tv The Last Word MSNBC June 21, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
edge. >> with a whopping 13-point lead. >> president obama with a huge lead over mitt romney. >> this is the widest spread we've seen in quite some time. >> we're not going to ride up and down the roller-coaster. >> who wants four more years of obama care? >> 45% of voters say they're better off since the president took office. >> up and down the poller coaster. >> the poll points to core strengths in the president's re-election campaign. >> how we see the future is imperative that mitt win. it's not even like a choice anymore. >> we're doing this because of the values we believe in. >> it's not even like a choice anymore. >> everyone should do their fair share, but they should play by the same rules. >> we got lots of new clues this morning on the mitt romney veep stakes. >> is mitt romney can considering an early pick for vice president? >> first off, it's none of your business. >> marco rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process. >> i don't want to talk about the process. i haven't up to this point. >> marco rubio is a rock star in the republican party. >> you know, something may go down tonight, but it ain't going to be jobs, sweetheart. >> don't lose sight of tim pawlenty. >> mitt romney is going to be a fantastic president.
>> tim pawlenty is at the front of the bus. >> all of this is to the benefit of pawlenty. >> tim pawlenty. >> tim pawlenty. >> tim pawlenty. >> tim pawlenty, vice presidential slot. >> i appreciate the tip of the cap that you've given me. >> you should really see me when i'm pissed. >> if you don't run chris christie, romney will be the nominee and we'll lose. today the romney campaign continued to dodge questions on mitt romney's position on immigration as a new poll shows president obama widening his lead over mitt romney. the bloomberg poll of likely voters shows president obama polling at 53%, a full 13 points ahead of mitt romney's 40%. the romney campaign hosted a conference call with reporters today to discuss the economy, but after the first three question the reporters asked were about mitt romney's position on the president's
position on immigration, the romney press aide, christie campbell, decided the the call was over. >> we'll have more information in a run-up to the governor's speech tomorrow and he looks forward to addressing naleo and chatting about a number of issues, including how the president's policies have impacted the hispanic community. so with that, it sounds like we don't have anymore questions on today's topic. >> well played, kristy campbell. mitt romney will address the latino group tomorrow, a day before president obama addresses that se audience. the bloomberg poll show -- try saying that, bloomberg poll, try saying it at home right now -- shows that 63% of likely voters agree with the president's new immigration policy. 30% disagree. last night sean hannity asked sarah palin if she supported mitt romney. palin supported anyone but romney during the republican primaries, but now, sarah's stuck.
>> we have a presumption nominee now in the gop process, after a good, competitive, and very spirited competition to find that presumptive nominee, and, yes, if that vote were to be taken today, obviously, i would vote for president -- for governor romney over president barack obama in a heartbeat. i wouldn't blink, because i go back to what i said at the beginning. anybody but obama. >> joining me now are msnbc political analyst steve kornacki and huff post live host alicia menendez. alicia, a 13-point lead, where the heck did that come from? >> well, there are a lot of people who are saying that this is an outlier. but regardless of whether or not that 13 points is an outlier, you see some big picture things we've been seeing in every single poll. which is that your average swing voter likes president obama. they trust president obama. they're just not sure that he can get the economy back on track. and they do not like mitt romney.
