operatives who are trying to get them back in the game, if you don't help, we're never going to address this legislatively and get fixes in terms of campaign finance that will change it. some of these donors are not happy with president obama. they believe he's been inefficiently aggressive on keystone issues most notably the environment. and some of them more selfishly
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perhaps don't think president obama and his team have done a good job with the "donor maintenance." in other words patting them on the back and giving them perks. >> eliot: wait a minute, someone who has a billion dollars wants a photo. they just want that old fashioned pat on the back? >> yes is the short answer. if you look at the clinton administration, which was so effective at this, they brought in donors to the white house and let them stay overnight in in a lincoln bedroom in exchange for donations to the dnc. that may have crossed the ethical line but they gave access to top financial backers. the obama campaign has shooed this type of donor maintenance and those who are high minded in their giving want that
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recognition. >> eliot: the lincoln bedroom is probably the most expensive leaveoversleep over in history. president clinton loved hand-to-hand donations barack obama doesn't. >> they are not getting anything. they don't feel like they're getting anything in exchange for their donation. yes they want him to win. i talked to a representative for peter lewis the progressive insurance magnate who gave around $20 million or more to the 527 groups who was supporting john kerry. that left a bad taste in many mouths yes peter wants barack obama to win but he wants want to give to the super pac.
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i don't see him coming back to the game. >> eliot: this is personal experience. i knew peterly ways. he was a donor to me, full disclosure. i think he maxed out whatever new york state permitted. he's an extraordinarily principled guy. if he doesn't believe in the super pacs, i could see him say i won't play that game. and donors are tired of the game. if you don't give to me the maximum amount, i won't be able to change the law that you won't have to give that much next time. they say i'm too smart to believe that and they're backing away. >> that is one of the main arguments that we're hearing. there are other folks who relish the game. some of them are coming back, the super pac that is supporting president obama raised $10 million. we don't know where that came from because they haven't had to release the commission reports. it will be interesting to see if it's old blood clinton big donors or new donors.
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we've seen new donors coming on the scene from hollywood the gay community for both the obama campaign and the super pac supporting it, but there is disaccident among democratic big-mondayed operatives that they're woefully behind. if they don't see a real shift in big donors sitting on their wallets coming to play, that will move the margins in some of these key states where advertising is so expensive. >> eliot: there is no question back in '08 wall street fell at the knees of the president. they fell in love with him. saying someone who understand arithmetic and economics now they've pulled back and has this been reflected in the contributions given. >> yes, it's been reflected. wall street was the top source of bundled money in 2008. and then going back to the clinton administration democrats worked really hard to cultivate
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wall street to show that democrats could be business friendly. some of these operatives tell me privately they think obama in the first year of his presidency when he really went after wall street, when he supported regulations, that camped down on the finance sector, he did away. he threw out the window all this work that the clinton people had done on donor maintenance. they have swung rather dramatically from barack obama to mitt romney. you see some of these big names donors like ken griffin out of chicago, a big hedge fund guy who supported president obama now supporting mitt romney very vocally. >> eliot: the notion that the president has not been friendly to wall street is a myth out there. the president has spoken occasionally with an edgy language, but underneath it the substance has been incredibly friendly. saying let me say a few things to let the public know that i
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feel their pain but i'm not going to do anything in prosecution, certainly. wall street i thought it was smarter, but this shows our grossly self interested wall street. ken, i won't put anything in your mouth but have i said anything that makes sense. >> yes, there are a few politician who is have been as tough on wall street as you were. but these folks feel it's not rhetoric. certainly they're offended that president obama has gone after the fat cats on wall street. they feel his support for dodd frank and the regulatory implementation has been deft to their concerns, and they felt they had earned some entree and access from their donations in 2008 that has not been support good we should feel bad. we hurt their feelings but they betrayed the economy. shame on them. ken vogel, thank you for your
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time. >> thank you, eliot. >> eliot: they take for more years, but for whom. the viewfinder coming up next.
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>> eliot: coming up, how bin laden plays into the election season. but first obama gets a lift. clinton gets impersonated and grand home gets the holy spirit. when it does not fit anywhere else, we put it in the viewfinder. >> team obama getting up close and personal with voters on the campaign trail. >> i do think that the secret service allowing a guy at a size to lift up the president--that's kind of-- >> what about bill clinton? do you think he could get elected today for president? >> you know, if the constitution were in his way. >> we're here to nominate a president, i've got one in mind. >> unfortunately, barack obama defeated her four years ago.
