tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current March 1, 2012 5:14am-6:00am PST
me and he was bragging of course about what had been done in massachusetts and how this could be a model for the nation. you were obviously representing massachusetts at the time. weren't people assuming, i mean wasn't the talk that this was going to vault him to -- vault his ambition and be a model for the nation, wasn't that the assumption? >> yes senator kennedy worked closely to him and people voted against him saying he was going to be better on gay rights than senator kennedy but the -- but we didn't think it was going to vault him to the presidency, probably because we thought the republican party has moved further to the right. that was almost an aberration. one of the major economic interests in massachusetts' health care, health care for us in massachusetts is not something we consume as people. you have the hospitals medical
instruments, the research that's done, so working to expand the health care is something you would do as an economic thing not a social thing. it must have been that's what was motivating romney, but it was certainly the case that he's now, of course -- well, let me say this, kind of a technical term for the way he approaches his role. he lies about it. >> well, it's very interesting because the movement that he's made is obviously been the subject of a lot of conversation. today, he said that he was against the blunt amendment, of course a blunt amendment allowing any employer to be able to not offer health care if it's against their conscience and an hour later back tracked and said he misunderstood. i'd like to have you listen to a sound track. just one second, i'll get your reaction on the other sided. >> i'm not for the bill. the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception
within a relationship between a man and a woman husband and wife, i'm not going there. >> but of course now his campaign came out immediately and said well, of course he's for the bill, jumping all over it. i just wonder is there a place for moderate republicans anywhere? i mean even if he had an instinct to be somewhat moderate, he had to jump back on it. >> well, the word we get from olympia snowe is no. that's why she left. she's 65 years old pane years left of active service. she is saying you cannot be a moderate and maintain your dignity in the republican party. i hope there will be -- we are talking about mainstream conservatives. david brooks wrote in the new york times monday or tuesday first drove out the moderates then the compassionate conservatives, now the
mainstream conservatives and only the most radical right wingers are left. the only way it's going to change is if they lose this november. if the right wing is such that they are successful with some degree in november, republicans are going to say that's their party forever. i think they won't be. >> i do, too. >> we make, you know, people are unhappy with some of the things that obama has done, although i think if you look at the record, by the way we saw a great chart today from the federal reserve board chaired by a republican appointee, ben bernanke. you see unemployment in 2006 and 2007 under bush, it got worse and worse and 2009, significant improvement. not yet where we want to be, but if you look at the hole we were in obama was getting blamed for what he inherited but the point is simply now the extreme right wing nature of the republican party shown by the house they can't even pass a highway bill,
shown by this presidential scandal, they've discredited themselves where they will lose big in november. >> we have a big poster that says occupy the majority and we appreciate the chance to have you be on to show people how it should be done. i know that you've got a good candidate in the wings that we hope will occupy your seat, as well. congressman barney frank thank you so much for joining us. >> joe kennedy iii would be great, i would be happy to have him sub seed me. >> more on the war room, right after this. this is countdown south carolina. forgot the name of the show p.m.
of action called shut down the corporations. this is organized by occupy portland. these demonstrations are specifically targeted at corporations that fund a right wing group called alec. the american legislative exchange council. it is a mechanism for the nations 1% to influence what happens at the state level. some recent controversial pieces of legislation to come out of the states, like arizona's tough immigration law and wisconsin's law fearly limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees those laws originated with the american legislative exchange council. alec is an association of state legislators and corporate representatives who design legislation to be replicated in states across the country. an estimated 2,000 state leming lateliors are members.