and they do not trust him either to get the economy back on track. and that's sort of the fundamental decision that your average voter feels like they're making in this election. >> steve, one of the distinctions about this poll is that it is likely voters. a lot of the polls, in fact, most of the polls that i've been seeing so far have not been likely voters. and we tend not to start polling likely voters until they're promised that they're going to be likely voters is more real, like now, now that we're getting closer to the election. and so likely voters is the only thing you want to poll in this election. and we're going to the see different numbers when you deal with likely voters. >> we are, but i do think it's a little early, and i think it's still, we're at the point where there's so much data out there that the best thing you can do is sort of average it all together. so if you look at this poll, it finds the approval rating at 53%. that's really about five points higher than you're getting in the average of the other polls. >> let me run through, for the audience, the favorable and unfavorable on this poll. the favorable for president obama in this poll is 55 -- no,
i'm sorry -- yeah, favorable, obama, 55. romney, favorable, i've got to look at the screen, because this piece of paper is just wrong. oh, yeah, the romney favorable is 39. there you see the unfavorable, romney's unfavorable, higher than his favorable, always a bad sign in politics. alicia, that's the underwater phenomenon on favorability. >> and it is a phenomenon we have become -- >> the hardest thing to deal, too. it's the hardest thing to go out there and campaign to change. >> especially, because we've talked about the fact that this is a product of the way republicans run their primaries. they are forced to tax so far to the right on a variety of issues, including immigration, which i know we're going to talk about, that it makes them unpalatable to a general election electorate. >> and not just -- right. savage each other. the ads that gingrich was able to afford to run against romney on bain, the ads that gingrich ran to destroy, i mean, that romney ran to destroy everyone that he could destroy, it kind of just leaves them dead by the
side of the road. you look back at that democratic primary the last time around, it was not at all inconceivable that barack obama could have found his vp from the field he campaigned against, and in fact, he did. >> right. but i would say, if you look at those favorable numbers you just showed, that is basically putting romney back where he was at the worst moments of the primary. i really do take these numbers with grain of salt, though. i think what will be telling is there will be three or four new independent polls in the next week. this is either very good for obama or very good for romney. the three or four next ones that come out put it back where it's also been, with an approval rating of 43%. i think that's probably still where we're headed. the silver lining on that for obama, if you look historically, i think it's still true that he's doing better right now than he probably should be given where the economy is. >> the only thing -- the polls we look at in the future to compare to this one have to be of likely voters. if they're not of likely voters, they're not going to be comparable.
the economic vision question on this poll, obama, 49% approve of his economic vision. romney, 33% approve -- that is the entire campaign for romney, alicia. if he can't win that one -- >> well, that's because he hasn't been able to articulate an economic vision. most of his articulation has been, i'm not barack obama, i'm not going to do things the way barack obama has done them, and when he does articulate them, they sound a lot like bush policies and the american electorate has not forgotten the economy that we inherited from the bush administration as much as republicans with wish it were so. so unless he finally comes out with something new, some true vision, these numbers -- >> there's a related number in this poll, steve, about that economic vision, that's related to it in the sense, does this guy know the price of milk? that old george h.w. bush question. out of touch, is the question. only 36% in this poll of likely voters say that president obama is out of touch. that would be the republican
party, basically, the 36%. 55% say that mitt romney is out of touch in this poll. again, that's a very difficult thing to campaign your way out of. >> well, yeah. there's that and there's another interesting number in here too. and again, even if this poll is an outlier and you've got to end up dialing it back, there's a question in there, are you better off today than you were four years ago, and the verdict is 46% say better, and 36% say worse off. that's hard to believe, given that president obama's preside offered a stalled, poisonous economy over the last four years. and you take that question and ask, do you like the direction the country is going in right now? it's 31% yes, 62% no. what that suggests to me, you balance those two things together, that's the bush factor. that's people saying, we understand where this started, we understand there was a traumatic event, who was president, and he was dealt this hand as president and they're giving him a certain benefit of the doubt. yeah, things are awful, but they are better.
>> let's look at the new ad that team obama released today. >> running for governor, mitt romney campaigned as a job creator. >> i know how jobs are created. >> but as a corporate raider,he shipped jobs to china and mexico. as governor, he did the same thing, outsourcing state jobs to india. >> alicia, he couldn't find -- romney couldn't campaign his way out of that in massachusetts when he was running for senate against ted kennedy, who tried a very similar a tactic. >> and it's funny, because we've heard the washington elite really hate this bain capital message. it's not resonating with them, so it can't possibly be resonating with the rest of america, but it is, in fact, working. women voters are really responding to it, because if the big selling point with mitt romney is that he has corporate experience, he's a business man, and that's why we're supposed to trust him, to lead our economy into the golden era, then we have to examine the type of business that he practiced and whether or not that's really applicable here, and that's why
this commercial is effective. because it shows you that it's not. >> alicia menendez, thank you for joining us in person for your first time here at the world headquarters of "the last word." and steve kornacki, do not leave that chair. we're going to need you later for the breaking news segment about chris christie. a last word investigation of a "new york times" investigation of chris christie means that i have a breaking news announcement for the political media about chris christie's political future. that's from the same political media that missed my announcement 223 days ago that tim pawlenty is number one on mitt romney's short list for the vice presidential nomination. and in the "rewrite" tonight, i'm going to the need a little help from my tv friends to take on sean hannity. but they're all busy right now, so jon stewart's going to help me. that's in tonight's "rewrite." emily's just starting out... and on a budget.
