tv The Ed Show MSNBC June 1, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT
devoted parents of her parents. we're very fortunate and thank you so many of you for recognizing that and sharing in our celebration. thank you. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. good evening, americans. welcome to the show from new york. republicans are resorting to dirty tricks to win the 2012 election. early on they are. but now election officials in florida are standing up against governor rick scott's attempt to purge the voter roles. this is the hottest story in america. we'll show why you florida is the focus of the gop's voter suppression plan. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. the republican party in florida admitted there is a problem with this system. the data isn't accurate. >> florida republicans actually admit their voting purging system is flawed. an election supervisors are revolting against the governor. bottom line, republicans know that mitt romney can't win without florida. so they are increasing their
efforts to steal the election. breaking news in wisconsin. former president bill clinton will campaign for the democrats. and republicans are beginning to crack with bogus claims of voter fraud. >> i'm always concerned about voter fraud, certainly in milwaukee. we had plenty of it. and i think it's been documented. >> john edwards dodges a bullet in north carolina. >> i did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. >> we'll tell you what's next for the former democratic star. and mitt romney is trying to hide the republican war on the poor. >> the real need in america is to help middle-income families get good jobs and help people who are poor come out of poverty and become middle income. >> taffe is smiley and dr. cornell west are here on the assault on the working class. good to have you with us tonight, folks. this is a classic. you've heard the saying. you can't see the forest because of the trees. i'm going to show you some
numbers tonight that you're going to want to consume. this is where the election is. republicans are trying to gain the system in florida and win the election by purging votes. that's right. but their efforts are falling short. that is the good news. the palm beach county election supervisor rejected rick scott's attempt to remove voters who are flagged as possible noncitizens. they determine the list's documentation to be not credible. hillsboro county also put an end to the voter purge request by the state. county elections chief spoke about the governor's purge list. it was obvious it wasn't very credible and reliable information. so we suspended any further action. that's the good news. because we're shining a light on this, this is why it's happening. the media is on it. in past elections, you see these voter purges happen under the cover of darkness. nobody was really paying attention. they weren't exposed until after the lections. but now republicans in florida are scrambling to explain themselves.
state gop chair lenny curry was on tv this morning trying to spin the party's voter see pregs efforts. >> this process is to insure that noncitizens no not cast a vote in they lection and in future elections. and to be sure, there are certainly some issues with the data. >> okay. let's get to the numbers. curry admits the data is flawed. but he still making excuses for the purge list. curry isn't the only one spinning for the republicans. florida secretary of state kent densner is trying to get access to a federal homeland security data base to double check the citizenship status of the 182,000 voters on the list. republicans are in damage control. there's no doubt about it. local officials are resisting their strong arm tactics and media outlets are covering the story. an analysis by rolling stone shows more than 35,000 eligible voters could be disenfranchised if the purge continues. that's a big number. republicans say this purge is necessary to prevent voter fraud.
chairman curry had a hard time coming up with hard examples when he was questioned by thomas roberts. >> how many ineligible voters voted florida? >> well, here we know that an nbc affiliate in the naples/ft. myers area did a study and identified over 100 noncitizens on the voter roles. in that study, they identified one lady that has been registered to vote, she's a noncitizen, registered to vote for 11 years and voted six elections. >> only one alleged case of voter fraud. i don't know if lenny curry can do any math but 35,000 is a heck of a lot different than one. congressman ted deutsche pointed out how investigations into voter fraud never turn up more than a handful of incidents. >> in the 2008 election, there were 16 cases of voter fraud out of eight million votes cast.
