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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  September 30, 2011 6:00pm-6:59pm EDT

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it's a good bet that everyone in the seat wednesday night is coming back. that's make the biggest come from behind story of all. that's it for "hardball." thanks for being with us. "politics nation" with al sharpton starts right now. hey, republicans, you sure you want to go after this president's leadership? >> we will be determined, we will be deliberate, we will be relentless. >> relentless against al qaeda, but back home, republicans keep blocking the relentless focus on jobs with their old refrain. >> our country needs leaders. >> leadership tonight, dana milbank on why republicans just won't follow a leader. and supreme court justice clarence thomas says he and his wife share everything. then why didn't he share information with the court? as he's supposed to. congressman john garamendi on
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w00t his conflict of interest should be investigated. and everybody is talking about governor chris christie. >> can you see him as president? >> republicans might get their wish, but it could be a dpreem come true for democrats, too. >> we slaughter him with the quotes from himself saying he's not ready to be president. >> banks gone wild, which means my pet banksie is on the loose again. "politics nation" starts right now.. tonight's lead. republicans still playing follow the leader. >> earlier this morning, anwar al awlaki, leader of al qaeda, was killed in yemen.
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it's a major blow to al qaeda's most active operational affiliate. >> the drone strike was yet another major blow to al qaeda. it took out the man behind the ft. hood massacre and the botched christmas day bombing. and his death comes just five months after the death of osama bin laden. it mae drive republicans crazy, probably does, but, folks, this is leadership. it makes comments like these downright laughable. >> we watch a president who once talked about his courage of convictions, but still has yet found the courage to lead. >> we don't need a good politician. we need a strong leader. >> at a moment when we needed leadership the most, we got it the least. >> it's pretty clear the president has decided to forget hits role as president and leader of our nation. >> forgot how to lead? speaker boehner, i think it's your party that's forgotten how to lead, especially when it comes to the economy.
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following the financial collapse, this company begged for reform. the financial reform bill passed with the support of just three house republicans. three, out of 237 it was your political brinkingmanship that led to america's first-ever downgrade. now with millions of americans out of work, the president calling for a balanced approach to get this economy back on track, and this is all you can muster? >> i don't think i would describe class warfare as leadership. >> when you pick one area of the economy and say we're going to tax those people, because most people are not those people, that's class warfare. >> class warfare, chris, may make for really good politics, but makes for rotten economics. >> republicans shouting class warfare is not leadership. we have a leader, and if you would lend an united states, even an ounce of compromise, we would see as many domestic
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successes as foreign policy ones. joining me now is dana milbank and ryan grimm, with "the washington post." thank you for showing and coming this evening. dana, let me start with you. can republicans continue to hit obama on fail to lead? >> it's funny, reverend al, because for the first year or so, they were saying that president obama was a dictator, a tie rant that was ramming through all the these reforms in an undemocratic way. this sort of pivoted now to the president is a weak leader. i think the president has finally tan things in the direction of putting legislation out there that he knows the republicans are going to object to, forcing them to knock it
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down. it's going to force them to take the votes. he's putting himself back in the position of strong leader. he's lost numbers, but he's doing what he needs to do to get that back. >> those of us that are progressive that may question some of this, but let's listen to what some of the republicans have been saying about his leadership and strength. let's look at this. >> america's standing in the world is in peril. not only because disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle that they call foreign policy. we can't lead the world by hoping our enemies will hate us less. >> barack obama has laid the table for an air of spring by demonstrating weakness. >> now, ryan grimm, whatever the feeling of those of us on the
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left, does actioning like today get the attention of republicans on the hill, making it more different to make those statements that we just heard? >> it certainly does. this is the kind of thing that they do consider to see global leadership, going out and killing bad guys. >> like you said, there are a lot of people, and i put myself among them, this isn't leadership, to show real moral leadership, you try to follow international law instead of carries out the extra-judicial killing of an american citizens without bringing charges, you know, without bringing an indictment, without getting a conviction, that sort of thing. but from the consumer perspective -- >> you won't get the debate on the right. that's my point. >> you're exactly right, you won't. that's why you saw earlier today rick perry puts out a statement
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for killing al awlaki. nobody thinks that he's the leader, what he connection is, is in dispute, but that's beside the point. it brings up this awkward situation of people like rick perry congratulating president obama. the way he did it was a little sideways. i thank the president for continuing president bush's policies and not reneging on them. it's kind of a backhanded comment, but it still forces rick perry to compliment obama, and that does put them in a weird situation. >> and it complicates the statements he made. the president made a statement today about the country going soft, that got a lot of buzz. let me show you the statement.