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tim pawlenty is back in the headlines today, with political reporting that he is now at the top of mitt romney's short list for the vice presidential nomination. that puts politico and the rest of the media only 223 days behind "the last word." that's how long ago i put tim pawlenty at the top of mitt romney's vp list, right here on this show. and tonight, i will put chris christie at the bottom of mitt romney's vp list. and in the "rewrite" tonight, it takes a big man to expose the lies of sean hannity, so i'm going to let jon stewart do that. you can prevent gas with beano meltaways,
so tim pawlenty, vice presidential slot of the republican campaign, cannot be stopped. you're going to be on that convention stage, accepting the vice presidential nomination. >> lawrence, i've already said publicly and repeatedly, that's not something i'm going to consider. >> that was 223 days ago when former republican vice presidential candidate tim pawlenty made his last appearance on "the last word." and today politico made this. tim pawlenty has jumped to the top of the vice presidential short list of several mitt romney advisers after emerging as the most effective and well-liked surrogate for the gop nominee-to-be according to several republicans familiar with the campaign deliberations. that report is totally wrong, like totally crazy wrong. how could they possibly report,
as if it's news today, that tim pawlenty has jumped to the top of the vice presidential short list. tim pawlenty has not just jumped to the top of the vice presidential short list, he has been number one for 223 days, ever since i officially put him there. politico is very proud of a quote they obtained from an unnamed former pawlenty campaign official. "they respect people who are loyal and show up and work hard and he has done both in spades from the perspective of boston. i think that really matters. on a personal level, folks really like him. and he's an articulate, effective, economical messenger for the campaign." well, no kidding. we've known that for 223 days. what do you mean, folks really like him? of course focus really like him,
especially republican folks. i like him. the unnamed pawlenty confidant adds this in the politico piece. "frankly, in a lot of ways, he has been able to make the case for mitt more eloquently than sometimes he made the case for himself." and so tim pawlenty has found out what every candidate who drops out of the presidential primaries finds out. it is much easier to run for vice president than it is to run for president. joining me now is nia henderson, national political reporter for "the washington post" and david corn, washington bureau chief for mother jones and an msnbc political analyst. nia, i hope "the washington post" is not treating this pawlenty as number one on the short list thing as news. it is very, very old news here on this show. >> it is very old, and yes, you are running those oldie but goody clips from november 2011, and politico is just following
you up, so late in this story. you know, i have to say, this is something of a surprise in the sense that i'm not sure what sort of case can be made for pawlenty as vice president. i don't know, in terms of where he fills in gaps that mitt romney so clearly has on his record in terms of foreign policy, in terms of being able to operate in washington, work with the senate. and i also think one of pawlenty's chief problems, when he ran as vice president, is that he came across more as a volleyball coach than commander in chief. he couldn't really fill the chair. that's why you saw him run so terribly, come in third in that iowa straw poll. but, again, i do think he's a good talker. he speaks in sound bites, and i think that's something that romney clearly likes and needs as a surrogate, you know, in terms of being vice president. i don't know. i'm not convinced yet. >> well, david corn, i approach these vp lists from the first way i look at them is, first do
no harm. and so i look at marco rubio, i look at these different people and i say, what harm will this one do or what serious problem does this candidacy have that can not be overcome? and so i look at the problems that everybody else brings to that list and i look at pawlenty and the problems he brings to that list are smaller than any of the baggage that anybody else is bringing to that list. >> it's like the movie, "the man who wasn't there." the man who's not there doesn't cause too many problems, right? >> yeah! >> even if he is a volley pall coach. don't we all remember those years when he was governor and every american just thought, god, i wish i lived in minnesota. and the soaring rhetoric from the pre-ames straw poll and that great video of him playing hockey. i mean, he is about as uninspiring as mitt romney. but, so, he surely wouldn't outshine mitt romney, but i do think there is a tremendous deficit there. it's not as if he comes out any problems. i mean, he is right. he doesn't have any foreign
policy experience, mitt romney doesn't. usually that stuff, i think, is overrated by the pundits and commentators when it comes to how voters approach these matters. but he doesn't do any arm. he also adds nothing and it's sort of like doubling down on blandness, which maybe is a strategy. i don't know if it will work, though. >> nia, when we look at the big names on our big board here in the studio for the romney veep stakes, rob portman is up there, but he brings you that problem of the bush administration and the deficit spending in the bush administration. you have marco rubio up there, who brings a set of problems that we talked about here last night with his biographer, another "washington post" colleague of yours. paul ryan brings with him the ryan budget. everybody on that list brings something with them that's very, very -- that it seems to me in some way adds to romney's load. >> i think that's right. and it's a pretty weak field. and what is striking -- >> it is. that's why tim pawlenty's number one. it's a weak field.
