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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 15, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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and penn jillette is here with why rick perry is wrong about god. >> let me tell you when i'm in, i'm in all the way. >> we're going to be spending a lot of time with rick perry over the next couple of months. >> we know rick perry is michele bachmann's new challenger, but what do we know about rick perry? >> people are trying to figure out who exactly is rick perry. >> people are disconcerted about the religiousness of his campaign. >> no interest in running for president. >> his big idea is almost everything the federal government does is unconstitutional. what he said was social security is a ponzi scheme. >> he's got to go out there and beat somebody in iowa. >> rick perry mitt romney's worst nightmare? >> mitt romney is campaigning in new hampshire. >> go up to new hampshire and knock off mitt romney. >> might as well with legos. >> i'm a real person. >> for bachmann it's all about iowa, iowa, iowa. >> waterloo, waterloo, waterloo.
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>> they have good hair. >> he's an attractive candidate. >> last word favorite tim pawlenty is out, lawrence o'donnell responds. >> pawlenty's out. >> i'm from a small state. >> it was time to bow out. >> i tried to read tim pawlenty's book, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. >> and president obama gets a boost from a billionaire class trader. >> i think you're less wealthy than warren buffet. >> we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. >> some type of parody is only fair. >> he pointed out he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office. >> my friends and i have been coddled long enough. >> he couldn't be more spot-on. >> time for the games to stop. good evening from new york.
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well, all of a sudden the republican presidential primary race has gotten really, really interesting. and since interesting has an inverse relationship to frontrunner mitt romney, that could only mean the republican party must have a new presidential frontrunner, and indeed, it does, kind of. texas governor, rick perry. first, a somewhat sad housekeeping note. you can cross out tim pawlenty's name. he dropped out after a third place finish in the ames, iowa, straw poll. michele bachmann won the straw poll with over 4,800 votes. she squeaked out a victory over ron paul by 152 votes, however, her first place finish has led the media to declare bachmann a real contender. it was noted saturday night her vote total was roughly equal to the number of people who visited his blog that hour.
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but the real realignment in the republican race came with rick perry's presidential announcement on saturday. quick primer on perry, he served lieutenant governor to george w. bush starting in 1998 and assumed the governorship after bush became president. he was elected to full terms in 2002, 2006, and again this past november. he's run ten races and never lost a single one. the late, great molly higgins who claimed for george w. bush -- if american was only governed like texas, america would be a lot more like texas, which for perry could be a good thing. here's perry making the case in south carolina on saturday. >> we have led texas, based on some just really pretty simple
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guiding principles. one is don't spend all of the money. [ cheers and applause ] you know, two, is keeping the taxes low and under control. three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don't peril employers trying to keep jobs. over the years, we've followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. >> paul crumb dismantled the myth in the new york times today. it's true texas entered recession a bit later than the rest of america, mainly because the state's still energy-heavy economy was buoyed by high oil prices through the first half of 2008. also, texas was the worst of the housing crisis because it turns out to have surprisingly strict
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regulation on mortgage lending. despite, unemployment soared in texas. 8.2%, that's slightly lower than the national average, but it's worse than 25 other states, including, and i have not seen this noted anywhere else lately, including every single one of texas's neighboring states, louisiana, arkansas, oklahoma, and new mexico. in fact, if presiding over a local commodity boom is the best qualification for government, then the governor of north dakota with its 3% unemployment rate should be your guy. joining me now is jim hightower, former agricultural commissioner of texas, and erica greider, for many this is their introduction, rick perry, of course, you ran against perry in his first successful statewide race, he beat you, how did he beat you
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and what did you learn from it? >> actually, chris, it wasn't he who beat me, it was carl rove. in order to run against me, the chemical lobby and other special interests were offended in our state that i had promulgated some pesticide regulations to help family farmers and consumers to help farm workers, so they were out to get me. and carl rove basically sent perry out to west texas to roam around from one farmer meeting to the next. he put $3 million dollars into one of his patented negative campaigns to come after me, but the significant thing about perry is that he has become a formidable campaigner, but not anything really when you probe it all that strong. for example, he won reelection
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last year as governor of texas, and he's now bragging about that across the country saying see, i win sweeping victories, but what he doesn't tell you is we had the lowest voter turnout in america. 33% of the people of texas voted in that election. he's the choice of about 18% of the people of texas. >> 18% still gets him in the governor's house, right? >> it does because the democrats refuse to run as democrats, therefore, could not get 19%. that's the pathetic tale here. >> erica, you covered perry for awhile, you wrote an interesting piece on your website saying don't underestimate this guy, he has been beating expectations. what is the source of his appeal, his ability to win every race he's ever been? >> well, to use another phrase from george w. bush, i think he benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations. there's been an absolute trend