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>> this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn't have the same competitive edge. we need to get back on track, but i still wouldn't trade our position can anyone country's on earth. >> we still have the most dynamic economic system in the world. >> now t. two-part question on that, dana. one, will that also lead toward him showing more strength by saying we're getting a little too soft, and he's calling for the countrying to more competitive and more hardened, if you will? and second, he's crystallizing that we needing to more competitive? is the president really building toward the stronger more
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decisive leadership image, in your judgment? >> i think that's what he's trying to do. i'm a little concerned about that sort of remark, because you can picture it being spliced a way, by saying america is getting soft, and people will use that to say, here's that president who doesn't believe in american exceptionalism. here his goes again putting down the nation. i i think that sort of statement can be used against him. having said that, he has -- as we were decision earlier moved his leadership in a stronger direction, in the economic area with the jobs bill, and also in the foreign policy area. to say who's stronger, really to the left of the president on
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this, so in foreign policy, he's got himself with today's news as well as the afghanistan position in a pretty strong national security position. >> now, ryan, let me ask you something. we are very concerned about jobs. i don't care who we are in this country. dib durbin today said that there is a -- we don't have the votes to get a jobs bill through. this congress and the senate has failed to bring about a lot of things. in fact, the republicans' concentration has been other than that. first, let me show what you -- what dib durbin set about the vote. >> do you think you have 50 votes? >> not at the moment, but we can work on it. the state senators don't like eliminating the -- that's an example. there are some senators up for
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election who said i'm never going to vote for a tax increase, so we're not going to have 100%. that's why it needs to be bipartisan. 6. >> i think durbin is saying we don't have the votes, even among democrats it's telling. what's your count? no one is plugged in better than you are, is this true in are we in trouble of getting this through the senate. soinchts for sure. it's sump an irony that democrats have finally figured out the foreign policy question, when nobody cares anymore. when people care about jobs. that's the democratic issue, is jobs, and all of a sudden they finally won the foreign policy game, they're fighting the 2004 election all over again, but dib durbin is right.
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you have a large number of democrats up for election in swing states or red states in 2012, and getting someone by ben nelson to vote on anybody will be impossible. >> if you look at the fact that republicans, their priority. they future up in the house nine abortion bills. showing you the priorities. nine bills on abortion, not one on jobs, shows you where they're all. when democrats are kind of fluctuating in the senate, maybe that's why the president said we need to be marching again. maybe that's what hi wall street saying. i don't know, but i'm going to do it anyway. thank you for your time tonight. ahead, the tea part is
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trying to get school kids to read the u.s. constitution. great. but why do they include plugs for a glenn beck political group? is he a founding father? and as health care laws heads to the supreme court, lawmakers are calling for an investigation into clarence thomas', quote, suspicious actions. does justice thomas have a serious conflict of interest on health care decision? it's a hot one, and it's next. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. [ boy ] hey, i thought these were electric? uh, it is, yeah, it's a chevy volt. so what are you doing at a gas station? well it still takes gas to go farther. but you're not getting gas. true. not this time. uh, don't have to gas up very often.
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up next, did clarence thomas violate ethics rules? democrats are calling for an investigation. we'll talk to one, next.