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luckcally--luckcally bill had another option. >> of course i'm talking about me. bill clinton jk. although, let's face it. who would stop me. i'm back, baby. >> now now you know i can't. i already served my two terms. no, i get what you're saying, man, but just--the constitution is what it--oh, you mean, oh, okay. >> how about former michigan governor jennifer granholm energy's speech. oh, my god. she was working that crowd like an evangelist. [ cheering ]
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[ cheering usa ] >> he trotted out the same wild claim that republicans have been working for years to disprove. >> i'm the president. [applause] but it's so arrogant. i bet you anything you never hear mitt romney say those words. >> eliot: just so it's clear jennifer moved the spirit, and we could not be more proud of her. that's jennifer granholm, our own current tv host. coming up next, osama bin laden still a dominant figure the auto rescue saved more than 9,000 jobs. in the great state of michigan, 211,000 good paying, american jobs! in romney's world, cars get the elevator, and the workers get
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the shaft! (vo) want more granholm? get her every night.
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roll over an old 401(k). so who's in control now, mayans? >> eliot: who is playing politics with president's decision to take out public enemy number one? the president and his allies refer to or the former navy seal whose book "no easy day: the firsthand account of the mission that killed osama bin laden" contradicts the raid. both sides deny playing politics, but speaker after speaker praised the president for his leadership in ordering the raid on osama bin laden. >> and thanks to the courage of american special forces and the bold leadership of our president, owe osama bin laden is at the bottom of the ocean. >> after mitt romney said it
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would be naive to go into pakistan to pursue the terrorists it took president against the advice of many, to give that order and finally rid this earth of osama bin laden. >> ask osama bin laden if he is better now than he was four years ago. [ cheering ] >> osama bin laden is dead, and general motors is alive. >> eliot: could be the slogan that gets the president rerecollect elected. meanwhile, republicans by and large refrain from mentioning bin laden, the former secretary of state condoleezza rice had this to say after her speech to the convention crowd. >> we can argue the successes of one administration or the other. much of the machinery put in place to kilo sam bin laden to deal with al-qaeda was put in after the immediate aftermath and it's two administrations
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that we have to credit to deal with al-qaeda. >> eliot: joining me now borris epshteyn and m margie omero for joining me. the republican party is saying that the president is overplaying his hand on the osama bin laden claims that are being made. do you think that's fair to say. >> it's fair game for the president to take credit where credit is due. just like condoleezza rise said it's a credit to this administration and the prior administration to put in the policies, and this president did put in the order. there is no dispute. but voters are not going to vote based on what happened may of last year with bin laden. they're going to vote based on where the economy is. what the president is trying to do is take attention away from where it is and should be, which is the economy and put it on really the only success of this
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presidency. >> eliot: boris, i hear you on that but let me turn to margie. it seems to me that the president is doing more of that. as lawyers say take away your opponents best argument, and the president has not only taken the argument from them and turned it and pivoted against them. >> yes absolutely. i think the voters who say this. it's republican strategists who say this. obama has had a double digit lead over mitt romney for months now on handling foreign affairs. it's one of the things that obama gets the strongest ratings on where the majority approve of his record. this has been consistent throughout his administration, and it's a great accomplishment. it's a great accomplishment for this country and it's important for the president to talk about. it's also a real clear contrast with governor romney who said we should move heaven and earth to find osama bin laden.
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drawing a real contract between the two approaches of the two of them. >> eliot: borris, i can see that you want to rebut that. >> it is over the line to argue just because this president made that call and pulled the trigger and got osama bin laden through the seal team six that mitt romney would not have done so. >> those were his words. >> there is no evidence at all that mitt romney would not have done the same thing, and president bush spent along time going after for a long time. >> that's not true. he said he didn't think about him very much. >> that's not true. he read his books. >> i'm going by what he said. >> i think a lot of people on the obama team will say a lot of policies that are in place now were put there by bush. two, margie is right.
