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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  November 17, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EST

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msnbc? sometimes i worry. john tower hit me with an email. >> brooke writes up earl will i to give birth. breathing through contractions, listening to "way too early." >> we've said this many times, that's not the first e-mail we've gotten from a húñband and wife who are in the middle of childbirth. "way too early" is known as the petosin. you may know the abc news white house correspondent. he tweets to norah o'donnell, should we sneak behind chuck todd, the nbc white house correspondent as he does a live shot for willie geist's show? i wish i'd seen this earlier, i would have ordered jake and norah to stand behind chuck for the full?x#ive minutes of that live shot. "morning joe" starts right now. congress released a new spending bill last night that changes president obama's plans
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to make school lunches healthier. the new bill keeps french fries on the menu at school. it delays a requirement to boost whole grains and calls the tomato paste on pizzas a vegetable. >> so the one thing that you've all been able to sit down and agree upon is that pizza is a vegetable. clearly you are in the pocket of big hot pocket. who even asked you to do that? >> the changes were requested by food companies that make frozen pizzas and by potato growers. >> oh, it's not democracy, it's digiorno. >> we're going to actually start right there. because he is poking at the heart of the problem in this country. good morning, everyone. it's thursday, november 17th. welcome to "morning joe." with us onset, we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle. we have the executive editor at
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random house jon meacham. we also have financier and "morning joe" economic analyst steve rattner, and in washington to help us translate a little bit, msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican national committee, michael steele. good to have you. >> good to be with you, mika. >> that clip we came in with, perfect after yesterday's news with washington doing nothing about fixing school lunches and passing pizza as a vegetable. in the "wall street journal" today, a study on american teens finds that children's cardiovascular health, the current generation of teenagers could be at risk of increased heart disease, adolescentsç performed poorly overall on a set of seven criteria by the american heart association for cardiovascular health. it will lead to heart problems later in life, exercise and food at the crux of the problem. seriously? this is what's wrong with washington. that we can't even make their lunches healthy.
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thank you for pointing that out to me, barnicle. and since joe's not here because the poor guy had surgery, i just thought i'd start the show out -- >> i read through a couple of pieces. i still don't see the justification for it. are you so indebted to pizza companies? >> you're indebted to the food industry. >> yeah. >> the obama administration wanted to do the right thing -- >> of course. >> it was lobbying congress by these food companies that got it turned around. >> and it's a disgrace, actually, when you look at the state of our kids' health and the obesity epidemic. it's everything that's wrong with washington. let's move on and talk about what else is wrong with washington. we'll start with newt gingrich defendi ining his ties to fredd mac as he faces new scrutiny. the former house speaker reportedly earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from the company. gingrich addressed the controversy once again in iowa yesterday. >> first of all, it wasn't paid
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to me. gingrich group was a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things. and we offered strategic advice. >> is the figure correct? >> i don't know. >> it sounds like a whole lot more than just being a historian. >> i was speaker of the house and strategic adviser. >> will you make those records public? >> to the degree we can, sure. >> jake abramoff has written a book about why this shouldn't happen anymore. he made a lot of money. just hours after saying he would release as many documents as possible, it's funny, it's weird, his campaign just turned around on that and said never igd. releasing a list of facts on gingrich's group relationship with freddie mac, just some facts. and, well, i don't know. at first he said he was a historian, does that still stand? oh, meacham, perfect, you're here, do you get $1.6 million to help out a company like say freddie mac? >> i was called in to consult on
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"way too early," and clearly that didn't work out very well. >> it wasn't a good fit. >> it wasn't a good fit. no, i think this is why gingrich is one of god's gifts to american politics because he always does this. and now it's become even more compressed, the cycle of newt riding high, down. used to take a week, now about 48 hours. and, you know, there's an intuitive understanding, public understanding whether it's pizza or the mortgage crisis that there is a system, whether it's cultural -- and the fact that it's cultural is actually scarier, in a way. if it were a matter of legislating something and moving on, but people -- money and politics always finds a way. it's like water leaking into your house. you block it one place, it's probably going to come in in the other. so it's a very hard reform argument to make. i think this is interesting because gingrich in a way, i --
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maybe this is just me, but i don't see him as a plausible nominee. maybe i'm alone in that. >> no, you're not. i -- >> you are not alone in that. i think it's ridiculous, frankly. when you look at his -- whether you want to look at his personal life, his flip-flopping on issues. the guy is obviously -- if not the smartest guy in the field right up there, if he's not the most experienced guy in the field, he's right up there on paper, sure. but then you look at his personal life with the wives and the euxics violations and tiffany's, and the most incredible thing i just heard him say, well, i didn't get this money because it went to my consulting company. of course he got the money -- >> apparently there was a standard fee, that was one of many fees paid. this is really a little bit one-sided. michael steele, perhaps you could provide some balance if you were speaking on behalf of newt gingrich. first of all, how would you
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advise him? and secondly, is there any other side to this that we're not getting? >> i think first off, you know, everyone wants to gloss over the fact it went to his consulting company and to the point where he's still got it. and you know that's not how it worked. the money wasn't put in his pocket, first off. second of all, it was over an eight-year period that this money was paid to his firm on an off and on basis. it wasn't even one contract, it was a series of contracts. and thirdly, who cares? at the end of the day, this is really old news. we're just discovering this that he had this relationship? this has been out there for quite some time. so, again, this is part in parcel of the story. when you get to a certain level in this process to become president, the knives come out and everything is blown way out of proportion. i don't think people care too much at the end of the day. >> i think the bigger picture, and then we ought to get to the polls that willie has. the bigger picture is that with newt gingrich, there always was
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going to be something. there has been many things in the past, this is sort of the latest. i'm not sure how this candidate moves forward. having said that -- >> i also think this reinforces what jon just said. the cynical view that washington politics is a game. >> yeah. >> and you can go out and pound the pulpit and rail against freddie mac and criticize in 2008 president obama from taking donations from the executives all the while behind the scenes you're working with freddie mac. it's a game and that's what the american people think it is. >> and they don't have table stakes. and that's the central problem. and i disagree with michael, with respect. i think it's a big deal -- i don't think this has been blown out of proportion in a way that a lot of things do get blown out of proportion. >> some will keep bringing up that newt gingrich wanted to throw barney frank in jail for some of the same stuff. >> but it's also -- i take the point it was one thing. if it were just one thing, you could say, oh, we can get past
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this. but when you put it on the top of the iceberg he's trying to move along, the dog doesn't hunt. >> listen, this guy has more baggage than the sky caps out at jfk airport. i mean, it's not happening for him. he is fun to watch because you indicated he's, you know, the smartest person on the stage or whatever. he may not be, but he sure does think he is. >> right. >> and michael steele, i would be interested in your take in if you take a look at newt's record, ideologically, it would seem to me that he would have huge problems with tea party members and fundamentalists out in that iowa caucus. he's taken some fairly moderate positions during the course of his career. >> clearly it hasn't hurt him because he's doing very well in the polls and steadily moved up in the polls. and that's the point. everybody knows about the baggage, and they don't care. it's been assessed and evaluated by individuals across the
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country. they've put it in the proper context and moved on. so in a lot of respects, this is great fodder for the washington talking class, but at the end of the day, it's going to be the voters in the republican primary who are going to make the ultimate judgment. and so far, they've judged it, okay, let's move on, what are >> let's look where mitt romney is in the state of new hampshire. the former massachusetts governor leads the field in new hampshire among likely voters there with 40% support. ron paul, a distant second with 17%, gingrich at 11%, you go down the list, herman cain, huntsman, and rick perry. and a national poll, a new one out of fox news, gingrich and romney -- what is this? this is new hampshire gop
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primary. statistical tie for first place nationally. it's a trend we've seen over several days, gingrich bouncing up nationally in a lot of these polls. >> what about against -- >> head to head? >> head to head. >> i can give you a head to head. mitt romney leads the group with 37% support. when they're pitted against president obama. >> michael steele, who do they -- do they want someone who is going to win? i'm just curious. >> i know you are. and it's the big question within republican rank and file right now. ultimately the answer is yes. and i think what you'll see over the next few weeks particularly after thanksgiving is that that vote begin to settle down a little bit as people get close to casting that vote, they pay more attention to the question of electability. given what's been said on the set, that's what all of those things come into greater focus for folks. and they decide whether or not newt or romney or someone else is going to be able to defeat
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obama next year. >> yeah. i mean, herman cain's in the news. i'll just gloss over it real quickly. he told theç "milwaukee journa sentinel" that he's not supposed to have all the answers. i'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy and want to talk to the commanders on the ground. you run for president, you need to have the answer, no, you don't, no you don't, that's not good decision making. i'm going to put that over here. >> there's a pizza theme. we should find out if godfather's lobbied. >> has anybody ever had any godfather's pizza? >> it's a southern thing. >> is it any good? >> it wouldn't be my first choice. jon hutsman who served the obama administration as ambassador to china says he no longer has a relationship with the president. appearing on "piers morgan," huntsman says it's time for a change. >> the misery index is up,
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unemployment is up, joblessness, our place in the has more to offer. but i never can see those two together because there are all of the other people in the middle that aren't going to make it. and i know that's how the process works, but it's a little frustrating, isn't it? >> that's the thing about democracy, it is frustrating in that sense. >> it is actually the people's choice. and michael steele, would you agree, though, that this would be a good match-up? >> yeah, absolutely, mika. and i said earlier this week, you know, i think it's time for huntsman to recognize that there's a wide opening for him if he wants to take it. so he needs to take off the ambassador's cap and put jp his
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i want to be president cap and get out there and mix it up with the other seven folks on the stage and really clearly show the delineation between where hep wants to take the country and where they want to take the country, but most especially where the president is taking the country. and if he does that, i think there are a lot of votes out there for him to grab. and it's not -- keep in mind one factor that everyone is overlooking here. everyone focuses on iowa and new hampshire and talk about that, you know, that hard-core republican base. but when you get beyond consternation coming to the national party saying, can you, you know, tell them not to do that? well, that's an individual state decision whether to have an open or closed primary. a lot of republican primaries
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are open whichf+?70iñ a big opportunity for someone like huntsman. >> we're going to have huntsman on the show tomorrow, he also was asked about his standing in the polls because he's dead last or not even on some of them. and here's what he said. >> we're still in the preseason. we're in the primary phase, and that means there's a lot in the way of theatrics and show business that are merged into politics. i think that is going to drive people at the ballot box to consider the trust element of politics. therest no trust left between the people of this country and our institutions of power. whether that's congress, the executive branch, whether it's wall street. >> jon meacham, we all like jon huntsman, think he could make a good president. he's hadç now three, four mont to introduce himself to the american public, to introduce himself to republican voters,
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and we haven't seen him bounce up out of single digits. what could change for jon huntsman? >> i think mika's point is right and that's his best hope that people will see -- clearly people want a clear choice between romney and someone else, at least to see whether they want to actually nominate governor romney. and right now the stage is full of people who represent niche constituencies, if you will, like freddie mac. and other -- and the pizza lobbyists and so forth. so you have the "star wars" bar scene issue. and what we've seen in this cycle is the momentary rises. you know, everybody gets a chance to be choice "b" to romney and huntsman's chance hasn't come yet perhaps he's going to be last in this, it'll be close to the actual caucusing and voting in new hampshire.