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should supreme court justice clarence thomas recuse himself from the decision on obama health care law? does he have a conflict of interest that compromises any claim of judicial impartiality? those questions are gaining force, as the high court starts its new session monday. the obama administration has formally asked the court to review the ampleable -- making it certain a ruling will come in the middle of next year's election. in a same, the justice dim placed a health care law in line
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with other his torrie legislative achievements. quote, throughout history there have been similar challenges. and all of those challenges failed. we believe the challenges to the affordable care act will also ultimately fail and that the supreme court will uphold the law. end of quote. the coming frenzy is only heightened by questions swirling an thomas. he failed to disclose a five-year period nearly $700,000 in that that five years his wife earned from the heritage foundation, which opposed the health care law. thomas also attended events funded by right-wing conservative koch brothers. koch brothers, according to documents released by a common
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cause. now 20 democratic lawmakers are asking for a federal investigation, noting that with high-profile cases on the hidesen, quote, it is vital that the judicial conference actively pursue any suspicious -- joining mess is congressman garamendi, one of the lawmakers that signed this her asking for a federal investigation of justice thomas. congressman, thank you for being here today. >> it's good to be with you. >> do you question justice thomas' ability to rule impartially on this case? >> well, we need to understand that this nation has been so successful because we have the rule of law. we operate under laws, and those laws are interpreted into the constitutionality and appropriateness by the supreme court. so ultimately the supreme court
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is the final arbiter, and we must have confidence in the supreme court's decisions if we're going to have a sane and rational economy and society. justice thomas has raised some very, very serious questions about his ability to be impartial in this situation. you said it so very clearly, for four or five years, he noted that there was no income from his wife, when in fact she received some $many his,000 in income from the heritage foundation, an organization that's clearly opposed to the affordable care act, and many other things for that matter. and that various visits he's had and speaking opportunities and the like, raleigh calling into question his impartiality. so for me and for the other 19 members of congress, who are saying, wait, wait, wait, we have to have an impartial panel looking at one of the most important laws that's come down in many, many years, the
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affordable care act. is it constitutional? yes or no. only to be determined by the supreme court, and hopefully a supreme court that does have at least one of its members with a very serious question to whether they are or are not impartial. >> congressman, in fact on the disclosure form, he did not just leave it blank. he wrote none, in terms of the question of whether his wife had received income. he wrote "none." now, the disturbing fact there is not the disclosure among some circles, but that they are suspecting -- and only a suspicion, that maybe he wrote none because he knew it would raise a red flags in in fact he reported where her income had come from. >> well, that's a question that really needs to be taken up by the attorney general and the judicial council. that's their question. we've asked them to do that. we asked them to take a look at this.
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it's not just a four-year period. apparently it's well over a decade in which he simply put down the word "none. "that raises questions. certainly, as a supreme court justice he's aware of the rir789 to disclose income and potential conflicts. andenings particular case, he chose to write "none" when in fact there were at least $700,000 in income 2347b8g case from the heritage foundation just on the face of it, it's caused me to believe there is a conflict of interest, and that he should recuse himself from an extremely important question of constitutionality and the proposeness of the affordable care act. >> that's why el raised it the other night. let's be clear that mrs. thomas is not just someone making income. she's a lobbyist.
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she's lobbied -- we paid footage of her actually speaking out against this act. when you look at u.s. codite 28 part 1, chapter 21, so that people understand the basis of what you're requesting the inquiry on, it reads -- he shall -- talking about a member of the judicial -- he shall also disqualify himself if he knows he or his spouse has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or in any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding. so this is not some of us just seeking some partisan conditioned of posturing here. there are concerns when she in fact lobbied and campaigned against this act that is now going to be in front of him and she had financial gains, which is clearly talked about in the
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code of that being the case of a spouse, congressman. >> well, the law is clear about recusal. you read the entire section. it's perfectly clear. i don't think you need a supreme court decision to interpret that particular clause. i think reclusal is clearly appropriate in this case, to whether there's other violations that's for the the council to decide. but clearly there's a lot of smoke here, and there's knowledge that there was a period of time in which he improperly disclosed and now we know that she did receive substantial income. that income is available to him as well as to her, and i think that's another issue that needs to be taken into account here. >> congressman, thank you for your time. have a great weekend. >> thank you. you too. coming up, next, the tea party is playing fast and loose with american history.
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folks, this is historical fiction at its best. plus chris christie is seriously considering a run for president. is he the gop hero or just another zero? new stride whitemint is a hit but it lasts too long. how do we get people to chew another piece? i got this one. oh hey. [ male announcer ] spit it out. or yeti will find you. [ grunts ] i like him. thanks ryan. [ male announcer ] new stride whitemint. the ridiculously long lasting gum.
