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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  June 11, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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the woman who survived the game-changing process, nicole wallace is here, former senior advisor for the mccain campaign and author of "it's classified" which is now out in paperback. also, politico senior white house reporter, glen thresh who did not wear a hat today. and cnbc's amon, the man with all the answers. a campaign brawl is on regarding which candidate committed a bigger gaffe, mitt romney's campaign posted a web video this morning calling the president "out of touch" for saying the private sector is quote, doing fine. president obama's campaign is out with a new web video seizing on romney's view that he wants fewer firefighters, police officers and teachers in the video. massachusetts politicians say his policies made the state less safe, less clean and created bigger class sizes. but these are more than competing talking points. the weekend back and forth highlights the fundamental
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ideological differences between the candidates and has already started a larger debate. >> does anybody really believe that we don't need more teachers, that we can keep whacking teachers and we're going to advance as a country? that's a serious debate and one worth having. >> does not understand where wealth and jobs come from. they come from the successful private sector or not at all. government does not create wealth or income. it just shuffles it around. >> john, this is the fundamental debate about the role and size and scope and what the focus of the government should be. we knew this was coming. this would seem to be the sort of launching pad, the idea of teachers, firefighters and policemen, mitt romney saying we don't need more and of course, the president making the case for an increase in those jobs. >> this is a fundamental debate and it's one that is going to get engaged and litigated over the course of the rest of the campaign. it's unfortunate that it came out of this particular series of events because the truth is,
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both sides are wildly and intentionally misconstruing what each other said and because we are the press and love a food fight, everyone is aiding and abetting in this. the president doesn't think the private sector is fine. he doesn't think that. mitt romney doesn't want fewer firefighters, cops and other people. they have different views about the size and role of government. hopefully when we get past the food fighty freak showy circus aspect of this, we will get to that debate. neither of the things either one of these guys said this week is evidence of that. >> you don't think it's fair to say when mitt romney said in the speech he wants to hire more teachers, firefighters and cops, we don't need to do that, you don't think that's direct -- i mean, i understood the private sector comments were sort of part of a larger narrative about we need to create more public sector jobs and to some degree i think folks would argue that the private sector isn't doing that badly, hiring is a different question entirely. >> yeah. there's an economic argument to be made here that private sector companies are actually doing pretty well. profits are very high as a share of gdp. the stock market is up relative
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to where it was when president obama took office. some companies are amassing hoards of cash, including apple, which has $100 billion sitting around. companies are holding on to this cash. they're doing very well, generating profits, but are afraid to deploy that cash back into the economy and hire people because there's this uncertainty out there that they're really worried about. that's sort of the economic challenge they're talking about and it gets lost in this kind of food fighty atmosphere you're talking about. i'm glad you're optimistic we will get past the food fights. >> i actually don't -- i think at the end of the day, maybe the food fight engenders a broader conversation but we're at the point where we're having a bigger conversation about the role of government. >> the food fight's going to end but i don't think the freak show will. go, freak show. >> like the poor, we'll always have the freak show with us. >> nicole, what do you make of mitt romney's comments about teachers, firefighters and policemen? >> i want to say something about the freak show first. that won't end until the morning after we have a new president.
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so that is the season. >> or we re-elect the current one. >> right. there's no end in sight. but i think that, this may make this my first and last appearance here with you -- >> never. >> rush limbaugh actually laid out the blueprint for the conservative strategy for running against this president days after he was elected in 2008 and he talked about how conservatives need to present the voters not just the conservative voters, but the middle of the country with this ideological choice between an expanded role for the federal government in american life or contracted one. so this conversation, while it may seem crazy to debate whether we need more firefighters and teachers, is actually a very real debate on the right. this notion that the private sector must thrive to pay for firefighters and teachers is extremely logical and welcome on the right.
