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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 22, 2012 3:00am-4:00am PDT

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so we make something else. we help make life a little easier, more convenient, more rewarding, more entertaining. year after year. it's the reason why we don't have customers. we have members. american express. welcome in. happy friday. thanks for being with us for this next hour. boy, howdy, what a friday it has been today. all right, i'm going to bottom line it right away. here is i guess the big headline out of today's unexpected friday news dump of mitt romney's 2011 tax returns. here's the big headline. mitt romney says that mitt romney is not qualified to be president. this has been a weird week, a lot of fast moving developments in the presidential campaign, but i don't think anybody could have predicted the week was going to end like this. you may remember
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back in july during mr. romney's big overseas trip to europe and the middle east, mr. romney sat down with abc news and spoke with them in part about his tax returns, talked with them about why we the people have not been allowed to see many of his tax returns, despite the fact he's been going around the country telling everybody a lot of things of what's in those returns, he said he's paid all of his taxes, we have to trust him, take his word on that but we're not going to be allowed to see the evidence. here what he told abc news at the time. >> i have paid all the taxes required by law. i don't pay more than are legally due. frankly, if i had paid more than are legally due, i don't think i'd be qualified to become president. >> if i had paid more than are legally due, i don't think i'd be qualified to become president. nobody who pays a dollar more than they legally owe is qualified to run for president. a weird assertion. it's a weird assertion because his own father when he ran for president in 1968 made it public
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knowledge that as a rich man he had declined to take certain tax deductions that he was legally allowed to take. so was mitt romney saying that his own father was not qualified to be president because he paid some more taxes than he had to? it was a weird thing to assert when he said it in july but it was made all the more weird today. at 3:00 this afternoon, late on a friday of what has been the single worst week of his entire presidential campaign, mr. romney finally released one year of his tax returns, his long awaited, long promised 2011 tax returns. in the return we learn that mitt romney paid an effective tax rate of 14.1%, which is probably lower than you. but that is actually a higher tax rate than he could have paid legally. here's how the romney campaign explains it. quote, the romneys donated $4 million to charity in 2011. but as can you see here, the romneys claimed a deduction of
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only $2.25 million for those charitable contributions. so they donated 4 million but only deducted $2 million. they could have deducted all $4 million. in other words mitt romney in 2011 paid more in taxes than was legally due. >> if i had paid more than are legally due, i don't think i'd be qualified to become president. >> ta-da. why would the romney campaign put their candidate in the position of declaring himself unqualified to be president? because last month mitt romney declared to the country in another interview he had never paid less than 13% taxes over the last ten years. he had always paid more than 13% he said. even though he says that, turns out mathematically that was not going to be true in his taxes for this past year in 2011. in order to make that statement from last month retroactively true, mr. romney's accountants went back and artificially inflated his tax rate so it would comport with what he said.
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they artficialy inflated his tax rate to more than what it needed to be. and in so doing mitt romney unwittingly declared himself unqualified to be president of the united states. this is nuts. if he simply filed normally, taking the deductions he was legally able to take, he would have paid a lower tax rate than what he paid. since that was a political problem purely for show he deliberately overpaid the irs in order to inflate his tax rate on purpose. he explained that's why he was doing it. on the maddow blog today it was said mr. romney was in the extraordinary position of select ing his own tax rate and then working backwards from there. this is a mess for the romney campaign. in these new tax returns we learn mr. romney made $13 million in total income last year.
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aside from the gee whiz factor of his making $13 million a year, even though he hasn't had an actual paying job since 1999, aside from that there is also the fact that even other average millionaires in this country pay way more in taxes than mitt romney pays. your average tax rate for your run of the mill millionaire now is 25%. that's what the average millionaire in america ends up paying in taxes after all the things they do to their taxes. but mitt romney is a special kind of millionaire. he doesn't pay 25%. he only pays 14.1%. how do you get 10 points below the rate that even the other millionaires are paying? you get that by trying, by working really hard by avoiding taxes. as the wall street journal noted, the romneys' main tax return mentions entities based in the cayman islands on at least 28 separate pages. the romney campaign is insisting those cayman island investments have nothing at all to do with avoiding taxes. maybe the money just likes the nice view.