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across the country, tea party groups are pressuring public schools to teach their version of constitutional history. it's not the first time.
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this summer, one tea party group started tea party camp, where kids learned about the gold standard, and the dangers of socialism. almost as much fun as roasting marshmallows. now mother jones reports the effort to indoctrinate schools is in full swing. in western california, they asked for approval of lesson plans. they suggested materials and threatened to go to the media if cools didn't do lessons on the constitutional. the meddling didn't end there. a chapter of glen beck's 912 group dedicated copies of the constitutional to two florida school districts, but the booklet excluded some extras including the website address, references to religious groups, and quotes like this -- unless americans remember and preserve or rich heritage of liberty, a
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new dark age of tirny could lock the majority of man kid into the harsh chains of totalitarian slavery. dark age of tirreny for kids? c'mon, tea party. those districts decided not to distribute the books. schools would be better off getting money for teachers and supplies than getting an extra helping hand from right-wing ideologues. did the tea party groups think no one would notice the indocket runation effort? nice try, folks, but we got you. h bayer advanced aspirin. it has microparticles, enters the bloodstream faster and rushes relief to the site of pain. it's clinically proven to relieve pain twice as fast. new bayer advanced aspirin. every time a local business opens its doors or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business.
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welcome back to the show. it's looking a bit more like republicans may get their wish after all. the "north star ledger" reports that new jersey governor chris christie is now seriously rethinking his now "i'm not
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running" stand. the gop couldn't be happier with the news. why wouldn't they? christie is their darling. he's vetoed a tax increase for millionaires, cut millions in state aid to education and laid off 3,000 teachers. what a record. no wonder he's the republicans' republican. no wonder the republicans love him, but seriously, can someone with that report actually be a serious national contender? or does the christie fever say more about how dissatisfied republican faithful are with their field? joining mess is ed rendell, former dnc chairman and current msnbc political analyst, and michael steele, now an msnbc analyst. michael, with this record of getting rid of teachers is christie really the republicans' best hope to take on president
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obama? >> i don't floe if he's the best hope to take on the president. that's a decision he's grappling with right now and a number of republicans are trying to come to some conclusion on, but i think in terms of his record, like every other governor out around the country, has had to make some tough decisions in a state that had a huge tax burden on the backs of their citizens. and i think he's made the tough choices, which has endeared him to a lot of folks around the country, not just republicans and conservatives, but independent voters as well. so i think, certainly the record will get the scrutiny that you referred to, al, but i think ultimately it's going to boil down to whether or not christie believes he can get into this race at this stage of the game and be an effective campaigner and effective challengers to romney for the nomination.
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>> he's right. is he ready? let me give you an expert, governor rendell, on christie, on whether he's ready. >> governor christie. >> look at what he said. you've got to believe in your later that you are ready, to walk into the office and lead the nation. nor do i think i'm ready. >> now, there's a difference between playing hard to get and just saying i'm not ready. so governor rendell, if he decides to come out, how does he reconcile his own assessment that he's not ready with a change of heart so quickly? >> well, it's interesting. i don't agree with obviously everything he's done, but i admire him for his honesty and courage.
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he honestly felt he doesn't have enough experience, being governor of new jersey, he's not ready to be president of the united states. if you're mitt romney or rick perry, you just run that ad over and over and over again. it's not like saying i'm not running for president, because my family and i decided we don't want to do it. then you can change your mind and said my family came to me and said, look, we've seen the field and we believe you're the best hope for america, so they gave me the green light. that expectations washes how do you explain not being ready in august and all of a sudden deciding to run in september. there couldn't have been an immaculate education period of four weeks.