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and it is political blasphemy on the left. it's also a matter from where -- from what perch you sit on to observe these debates. >> if you're going to equate the government with teachers, firefighters and policemen, that's a good talking point for democrats, too. >> but just a talking point because the truth is you can't pay for firefighters and teachers, they come out of general funds which come from a thriving and healthy private sector. >> regardless -- >> sorry, go ahead. >> regardless of whether it's factually, they are -- whether it's fair or not i think is a different question but they are going to be the proxy for big government, that would seem to work well in the democrats' favor if you're talking about the role of government. >> when you politici izize it b the truth is, federal workers are paid for by tax revenue so it is a very legitimate debate and transcends politics. >> i want to talk about the democrats' defense of big government. there was an op-ed this weekend saying, talking about big
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government, why don't democrats just say it, they really believe in active government and think it does good and valuable things. one of those valuable things is that government creates jobs, yes really, and also the conditions under which more jobs can be created. if progressives do not speak out plainly on behalf of government, they will be disadvantaged throughout the election year debate. is the administration going to be talking about this? >> i think they will be talking about it in exactly the terms, maybe not exactly the terms, that the president chose to use on friday. >> not exactly. >> that's more food fight, less freak show. no, i think i'm actually really surprised they haven't hit on this cops, firefighters and teachers argument earlier, for a couple reasons. first of all, i think the best event that i have seen the president at in the last year was in richmond, virginia in a fire house about six months ago at the end of his bus tour, and he was surrounded by uniformed firefighters and cops who were cheering him. these were middle class, middle income white supporters.
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so it was from a demographic perspective, this pitch towards state employees and local employees is very smart in terms of the battleground state strategy but i think as we discovered on friday, the question is how do you make the argument for big government in terms of this huge net loss of jobs which is helping the economy decelerate. make no mistake about it. while not coming out like a european style socialist. >> in terms of that, talking about cops, firefighters and european style socialism, we think of you in sort of -- >> very european. >> transcontinental fashion, if you will. i want to talk about sort of in terms of the economy, the private equity argument as well. because we have comments from bill burton talking about the bain attacks and whether or not they have actually worked for the president. bill in his super-pac e-mail points to a poll, we don't actually -- it is a purple poll
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but it says that private equity firms, polling americans, do americans believe that private equity firms care only about profits and short term gains. 47% of americans think that. do private equity firms help the american economy grow? only 38% of americans believe that they do. so based on those numbers, it would seem like they are not going to abandon the bain line of attack, the criticism over private equity as that being sort of qualifying bona fides for mitt romney to be president. >> they sound like they're doubling down on it. we could have the economic argument about private equity and what it does or doesn't do to create jobs in this country all day long. but i think in the political realm, this is just like everything else, it hits voters in the gut much more than it is sort of an intellectual argument that's out here in the ether. it's about does mitt romney as the old joke goes, look like the guy who came in to fire you or not. if he does, then that's going to be bad for mitt romney. he's got to present himself to those voters as somebody who
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could hire you and has demonstrated an ability to hire people and create that kind of setup in the economy in the past. for obama, it's the opposite situation. can he come across as the guy who can feel your pain, to borrow the clinton era expression. you lost your job, i'm going to put my arm around you, we're going to figure this thing out and all get back to work together. that's sort of the gut level with which this has to happen. the private equity debate is one that we like to have all the time, but i think for voters it's really about who do you want to have a beer with, who is the guy you can relate to. >> looking on with skepticism -- >> i don't like the beer metric. i don't think that many people want to have a beer with either one of those guys. >> i think bill clinton and george bush in their sleep did a better job at what you just described, than either of these guys on their "a" game could do. >> bush didn't even drink. >> yeah, but he could down a