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and maybe the timing works where if everybody's getting to pitch stuff for people to look at him, maybe his time -- >> he is literally moving to new hampshire. >> right. >> where he'll spend the next five or six weeks. his biggest problem clearly in retro spect he never factored into his campaign, never factored into the equation what we would do in if media with bauchmann, with perry, and with herman cain, covering them with their hysterical, foolish rantings and ravings, forgetting things on stage. we devote weeks and hours and column inches of space to them and huntsman gets left out. >> but i would also say two things. first that chris dodd moved to iowa and it didn't help çhim. i'm not sure moving to new hampshire does it. as i watch these debates, there's something about him. he doesn't have the presence, the forcefulness. he can't command that stage. he doesn't seem to be able to
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breakthrough. and one last thing, this may just be me thinking, but it bothers me that he served in the obama administration and now turning around and attacking the president. there's an element of disloyalty or lack of respect or something that bothers me. i do find that slightly unseemly. >> i think that's an attribute and can be turned around and work with him because this administration some could argue has failed miserably. having said that, also where he was, he was in china. and he has a lot to offer about our situation with china that involves actual in-depth knowledge of the situation, not just some sort of fake competition going on. we're going to kick their butts. i mean, he really understands the issue. i think he could turn it around into a plus, but i think you've got to get the clowns out of the middle and then -- i would love to see he and mitt romney talking one-on-one. i think there'd be two competent
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candidates really good for this country and then we'd have a real choice. but you know, i guess i'm not the one just to talk because it's not my party. just seems to me it makes perfect sense. >> in the casting of who's on the stage, it's the sort of crazy uncle who wags his finger and comments on everything that's going on. romney is romney. huntsman has been the smart kid who is a little resentful he's not being taken more seriously. if you go back and look at it, he tends to make sardonic remarks, almost as if -- if the process is not going to take me, then i'm going to attack it.ç and i think to some extent, if you're going to be in politics, you have to enjoy politics. and there's not been a great sense that huntsman likes politics. >> it looks so enjoyable. i don't know why you say that. we need to talk about the debt super committee, coming down to the wire. you've got some charts helpful
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for the viewers. up next, as well. by the way, do you want me to help you negotiate your historian fees? because i'm very good at that. i know how to make people money. and i think you probably have failed miserably in this category looking at newt's -- >> i have not known my value. >> yes. we'll get you there. >> $1.6 million for a historian. >> up next, the politico playbook, we'll also talk to heath shuler and mike simpson. and for anyone through a bad flight delay, we've got a new one for you. a standoff on a plane when passengers are told to cough up gas money. what? that's next in "morning papers," but first, let's go to bill karins with a check on the forecast. >> pass the jar around the aisle. good morning, mika, a lot of people had airport delays on the eastern sea board with the clouds and rain around and severe storms in the southeast. we had 17 tornadoes yesterday. november outbreak.
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we get about one every november, hopefully this is it. south carolina, north carolina looked to be the hardest hit. today, those thunderstorms have weakened. they're going to be pushing down through i-4, tampa, orlando, daytona beach, you'll have those storms. there's a little bit of light rain left over through virginia, roanoke, d.c., and up through new york, hartford, and boston. not a heavy rain like yesterday, just light showers out çthere. temperatures are much cooler around the country. even with sunshine today, only 38 in chicago, and the windchills in the middle of the country are the coldest so far this late fall season. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. congratulations.
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prompted a gop identity crisis. the article says tensions have mounted in recent days as senator pat toomey and congressman çhensarling have broken campaign promises by embracing tax hikes. >> the virginiian pilot says the members of s.e.a.l. team six, contenders to be named "time" magazine's person of the year. includes dozens of others in the running including steve jobs, the 99%, and yes, mika, charlie sheen. >> stop joking. >> i know. >> that's ridiculous. and from britain's birmingham mail. passengers on a flight from india to england say they were held for ransom during a layover in vienna because the airline went broke as the plane was making the first leg of the
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flight. according to the article the flight crew then told the 180 passengers they would need to cough up $30,000 cash to buy fuel or they couldn't get home. take a listen to this. >> we need money to pay the airport, to pay everything. so if you want to go, you have to pay. we can't do anything else. >> did that really happen? unbelievable after a six-hour standoff, passengers gave in and were allowed off the plane so they could use the atm. authorities in britain are now trying to recoup the money and return it to the passengers. >> i wish i were kidding, that happened to me in college. >> no! >> we were flying to jamaica for spring break. and they said, let's do $20 a head for gas money. unsanctioned jamaicanç airline.
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it was a cheap flight. >> except for the $20 each. >> politico. >> the chief white house correspondent for "politico" mike allen with the playbook. >> good morning, sunshines. >> sunshine. >> that's your inside voice. that's off camera. >> we've got a good rick perry ad to show you here. speaking at the apec conference over the weekend, president obama said americans have been lazy over the past decade, and republican presidential candidate rick perry has been using that in an ad. >> we've been lazy over the past couple of decades. >> can you believe that? that's what the president thinks is wrong with america, that's pathetic. it's time to clean house in washington, time for a balanced budget amendment that forces washington to stop overspending. if congress balks, cut their pay, send them home. obama's socialist policies are bankrupting america. we must stop him now.
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i'm rick perry, and i approve this message. >> mike allen, he's going back to the socialist well too. >> and freeze. what the president really said at the ceo summit in honolulu was that the united states had taken for granted that we were going to get foreign investment that we wouldn't work hard enough to sell america overseas to bring that inforvestment in. he did say we've been a little bit lazy over the past couple of decades. not just in the rick perry ad. mitt romney is using it on the trail saying it's a sign that president obama doesn't understand america. a couple of senate candidates already using it. politico talked to democratic and republicans saying this is going to pop up in a lot of ads. the presidentç stepped in and opened himself to this democratic consultant told us if i was a republican, i would beat that drum like i was occupy wall street. >> wow. let's be clear about what the president said. you summarized it well, mike.
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he said we've been a little bit lazy, i think over the last couple of decades, we've taken for granted that people want to come here. we aren't there hungry trying to sell america, trying to attract new businesses into america. rick perry last night on fox news, mike, followed up on the ad. >> he grew up in a privileged way. you know, he never had to really work for anything. when he has had problems, he's pointed to somebody else and said it's their fault, not mine. it's like his thinking that he can go and negotiate because of his great debating skills. any place in the world. well, we've seen in a number of examples of that where it's just been an abject failure. and as a matter of fact, his thinking that he's the smartest guy in the room has hurt america around the world, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. >> so mike allen, going over the republican field going right after obama now. >> well, that's right. and these little clips like this
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h damaging. when they fit in with something we saw before, rick perry brain freeze might not have been as damaging if it'd been some candidate known as einstein. in this case, this fits in with the republicans' view that the president has been apologizing for the country and has not been standing up for america. show they can use this little clip to try to revive that point. >> which, again, is not true if you look at the quotes. he hasn't been apologizing for america. but it's working on the trail for him. we'll see what happens. mike allen. >> you suppose there's been anybody who ever thought that rick perry was theç smartest g in the room? >> that's unfair. >> really? >> let's go to break. >> thanks so much. coming up, jerry seinfeld, david letterman settle a jealous feud over regis philbin as regis' last day on "live" approaches. that's ahead on news you can't use. [ male announcer ] nature valley
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most of the deficit reduction will be proposed by a so-called super committee. >> ah, yes, the super committee, a group of 12 lawmakers who gained their powers after having been bitten by a radioactive
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accountant and are now called upon to slash our deficits. go forward, super committee, the fate of the nation is in your hands. >> the super committee can't agree on anything. >> they can't agree what's going on at their meetings. >> some have complained senator john kerry is talking too much in the closed door meetings. >> really, john kerry. talking too much, of course he's talking too much, that's his super power. >> that's pretty funny at 35 past the hour. a live look at capitol hill as the sun's just about to come up over washington. let's talk about the super committee with just six days left to make a deal, lawmakers are scrambling to find a way to slash more than $1 trillion from the u.s. budget. the 12-member panel continues to spar over the best way to reach a deal. the partisan split described by the committee's two co-chairs. >> i'm still waiting for democrats to actually solve the problem.ç
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put something on the table. if you don't like the republican plan, if you don't like the bipartisan plan, what is your plan to solve the crisis and ensure, and ensure that the committee does not fail in its duty? >> i'm still hopeful that the republicans will see their way to bringing to us a real reputable package, and that's what all of us are looking for in terms of fair and balance. >> this is where steve rattner comes in. they have until midnight next wednesday to come to a deal. you explain where the money's coming from, why this is so difficult. let's start with tax revenues versus tax expenditures and explain as much as you can what the issues are here. >> sure. we're now talking about revenues. the republicans have put revenues on the table for the first time in a limited way. nobody wants to raise tax rates per se. so if you look at this chart, you'll see that the total tax
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revenues that we get for the federal income tax are $1 trillion a year. there are another trillion a year that are so-called tax expenditures, which you might call ways to get around taxes. this is where people want the money to come from. everybody believes in tax simplification and getting rid of some of these deductions, and if you were to cut this in half, which is not going to happen, you could cut the tax rates in half and still end up with at least as much money, maybe more. so in this area of tax expenditures is where people are talking about getting the revenue. so let's take a look at some of them are. what's surprising about it, is the big money is not where you necessarily think that the money is coming çfrom. the big money is really in some things that people are probably not going to give up so well. so, for example, the fact that your health insurance is not taxed. >> right. right. >> the fact that your mortgage interest is deductible, your retirement plans, your 401(k)s and so forth are not taxed.
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and those are huge numbers. these are almost $100 billion a year each that you could save if you were to get at this. the one that gets a lot of attention is capital gains and dividends because joe likes to talk about warren buffett's tax rate being 17%. the reason his tax rate is 17% is because of a special 15% rate he pays and anyone else for that matter on capital gains and dividends. if you got rid of that and everyone had to pay 35%, you'd raise almost $80 billion a year. $800 billion over ten years. bowles/simpson proposed to take a whack at all of these in one way or another, in order to raise revenues and lower the tax rates. of course, the obama administration's not endorsed bowles/simpson, it's not on the table right now. but this is where the money could come from to make a meaningful dent in the deficit. the stuff people like to talk about on this last chart, in fact, is really not large numbers. so when you talk about things
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like corporate jets, which, yeah, we should get rid of the deduction for corporate jets. we're talking about $300 million a year. when you talk about the special treatment that hedge fund guys and private equity guys get on their taxes, you're talking about $1.8 billion a year. these are fun to talk about, we should deal with them, but this is not where the money's going to come from. >> no offense, but i don't think people consider this to fun to talk about.ç some people might not even completely conceptualize what you're talking about. there are polls that shows a lot of people don't understand what the super committee is doing. how much of a dent would this make in the deficit if all of these best-case scenarios came through and everything was able to be cut in the way you would describe it? >> the super committee needs to find $1.2 trillion of savings. if you got rid of this special tax dividends, you would raise close to $1 trillion over ten
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years. they're huge numbers. there's a lot of money in these things. >> there are a lot of places they can get it. >> quickly, tom coburn, republican, oklahoma, cranky, conservative, honest conservative. >> plain spoken? >> yeah, he's got a study he's just prepared in the senate, subsidies of the rich and famous and came up with the amount of tax breaks to the super rich, he has it totaled up as $30 billion a year on things you just pointed out. $30 billion a year. >> yeah, and, of course -- it's huge money. and it would be great if we could get at it, lower tax rates and raise revenue. there has to be more revenue in order for this deal to happen. up next, matt lewis who said newt gingrich's payday from freddie mac is overblown. >> we've been reading your tweets, matt. interesting. good to have you on the show, matt. we'll be right back. what's going on here? hey, whats up guys?