and we don't even have confirmation on the person that he's referring to. ever cast a vote. we know there were 60 cases out of eight million votes cast. >> so are we talking big numbers here? no. if you want to know why governor rick scott and the republicans are trying to get the people off the roles in florida, you need to look at numbers on the program. consume. this 537. why does that sound familiar? oh, yeah. that guy. that's the certified margin of victory for george w. bush in florida back in the 2000 election. the brennan center says more than 12,000 eligible florida voters were kept from voting in 2000, 12,000 people not allowed to vote. thrown off the roles in 2000. here's another number i want you to consume. 61,550. not very many. that's rick scott's margin of
victory in the 2010 florida gubernatorial race. if the 2012 election is that close, can you see that 182,000 purge voters might help tip the scales a little bit? in florida, my friends, the biggest scale tipper to date of all of the states if you look at them closely. this is a current projection for the electoral college map. these projections are based on averages of all the polls for the month of may. there are nine swing states with margins of less than 4%. things are tight. here they are. nine swing states. now let's just pretend for conversation that mitt romney wins all of these swing states except florida. look at that. he still does not reach the 270 electoral votes that he needs to win the election. unless, of course, there is a major change politically in the environment and all those other states. mitt romney, you can make the case that's no path to the
presidency without winning the state of florida the way the map is today. florida's 29 electoral votes are essential, essential to mitt romney's victory if he wants the white house. this is why republicans need to resort to this kind of stuff like voter purges and lists and intimidation. they can't run on the policies of deregulation, killing social services, the ryan plan, tax cuts for the wealthy, on and on and on. you get the picture here? so what do they have to do? they have to have a governor who is willing to take the state of florida's 29 electoral votes and put them on the plate and put them on the plate because he can make a freaking list of americans who have voted for years in the past just because he wants to win the election! you know, i don't want to sound too grandiose about this. but when this stuff was going on back in 2000, there wasn't any liberal talkers on msnbc.
there wasn't any liberal talk radio in america. there wasn't the huffington post. there wasn't daily coast. there wasn't the blogosphere of any significance. but now they're out in the open and you know what's happening? they're getting caught. they're getting talked about. and you need to pay attention as an american that there may be other purge lists by other republican governors around the country because they know exactly what is at stake. just remember, these people want power and they will do anything to get it. they will even take a 91-year-old world war ii decorated veteran and tell him that he can't vote anymore. now a congressman from broward county down in florida today on the radio show told me he doesn't know how they're coming up with the names. i know they're use something dmv doifgs of motor vehicles list and matching them there. minimal voter fraud. now for just a moment, let's go to wisconsin. did i hear earlier to night we
tease a story about the rnc chair? he's so concerned about voter fraud in wisconsin. give me a break. that's one of the cleanest states in the union. and, of course, we'll have that later on in the show. it's about florida, folks. it's about these 29 electoral votes. as the map sets up right now, mitt romney can't go to 1600 pennsylvania avenue unless he has a sunshine state. get your cell phones out. tonight's question, are republicans trying to steal the election by purging voters? text a for yes, text b for no. can you go to our blog and leave a comment. we think it's a hot story. i think you do, too. we'll bring you the results later on in the show. joining me, eugene robinson. eugene, great to have you with
us tonight. thank you for your time. are we assuming that they're just playing clean and they're really trying to make sure that nobody is involved in any kind of voter fraud at all? >> give me a break. that is not it. you said, you know, essentially there's virtually no voter fraud. actually, statistically, we could say there is no voter fraud. there is none. there's a handful of cases or alleged cases in the entire nation from a whole presidential election in 2008. look, if there were voter fraud, do you think for one minute with all the republican legislatures and all the republican governors out there and republican prosecutors and judges, do you think they wouldn't be bringing cases and convicting people to have show trials if nothing else to demonstrate the premise that they're trying to groove here?