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everything we know about his financial history points to his involvement in decades and decades and decades of one tax avoidance scheme after another. this house on gentle bend drive in missouri city, texas. mitt romney own that house. every month the couple who lives in that house makes out a personal check to mitt romney for $600. they don't have their mortgage on that house through a bank. their mortgage is with mitt romney personally. why is mitt romney this one texas couple's mortgage lender? oh, because of a tax avoidance scheme he got involved in back in the '80s that he's still in on. they re-fi'd with him this year. when mitt romney sat on the board of the marriott corporation, marriott took advantage of a bunch of fancy auditing tricks called son of boss. after mitt romney's tenure on the board of the committee, marriott ultimately got slapped with tens of millions in fines from the federal government. that's because son of boss was a
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criminal tax avoidance scheme. it was also at the center of mr. romney's run for governor of massachusetts in 2002. even though mr. romney told massachusetts voters he had always filed his taxes as massachusetts resident, mr. romney actually had declared his primary residence in utah in what the local paper there described as an attempt at, say it with me now, tax avoidance. mr. romney's olympic dressage horse, not just a hobby for his wife, also a tax avoidance scheme, an attempted $77,000 write-off on his tax returns. the first release of his returns also showed investments in switzerland, a swiss bank account where money can also have a very nice view and can be shielded from american taxes. mitt romney's entire adult life has essentially been one long, boring plot to dodge taxes at one level or another. that's what rich people do, certain kinds of rich people, right?
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and that's what makes the specifics of his tax returns so exotic and therefore so interesting. that's why people want to see his actual returns for multiple years. they don't necessarily just want to take his word for it. today mr. romney released one year's tax return. the other years still holding back. today they released a summary of 20 years worth of taxes. they're not releasing the tax returns or specific details, just a summary of what tax rate he paid over 20 years. mr. romney has had to release summaries of his financial situation in the past. if you're running for federal office, you have to release personal financial disclosure forms. rick santorum, rick perry, all these guys had to do that. mitt romney over the years in those disclosures has hidden stuff that could have potentially been damning to him. we don't know much about it because he's never released much of the actual tax returns to compare them with but when he has released tax returns to compare with the summaries, the comparison does not look good.
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hoarse an example. when mr. romney released his tax returns for 2010, the year we had before today, he had already made summary disclosures about his finances for that same year in order to run for office. he'd already filed these personal financial disclosures. but then we got the actual tax returns and you could compare them to those summaries for that same year. it turns out that in the tax returns were listed 20 different investment vehicles that were just never listed in his disclosures, including seven of the 20 that were overseas foreign investment vehicles. commenting on why had it been hidden in his disclosure forms until it had to come out for his tax return, his spokeswoman said at the time that the candidate's failure to include his swiss bank account in earlier financial disclosures was merely a, quote, "trivial inadvertent issue." trivial and inadvertent. today after months of stalling, mr. romney finally released the one additional year of tax
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returns he says the american public deserves to see. his vice presidential nominee was required to give him ten years for mr. romney to review but we are only allowed to see two years from mr. romney. what we learned today is that mitt romney is a zillionaire. he's dedicated lots of time and energy to avoiding paying taxes. there are 28 pages discussing investments in the caymans. but the timing is incredible. i understand the campaign's thinking in terms of getting all the bad stuff out at once. well, we're having a bad day anyway, how much worse can it get? it can get worse. honestly, it's a little crazy in terms of political strategy here. in the same week we get the new, fresh evidence of mitt romney's lifelong enthusiastic, lusty pursuit of avoiding taxes, we also get to see how he talks about the issues of taxes behind closed doors when he thinks he only talking to his fellow zillionaire republicans.