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aviva life insurance and annuities. we are building insurance around you. i don't know if he'll survive this, to be honest with you. this is a big thing. >> why? >> because he's doing -- he's engaged in the exact kind of corruption that america disdains. any provision of favor or anything to members of congress and their staff as bribery and anyç cashing in on by them comg out later is corruption. >> and he -- you would make the case he's cashing in as a former speaker being able to get that kind of contract. >> he's saying they paid him as a historian, but i'm unaware of any history professor being paid
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that much for a history lesson. >> meacham, we need to know your value. senior contributor for the daily column matt lewis. we will get to you about your tweets, which we appreciate and we took into consideration. >> i loved them. i read them on the air. >> i know you did. we're talking about newt gingrich defending his ties to freddie mac. you talked to jack abramoff about how that's an entrenched issue in washington. and it is strange to get paid that much money as a historian. i think that's even stranger -- >> not bad industry trend. >> for historians. >> i can see what you're getting at. you're not against receiving money to be a historian. >> no. >> it's just really interesting, though, when you look at the math of this. and matt, i want you to help me pick this apart because this is newt gingrich at the bloomberg debate on october 11th. interesting, take a listen. >> i think it's perfectly reasonable for people to be angry. let's be clear who put the fix
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in. the fix is put in by the federal government. and if you want to put people in jail, you ought to start with barney frank and chris dodd and let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble. >> clearly not saying they should go to jail. >> well, in chris dodd's case, look at the countryside deals, &l i'm saying is -- eve in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness -- >> that seems like an oops, no? like a rick perry oops? no? or just hypocrisy. >> hypocrisy. he has a point, he's probably not the one to be making the point. >> definitely not the one to be making the point. matt lewis, help me understand. my world view must be so skewed in my opinion because i actually was at this event where he was
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very critical of my father and i was sitting right there in the front row. i must be bias. and so explain to me how newt gingrich defends this, or perhaps i'm misunderstanding the hypocrisy here. >> well, look, i think it's an issue, don't get me wrong, but if you were to -- if a martian showed up yesterday and was watching this network and other networks, they might assume this was like watergate, the biggest scandal in the world, and i don't think that's the case. >> no, it's just hypocrisy. >> i think it's just a blip. let's put that in context. barack obama has railed against wall street and he took more money from goldman sachs than anybody, but i don't remember news cycles revolving around that. again, i think it's an issue. you can -- newt gingrich is probably guilty of rank hypocrisy there, but this is a blip on the radar, as far as i'm concerned. >> what does that mean? a blip tactically?
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or a blip in terms of -- >> not that big of a deal -- >> in assessing gingrich as a candidate? >> no, in terms of following, you know, the ups and downs of the horse race. i don't think this reallyç derails newt gingrich, and there's a recent surge. >> what about the substance of it? we can all agree about the tactical nature of it. but on the substance of it, how do you feel about gingrich being such a strong advocate of sanctions for people who have been dealing and creating the climate as he put it with freddie mac and fannie mae saying they -- how do you feel about the substance of what he did and the deal he had? >> the first thing i think of is pat buchanan's line. he said the first thing i'm going to do is turn to bill clinton and read him his miranda rights. i think this is unfortunate rhetoric of politics. i'm very much against the criminalization of politics. i think you have to be very
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careful because you end up having sort of a banana republic saying where obama comes in and all the bush people go to jail and the next guy comes in and all the obama people go to jail. there are instances where politicians do things that are corrupt and are jailable offenses, that's nowhere near anything that newt gingrich did. he was a consultant, he provided advice to freddie mac, it may be, you know, distasteful to us, but i don't think there's anything illegal about it. and, frankly, i think newt's rhetoric was probably over the line, as well. >> i want to get to mike barnicle, but it was newt gingrich who said others should go to jail. we're not the ones blowing it up. go ahead. >> well, first of all, matt, i think we can all agree, maybe we can agree. newt has an ability to talk himself out of any lead or tie or closeness in any poll. right out of it within a week or so. but the clip we just showed, barney frank should go to jail, he should be arrested.ç
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i assume because barney had a friendship with someone working at fannie mae or freddie mac at the time. and under that sense of logic that newt spews out is he should probably arrest himself for taking $1.6 million, you know, from the same entity that he was talking about sending barney to jail for. >> well, look, i'm not -- i think that newt was probably irresponsible to talk about sending people to jail. i don't defend that, but that's not been the big story the last 24 hours anyway. newt took this money from freddie. and if being rich is a crime, barack obama took -- got $8 million -- earned $8 million for writing a book, he's rich. if taking money from freddie's bad, barack obama as senator was the number two politician in terms of receiving campaign money from freddie. so i just don't think this is that big of a deal. and look, yeah, is newt guilty of hyperbole of overblown
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rhetoric? absolutely. is this a huge scandal that deserves to drive a news cycle for two days? i think it's overblown. >> the only thing he's truly guilty of is a pathetic hypocrisy. that's really it -- >> but also, isn't newt's campaign a series of blips. this may be a blip, but there's the tiffany's blip, the trip to the greek islands blip. and when you put it all together, it makes him unelectable. >> is newt gingrich an electable candidate? >> absolutely. here's what i think is happening. we're really in this weird thing right now where we're zeroing in on candidates. if we were to focus on barack obama saying there were 57 states or hisç joking about special olympics, we would be portraying him as a buffoon. they balanced the budget the first time in a generation, i think she's a serious candidate.
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and like all candidates, he does stupid stuff sometimes. >> like us. >> like us. >> matt lewis, thank you very much. we'll be reading your tweets. and come back soon. willie's news you can't use is next. ♪ ♪ ♪
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oh, yes, it's time, right?
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>> we've got huge news. >> what? oh, my gosh, what? >> our good friend bradley cooper, actor -- >> he is adorable. >> well, you gave it away. there's the news, t.j., thanks, buddy. bradley cooper has been named by "people" magazine. >> he's the sexiest man. >> sexiest man alive. >> okay. >> we should point out these are sort of regional covers, he's from philadelphia, this is what you see in that area. we have some others. in the boston area if you get "people" magazine, you'll see a different sexiest man alive. >> oh, yes. that's fantastic. >> and if you find yourself in the florida panhandle, if your down in the red neck rivera, you'll find the congressman joe scarborough. >> is that a big mac? >> yeah, he's hungry. they caught him. paparazzi catches you at the worst moment. isn't that the worst? >> happens all the time. >> bradley cooper is the sexiest man alive. >> he's a sweet boy.
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>> were it not for the word alive.ç >> oh. he's so sweet. also got to point out, our good friend gayle king, her last show today on own, and you're on. >> yes, i'm bringing her gifts because she has that new job now. i was on her first show, and now i'm going to do her very last show on own. >> 10:00 this morning on own, mika and gayle. we love gayle. >> it's going to be fun. >> you've known her -- >> i've known her forever. 20 years ago, really long time. but she's off to cbs. so we'll be talking about all the intricacies and nuances pertaining to that. >> she's one of the greats, gayle king, see her and mika today at 10:00. >> oh, dear. eugene robinson and david gregory. keep it on "morning joe." [ man ] i got this citi thank you card and started earning loads of points.