but nobody gets convicted of voter fraud. it's not happening. the problem in this country is not that too many people are clammering to vote. the problem is arguably a problem that not enough people get out to vote. but it's not the opposite. >> you look at these voter id laws that have come up in some, what, 17, 18 states in this country. it's obvious what they're trying to do. the question now is fundamentally, has there been enough push back against this purging of the voters? is it happening enough where we can put a stop to it? that really is the question. how do we stop radical governors from coming up with these lists because they have executive power? >> you know, i think the push back makes an enormous difference, ed. as you mentioned in florida, before the 2000 election, katherine harris who was running elections there conducted essentially a voter purge to get convicted felons off the voter roles. thousands of legitimate eligible voters got purged and were not
able to vote. and that surely made the difference in florida in 2000. had there been the sort of exposure and sunshine and pushback before or while that purge was taking place, i think recent history, frankly, could have been very different. so i think it's very important. what we also have to keep in mind is that the aim here is not just to take 180,000 or however many voters off the florida roles. it's to depress turnout. it's to intimidate. >> you bet. >> eligible voters who otherwise would come out to vote. >> you know, i don't think they'll stop at anything. i think it's going to take the justice department getting involved in this to make sure that there's no more lists that are put out there. this is about the most unamerican thing we've seen right under the hot sun of employer. eugene robinson, great to have
you with us. thank you. remember to answer tonight's question there at the bottom of the screen. share your thoughts. we want to know what you think always. scott walker visits shawn hannity to spread lies. bill clinton is going all in for tom barrett in milwaukee. and joan walsh has the latest on the recall next. and george w. bush back in the white house today. the former president was on hand for the unveiling of his official port rat. we'll talk about that and much more with catherine crier. five days ago until the election day in wisconsin. [ male announcer ] it would be easy for u.s. olympian meb keflezighi
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five days ago until the election day in wisconsin. the recall battle it is heating up. scott walker visited shawn hannity for another softball interview last night and hit his lies right out of the park. >> we chose to balance it without raising taxes, without massive layoffs, without cuts in things like medicaid. and instead we put in place long term structural reforms that help us not balance our state budget but our local government budget. since last february we've been under massive assault, millions -- tens of millions of dollars have come in over the past year and a half to attack us. thousands of bodies bout in from outside of the state. people under attack throughout
this time. our secret weapon is the truth. >> enough. the truth is scott walker has not balanced the budgets. he's increased taxes and there have been layoffs. you'll find a lot of unemployed teachers in wisconsin. he raised over $30 million to save his job, majority of that money, where is it coming from? out of state. he's spent over $20 million this year alone. walker talks about bodies coming from out of state. how about the 70 staffers that they put in wisconsin to help walker? former wisconsin senator russ feingold says walker is in for a rude awakening. >> by a majority, the people of the state will make the tough tigs to recall scott walker. with the turnout i expect on our side, i think we'll prevail. i want you to keep telling everybody that he's in the driver's seat. they're going to get a rude
shock on tuesday night if they believe that. i think we've got far more momentum than people realize. >> if anyone knows the people of wisconsin, it's russ feingold. president clinton is also feeling good about the recall. he's been confirmed that bill clinton will travel to milwaukee tomorrow to campaign for barrett. he said in a statement, folks in wisconsin have been on the front lines of fighting for working middleclass families across america for more than 16 months. i'm coming to wisconsin to help tom and the extraordinary grassroots volunteers on the ground. no doubt clinton's visit will be a huge boost to barrett's campaign. there's another late breaking development from wisconsin today. this is billionaire diane hendricks who is a staunch walker supporter and check
writer. you might remember her now infamous divide and conquer video. here's a reason she is smiling in this photograph. the milwaukee journal sentinel reports she paid absolutely zero state income tax in 2010. that's right. the richest woman in the state of wisconsin paid zero state income tax in 2010. but she did cut walker a check for half a million dollars earlier this year. i'm joined tonight by ruth conner, political editor of the progressive magazine and joan walsh, editor at large,
salon.com. joan, you're a wisconsinite. what does a bill clinton visit do in the 11th hour? >> i think it's really exciting. the people of wisconsin are doing their own work for themselves. can i just say about the shawn hannity interview. was it like opposite day? if you just take everything he said and flip it around, that's what the truth was. it's just like such an amazing string of lies. i really enjoyed it. >> i was absolutely stunned that shawn didn't ask him about the legal defense fund and what all the money is going for. >> right. people are paying attention to that.
people are paying more attention to that. there continues to be revelations about that. so bill clinton coming is important. i sometimes worry with the out of state money going to walker that the other side has managed to nationalize this election in a way that we haven't quite. but i think bill clinton is part of showing that national democrats really care about wisconsin. it's very important. i don't think he'd be going there if it were not very close and hopeful. i hope russ feingold is right. >> a new ad shows walker leading barrett by two points russ feingold thinks barrett is going to win this thing. the money is 25-1.
wisconsinites have to be the most informed voters in america to beat this kind of money. what do you think? >> well, i think that all that money has not lifted scott walker above 50% in the polls at any point. and so i don't think that it's going to make the difference in >> joan, respond to that. i mean i've been told that wisconsin is one of the cleanest states in america when it comes to issues at the polls. >> it absolutely has been. it's always had progressive voter laws, same day registration. you can walk up and vote. people trusted one another. i'm really offended on behalf of the people of wisconsin that th rnc chairman has so little respect from them. i'm from kenosha so i know there is voter fraud, what the hell is he saying? that disparages his own state. you set that up with the great segment on florida. this is what they want to do. opey, minorities. eyeo like maybe 2% voter fraud. that is ridiculous. that is like 40,000 votes in the governor's race. what an insult to the state of wisconsin.
