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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  May 16, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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hair on fire. is our political system so far gone that if a crisis can't be tied no matter to a political opponent then it's not really worth talking about? if so, that's a real scandal. all right. that does it for us here at "the cycle." martin bashir, it's all yours. >> thank you, krystal. good afternoon, it's thursday may the 16th and the knives are out. the heads are rolling. it's republicans gone wild white house edition. >> the acting commissioner of the irs is out. >> someone needs to be held responsible. >> my question isn't about who's going to resign. >> there are calls for more heads to roll. >> my question is, who's going to jail? >> culture of corruption. every day a new eruption. >> someone needs to be imprisoned. >> americans are right to be angry about and i am angry about it. >> you don't have to be sherlock holmes. >> the irs was all about
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electing obama. >> it should not matter what political stripe you're from. the irs has to operate with absolute integrity. >> the president called them tea baggers. he said he wanted to punish his enemies. >> when citizens fear the government, there is tyranny. >> the internal revenue service will be the enforcing mechanism of obama care. >> it's clear they were on a jihad. >> bureaucracy on spring break gone wild. good afternoon. we begin with a scandal that is gripping the republican party as they try to gauge just how far they can stretch the parameters of controversy that are troubling the white house. at this hour, the president is doing his level best to get on with governing. meeting with defense secretary hagel to address the troubling frequency of sexual assault in the military. earlier today he met with the
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turkish prime minister. the grave crisis in syria central to their discussions as well as security in the broader region. and responding to the outcry over benghazi, the president announced action to prevent anything like that ever happening again. >> congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget request and improve the security of our embassies around the world. that's how we learn the lessons of benghazi, that's how we keep faith with the men and women who we send overseas to represent america and that's what i will stay focused on as commander in chief. >> but it's going to require the discipline of a zen buddhist monk personally trained by an expert in meditation to stay focused on solutions with the noise surrounding the white house these days. when it came time to ask questions, forget syria or guns or jobs or gitmo. mr. president, let's turn. >> how do you feel about comparisons by some of your
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critics of this week's scandals to those that happened under the nixon administration? >> well, i'll let you guys engage in those comparisons. my concern is making sure if there's a problem in the government that we fix it. that's my responsibility and that's what we're going to do. >> and just in the last hour, the president announced the appointment of a new acting irs commissioner, daniel werfle. after he accepted the resignation last night of acting irs commissioner steve miller who will testify before the house ways & means committee tomorrow. no matter how robust the president's response, it's clear that his naysayers have found a seam of rock that they cannot stop hammering. speaker boehner. >> dissolves the bonds between the people and their government like the ar fwarogance of powere in washington. that's what the american people are seeing today from the obama administration. remarkable arrogance. >> yes. but i do feel we could put maybe
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a bit more hyper into that hyperbo hyperbole. how about today's tea party presser? don't forget the arrogance. >> an arrogance in view of government, the machinery of government as a tool for partisan ends. >> this is runaway government at its worst. >> someone needs to be held responsible. someone needs to be imprisoned. someone needs to be prosecuted. >> thank you, senator, and that goes all the way to the white house. >> that's right. miss bachmann's got the hang of it. now, they also brought along some real american tea partyers to offer their suggestions for how this whole thing should go. >> let's abolish the irs and institute something like a fair tax which will make things much sempimpler and remove this prob and let's repeal obama care. thank you. >> thank you. it's very simple. see? let's get right to our panel. here in new york with me is msnbc contributor joy reid. managing editor of the
1:05 pm joy, she's got to figured out. abolish the irs, repeal obama care. everybody gets a tricornered hat. that's where we're going. >> we solved america's problem. at a certain point, you start to look ridiculous. with the right, that's an omnipresent risk. in this case, it's as if alex jones is now the head of the republican party because every conspiracy theory about barack obama as this evil, evil thug are all coming together and they've created this narrative but it's all out of their talk radio base. it's all out of their right wing online base. and they've now converged on congress and they pulled them into the conspiracy theorizing, too. it's brilliant. >> i do love their respect for due process. >> oh, yes. >> because they're commanding and demanding that certain individuals, multiple individuals go to prison as soon as possible. >> right. i think the president they'd like him to be the first one locked up because, you know, he's barack obama and him being president has always been a wrong crime they couldn't deal with. >> the implication that the acting head of the irs should go to prison? >> you know, it's interesting that speaker boehner wants the