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>> if he was the president, why don't you just go with me down dreamland here. he's president. imagine showing president christie's handling of anger management? >> you're not compensating me for my education and experience. >> you know what? then you don't have to do it. >> once and for all we need to decide, who is determining our children's future? who is running this place? them or us? i say it's us. >> you think that's a confrontational tone, then you could see me when i'm pissed. >> he gets worse than that. can you really sell this to the american public? >> that's a good question. i let a lot of the spunk and vinegar that he brings to the
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conference is appealing to people. i think that's what makes herman cain more attractive. so i'm not going to take away from that particular side of his personality. i can identify with that a bit myself. >> i notice you never said that about my spunk or vinegar. i won't take it personal. >> i've never given you grief -- >> you didn't give me a vote, either. >> well, yeah. there's another issue we talked about earlier this morning about the governor's weight. as a former fat guy, i'm qualified to talk about it. mr. robinson says whether or not he lets himself be persuaded to run for president. chris christy needs to find some way to lose weight. >> i disagree.
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>> after mr. steele and i discussed it, and there was upset about the column, "the view" picked it up. watch what the ladies said. >> can you see him as president? >> can i say -- you say no? okay. why not? >> wow, did they say "fat"? >> because he's hefty, but different word. >> he's not healthy. i don't want to have to worry from my president dies from a heart attack, because he's overweight. >> i think the issue before you weigh in -- pun intended -- the issue to me is not the fat guy jokes. i grew up with them and lost a lot of weight to get rid of them, but the issue is that health is a legitimate issue in every campaign. they talked about mccain's health problems. they talked about president
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obama's smoking, so from a health point of view, not the fat guy jokes, is it legitimate if he becomes a candidate to say is his health going to be impacted by him being overweight? >> look, al, the health of a candidate is always a legitimate issue, but governor christie gets fairly good checkups. of course his doctors say he's overweight, but fairly good checkups on other things. i think the bigness is a part of the mystique. he's a brash, big, honest-talking guy. i think that's almost part of the -- i hate to word shtick, but it's part of what makes him so attractive to people. we've had overweight presidents before. i don't think -- >> we haven't had any since television and youtube, but go ahead. >> but you know the campaign
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that jon corzine waged against him. every ad that pictured governor christie pictured him as huger than he might. that didn't seem to affect the voters. >> i think when you say you you are not ready to be president, you cannot change your mind 30, 90 days later. >> you were chair of the republican pare, i ran a democratic primary, and i know that when you start moving they primary dates up, this means that would have to quickly put together a campaign place that can run in five states at one time.
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this could be serious surge -- >> you're absolutely right. -- my administration we put in place the current rule that sort of extended the process to allow candidates the flexible to get -- so we didn't have the super tuesday, where, you know, the vote was decided effectively on the first tuesday in march. we wanted this to extend itself -- or february, extend itself a bit. you're not going to see iowa, nevada, south carolina and new mexico move their dates up, probably as early as the first week of january, and potential depending on what other states do, into december, which means in terms of getting into the
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ballots, that clock has ticked itself out at this point. >> well, thank you for coming on the show tonight. both of you have a great weekend. >> you too, al. up next, oil companies in texas are cashing in while school districts suffer. this is rick perry's vision of america? and bank of america is planning on charging customers to use their debit cards. sounds like my pet banksie is on the loose.
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and i am a phoenix. [ male announcer ] university of phoenix is proud to sponsor education nation. because we believe an educated world is a better world. the republican campaign to block the vote is still going strong. this time the secretary of state in maine is trying to scare college students into dropping their legal voter registrations. last week he sent a her to more than 200 dwrouf state students suggesting they could be investigated for violating voter election laws. what the her didn't mention is that 30 years ago, the supreme court said it's okay for college students to vote in the state where they attend school. it has some students thinking about dropping their registrations. meanwhile, a win in ohio, where a law that would have severely restricted early voting has been
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blocked. democratic volunteers collected 318,000 signatures to put the law on hold, and it would in and out be on the ballot in the fall. republicans seem willing to do almost anything to suppress the vote. it's why we have to keep fighting back.