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two words of newt lobbyist and liar. he has a history of doing that, and this is nonsense that he was being paid $1.6 million and maybe more to talk about history, to talk about the transcontinental railroads. he was really there as a lobbyist, and again, he slipped and acknowledged that when he said to justify that large amount of money, you don't enhance your academic credentials by having been speaker. what you do is enhance your
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value as a lobbyist. >> all right. top of the hour, live shot of the white house. the sun has come up over washington, d.c. welcome back to "morning joe." still with us, mike barnicle, jon meacham, along with michael sfeele in washington, and joining the table, we have the president of the council on foreign relations, also columnist and associate editor of the "washington post," eugene robinson. also in washington, the moderator of "meet the press," david gregory. okay. we've got a big group today and a lot to get to. let's dive right into the news. we'll get to the top stories and then i want to get to something richard wrote about asia. we were listening to barney frank as we came in, he's facing new scrutiny this morning over the dealings with the government backed mortgage lender. reportedly earning $1.6 million in consulting fees from the company. gingrich addressed the controversy in iowa yesterday. >> first of all, it wasn't paid
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to me. gingrich group was a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things. and we offered strategic advice. >> is the figure correct? >> i don't know, we're going back to check. >> it sounds like more than a historian. >> i was speaker of the house and strategic adviser. >> will you make those records public? >> if we can, sure. >> he said he would release as many documents as possible, david gregory, his campaign is saying, no, instead releasing a list of facts on gingrich's group on their relationship with freddie mac. i wonder if i'm so skewed in my thinking i can't see it as a blip. what do you think? >> let me agree with matt politically, tactically, and substantively. i spoke with jack abramoff yesterday, former super lobbyist who said this was entrenched corruption in washington of the kind he was engaged in, okay. which was cashing in ç
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essentially, although abramoff was never a member of congress, gingrich was speaker. he hit the freddie mac and fannie mae button in the debate. as you played that sound bite about 20 minutes ago. that is basically the f-1 key for a lot of conservatives of all the ills of the federal government. i'll address that in a second. but because he hit that button in the debate and said look at those lobbyists who have ties to the mortgage giants, of which he was one when he said that dodd and frank should go to jail. and he accused dodd of doing something with countryside, which is not a country, it's countrywide, which did get him into a lot of trouble, although not criminally. we're not talking about the country writ large here, you're talking about a narrow band of conservative voters who are going to evaluate gingrich like they're evaluating these others on the conservative credentials. being an inside guy in washington, being a lobbyist for one of the mortgage giants is not a huge feather in your cap
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in this election cycle. and that's why this is a liability. let me make one substantive point. when gingrich was going at -- when all the conservatives and now democrats too go after the mortgage giant, what they fail to recognize is that the subprime mess was less about the government trying to force housing goals, it was about people taking cash out against their equity for their own spending. >> yeah. yeah. >> that somehow misses the point in this. >> there's a lot of accusations to this president how he's dealing with wall street on this. but some people are making parallels. michael steele, i want to play a sound bite. this is newt gingrich during a debate, the bloomberg debate talking about barney frank. take a listen. >> i think it's perfectly reasonable for people to be angry. let's be clear who put the fix in. the fix is put in by the federal government. and if you want to put people in jail, you ought to start with barney frank and chris dodd and
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let's look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble. >> clearly you're not saying they should go to jail? >> well, in chris dodd's case, go back and look at the countryside deals, barney frank's case, look at the lobbyists who close to freddie mac. all i'm saying -- everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness. >> michael steele, i'm going to ask you to do something that might be difficult, but maybe not. when he talks specifically about barney frank and freddie mac and says maybe he should go to jail, how is that a blip? explain to me, make the argument that's just a blip and everyone should keep moving along. >> well, i don't think in that sense that particular piece is a blip. i would agree with matt in the sense that's hyperbole and exaggeration. i understand what newt's talking about. he's talking about elected officials currently in office at the time who had control over
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the comings and goings and doings of freddie and fannie. they put pressure to do things outside the norm. i think overall, though, we've got to keep in context. newt was not a lobbyist. if he were, he would be registered. if he wasn't registered, that's a problem. and he's insisted and made very clear he at no time acted as a lobbyist on behalf of freddie and fannie. so that's a matter of record. so that's something that can certainly, you know, sink him if it were proved otherwise. i think overall, though, at the end of the day, people have known newt for a long time,ç evaluated newt over and over and over again. and i think when you look at the context of this presidential race, a lot of that's been baked into the decisions and the numbers that we've seen so far. whether some folks decide to unbake that as this thing unfolds remains to be seen. but right now, that is not dispositive or a killer for newt in terms of current trajectory,
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i don't think. >> i want to get to polls and foreign policy news, as well. >> very quickly, he talked about lobbyists and freddie mac, that was not a blip, that was a confession, essentially. it was him saying i should go to jail because those are the people he said should go to jail. second, 3/4 of the lobbyists in washington aren't registered lobbyists. they are influenced lawyers, lawyers, former officials, whatever. but, you know, it's -- look, we're talking about an animal that has feathers and walks around waddling and quacking and we're not -- >> what are you writing on a piece of paper? >> off of what newt gingrich just said in that clip and what gene is talking about, and new gingrich just mirandaized himself -- >> here's the problem, here's the other problem, we've seen this problem with gingrich before with this election cycle. when he was on "meet the press" and accused ryan's plan as
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right-wing socialism. he spent the next two weeks walking that back. and here he's in another cycle of having to do that based on his own rhetoric at a debate saying keep your eye on the ball, which is lobbyists who had ties to these companies when he was one. so this -- and again, who's paying attention to this are the very folks who will determine his fate because these are big issues. as jack abramoff said yesterday, the tea party and other conservatives, they will pay attention to these çissues. >> i want to move along and get richard hoss in here. president obama is in bali right now. after wrapping up a two-day visit to australia. the u.s. relationship with china is taking center stage. the pentagon is deploying u.s. marines to australia as the u.s. flexes its military and economic muscle in the region. >> as president, i have therefore made a deliberate and strategic decision. as a pacific nation, the united
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states will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future. our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in the region. the united states is a pacific power, and we are here to stay. >> the troops will be stationed in darwin, australia beginning next summer. and you recently wrote this, which is an interesting concept. we look at our foreign policy and also listen to the republican candidates talking about foreign policy. a piece entitled reorienting america. the united states has become preoccupied with the middle east in certain ways, the wrong orient and has not paid adequate attention east asia and the pacific. the good news is this shift is focus. instead a quiet transformation is taking place in american foreign policy, one that is as significant as it is overdue. the u.s. has rediscovered asia. does it need to do that more so? >> absolutely.
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we have been preoccupied in afghanistan, iraq, but the history of the 21st century will not be written in the middle east, it will be written in asia and pacific, that's where the countries, that's the great concentration of wealth, ultimately it's going to be the great concentration of military and political power. what youkut seeing is the united states beginning to pivot to use the word of the administration in part. they're sending a message to china. and what they're saying is asia and the pacific are not going to be essentially -- the united states has alliance relationships, five or six formal alliance relationships, and the united states essentially is going to push back and it's a message to china. if you play the game of international relations by the rules, it's fine. however, if you use your growing power, we will push back and all s allies that will push back.
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after 10 or 20 years of obsession with the middle east, this is a strategic development. we need to do much more in asia to promote free trade. the united states has been slow to that game. this is actually a significantçw development. >> david gregory has a question for you on this. >> i think this is such an interesting topic, richard. and i wonder whether we'll look at this as a real pivot point in terms of american power in asia. what are we going to be fighting about with china? we talk about the south china sea both resources, but also from a security perspective. >> there's no specific between the united states and china, this is not the united states and the soviet union during the cold war. you have a positioning. do they make their decisions thinking, how will beijing react to this? or do they make their decisions
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freely? if this affects everything they do economically, where they invest, who theyç invest, trad. the fact that australia's willing to accept 2,500 marines. they are willing to work with the united states and potentially push back. >> that's my question, though. what is the calculus for australia. their economic future depends, it would seem to me more on china than the united states. >> i think ultimately it is wrong. they need an open asia, can't show any sort of preferences toward the chinese. also they need regional stability. that means you don't have a crisis on the korean peninsula, the south china sea, and they can count on the united states to create an open region because, again, this is why power is so concentrated, and they've got to feel the united states is with them. we are so pre-occupied other ways. beginning to tilt a little toward china or to have china on the brain. and that period, i think, is
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ending, and that's a very good thing. >> michael steele has a question himself. michael? >> just a quick one, in terms of this dance between the united states and china going down the road, i mean, everyone's kind of dancing around the fact that the economic synergy right now is in asia. it's largely in china, look at what they're doing in africa, for example, the united states is not at play economically in africa as i think they should be. how does that balance out to the point you're making about australia and other countries in that region? but even more globally, looking at china and going, hmm, they could be a better business partner longer term than the united states. >> well, two things. one is the united states has to push back against china in a way that doesn't get out of control. we do not want a cold war. we've got to make integration and a decent relationship with china still the priority. second of all, the u.s./china economic relationship is growing. u.s. trade --"i(q fastest growing part of u.s. exports.
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we're dependent on chinese for dollar support and so forth. it's a burgeoning economic relationship. if this plays out well, it's not they win, we lose, if it plays out well, they win, we win. and that's got to be the challenge. >> i have a political question for you about one of the republican candidates. but first, are there some common misperceptions or misunderstandings about our relationships or competition with china that you think are out there? >> i think in part, the sense there's somehow inevitability of a u.s./china conflict that the 21st century will be a new cold war, i think it underestimates all the internal problems that the chinese face. they are going to hit speed bumps. china's not going to keep growing at 9% or 10% a year. they're going to have internal challenges. political stability, economic growth and the rest. so i think people simply look out in the future, they extend
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the present and history never works that way. >> when does it happen in china that the government will have to contend with huge numbers of people. saying, hey, it's not enough for me to make $1 a month. >> it's already happening. you're seeing the inequality, corruptions emerging as a tremendous issue, environmental problems are emerging as a tremendous issue. they've got the demographic burden. china has more than 100,000 sizable political protests a year. this is a country undergoing significant political turmoil. we don't see it, we tend to just see the 9% or 10% growth number. inside china, a lot is going on. and it's actually quite, quite important. >> i think china could be the focus of a presidential debate. the sole focuáy it's that big of a story. you wanted to make a point? >> it certainly should be. it's exactly that point. in your view, does it matter whether there's a republican or democratic president in terms of
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the relationship with china? or at this point is the interest that is affected only on the margins? >> good question. for four decades this has been a bipartisan relationship. but we always have, though, the economics, this kind of foundation. now, economics, rather than being in a foundation, becoming a source of friction. we no longer have a cold war where the united states and china lined up against the soviet union. the foundations of u.s./china relations are changing, they're not crumbling, but changing. going forward, do you still have a democratic and republican consensus? and we're beginning to see that fray. you're seeing tough rhetoric in the republican debate and also on the trade side what senator schumer and others are doing. you're beginning to see a protectionist act. >> it's important for people to focus in on this. steve rattner said i think in the last block that it hurts jon huntsman. and maybe one of the reasons he's doing so poorly is he worked for obama as ambassador to china.
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does hit help or hurt, do you think? >> well, i don't know that in terms of conservative primary goers at this point -- actually i should say, yes. i think there's an element to that. i was thinking more general election i think it hurts. but in this context, i think it hurts some. but there's a larger problem. a lot of discussion about huntsman may be right about things, he deserves more attention. you know, people may -- i wanted to make a reference earlier today to meacham's book, which i'm reading about andrew jackson.ç and all this talk about herman cain and others not being ready for the task, that's what they said about andrew jackson, as well. he was not taken seriously, even after he was elected. the -- >> meacham is available -- >> i'm trying to -- >> his fee is $1.2 million. >> gene and i are going to set
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up a firm the meacham-robinson group. >> we're sweet. among your guests this sunday, you've got senator jon kyl from the super committee. we'll be watching "meet the press." >> pizza too, pizza's a vegetable. >> will you do that for me? >> i will. >> i'm going to watch. i will be -- >> i'm actually talking to the white house chef today. i'm going to bring this up for our conversation that will air next week. >> i love that. i'm going to air that. joe's going to be out for a few days. please tune me in. all right. coming up, go big, or go home. why a growing contingent wants to step up the amount of savings. we're going to talk with pete shumer.