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acting head to go. there were these calls for heads to roll. that the person responsible, that the man running the irs at the time of these crimes should be fired. problem was he was already gone. he was already gone. he'd already retired. >> that's a bit of a problem. >> so it created a problem. so they had, the interim guy, unfortunately, is the guy who wound up having to go. his statement when he was leaving was, well, his assignment i think was supposed to end in june, so he's going to go ahead and do that. >> i'm delighted to say republican strategist ron christie just managed to get to our studio. thank you so much, ron. i know you've been rushing. we're glad that you're here. while the tea party, as you know, is hoping to wrap all these scandals into a giant wrecking ball aimed at the irs, and of course the rest of washington, the president just named a new acting commissioner. so let's hear a bit more of his response today, first. >> we're also going to make sure that we gather up the facts and hold accountable and responsible anybody who was involved in this. we're going to make sure that we
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identify any structural or management issues to prevent something like this from happening again. >> okay, ron. so heads have rolled. an investigation is ongoing. the president has expressed his outrage and vowed to prevent anything like this happening again. is is that enough? is that satisfactory? >> no, it's not the. i think, martin, this is one of the most chilling cases involved with the coercive powers of government. this isn't about president obama. this is about a culture within the internal revenue service that seemed to think it was okay that singling out people due to their partisan affiliation would be somehow fine. somehow acceptable which is entirely unacceptable. i don't care whether it's a tea party group. i don't care whether it's a left wing group. this is the most coercive form that the government has over its citizens which is the power to tax. and if they are going to deny one group a tax exempt status and favor another due to their partisan affiliation, i think that's entirely wrong.
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>> you know, it's interesting because ron did finally get to the point where it is not about -- in the past the irs has had scandals where you say something about the president of the united states, the president doesn't like it then all of a sudden miraculously you get audited. that's the sort of nixonian abuse of the irs. that did happen during the bush years to the naacp which got a two-year audit after its chairman said something -- >> prior to that, a number of several black ministers of churches. >> indeed. black churches. hold on a second. hold on a second. we're talking about here is not that. i think it is chilling if the irs can chill speech by auditing someone or the threat of an audit. what we're talking about here are groups going to the federal government and asking for a special dispensation from the tax code. they're saying i want to be tax exempt. i want essentially a subsidy from the taxpayer, give it to me. in this case the irs made them wait one, maybe two years to get their special tax subsidy. whether it's on the right or left, we're not talking about the audit or power to tax an
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issue. we're talking about a special exemption in the tax code. should anyone who comes to the irs get that special dispensation? no. should they investigate? yes. the way they did it was a bureaucratic ineptitude. >> joy, this is not about bureaucratic ineptitude. >> sure it is. >> this is about a culture within the obama administration -- >> wait a minute, the irs is not the obama administration, ron. the irs is not the president oba obama. >> that is a flat-out lie. the irs commissioner, political appointee by the president. >> who appointed him? >> the president of the united states appoints the irs commissioner. the president of the united states who appoints the treasury secretary. >> ron, i accept your assertion. joy is asking you very politely to answer that question. who appointed the head of the irs? >> doug shulman. >> doug shulman. >> the irs commissioner is appointed by the president of the united states. >> who appointed mr. shulman? >> mr. shulman was appointed in the previous administration. >> thank you. >> my point to you, martin,
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which if you'll listen to nigh point here. >> absolutely. >> this is somehow obama's above it all, this isn't the obama administration, the irs is independent. that is absolutely false. if president obama had the ability to fire the acting irs commissioner, that means that's a person in the obama administration. this is an obama scandal. this is an obama scandal. >> one sec. we're getting a bit confused about chronology. let's continue. nancy pelosi spoke to the republicans' incredible expanding scandal and its purposes. i'd like you to listen to this. >> they will use these as evasions of what the american people want us to do here. they want us to create jobs. now, if you're a pearty in congress and you have no intention of creating jobs, you will change the subject. so i think this is much about forcing their anti-government ideology. >> joy, your reaction to nancy pelosi.