>> ruth, he is setting the table for being a whiner, being a complainer and an excuse? >> yeah. i think first of all they're setting the table to dispute the results. secondly, they're trying to suppress the vote and in particular the tea party group is coming up and getting involved in wisconsin again. these folks came. they want to be poll watchers this time. they came up to declare that whole petition drive to recall the governor was going to be rife with fraud. they did their own data processing and said there were 280,000 illegitimate votes. that turned out to be completely false. now they're coming back. they were called a gop front group. they go to the polls and hassle poll workers and cast their ballots. i think what they're going to find in wisconsin is there are going to be a lot of people there to make sure the people can cast their votes. >> ruth and joan, great to have you with us tonight. thank you for joining us. the verdict is in for john edwards. what does it mean for the two-time presidential candidate? we'll weigh in on that and talk about the legal avenues available. and job con turns out romney's latest attack is making president obama look pretty good. we'll show why you. stick around.
washington, d.c., is broken. it does not work. the entire system is rigged and rigged against you. there is no doubt about that. from insurance companies to drug companies to oil companies. those people run this country now. and the question is what are we going to do about it? i think you got to take them on and beat them. i don't think can you sit at a table and negotiate with them. and we will never be able to have universal health care, be
able to change the way we use energy and tackle global warming. the big issues that face this country. they are standing between us and the change that we need. >> what a loss for the democrats. that was john edwards back in 2007 as senator an vice-presidential nominee and two-time presidential candidate he was one of the few politician who's talked about poverty in this country, who told the truth about what's happening to the middle class in america. today, edwards was found not guilty on one of six campaign fraud charges with the jury deadlocked on the other counts. the judge declared a mistrial. edwards was accused of using money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress. late this afternoon, edwards thanked jurors and his family and took responsibility for his actions. >> i want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my voice that while i do not believe i did anything illegal or ever thought i was doing illegal, i did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. i am responsible. and if i want to find the person who should be held accountable for my sins, honestly, i don't have to go any further than the mirror. it's me. >> let's turn to an attorney and host of "the ring of fire" radio
show. break it down. what happened today? what does this mean? >> i think what happened is the obvious. that is that the jury concluded what this judge should have concluded from the very outset. there was never any criminal intent on the part of john edwards. this is a prosecution team that was served up everything they wanted by this judge. there was virtually every ruling went their way. as a matter of fact, it was so obscene in some of the rulings that they asked the defense expert that was supposed to testify on behalf of john edwards' case that he not be permitted to testify. 37 years this expert had worked for the fec. had been a commissioner for the fec. the judge knew what his testimony was going to be. it was going to be simple.
it was that this law is so confusing, it's so vague that even he as the chairman and commissioner of the fec would have doubt about whether this would be campaign money. >> so what is your call? does the government go back after this case? >> i think if they do it's going to be pretty telling sign. it's going to be a sign that there's more at risk here. look, eric holder needs to step in here, ed. he needs to say you had some prosecutors that blew it when you go big in this business, ed, you better win big. these people lost big. eric holder has his reputation on the line here, too. he needs to make a trip to north carolina and say, boys, i don't know what you did. i don't know how you got caught up in this crazy case, but it's time to let it go and pay attention to things like what's happening in wall street. that's the type of thing eric holder needs to do immediately. >> would you make a john edwards statement? it was rather wide sweeping. i thought what a loss for the democrats. he was such a talent, great resenter.