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nonalcoholic beer in the warmest kind of way i have ever seen. >> he is from texas. they like iced tea there. >> i don't think we have anyone running for president this time who -- >> certainly mitt romney -- >> they're both introverts in a way. >> they both like grilled chicken and "star trek." when talking about things that will help or hurt mitt romney, the policemen and firefighter thing gives this impression this guy can't connect with the working class, doesn't care about the struggles. setting aside the actual economics of it, i think in that way, it's more destructive perhaps. i don't know, than the president's comments on the private sector. >> the problem is that for the president, is that those -- everyone is in favor of cops and firefighters. people like that. but the truth is we're in the middle of the electorate where a lot of firefighters and cops are democrats, they will vote for the president. in the middle of the electorate in the 6% or 7% of the
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electorate that's going to matter in six or seven or eight states, most of those people don't have an ingrained affinity for public sector employees or unions, they don't. they're in the private sector. the question for them is not -- their notion of a model of success economically is not one where if the president can be caricatured as the way he thinks the way to solve this problem is throw more money at public sector jobs. that's not a model of economic success they connect with. the president has to do a very delicate thing which is to do what e.j. dion talked about and be out front about saying these are real jobs and they matter to people in america, but i also care about the private sector and i understand it's important for the whole country to succeed in the long term way, we have to have a dynamic, successful private sector. the president has to walk that tightrope. mitt romney has a different tightrope to walk, but he has to be able to say i like firefighters and teachers, too. but the way in which we pay for those guys and the way we don't
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see those things decline is have a huge thriving private sector and i have the policies that will enable that to happen and the overflow will help all the necessary public services but are not the centerpiece of my economic strategy. they both have delicate arguments to made. >> i like them but this is how we ensure they still have jobs. important predicate. tightrope walkers. they like grilled chicken, "star trek," they don't like -- dressing down? >> dressing on the side. >> and they like tightrope walking. >> mommy jeans. >> who said there can't be bipartisan consensus? coming up, getting demographic with it. what constitutes a swing state in 2012? we'll look at what's changed in four years, next. you know, those farmers, those foragers, those fishermen.... for me, it's really about building
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how quickly can a country change in four years? a new report highlights a trend that may give president obama an edge. the center for american progress found that in 12 swing states, since 2008, the proportion of minority voters is projected to increase by 2%. the president won 8 in 10 of those voters in 2008. meanwhile, white working class voters are decreasing by 3% in those very same swing states. a group that john mccain won 58% to 40%. we talk a lot about the contours of this election and as our friends over here pointed out, it's going to be a very narrow slice of the electorate, 8% probably that decides this race in nine states, probably. we know those up for grabs, colorado, florida, iowa, north carolina, new hampshire, nevada, ohio, pennsylvania and virginia. if you don't live there, then you don't matter. is that basically the deal? >> especially if you're in the
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national political media. >> yes. we definitely don't matter. we knew that. >> the president's talking, what is he doing, a round robin of six or seven tv interviews with local tv stations, greenville, south carolina, which is really the charlotte market. he's also doing -- >> green bay, wisconsin. >> fresno, california, which i don't understand. >> the two democratic-ish interviews with california and greenville, south carolina. he is also doing interviews, green bay, wisconsin, roanoke, virginia, jacksonville, florida, sioux city, iowa, colorado springs, colorado, reno, nevada, all areas he could use a little bit of help. >> this is something i think since president clinton really started pushing was the local interviews. president obama's really accelerated that. this is pure david plough. he really loves to go around the national media and go straight to the local guys for a couple reasons. first, it micro-targets on local issues and the second reason is the -- our sense is the local guys probably aren't going to ask the kind of inside the beltway questions that we ask.