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she says it's evasion and undermining. >> keep in mind today i think we had our 38th vote in the house on repealing obama care. >> we're coming to that very soon. >> we've seen what's happening, i think, in the house of representatives, is they're in a post-policy mode. it isn't about policy. it's about ginning up their base for 2014 and sort of taking all the conspiracy theories floating out there and giving them legs. giving the inine ining them hef going to investigate this or that abuse by the obama administration. it's about keeping barack obama, the villain of the far right, front and center constantly. you know what, no, they're not going to govern. they have no plans on passing a budget or doing a budget deal. none of that is going to happen. >> ron, i have to ask you, isn't this exactly what speaker boehner has been praying for since the election? he doesn't want to talk about gun safety legislation, especially when he has an "a" rating from the nra. he doesn't want to talk about immigration reform because unless it includes a mote with live alligators, then the tea party won't support him. but you give him a scandal and the republican party is more unified than the north korean army.
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>> martin, this isn't about the republican party. this is about the american people. the american people want to know why it is, in fact, we had -- >> 9 1% of the american people, ron, wanted to vote for background checks. >> the american people want to know why four americans were murdered in libya. the american people want to know why the irs is singling out one group for scrutiny based on their partisan affiliation. the american people actually want to understand why the "associated press" reporters had their e-mails and phone logs checked. this isn't about the republican party. this is about the action of the obama administration and the characters in this white house in this administration who have done these things. any attempt to blame it on the republicans is a false narrative. the question should be, martin, why are the obama officials doing these things? why did they do these things? we deserve to have an answer. >> ron christie, i wish we had more time. as you and i both know and joy know, the obama administration has not been involved in any direct terms. and we await the investigation and the outcomes. >> oh, sure. >> thank you for joining us,
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ron. next, with so much so-called scandal, what is a congress to do? you guessed it. time to vote yet again to repeal the affordable care act. we're losing count here. >> i also think it's important for the president to be honest about the culture of intimidation that his administration has created here. there's no honest policy disagreement with this administration, and as a result, it's created this culture of intimidation that's pervasive throughout the white house and the federal government. [ male announcer ] running out of steam? ♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle. [ whirring ] [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art.
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drugs that the republican prescription drug program denied denied them -- >> you are now watching a live shot of the floor of the house of representatives. they are debating the president's health care law.
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and about one hour from now, re their 38th vote to repeal obama care. or is it the 37th? or maybe the 40th? to be perfectly honest, there are have been so many votes, it's almost impossible to keep a tally. the cbo informed paul ryan and the republicans on wednesday they do not have time to score what that repeal would mean because "we anticipate a similar result were we to do so." and yet there were the republicans this morning trotting out the same tired old lines, this time with a side serving of the irs. >> i'm if petition. i'm quite worried about the privacy of medical records. i'm quite worried that your medical records now will be evaluated by the irs. >> will our most personal, sensitive information be used to deny health care? >> joining us now is democratic congressman chris van hollen of maryland. welcome back, sir. it's great to have you with us. >> good to be with you, martin.