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presidential candidate rick perry is very proud of his record in texas, but there are some things he would rather not discuss, like hi record on schools. texas schools s.a.t. scores are almost at rock bottom. the state places last in the percentage of people with high school del ploppas. now texas had a major budget shortfall this year, $27 million. so to compensate, perry slashed school budgets by $4 billion. despite that, we're learning texas may give several oil
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refineries a hefty tax break to the tune of $135 million. the oil refineries, the oil companies claim, equipment that stems emissions of harmful gases should be tax-exempt and the state owes them money. the three board members of the texas commission on environmental quality are all appointed by rick perry. they previously denied the refund request, but valero, one of the oil companies, appealed the decision. according to the associate press, commissioners are thinking about changing their minds. quote, shaw said the legislature probably intended a broader interpretation of the law. he instructed his staff to research whether they could award partial exemptions to valero. so brs the money coming from? texas public schools, of course. if rick perrys ace minute onhave
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their way, texas public schools are going to have to fork over almost $63 million to underfunded oil refineries. valero made almost $100 billion in revenue in the last 12 months. $100 billion. and they want $135 million from texas public schools? this is rick perry's america. joining me now is patricia gonzalez, a texas mom and president of a parent/teacher organization, which was created this past summer after budget cuts left her children's school without basic supplies, such as pencils and paper towels. welcome, patricia. >> well, thank you for having me. >> patricia, what do you think of this whole idea of public school money being used to offset what the oil companies
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are asking for in the state? >> i think that it's appalling that they would even think that they should be allowed these tax revenues. it's not -- every company, every peoplesh they 35i taxes. the small businesses pay taxes. why do big corporations feel they can get away with any type of loophole or any type of application that they could file to try to get a tax break? it's not right. it should be fair across the board. it's affecting our children, and i will not stand for it. parents in our community will not stand for it. enough is enough. we need to unite, get the community involved, and we have done that, through or pto at parker intermediate in pasadena, forming this pto, we have moved forward and said enough is enough. we are working with the superintendents of the school, they're behind us, they know we're moving forward to get the revenue that we need. we have already been hurt by $4
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billion that governor perry already took out. >> that's what i want to ask you about. the country needs to know -- you're a parent there in texas. he is running for president. what can you tell us, as a parent of school children in his state about governor perry's commitment to education? what do we need to know about him? >> i think that the commitment is not there. he's already shown that. by doing the budget cuts he did over the spring. i went and advocated and fought for this in the spring in austin. we had parents from pasadena, parents from houston isd. we all rallied, and we had buses going up to austin, letting the governor and legislators know we cannot allow this to happen. we need the funds for our children to succeed, and everyone should have the equality to go to college. that's what we want. he needs to put children first, not big oil companies. >> now, when we look at the oil
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companies, look at this graph quickly, patricia, they are making a lot of money. exxon mobil is up 50%. chevron and coknocko, phillips up 33%. we're not talking about these companies are suffering. >> exactly, sir. they are not suffering. if anything, the main question should be not them applies for these tax breaks, but saying let me see what we can go for the community. half of the people that work in those corporations, in those companies, those refineries in pasadena and in houston are people that live in the communities that work in those refine requires. they hurting the same thing they're employs. that's appalling within itself, that they would even allow something like that to happen. i would want and other parents and other community leaders that also have been behind me and other organization, in making sure we neat to get the word
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out, not only to the parents, but community leaders, and the community to know, even if you don't have a child in your school, get involved, let your voice be heard. that's what you're giving us an opportunity, sir, and we appreciate the time to get the word out. >> we're going to stay on this story and we'll get the word out, patricia. thank you very much for joining me. good luck in your fight. >> thank you. we'll be right back.
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it's time for another edition of our ongoing tragic-comedy, "the adventures of banksie." in today's story they're at it again. bank of america has infuriated customers by announcing a charge of $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases. why are they charging customers for something that used to be free? they used to be able to charge merchants for processing debit
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card transactions, a charge that brought in $19 billion of revenue for banks in 2009, but the financial reform bill, which goes into effect tomorrow caps those fees. now banks are losing that money, so they figured out the way to get it is from all of us. no word yet how much money will rake in, but other banks are also considering the new debit card charges. bank of america made $4.4 billion in profit last year, but just last week it announced it might cut as many as 10,000 jobs. with all this news, my pet banksie is in a pretty good mood. he just keeps getting richer and richer. tonight he's taking me out for lobster, then a show on broadway. he's excited about seeing "how to succeed in biggs without really trying." without afterwards we meat get a post-dinner right on a

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