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>> also has another advantage. means they don't have to talk to glen thrush. >> terrifying concept for a lot of elected leaders. >> this was something that ken melman, who ran president bush's re-election campaign, and david plough admits to being a student of that campaign, this is something ken melman perfected upon what the clintons did. we were students of those media strategies and tactics and i think they brought it to another level. i actually ran the office in the white house that was in charge of bringing in local media. we put bush on the cover of "runner's world." >> what local -- sorry, who does "runner's world" appeal to? >> runners. but everything that a president does that isn't the, i don't know how many there are now but the number of owned chairs in the white house briefing room, everybody else is handled by another white house press office, the office of media affairs. presidents have always sought --
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>> politico is handled by the haz/mat team. >> i was going to say, i don't know who handles politico. >> going back to the beginning, the most interesting thing about that chart, when they talk about minorities up and white working class down, what they're talking about is literally just the population. not talking about voters. >> right. it's an important difference. >> they're talking about human beings. that trend does, if the president can turn out his people, mostly talking about hispanic voters. the african-american population isn't growing anywhere but the hispanic population is really growing. when you look at the states where the president has a big advantage with hispanic voters, the question is are they going to vote. that is not as clear. there is a lot of mixed data about hispanic voter registration and turnout. so you've got a big battle in those communities, in those key states, especially places like colorado, nevada, virginia, and you've got a problem that romney has given this is something i think p.r. has just started to
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focus on now. because his problems with hispanics are so great and the positions he's taken are so problematic you can't really walk away from them. what i think is going to happen is a really, really aggressive, really negative republican campaign by the romney campaign and all the affiliated conservative super-pacs designed mainly not to change hispanic voters' minds but to keep them at home. you can't change the vote shares but you can change turnout. if you fight a really nasty, really negative, really vicious campaign in those communities, you can push turnout down and win the battle that way. >> the brookings institute did a study on minority populations versus registration versus actual turnout. they are actually fairly huge discrepancies. just because you have the population growing by a certain percentage rate doesn't mean you are going to get those votes. >> two other factors, before she rips your head off. i want to give her time to gather it up. two other factors. the first is in a lot of these battleground states, especially
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virginia and north carolina, i don't remember exact numbers, recent voter registration is skewed heavily towards republicans. so the actual participation rate in a lot of these battleground states seems to be skewing towards republicans. then the huge issue no one is really talking about are these ballot access issues and early voting issues, particularly in a place like florida, where latinos and african-american voters participated and younger voters participated disproportionately in the early voting stuff. >> we were talking about that with former governor jeb bush this morning. he maintained a diplomatic position as far as rick scott and the purging of the florida voters rolls. something we will follow in coming days. we have to go to break -- >> awesome. that means i don't get killed by nicolle. >> we're reserving after the commercial break specifically so she can tear your head off. >> i want my 20 bucks. >> coming up, she will tear off john's head after the break. if there was a pill
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...more talk on social security... ...but washington isn't talking to the american people. [ female announcer ] when it comes to the future of medicare and social security, you've earned the right to know. ♪ what does it mean for you and your family? [ female announcer ] you've earned the facts. ♪ washington may not like straight talk, but i do.
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[ female announcer ] and you've earned a say. get the facts and make your voice heard on medicare and social security at when we were going to break, we promised that nicolle wallace would tear off john heilemann's head. we don't know if we actually want that to happen. john made the point that this race could get very nasty and the romney campaign could go really hard on the president in an effort to sort of turn people off of the election. i wanted to -- the bloomberg hosted an event with former governor bush this morning, and he was asked about whether, you know, he had a seat or whether george w. bush would run in this current republican field, or would have a place at the table, and this is what he said. he said ronald reagan would have -- sorry. this is to the reagan question, whether reagan would have been part of this party. ronald reagan would have based
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on his record of finding a combination, finding some degree of common good, as would my dad. they would have haira hard time you define the republican party as having an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement and doesn't allow for finding common ground. he parsed that a lot. but has this party become so extreme that george w. bush, george h.w. bush, even ronald reagan would not have a seat at the table? >> we were talking in the break about how this debate about big government versus small government is not one that i'm particularly skilled at making because i worked for a republican president who actually expanded the role of the federal government in education accountability who actually believed in adding a new benefit to the way we take care of older americans, a federal benefit, a prescription drug benefit. so i made the opposite argument in the george w. bush white house. i think this notion that republicans are going to have to suppress the vote for political