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while we get to see the enthusiasm with which he runs from the opportunity to pay taxes, we also learn what he thinks about the 47% of americans who are not required to pay federal income taxes, who he says sees themselves as victims and cannot be convinced to take personal responsibility or care for their lives. while mr. romney is happy working full time to lower his tax burden, other people paying low taxes disgusting him. >> the 47% of the people, these are people who pay no income tax. 47% of americans pay no income tax. >> i think it's a real problem when you have almost half of americans that are not paying income tax. >> that's the real problem. the rest of the country is not paying enough. time for everybody else to do their part. chris hayes joins us in just a moment. but first, one more thing. you want to know how bad the context was in which mitt romney made the decision he would rather talk about his tax returns today than anything else? consider this -- mr. romney did
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not just lose tim pawlenty from his campaign this week, look at the travel schedule this week of three guys. chris christie this week was in iowa, which is not part of new jersey. rick santorum also this week, also in iowa. he's going to be back in iowa on monday. he's doing an iowa bus tour. on wednesday of next week where is bobby jindal, the governor of louisiana? not in louisiana. he's also going to iowa. when your own top tier surrogates are saying forget this guy, let's talk 2016 and me, then it is time to change the subject to anything, even to your tax return. [ male announcer ] you like who you are...
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chris, thanks you for being here. >> it's great to be here. >> the question that we will get to is the strategy of why now. we will get to that. but substantively mr. romney paid more in taxes than he owed in order to make a statement to abc news from earlier in the summer retroactively true about what he said his tax rate had been. >> here is my favorite part. this is a three act trilogy. act one is he makes this promise, which it's unclear if he could keep. act two is he pays an extra $225,000, which is a lot of money to people, to make that statement true. here's my favorite. he can file an amendment to the return after the election in which he claims that extra $1.6 deduction and get the money back. so the best part of it is that when he's done and if he has lost or even if he's won, he just goes back to the irs and says i'm amending my return. actually, i do want to take that full deduction on that money. >> the amazing thing will be if he wins --
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>> will he do that? >> also notable that mitt romney in 2008, he spent tens and millions in 2008 in his campaign, this time he's contributed essentially $50,000. so this is a loan of $225,000 to the campaign. it's his biggest personal investment in his campaign yet. >> i'm seriously so looking for that press release about filing the amendment the day after the election because what's clear here is and i think it's actually a really interesting set of question. there's a question about what is morally acceptable. forget the law, right. as far as we know, we're in the four square corners of the law. but what do we find to be admirable behavior, what do we find to be neutral behavior, and what do we find condemnable. of those 343 pages of his return, 225 are foreign vehicles that have been created as far as we know solely for the sole purpose to shelter tax income from the government.
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it's another thing to orient the entire of your income streams, to engineer them from the beginning, to try in the most exotic fashion possible to minimize your taxes. >> the romney line is yes, there's a lot of money in the cayman islands but it's not to avoid taxes. >> i have talked to people at bain. bain says to you when they are recruiting you we structure these deals in ways that will minimize your tax liability. that is one of the pitches of bain, right? you're going to keep an extra 10% of your income, which people like that, right? this is just part of the way it works. >> this is also difficult politically speaking because of what else has happened. there's this hidden camera video in which he's talks about in morally disdainful terms, mr.
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romney is not paying income taxes because he hasn't had a job so this isn't tax income. so how does that morally interact with the thing that he got caught saying that he's so embarrassed on this week? >> it amplifies the bad message. there is a vision that the right holds that right and conservative plutocrats hold and nonconservative plutocrats and mitt romney holds, which is that the nation is veering towards this point in which these kind of super beings, who are the job creators, who are in some deep core, meta physical sense different than normal people hold up all society, and if you start attacking them with your petty slings and arrows, the world will fall down. what we see is when you're looking at the actual social
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contract, those same people who view themselves as the pillars of the society are welching on the social contract, are doing everything in their power to slither out of it, to get themselves out of those obligations and this reaffirms that. >> and the idea that it's inherent in the job creator idea but also in the reason people aren't paying income tax, things like the earned income tax credit, deduction for education and mortgage interest and all these other things were created by the government as ways to encourage those behaviors. if we're not challenging that there ought to be a chimed deduction, we ought not be damning people who collect it and that is -- >> particularly when it was republican policy. our brad malt, the trustee, you showed his blog post talking about it. this is a reminder of it. when mitt romney has a blind trust, the man who runs his