>> right, right. but i think what is striking to me about all of these choices is that this could be the first time that we have a republican ticket where no one has foreign policy experience, there are no war heroes, there's no one who fought in a war like john mccain or bob dole. and so that's very striking, that they could possibly cede foreign policy that has very much been the bread and butter of many of their candidates, that they could cede that almost entirely to president obama. >> david -- >> where's john thune when we need him? >> well, john thune is on the big board and he is a senator, so technically he has foreign policy. >> there's a good dark horse candidate for you, lawrence. every year, you know, every four years, we go through this. it seems increasingly that the vice presidential pick becomes more a problem than an opportunity. if you go back to, you know, say clinton picking al gore, that seemed at the time to be kind of flashy. the two of them made sense together. and i think obama did go and do
the do no harm route and pick biden, it sort of cut against his theme of hope and change in washington. but i think biden's been a damned good vice president and the two have worked well. i don't see pawlenty being able to do that for romney, should they get to the white house. >> by the way, just for the record on my vice presidential predictions, i lost a very big bet to a friend of mine, this will require a name drop, to sean penn -- >> nice name drop! >> -- no, no. on who president obama, then nominee obama, would pick for vp. he picked joe biden months ahead of time, he was completely right, i was completely wrong. but tonight, i can't be wrong, it's going to be tim pawlenty. i just feel it. nia henderson and david corn, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> sure thing. coming up, chris christie's crony capitalism in new jersey is the latest problem that stands between him and the vice presidential nomination. and sean hannity is back in
the "rewrite" tonight after he lied about me on his show last night. jon stewart is going to help me expose sean's methodology. and sure there's someone on sean's staff who can explain to him what the word "methodology" means. that's coming up. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. i'm eating what i know is better nutrition. mmmm. great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. that could adapt to changing road conditions. one that continually monitors and corrects for wheel slip. we imagined a vehicle that can increase emergency braking power
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christie's crony capitalism in new jersey. and we now have an important announcement to make. about chris christie's political future. that's coming up next. and sean hannity is back in the "rewrite" tonight. this time, he's caught telling a huge lie about president obama and a small lie about me. jon stewart will handle the big lie, i'll handle the small one. that's in the "rewrite." [ captain ] our landing time got moved back another hour. [ crowd chatters and groans ] ♪ [ male announcer ] hunger getting to you? ♪ grab a ritz crackerfuls. made with real cheese and whole grain. get hunger before it gets you.