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purposes to win is completely -- it's cynical and also inaccurate. we just have to present two very different visions for growing the economy. i think everyone can agree that the economy is sick and it's going to be sick until election day. so what happened friday was so petty, it was the opposite of what obama promised when he promised an end to childish things. it was the most childish of the day. all these two men have to do is present totally different but probably legitimate, if you ask an economist, views for growing our way out of the economy. we don't have to mess around with voter rolls or mess around with suppressing the vote with nasty pacs. all we have to do is say here's my plan for growing the economy and here's mine. yes, i work for republicans who had a very different view on the economy than the current nominee. >> makes me wonder whether or not george w. bush could play a role in today's republican party based on what you're saying about medicare part d and some of the things he did. >> the whole point of this, i'm not making widespread accusation. i'm talking about an hispanic
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community. you worked for john mccain, you worked for george w. bush. but this campaign has a really big problem and it's not clear how you win that argument. where is he going to go -- >> it's worth noting that today we're seeing a $4 million ad by the president's super-pac, ads that target hispanic voters in colorado, nevada and florida. this is something the president will hammer home for as long as possible. you look at mitt romney's ground game in florida which is fairly -- obama has 100 paid staffers in the state, 27 field offices, thousands of volunteers. romney has one up coming event in orlando. obama has 121 events within 40 miles of miami. >> apart from sort of telling latino voters that the election's on wednesday, i think -- >> it is of course on tuesday. >> just kidding, by the way. had to clarify that. i think what the romney campaign is going to do in florida is
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going to be to play up to this growing population of puerto rican voters in the i-4 corridor, to get voters in the traditional base in florida and the cuban community and go after the i-4 corridor. you already saw him semi-endorse puerto rican statehood. it will be much more difficult out west for him. if you talk about florida being the battleground for that, my guess would be less negativity in florida, maybe more out west and more playing to the puerto rican community down there. >> it remains to be seen how quickly he can make up a gap, though. this is someone who is behind double digits doesn't begin to cover it. we're talking 30, 40 percentage point gaps between the president and mitt romney among hispanic voters. >> but they're not a single group. hispanic voters care about immigration as all voters care about immigration. they also care about the economy more than any other issue. this isn't a group that you can
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lump together and as you talked about in florida, the hispanic vote is more complicated than just about any other group that you try to analyze. i think that what republicans will do is try to appeal to hispanic voters as they do to all voters on this debate we were talking about over the economy. the i-4 corridor is always hard-fought. it's like -- >> the primary was so poisonous. the romney campaign -- >> this is baggage. this what is he has to overcome. >> there's no math that allows you to win a national election if you're under 30%. for a lot of republicans, the real figure is closer to 40. you got to be closer to 40. >> i do want to talk about enthusiasm and turnout. some very critical comments from one of the president's own former advisors, van jones, this weekend. let's hear what he had to say. >> we know we're supposed to be fired up. and we know we're supposed to be
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ready to go. but we're pissed off. we like this president but we're not in love with him like we used to be. >> i think at one point he says i feel like i'm between a barack and a hard place. kathleen parker picking up on i think in the president's space, saying republicans are said to be falling in line behind the former massachusetts governor because what choice do they have, really. now it appears obama is getting a taste of romney stew. democrats seem to be inching away from their minor, undermining and diminishing the president with a thousand tiny cuts. what do you make of that? >> it's fascinating. it's endemic to any president running for a second term. at some point, once you get into office, you've got to begin making choices. those choices begin to slice away little pieces of your base every step of the way throughout the three and a half years until you get to campaign season. then people are saying well, wait a second, you promised this, that and the other thing, we didn't get it. the president is reduced in every case, whether democrat or republican, to saying yeah, yeah, next term.
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that's why you got to re-elect me. that's not as inspiring a message as hope, change and a huge rally in chicago. that was naturally going to be the case. the question for the obama campaign is how do they manage that, how do they go out and stop that guy from saying that stuff on cable television. i didn't even know you could say those words on cable tv. i'm not going to repeat them. how do they corral those people and keep them, you know, on the team. that is the challenge for the campaign. >> there's a seven second delay on this show. you would be okay. >> i'm not going to. >> it's fine. >> unfortunately, as i have learned the hard way, there is no seven second delay on this show. coming up, plugging a leaky white house. the obama administration draws new criticism about cracks in its national security infrastructure. will an investigation help cool the heat wave? we will discuss that next. [ male announcer ] what's in your energy drink?
