tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC November 17, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PST
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. this morning, my question, would the election behind us, is washington already forgetting about ohio? plus, the gift that keeps on giving. that will beeping sound you hear is the gop bus backing up over mitt romney. and our national obsession with abe lincoln. but first, the power struggle continues. it is deja vu all over again. good saturday morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. now, if you've been paying attention to the news in the past week, you've probably been hearing some big confusing and scary sounding words. words like budget crisis,
deficit sequestration, and of course, the fiscal cliff. listening to breathless elected officials discuss the fiscal cliff can be terrifying. as the story goes, we've made some bad choices over the years. we've tried to outrun it, but in the ends we're trapped and it sounds like like our country is facing this. ♪ but let's just take a moment and breathe. because fear is not going to help. and facts will. here are some of the facts. if a new plan for the federal budget is not reached between congress and the white house by the end of the year, january 1, 2013 will be the first day that significant spending cuts and meaningful tax increases take effect. adding up to about $500 billion in 2013 alone. now, let's remember this cliff is manufactured. the result of lawmakers tying each other's hands back during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle.
first all of the bush era tax cuts would be eliminated. bringing taxes on nearly every taxpayer and many businesses back to the preet-2001 rates. the payroll tax cuts instituted by president obama which has benefited the middle class will also expire along with $26 billion in unemployment insurance that supports thousands of americans without jobs. add that to the huge cuts in financing for nearly all federal programs, military and civilian alike, which would be about another $65 billion. now, why are we on this cliff again? aren't you thinking to yourself, don't these guys in washington do this every year? well, yeah. it wasn't always so dramatic. republicans and democrats alike have routinely raised taxes and made surgical cuts notice government services. back in 1982, even the gop hero ronald reagan instituted one of the largest tax increases in modern american history. what's going on? i this i it comes down to one important word, than word actually isn't taxes. it's power. here at the fiscal cliff base
camp are the same players in the same chairs, the same issues as 2011 but man, the power dynamics have changed. if last year the name of the game was hold the line, this year the opening salvos are more about let's get things done. here is house speaker john boehner yesterday after meeting with the president. >> i believe that the framework that i've outlined in our meeting today is consistent with the president's call for a fair and balanced approach. to show our seriousness, we've put revenue on the table. >> now, in politics, much of power is about perception. in a post re-election 2012, perceptions are mighty different. here's the president at his first post re-election press conference on wednesday. >> if there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and mr. romney, it was when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i
argued for a balanced responsible approach and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more. i think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate. and the majority of voters agreed with me. by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. >> now, that is not the president obama of yesteryear or even last year. this week the president's opening bid was to raise $1.6 trillion in revenue from letting the bush tax cuts on the top earners expire. instituting the buffett rule letting estate taxes go back to 2009 levels and closing loopholes. the president people are saying is in throwdown mode. if he's ready to throwdown, he just may have the power to keep us from that thelma and louise finale. with me at the table is new york congressman gregory meeks, a democrat and member of the financial services committee. ryan alexander of taxpayers for
common sense, danielle garza of the libre initiative and louisiana state senator karen carter carpenter chair of the louisiana democratic party. thanks to everybody for being here. i want to start with you, representative meeks. i was making this point that isn't this what you guys do? don't you look at the federal budget, you make decisions. when i look at this fiscal cliff on the one hand i hear folks saying look, you got all the power this time on the democratic side. go ahead and go over this cliff. on the other hand, i look at the folks most likely to be fundamentally implemented by it, they're the most vulnerable. how do you manage that power relationship? >> i think that the president is doing it right. i think that you see the tone has changed by the speaker particularly. there's a difference this time than it was before. >> yeah. >> before when you had the tea parties who came in 2010 and they are the grover norquist no taxes and they were campaigning, so they were not move aginch. we knew we were going to have to
move some and everything had to be on the table. i think that the speaker now understood is as he understood then. he tried to strike a deal back then and when he came back, his confidence wouldn't allow him to strike the deal. i think now he is more empowered to strike a deal because the conference be sees the results of the election and know the american people have spoken and now a deal can be struck and we'll get one done. >> this is not a small point. we talk as though we're in this great partisan divide as though the parties are always totally in lock step. the big issue was that the republican party itself was being held hostage by a mini power play. is that different this time? >> i don't think it is. in fact, within conservative circles what you're hearing there is going to be a -- they're going to dig in. >> the tea party faksz. >> especially, but i think there is enough outside of the tea party faction where they're saying this is still about principles and ideas. and the idea here is that you know what we want to see is no to revenue, but if you are going
to say yes to revenue, a compromise on revenue antic it up more on the maximum tax, what we want to see are really promises on entitlement reform and something real in cuts. until you get that, i don't think you're going to see any movement. >> the problem is they didn't win. when they didn't win the election and the majority of americans said that way doesn't work, i tend to disagree a little bit with daniel in that if you listen to governor jindal, it seems as though they're backing away and trying to tone down some of the rhetoric. but the rhetoric doesn't match it the the policies. they can't hold on to those kinds of policies. everybody has something at stake. the deadline is real now. >> this is not a small point. this idea that on the one hand, nothing changes. obviously this is the same actual human beings, the same people in the same positions as before because it's not post january 20th. but the outcome of the election does feel like it is fundamentally change the how
power is operating. >> i think the other power dynamic that changed is speaker boehner's power has changed. he worked really hard to re-elect his caucus and got a majority of his caucus when a democratic president won in a difficult economy. he can say to his caucus follow me here. he's gotten things done in his career in washington. if you look at his power, his changing power within his caucus, he's going to be able to pull a few more members with him. i know there are definitely conservatives saying hey, we came to town on principle. we believe this. this is what we believe. and we're not going to change our minds. >> let's talk principle a little bit. part of why i want you here at the table, in the least partisan terms like sort of clearest way possible, when we're looking at this, this is not the debt ceiling. the fiscal cliff is a different thing. and part of how we determine where power sits is in the perceptions of the market and the market seems to be kind of like well, whatever.
there doesn't seem to be the same angst we saw in the run-up to the debt ceiling debate. is there a principle issue here? >> it's worth noting the debt ceiling comes back up in the early part of the year and congress and the president are hoping that could be circled into whatever lame duck deal is made. >> but see, what happens is why our government works is we generally find a way to compromise. if you stand on one principle, then the country never moves forward. the way our country always moved forward was we found a way to compromise. we need reasonable people to compromise. we don't expect all of the members of the republican party to say we're going to vote this way. we need democrats and republicans, some democrats and some republicans, to come away to be the majority of the votes to say we're going to move this country forward. that's why our government has been the strength and we've been who we are in the united states of america. >> we're going to come back on this because karen, i'm particularly interested in talking to you about this because as a democrat in bobby
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again. that was from 2011, not this year. what a difference a year makes. that was house majority leader eric cantor muscle flexing on the house floor. but that was a year ago. amid the heated debt deal negotiations. back then, he and his tea party affiliated obstructionist policies had a very strong voice. leader kantor had been a mentor figure to many of the freshman gop house members voted in during the 2010 midterms and they were the group speaker boehner could not get in line to work towards a compromise last year. this week, there was no seat at the table for mr. cantor. are the power politics of 2012 different enough to stave off this dire fiscal future? back to the panel. so eric's gone. he's not at the table this time, daniel. >> well, but the situation is that president obama didn't win a monarchy. he won the presidency. this is still a republic.
you have to be persuasive in your arguments about the merits of the policy. and so what americans have seen here is that we still have a stagnant economy. we have unemployment through the roof. that hasn't moved at all. we have $6 trillion more in debt. so the i think there is still enough leverage on the republican side to say we are going to stick to our principles. the last thing they want is for president obama to play lucy with the football where the charlie brown makes promises and doesn't fulfill the promises. >> i will give you we don't end up in some fundamentally different economic circumstance in terms of unemployment. i think that's exactly why the stim laltive effect rather than the austerity measures are so important. if we listen to lee sanders from afscme. let's listen to the afscme president lee saunders. >> we're going to keep our members mobilized and organized in the different communities across the country. we're going into another campaign. we won the election but we're going into another campaign now.