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had president obama done well in the polls on foreign policy? he has. but not on economy. >> eliot: margie, let me build on your point. i think you're not only actually right, but al-qaida has been destroyed. i think the public appreciates that the president in targeting our foreign policy has been able to say we're out of iraq. we will be out of afghanistan but we managed to destroyed al-qaeda. that's where our foreign policy should be focused on. there is a sense that we succeeded in our objective and that's why the president is standing so well on foreign policy issues. >> it's a clear example where he had promise and he delivered on them. and mitt romney who did mention afghanistan in his nomination speech. they didn't really focus on in their convention or in the speechers or really in mitt romney's proposals or what he's
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saying about himself. again, it's a real important contrast. i agree with borris, there are not a lot of single-issue foreign policy voters but nonetheless it's a clear advantage for obama and a disadvantage for romney in terms of what he has been trying to say and the proposals he's being putting out there. >> eliot: i know you want to rebut that with the obama administration foreign policy but answer that, and then tell us how mitt romney foreign policy actually differ because i have trouble seeing the divide between the two. >> well, the difference are on other fronts. you look at russia and the points that obama made to russia who said wait until i'm re-elected and i'll give you what you want. and then china what is the foreign policy with china? some months were played tough and some were giving china what
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it wants. on counter terrorism obama has continued many bush policies. and the drone attacks are also not popular. those are continuations and mitt romney would continue those as well. >> eliot: i think guantanamo was a difficult issue. i think you're right. we'll put that one aside. counterterrorism, the president has been successful. margie let me ask you. i think borris does have a fair point when it comes to china and russia reset. those have not worked out terribly well. whether you fault the president or say that's the nature of foreign policies, it's slow and lumbering, how do you address what can be perceived by some as a lack of consistency in our relationship with china? >> i know a few things. i know first of all people think that the president has been handling foreign affairs really well. i know that they feel that
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secretary clinton is enormously popular and doing a great job traveling around the world and i know what romney does has not sent a clear vision by saying whatever obama is for i'm against. did doesn't matter where in the world he is, what country he's talking about, syria, or even in at the olympics. >> that's not true. >> it's true. you quoteed borris quoted obama in his visit to russia, not actually quoting but putting words in his mouth which is different from when i was talking about mitt romney or president bush using their actual words about how president bush never thought much about osama bin laden and mitt romney saying we should move heaven and earth. >> no one disputes that, and secretary gates is a republican at the time that owe osama bin laden died. >> eliot: one thing we can agree
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ohen economics is more likely to drive this election than foreign policy but the debate of where and how the candidates differ on foreign policy is something that we should pursue. it's the area of exclusive unitary control. borris epshteyn, and margie omero, thank you both for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> eliot: america likes to spread democracy, but why don't we like to use it. that's coming up.
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>> eliot: mitt romney double talks on healthcare again. that's later in the show. and after "viewpoint," joy behar say anything, coming up, a great show. joining us jennifer granholm at its new time 10:00 p.m. eastern 9:00 central. more "viewpoint" coming up next. (vo) this is joy on current tv. >>if mitt romney treats his
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magic underwear the same way as his tax returns, then he's been going commando for the past 10 years. our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> eliot: consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds as ralph ralph said, but a total lack of constancy has sure created a tough situation for mitt romney whose own campaign of course, first used the etch-a-sketch metaphor to describe him to all journalists' delight. yesterday's new chapter in the unraveling of mitt as a clear thinking person came in his effort to thread the needle once again on healthcare. he knows that the individual pieces of healthcare reform are
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extraordinaryily popular, from pre-existing conditions being covered to kids ability to remain on their parents health plan through age 26. so mitt hesitant to seem more scrooge-like than he already does, the effete wealthy patrician saying to most americans let them eat cake performed a quick pirouette instead of supporting full repeal of the act he has in the past and in his running maim currently does, he said he would keep certain provisions. chief justice robert's more favorable sentiment towards the healthcare act is driven by reality that since he has pre-existing condition, recall his history of seizures, he may now is be more favorably disposed towards the act. but mitt's position creates a huge problem for him. now does he propose to pay for
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this expansion of benefits? that's not an answer that he can give. nor can he give a rational answer, an individual mandate or something similar so that there are no free riders in the healthcare system. the individual mandate, of course created by mitt himself and the heritage foundation is now the bane of his party and the right. so to the surprise of no one mitt now steadfastly refuses to answer the question. both his lack of constancy and his failure to answer the tough question is no shock. it's par for the course. whether it is his budget proposal, his tax plan or his foreign policy statements they're as solid as quick stand have as many holes as swiss cheese are as trustworthy as wall street and as are permanent as etch-a-sketch. that's my view.