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>> when speaker boehner was asked whether there will be repeal votes in the future, he said this. i'm quoting. "when we have further votes that we'll take, we'll let you know." so, yes, he's up for as many votes on this as possible. can i ask you, what's it like working in this ridiculous environment where the speaker spends his entire life on something that the president will never, ever sign but you can't move a vote on anything from gun safety to immigration? >> well, martin, that question kind of answers itself. it is a crazy place, and i understand why the american people are so frustrated. this is exactly why congressional standing is in such low regard. here we are for the 38th time going through a useless exercise, but worse, a costly exercise because it consumes time and actually money to do this for the 38th time. it's going absolutely nowhere. the other little dirty secret here no one wants to tell you is that the republican budget,
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martin -- >> yes. >> -- it assumes that you will have the revenue and the medicare savings -- >> of course. >> -- from obama care in order to reach balance in ten years. so later today when they all rush to vote to repeal obama care, they're vaunted balanced budget will just e vab ravapore >> of course. you will not see congressman paul ryan weeping about this. i have to ask you this, what happened to cantor coming out every week saying it's all about jobs and the economy? it's about jobs? where's he gone? >> that's what happened. the tea party folks in his own caucus essentially ran his ideas out of town. he brought a proposal before his own caucus that was designed to address what he considered real life issues, but his own caucus said they didn't want to deal with those issues. just like when speaker boehner brought a tax plan before his
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own caucus last december that asked for, you know, very wealthy people to pay a little bit more. they said, no, look, the tea party caucus is the engine here in the house republican caucus. and that's exactly why we're voting for the 38th time today on this futile exercise. >> yep. >> of getting rid of obama care. that's exactly why we're not moving forward on jobs and the economy and getting to a budget conference where we can provide some certainty for people in the economy. >> now, while the house is making up facts about health care and benghazi, they're also quietly trying to pass an agriculture bill where more than half of the cuts come from food assistance programs. now, of course, this is food stamps. now, is this part of eric cantor's so-called make life work strategy? >> this is a great example of watch what they do, not what they say because while their budget calls for these deep cuts
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in taxes for people earning over $1 million, they're socking it to the most vulnerable people in this country. people who need a little help with their nutrition and food assistance. so the house farm bill will cut about $20 billion from the food and nutrition programs. that will mean lots of kids will no longer get that help. lots of families will go hurting even more. at the same time, they have a budget, as i said, which provides these tax breaks for folks at the very top. >> congressman -- >> this is really a wake-up call for everybody. >> congressman, that's not a small number. as i understand it, that's assessed to be 2 million vulnerable children and elderly folks who will suffer. 2 million. >> well, that's exactly right, martin. it's 2 million people. this will affect kids on the school lunch programs. this will affect families out there who rely on a little bit of help to put food on the table. and it's just one more example
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of the republican strategy which is, you know, just forget the 47%. and we're seeing it live and in action every day here in the house of representatives. and i have a real concern that while congress needs to exercise legitimate oversight over some of these questions like the irs, as the president said, it's absolutely unacceptable, there's a legitimate role for that, but then there's distracting us from other major issues. we should be able to do two things at once. we should be able to do legitimate oversight but also deal with jobs and the economy rather than 38th time trying to get rid of obama care which isn't going to happen, which if it ever did, their budget would be out of balance. >> congressman chris van hollen, a welcome voice of sanity. thank you, sir. >> trying. thanks, martin. >> thank you, sir. coming up, the president under an umbrella at the rose garden. cue the comedy from the right.