>> congressman meeks, that's right. win agelection is not staging a coup. everybody's got to work together and come to compromise as you pointed out. there have been some real wins and the folks on the left are saying yeah, we're going to stand on principle and the principle is stimulative effect to get the economy going, not austerity. >> the president has always said there are certain things we must invest in. you talk about investing in roads and infrastructure and education, those are things important to our country. that is stimulus also. it helps us build jobs. it helps us to make sure america is moving forward. the american people agreed with that. that's why the president won the election. not only by an electoral college landslide but with the majority of americans votes. we're going to continue to move that way. that doesn't mean we're not going to have some compromise in order to make sure we move it the country forward. the president has been clear on it. if we're going to move forward, we've got to do that. the difference had been for 14 years, two years the last two years, we were not able to do
anything. why? because the republicans took the position they were not going to agree to anything. you saw a vast majority of them where they would vote almost with exclusivity. nobody would change. this time i think you see that the republicans won't be in 100% lock step with their ideological positions. some realize that they're state will be on the line and they have to compromise. that along with the democrats move along will give us the numbers we need to move our country forward. >> there's a real claim the president was making that taxes were actually were a core issue of the campaign. and that you know, whatever responsibility people have to govern, that there is a bit of a mandate to reduce those taxes for the middle class or at least hold them stable but to allow the expiration of the bush tax cuts at the top. really, is that seriously going to send us into recession? we know this could send us into double dip recession. would letting the expiration of
the tax cuts at the top send us into such a kind of recession? >> this comes down to principle for the folks. no one wants to see the economy clash. there are enough folks in the republican party who feel like what leads to growth is making sure that job creators have as much money as they can to create jobs. you can debate all day long who is a job creator. i hire a baby-sitter. i'm not in the top 2%. everybody is spending money in the economy and how equally you weight that is the question. >> the fact is that poor folks are more stimulative of the economy in terms of the percentage of their money. >> unemployment benefits go right back out the door to the grocery store. >> making sure those folks still have cash in their accounts has an oo enormous impact on it the economy. karen, we an keep talking about whether or not there's a mandate and republicans winning their majority. you and i both live in louisiana which is a pretty safely red
state for the most part for now. for the moment. both you and congressman meeksing are in legislatures where you are in a party that is in a minority, doesn't mean that you just don't govern. how do you negotiate power in that kind of skarks? >> we still are able to challenge, and congressman meeks is able to do that within the house, challenge the flawed policies being espoused by the majority. we're all at an impasse. that deadline is real at the federal level. i promise you that the republicans that congressman meeks is working with don't want the middle class to have an increase in taxes. >> yeah. >> that drives them probably more in my opinion than to see a tax increase for the wealthy, the 1%. and those people live in my state. >> exactly. >> even though it's a red state right now, those people are being governed by leaders and they're watching what congressman scalise is doing over in the republican conference now, and can he be an
extremist. two years is not a long time. they're constantly campaigning and certainly have agopen presidential race in four years is going to dictate how their actions and their policies develop. >> right and influence what's happening. up next, there is another voice that is trying, trying for relevance. grover norquist. his fight to remain relevant when we come back. [ female announcer ] over every holiday season your mouth has been sipping, snacking, yellowing. nutcracking, gift stacking, yellowing. mistletoe'ing, ho ho ho'ing, yellowing. and every holiday season, your teeth have been yellowing. fact is if you're not whitening, you're yellowing. crest 3d white whitestrips remove over 10 years of stains, and whiten 25 times better than a leading whitening toothpaste. crest. life opens up when you do. in a hurry? try 2 hour express whitestrips, just in time for a white holiday.
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another holiday stuck at the kids table again. then it happened. every boy's dream. i got called up to the big leagues. i was finally a man... on my way to shaving, driving and staying up past midnight. [ whoosh ] [ whoosh ] [ whoosh ] being an adult is overrated. [ male announcer ] holidays aren't the same without the real cream of reddi-wip. the sound of reddi-wip [ whoosh ] is the sound of joy. the first man over the fiscal cliff may in fact be its engineer. conservative activist grover norquist. yes, i did bring grover up. i couldn't help it. but he has spent the past decades intensely focusing on keeping every republican lawmaker in line on tax policy. it has been a gop prerequisite to sign his anti-tax pledge or face the consequences.
this was norquist last year in the midst of the grand bargain appearing on cbs' "60 minutes." >> you make it pretty clear if someone breaks the pledge, you're going to do everything you can to get rid of them. >> to educate the voters that they raise taxes. again, we educate people to get rid of them. >> to encourage them to go into another line of work. >> you've got them by the short hairs. >> the voters do, yeah. >> and they have to march in lock step with grover norquist. >> with the taxpayers of their state. i applaud from the sidelines. i go very good, yes. >> this week, norquist is grasping at his own short hairs trying to hold on to relevance. >> well, we just had an election and the house of representatives was elected committed to keeping taxes low. the president was committed elected on the basis that he was not romney and that romney was a poopy head and you should vote against romney. he won by two points but he didn't make the case we should have higher taxes and higher
spending. he kind of sounded like the opposite. >> elections do have consequences. as grover knows only too well. i figure if he can say poopy head i can bring a stuffed animal to represent him on set. okay, two things i want to talk about here. one is what happens to policy making when someone who is unelected is able to get folks to sign a pledge and they are held to that pledge in the process of politics? is this just for the republican party just bad politics to let an unelected leader have this much power? >> i don't think so. i think this pledge is a reflection of the ideology that stands behind this. this isn't about grover. this is about the ideas still and the principles. >> it is about grover. it's about the fact that he would put massive resources to primary anybody who didn't sign this pledge. >> but at the end of the day, this is about the government drawing more resources from the private sector and leaving less moneyton create and generate jobs and prosperity and growth.