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blind trust is his personal attorney. it is not a blind trust in any way that would be recognizable -- >> the veil of ignorance. >> he's a guy who says we can go into a room and say let's make sure we pay 14.1%. that is not a blind trust. >> chris, thank you very. i'm looking forward to your show tomorrow. also trying to regain mojo for the campaign today was paul ryan, who did not have an ideal work day. statistically speaking, you had a better day than paul ryan. that's next. if you are the republican oh, hey alex. just picking up some, brochures, posters copies of my acceptance speech. great! it's always good to have a backup plan, in case i get hit by a meteor. wow, your hair looks great. didn't realize they did photoshop here. hey, good call on those mugs. can't let 'em see what you're drinking. you know, i'm glad
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if you are the republican presidential campaign, you have two people on your ticket, right? you have two guys. you also have a very fragile lead in the polls among older voters. you must maintain or increase that lead among seniors if you want any chance of winning the election in november. there's a big speaking engagement coming up in front of the aarp, the american association of retired persons. the senior set. the voters you have and must keep. sensitive issue, right? which of your two guys do you spend to the aarp? do you send the old guy, the one that is 65 years old and famous for being a great businessman with two whole years of tax
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returns you can see? or do you send the other guy? do you send your senior citizen or the young blue-eyed hyper kinetic ball of green muscle who is mainly famous for wanting to kill medicare or private size social security. old rich guy or young guy with plan to kill medicare? remember, it's aarp. which of your two guys do you send? >> the first step to a stronger medicare is to repeal obama care because it represents the worst of both worlds. [ crowd boos ] >> i had a feeling there would be mixed reaction. >> that didn't sound so mixed. bonuses all around for the staffers who made that decision. more ahead on that. stand by. in america today we're running out of a vital resource we need
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the criticism of republican candidate mitt romney from his own side, from republicans, is essentially of two different varieties. there are some people criticizing him for his views, for his campaign message and what he says on hidden camera. that's mark mckinnon, the george
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w. bush ad guru say who can support anyone with this view of the country? and another saying mitt romney doesn't know much about the country he inhabits. and that is one variety of republican criticism of mr. romney. this guy would make a horrible president. i can't believe we picked this guy. a lot of the people who are making that criticism are being derided as not real conservatives by other people on the right. the other variety of criticism is ideological. it's not about there being anything wrong about mr. romney's beliefs or policies, their criticism is just that he's running a bad campaign. this is coming from all sorts of people on the right. when the campaign released more of mitt romney's tax information today, a former romney adviser said at first i thought this was an april fool's joke. i can't imagine why they would do this. there are 49 -- 40 days left and you have just made more of them
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about mitt's taxes. and "regime associates are baffled that such a successful corporate leader has created a team with so few lines of authority or accountability. " and they're trashing their own candidate's ability to run a large organization such as a presidential campaign. the criticism of how mr. romney is campaigning and why he's losing has also focused a lot this week on the schedule, on the fact that he's not campaigning very much. mitt romney's spare campaign schedule worries some republicans. fund-raising trumps rallies in romney's schedule. romney's light campaign schedule has led some gop donors to grumble. gop senators offer romney advice. what's their advice? quote, the nominee should be spending more time campaigning in official states. mr. romney was asked about that criticism, if he's going to do more campaign events and start campaigning harder. mitt romney's response to that
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was "ha, ha, we're in the stretch, aren't we? look at those clouds, it's beautiful. look at those things. it's such a strange answer, you have to think maybe he's uncomfortable with the premise of the question. are you going to start campaigning harder? is that a disorienting question? even if campaigning nationally for the presidency is an overwhelming thing in the process. the important consequence is it actually makes campaigning less overwhelming at times like this. it's now less of a daunting prospect, less of a difficult question to answer because it's a less complicated answer. as we get closer to the election, the map of places you need to campaign in gets smaller, not bigger. it's clearer each day which states are in play. campaigns know by now in which
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counties they need to rack up their big margins. and within those counties the campaigns as they get closer to election day can zero in either further within individual counties, focusing even tighter on which specific voters and which specific counties and which specific states are the ones they need. so presidential candidate at this stage of the race ought to be able to answer that question easily. but technologically how the two sides do that focusing in on the people they think they need to persuade is super interesting and this changes with each election cycle now as the technology of this gets better. just as an example. naral pro voice america, an abortion rights group. they briefed people what they're going to do with their $2.5 million before the election. they picked out 25 counties and within those 25 specific counties, they have identified to the person 338,020 specific women they believe they need to