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siemens. answers. the president has been hosting the turkish prime minister at the white house today. the two leaders held a news conference and while there was talk about a shared commitle to t the people of syria, it was domestic issues that continued to dominate the discussion. joining me now from a very busy white house is a very busy peter alexander. pete, you got release of the e-mails on benghazi, the ouster of the acting irs commissioner and today's news conference all in the span of 24 hours. how are you keeping up with all this? >> reporter: we're doing just fine. the white house had bigger problems over the course of the last week or so. they're trying to get out in front of a lot of those. yesterday in a 90-minute period the president defended against the irs issue he was taking fire on and the benghazi talking points issue that he was referring to as a sideshow. they try to move the issues forward to get back on the offensive, surgically remove
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some of these items used to target them lately specifically on the issue of benghazi. he focused on what the white house thinks is the real issue here which is security at u.s. diplomatic sites around the world. calling on congress to provide more money to help create bolstered security at those locations. he said among others things he wants the military response time, martin, to be lightning quick in the future. and as for the issue of the -- the issue of the "ap," the journalistic seizure of phone documents, he says he makes no policies for looking out for the u.s. national security interests. >> right. the white house at this moment is tackling the issue of sexual assault in the armed forces. obviously a deeply serious problem that we discussed in yesterday's broadcast. but it feels as though it's become lost this week. what can you tell us about what's happening right now in the white house? >> reporter: yeah, this is something the white house does not want to have be lost. i'm going to speak my blackberry to see. we know right now the president is inside there. he invited reporters inside
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where he's having a meeting with among others the joint chiefs of staff including chairman martin dempsey, also the defense secretary chuck hagel is in there. the president, we know, because he brought in cameras, that often means he's going to make a series of remarks about that, has really been outraged about this. earlier he said it betrays the uniform. it is unpatriotic for any member of the military to commit any act of sexual assault on a woman within the military. listen to this stat, martin. from the latest pentagon report, this is one of the real reasons the president is acting on this. more than 3,300 sexual assaults last year alone. that is up 6% from the year before. but worse than that, there were between 19 -- it went from 19,000 to 26,000 sexual assaults that went unreported. it's a major issue. the president wants to get in front of it. >> nbc's peter xander. thanks for joining us with rather than being with the other jud journalists in the white house. stay with us. the iceth man cometh in a
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special edition of today's top lines. mine was earned in djibouti, africa. 2004.
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usaa. we know what it means to serve. benghazi, the irs, the d.o.g. doj. you get the deal. here are today's top lines. the issa man cometh. >> i have to keep doing my job if the attorney general objects. >> this isn't always a pleasant experience. i don't frankly feel i've always been treated with a great deal of respect. >> mr. attorney general, you're not a good witness. a good witness answers the question asked. >> if you don't like me, that's one thing. i am the attorney general of the united states. >> we don't want to have some sort of a stage show. those talking points are not the starting talking points. they're the ending talking points. the american people were effectively lied to. hillary clinton is not a target. president obama is not a target. we don't want to have some sort of a stage show. >> they had an obligation to look for every other way to get it before they, in fact, intruded on the freedom of the press. when is the justice department
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going to take responsibility for what it does? >> we don't want to have some sort of a stage show. >> the american people believe in that old axiom the power to tax is the power to destroy. >> heads have to very appropriately roll. >> this was the targeting of the president's political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year. >> the actions of the irs co conspicuously benefited the president. these were ideological attacks. >> you didn't want us to see the details. >> mr. attorney general, in knowing the to and from -- >> it's too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of congress. it's unacceptable and it's shameful. i'm joined now by ari melber, my colleague and co-host of "the cycle" who's also a lawyer. ari, let's talk about this grand inquiz ter. many of us don't know much about him. darrell issa. he's worth $745 million. he made that fortune largely by
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running a car alarm company which is funny because he was once indicted to stealing a car as well as one other arrest for carrying a concealed weapon, all of which i guess makes him the paragon of virtue and the man who can grandstand and treat with ranked discourtesy the attorney general, is that right? >> congressman issa has been throwing out a lot of charges but there is finally some scrutiny of his background, both before serving in congress and running the oversight committee. ryan lizza and "the new yorker" as we discussed went in and looked at his record, looked at the indictment on the stolen car, an arrest for concealed weapons. looked at congressman issa's defense, often saying his brother who's had troubles with the law was the target of these investigations. also a lot of serious allegations about arson in a factory he owned although he says it was an accidental fire. even before coming -- >> just on that, sorry, before we move off, that warehouse and that fire seemed to coincide