that's what it's about here. it's not about a personality but about the issue. that's what drives people to sign that. >> this election, as soon as grover couldn't protect the people who signed his pledge all of a sudden this so-called principled stance started falling apart. we're starting to see republicans say hey, we'll take a hard look at tax policy. let's talk about entitlements and tax policy for a minute here. if we look at social security, for example, seems like there's two easy solutions on both sides. if democrats said all right, we're going to raise retirement age basically a couple of years, seems reasonable, new life expectancies, but also, we could very easily increase the revenue possible just by raising that thresh hold, making everybody pay in up to $250,000 or $300,000 worth of earnings. you can't do that if you got grover standing in the middle of it. >> the one thing that he said in that "60 minutes" piece is this is about members of congress relationship to their voters. if the most important pledge they took is to represent those
voters. a lot of those folks who signed the pledge absolutely are idea logically in lock step and real heartfelt agreement with mr mr. norquist. for other folks hog feel like yeah, i generally don't want higher taxes but i got to make sure i'm taking care of constituents and doing the right thing for the country may be able to move in a way that feels totally right with their conscience. money does matter in elections but it's not the only thing that matters. a lot of people spent a lot of money to try to unelect people and didn't always win. >> his relevance is about over because you know, i think that the american people have spoken. the american people have said they want what the president had been talking about, fairness. that's what's important, not just taking a stand idea logically and saying it's going to be my way or the highway and you sign this pledge and we're not going to do what's in the best interests of this country. that's not what made this
country. it's fairness. that was the president's message. we're going to make sure democrats -- we want democrats and republicans to work together. we're tired of washington and them taking these partisan stances and not moving forward. we want people to work together. i think that folks are going to start judging us on that. this election would have even been different. redistricting made a difference. that was a huge piece in why they were able to maintain the majority. >> ended up with more democrats getting more votes in the u.s. house of representatives but not taking more seats because of redistricting in 2010. >> let's not have the funeral so soon for grover. i don't want to revive him or resuscitate him not just yet. he didn't act alone. so there was alec and there were other organizations and there were big pacs and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in furtherance of what his principles and what he's espousing. >> citizens united opened the floodgates for doing that. >> we can't just bury grover which i'd oo lolove to do and i
other forces in play. let's be mindful of that as we move forward. if you just take what speaker boehner said yesterday, grover's in trouble. he said i'm putting revenue on the table. no one has been able to say that definitively and get away with it and move forward with actually putting revenue on the table in the form of tax spending. just in louisiana, we spend $3 billion in tax spending alone. you know, there's an obsession from my governor's perspective with spending just on the tax side and corporate welfare. >> speaking of your governor, he's also my governor. as soon as we come back, i have got a letter to my governor. you all know you love my dears. mine is to dear bobby jindal when we come back. ah. fire bad! just have to fire roast these tomatoes. this is going to give you a head start on your dinner. that seems easier [ female announcer ] new progresso recipe starters. five delicious cooking sauces
to make amazing sfx- "sounds of african drum and flute" look who's back. again? it's embarrassing it's embarrassing! we can see you carl. we can totally see you. come on you're better than this...all that prowling around. yeah, you're the king of the jungle. have you thought about going vegan carl? hahaha!! you know folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than antelope with night-vision goggles. nice! get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. a lot of letters are being sent and received in my home
state of louisiana this week. wenz, bruce green steen our secretary of health sent a letter to washington on behalf of his boss, governor bobby jindal refusing to set up a state runnen insurance exchange required by the affordable care act. thursday new orleans mayor mitch bran landrieu wroest jindal and greenstein reminding them of the critical health needs in our state and urging them to reconsider their position. then friday, the editors of the typically conservative new orleans times picayune weighed in with a letter to readers stating very clearly governor jindal is ignoring his people's needs. i decided to get in on this one and address my letter this week to my own governor, bobby jindal. dear governor bobby jindal, it's me, melissa. mind if i call you by your given name? no, you prefer bobby? okay, bobby, you're the governor of a poor state. 21.6% of your constituents live below the official poverty line. 20% of them lack health
insurance. we rank 49th in bhild well being and we boast one of the worse income inequality gasp in the nation. being governor of a state with this much poverty and inequality ought to give you a special sense of urgency but you don't seem to give a damn. what you do care about is reaching higher office and why not. your term limited in louisiana and the white house will have an opening in four years. so for you, it's onto the next one, right in the looks like you're 2016 machine is raring to go. head of the republican governors association, check. chastising the defeated governor romney for his gifts comments, check. calling on republicans to stop being the stupid party of dumbed down conservatism and encouraging them to reach out to a broader base. check. not bad for the national stage, bobby. but what about your own backyard? those louisianians without health insurance could benefit from the medicaid expansion that
president obama's affordable care act would provide because in louisiana, more than 68% of those medicaid recipients are poor children. but you'd much rather lead 15 other states in massive resistance against so-called big government and tell your constituents good luck in the private sector. speaking of the private sector, seems like you'd also like to sell off our kids' education to the highest bidder. that educational voucher system you established the largest one in the country that gives vouchers to religious schools that teach creationism and allows them to keep their state funding even if their students fail basic reading and math tests, that one? we're not fooled. this is not about reform. it is about as the interfaith alliance wrote your inability to distinguish between religious indom trin nation and basic public education. and you think you might be just a little bit more suspicious of the whole private sector equals public good equation in the week when bp pled guilty to 14
criminal charges in connection with the deepwater horizon's rig explosion just off our shores two years ago. you chastised president obama's energy policy by saying it was ". subservient by-product of his radical environmental policy." but even as our fragile coast loses a football field of protective wetlands every 38 minutes, you, bobby, remain in favor of new drilling parcels, hydrofracking and the keystone xl pipeline. just who is the environmental radical. >> tell you what, if you're board dealing with the real problems that face us in louisiana and ready to move onto the national stage, don't wait. pull a palin. quit now. we'll find somebody else. because you know as we say in nerdland, #fbj. forget bobby jindal. sincerely, melissa. into their work,
their name on the door, and their heart into their community. small business saturday is a day to show our support. a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors. and do our part for the businesses that do so much for us. on november 24th, let's get out and shop small. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. so i never missed a beat. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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last tuesday, the nonstop barrage of political ads final ended and then yesterday in ohio. more good news. in the buckeye state, the october unemployment rate was revealed to be 6.9%, a full point below the national rate and the lowest in the state since august of 200 . ostensibly, things are getting better in ohio. except for the poorest. who rely on the supplemental nutritional assistance program, s.n.a.p. or food stamps. the news this weeking that those households may lose up to $50 a month in assistance when the new year begins. toledo blade wrote for the households enrolled in the program, the poorest ohioans, that $50 deficit per month could amount to about $520 million annually cut out of the grocery budgets statewide. so late yesterday, we learned that the reduction is now more
likely to be not $50 but only end up to $23 per month. but at issue still is the formula used by the federal government to calculate whether or not you are food secure. that formula takes into account the cost of utilities. so you may not quite get this. in order to determine whether or not you are in a place where you can purchase enough food, we look at last year's utility bills. and last year's mild winter in ohio a drop in the cost of natural gas for home heating means that s.n.a.p. recipients will receive less aid next year. however in, areas of the state southern ohio in particular, many rural homes don't use natural gas. and ohio is not the lone state facing this challenge. but as we focus this morning on those living below the line, we're going to begin there. joining my panel at the table is jelani cobb, associate professor the university of connecticut. but first, let's go to columbus