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persuade. naral beliefs they're likely to vote against president obama or not vote at all. they have a very specific message about this election that is targeted to those specific women and they're going to use direct mailers and live phone calls and targeted advertising to try to move them. 338,020 of them and they know exactly who they are. here's another case. everybody knows if you have to pick one swing state to win you would pick florida, right? of all the swing states, florida has the largest number of electoral votes. the polls are tight right now in florida. knowing it's important and knowing you want to win florida is only about step one and a
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half in a 20-step process what it takes to win there. who exactly do you have to turn out? who exactly do you have to target? it's empirical questions that have empirical answers. look at the florida polls. look at this pattern. this is the age groups. as the age groups get older, president obama does worse. he does great with younger people but he's losing among older people in florida. if you look at the latest numbers from florida, survey usa, same pattern. as voters get holder, obama does worse. obama is winning overall in each of these polls but his support is totally dependent on specific age groups. up see the exact same pattern in the data from fox news' latest polling. yeah, fox news. mr. romney is winning with older voters. so if you are a political technician and trying to win the state of florida for your candidate, this polling pattern
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is not just an interesting fact about how this state is likely to vote. what you are looking at right there is actionable intelligence. what political messaging is going to be most effective for winning this state given these age-specific numbers. again, you do not have to guess. it's an empirical question with an empirical answer. it is in the numbers. look from that same fox news poll. regardless of how you might vote, which presidential candidate do you trust to do a better job on protecting medicare? look at the margin. president obama winning that question in florida by a 13-point margin. so the people who want barack obama to win florida are pressing that advantage right now and the people who want mitt romney to win florida are trying to eliminate the president's advantage on that right now and they are both doing it in an intensely targeted way with this crucial block of older voters in florida that everybody knows they've got to persuade. with that in mind, listen to this radio ad that just started running there. >> hello? >> jeffrey, it's your mother. >> hey, mom, how are you? >>.
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>> i'm good. >> what are you doing? >> well, i've been watching tv all day but it's making my head spin. >> what do you mean? >> all these ads about medicare. it's very confusing. >> okay. i've read about it. what do you want to know? >> well, what's the truth about romney and ryan? >> the romney/ryan plan does that's what the "wall street journal" said. >> i don't like the sound of that. >> what i read said seniors would wind up paying over $6,000 more per year. >> that's a fortune to me. >> and romney would make drastic cuts to medicaid, too. two-thirds of seniors rely on medicaid for nursing home care. >> that's terry. >> mom, look. i'm on my commuter -- computer. go to this web site, medicareromneyryan.com and have a look for your son. >> okay, son. take care. >> not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. >> that is how you win florida,
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right? that's an ad from a union that supports president obama. it's targeting with a really good actress. it's why republicans are fighting on that battleground, too. as they launched that radio ad in florida, the romney campaign launched this tv ad for the same state. >> mitt romney and paul ryan get it. medicare is going broke. that's not politics, it's math. anyone who wants to leave medicare like it is is for letting it go bankrupt. my mother's 8 1 and depends on medicare. we can save medicare without changing hers but only if younger americans accept that our medicare will be different than our parents' when we retire in 30 years. but after all they did for us, isn't that the least we can do? >> i'm mitt romney and i approve this message. >> you see the problem with the message there?
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the romney/ryan message in their official campaign there is we need to drastically change medicare. might be okay for people using it now. also i have a mother. i want to throw the word bankrupt out there. if you like medicare, we have serious changes in mind. the democratic message is the republicans want to make serious changes to medicare the republican message is the republicans want to make serious changes to medicare. this doesn't usually happen this way. the republican's campaign verifies and underscores the validity of the democrat's most potent attack with this crucial group of people in this crucial state on this crucial issue. i know that mitt romney approves that message of that ad you just saw but i'll get barack obama approves that message, too. joining us now is karen finney, msnbc political analyst and columnist for "the hill." a former communications director for the democratic party. because i mentioned naral, she is a board member at naral pro-choice america.