he was on all the right issues. he just couldn't control his ego and discipline himself and there you have it. but what did you make of his statement today? >> i watched that. look, there's no better showing of personal fortitude than to show the courage to push back against almost overwhelming odds. that's what this man did from the very beginning. i was -- look, i'm not a john edwards fan. you heard me say it's despicable some of the things we heard. but you have to look at this character in a bigger light. you have to understand that this is a man who was set tout do a lot of great things in this country. he was rebuilding something, a program that was very close to what john f. kennedy did to fight poverty in this country. he was the director for the center of poverty. he had a mission. when he said god may not be through with me, i hope what he meant, ed, is that i may not move into politics, but there's a lot more good i can do in this
country fighting poverty. >> mike, you can't fault somebody for wanting to help other people. and that was my take on his statement there. i mean if john edwards wants to go out and do public service and help people out, god bless him for doing it. i think his political days are over an he knows. that great to have with you us tonight. always. we have breaking news. this just in. the justice department sent a letter to florida secretary of state thursday evening demanding that the state cease purging its voting roles because the process it is using has not been cleared under the voting rights act. let's go back to mike papantonio. you've been critical of eric holder. he definitely stepped in the purging of what governor scott is doing down in florida. what is your take? >> he needed to, ed. the reason he reacted for vet reason that you stated in your opening statement on this -- in this show. that is we've shined light.
you have shined light on it. rachael madow has shined light. eric holder has a great avenue open to him. he can start pulling the triggers now. he has to right now. look, scott has been told from the very outset, he's been told by his own secretary of state that, what we're doing is potentially illegal. we should not do it. >> hold it right there. that's what i want to bring up. why doesn't the justice department, if he's violating the voting rights act, why doesn't the justice department bring governor rick scott up on charges? >> they can. there is a lot of things they can do. the first thing that they can do is join this effort to try to stop this purge. they can do that immediately. one thing that scott didn't do and his own secretary of state said down the that is under the 196 aact, ed, voter rights act, there cannot be any effort to change the law at all without
putting the justice department on notice. >> he's in trouble then. if that's the way the law reads, there ought to be a case against this radical governor down in florida. we're going to have more on this story tomorrow night. mike, great to have you with us tonight. the justice department stepping in on what's going on in florida. there is a lot more coming up in the next half hour.
breaking news, we reported a moment ago, talking points memo reports that the justice department has sent a letter to the florida secretary of state this evening demanding the state stop purging the voting roles. it has not been cleared under the voting rights act. let's turn to catherine crier and mark simone and elysse hogue. this is a big deal. >> big deal, huge. the country is going through amazing demographic changes. we're going to be over 50% hispanic by 2050. going happen even if you build a
20 foot wall. >> that's why they're putting the list together? >> of course. we are watching the decimation of what our primarily democratic voters -- this is from a healthy independent, that's what's going on here across the country. and rick scott, my former classmate in law school has taken the lead on this from the first moment he got involved. >> does efface legal issues? >> of course he faces legal issues. this is a question of whether the doj, the department of justice, would step up to the plate and engage him and bring the state into federal court to stop this from happening. >> what do you make of all this? how can we read this other than the republicans trying to steal the election? throwing people off the roles? >> i'm not going to defend it. this has been going on for years. it goes on all the time. you say wisconsin never had a problem. 2004, there was terrible voter fraud in milwaukee. >> give us the numbers. you ain't got the numbers,
buddy. you're using that terminology and you can't ever show me a single year where you had more than the fingers on your hand. google miwaukee voter fraud. they set up a whole -- >> don't talk to me about numbers because you don't have the numbers. >> you have the wrong guy here. >> at least you admit it. >> you have stuff going on both sides of the aisle. >> where are the democrats purging voters? >> how many corpses voted in cook county? >> what democratic governor put together a list of 182,000 people? >> it's big. i give that you. an old political analyst told me, look, republicans stink at this when they try to do it. they always get caught and awful at it. >> they didn't get caught in 2000 until after the fak. >> we should give this guy a medal. he could be a hero for the left. his overreach is to amazing that he's actually catalyzed the backlash. it would have caught us fast