ohio to talk with lisa hamler fugate, executive director the choi association of food banks. >> thank you for having me. >> we've been following this story all week and we're happy to see the news it's going to be closer to 23 rather than $50 a month. explain to me how that change occurred. >> obviously, the ohio department of job and family services that administers the program along with advocates for the poor and hungry in the state working with united states department of can agriculture were able to resubmit a methodology taking into account propane, which is an unregulated utility in the state of ohio. but again, you're right. beat did have a mild winter but also had an extremely hot summer requiring many with health conditions to run air-conditioners and they're struggling right now to be able to pay those very high electric bills that are past due. >> lisa, your point here is one that i'm not sure that all folks
understand how we understand what food insecurity looks like. you know, ever since we started talking about poverty on this poverty for months now, i'll get e-mails from folks saying there aren't really poor people in america. poverty is a thing of other countries of the so-called third world. what does $23 or $50 look like in terms of real food on the table of a family that has to use s.n.a.p.? >> $23, a loss of $23 of benefits means 15 meals a month will be foregone or lost to low income families. let me put it in context. what we're talking about is a single parent with one child who will see their food stamp benefits reduced from $138 a month to $115 a month per person. it means that they're going to use multiple coping strategies including reducing the size and portion of the parents' meals,
skipping meals, sending their children to family and friends' homes to eat. borrowing food, borrowing money and then coming to one of our 3,000 food pantries soup kitchens or homeless shelters during the last two weeks of the month trying to be able to get enough food to feed themselves. it's a working parent earning less than $7.20 an hour or $15,000 a year. >> i want to follow up on two things there. one, your point these are often working folks, that this is poverty that is associated with people actually having jobs. and the other thing the way that this hits kids, one of the things we see in schools, for example, is during the last week of the month often the more discipline problems because kids are actually coming to school hungry. is that the sort of thing that you're pointing out to us here? >> absolutely. and we pay a horrible high cost for hunger. hunger is merely a symptom of poverty and in our state, we'll spend $6.97 billion in
associated costs to hunger. that's going to be lost educational attainment for our children, lost productivity for our adults higher health care costs associated with that, as well as the cost of charity. 75% of all s.n.a.p. benefits go to households with children. this is the first line of defense against hunger in our state and nation for children and working families, seniors and persons with disabilities. >> lisa, stay right there. we're going to stay on this topic. i'm going to bring my panel in when we come back after the break. this issue of food security in ohio. the boys use capital one venture miles
hemler-fugitte. and back with me, jelani cobb, ryan alexander, daniel garza and karen carter peterson. i want to start with you gelani. we heard a lot in this cycle about the food stamp president as though that was itself sort of a problem. pretty stunning then that ohio which gives the president the victory is now facing a food stamp reduction. >> right. i think the interesting thing here is the trajectory that we've seen this idea of food stamps take in terms of american public policy. one of the things that we could actually be proud of in american history was the movement to eliminate hunger. actual bona fide day to day hunger that existed in this country and food stamps are the line of defense against this. the other thing is that we had something that we would think of now as completely politically untenable. butthrough throughout the 1960s into the '70s, we had welfare rights organizations. >> yeah, right, exactly. johnny tillman and folks like
thissing. people organizing to say we should not have poverty in this country and we have to as a society we have a responsibility to make sure that no child goes to school hungry. this kind of goes to show how far we've gotten from that idea. >> this is not a small thing. we were talking about the fiscal cliff initially. again, maybe wall street won't experience a fiscal cliff if we go around that curve or bend but these are the sorts of families who would immediately feel it. this feels to me what an actual fiscal cliff is. is there a way to get bipartisan agreement on something like food security? >> it's interesting. foreign politics are very bipartis bipartisan, but they're really, really tricky. we're looking into this lame duck and they might pass a farm bill that provides increased corporate welfare, that provides that increases the entitlements available to farmers through crop insurance, through a new program called shallow losses. at the same time we're debating on the margins what size are the cuts to food stamps. those are the food stamp conversations and the s.n.a.p.
conversations are plor partisan than the rest of the farm bill but this was a record profit year for farms and we're talking about giving them more money. so that's the kind of conversation we've got to see in washington. it's not partisan. that's regional but we can't necessarily afford to give wealthy farmers handouts through the farm bill when people are struggling. >> it's interesting. we've talked before about the farm bill and the fact that food stamps are part of it. when you look at the community that is farmers, again, louisiana is a poor state. it's a state where many in both our rural communities and our urban communities rely on this supplemental nutrition program. is there space within sort of even the formulas that zat governments have for kind of bipartisan agreement around this. >> there's no question when you talk about the farm bill, you'll find every member of the congressional delegation supports the subsidies for the agricultural community and ultimately the very poor we have in our state. but i think there is that common ground with respect to meeting the needs of poor people and as
a professor said, the -- those that are hungry. if you don't -- this is a safety net program. we talked about medicare and medicaid and social security. this is a safety net program but it's not a safety hammock, right? it's supposed to be there for a short period of time to help those in need. that's what we do. that's what government is there for. it's not for you to lounge around on a hammock, a safety hammock. and it's supposed to provide a fundamental need and no one, i think we all agree that no one in the country should go hungry. >> and yet, daniel, the language of food stamps was particularly during the republican primary and then even again, it revived during the general election this sort of language of like the 47%, the entitled, the gifts. but we're looking at images of kids who are going to school hungry. i feel like republicans get real bipartisan on this when you show
those images but the fact is when they attack those programs in theory, they are attacking poor kids. >> well, what they're attacking more than anything is not the wasted money as much as it is the wasted lives. and the wasted futures of people who get caught up in of this safety hammock let's just say. what they want is a tramp mo lean. of course, you're going to work hard to fulfill the need that exists. everybody is touched by poverty at one point in their life with need, with scarcity. >> not everybody is. >> my parents were farm workers. i grew up migrating from california, nebraska, and washington state. i know what need is and what poverty is. they never took welfare. >> this is an interesting point. it does feel like the republican party on this question is made up of two different coalitions. one is often the sort of up from narrative of folks who came up from circumstances of poverty. then there is the mitt romney version of republicanism we saw on display this time which isn't an up from there. it's very much we have it and want to protect it narrative. >> well, look, i work for a
school district in south texas. and we were dealing with a truancy case in one instance. it was a 12-year-old on her second pregnancy. they said because we have klee claims at a welfare bite. we are not in an ungenerous nation. $1 trillion we pay for 82 means tested welfare programs. >> if you have a 12-year-old who is in a circumstance of pregnancy, it is almost certain that she is not pregnant by a 12-year-old boy. it is almost certain that she is pregnant by someone who is basically in a situation of at a minimum statutory rape and perhaps worse, and yet, you had -- okay. i'm going to back off a bit. i don't want to move too far from our issue of food. i've got it say when i hear stories like that, i want to come back to you, lisa. i wonder why we even get into a kind of ethic cal conversation when talking about food. that feels like it is separate from whether or not someone is moral or ethical that we ought to have as a nation an ethical responsibility toward the
provision of sufficient food resources. >> absolutely. i mean, you ite or you die. it's that simple. and to believe that we can't feed one in four poor children who live in poverty, many who live in abject poverty by providing a basic safety net, a nutritional safety net means we are sacrificing not only their future but our future as a country and our ability to compete in a global marketplace. you know, i find it very interesting that food stamps became front and center during this political debate while 2 billion was spent fighting out a campaign. we had millions, 47 million americans, many who work every day who don't earn enough to be able to put food on their table and a roof over their head. i prefer to view the s.n.a.p. program for working families as a work support program.