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you a political pro. what does it mean when one side is running ads saying how scary that side's position is and the other side is saying yeah, we're saying the exact same thing. >> we're saying we all agree the republicans want to make drastic changes to medicare. it goes to the point that you made earlier in the intro here and it goes to partially why we look at things like honest and trustworthiness and shares my values so closely in the polling and that is there's an agreement that republicans want to make a change. the question for voters is who do you trust? if changes have to be made, who do you trust to be the steward of those changes? one of the things we know, republicans have admitted this, they go into that conversation with a deficit, right? democrats largely are more trusted on the issue of medicare than republicans. so they're already starting with a trust deficit on an issue where they haven't quite locked
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in on a message frankly that is going to get them even with democrats. as we saw from the aarp response today. >> we played a clip of paul ryan being booed when he was talking about wanting to repeal obama care. he was booed throughout the speech. heckled, cat calling throughout the speech. i once asked nancy pelosi at a live event, when george bush came back after reelection and said he wanted to privatize social security, how did you beat that? she said, well, there was a big fight in washington about whether or not we should put up our own plan for doing something else to social security besides privatizing and i quashed all that, i used my power in washington to say no. we have a plan. we do have a plan on social security. you want to know what it's called? it's called social security. she felt that playing pure defense on that, no, we need to
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protect this thing that americans know and love was the way that president bush not only lost that fight but i think it -- it was a part of of the economic reason his second term was scuttled. do you think democrats is something to learn from that here? >> i remember the meetings around that very, very well. again, part of the calculation there is the majority of americans do not trust republicans on this issue. so president bush really put himself out there and then he didn't frankly have an answer that assuaged people's concerns and that's the biggest problem. when you talk about the romney/ryan plan, there are so many gaps that people hear in terms of how will this actually work and that they don't have answers for, which is another pattern with them obviously, that that's part of why they're not able to win on that. part of what democrats are saying is here are the changes, here's what we know about the changes that they want to make and the implications of those changes. romney/ryan don't have an answer for that so that's what hangs in
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people's mind when is they're listening to the debate. >> one more technical, i notice that mitt romney is leading in almost no spring state polls but the polls where mr. romney is leading in the swing states are almost invariably polls that stand out because of their methodology. he's leading in polls that use the old methodology of just calling land lines only and ignoring cell phones. he loses in polls that include cell phones and more modern techniques of polling. as a former dnc spokesperson, what do you think that means? >> here's what i think is going on here. when we're talking about generally people who are using land lines, those tend to be what i would consider more traditional republican voters, they're likely to be a little bit older. this tracks with what you were saying in the intro, voters who are likely to be a little bit older. voters whose cell phone would be the primary way to contact them tend to be more transient, more
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diverse. one thing about the way the polling is break down, it's not telling us all the data about the ethnic and demographic changes in the country. barack obama won the state of virginia but he lost the white vote. it was the black vote that made the difference. the polls doesn't capture a dynamic like that. understand there are other things going on underneath that as you pointed out, that's the kind of data that the campaigns are really looking at as they go county by county and state by state. >> karen finney, former communications director for the democratic party and someone who knows a lot about these things, thank you for being here. >> thank you. one story we did on the show this week that got way, way, way, way more attention and an important follow-up on that story is coming up.
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insight into the creation of "the rachel maddow show." inevitably, 40 minutes into our meeting every day, the whole thing devolves into us all making jokes and saying things about the news that cannot be said on cable tv.
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when that happens, somebody usually reins it in by saying we'll put that on our imaginary late night weekend show and cut loose and break all the rules." we don't have that show but there is that show, produced by people that are way better at it than us by a factor of infinity. >> romney didn't apologize though he said they were elegantly stated. he meant to say 47% of americans are victims and have a sense of entitlement, m'lady. as for his claim that it is not his job to worry about americans who don't pay taxes, i wouldn't worry, buddy. it's looking less and less like it will be your job. [ applause ] >> that is from the "saturday night live" special that they did this week. it's called "saturday night love weekend update thursday." that special will air here on more than at 10:00 p.m. eastern tonight, right after the show which is very exciting. you're not going to prison, you're going to that. we'll be right back.