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with him just before the fire raising his insurance policy from $100,000 to $400,000. >> that's right. he took out a significant increase in the insurance and there was also an accident report that "the new yorker" discovered that talked about the fact that the nature of the fire didn't match up with the kind of -- kind of accidental arson -- nonarson, i should say, accidental fire that could have occurred. on the oversight committee, i'm so glad you showed some of those clips just now because people have to understand a lot of those exchanges including congressman issa telling eric holder you're not a good witness, answer the question, kind of berating that is unusual treatment for our top law enforcement officer occurred a year ago in the fast and furious investigation. and that led to the first contempt citation ever of a sitting attorney general. so martin, when people say, oh, there's always skirmishes, both sides do it, no. as a matter of historical precedent, this is the first time we've had a chair, congressman issa, take the oversight committee and hold an
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attorney general in criminal contempt for what i wrote at the time were filmsy charges. >> indeed. let's take another listen to an exchange from yesterday. >> unless they recited a constitutional exemption and still had a responsibility to provide us logs, both of which they are refusing to do in testimony here today. >> gentleman from south carolina's time, again, is expi expired. do you have a final response, attorney general? >> congresswoman adams asked me about political points. the reference to john mitch, let's think about that. think about that. at some point, as i said was the mccarthy hearings, at some point, do you have no shame? >> john nixon's attorney general and the only attorney general ever to go to prison. why did darrell issa reference john mitchell? >> i think that the watergate precedent is so important here because while the republicans often talk about watergate as if they found it in the obama
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administration, even though according to all news accounts right now both the irs and "ap" stories are obama-less stories. the president hasn't been indicated to be involved in any way. you can say that, itself, might be a concern in the irs one that he should have found out earlier. not nixonian, because it didn't start with the white house. yet, what i think they're missing in the watergate era it was precisely the nonpartisan nature of serious investigations that gave the public faith that we could pursue it. it was republicans on the senate select committee for watergate who were asking some of the hard questions including what did the president know, when did he know it? it was six republicans in the house judiciary committee that voted to move forward on impeachment against their party's president. so what we have now is totally different. we don't have any motive, any notion of oversight or nonpartisanship. that's why we're seeing people like bill o'reilly or "the national review" in an editorial today basically saying republicans have to slow down or they're going to look obviously like they care more about going
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after balobama than getting the facts. >> the man's torching his own position as head of that very oversight committee. ari melber, sir, thank you so much. next, it's the economy, stupid. the success story that nobody wants to talk about. just ahead. ♪ [ female announcer ] from more efficient payments. ♪ to more efficient pick-ups. ♪ wireless is limitless.
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affordable care act and benghazi. well, for a few seconds. >> i continue to talk about jobs. it's our number one focus. >> did you catch that? no, let me show it again at half speed. you can see quite clearly the speaker of the house flapping a pamphlet on jobs. that's right. a pamphlet. because when you add up what republicans have done or plan to do on jobs, all you need is that red pamphlet. joining us now is jared bernstein, senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities and michael scherer, white house correspondent for "time" magazine, whose new issue hits the stands today. welcome to you both. jared, the deficit is actually declining. unemployment figures are going down steadily. housing's rebounding. we've had a bull market for some time. why won't john boehner smile? >> well, it was interesting to hear him say, you know, our main focus is jobs. boy, you'd be really hard pressed to pull that out of what looks like their main focus right now which is benghazi and the irs and anything else that
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they can distract them from the economy. look, i do think there is improvement in the economy, obviously in the sectors you mentioned. and, boy, if you compare it to where we were when the president took office, i was there back then. the gdp contracted 9%. jobs were falling at a rate of almost 800,000 per month. i'm back in january of 2009. and the president took office and implemented a set of policies, including stimulus, financial market interventions, that turned that around relatively quickly. that said, there are still lots of families that aren't doing as well as they should be in part because much of the growth, as you also mentioned, has been kind of funneling up toward the top of the income scale. stock markets, corporate profits. so one other irony of this is a lot of the people you hear beating up on the president mostly for the economy are the ones that are doing the best. >> of course. michael, where is the white house communications strategy
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that points out some of these encouraging signs in the economy? >> i think the white house has actually learned a lesson here. several years ago they came out with recovery summer, told everybody things were better. they were delicate during the campaign of talking about the improving economy. they said it was getting better but didn't want to go as far as saying it was better. i think what jared said is absolutely right. 40% of americans have no savings or their credit card debt is greater than their savings. payroll as a percentage of population has basically been flat for years. right track/wrong track numbers are going in the wrong direction this year. a lot of people think we're on the wrong track now than on january 1st. the boost in the economy is in home values. it's in the stock market. it's in corporate profits. it's not on the kind of things that regular voters feel. there's a real danger for the white house going out right now and trumpeting this. another thing to mention, a lot of the increases are driven by the federal reserve. that can go away pretty'sly. it's not stuff obama has done.