they are strugglinging with wage suppression. minimum wage jobs, rising costs, especially for housing. and this has become a work support program just as medicaid has. it's supporting low wage workers. >> lisa, i love that. i'm going to begin to borrow and use that language. it is a work support program. these are often working families. the idea that you can work full-time in this country and still not have sufficient income to feed one's family is a real shame on our nation. thank you for joining us from columbus, ohio. lisa hamler-fugitt. >> thank you to ryan alexander here at the table and the rest are back for more. coming up, suddenly it seems that republicans just can't stop talking about race. is it just that they're missing one key point? that's next. new trident layers juicy berry + tangy tangerine
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. christmas came about two months early this year. a skinny black san tan claus made his list, checked them twice and flew all across the land, sprinkling gifts among all the black, latino, young voters who showed them their appreciation. that is the bedtime mitt romney is telling himself on those sleepless nights when he lies awake still trying to make sense of why he's not the president. the former governor got caught on tape again. speaking to a group of wealthy like-minded people again. telling us what he really thinks about the half of the country whose votes he couldn't win again. >> what the president, president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinaire financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.
>> romney's story was actually the second chapter in the tale republicans have been spinning to explain the election. the first came earlier in the week when romney's former running mate paul ryan placed the blame on democrats in urban areas. >> the surprise was some of the turnout. some of the turnout especially in urban areas which definitely gave president obama the big margin to win this race. >> never mind the fact that he and mitt romney can also count largely rural states among those they lost. because we all know who ryan was really talking about when he mentioned those urban areas. mitt romney clarified that on his conference call the very next day. now, of course, romney was only resurrecting an old narrative he introduced on that other recording. the story of the makers and the takers where he is the champion of the hard working majority and the rest, the 47% are looking to president obama to give them an unearned handout. you see, that's something about
bedtime stories and fairy tales. they're full of lovely lies, lies we tell ourselves to try and understand the harsh reality. for mitt romney and republicans that reality is this, it's not them. it's you. instead of asking themselves yls obama won such a diverse group of voters, republicans might need to ask themselves a different question. why did they lose them? i'm happy to help with the answers. they lost them because the people of color who voted for president obama did not like being treated like something less than what they are, american citizens. they lost them because actively working to deny the vote to some of those citizens is a great way to make sure those citizens deny their vote to you. and they lost because the obama campaign ran like a well-oiled machine meticulously seeking out potential new voters getting them registers and getting them out to vote. they lost because while they were busy telling themselves about mitt meant tum, they weren't paying attention to the math. facility bob mcdonald's recent
comments are any indication, the numbers still don't add up to much. at the recent meeting of the republican governors association, mcdonald said this. >> they have i think two women in minorities. we have seven. the point is the people coming into the republican -- well, sometimes. the people that are coming in and are now the leaders in our party at the governor's ranks reflect a much more diverse group than the democrat governors today. >> so hearing mcdonnell's statement i'm reminds of the words of zorral neil hursston when she said all my skin folk ain't my kin folk. in other words, the republican party can try to woo women and voters of color with all the bobby jindals, nikki haley's and kelly ayottes they want and nobody will be fooled because it's the policies, not the people that show how much you care. with me at the table is new york congressman gregory meeks, a democratic member of the financial services committee,
daniel garza of the libre initiative, jelani cobb from the university of connecticut and michael skoal nick, i'm sorry, suddenly your name looked like something i could not pronounce, the political director to hip-hop pioneer russell simmons and the copresident of global grind.com. because i butchered your name, i'm going to go to you first on this. >> my pleasure. >> look, it does feel to me like probably the most appalling or almost sort of ugly part of the gifts narrative is that many of these communitiesen turned out for the president also have the highest unemployment rates. you know, we're experiencing some of the worst aspects of the recession. this isn't about gifts. this is about something else. >> what the republicans don't understand, what mitt romney certainly does not understand is that our generation has waited for this moment. we have fought tooth and nail over the course of our lifetime for this moment to have a more compassionate america, more generous america and more tolerant america.
we waited in line with older black people, with women, with lgbt community till the president gave his victory speech. there was folks in florida still online at 1:30 in the morning when he was giving his victory speech to vote. so all this nonsense about how young people, people of color, you know voted for the president because he was giving them gifts, this is the moment we've waited for. to have a president who represents us, who speaks to us and who fight for us. >> it's an interesting point here because you know, one of the things that allows the president to have not only an electoral college victory but a popular vote victory is that folks in plays like new york and louisiana and so-called safe red and blue states nonetheless showed up to vote for the president even though at the presidential level their vote didn't count in the same way. yet, it makes a big difference if he wins with a popular mandate and an electoral college win. >> you're absolutely right in your opening remarks, people are not going to be denied the right to vote. people are not going to be denied -- when you start talking
about voter suppression and all going on, people said we're going to show we're going to stand and vote. we're not going to let people take away our rights. it is about issues. people are spectacular the. whether you're poor, some people think that poor people are not smart people, they're very smart and understand there is -- >> they understand their interests and who represents them best. for them, it's really not a matter of party too much. the other party does not represent their interests. does not articulate anything that will benefit them. so why should they vote for them? they're voting for the individual and it was clear. you had mitt romney on the one end to talked about who he cared about, and the 47%, that was for sure. and then you had barack obama talking about fairness and moving forward and who do you think they're going to vote for. they know their interests this election was one of the most important elections in their lives and they wanted to make sure their vote counted no matter what state they were from. >> there was an increase in some of these groups.
there are some things that were said by republicans over the course of the week that are not completely wrong. i mean,ing if urban is not just a code word, if it is actually descriptive, that's not completely wrong. urban areas, african-americans, latinos but also workers. >> high skrengss of folks. >> purpled out the state. but the notion that bobby jindal, suzanne nan martinez, nikki haley, marco rubio, sandoval, that sort of group of people, you guys do have a pretty diverse bench but can you turn that kind of face diversity into instinct that is a meaningful coalition? >> i think they are flexing their cultural capital. these folks who are diverse within the republican party. and i think what -- i think what folks fundamentally want to know is my life going to be better if i choose you. and i think the sentiment that they have is, well, they're going to look at them san say
are you going to give me access and look out for my interests and my community. if you say words that lack understanding, that is going to turn them off. i think that is what the faces of diversity like you were saying are sort of flexing back on and saying yes, we do look like you and yes, we do feel you. >> this is the worst kind of diversity though. it's like show up so we can count you. >> seven. >> anyone who can tell you the number of catholic friends they have is saying right then, i think of you as a catholic, not as a friend. anybody else is going to say we're going to keep count. i thought the republicans were against quotas. so all of a sudden, the numbers. >> binders full of women. >> 7 or so.