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vo: get all your friends' photos automatically with share shot on the galaxy s3. hey! first dance! are you kidding me??? one of the main reasons barack obama is president of the united states now is because he was against the iraq war from the start. as a state senator he spoke out against the invasion of iraq saying he was not against all war, but he was against that war. he was never against the afghanistan war, though. when barack obama became president, in part because of that early clear stance against iraq, he quickly made clear that he would keep his commitment to end the war in iraq. and he made clear that the war in afghanistan would grow. at the end of his first year in office, president obama announced a surge of tens of thousands of troops into afghanistan, putting more american there than george w. bush ever did. the president insisted that the surge into afghanistan would not last forever. he said the surge in troop numbers had previously over by roughly now, the end of
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september, 2012. now a little ahead of schedule, before the end of the month, the pentagon has announced that the surge into afghanistan is over. there had been as many as 100,000 americans on the ground in afghanistan. now it is down to 68,000 which, frankly, is still a huge number. especially when you consider how little political attention those 68,000 americans get. our ongoing war in afghanistan is not much of an issue in this all-consuming presidential race. mostly because i think one of the two sides just doesn't want to talk about it at all. the war, mr. romney said, did not come up in his speech accepting the presidential nomination of his party because the speech, he said, wasn't just a laundry list of issues, it was for things he think are important. as in not the war. our war as a country is not a major issue in our presidential race. that is a convenient reason to never really talk about it, even with 68,000 americans still risking their lives there every day. there is one thing i want to point out, a small thing. i think it illustrates an important and widely misconstrued, misunderstood
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thing about what americans care about and what politicians might find really rewarding to talk about. and frankly, what the media might find if we all chose to cover this now. the war, the people fighting the war, and how those people get treated when they come home. okay. here it is -- in addition to this tv show, we have a web site, it's our blog, really. right? called maddow blog. we also have a facebook page. we post six, seven, eight things a day on our facebook page. so just as an example, in case you don't use facebook, here's something we posted this week about former governor tim pawlenty quitting the romney campaign to become a bank lobbyist. look at this line here, that's the anyone of people who liked that post, who clicked the thumbs up and told their facebook friend that they liked what we post good tim pawlenty. this number here, that's the number of people who have commented on the post. anybody can comment on anything we post, and we really do read the comments. look at this. right there. that is the number of times people shared this thing about
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tim pawlenty with their friends. that means they essentially reposted what we posted on their own facebook pages. so the post go from living on our page to living on your page with just a click of that "share" button. that's an important metric. these are all important metrics about how much people are interested in something, how valuable they think it is to know that thing. as you see, the tim pawlenty quitting the romney campaign post is popular. has over 3,000 likes, over 500 comments. shared over 1,000 times. that's cool, right? a lot of people telling other people that some piece of news they got from us was something and useful and other people should know about it, too. and it happens like that a lot on our facebook page. so for about the last month, an average facebook post from us got about 3,800 likes. 1,200 people commented. it was share good 1,000 times. those were our monthly averages until wednesday. this is what i'm getting at. on wednesday republicans in the senate blocked a bipartisan veterans jobs bill that was paid for, it was paid for. five republicans crossed the aisle to vote for it with the
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democrats. but the rest of the senate republicans voted against it, including four particular republican senators who had written parts of the bill themselves but then they voted no. on jobs for veterans. we reported that story here on this tv show. and we wrote about it at maddow blog and post good it on facebook. -- posted about it on facebook. put the numbers up. there you go. those were our monthly average numbers before wednesday. here's what happened when we posted on facebook about republicans killing this veterans jobs bill. you ready? that post got about four times as many likes, facebookwide, as usual. got 15 time the number of comments. got 16 times more -- 16 times more people. shared that post on to their facebook pages from ours. remember, our average numbers over the last month are especially high because of the political conventions. and yet, republicans killing the veterans jobs bill, that blew almost everything else we have ever done out of the water.
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we know generally if people are paying attention to stuff we produce for this tv show by our overall ratings, which have been lovely lately. thank you very much. but in terms of getting specific, in terms of seeing and measuring the impact and your interest in one specific story, this is shocking. i know there's a presidential campaign going on, and i know that it is burning white hot. but i can quantitatively show you that there is genuine, even fervent interest in this country about how we are treating the men and women coming home from these longest wars in american history. it is not my impression, it is not anecdotal. it is an empirical fact. people don't just care about a story like this, they want to share it with their friends, scream it from the rooftops. so to my friends in the media, i say don't cover stories like this because you are a good person or are trying to make a statement. cover the war and the military and people coming home from the wars because you are an am birs writer, blogger, producer, reporter, and you are after clicks a

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