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i'm still waiting for
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democrats to actually solve the problem. put something on the table. if you don't like the republican plan, if you don't like the bipartisan plan, what is your plan to solve the crisis and ensure that the committee does not fail in its duty? >> all right. welcome back to "morning joe." that was the co-chair of the debt super committee, congressman jeff hensarling, indicating they are butting heads, but isn't that what they're supposed to do. you can have a good debate. i don't have a problem with that. joining us from washington, democratic congressmen from north carolina pete çshuler an mike simpson. they're behind an effort urging the super committee to go big, calling on it to cut the u.s. debt. now standing at more than $15 trillion by more than $4 trillion, that's the cuts they
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want. let's start with congressman simpson. you believe that new revenues are central to congress' efforts to reduce the deficit. if you can't do tax hikes, where are you going to get this money? >> well, there are a variety of different proposals, and nobody has -- no organization or commission or anyone else has suggested you can get to $4 trillion to $6 trillion without additional revenues. for those of us in favor of revenue increases, that doesn't mean we're in favor of increasing tax rates, particularly at this time. you can get it by eliminating loopholes and those types of things. some people will call those tax hikes, i don't do that. i think if we lower the rates and created a more pro-growth tax policy and eliminated those exemptions underneath, at least a majority of them, you'd get additional revenue. >> congressman shuler, i'm wondering, though, if you're willing to go after medicare and social security, how deep are
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you willing to go in those cuts? and if, for example, congressman simpson would give a little on tax hikes, would you go deeper? is there a negotiation to be made here? >> i certainly think we have to in order to keep the entitlement programs that we have. in order to save those, we have to make drastic changes in overhaul in both social security, medicare/medicaid, in order to protect the programs we have, we're going to have to make sure they're solid. and presently right now, we're going down the path that will not allow to be solvent in the future. the cost is too expensive for the amount that was given back to each individual. and so we have to do something big. and that's -- everyone has to have concessions. and we have to have compromise. and that's why mike and i along with our working group and working with the gang of six, we put -- over 150 members now have signed on to a go-big coalition that says $4 trillion plus in savings. >> doesn't going big, meaning
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concessions on both sides on every level. mike barnicle, i don't understand how you can leave things out of this equation. congressman simpson, listening to you and congressman shuler, and any number of public officials who have appeared here over the last year talking about exactly this situation. >> right. >> wouldn't we all have been t&c% people as a congress if we had just bitten the bullet and gone with the bowles/simpson recommendations? two years ago now? >> i certainly wish that that would have been recommended to congress. and to tell you the truth, in just my conversations with people, i think you put that on the floor, it probably passes. i can't say that for sure, but i think it probably does. you know, most people here, i think are willing to take a tough vote. and it's going to be a tough vote no matter what comes out of the super committee or what proposal to address our fiscal situation is. it's going to be a tough vote. i just want a tough vote to mean
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something. and $1.2 trillion doesn't get us done the road. that's why you have to go bigger and was said yesterday in our press conference by one of the members, it's actually easier to go big than it is to go small. because when you're looking at $1.2 trillion, everybody's trying to protect the @beas they don't want to go to, either rate increases or something like that. but if you go big, everything has to be on the table. >> i'm going to get to jon meacham now. it's a great line to go big. but i'm not sure these two gentlemen agree on what to do. >> they do agree. mika, we've been working in a group in the house in a bipartisan way now. we do agree. it would have been great -- if this would've already been solved the first day we had the opportunity. if we'd been on the super committee, we would've joined forces. i believe revenue has to be on the table and we have to have entitlement reform on the table. it has to be a part of the equation.
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>> you know, excuse me, jon. congressman shuler, often what you've been talking about this morning. tom coburn from oklahoma is a cranky, honest conservative. i think we can all agree on -- >> and a dear friend. >> yeah. okay. >> and he has been working on this report he's just issued, subsidies of the rich and famous, and included in the report he points out that the annual average of payments and tax breaks to the rich in this country, people making over $1 million a year amounts to $30 billion a year. and that includes their ability to write off gambling debts. something that people in your districts don't get to do a lot of because they probably don't gamble as much as the rich do. so you certainly get a sense of where people are coming from when they say there's something really wrong with the tax code in this country. give us two or three points where you think you can both agree on to at least achieve
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some pathway toward fairness and taxes. >> well, i think theç most important thing is the loopholes. the loopholes that tom has presented and brought forward. tom has -- people have gotten mad at tom, but he speaks the truth. and that's what we're trying to do is speak the truth. we can look at the loopholes within the businesses and corporations, the deductions that has been unfair to a lot of people based on their control and power here in washington. there's been too many -- we picked winners and losers far too often in washington. it's ready to start with a clean slate. >> honestly, what we need to do is use the tax code to raise the necessary revenue to fund the government and quit trying to direct policy with our tax code, which is what we do now. if the government says we like what you're going to do, we'll give you a tax break for this. we need to start using it to collect the revenue in the most fair and efficient way possible. >> real quick. you're absolutely right, two years ago we could've had
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simpson/bowles, but the president dropped that like a hot potato. democrats are waiting for republicans, republicans are waiting for democrats, are you going to get this done next week? are we going to watch this thing sort of, you know, sort of heave itself to some sort of solution that doesn't solve the problem? >> i think we have to get it done. i think the consequences of not doing are too severe to this economy. so i think we do have to get something done. one thing i've noticed in congress in the years i've been here is that when you set a deadline, you generally run up against that deadline before you get a deal. i expect them to keep working and i'm optimistic they'll come up with something. >> put something on the table. put the gang of six proposal on the table. put something on the table that's çbig, let's not just setting for $1 trillion. >> all right, gentlemen, thank you very much. a lot to talk about. coming up, inside information on
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capitol hill. we're going to talk about explosive allegations in a new book about how lawmakers can make big paydays on information only they know. ♪ i'm burning out this useless telephone ♪ ♪ my hair is gone ♪ cheap cologne ♪ motor home ♪ i'm the rocket man! [ both ] ♪ rocket man ♪ burning out his fuse up here alone ♪ burning out his fuse up here alone? ahh. [ male announcer ] crystal clear fender premium audio. one of many premium features available on the all-new volkswagen passat. the 2012 motor trend car of the year. ♪ and i think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪
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they won't be beat. oh, actually... then i'd be like, you rule! and my kids would be like, you rule! i'd be like, yes, i do rule! ohh! that rules! oh, load up the sleigh; this is going to be a great christmas. yeah. ring dinga-ding, ring dinga-ding, ring, ring, ring me up. [ male announcer ] no need to wait with our christmas price guarantee. we're so confident in our prices if you do find a lower one between now and christmas, we'll give you the difference on a walmart gift card. save money. live better. walmart.
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that's what i'm asking. do you think it's all right for a speaker to accept a very preferential, favorable stock deal? and if you participated in the ipo and at the time you were speaker of the house. you don't think it was conflict of interest? >> no, you decide you're going to have elaborate on a false premise. but it's not true. and that's that. >> wow. just "60 minutes" confronting nancy pelosi about lucrative investments she made in 2008. the piece was based on allegations made in a new bookmaking major headlines. here's the title of the book "throw them all out: how politicians and their friends get rich off insider tips, land deals, and cronyism that would
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send the rest of us to prison." that's quite a title. joining us now the book's author. peter schweitzer. good to see you. >> glad to be here. >> in this building rather than that building. >> and now it feels funny.ç normally i'm hearing watching -- at home watching in my bathrobe. >> yeah. >> well, i'm glad you changed. i appreciate it. >> you look more comfortable. >> maybe -- now listen -- >> can i ask peter the obvious question in all of this? why, why are congressmen and women allowed to trade in a way the rest of us are not? what's the rule? >> the rule came out of the 1930s securities and exchange act. and it doesn't specifically define who it applies to. but in the case law, basically what the courts have decided to enforce it, they don't believe that members of congress are fiduciaries, so they don't have a responsibility to keep the
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information private. and they also believe that basically this is not nonpublic information because they don't have a responsibility to keep it secret. to me, that might have been okay back in the 1920s when, you know, the role of the federal government in moving markets and influencing companies was not that great. but today, you know, there can be a passage or a line in a piece of legislation that can have huge implications for all kinds of companies. to me it's an absurd distinction. >> this is how politicians -- one of the implications here is possibly nancy pelosi used their position to leverage profits for themselves even while in office? >> i think the issue with pelosi is the fact that she was able, really, to accept -- peter made an analogy and i don't want to make -- in our interview for "60 minutes." said it would be illegal for me to give you $10,000, it would be considered a bribe and you would probably go to jail. but it's perfectly -- >> right, go ahead.
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>> it's perfectly legal to offer you or give you an ipo that's going to make tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of ö c1 dollars. and that's perfectly legal. so the question is, did she receive -- number of questions, did she receive preferential treatment in getting this? and should she as speaker of the house be dealing in making money from a company that has major pieces of legislation going through the house? in any other business of the world, if you were a corporate executive involved in this sort of dealing, you'd be in trouble. >> right. so what is -- do the math for the viewer if you could. what is the gain, the insight that she had, the way that she could profit in a way that others couldn't. just to spell out exactly what it is you're maintaining here. and it's not just nancy pelosi. you look at politicians on both sides of the aisle. >> well, at a time when there was this very tough piece of legislation against the credit
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card companies, she was approached, her husband was approached by someone who from wells fargo who said, look, you have an opportunity here to buy stock, you can get into this ipo. there was the expectation this would be one of the most profitable initial public offerings ever. and she and her husband bought the stock at 5,000 shares at $40 something and two days later it was, up 20 points. >> it raises questions. >> it does raise questions. and over the course of the year, the congress legislation was going through the house, she and her husband amassed a position that approached $1 million in stock. >> do we have a sense of how much better, particular members of congress do percentage wise rather than just the general gambling public? >> yeah, it's hard to know because they only report their net worth in ranges.
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there have beenome academic studies done. there was a study done in 2004 by a journal of quantitative economics. which if you ever have trouble sleeping at night, i recommend a copy of it. they looked at 6,000 stock transactions over a period of time by u.s. senators, and what they found was that corporate insiders trading their own corporate stock beat the market by 5% a year, hedge funds beat the market by 7% to 8% a year, and the united states senators beat the market by 12% a year. so, yeah, the question is, are they financial geniuses or something else afoot? and i think it's probably the latter. >> as a news guy, you spent your entire life in the news business, you're fairly well informed. were you surprised by this? >> i was stunned. and i expected everybody else to be stunned when we put it on the air. it's one of those things -- one of those rare things that happens when you say, wait a minute, this simply cannot be true. and the first thing we did when we started talking to peter, my
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staff said i want to know every piece of law on this. why is this legal? do they have an exemption? and as the speaker said, it's sort of a gap in the legislation that a lot of people have taken advantage of over the years. >> it was jaw-dropping tv. jaw-dropping. >> well, i would just add, i think steve probably would be too modest to say this. they were relentless on tbgañ story. they were put under a lot of pressure by a lot of people not reviewing the facts, but telling them not to go there. and i think as you saw in the press conference, steve and the team were relentless. and i think that's the great journalism we need. >> so in your book, representative baucus is accused of trading stock options after being briefed by treasuryç department and federal reserve officials about the impending economic collapse. >> right. >> so he appeared on the "kudlow report" last night and fought back. >> he needs to get his facts straight, and his facts are wrong, wrong, wrong.
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all along the way. i actually bought ge stock, so i bought thinking that the stock was going to go up. obviously if -- i had no information, and -- >> wait, he says you shorted the stock, but you actually went long the stock. >> he's the whole trade wrong? >> it blows up the whole story for him to say that. because he spends two pages saying i probably knew that the financial sector was in trouble and ge was a financial stock, so i went out and sold it short. it's a total concocted fabrication, and he never called me to check his facts. >> if you ever those contacts and you have that information, there is that -- so before you respond, steve, the crux of your story is there shouldn't be a
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question that these politicians in office in power have access to information that could lead them to gain financially unlike the common american citizen. >> right. you have the -- the question is whether they should be allowed to trade on nonpublic information. there's no question that congressman baucus was trading on information the public didn't have. in the -- >> what he was saying earlier, the bets that he made coming out of those meetings were to short the entire market. he bought very complicatedç options that would go up, i think, every time -- >> two times. >> two times the value that the nasdaq exchange went down. it was a big bet against the market. the general electric trade also is a very, very complicated trade in which time also during that week, we had a number of stock analysts look at it who suspect he had some knowledge of what was going on and to believe
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that the t.a.r.p. was going to -- that the stock would go up. >> he said he had no information. is it at all possible he had no information? >> no information on what? >> on exactly what he was doing? the stock he was buying? >> no, no, no -- >> the stock options he was trading. >> he has said many times he trades his own stocks, he does this on his own. >> you were to appear with him? >> i got his letter and his response at 6:30 last night and kudlow invited me to come tonight. and i would love to have the congressman come back and appear. what's amazing is he focuses on these ge options, which there are four. and if you've ever read options documents, they're very confusing. he questions those four. there are a total of 40 options trades he's making during the financial crisis. i won't bore you with the entire list in my statement, but he does power shares twice on october 7th, october 9th, october 20th twice, october 21st, the s&p depositor, four
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times, he does the sector spider october 22nd, he has market vector trust on november 3rd, sony corporation on october 20th. so if he wants to dispute the ge, he can certainly do that. the question is this, were spencer bachusç a corporate executive and engaged in time trades and meetings -- >> i'm uncomfortable. >> ceo said i had no insider information, they would say no, no, no, we're going to investigate this. >> you know, isn't this really another example in an age old series of examples despite all the stock tradings, all the dates, and gets down to the old double standard? >> oh, yeah. this is a law that sent poor martha stewart to jail.