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>> eliot: who can forget the hanging in the 2000 election. that may be the worst of it. for all the rights enlined in our constitution, one of them is missing, the right to vote. here to join me is victoria bassetti, author of the upcoming book "elect traditional dysfunction: a survival manual for american voters.." welcome. >> thank you for inviting me. >> eliot: i had no idea that vote is a right in the constitution. >> it's an implied right to vote in the constitution. there is no question that categories of people can be denied to vote on the basis of rape, gender age but if states can come up with other ways to inenfranchise you to make it difficult for to you vote, you'll have a hard time for the u.s. supreme court to take care of you. >> eliot: the supreme court does
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not like implied rights to people that they don't feel especially close to. among all the problems that we've got you've written this fascinating book. the right to vote in the united states is a fragile right and we don't take care of it very well. >> not only is it legally on shaky crowd, because it's firmly inshrined in the constitution, but we have election districts scattered around the united states. many of them making up rules many of them underfunded many without proper training for all of them involved and all of them subject to partisanship many who want to alter or bend the rules. >> eliot: partisanship has gotten in the way of easy reform that could overcome these mechanical problems. i want to raise one more constitutional challenge, which is the electoral challenge.
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what is this that we're talking about and why do we have it any more? >> it's a vestige of the 18th century. as it stands, it works and warps to voters. >> eliot: explain that. >> sure, basically in order to win the presidency you've got to get 270 electoral college votes. and you know, what you can basically do is really quickly take a look at which ones are solid. which one are guaranteed. >> eliot: democrats will win new york, why spend monday there. >> why spend monday there, you'll get new york's electoral college votes. all the campaigns concentrate on the swing states. we arewe hear about the swing states but it's the electoral college votes that have them focus on the swing states. the person who actually got the
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highest popular vote ends up becoming president. >> eliot: the best example of that. >> 2000, al gore. >> eliot: he doesn't talk about it much but he got the popular vote. but he didn't get the electoral vote. >> we remember 2000 for butterfly ballots but al gore won the popular vote but he didn't win the electoral college, so he didn't become president. >> eliot: you don't want the president just focusing on those states that are in play, swing states, but a state that is a swing states almost necessarily gets more presidential attention, and attention from congress. >> sure, and i don't think anyone is saying that swing states or that any state should or shouldn't get necessary attention. no one is saying that ohio is unimportant or pennsylvania is unimportant, and the president shouldn't be paying attention to them. it's just simply
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disproportionate attention that doesn't makes season or when overall national policy gets distorted to help one particular state or one particular tiny cause. >> eliot: there is a proposal to eliminate the electoral college in terms of outcome even without a constitutional amendment. that's a crazy system. can you explain it quickly. >> lyle' do my best. >> eliot: you're a lawyer. >> it might drive everyone way when a lawyer describes it. it's national vote. it's an effort by a group of states to allocate their electoral college votes to the winner of the popular vote. for example were romney to win the popular vote but obama to win new york state's vote, new york would nevertheless allocate all of its electoral college votes to romney. >> eliot: the predicate with this would be only if states with 200 electoral votes agree to do this. >> right. states with 270 electoral
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college votes would have to agree to it, and then all together they would swing the vote so the popular vote. >> eliot: if you're not a lawyer, don't worry. this is boring for even lawyers but the outcome is important. >> it's actually a movement that has got momentum. >> eliot: it has some traction. >> nine states have ratified or implemented the pact. they're halfway towards their goal. we'll see if they make it by 2016. >> eliot: to drop down to the constitutional this year we've seen an outbreak of voter i.d. laws that i think are to democracy. why now. >> it's hard to say why not. these certainly have been these techniques have been available for a long time, but over the course of the last few years there has been an explosion in
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changes to election laws, in 11 states pending to early voting laws being restrictions, voter registration groups being restricted. i think at its heart it goes back to hispanic innedback to partisanship in election. inin the last few years it has begun to take over how we treat our voters. they shouldn't be treated like ping-pong balls that are batted back and bother between angry parties. >> eliot: i can speak from personal experience, we did a report of new york state's reporting practice and came up with completely nonpartisan changes that would make the system more proper would eliminate inpicturecies and get rid of what all sane people
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would agree are problematic dynamics. we could not get it through because one side or another would say that will permit more voting from a district that would not be helpful to us. it was appalling to me. >> it's hard to envision the time that we might be able to take partisanship out of the system, but you know what, we have monetary policy that is non-partnonpartisan. i think voting is as important as our money and we should be able to take the partisanship out of it. >> eliot: it was set up as an entity immune from politics by virtue of who governors it and how that governing structure is created. a few moments ago you said the voting rules are dictated by the state level. >> what is more important to america than its voters. >> eliot: fair and important statement. "the electoral dysfunction." victoria
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