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information had to come from the administration. it couldn't have come from anywhere else. >> i don't know where that came from, charlie. >> the white house? >> absolutely not. the last thing that he would want, the last thing anyone in the white house wants, is to do anything that would jeopardize those missions or jeopardize those americans. >> i want to ask about this in terms of how the white house is handling it. do you think that attorney general holder announcing there's going to be an investigation is going to be enough to put this matter to rest? >> yes and no. i don't think -- i don't think at the moment, it's showing any signs of -- unless someone can prove something a little more incriminating than what we already know, that this is going to blow up. i think this is going to sort of settle into both camps. i think senator mccain will keep going out there and saying this kind of thing. it is interesting to actually listen to what the "new york times" is saying about it. i heard david sanger on friday say the notion that stuff is just handed, i'm sitting and having an iced tea and get a call from the white house is pretty ridiculous.
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i have to take them at their word. >> the "new york times" certainly has pushed back and said this is good reporting, this is not a leak, this is not someone handing us on a plate. to some degree, you have to listen to what the "new york times" says but nicolle, senator john mccain has been tenacious about this and some people have said well, it's the republicans are using this for political gain, to assert that the president isn't in control of his national security apparatus. what do you make of that? >> my other former boss, george w. bush, i worked in the white house for almost six years where the dissemination of classified information to the "new york times" and others is not something that's just fodder for our discussion here today, but it's actually something that lives are in jeopardy, sources and methods are in jeopardy. in the white house i remember we went to the "new york times" when they learned of information about our methods for tracking al qaeda after 9/11 and told them that national security was
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on the line. it's the most serious thing that a white house deals with. i think two things. one, to say that someone asking questions about how that information's being disseminated and it's not a matter of someone showing up with a little love letter for david sanger, but it's information is passed in all sorts of ways and the fact that it falls into the hands of reporters who feel they have a duty to put it on the pages of their newspapers, very complicated and very serious and it should be lifted out of politics on all sides. people shouldn't say john mccain has political motives and people should give the president the benefit of the doubt when he says he's not releasing that information. i think an investigation is always justified when it's national security. >> it's worth noting that i don't think a lot of folks know this, the "new york times" reporting that the administration, the obama administration, has already prosecuted six leak investigations which is double the number of prosecuted under all previous administrations. in terms of pursuing -- >> probably quadruple the amount of information ending up in the free press. >> there is also the media cycle
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in the age in which we live. john, you're shaking your head in agreement? >> the conversation exists in this black and white way that i think just is not the way the world really works. if there was -- when people say leaking, there seems to be this presumption of what's happening here and the accusation is that the white house has taken some -- has taken an explicit -- made a decision to we were to leak the following things and we will pursue this, now go call david sanger. the "new york times" explanation is it just comes across the veranda. it's obviously been leaked. it's coming from the executive. that doesn't necessarily mean it's part of some grand policy the white house decided to pursue. someone, there are a lot of reasons for a lot of people who have a lot of access to classified documents, there are a lot of different agendas, and people, some acting on their own, sometimes acting after having had a conversation with a few friends. there's all of this gray area and you know, as nicolle said, it's a really serious thing but
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there's a lot of ground in between. the white house is doing something nefarious here on one hand and on the other hand, there's a problem, this stuff shouldn't be leaked and it's been leaked. there's a big patch of gray ground. >> there is also the counter argument that the administration has been really tough on whistle blowers to the degree that it is not good for democracy, the degree to which they are persecuting whistle blowers. >> i had a fascinating hour-long sit down with the former head of u.s. intelligence under president bush on friday afternoon, after the president made his comments and i asked him what he thought about it. i expected him to tee off on the obama administration. he actually did the opposite. he said he thought the obama team has been really good at pursuing leaks and shutting down leaks. he comes from a pure anti-leak perspective here. but he also said the reason this intelligence information ends up in the public domain is often because of lower level bureaucratic in-fighting that has nothing to do with republicans and democrats
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banging at each other. it's more about agencies, somebody wants to leak something to show how good his team performed versus somebody else's team which couldn't get that kind of information. that kind of thing is what mcconnell told me that he's seen in the past in terms of intelligence leaks. it is' not always totally political. it's more careerist and ambition-related. >> or someone showing off for a reporter. >> which you wouldn't know anything about. >> i just want to say for the record, i hate it when sources are trying to show off in that way for a reporter. it's terrible. >> it's on the record now. it's on the record. we have to go to break. when we come back, we will discuss more on leaks and also, eric holder. potentially being held in contempt. [ female announcer ] did you know the average person smiles more than 50 times a day? so brighten your smile a healthy way with listerine® whitening plus restoring rinse. it's the only rinse that makes your teeth two shades whiter and two times stronger.