asleep. but what we're seeing now is a systemic purge of the voter rolls, the 48 hour registration that got thrown out earlier today. these are all part of the same equation that rick scott believes in. buy your election, keep everyone out. >> did he jump out fast enough? >> i think we have to see. jumping in is one thing and pursuing it to the -- >> he's going to get pressure from the left to follow up. >> he should get pressure from every american, ed. this is not a left or right issue. >> it is called pursuit speed. >> you say quickly enough. they have very effectively diminished whether it's registration of african-americans, registration efforts. you're seeing 10% less in florida. so even if they're stopped today, you're going to see the reprecushions in terms of fewer registered voters, smaller turnout by what are traditionally democratic voters in 2012. >> mark, how can the republicans dodge the accusation? because florida is so important
with 29 electoral votes. the way it is right now, mitt romney needs florida to win this thing. it just so happens that republican governor is throwing 182,000 people off and the attorney general of the united states had to step in and stop all this. >> i'm not going to defend that. you're going to see other instances. >> so he is wrong with the list? >> i think so, yeah. if it's done correctly. the purpose is noble. they weren't working this. "american idol" has more votes than a presidential election. >> because they count. >> when you had george bush with a republican congress and republican department of justice screaming this was a problem in 2000 and by the end of their reign, 2006, they had, what, something like 32 cases that they were able to come up with the entire republican conservative national government nationwide. and, yet, this is being treated as a dire emergency to prevent a banana republic. >> i think it's pervasive in
that you have the same set of players actually buying the elections on one side and engaging in voter suppression. >> you had secretary of state in florida that quit. told the governor, i'm not going to do this. >> yeah. look, ed, all you have to do. they're going to spend $400 million this cycle. afp is implemented in so much voter information. it's two sides of the same coin. >> isn't it because they can't win on the issues? the republicans can't win? >> here i am in the belly of the beast. >> you have time to say it. defend it. they can't win on the issues. they want to raise taxes on the middle class and give tax breaks to the wealthiest americans. there's no poll that's show americans want that. >> i can walk a few blocks to another network and they say they can't win on this. >> they're not telling the truth, i am. >> simple common sense things like showing photo id and all that. sometimes democrats oppose that. you know, you have to show photo id to be here on this show. to get in this building. >> if there is a problem and can you demonstrate the numbers, but
you're creating a false premise and then your solution will disenfranchise people who don't have ids, who can't get access and there are a lot of. >> i can't walk into any building in new york if i don't have an id. >> but there are very impoverished people that can't afford the taxi cab, that can't afford the bus ride, that aren't getting help to get the photo id. i mean it makes a difference, especially when you got a state like florida that is so close, heck, scott won by only 61,000 votes. >> and michigan, the number of minorities without driver's licenses and then -- >> all right. the producers are telling me, mark, we do have the number. there were seven cases of voter fraud in milwaukee in 2004. >> thank you. >> but we're going to have you back. you're a good sport. catherine crier and mark simone and elysse hogue, thank you for joining us. up next, the romney campaign's latest tactic looks like it's
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mitt romney's top campaigners think they can beat president obama on the jobs issue. they nearly heckled the top strategist off the podium today. >> where are jobs? where are jobs? >> you can shout down speakers, my friends, it's hard to etch and sketch the truth away. >> proof positive. they don't check the crowd. where are the jobs? good question. they're not where the romney camp thinks they are. he is going to run on his record of governor of massachusetts hoping to prove he's a job creator. >> we're happy to compare the 4 .6% unemployment rate that governor romney achieved versus
what president obama's done. he promised with the passage of the stimulus bill that unemployment would be at 6% or lower today. and that's simply not the case. >> sounds good. but under romney, things got worse. a lot worse. romney wants us to look at his record as governor. okay, let's do that for a while. governor romney was america's economy was growing and romney's state was shrinking. massachusetts when it comes to jobs. romney was at the helm, massachusetts dropped like a stone going from 36 to 47th out of 50 states for job creation. i guess all that experience at bane capital just didn't come in handy at all, did it? governor romney inherited an economy that was losing jobs each month and left office with an economy that was adding jobs each month. now doesn't that sound familiar? president obama kind of inherited a pretty tough economy, don't you think? but check out the chart. the red line shows the bush
administration job losses. the blue line shows positive job creation under president obama. governor romney only wants you to look at the unemployment and the days right after the president took office. that's before his stimulus package was even passed. it's a complete, and i mean a complete double standard. governor romney won't take blame for the economy he inherited but he wants to blame president obama for jobs before he was sworn in? romney's hoping that you won't hold him to the president's standards on what could be the most important voting issue of this election. jobs. tonight in our survey, i asked are republicans trying to steal the election by purging voters? 97% of you said yes. 3% of you said no. the big finish tonight, the truth about poverty in america. tavis smiley and corn he will west will join me for the conversation.