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i've never had so much sympathy until after i did this story. they ought to be subject to the same thing. and it's just one example. >> peter, quickly, are there other examples. you highlighted pelosi and highlighted speaker boehner in the 60-minutspeech. are there other examples this morning? >> yeah, there were multiple ones, particularly if you look at the 2008 financial crisis. there was this meeting on september 18th where they give really an apocolyptic meeting. there were more than a dozen figures that sold a ton of stocks. sold 90 different stocks, people that got out of all sorts of positions. >> and this is with the market at 10,000, still at 10,000. >> yeah. and it was going down another, you know -- >> 900 points the next week. >> thank you. steve, how long have you been at "60 minutes?" >> 23 years.
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>> ever think of doing anything else? >> playing golf. >> oh, you're one of those. my goodness. well, it's really good to see you. >> pleasure to be here. >> please say helloç to chris lake for me. >> i will. >> ask him what his nickname is. >> is that inside information? >> it is. i'll trade it with you. >> depends on what it is. >> it's good. all right. coming up next, an exclusive first look at "time" magazine. more "morning joe" in just a minute.
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rick stengel's out of the country traveling so that leaves the big reveal to us. on the cover of this week's "time" magazine -- the invention issue. a list of the 50 best inventions of this year. the issue also asks the 2011
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"time" 100 honorees to weigh in on howho should win person of t year. one joe scarborough says history will show steve jobs like edison and others forever changed the human experience. john's first piece delves into the lasting effect of the scandal at penn state. what's your take-away from that? >> i think that it is very hard to legislate morality but we should try and if you make the moral thing the legal thing, which is -- you see something, you see a crime in progress, you call the cops. and the idea that you just tell a manager or supervisor is not sufficient and it's not commensurate with the scale of what -- protecting kids. >> talking about the assistant coach, mcqueary, 2002, reports that he saw a rape in the shower and told the coach. >> i hope the penn state effect is if you see something, you say something to the cops. >> what does that tell you about
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the place have you a culture where decent person don't fulfill their obligations as a citizen? what does that tell you? what's going on? >> there's a skewed culture. it also tells you the law is not commensurate with the issue. they followed the law -- the witness followed the law and that law needs to change.ç the governor said in the press this week i think it will but let's hope that the effect is other people do the right thing. >> to richard's point though, even if it had been the law, if you want to be a coach for a long time at penn state, he didn't want do anything to jeopardize joe paterno's future, this icon. so it says more about the culture, too. >> you have a world where again people don't do -- don't fulfill their obligations and they lose their compass. that's what's so interesting. >> i think that's -- in an interesting way, it is an interesting view, it is the world-weary view to some extent. my argument is you have to make it as incentivize doing the right thing. >> jon meacham, new issue of
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"time" magazine, new cover -- "the invention issue." we'll be right back. ♪
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good morning. it's 8:00 on the east coast as you take a live look at new york city. welcome back to "morning joe." back with us on set, along with
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willie geist, we have mike barnicle, jon meacham, steve ratner, and in washington, michael steele. we'll start with newt gingrich. he's defending his ties to freddie mac as he faces new scrutinyç over o his dealings with the government backed mortgage lender. the former house speaker reportedly earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from the company. gingrich addressed the controversy once again in iowa yesterday. >> first of all, gingrich group wras a consulting firm that had lots of people doing things and we offered strategic advice. >> is the $1.6 million figure correct? >> i don't know. we're going back to check. i was speaker in the house and a strategic advisor. >> will you make those records public? >> to the degree we can, sure. >> jack abramoff as actually written a book about why this shouldn't happen anymore. but he made a lot of money. just hours after saying he would release as many documents as
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possible, it is funny -- it is weird -- his campaign just turned around on that and said never mind. we leasing a list of facts on gingrich's group's relationship with freddie mac. just some facts. well, i don't know. i mean at first he said he was a historian. does that still stand? oh, meacham -- perfect! you're here. do you get $1.6 million to help out -- i don't know -- a company like, say, freddie mac? >> i was called in to consult on way too early and clearly that didn't work out. >> what did you get? >> it wasn't a good fit. i wrote a white paper. no. i think this is why gingrich is one of god's gifts to american politics, is because he always does this. now he's become even more compressed. the cycle of newt riding high, down. right? used to at least take a week. now it's 48 hours. and you know, there's an intuitive understanding, public understanding, whether it's
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pizza or the mortgage crisis, that there is aç system, wheth it's cultural -- the fact that it is cultural is actually scarier in a way. if it were simply a matter of legislating something and moving on. but people -- money and politics always finds a way. it is like water leaking into your house. you block it one place, it is probably going to come in the other. so it is a very hard reform argument to make. i think this is interesting because geng grich in a week, i don't see him as a plausible nominee. maybe i'm alone in that. >> no, you're not. >> you are not alone in that. i think it is ridiculous, frankly. i think when you look at his -- when you want to look at his personal life or his flip-flopping on issues -- look, the guy is obviously if not the smartest guy in the field, right up there. if he's not the most experienced guy in the field, he's right up there. on paper, sure. but then you look at what he's done in his personal life with the wives and the ethics
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violations andtive any's, and something like this where the most incredible thing was i just heard him say i didn't really get this money because it went to my consulting company. what does that mean? of course you got money. >> it was just a standard fee so that was one of many fees that were paid. obviously you feel the way i do, the way you do. this is really a little bit one-sided. michael steele, perhaps you could provide some balance if you were speaking on behalf of newt gingrich. first of all, how would you advise him and secondly, is there any other side to him that we're not getting? >> i think, first off, you know, everyone wants to gloss over the fact that it went to his consulting company and to the public, he's still got that. you know that's not how it worked. the money wasn't put in his pocket. second, it was over an eight-year period that this it was a series of contracts. thirdly, who gives a frick? i mean at the end of the day, if this is really old news, we're
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just discovering this that he had this relationship? this has been out there for quite some time. so again, this is part and parcel of the story that goes when you get to a certain level in this process to become president, the knives come out and everything is blown way out of proportion. i don't really think people really care too much at the end of the day. >> i thinkbigger picture, with newt gingrich there always was going to be something. there has been many things in the past and now this is sort of the latest. i'm not sure how this candidate moves forward. having said that -- >> i also think this reinforces the cynical view that washington politics is a game and that you can go out and pound the pulpit and rail against freddie mac and criticize in 2008 president obama from taking donations from the executives all the while behind the scenes you're working with freddie mac. it is a game and that's what the american people think it is. >> and they don't have -- they don't have table stakes.
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>> right. >> i disagree with michael, with respect. i think that it is a big deal -- i don't think this has been blown out of proportion in a way that a lot of things do get blown out of proportion. >> at some point someone will keep bringing up by the way that newt gingrich wanted to bring barney frank in jail i think for some of the same stuff. >> i take the point it is one thing and if it were just one thing, you can get past this. but when you put this on top of the rest of the behemoth of an iceberg, the dog doesn't çhunt >> listen, this guy has more baggage an the sky caps out of jfk airport. it is just not happening for him. he's fun to watch, because you indicated he's the smartest person on the stage or whatever. he may not be, but he sure does think he is. and michael steele, i would be interested in your take on if you take a look at newt's record, yideologically it would
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seem he has a huge problem with tea party fundamentals and he's taken some fairly moderate positions during the course of his career ideologically. >> but clearly it hasn't hurt him because he's doing very well in the polls and has steadily moved up in the polls. that's the point. everybody knows about the baggage and they don't care. it's been assessed and evaluated by individuals across the country, particularly within the party. they put it in the proper context and they've moved on. and so in a lot of respects, this is great fodder for the washington talking class, but at the end of the day it is going to be the voters in the republican primary who are going to make the ultimate judgment spop far they've looked at this stuff and they've judged it, okay, let's move on, what are you saying about jobs and the economy and war and peace and they're making their assessments on that basis. so we'll see how this plays out in about six weeks but right now i think it is more of a tempest in a teapot.