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in texas, despite the victories in state politics, people consistently think he's fluked his way into office, that he's kind of managed to get there through a string of dumb luck and kind of coincidences, i don't see the support for that, even in the most recent election. >> if that's not the case, what is he good at? it looked particularly in this last election like he was facing a primary election, survived that, what are -- what is the source of his strength? >> well, one thing we could say, i guess this goes to hightower's point, i think democrats have struggled to get candidates to run against him. the more interesting victory was against kay bailey, as you note, people expected that to be a very, very close clash of titans in texas. kay bailey has obviously won statewide office before and was
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considered popular, more so than perry at the time. he has a sense of what he needs to do to win, he's focussed on his message, he raises a lot of money, he's good on the stump, has good retail politics skills, we'll see that in the next few weeks and months. his political skills are underestimated. >> jim, i'm going to ask you a question, i think i know what you think about, but i want to hear whether you think texas is indeed a model economy and state we want to emulate at the national level. >> perry calls it the texas miracle and that miracle has profited corporations and the rich in our state extremely well, but if you're a regular american, if you're a regular texan, a work a day person, this is not the kind of economy you're going to enjoy. for example, perry talks about jobs he's created, those are
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jobett jobett jobettes, not real jobs. he's created more minimum wage jobs than states combined. he's also managed to create a state in which we're number one in the number of children and families without health care coverage. we are number one in the wage gap between the rich and the poor, we're number one in the most regressive tax system in the country. we're number one in the number of toxic releases from industrial plants and chemical factories in our state. we're number one in the things that we ought to be number 50 in, and we're number 50 in the things we ought to be number one in. >> erica, what part of the rick perry record is going to cause him the most trouble politically, i don't mean that in terms of the general election, but the primary, perhaps, the general, all the way through. what is he going to encounter?
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>> i would cite two things, he's being attacked from the right, which is interesting given the fact perry is a far-right zealot himself. we've seen rick santorum attack rick perry on gay marriage. we've seen tom tancredo attack perry, he'll face these attacks from the right, from more conservative candidates than he is, and i think also in the primary, he'll have to start changing his message on jobs a little bit, because what he's done in texas, i think, has worked for texas. that's a debate people can have, but it has resulted in job creation, but it's not a strategy that can scale to other states or to the nation as a whole, because it allows jobs being poached to other states and jobs tied to texas. >> also the point in the column today, a person amount of the job growth is successfully luring jobs from another state,
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which is a zero strategy and might make you a popular governor but at a national level does not amount to a job's strategy. jim, last word, what do you think is going to be the hardest part of his record to face going forward? >> i think it is his corporatization, he's george w. bush without the intelligence and ethics. he's completely wedded to the corporate powers, 204 corporate interests have put more than $100 million into his campaign over the last decade. that's at&t, that's coke brothers, that is exxon mobil, that is every special interest that you can imagine, and this is who the guy really is. he flirts with this kind of tea party extremist thing, and on that side, he's michele bachmann with a better hairdo, so he's got that side of it, but really at his core, who he loves and who loves him, are the corporate powers, and that's the kind of
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presidency he would bring to america. >> jim hightower, former agricultural commissioner, erica greider, writes for "the economist," read her work in the magazine, you'll have to sniff it out if it's about the right topic. thank you both for joining me, we appreciate it. joining me now, matthew glesias, how are you doing? >> good, good to be here. >> so you did the -- you did your proper homework this weekend and read rick perry's book, "fed up," according to perry, social security is by far the best example of a program "violently tossing aside respect for our funding principles." how do you think it's going to play on the stump? >> i think it's going to be tough. if you read this book it's much less boring but is very radical, it pictures a candidate who's
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very conservative and someone who thinks the overwhelming majority of the activity is unconstitutional, social security, medicare, all regulation of banks, all kinds of environmental regulation, all federal involvement in education, and it's a really sort of bracing, far-right, states-right tract. i was surprised to see from someone who has national political ambitions. >> here's him sort of defending this on the stump on sunday in iowa. do we have this quote about entitlements? >> i know our friends on democrats side are going to jump up and say those bad old mean republicans are going to take away your social security and your medicare. no, we're not, but we're going to make sure that the next generation is taken care of and the next generation does, in fact, have the security that they know that they can have in this country. >> now, this gets -- i was talking to someone from texas politics today, and they said
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the thing about rick perry, he takes the most extreme situations and wriggles away from them. >> he certainly seemed to be walking away from his previous statements there. it was there in the book, you quoted on the show, he said it was a violent break of the founding principles of the country. he said the use of the commerce clause to justify the existence of medicare is unconscionable. >> he said we should have no direct to senators? >> that's an allen keys special. >> he's saying it goes back to the wilson administration and the 16th and 17th amendments. you know, on the stump as best i can tell, you shouldn't underestimate him. he answers questions, tries to
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come across as folksy and connecting with people but he puts positions out there that's wild. >> matt yglesias, thank you for coming on tonight. still to come, tim pawlenty calls it quits, and later, the direction of the democratic party as the president's approval rating heads in the wrong direction and he heads out on the road. china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. try smart balance buttery spread. it's heart-healthier than butter. with omega-3s. 64% less saturated fat.