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our cloud is the cloud other clouds look up to. welcome to the uppernet. how math and science kind of makes the world work. in high school, i had a physics teacher by the name of mr. davies. he made physics more than theoretical, he made it real for me. we built a guitar, we did things with electronics and mother boards. that's where the interest in engineering came from. so now, as an engineer, i have a career that speaks to that passion. thank you, mr. davies. starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news. we were speaking earlier
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about the difficult job that eric holder has inside the administration and i think you can probably speak to this insofar as he's really an emissary for the administration on a lot of fronts, on immigration, on voter i.d. laws. we now know that darrell issa's oversight and government affairs committee will be holding a vote june 20th as to whether holder should be held in contempt of congress for the fast and furious scandal. the question is a lot of people have a lot of questions about fast and furious but other folks have said this is part of the sort of witch hunt, if you will, to undermine if not get eric holder out of the a.g. position. >> i wouldn't say it's a witch hunt. but i think issa has been digging this hole for quite some time. when was the last time you heard us talk about fast and furious? it's been a good six months. issa likes to keep it in the news. i think we're going to be seeing a lot more from darrell issa on this but i don't -- my sense in terms of holder is the biggest
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danger holder really poses to the white house is going off message, which he tends to do from their perspective with alarming regularity. >> you were saying it's always, being the attorney general is always a difficult position and certainly eric holder has not necessarily had an easy time of it, according to a few publications he was going to try to leave but was convinced to stay by valerie jarrett. what do you make of the job he's done? >> it's hard to know. these investigations are very important and to delegittimize fast and furious, that's a very important investigation and to the extent the justice department does not cooperate, it feels very political and raises suspicion. this is always the case. justice department ends up being the one place where politics are the most forbidden and ends up being the place that is the most powerful lightning bolt for all things political. >> it's worth mentioning that elijah cummings, ranking member on the oversight and government reform committee calls it unfortunate that darrell issa is
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holding the holder contempt vote. >> if you have -- it's very rare, as a cabinet position that has an unusual structural problem, you are a political appointee, appointed by the president, yet you are also supposed to be the nation's top law enforcement officer and no one, including people in the white house, is above that law that you're supposed to be serving ultimately. that is why going back, republican, democratic administrations alike, we were talking about gray areas, the attorney general is always wandering around in this giant gray suit because of the fact he serves two masters, the president and also a higher authority, which is law, the law of the land. it makes them very vulnerable politically to the kind of attacks, partisan attacks and also makes them always, always very vulnerable to a lot of political strife internally within the administrations they serve. there is not a single attorney general i can think of in my adult or possibly entire life where that's not been the case. >> i think it's the call that you're psyched when asked to be the nation's top law enforcement, you are asked to serve as the attorney general of the united states of america,
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you are probably honored but it's also the worst job in america. >> for the president, these kinds of investigations are the kinds of stories that don't break, they kind of ooze. they take forever. they are very political but in the end they come up with something. look at where monica lewinsky came from. suddenly this weird right turn happens and now they're on to this. these kind of things make presidents' second terms miserable. look at it from iran contrato watergate, again and again we see second terms hobbled by investigations and instances that started in the first term that bleed over into the second. if the president is re-elected in november, he's got to watch out because a lot of this stuff can kind of seep and ooze around your presidency. you never kind of know where it will end up. >> i was just going to say, what they did to the white house staff, they completely hobble a white house staff. i was in the bush white house for the second term for the valerie plame investigation and became obsessed with this dynamic you just described, my
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second novel is about a special investigation and what it does to a white house staff that should be worried about what the president says what he wanders into the briefing room about the economy. it should be worried about where the president is going to travel the next few weeks. they become consumed by their own personal legal jeopardy. >> and legal bills. and there are these tales of the clinton administration during the height of monica, there were senior administration officials who refused to take notes in meetings because they were worried about the notes being subpoenaed. you can't even write something down on a piece of paper or send an e-mail when you're under this kind of scrutiny and it becomes almost impossible to do your job. >> it's a little like living -- >> two most terrifying words in the political dictionary, subpoena power. >> coming up, conservative super-pac american crossroads wastes no time in channeling snarkiness following news of john bryson's car accidents. can't we give each other the benefit of the doubt for an hour? wake up! that's good morning, veggie style.