i wasn't sure how the numbers added up. i want to show how the numbers added up. double counted or not. but nevertheless, this is the worst kind of diversity. >> in the sense that it feels like it is diversity. what i hear from both of you is this sense of like empowerment. >> i think that there are issues. if you look back on the first time there are certain issues especially for young people that meant a lot to us that got
accomplished. immigration reform movement. executive order of the president on the part of the d.r.e.a.m. act was important for us. >> baby dpreem. >> health care reform was important us. we got a shot. we want real immigration reform. we want education reform. we want a real climate change policy. if mitt romney was in office on january 21st, we won't have a shot. now we've got do the working. >> cut out the middle man for student loans which were saved. young people a whole lot of money, making sure you keep the interest rates low so they don't have to pay more money so they can get the education they need to grow their future. making sure we're investing in stem programs so they know they the opportunities for them will be there in the future so that they can live as well if not better than their parents. those are the kinds of positions that the president took. that's speaking to their interest, their future supposed to what romney was talking about. these young people said we know what is in our interests. we also know that it took eight years to get us in the problems we were in and that this president did not cause those problems. >> i want to be a little bit careful because i feel like we've overstated the idea that like white folks are over because i mean, if we look at the senate, for example, it is still the vast majority confident cbc, the cbc is mostly from pretty safe districts in the sense of racially safe districts because it is still so hard to be elected as a person of color in a broad district. >> right. >> i think one of the things
we're talking about here is backing up to romney's statement the implications of it is that the president would be doing exactly what elected officials are supposed to do. >> governing toward your constituency. >> you vote for people for particular reasons. the kind of great philosophical axiom of don't hate the player, hate the game, the idea that when someone votes they have particular things, how do these things line up with the candidate's platform and if this person is elected how can i expecting that to impact my life. that is basic pluralistic democracy right there. >> and mitt romney is a hater. up next, i see black people everywhere. even in maine. i'm going to explain when we come back. if you think running a restaurant is hard, try running four. fortunately we've got ink.
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>> in some parts of rural maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted election day. everybody has the right to vote. but nobody in town knows anybody that's black. how did it happen? i don't know. we're going to find out. >> it is not hard necessarily to believe that maine republican party chairman charlie webster was surprised by reports of black people turning out en masse by the dozens to vote on election day after all, according to the u.s. census, maine is one of the whitest states in the country. african-americans only the make up 1.3% of the population. so it's probably pretty easy to be a white person in maine and go a whole day, a week, maybe months, maybe years without ever seeing anything other than white folks. but the plural of anecdote is not evidence just because he doesn't see them doesn't mean that they aren't there. in fact, about 17,266
african-americans among, are among maine's population of 1.3 million. in fact, i've got one of them with me today. a real-life black person from maine. joining me now via skype. shea student boulet writer of the blog black girl in maine. nice to see you. >> nice to be here. thank you. >> so shea, tell me what did you think he when you first heard these comments? >> i was literally on my way into a board meeting and i heard the comments and i was just stunned. one, because there are black people in maine. i live here. i've been here for the past ten years. i'm not a native here. i know plenty of black people who live in maine. i was deeply offended by webster's comments. >> i'm not sure that you're in maine because you're joining us via skype with a white background. it's possible that you're just in brooklyn. i'm going to take your word for it. but look, i was just at bays
college a couple of years ago. there was sort of an active african-american community there. it seems often in communities where there are small black communities, those communities have to be even more robust because they're small. do you find that to be true in. >> absolutely. absolutely. i have, i would say, a deep circle of sister friends here in part because as you just said, our population, our numbers are small. so i think it makes our community more integrated in the fact we know each other. when someone moves here, it gets through. people hear about it. >> there was an apology on this. and in the apology, we heard this same individual who told us there were dozens of black folks he had never seen before, the same individual charlie webster says to us that he was sorry for his black people claim and that he actually has a black friend with whom he plays basketball. i got to say, it seriously sounded like something out of a
dave chappelle skit. >> it really did. when i heard that, i thought really, really? you have a black friend you play basketball with, yet you don't think there are any black people in maine that would show up to vote. that doesn't make sense. it didn't sound like something of a chapelle skit. >> why the blog. >> i know your work is in faith based non-profit organization. you're from chicago which makes me feel like we will should get a search and rescue mission to come get. >> you please, please. >> but why? why the blog black girl in maine? >> it started really as a joke. i didn't move here because i wanted to. i had some family reasons for moving here. and i did hit a period of time where i really wanted to kind of reach out to other people of color. hey, who else is here? in addition to the folks that i already knew. it became an outlet for me to just sort of talk about many different things. i think also to give voice to the fact that there are black people in maine.
oddly enough, one of the things that i often get e-mails about are people of color looking to move too maine who want to find out what's it like there, what's the scene like. one of the weirdest questions actually as an african-american woman, it's not weird at all but i'm often asked, are there hair salons? are there churches there? what's in the community for us. i think about the fact when i moved here ten years ago, i would have loved to have gone to a blog to just get that information. instead, it's been sort of like trial and error trying to figure out what's here for me. >> shea, i appreciate you sunshining us. i sort of got into your blog. i really appreciated some of your comments about poverty and about generosity at this time of year and also really loved your blog on 15 years of marriage. so thank you. for your blog. thank you for your work and thanks to the white folks in maine because they in fact, are the ones who helped to elect president obama. so thanks to shay stewart boulen
in saco, maine. we're going to stay on race talk a lit more but we're going to talk about president obama. we done it again. why does it matter? we'll explain when we come back. . it takes some doing. some coordinating. and a trip to the one place with the new ideas that help us pull it all together. from the things that hang and shine... ...to the things that sparkle and jingle. all while saving the things that go in our wallet. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. create a musical light show with the maestro mouse voice- activated ornament.
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for gifts in return. he visually and lir cal little takes us on a jurn newny through the challenges of inner city gift. in the end we see he is the one with the gift to give. for the african-americans who supported obama, the gift is in the giving, the ability to flex their political power through their votes. back at the table is chair woman of the louisiana democratic party karen carter peterson. i want to come to you first on this. jeezy put the video out the next day. hip-hop is always worth mining for understanding sort of what's going on with black popular culture and where we are. the idea that at the end, it's kind of the gangster who shows up with the thing of money to keep the black middle class family in their home. i mean, that's what ordinary black folks did this at the showed up with their votes and kept the president and his family in their home for four more years. >> well, i think jeezy on this show is an honor and privilege to be part of that.
so i love he makes an appearance on the show this morning. especially for young people, young black people, young latinos and people of color in, 2008 we learned how to vote. in 201, we learned that our vote matters. moving forward now we need to learn how to use our vote. if this election showed that we're here, we're not going anywhere, we showed up. and historic in 2008 that we showed up. this is transformational in 2012. we're an electorate you have to deal with people of color, young people, gay people. you've got deal with us. to see jeezy and the hip-hop community you know, they've always led the way. poets and artists had this country always led the way. there's a lot of criticism against hip-hop and the lyrics. when we jeezy or kanye west talking about jesus talks, talking about homicides happening in chicago or jeezy is talking about we did it again, you know, i'm proud of them.