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i'm tim pawlenty, and i'm running for president of the united states. >> in order for america to take a new direction, it's going to take a new president. >> if it was obamacare on fox news sunday, why is it not right there? >> using the term obamneycare. >> it's not her spine we're worried about, it's her record of results. if that's your view of effective leadership with results, please, stop, because you're killing us. >> i understand what needs to be done and i'm not just going to stand up here and give you the words. you can take it to the bank. >> i'm excited about this race, we are going to win it, and it's going to start right here in iowa. >> distant third was tim
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pawlenty. >> i'm going to be ending my campaign for president. i brought forward an established, credible, strong record of results. the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different. >> that's boys 2 men singing out tim pawlenty. he came, he saw, and he went. on may 23 on the stage in iowa, he became the first to announce he was running for the republican nomination for president of the united states and yesterday, august 14, he became the first republican to drop out of the race. in iowa, where it all started for him. former governor of minnesota decided to exit after coming in a distant third. he covered 3,000 miles in iowa and spent nearly $1.5 million in his efforts there. the minnesota republican just wasn't willing to risk debt to
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solder sold eer on. i continue to be committed to turning this around. thank you. of course, as you know, it was the belief on this show that tim pawlenty would ultimately be the pick of the republican nomination because he was the only candidate that didn't seem to have a fatal flaw, but pawlenty's low-key demeanor never quite gained traction. lawrence e-mailed us his reaction to pawlenty's departure. tim pawlenty won the rational vote in iowa on saturday, but this is the year the irrational vote is controlling the republican party. i made the mistake the republican primary voters would do what they have always done and choose the safest candidate on their ballots to send into a
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general election. candidates who beat him are defined entirely by their weaknesses. there's a clear defect in all republican candidate that is would prevent them from the nomination, but one is going to be the nominee. pawlenty's problem turned out to be, despite all his pandering, he just wasn't crazy enough. a party that nominated campaigners like the bush and second bush, bob dole and john mccain has decided to in a irrational direction and i cannot prevent the rational. joining us now, reihan salam. why do you think pawlenty didn't do better? >> i think romney is occupying this establishment moderate side, then you have a bunch of people, including michele bachmann and rick perry competing for a more tea party, anti-establishment populous side. tim pawlenty wanted to be a
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gentle tick to the right of mitt romney but not so far off he'd scare off establishment republicans, that was an awkward spot to be in and didn't take. >> you wrote a book and it's called "sam's club conservatives." >> brand new party. >> so in the beginning you wrote an essay about this quote from tim pawlenty about being not the party of the country club but also sam's club and you identified a kind of vision of the republican party that's very different than the tea party vision that's been articulated. do you see this as -- what judgment does this render on that thesis? >> i think there are a lot of different ways to interpret it. we were saying a lot of the republican party is non-college educated, working class, buffeted by economic change, so the question is how does the republican party make their interests meet their needs, i would say the republican party
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has responded to them in funny ways, for example, by fighting medicare cuts tooth and nail and then saying let's impose medicare cuts in a different way. there is this kind of way that you have a whipping back and forth of recognizing we have to respond to these voters but saying we have these core ideological commitments so i think you see a party really struggling with that core thesis. >> you know, that was the most interesting insight in the book, which is a very good book and i would recommend highly. >> i agree. >> about the way the government hands off my medicare paradox gets worked through. if you see pawlenty on the stump was saying the number one message is get government off our back. it seems the rhetoric of that is trumping whatever practical feelings people have towards the concrete things they get from the state. >> i think that's totally classic, for example, pawlenty was reluctant to embrace paul