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the mouse republhouse republica raised taxes, the payroll tax and put in place the sequester. all three of these things have a negative effect on gdp. not a positive effect. >> yet, jared, the dow jones finished at over 15,000 again today. that's more than double its march 9th, 2009, figure. low of about 6,500. six days before that low, here was the president's advice to investors. take a listen to this, jared. >> the flood gates are open. every critic suddenly has credibility. >> that was the wrong piece. as you'll recall, jared, you know what the president encouraged. would you have had the president as your financial adviser then? >> the president said this might be a good time to get in for the long term. >> that is is what he said. the fact is, it's interesting, if you look at stock market performance, it consistently does better under democratic presidents. there's a whole theory as to why. again, my point that i think michael said a similar thing, it's kind of odd. sometimes i'm on these financial
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news shows and i'm listening to the stock market panel before me. and they're all congratulating themselves on the melt-up and how the stock market is doing great and share prices are booming then they get to me and say, jared, how come president obama is crashing the economy? i'm like, well, guys, can't both be right here. so, again, one reason why you're seeing some, you know, moderate growth here and booming markets is because much of the profitability of the stock market is a function of multinational corporations. of overseas investment. capital is very mobile these days and can look for returns across the globe. so i do think that a smart thing right now for our economy would be to try to dampen any of the fiscal headwinds that are slowing us down. >> jared bernstein, michael scherer, thank you gentlemen so much. straight ahead, how's it going to end? we talk to the d.c. reporter who may know the republican party the best. stay with us.
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number two, a really dismaying willingness to mislead and to deceive the american people. and i think the american people have every right to expect better. >> congress' tea party caucus made an impressive show of force outside the capitol building this morning, but just how far are some republicans willing to go? with their demand for multiple investigations of the white house? well, if our next guest is correct, then this summer in washington could be a very long and hot one, indeed. so let's welcome robert coster of "national review" nag dean. good afternoon, how are you? >> good afternoon, martin, great to be here. >> now, of all the options republicans have for starting investigations, you actually think that they're going to settle on one thing as their focus. is that right? >> that's right. there's a mess of scandals right now in washington, but house
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republicans especially who are in the majority are very interested in the irs scandal because behind the scenes i cover them when they're in their cloak rooms and at their conference meetings. they believe they can sell this to the american people as a law and order issue. they don't think they will get tagged with being partisan as much with the other scandals. i expect them this summer to focus on the irs. >> some conservative intellectuals, charles krauthammer, for example, warned republicans not to overplay their hand and feed a narrative that investigations are all about politics. are republicans that you're talking to aware, conscious of this particular risk and danger? >> they are very aware of this, especially as republicans are always aware that they don't want to go over the line. they know that the american people and especially the press -- >> robert, they don't want to go over the line? did you hear them this morning? >> when i say they, i mean the leadership. you're right. the right flank of the republican party is very much aggressive on these issues. the leadership i think has been hesitant on many fronts. both in the senate and the house to be full force.
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but i think these scandals, especially the irs issue, has made even the leadership -- i spoke, for example, to senator rob portman of ohio yesterday who's considered by many to be a mild-mannered republican. a conservative but a mild-mannered one. he was racing the question about government accountability, about the, quote, incompetence of the administration. you're seeing the full spectrum of the party focusing on these issues. >> okay. you slightly preempted me. i read your piece in yt national review" about senator rob portman and his thoughts on the irs and tea party groups. the ohio republican says "it seems unlikely that people would target groups based on their ideology without some direction." so it's not just the tea party folks we saw this morning who are furious, is is t? >> that's right. there's a lot of speculation right now within the right about the conservative movement about the white house's involvement. of course, there's no direct link yet, but the concern on the right is basically this. there's a sense that eric holder, the attorney general, is quite close to the president.