i'm proud of our generation and our culture because we did lead the way. >> it feels like there is some sense to which republicans are sort of beginning to get this demographic shift. our own governor bobby jindal did week sort of distance himself from mitt romney and these recent comments. let's listen to the governor and i want to get your response to this. >> we have got to stop dividing the american voters. we need 100% of the voters. not 53%. absolutely reject that notion that description. that's absolutely wrong. that is not -- i don't think that that represents where we are as a party and where we're going as a party. >> you know, we live in the south. there's our governor saying, oh, we got to do better. but the doing better that is to be substantive, not just we've got to say nice things to urban youth. >> the irony is that once again, the rhetoric doesn't match the policy of the person that's speaking.
governor jindal, if you look at his policies, he rejected money from the federal government to -- for rural broadband for rural communities to have the internet. he roo he jected pone for high speed rail, for the unemployed. he's decimating the higher education system. he's rejected the opportunity notwithstanding the fact that republicans usually promote states rights, he's rejecting the opportunity to set up his own health exchange program under obama care. the rhetoric doesn't meet the policy. it doesn't matter that he's doing this a week after the election. so that he can continue to further his own ambition. put that aside. you know, the thing that the contrasts us is the commitment we have as democrats to compassion, to fairness, to equality. and republicans are not going to be able to distance themselves from their inability to have rhetoric that resonates with the common folks.
if i were to understand the sticks, decades of it, there are 50,000 if i'm not mistaken hispanics bookkeeping voting age every month. how does their policy resonate with that population? look, we have a natural opportunity to expand our numbers on the democratic side. they have a lot of work to do. are they going to reject their base? they can't because the base are so extreme. >> here's the thing though. that's a really important point. being a historian, i have it say the republican party is in the position now democrat democratic party was in in 1948. >> yep. >> and the tea party is to the republican party what the dixiecrats were were to the democrats in 1948. 194, the democrats saw there was a dem graphic change. they were trying to serve two masters, northern urban blacks and southern white segregationists. those two needs were irreconcilable. eventually they pushed the dixiecrat out of the party. they went to the republican party. half a century goes by did, and
they begin to see the same dynamic except now they're talking about latinos. >> i'm extremely proud of the young people because that's how change happens. anytime you've had major change in any society just about, it's not the old people that causes that change. it is the young people that decided they're going to come together and they're going to make sure their voices are heard. going back and i'm older than anyone here, it was young people. i think of john lewis, he was 16 and 17 years old when he decided he was going to move forward and change america. dr. king himself was an old 24 when he will -- you know. it's young people who decide to come together. we're going to make a difference in this election. it was people who couldn't vote in '08. now, you had the people that voted for the first time in '0 , but here again in '12, you had another group of people after four years who voted for the first time. that's going to continue to mount. >> this issue of sort of who the
electorate is, the way to the put the south back in play, particularly states like mississippi is to eliminate those fellow disenfranchise chaosment laws, places like virginia, mississippi that keep such an extraordinary number of african-american men in particular out of the voting booth for the rest of their lives. so i'd love to see that kind of structural change go along with our discursive changes. i know there's been real critique of the president on the issue of whether or not he has sufficiently served the interests of african-americans. and i want to go back as we leave here to that point that jeezy makes that part of the gift is the gift of ordinary folks, people of color, to the president and now there is -- now there's a relationship that may not be transactional but certainly is about, it was a multiracial coalition that put this president back in office. it is a multiracial set of needs that will need to be served on the back end of it.
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and do our part for the businesses that do so much for us. on november 24th, let's get out and shop small. he's been dead for nearly 150 years. yet, suddenly abe lincoln seems to be just about everywhere. the steven spielberg biopic of the 16th president opens nationwide this weekend. the film is being heralded with strong oscar buzz. president obama hosted the cast and crew of the film at the white house on thursday night. and while abe lincoln vampire hunter didn't earn quite as much critical claim, that film still brought in more than $1 hundred million at the box office. mam son.com fearings more than 200 books about honest abe, two of them by bill o'reilly.
and doris kerns good win's incredible text and arm weight remains on the "new york times" best seller paper back list. just what is it about lincoln that nearly a century and a half after his time in office he remains such an influential figure? jelani, i know, we're at the 200th anniversary and all that sort of thing. why is lincoln still so fascinating us? >> i think lincoln was tested in ways that virtually no one had been tested just in terms of his personal trials, losing a child while in the white house, being betrayed in 1864, former general george mcclellan ran against him for the presidency. a general whom lincoln had appointed. he had to go through immense personal trials and political trials and then there's also the martyrdom at the end of it that kind of paints him in this picture that's enabled us to make him applicable to all sorts of other struggles people have come by since then. democrats claim him, republicans
claim him. he's become a universal symbol in that way. >> congressman meeks, earlier in the show you were talking about our history as a history of compromise. and i think you know, there's a kind of discourse about lincoln that is he wasn't stephens, right the kind of radical republican who was completely for social equality. he was maybe even himself personally a racist. and yet, lincoln gets the 13th amendment that ends slavery in this country. makes it unconstitutional. what is lincoln as a strategist teaches us for today. >> because of our president and just what he is. he's strategizing on how to make this country better place. i'm sure that as we move into this debate, the president is going to move certain things that maybe he doesn't really want to happen. but he understands it has to happen for the country to move forward. and i think that's where we need -- so lincoln sort of evolved, if you will, in trying to bring this thing together an
understanding and that it was bigger than one little issue. that you've got to bring people to keep the union together. when president obama was elected he was sworn in on lincoln's bible. he's from illinois and where he initially made his fact that he's going to run for president of the united states. i think that has a part of what it is. and then talk about the team of rivals. i think that's what president obama did in his first term. his thing was not so much to come in and stand and say this is where i am but try to bring people together so we can move the country forward. that is part of what and why we're talking about lincoln. lincoln used to say i'm not a politician. i want to be a statesman. a statesman this about the next generation and a politician just thinks about the next election. >> the long view is very lincolnesque. >> understanding the difference between the political campaign and governing. you've got to be magnanimous.
you've got to step up and govern 100% of the people, not just the folks that voted for you. lincoln is a great example that have and president obama has reflected on that in the last four years and i expect the same. i think that a couple of things. i think that making sure that he turns his friends, his enemies i should say rather his enemies into friends. making sure that it's done without a lot of achker and personal attacks. keeping the fact that he wants a legacy, too. and that vision and that long-term goal of having good policies and making sure that those policies, the repercussions of those policies are something that are good for all americans, right? and not just those that support him. so he's got four years to govern and he's already started. it's very clear. >> it feels more than just a metaphor. we have citizens in all 50 states signing secessionist documents, right? it's 2012. i don't think fin's actually going anywhere.
but the very notion that there could still be a sort of secessionist impulse in this nation feels like it makes lincoln particularly relevant. >> it was a great marketing campaign for the movie. >> i see. there's not really secessionists. it's steven spielberg. >> genius. i think in the spirit of lincoln, certainly this president is more interested in moving the country forward than just his feather forward. there's a moment in the film which is a very poignant moment. as we head into the fiscal cliff conversations that the mez has to have a lincolnesque moment when he looks at his team and says i am the president of the united states. go procure my vote. we need that moment from this president during this debate so people of color, young people, latinos, lgbt, were protected by this president from these talks happening in washington now. >> that's such a critically important point. the film is very much about that 13th amendment. it's not about the war. it's about how you protect the
winnings of the war on the other side. more on lincoln as soon as we come back because president obama's personal connection to president lincoln is something that he talks a lot about. but before i just want to show you a little bit of steven spielberg's "lincoln." >> in his book, euclid says this is self-evident. you see, there it is, even in that 2000-year-old book of mechanical law. it is a self-evident truth that thing that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. that focused less on fees and more... on what matters? maybe your bank account is taking too much time and maybe it's costing too much money. introducing bluebird by american express and walmart. your alternative to checking and debit. it's loaded with features, not fees. because we think your money should stay where it belongs. with you. the value you expect. the service you deserve.