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ryan's medicare fan but also sharply reduced the amount of tax revenue to pay for an medicare system. that's tough. there are republicans that were trying to think of creative ways to do that, but tim pau leawlen wasn't the right man to do that. >> do you think the nature of all primary campaigns is they tend to push the positions of the candidates towards more ideological extremes because that's where the base of the party tends to be and they have to tack towards the center. do you think the incentive structure now in the republican primary is dangerous for the general election prospects of whoever emerges from the field given the fact it seems you can't but help but go as far right as possible? >> i think republican primary voters are using straightforward heuristics, they might say in practice they might be open to some kind of tax increase maybe,
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but if you say that on a debate stage, that's not a good sign as to whether or not you'll be a fighter to tax increases. >> signaling is more important, but you end up with the signal hung around your neck in the general. >> rick perry is a guy who might have all kinds of squishy moderate positions but he sounds like a conservative, he can take any position he wants to. >> reihan salam. thanks a lot. >> good to see you. coming up, rick perry wants to tax the poor, and you might be surprised who warren buffet wants to tax. and new polls show voters are less fond of the tea party but also less fond of the president. stay with us. bayer aspirin? it's not a heart attack. new bayer advanced aspirin's for pain. it has microparticles and enters the bloodstream faster. works twice as fast as before. did you invent this or something? dr. eric first, from bayer. wow. [ male announcer ] new bayer advanced aspirin.
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today's must-read op ed comes from one of the richest dudes in the world, warren buffet. buffet argues in the new york
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times that federal tax policy does not ask enough from the wealthy. buffet reveals shocking details about his own tax bill. last year my federal tax bill, the income tax i paid as well s astarial taxes i paid was only 17.4% of my taxable income, and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. their tax burdens range from 33% to 41% and averaged 36%. buffet goes on to explain that the primary reason his federal tax burden is lower than his employees. those are taxed at a lower rate. the megarich pay income taxes at a rate of 15% on most of their
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earnings but practically nothing in payroll taxes. it's a different story for the middle class, typically they fall into the 15% and 25% tax brackets. and are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot. this has caught the attention of president obama who is in minnesota on the first stop of his bus tour today. >> warren buffet had an op ed that he wrote today. he pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary. he figured out that his tax bill he paid about 17%, and the reason is because most of his wealth comes from capital gains. you don't get those tax breaks. you're paying more than that, and -- now, i may be wrong, but i think you're a little less wealthy than warren buffet. that's just a guess. >> i love that phrase, less
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wealthy. many on the right argue increasing rates on the wealthy would only hurt job creation, an argument buffet refutes, a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. that fact did not deter texas governor rick perry from saying this in his saturday presidential announcement. >> we're dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all americans don't even pay any income tax, and you know the liberals out there are saying that we need to pay more. we are indignant about leaders who do not listen and spend money faster than they can print it. >> let's -- let's listen to that first part once again here. >> we're dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all americans don't even pay any income tax. >> half of all americans don't
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even pay any income tax. this is a very popular conservative talking point, and i'll say this, perry is right, nearly half of all americans do not pay any income tax, but why don't they pay those income taxes? as "the washington post" points out, they are working but don't earn enough to owe income taxes based on the structure of the tax code and provisions to help the working poor and lower income seniors, so what rick perry implied on saturday is that if we should raise taxes on anyone, it should be on the poor and elderly americans. >> what he did not say is these sectors, like all americans, pay taxes besides income taxes, they pay leaving aside state and local sales, income and property taxes, federal gasoline and other excuse taxes and most significantly payroll taxes.