it's state mission is an agenda of limited government, free markets, federalism and individual liberty. according to the center for media and democracy 98% if it's more than $7 million in annual revenue come from wealthy conservative donors look b.p., exxon mobil and industry trade organizations. ales legislative priorities included "privatize education break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter i.d. laws." a look at voter i.d. laws demonstrates the organizations effectiveness. 34 states have introduced voter i.d. bills. in 2011, seven states signed them into law. the brennan center for justice
estimates that 11% of americans don't have photo i.d.s. these laws could disenfranchise those voters in the upcoming election. the more they can control who votes, the more republicans they can elect who share that conservative agenda. this bill mill is in overdriver according to alec's web side claiming: >> but some progressive state lawmakers fighting back. just this year, representatives in wisconsin and arizona introduce the legislation they hope will expose the inner workings of the american legislative exchange council to the public. in january arizona representative steve farley introduced the accountability
act of 2012. he urged the house to pass it last week. >> all of us here are very familiar with alec and the unflience it has with many members here. every session several pieces of alec-related ledge lace are adopted as arizona law. if we get an idea for a bill i think our constituents deserve to know where it came from and the circumstances around that. my amendment would require groups that proposed modeled legislation and lobby legislators here in arizona or around the country to register as lobbyists in arizona. >> alec has been on a roll. now steps are being taken by progressive politician and groups like occupy portland to expos alec's unfettered access to state lawmakers. >> we're going to take a closer look at the alec controversy with a
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>>this is outrageous! [[vo]]cenk uygur calls out the mainstream media. >>the rest of the media seems like, "ho-hum, no big deal." we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. just refreshing to hear. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real. >> representative joins us from washington. welcome to the war room. >> thank you jennifer, glad to be here. >> so you have seen alec's
effect on wisconsin's laws first hands. some might say what's the big deal, it's just another trade group, what's the problem? >> it's way more than a trade group. this is, you know, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations i've ever seen. they pass an enormous amount of legislation. it's not legislation that's in the public interest. it's all corporate special interest legislation and the fact that they're effective in so many bills bad for the public and operate in the shadows we need to expose them. >> give me an example of the impact they've had on wisconsin law you. >> sure. well wisconsin with the uprising last year, all the collective bargaining changes came from alec, all the pension law changes came from alec, all the photo idea laws came from alec all the tort reform legislation. all these bills are specifically done for corporate profit and
corporate power. that's what they do. that's the mission. they're funded by the corporations for the corporations. >> so you've got a bunch of legislators members of alec and they go to these conferences and they get sort of model legislation handed out not just in wisconsin but all these other states. you actually crashed one of those alec meetings. can you tell us a little bit about what you saw? >> sure. if you've ever been to a speed dating event it's like a corporate speed dating event. they take these special interests and try to match them with the objects of their affection, the state legislators. if the legislation works out you'll have the culmination of special interests legislation. it's matching special interest and legislators at private parties and lavish events. they write model ledge reaction, give it to legislators, tell them how to pass it and get it
passed. the public has no idea. it happens behind the scenes. >> it's not just specific to wisconsin. i know as governor of michigan, i saw a lot of stuff come through that may not have even had any relationship to what was going on in michigan or at least to a need that i perceived that was out there. a lot of this legislation is model legislation that's actually copied from state to state but passes through because there's an agenda and somebody behind it, right? >> yeah, basically there will be a special interest that wants to advocate something company create for profit or increase environmental legislations and cookie cut it and give it to lidge laters across the country and fix it to your state statutes. one of the things they said on education bill, don't just introduce one bill, because you can build opposition. you have to introduce 14 bills as part of a package and that's how to dismantle public education.