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welcome back. time for "what now." karl rove's super-pac, american crossroads, tweeted this morning about a series of traffic accidents involving commerce secretary john bryson. the first one read how does commerce sec have three car crashes in five minutes and alcohol not be involved, hash tag skills. there were a few other ones that abc reported on. they have since been deleted from american crossroads, talking about barack obama's response to commerce sec newsweek, john bryson is my commerce secretary? who knew. sure he is hash tag doing fine. you know, can there not be a one hour period especially when someone's life has been endangered and has -- john of course is in the hospital, has since been released. we have news that seizures were likely at the root of these car accidents. we talk about civility in politics and also, the media cycle. it was not but minutes after that news broke that already, it became sort of part of political football season. >> i think the question is how can you rule out alcohol being
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involved in tweeting, you know, 20 minutes after. people just got -- i think we're in this whole culture of rapid response. i think people took away the wrong message from 2004. everybody's doing this rapid response thing. i think we've gotten to the point where people need to shut up and wait until they know what happened. >> twitter does not help with that. >> hash tag naive. >> wow. >> hash tag freak show. >> i don't tweet. what's a hash tag? >> it's a way of categorizing your tweets. >> i think there should be a category of things that are just too weird to comment. three car accidents is the part i can't get my brain around. how do you crash three times? >> two would be cool, though. >> how do you crash, three crashes is what should have made everyone say -- >> two of them with the same car. >> you should at least pause and say let's verify. this is odd. >> well, maybe not use it to insult the president and his economic policies.
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>> or the poor guy that crashed. >> the commerce secretary, we of course wish him a speedy recovery. we are going to move on to other news. he's not the only parent to do it but still, british prime minister david cameron left his 8-year-old daughter nancy behind at a pub yesterday after a mixup with his wife, samantha. you're a new mom. have you ever left your child at a pub? >> i really only left him a few times and this might be like my fourth time leaving him to be here with you all today, so i have been on the e-mail all morning but maybe that's a new mother -- >> i wouldn't even -- >> by the time they're 8 you're like whatever. i think in great britain the pub is sort of like a diner. maybe she was having a snack. who knows. >> tell us what your husband says about being home alone with your baby. >> anyone that watches, you know, he thinks the baby smells his fear. >> i have not left a half empty beer at a bar alone, let alone a child. >> or my purse.
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i don't think my purse with my devices in it. >> thanks again to john, nicolle, glenn and eamon. be sure to catch "dangerously rich" premiering tonight at 9:30 p.m. eastern time. check that out. that is all for us here at "now." see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. until then, find us at "andrea mitchell reports" is next. thanks so much. coming up next, the obama campaign in serious damage control as the romney folks pounce. joining us, mark halpern, bill burton and romney senior advisor. plus, watergate 40 years later with the former white house counsel, john dean. and remember sargent shriver. occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating?
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