a new report says the united states has the second highest rate of childhood poverty in the developing world. i don't know what you think, i think that is a national disgrace. let's be clear. there are two very different versions and visions, should i say, on how to help the poor people in this country. here's mitt romney just a few months ago. >> i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. we're not concerned about the very rich. they're doing just fine. i'm concerned about the very
heart of america, the 90% of americans who right now are struggling. >> romney had been saying the same thing for months. but he took some flack for those comments. so his rhetoric changed. here's what he said yesterday. >> the real need in america is to help middle-income families get good jobs with rising income ands more security and help people would are poor come out of poverty and become middle income. >> the rhetoric doesn't match his policy. he would adopt the paul ryan budget. ryan budget would attack programs, the underprivileged benefit from like never before. it would end medicare as we know it. president obama has been sometimes been criticized for his record. but certain facts are clear. the recovery act included $150 billion for low-income people. the affordable care act added 16 million people to medicare. obama's race to the top, education initiatives, is geared to low income folks in this country. there's more. an expansion of snap. the food stamp program.
new child nutrition programs and expansion of s chip, health care for children in this country. nine extensions of unemployment insurance in a tough economy. president obama has been a strong leader against republican extremist who's want to gut the social safety net and throw the poor out on their ear or under the bus. i'm joined tonight by dr. cornell west and tavis smiley. they're authors of the book "the rich and the rest of us." gentlemen, great to have you with us tonight. i want both of you to just get after it here. cornell, you first. what are we doing wrong and what do we have to do? >> well, one, we have to love poor people which means we make them a priority and the way we made investment bankers priority and bail out massive investment in jobs. massive investment in housing, decent housing, massive investment in health care beyond simply the private companies
running things. i'm talking about making a life of decency accessible to poor people. >> tavis? >> short answer, ed, is something is wrong with the nation. it is something very damning about this country, the younger you are, the more likely you are to be poor. women and children are falling fast near poverty than anyone else. this did not happen on mr. obama's watch. the truth is that no president, republican or democrat since lyndon johnson declared a war on poverty that we are going to win. the title of the new book has it right. we can all do better. what we're saying in this book is we cannot buy another race for the white house. poverty is not discussed. mccain and obama didn't get around to it last time. and mr. romney and mr. obama have to make profrt a priority in this campaign. it ought to be discussed. poor people cannot be invisible in this campaign. >> mitt romney is going to embrace and will implement if he had the political power the ryan plan.
what does that do to the poor? what do you think? >> look, it's catastrophic for the poor. it's catastrophic for the working people. there's no doubt that mitt romney's policies are much worse than what president obama is putting forward. it's not just a choice between the two. yes, obama is better. but what we're talking about is much more fundamental in terms of making poor people a priority even barack obama still is too tide to wall street, brother ed. >> well, he's tied to wall street. the middle class also invested in wall street. you are saying with budgets tight that congress is going to have to alot more money for programs for the economically challenged families in this country? that's what i'm hearing. >> that's right. that's right. but we're also saying, number one, budgets are moral documents. we're also saying that austerity is not the answer. budgetsbalanced on the backs of
poor people. poor people matter. they have to be include in the conversation. we're calling for a white house conference on the irrad indication of poverty. let's bring together a plan so we can get serious, ed, about reducing poverty in this country. poverty is the moral and spiritual issue of our time right now. poverty is threatening our democracy. >> how long will it take to turn it around? >> well, i tell you, on the one hand, we americans, if we can put a man on the moon, if we really put our energy, creativity and imagination and intelligence to focus on this, we can knock it oun in ten years. on the other hand if, we have big money clogging up, getting in the way of our political will, if we have lies getting in the way of intellectual clarity, we're in trouble.