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region, faith and station, we are one people. >> that was then. senator obama at the very initiation, the launch of his first presidential campaign in 2007, channeling abraham lincoln in springfield, illinois. a theme that he has continued in the nearly six years since. jelani, what do we learn about lincoln when we take the more complex view. >> okay, so here's the thing with lincoln and one of the reasons we find him so intriguing. there are people who depict him as this kind of unblem shished avatar of racial unequality which he most certainly was not. many of them who are his critics dismiss him as someone who did nothing at all. that's completely inaccurate. until we can come to understand him as nuance, as a person wrong a great deal of the time but ultimately wound up doing the right thing, we won't be able to understand abraham lincoln.
i think just in terms of president obama, we've seen that same kind of dynamic with his critics, i think that's one of the reasons he finds lincoln to be such a figure that he relates to, that many of the criticisms directed at barack obama is he is either going to be the person who personally lifts black america with one hand and delivers us into the promised land or someone who simply, what was it, republican in black face i think cornell west called him. neither of those ideas is accurate. until we're able to deal with him on a level of knew as, we won't be able to understand what we can expect from his presiden presidency. >> this president, president obama knows he has a place in history. some presidents we kinds of forget they were ever president. this one knew from the beginning, i'm going to be notice history books. and it does feel like something about the history books and particularly the way we think about our great men of history leads us to cover over the complexity, whether we're talking about king or about lincoln or in this case about president obama. it does feel to me like his
critics like cornell west who are very complex thinkers in a ton of ways somehow seem to miss the complexity of that moment. >> even the complexity of the support. one of the things i found to be most disrespectful in the cornell west critique of president obama is cornell and that vis smiley and others, this idea that people have only been able to support barack obama out of a sense of emotional fulfillment, not that people could make a rational calculation to say i see this person flaws but i think there's more on the side of what i think is beneficial than not. that's where we wind up in the same problems with lincoln or obama or any figure we're going to deny complexity. >> i was thinking about this, i was remembering that mcclelland had run against lincoln. mclelland is lincoln's own general and promised the soldiers of the union, i'm going to end the war. so in a very transactional way to vote for mcclellan is to vote for yourself going home from the
bloudiest war in american history, and yet the troops overwhelmingly supported lincoln and did so because they had come to regard mr. lincoln with sentiments of ven ration and love. to them he was really father abraham. by supporting him, the soldiers understood they were voting to prolong the war but they voted because this was a president whose cause, their own cause was embodied. when i read that about the soldiers i thought that's like black voters with president obama. >> and white voters including me, as well. i think what happened in this election is we saw the difference of someone who we believe and someone we don't believe. mitt romney we just did not believe. he simply was lying to us. when president obama spoke and when he speaks we know his intentions are good. we know his vision is right for this country. when he gave the victory speech and said these are these united states of america, we believed that. we genuinely believed that. >> believing that is critical to the preservation of the union.
>> there's no question about it, but it also says who the person is. and see, i think that some of the similarities in lincoln's life as a person growing up and the similarities in president obama's life, he didn't have a silver spoon. he had a grew up with a single mom and even in his environment being that he grew up a lot with white people and things that have nature. >> lincoln lost his mother at a young age. very close to his stepmother who in certain ways had similarities. >> losing rays. lincoln ran for congress and lost. same as barack obama. but yet, persevered and continued with the focus, to move on forward and understanding still peoplecrit stizing you but you're ready to take that criticism because you want to take the next step. sometimes if you're sincere, you don't know right away what the right thing is to do. you've got to think about it and ponder and walk around. as president obama did surely even when he went after osama bin laden. he didn't know. he said i've got to sleep on it.
what's the right thing to do here. sometimes you've got to make the right decision and sometimes you may make the wrong decision. >> there's a preference for come tem plative president. sort of weigh in on this for me. >> i think that certainly the falling to your knees at a time of conflict that commonality that both of them had in looking to a higher power and to give guidance to step up and show the courage that america needs in the position of leadership, really understanding governing versus the campaign. >> yeah. >> that's where it all comes down. >> at the dnc he said like lincoln, i sometimes fall to my knee. first it's time for a preview of weekends with alex witt. >> let's get to it as we have new word from the white house within the past hour about the escalating violence in the middle east. what is the u.s. role right now and will we see a ground war? plus the white house just issued new comments on general
petraeus's capitol hill testimony. we'll bring those to you in minutes. new twist on the mitt romney gift comments and some red states asking to secede from the union. and climate romney's gift statementswant to secede from the union. >> thank you. up next, our foot soldier of the week. . part of a whole new line of tablets from dell. it's changing the conversation. ♪
secede. do you remember being a teenager, how important and difficult it was to find a safe space? a place where you could be yourself and speak your mind? safe space is more than just a metaphor for lesbian, gay, by sexual and transgender youth. in new york city 40% of the city's estimated 38% homeless youth are lgbt. safety is especially challenging for transgender youth. this is transgender awareness week, culminating in a day of
remembrance for all those who have been victimized because of their gender identities. when you face homelessness and violence, refuge is much more than a symbol, it's a necessity. which is why among the many devastating losses caused by sandy, one stands out this week. superstorm sandy wreaked havoc on the ali forney center, the largest organization of its kind serves more than 1,000 highly vulnerable lgbt youth annually with access to showers, beds, hot meals and mental and physical health services. our foot soldier this week, carl siciliano, ali foreany's executive director and founder knows it's a safe place for these kids. he spent the day before the storm preparing for the city-wide shutdown. he directed the youth to emergency storm shelters, he told us "they didn't provide all the services we did but we knew
at least they'd be safest there." carl didn't expect the devastation that hit his own cozy but highly functional 1200 square foot center. four days after the storm he was finally able to get inside. and what he found was four feet of water. all of the computers, medical and food supplies were destroyed. the space carl had made an essential escape for the most vulnerable of new york's youth, 90% of whom carl says are young people of color, that space it was deemed uninhabitable. through a simple post on facebook, carl put out the word of what had happened. and he looked for help online for a new space. he told us within 36 hours $100,000 came in, a surge of support had come forward. sandy wiped out the ali forney center but the surge of support allowed carl to start anew. he is now running services
temporarily out of the lgbt center downtown but will soon open a new space. starting christmas, the ali forney center in harlem will be a 9,000 square foot facility open 24 hours a day. for not letting our underserved and underrepresented lgbt youth drown, carl siciliano is our foot soldier for the week. that is our show for today. thank you to congressman meeks -- and also thanks to you at home for watching. i'm going to see you tomorrow 10:00 a.m. eastern. coming up, "weekends with alex witt." cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work
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