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the for-profit system of halfway houses for prisoners in new jersey. one of the biggest profiteer in that system is william palatucci. he is chris christie's close friend and campaign fund-raiser. this episode of christie crony capitalism is enough to destroy christie's chances of being selected for the republican vice presidential nomination if he ever had a chance. re-joining me now is msnbc's steve kornacki, "the last word's" senior new jersey political analyst. steve, i wanted you on set for this historic moment, on the show. because we put up the big board of our vice presidential possibilities for chris christie and i am officially going to put up the very first "x" on that board, going across the chris
christie slot. he's out of it. it's hopeless. "the new york times" had this story of someone being killed, as a result of this program, and another one. this is the willie horton story on steroids. it's the willie horton story with profiteering in it for christie's friend, william palatucci. what can you tell us about chris christie and william palatucci? you know all these new jersey guys. >> yeah. >> you have palatucci's cell phone number, i'm betting. >> palatucci was very good to me -- >> did he call you from pay phones or did you use your cell phone? >> this was all on the up and up. and i'd be happy to tell you the story of bill palatucci and chris christie, it's an interesting one and explains everything about where chris christie is right now. >> by the way, you have exactly three minutes to try to get that "x" taken off of chris christie and get him restored to life in the veep stakes. >> i don't think i can --
>> take your time. you have three minutes. >> i don't think it's possible. but the relationship goes back just over a decade ago. and it's hard to believe now, but at the end of the 1990s, chris christie was absolutely washed up in new jersey politics. he'd been voted out of local office in morris county, and he was basically a has been and a joke. his friend, bill palatucci was tied in with the bush world. this was around 1998, 1999 and they're getting ready to launch the george w. bush 2000 campaign, which is going to be the most lavishly funded presidential campaign you've ever seen. so palatucci goes down to austin, gets recruited and comes back and gets his team together in new jersey. and who does he turn to? his friend chris christie. this is the ultimate political rehabilitation, all behind the scenes for chris christie. he becomes one of the most prolific bush fund-raisers in 2000. when that campaign ends, and when bush becomes president-elect, palatucci, the story goes, goes to the bush folks and says, this guy is your next attorney for new jersey. >> this is the in effect
purchase of a u.s. attorney. >> the thing was, there was an uproar in like the legal community in new jersey, because chris christie was not a conventional pick for this job. he was a lawyer, yes, but this is not a guy who's background suggests that this guy should be a federal u.s. attorney for new jersey. what he did with that job. now, he got high marks, especially from the press, because what we did with that job is he went after political corruption intensely. lots of high-profile convictions, indictments, arrests, perp walks. all sorts of things like that. got a ton of publicity for himself. you can say, this was all playing the long game for 2009 and running for governor. really, yes, the u.s. attorney normally in new jersey would not be a natural candidate to run for governor, but chris christie was a very visible attorney. it was that bush role that palatucci got for him way pack that put him on course to become governor. >> i'm exing him out of because of "the last word's" investigation of this crony capitalism that involves life-or-death situations that turned out to be death situations. this is just -- you can't
possibly get him past that. but prior to that, did christie really ever had any chance in this? >> i don't think so. because there have been signaled out of the romney camp, and you can take these with a grain of salt, but there have been signals that they did not think that chris christie was the kind of team player that you would want to have as a team player. >> but what about in new jersey? he's got a 50% approval rating. shouldn't you be stronger in your own state than that? >> yes and no, but new jersey's a blue state. when he won an election, the simple fact of him winning by 4 1/2 points in 2009, that's a landslide by republicans in new jersey. so he's fairly well positioned right now, i would say fairly well positioned to win re-election in 2013 in new jersey. it would help him a lot if obama gets re-elected this year, because new jersey has the tendency to go opposite of whoever wins the presidential race. the thing about christie, he really does enjoy being governor. i think his long game is
probably more 2016, but this story will not go away. this murder will not go away. if he runs for president in 2016, this is something that will haunt him. >> "the new york times" series is filled with stories of escapes from these halfway houses that are owned by palatucci, and they don't even have any attempt or even any method in place to stop escapes. >> well, that's the thing. it's important to understand that this halfway house system in new jersey really is the product of both parties. it isn't something that just started under christie. now, christie was a lobbyist for this country, his friend's a senior vice president with it. this is all true. and they've done well under his tenure. but i think the most damning thing about this is this the murder was two years, there was a promise of investigation and reform, and two years later, there's no evidence that any of that ever happened. >> all right, control room, zoom in on the that "x" on chris christie. it is staying on. he is x'd out of the veep stakes. we'll keep the face on the board, just to keep track of where everybody is. that's the end of the christie possibility for vice president. steve kornacki, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> sure.