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everyone pays the same share regardless of income, they hit the poor hardest and then balance the progressivety of the tax code. more often than not, those payroll taxes are more burdensome than income taxes. get this, 74% of filers owe more payroll taxes, okay, than individual income taxes, including 85% of those with income below $40,000. as buffet notes, those payroll taxes are inconsequential to the wealthy, to the poor and elderly, they are quite consequential. to illustrate, let's take a look at governor perry's texas. texas is one of nine states with no state income tax. as for how other state and local taxes affect texans, think progress published this chart on the non-elderly in 2007, that's perry's seventh year as governor. those in the lowest income
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bracket, those making the least amount of money, income of less than $18,000 paid the most state and local taxes as a percentage of income, 12.2%, and those in the highest income bracket, the top 1%, the wealthest, the people making the most money with income of $463,000 or more, they paid the least amount of state and local taxes as a percentage of income, just 3%. if you think the biggest problem with america over the last decade is that there has not been enough upwards redistribution of wealth, then rick perry is your man, he's even got the record to prove it. >> still to come, a presidential primary becomes a run to the christian right. penn jillette is coming up. and the kind of crowds and questions the president and
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republican members of congress are facing as they hit the road. this just in, it's rough out there. that's next. a heart attack. new bayer advancedspirin's for pain. it has microparticles and enters the bloodstream faster. works twice as fast as before. did you invent this or something? dr. eric first, from bayer. wow. [ male announcer ] new bayer advanced aspirin.
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president obama faces another angry august as his poll numbers dip, turns out there's a group of politicians just down pennsylvania avenue setting their own disapproval records of the we'll tell you about them. and the role of religion in politics as perry and bachmann vie for the conservative christian vote. one log in lets you monitor all of your balances and transfer between accounts, so your money can move as fast as you do. check out your portfolio, track the market with live updates. and execute trades anywhere and anytime the inspiration hits you. even deposit checks right from your phone. just take a picture, hit deposit and you're done. open an account today and put schwab mobile to work for you.
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shaping up to be another angry august in america. this time it's not just the tea party with signs and bull horns, people are showing up on republicans' doorsteps demanding solutions to the current unemployment crisis. >> this is a dollar bill, come out and talk to the regular people. >> even though they are not getting a fraction of attention as tea partiers got when they disrupted town hall meetings in 2009, people from texas to wisconsin to pennsylvania are demanding what polls have long been showing they want, a focus on jobs instead of the deficit. president obama launched his rural economic bus tour through the midwest today, trying to address the rising anxiety and anger. >> there were a bunch of things taking place over the last six months that were not within our control, but here's the thing,
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the question is how do we handle these challenges? do we rise to the occasion? do we pull together? do we make smart decisions? and what's been happening over the last six months and a little bit longer than that if we're honest with ourselves is that we have a political culture that doesn't seem willing to make the tough choices to move america forward. >> but the anger at washington's failure to make those "tough choices" also extends to the president. for the first time his approval ratings dipped to 39% over three days last week. the good news for the white house is that the tea party ask fairing no better. last january, 27% of people thought the protest group had a positive effect, today that's down to 22%. the numbers also show the tea
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party has made more enemies than friends. 14% of people call themselves strong supporters of the tea party while 20% call themselves strong opponents, which leads to what i think is the single-most fascinating poll number and also the most underreported. congressional democrats have taken the lead amongst registered reporters, asked who would they vote for if elections were held today. democrats held a 7% lead over republicans, 51% to 44%, which is a wider lead than the republicans showed leading up to the 2010 house republican takeover. the best phrase to capture the country's mood these last four years is serial discontent, and it shows no signs of stopping. joining me now, director for the campaign of community change, how are you? >> doing well. >> your group has affiliates all
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over the country doing grassroots work in places like iowa, detroit, chicago, new york, all sorts of communities. what are you hearing from organizers and folks on the ground about what people are feeling about the situation we find ourselves? >> well, i'm actually excited, i might be the only person in washington, d.c. these days that's excited, but there's something happening in america, and it's not the tea party, so we're seeing huge turnouts at events across the country pushing on the question of jobs against the radical proposals on social security, medicare, and medicaid, huge amounts of enthusiasm, and i think people are starting to see they can't depend on our elected leaders to solve the problems, so i'm really excited. i think there's a movement coming together in america centered around jobs. >> it was interesting to me, i went through the text of the president's speeches today, essentially gave the same speech a few times, and it seemed much more jobs-focussed than the language we've been hearing the
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last two months. he announced he was going to have a new jobs plan come september. do we have that sound? there we go. >> i'll be putting forward when they come back in september a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs, and to control our deficit, and my attitude is get it done. >> was this encouraging to you, what do you think about this? >> well, i definitely think the president needs to focus on jobs and we've begun to hear more from him about it. it has been very puzzling that even when it became clear that the stimulus wasn't going to do the job and get us as far as we needed to go that we haven't seen large-scale substantiative proposals to put millions of people back to work, and i think that's what we're waiting to see, so not small-board targeted message programs, but real substantiative programs people can believe in, even if the other side won't go along, got
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to stand up and fight for it. >> what i was going to say is you and i both know anything substantiative, anything bold, anything effective, right, is not going to have any chance in the house, so if you have an option between some small-board things, payroll extensions, tax cuts, and going big, isn't there a practical, pragmatic argument to be made for the formformer? >> i think in order to deal with the deficit problem, we have to deal with the jobs problem, so it's good economics, on the politics ground, if we're fighting on a frame of who cuts more, how fast, that's the wrong terrain to be fighting. there's a huge un-tapped reservoir of anger, discontent, desire to see progress on the jobs program. yes, he'd have to take some risk, but i think the movement is there to back him up if he chooses to go bold.