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>> let's look at where mitt romney is specifically in the state of new hampshire where he's put a lot of his eggs. the former massachusetts governor leads the field in new hampshire among likely voters there with 40% support. ron paul distant second with 17%. gingrich at 11%. you see you go down the list, herman cain, huntsman andick perry. in a national poll, new one out of fox news, gingrich and romney are at a statistical tie. gingrich bouncing up nationally in a lots of piece polls. >> what about against -- >> head-to-head? i can give you a head-to-head. mitt romney leads the group with 37% when pitted against president obama. >> michael steele, do they want someone who's going to win? i'm just curious. because honestly -- >> i know you are. it's the big question within the republican rank and file right now. ultimately the answer is yes and i think what you'll see, mika,
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over the next few weeks particularly after thanksgiving is that that vote begins to settle down a little bit as people get close to casting that vote, they pay more attention to that question of laebltability and i think that given what's already been said on the set, that's what all those things come in to greater focus or folks an they decide whether or not newt or romney or someone else is going to be the standard bearer who's going to be able to defeat obama next year. >> yeah. i mean herman cain's in the news. i'll just gloss over it real quickly. he told the milwaukee journal sentinel that he's not supposed to have all the answers. "i'm not supposed to do anything i want to talk to the commanders on the ground because you run for president you need to have the answer. no, you don't. no, you don't. that's not good decision making." i'm just going to put that over here. >> there's a pizza theme. >> we should find out if godfather's lobbies. >> has anybody ever had had ç
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godfather's pizza? >> it is a southern thing. >> is it any good. >> i don't remember. >> wouldn't be my first choice. >> michael steele says it is okay. republican presidential candidate jon huntsman who served the obama administration as ambassador to china appearing on piers morgan. huntsman says it is time for a change. let's listen to what he has to say. >> the misery index is up. unemployment is up. joblessness, our place in the world, the uncertainty surrounding where our economy goes, the hope and change that was campaigned on a few short years ago. there's nothing to show for it. >> now if there were two candidates that i would really want to hear from, i'd want to hear him and mitt romney talking about the issues facing this country and seeing which one has more to offer. but i never can see those two together because there are all these other people in the mid that will aren't going to make it. i know that's how the process works but it is a little frustrating. isn't it? from that's the damn thing about democracy. it is frustrating in that sense. >> it is frustrating. it is actually the people's choice. michael steele, would you agree
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though that. would be a good match-up if we ever saw -- >> yeah. i absolutely, mika. and i said earlier this week, i think it is time for huntsman to recognize that there's a wide opening for him if he wants to take it. so he needs to take off the ambassador's cap and put on his "i want to be president" cap and get out there and mix it up with the other seven folks on the stage and really clearly show the delineation between where he wants to take the country an where they want to take the country. but most especially where the president is taking the country. if he does that, i think there are a lot of votes out there for him to grab and it is not -- keep in mind one factor that everyone is overlooking here.ç everyone focuses on iowa and new hampshire, talk about that hard core republican base. but when you get beyond that, the way the system is set up is a lot of sigma jort of the republican primaries are open primaries this year, next year. so that means that you have a lot of independents with a
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chance to vote in these primaries which was great consternation during the national committee women coming to my office coming to the national party saying can you tell them not to do that? well no, that's an individual state decision whether to have an open or closed primary. a lot of republican primaries are open which is a big opportunity for someone like huntsman. >> we'll have huntsman on the show tomorrow. he was also asked about his standing in the polls because he's dead-last or down -- not even on some of them and here's what he said. >> we're still in the preseason. we're in the primary phase. and that means there's a lot in the way of theatrics and show z business that are merged into politi politics. we have a significant deficit in the area of trust. i think that will drive people while at the ballot box to really consider the trust element of politics. there's no trust left between the people of this country and our institutions of power. whether that's congress, whether
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that's the executive branch, whether it's wall street. >> jon meacham, we all like jon huntsman. think he'd probably make a pretty good president. we'll have him on the show tomorrow but had's had now three, four months to introduce himself to the american public, to introduce himself to republican voters and we haven't seen him bounce up out of syncle digits. what could change between now and iowa, between now and new hampshire, for jon huntsman? >> i think mika's point is right, and i think that's his best hope, is that people see -- clearly people want a clear choice betweenç romney and someone else. to see whether they want to actually nominate governor romney. and right now the stage is full of people who represent niche constituencies, if you will. like freddie mac. and the pizza lobbyists and so forth. so you have the "star wars" bar scene issue. and what we've seen again and again in this cycle -- which is
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different from previous cycles -- is these momentary rises. everybody gets a chance to be choice b to romney. and huntsman's chance hasn't come yet. perhaps because he may be last in this, it is going to be closest to the actual caucus and the actual voting in new hampshire and maybe the timing actually works where everybody's getting to pitch stuff to look -- for people to take a look at him, maybe huntsman's timing on this is good. >> he is literally moving to new hampshire where he's going to spend the next five or six weeks i think only in new hampshire. his biggest problem clearly in retrospect is he never factored in to his campaign, never factored into the equation what we would do o in the media with bachmann, with perry, and with herman cain, covering them excessively with their h hysterical foolish rantings, forgetting things on stages, we devote inches of column space to
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them and huntsman gets left out. >> chris dodd moved to iowa. not sure if moving to new hampshire does it. >> just watching him, he doesn't have the presence or forceful in the to really command that stage. maybe it is because you have the "star wars" people at the bar, i don't know. but he doesn't seem to be able to break through.ç one last thing -- maybe this is just me thinking -- but it bothered me he served in the obama administration and is now turning around and essentially attacking the president. there is an element of disloyalty or lack of respect or something that bothers me. now i'm not a republican voter but i do find that slightly unseemly. >> i think that's an attribute that can be turned around and work with him because this administration, some could argue, has failed miserably and nobody would know more than swb who's on the inside. having said that, he also where he was -- he was in china and he has a lot to offer about our situation with china that involves actual in-depth knowledge of the situation, not just some sort of fake
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competition that's going on. we're going to kick their butts. he really understands the issue. i think he could turn it around into a plus. but, i think gout to get the clowns out of the middle and then -- i would love to see he and mitt romney talking one on one. i think they would be two competent candidates, really good for this country. and then we'd have a real choice. but, you know, i guess i'm not the one to talk, because it's not my party. it just seems to me it makes perfect sense. >> in the casting of who's on the stage, it is interesting. newt is sort of the crazy uncle who waves his finger and sort of comments on everything that's going on. romney is romney. huntsman has been the smart kid who is a little resentful that he's not being taken more seriously. and so if you go back and look at it, he tends to make sardonic remarks. >> like you. >> almost as though -- if the process is not going to take me, than i'm going to attack it. i think to some extent we've
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always talked about this. if you're going to be in politics you have to enjoy politics and there's not been a great sense that huntsman likes politics. >> up next -- is ron use ugg the cover of an energy program to secretly produce nuclear weapons as a recent nuclear watchdog suggests. we'll talk to the head of the human rights council. fenway park, 1912. with the 100th anniversary approaching, a new book takes us back a century ago to the legendary park's opening season in boston. we're going to talk to the author who's, by the way, not necessarily a red sox fan. how is that possible? how do you go to fenway and not become a fan? that doesn't make sense. that's like an oxymoron. is this person an oxymoron, mike? >> i don't know. we'll find out. but first let's go to -- that's too easy -- our residents moron -- bill karins who will check on the forecast.
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>> originality, big "f" on that one. but still funny. everyone's been wondering where is the cold air. the first half of november was one of the warmest on record. take a look at alaska. this is where it builds first before it heads down into the lower 48. it is minus 39 right now in fairbanks, alaska. incredible cold. record breaking cold up there. sooner or later it is going to head our way. there is a little taste of it in the northern plains. windchill in minneapolis is six. denver 14. cold air's starting to show up a little bit late but it is going to be here as we look towards the forecast today, light rain showers in new england. it won't be like yesterday though. just hit and miss light rain, around the chesapeake. a little bit better in the milled of the country but bitter in minneapolis and chicago with temperatures only in the 30s. northwest is where we are dealing with snow and rain. you're watching "morning joe" on this thursday. we're brewed by starbucks.
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welcome back to "morning joe." 22 past the hour. joining us now, the secretary-general of the high council for human rights of iran, and advisor to the chief justice of iran, mohammed jabad laragani. thank you for being with us this let's go to the heart of the matter when it comes to iran, the headlines of the past week, the iaea report found evidence of nuclear weapons -- a program in iran and you are quoted as saying that is quite laughable. why, sir?
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>> the reason is very simple. there is no single evidence in that. this is -- these allegations which is erred again is document which is put to us four years ago based on a laptop some were found by united states authorities and at that time, four years ago, it has been discussed with the agency and the conclusion was that none of these allegations could be verified. so the whole issue has been closed. then again it has been renewed. just give you an example. the good part of this so-called document which is on the laptop are foreexample, lecture notes that somebody presented in brussels at some universities. some of them are parts of some
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textbook as put together with pictures -- >> let's back up. >> -- so it is totally unconclusive. >> inconclusive. before i send this who richard haas, are you saying it doesn't exist? there is no nuclear program? >> well, we have very extensive nuclear program but not to the direction ofavrñi producing arm nuclear project is very extensive, very advanced, we are number one in the middle east. but we are not pursuing the nuclear armament for two basic reasons. reason one, there is aç fatwa h khomeini to use mass destructive weapons. it is unlawful. and secondly, it doesn't add to our security. it is more liability than asset for us. our military muscle is strong enough to repair or deter any
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imminent threat and this is basically very important eye cheechlt. >> quite frankly, it is impossible to take the iranian denial seriously. they're preposterous. the international atomic energy agency taking information from all of the member states in the united nations have put together a comprehensive and extraordinarily damning report and what there is is a pattern -- not a single incident, a pattern over years of an iranian program to move in the development of nuclear weapons. we see a procurement to gaen access to all kinds of equipment, an effort to produce nuclear material, now up to 20% well on its way what you need to produce a weapon. what's important there's now serious evidence about the iranian testing of the imexplosive device that would actually be the heart of a nuclear weapon. so the idea that the iranians have all these underground and
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undeclared facilities that they've been misleading the international atomic energy agency for years and the idea they're doing this -- this oil-rich country in order to produce electricity? if you believe that, you would seriously have to believe in the tooth fairy. >> sir, this doesn't sound like preposterous little pieces of information that we're throwing together randomly. >> well, the whole series of allegation is produced and shaded by the united states. it seems good machinery to produce perpetual allegation against iran.ç it is not only one case. there is no secret program in our nuclear program and development. iran's transparency is far ahead of the united states, far ahead of the uk, far ahead of france, and uncomparable to israel which is a renegade state in the sense of mpt. >> you obviously would let inspectors come into iran -- >> inspectors are coming to iran periodically.
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the cameras are there 24 hours. this is quite -- >> but the whole concept the way this works, just when you talk about inspectors. just be clear, i'm not sure everyone watching this will understand. the entire international nuclear inspection effort depends on the willingness of the country in question to cooperate fully. this is a gentleman's agreement. they declare the facilities that are involved in the nuclear business, then the inspectors come in and look at them. if they do not declare a facility, the inspectors don't get a chance. the problem is this is a gentleman's agreement in a world where not every country is a gentleman. so iran, kwiquite frankly, has undeclared facilities and undeclared programs which the inspectors have not had access to and the reason we only know about it is that member states, not simply the united states, sir, but many, many member states of the united nations have provided independent information to the international atomic energy agency which, by the way, you know and i know, is not controlled by the united states.