coming up, jon stewart reveals just how easy it is to catch sean hannity in a really, really big lie. the "rewrite" is coming up. [ male announcer ] this is the at&t network. in here, every powerful collaboration is backed by an equally powerful and secure cloud. that cloud is in the network, so it can deliver all the power of the network itself. bringing people together to develop the best ideas -- and providing the apps and computing power to make new ideas real. it's the cloud from at&t. with new ways to work together, business works better. ♪
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>> this attack on ann romney. >> mitt romney has always told the story of the family's entry into the breathtakingly expensive so-called sport of dressage as a therapeutic option for ann romney's multiple sclerosis. this is not in any way to make light of ann romney's difficulty with ms. it's obviously a very difficult thing to bear. and there are a lot of things you can do to try to deal with ms. but, come on, dressage does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment. >> look, he's -- >> what? how low can you go? >> wow! is that guy rude! asking sean hannity how low he can go? not surprisingly, sean hannity refused to answer the question
of how low he can go, but here's one example of how low he can go. not allowing his viewers to hear the very next sentence i said. >> but, come on, dressage does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment. and if it's true that dressage is how wildly rich people deal with this very difficult personal health problem, then why, why does the horse appear on mitt romney's tax return as a business expense, that in 2010 produced a $77,000 business deduction. not a health care deduction, a business deduction. >> sean hannity, who has relentlessly attacked michelle obama for over four years on his tv show, on his radio show, in his books. yes, that sean hannity, the untiring attacker of the first lady tried to rewrite my monday
night "rewrite" into an attack on ann romney. even though, within the clip he showed, i was very careful to respectfully note the very difficult challenge ann romney bravely faces with ms. i have seen ms in its advanced stages. in fact, i've studied it. and i don't know that i could rise to the challenge of ms as admirably as ann romney has, and as neil cavuto has, who also has ms. my dearest friend with ms is past the point where she could attempt to ride a horse. but i'm glad ann romney has found horseback riding helpful in managing her condition, as some other people have. what i said is that dressage is not one of the more traditional courses of treatment of ms.
that is an indisputable statement. way, way less than 1% of the people with ms have ever turned to dressage as therapy. why? among many other reasons, they cannot afford to lose $77,000 a year on a dressage horse like mitt romney does. and way less than 1% of people with ms have ever been in the presence of a dressage-trained horse. but none of that was the point of my "rewrite." anyway, the "rewrite" was about mitt romney's manipulation of the ownership of the horse so that he can use the horse as a $77,000 business tax deduction. but sean hannity doesn't want
his audience to know that mitt romney lists the horse as a $77,000 business tax deduction on his tax return, so sean couldn't show the audience that one more sentence. and so sean hannity's audience will never, ever know that. neil cavuto's audience will never know that. but, enough about me. we have a much more serious example of how low, just how low sean hannity can go, and for that i will cede the balance of my time in tonight's "rewrite" to the distinguished gentleman from comedy central, the master of hannity dissections. >> other than george bush, bill clinton, george h.w. bush, and ronald reagan, no president in modern history has changed deportation policy through executive action.
except all of them. so the objections here may be what you call situational, or so i thought until yesterday when i saw this on fox news. >> let me play this for our audience so they understand and fully grasp here the magnitude of what he did on friday. let's play this. >> this notion that somehow i can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. the fact of the matter is, there are laws on the books that i have to enforce, and i think that there's been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the dream act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow by myself i can go and do these things. it's just not true. >> holy [ bleep ]. um, wow, that was just nine months ago. the president publicly admitting he's not allowed to do the thing that he just did.
that's, uh, game over, fox. kudos. oh, oh, uh, before i go though, fox, one more thing. maybe it's just me, but that video, uh, it looked to me like the president may not have been done speaking. i don't know if that's the truth or not, i'm probably wrong, but i won't sleep tonight unless we just give it a quick check and see what he says after that. roll the unedited tape, perhaps. >> the notion that somehow by myself i can go and do these things is just not true. now, what we can do is to prioritize enforcement, since there are limited enforcement resources, and say, we're not going to go chasing after this young man or anybody else who's been acting responsibly and would otherwise qualify for legal status if the dream act
passed. >> mother [ bleep ]! you just cut obama off just before -- you cut him off just before he very clearly says he can do the exact thing he just did, but which you said, he said, he's not supposed to -- mother [ bleep ]s! but they can also hold you back. unless you ask, "what's next?" introducing the all-new rx f sport. this is the pursuit of perfection. trouble with a car insurance claim. [ voice of dennis ] switch to allstate. their claim service is so good, now it's guaranteed. [ normal voice ] so i can trust 'em. unlike randy. are you in good hands?