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>> deepak bhargava, thanks for joining me tonight. up next, penn jillette on religion in politics and his new book. [ whistle blows ] oh! [ baby crying ] ben harper: ♪ what started as a whisper every day, millions of people choose to do the right thing. ♪ slowly turned into a scream ♪ there's an insurance company that does that, too. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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i thank you you oh god that you are literally right now, by faith, you are lighting a fire, a fire of the gospel, and that minnesota would just become a burning incense, a sweet-smelling incense of praise and sacrifice into your kingdom. >> i want you to join with me as i share his word with you. >> after a weekend of state fair politics in iowa, the two most
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talked about republicans in the race are michele bachmann, who you just saw, and rick perry, who you also just saw. both candidates who have stayed -- said they were called to run for office, and both candidates who have made their faith a center piece of their political identities. accounting for her win at the ames straw poll, one bachmann campaign staffer told npr, bachmann's faith-based organization was over the top and noted the staffer was reading a t-shirt reading "jesus is lord over america." perry quoted evangelical christians and controversy with his prayer rally in houston earlier this month. evangelicals were the hottest story for much of the last decade, the tea party has largely dislodged them from the headlines, yet i think bachmann and perry show the base of the republican party remains defined by its commitment to a very specific christian world view. joining me now, penn jillette,
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magician and author of "god, no!" . thanks for being here. >> i would like to listen to those clips the way a dog would listen to them. weird breathy, crazy, controlled by something outside of yourself thing. that's what she's claiming. >> i want to ask you about what you make of, when you see that kind of campaigning. >> well, i am -- and i think this is true with so many atheists, i'm an incredible optimist. i love life and i love my family and i'm just very happy. you know, one of the basic tenants of atheism is everything in the world is enough, you don't need anything beyond this, and when i see this i'm seeing a desperation and death throw. since 9/11, every poll has shown, whatever you want to call the non-believers, free think g
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thinkers, that number of is going up and up and the people desperate to keep religion, especially in politics, are clawing at stuff, so we're seeing this kind of whereas when most of america was very religious and religion was on the rise, there was kind of a calm feeling about it. you're getting that kind of desperation. i mean, ten years ago the atheist was strident and the religious religion were calm. >> one of the things i liked about the book is it is not a strident book. there's a line of books that came out, richard dawkins, richard christians, many cited in the pages. >> friends of mine. >> but they have kind of -- there was a critique of this new atheism that took some of the worst formal features of religion and sort of standing uncertainty, and you say in this book that to you atheism admits
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to you it means i don't know. >> is simply is i don't know. that's all there is to it. just to say when any of those questions are asked, how did we get here, why are we here, to say i don't know is saying i don't know either, and if you don't know, you don't believe, and there is a gentleness to it, but i think it's similar to the gay movement in the '60s, when one of the things you had to show was there was real intellectual reasons and moral reasons to accept gays. that was really important, but there was also a sense of how do people live their lives, are they normal people, are they people next door and so on, and one of the things i want to do with this book is talk about how much i love my children and how they are raised without religion but with everything else, you know, presence around, you know, things like that, because i really thought in terms of the
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intellectual, moral, and historical argument, christopher and dawkins, but i wanted the goofball perspective, a guy that goes in, does his show, makes jokes, does magic tricks, and doesn't have an imaginary friend. >> penn jillette, the book is "god, no!" and it's out tomorrow. >> she did sound sexy with that god stuff. it's a little sexy. >> breathy is the word. >> i was thinking sexy, but you can say breathy. >> have the last word on our blog, follow my tweets and watch my new weekend morning show on msnbc this fall. "the rachel maddow show" is up next. good evening, rachel. >> forgive me if i stay away from defining the difference between breathy and sexy. all the other dwarves, however, i'm very good on. >> well done, ll

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