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we've had fundamental differences with this agency over the years, including over iraq. we have fundamental differences. we've also had differences over iran where we felt the united states this agency was not being nearly tough enough. now they've come in with an extraordinarily damning report. ry iranian officials canç discoun it -- >> sir, you seem very confident and almost as if it is funny. and it is interesting because we interviewed mahmoud ahmadinejad about this about a year ago off camera and he, too, seemed very comfortable about his position which is similar to yours. and if you're so comfortable with your position about the lack of nuclear armament and the facilities that the iaea is talking about, why not let inspectors completely come in, open the door, let them come in and see what you have? >> well, the mechanism that the gentleman address is not complete. first of all, there is no single
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secret installment or activity which is concealed from the agency. secondly, two years ago we asked the agency, tell us all the questions you have. and he manage to put to us six group of questions. the question were raised by themselves, not dictated by us. so, one by one, group of inspectors came to iran and we cleared them up. there is official letters from this, this group has been finished. then we move to another one. it doesn't make sense that every morning sun say, well, we guess there some secret things done there. there should be foundation for this allegation. what do you mean the door should be open? they should ask where do you want to inspect? do they want to inspect my bedroom? the other places? i mean doesn't make sense. >> you know, a few moments ago when you mentioned the nuclear programs of other o nations, i
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detected a definite edge in your voice when you mentioned the state of israel. do you fear an attack from the state of israel on your nuclear facilities? >> well, i mean beyond the fear. whavç is the difference between us and israel? israel has a bomb. not a member of mpt. it doesn't disclose anything to agency. nothing wrong with it! i mean you see what that is here? we are member of ept. they come to iran. cameras are there. we don't have the weapons and the whole pressure is put on us. >> this is about fear. >> no. we don't fear attack from anywhere. we take it serious in our calculation but we don't fear. there is dampbs between that. >> given your tone, again, sir, when you talk about israel, just a second ago, why shouldn't we suspect that there would be ambitions for iran to join the
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club of which israel is a part with the nuclear arms? >> we are very advanced in the nuclear technology, which is a matter of pride for us and gentleman mentioned that we have plenty of gas and oil. with all good calculations, the age of this is up to 20, 25 years from now. it means that if you don't have it, then we should beg in front of the western countries to light our houses and we know how badly they are treating us in this area. we are right now very happy that we have the first power plant. we know how to make the fuel. we already have more than 25% share of it. they don't give us a bit of this fuel that we need even at 20% that we needed for -- >> because of your track record. because of your track record as a country. >> it is important to keep if mind we're not talking about an established democracy that
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treats its own people with respect. we are talking about a country also that's the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world so there's obviously an understandable concern about what iran isç doing, not just the more -- >> well, in terms of record, i think united states of america is the largest and the greatest country supporting terrorism. the record of terrorist activity which is supported by the tax money of these people -- >> wait. wait. >> -- is enormous. >> wait a minute -- >> i can go if i want to. >> this is a free country. bart of our gift is we have the liberty and freedom to say anything, to sound foolish, to sound absurd and to sound smart. that's absurd saying america the biggest terrorist nation in the world. but my question to you, sir, is you seem like a really nice guy. all right? why doesn't your country be a better neighbor? >> we have fantastic relation with all of our neighbors. >> really. >> definitely.
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but the policy -- the policy of demonizing iran is a very important policy which is pursued in the region while it has its own benefit. >> but it is just in little things like the american tourists. cross the border. let's -- supposedly cross the border. you grab them. you scoop them. you hold them for months on end. why? >> well, this is very simple question. i answered that before. suppose the security of your people -- >> you're here. >> i'm here with a visa. it's quite different. security of united states peo e people, they pick civilians, ask you why are you in here? well, we are just walking the desert. well, with the whole hostility and suspicions which is between the two countries as well, you were in here to blow up somewhere. definitely they will put into
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jail forç years, even if not i guantanamo, they bring them somewhere else. it took a lot of time to that we convince -- i was working on this case because they were like me from berkeley. i talk with the family. managed to contact between them and family when they were arrested. their families come to iran. to take the suspicion away, this is very natural for security people to suspect, across border which is in the most volatile regional area of iran -- >> they were going to blow up the desert. i get that. what is the root -- what do you think the root is of iranian paranoia towards the united states, toward many of its neighbors? what is the root of this paranoia? is it fear that we find out about your nuclear program? >> we don't have any paranoia about our neighbors. we are really suspicious of
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american paranoid about us. the questions are what is wrong with iran that this persistent hot tilt -- >> you have a track record of international terrorism. >> this is not true. we are ourselves the greatest victim of terrorists, terrorism in the area. let me ask you, who was helping al qaeda and taliban for years while we were at war with them in afghanistan? united states of america. the money from this state was put into al qaeda and taliban. the idea was, we should curb iran by another religious front. is it correct? >> richard? >> is it correct? >> no, it is not correct and the united states did support the mujahadin obviously in order to get rid of the soviet occupier. to say that the united states supported al qaeda is againç preposterous. the fact is though iran is supporting terrorism in lebanon. it is supporting groups like
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hezbollah, groups like hamas. it is involved in iraq. it was involved in afghanistan. iraq is basically become a regional power that is trying to destabilize many of the countries trying to make them essentially in some ways heavily influenced by tehran and that is simply a fact of life which again is one of the reasons the world is so concerned about iranian nuclear program. how do we know iran will not become even more aggressive? how do we know nuclear materials will not end up in the hands of a group like hezbollah? what do we see about iran's track record that would lead to us believe that iran in any way would be responsible with nuclear materials? this is a genuine concern and if you dismiss it as laughable, sir, are you seriously underestimating not simply the american, not simply the israeli, but i would suggest the world's concern over the direction your government is heading in. >> the disaster -- disastrous thing is the blind policy of united states in supporting carte blanche a renegade state
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like israel which is the source of all tensions in the region. if hezbollah, you call them terrorism group, and hamas, they are fighting to be given the permission to live. what about israel? was it involved in government sponsored terrorism, kills everybody that it things is not correct? and depriving millions of people from basic tenets of life. 60 years of atrocities in that area is supported carte blanche by united states. this is even against the basic interests of this nation. they don't know it. >> sir, do you recognize the right of israel to exist? >> we recognizeç the right of jews, christian and muslims to live together in peace and tranquility. to create a racist regime in the middle of the land is -- and put the others out is like to create
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a small enclave for the blacks and leave the rest for the whites. >> i think we have an answer to your question. >> the answer is no. >> no, no, that's not no. we respect any decision by palestinians. we are not in a position to tell them what kind of state they have. but they should be given the chance to decide. >> i guess we're not going to change your mind. >> so listen, this has been fascinating and i think it is a great picture, window into the choices that americans make when they're choosing their president, and also a sense of what our secretary of state and what our diplomats have to confront and deal with when they're going out into the world and working with other countries. it is extremely complicated. often conversations feel like they're going in circles because it is very hard to develop a common understanding or even a place where you can start engaging and i think this was an example of that. thank you very much for coming on the show this morning. >> thank you. >> we will be right back. ♪ i'm burning out this useless telephone ♪
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welcome back to "morning joe." 42 past the hour. we're going to switch gears. we decided to talk about what just happened because we just had the secretary-general for the high council for human rights on iran on the show. we'll start there. and explain to me first of all -- because this remind me a little of those breakfasts with mahmoud ahmadinejad which -- i
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went to two and -- nothing happens except he sits around and makes a mockery of the entire situation and i feel like i just saw that all over again. why don't you give me the big picture, the more intelligent picture. >> well, what you just saw was not just by the way, some guy off the street. is someone from the first family of iran. they are anç incredibly powerf and influential family. what he basically did was deny what virtually everyone who's looked at this situation independently believes to be true -- that iran, among other things, is well on its way toward developing a nuclear weapon. what i think is suggests is that who ever is the next occupier of the white house, be it barack obama or one of the republicans, this could well be security issue number one. if we want change the government of iran or so slow their nuclear program, next president is going to be faced with a binary choice. either we have to learn to live with an iranian nuclear program with all that would mean for
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middle eastern instability, imagine what a crisis would look like between israel or iran or lebanon, what would it mean for iranian handoff of a group of stuff to ha mmas or hezbollah. but we have to assume the iranian would retaliate if we took military action and among other things the price of oil would spike to two or three times what it is now. it could be a terrible far reaching choice for the next president if we can't head it off and nothing we heard over the last ten minutes suggested that the world and iran -- not simply the united states -- >> i actually was really disturbed by the entire interview. it was -- chilling to an extent. >> i mean the critical currency of diplomacy, right, richard, is that you have to assume that people are rational actors, that they will act in a way that is predictable according to basic standards of human behavior. there wasn't anything in the
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last segment that made me think that iran was a rational actor. if they are a nuclear nation, they deny theç right of israelo existing with do you think they would act irrationally and preem preemptively against israel? >> the answer is no. you have to think of iran as not just a rational actor but also an irrational actor at times and also actors, in the plural. you've got the religious authorities, the revolutionary guard, the al qods force. this recent assassination after potentially against the saudi ambassador in the united states, who knows who in iran authorized that? you're not dealing with a normal government. you're dealing with -- if you will -- with multiple governments. idea various people in iran could have this kind of authority over nuclear materials, if that doesn't keep you up at night, you're a sounder sleeper than you ought to be. >> also, i would love to hear each candidate really, really, really talk on an in-depth level
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in terms of their perspective on the iran situation. you talked about the price of oil? very quickly, what are the other ways to diffuse this situation? >> well, you either got to use covert action like we've been using to slow things down, you've got to hope for regime change of some sort in iran which unfortunately doesn't like like it is happening. can you ratchet up sanctions. can you go after the iranian export of oil. no. that's really going to the edge of economic warfare. but might not -- might that not be preferable to going to the edge of warfare warfare? i don't know. but i think these are serious issues. i would simply say the republican debate last weekend barely scratched the surface of the enormity of this issue and its potential consequences. we're focused on europe as an economic shop that could push us back into a double dip. this potentially is the other economic shock. what happens if iran, what it would mean for oil, what it would mean for the world economy. it is difficult to overestimate the potential significance of this. >> richard haass, thank you.
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coming çup, a massive crow of occupy wall street supporters are gathering outside the new york stock exchange. business before the bell is next. i hastigtism.
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tdd# 1-800-345-2550 at charles schwab, you won't pay fees on top of fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no monthly account service fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 no hidden fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 and we rebate every atm fee. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 so talk to chuck tdd# 1-800-345-2550 because when it comes to talking, there is no fee. welcome back to "morning joe." live pictures from news chopper 4. where are they exactly? >> over wall manhattan area as this occupy wall street march continues down toward the new york stock exchange. right now we want a look at business before the bell with melissa francis live at the new york stock exchange. melissa, good morning. >> we're all watching those pictures from inside and there are hundreds of people outside. when i arrived here at 5:30, those people weren't there but there were barricades all around
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the building and police were getting ready for them. that's a little bit of a distance from us. i know their goal is to stop the morning bell from ringing here at the new york stock exchange. the bell though is a button in a room in a building that you can't get into so i think that's a symbolic goal more than anything else. at the same time, apropos of these protests, we are watching initial jobless claims that came out this morning at a seven-month low, down 5,000 to 2 388,000. futures are moving up on that news. housing starts, bidding permits were up 10%. so some evidence inside about the economy improving, about the jobs pictures improving slightly, the housing market improving. but outside people aren't feeling any of that relief. they might not any time soon. we're watching the price of oil which moved above $100 a barrel during your show yesterday, mika. it is still above there today. gas prices have been on the decline but they might turn around as a result of that so a lot going on in the business world today. >> melissa, thank you. we're watching some live
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pictures. looks like some pushing and shoving at least going on between the occupy wall street protesters and some new york city police officers. we'll certainly keep our eye on that. we'll be right back. ♪
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time now to talk about what we learned today. willie? >> i learned that iran's head of the high council on human rights could o not answer a simple yes-no question from jon meacham. question was do you respect israel's right to exist.
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did he not give an answer. >> allrightee. mike barnes. >> i learned that because of his position on the human rights council in iran, that must be aç no-show job. >> lot of free time. >> mr. haass -- dr. haass. >> issue, just when you think things have gotten as bad as they can get, they get even worse and i believe this is going to be the number one issue for the next president when it comes to foreign policy. >> i think to cheer things up, i'd like to do a cooking segment. >> i think each republican candidate should join richard and folks here on "morning joe" for a roundtable on foreign policy. one on china, one on iran. alex, is that a yes in. >> yes. >> willie? >> "the daily rundown" next. [ child ] it's so cool!
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