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>> attentive viewers of this program know what rush limbaugh doesn't know, what no one else in america knows, including the washington press corps, the mandate in president obama's health care law is not really a mandate at all. there is no real enforcement mechanism in it. there is a very, very small tax penalty of a few hundred dollars in the obama plan, but what if the penalty isn't paid? what if you refuse to pay that little tax penalty. you know, it's one thing to give me a parking ticket, it's another thing to make me pay the parking ticket. what is the federal government's power to make you pay your penalty for not having health insurance? the answer is virtually none. the obama law addresses this in two ways. first in the section called "waiver of criminal penalties." it says, "in the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not
be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure." so there it is. the penalty for not paying the tax penalty is no criminal prosecution or penalty at all. but just to make sure the irs doesn't get any crazy ideas about pursuing non-civil penalties against you, there is this section of the health care law. "limitations on liens and levees." "the secretary should not file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section, or levee any such property with respect to such failure. we will find out soon, possibly as early as tomorrow, if the supreme court decides to uphold the individual mandate in the affordable care act.
justice ruth bader ginsburg highlighted the key question facing the supreme court if the supreme court finds the mandate unconstitutional. >> if the individual mandate requiring the purchase of insurance or the payment of a penalty, if that is unconstitutional, must the entire act fall? or may the mandate be chopped, like a head of broccoli, from the rest of the act. >> joining me now is lawrence jacobs, a professor at the university of minnesota and co-author of the book "health care reform and american politics." professor jacobs, you had an op-ed piece in the "l.a. times" today with your co-author and welcome to my little club that's been very lonely for the last couple of years. in here you say, the mandate brouhaha is truly much ado about almost nothing. when did you guys discover, just out of my curiosity, when did
you discover that there really isn't an enforcement mechanism in this mandate? >> we were going through congress, interviewing people as the bill was being written. >> yeah! >> in 2009 and '10, and the senators, by the way, in both parties were talking about this mandate, and you may remember, up until the end, the insurers were on board with reform. they jumped off and moved into opposition because the mandate wasn't strong enough and was not going to be enforced. >> yeah. they kept watering it down. they felt there was a political danger in saying, oh, boy, you're going to get arrested or thrown in jail for this. quickly, professor, what do you think happens practically if the supreme court simply pulls the individual mandate out of the bill and leaves, basically, the rest of it in tact? everyone who talks about this for the most part says that will completely destroy the reform. >> that's absolutely nonsense. the mandate only affects about 1 out of 20 americans, and after
the subsidies and the exceptions you mentioned, maybe 2 out of 100 americans. the big story here is the insurance regulations that make the insurers play fair rules so they don't screw you, the enormous efforts to expand access to over 30 million americans, both lower income, middle income, up to $90,000 a year for a family of four, and then a brand-new insurance exchange, kind of like a travelocity, so you can go out there and do some comparison shopping. those things i just mentioned, 60 to 70% support, including big majorities among republicans. we don't talk about that. >> and if they do pull out the mandate, basically, you're back to the bill that president obama was proposing when he was a candidate for president, which did not include the mandate? >> exactly. and there are lots of ways in which you can get the people who are basically free riding and not paying their share to come in. you can provide more incentives,
you can have a signup period, where if you sign up during a certain period, you get lower premiums. if you don't, you get hit with a penalty. there's a lot of discussion. this is not rocket science. the mandate is simply not that big a deal, but you can do the press corps, you're absolutely right. they're ready to stampede on this if the strike courts it down. there's a lot here. this is an historic, landmark piece of legislation, even without the mandate. >> well, i got to say, i've been saying this, that the mandate's a mirage for more than a couple of years and it is wonderful to have such distinguished company on it now. princeton's paul star was saying, basically, this in "the new york times" today. lawrence jacobs, professor at the university of minnesota, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> good to be with you. >> you can have the last word online at our blog, thelastword. president obama stands up to house republicans. let's play some "hardball."
good evening. i'm michael smerconish. leading off tonight, executive privilege. president obama invoked it for the first time today republicans are seeking the failed gun enforcement operation called fast and furious. late today those same republicans voted to recommend holding attorney general holder in contempt of congress which holder called an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action. the president's move adds fuel to an already red hot fire. we will get into that at the top of the program. and it is the question that makes or breaks presidents who are running for re-election. are you better off now than you were four years ago? we've got surprising new poll numbers that are sure to make the white house smile if you believe them. plus, mitt romney now says marco