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and they think that he -- if he was up to something, or if the administration, the bureaucrats were up to something, the obama white house in some way, may have known. that's why you're going to see subpoenas, investigations continue. the president may have felt like he settled a lot of these issues with his press conferences today and yesterday. when i talked to senate republicans, when i talked to house republicans, they're just starting, martin. they feel this is really an issue where they can open up this presidency and try to peek inside. >> okay. well, very briefly, robert, what would it take to appease these republicans' fears? is there anything short of imprisoning the president or sending him back to chicago? >> you hear very few republicans publicly talking about impeachment, and only a few were even raising the issue. i think they want to see some more interest from holder on his role. they want to see doug shulman, the ex-irs commissioner come before congress and testify. i think you're going to see them continue to press the bureaucracy. i think they are going to keep asking the white house for more answers. this is going to be a headache, if anything, for the white house. >> well, i'm so pleased they
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want to see mr. shulman, who of course was appointed by president george bush. thanks to robert coster. thank you, sir. >> thank you, martin. >> and we'll be right back. i'm a firefighter. i'm a carpenter. i'm an accountant. a mechanical engineer. and i shop at walmart. truth is, over sixty percent of america shops at walmart every month. i find what i need, at a great price. and the money i save goes to important things. braces for my daughter. a little something for my son's college fund. when people look at me, i hope they see someone building a better life. vo: living better: that's the real walmart. hodoes your dog food have?s 30? 20? new purina one beyond has 9. the simplified purina one beyond. learn more about these wholesome ingredients at
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or an annual fee, ever. go to to apply. it's time now to clear the air. one of the interesting differences between the united kingdom and the united states is that while the uk has an established church, the church of england, whose bishops actually sit in the upper house of parliament, british politicians very rarely talk about their personal faith. but here in the united states, where there's a firm separation between church and state, politicians enjoy nothing more than rehearsing their religious views to anyone who will listen. and this happened yesterday as the house agricultural committee voted to approve a $940 billion farm bill. the bill, itself, cuts projected spending in farm and nutrition programs by almost $40 million over the next 10 years. and more than half of that
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reduction will come from cuts to the supplemental nutrition program known to most of us as food stamps. food stamps, despite their importance to many, many americans, have long been a target for republicans, but according to a report by the center on budget and policy priorities, this proposed cut will eliminate 2 million people from the program. most of them vulnerable children and the elderly. so when this issue discussed last night, one member of the committee reached for his bible and quoted chapter 25 of matthew's gospel. >> i certainly do oftentimes read the bible. matthew 25, he's very, very clear. when i was hungry, you gave me to eat. when i was thirsty, you gave me to drink. thirdly interesting for a debate we'll have fairly soon, i was a stranger and you welcomed me. >> but almost immediately republican michael connaway gave
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his interpretation of the same biblical passage. >> i, too, am a follower of christ. jesus christ is my personal savior. i read chapter matthew 25 to speak to me as an individual. i don't read it to speak to the united states government. and so i would take a little bit of only with you on that. >> while the bible does encourage us to care for the poor, this is not something that should be done by government. instead each of us presumably as good citizens should voluntarily support those in need. it's similar to the argument that congressman paul ryan used during the presidential campaign, one that was eviscerated by the catholic church. so if this farm bill does pass into law, and you end up losing that much needed nutritional assistance, than may i suggest that if you live in the 11th congressional district of texas, you should call mr. conaway on one of his office numbers. there they are. and ask him for help. because after all, he believes
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it's our individual responsibility to help those in need and never the role of government. thanks so much for watching. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. turn around. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. today was the second day of the obama offensive. yesterday he fired the head of the irs and today he's tossing off comparisons to nixon. he said he's determined to get things fixed out there. well, a question. will he be satisfied if there are no more firings at the internal revenue service? will he let the people who did the political targeting keep their jobs? and if so, will he call that fixing things? second question. what lessons did the person learn from all this? is he going to change the way he runs things? is he going to insist he,


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