they write the bill for you. it's about as easy as connecting the dots. >> here's what's interesting to me is that the agenda also includes pushing volar i.d. laws. i want you to listen to sound bytes from one of the founders of alec from way back in 1980. his name is paul wyrick. listen to this. i'd like your reaction after. >> they want everybody to vote. i don't want everybody to vote. elections are not won by a majority of people. they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. as a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting pop lass goes down. >> that had tells me it is a complete and total strategy on the part of some to suppress the vote especially of those they don't want to speak
democratics, for example. >> they want to pick their voters. they don't want the voters picking their candidates. and when you take out seniors and people of low in come and students, you take out a lot of democratic voters. that's why they have photo i.d. laws. in wisconsin even an absentee voter has to get their photo i.d. copied in order to vote. it's one of the country's most restrictive laws. they want to take away democratic participation. >> you introduced a bill, this alec accountability act. tell us what that does. >> we've done this in arizona wisconsin, minnesota and new hampshire are looking at it, making them register as a lobbyist expose free trips. if you're a lobbyist, that has to be reported. we'll know who's getting these trips, getting paid for by the
corporations. you would never give tax paying money to a lobbying organization. pretty basic and simple, shines the light on a group operating in the shadows and it's completely in the public interest. >> alec is pushing a conservative agenda but says it's non-partisan. are you a member? >> i joined to get the password to find out the legislation. i went to the conference, i was a lonely guy i didn't get invited to the parties. they wine and dine you and ultimately they get a lot of people bringing back these really bad special interest bills. >> do they allow democrats to even be on the committees where the legislation is defendanted? >> in fact, i sat through one of the committees task force on fiscal policy. i would never get put on there it's all conservatives. half the community is
legislators, half special interest you. need a majority vote of each half. the corporations vote on the legislation they write and the legislators are a bit player. it is so formed by the corporations that it's almost ridiculous. >> i'm saying, representative, thank you for joining us to help us expos this terrible stuff. >> up next, big money is having a huge a influence on this election cycle. not just alec, but who's giving it, what do they get for it? your answers are right here in the war room.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m. this is countdown south carolina. forgot the name of the show p.m.
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>> if you want to make a selection about restoring american greatness then i heap you'll join us. if you believe that the disappointments of the last few years are a detour and not the destiny of america i'm asking for your you support. i'm asking for you to go on mittromney.com and pledge your support in any way possible. >> that was mitt romney pleading for money after his very expensive win in last night's michigan primary. the delegates were split 15-15 between him and santorum, so there's a question about what a win means but between his
campaign and the super pack, romney spent $3.5 million on ads in michigan. compare that to santorum who spent $2 million. where do the candidates turn when they are burning through money? >> i wanted to welcome you bat inside the war room. we are here talking about money. mitt romney, at the end of january, had just $7.7 million in the bank. he is spending it like water. he is not taking as much in as he has been spending. the question that i have because he's so wealthy, is it harder to raise money for a wealthy candidate? >> it's certainly much harder. the big distinction between
romney and what barack did in 2008, you have more maxed out donors more people given all they can give. back in 2008, we had more people who had given $200, $25 the lowest grass roots fundraising average in the history of presidential politics. we can go back to them over and over and over again as the campaign heated up and ask for just a little bit more money. once you're maxed out he has to find more people, because they're done. >> that's when they're giving it directly to a candidate, of course. if you're giving it to a super pack, you can write a check to yourself as a candidate. i love the way you call the president barack. all the fundraisers do this. it's a good way to tell. you get close to somebody who you're raising money for and a lot of people you're trying to convince. so the mechanism for raising
money is called bundle be. can you describe? i'll start with you. >> we have 110,000 people on our mailing list. there was a sort of mini move on for the bay area. we have people of every stripe and persuasion, and we reach out to them in a totally open-ended way and say if you would like to go to this event we've got a great event with barack a couple of weeks ago there was a $100 price tag if you'd like to come. bundlers are inside of that network saying i've got 10 friends, i've got between friends, i've got 25 friends. they reach out to this mini network. >> and they get them to come to this event. >> get them to come and it can be a table at a dinner or it can be just 25 people in the back row of the masonic auditorium. it's anybody reaching out to their set of friends to bring in
some cash for the candidates. >> emily's list does it differently. tell us about the mechanism. >> we do. bundling's an interesting thing. emily's list that started 27 years ago really was at the forefront of starting the idea of bundling. emily's list is an organization that went to a network of women donors so support pro choice democratic women's candidates. we did it through the mail, direct mail in the mailbox came from a friend of yours asking for $100 for the organization and considered two one hundred-dollar checks to to candidates. we had to go to the federal election commission to allow that to happen 27 years ago which is the opening of what we now see as moveon.org, pccc. >> what is that? >> congressional campaign committee, doing great great
work and partners of us in a lot of things. >> when i was running for my reelection emily's list supported me. you know this. i had a republican legislator and they proposed legislation to prohibit money from emily's list on my behalf. >> as an organization, doing it as long as we have, we still do direct mail. we do it on line, now and with a million members at emily's list, you can hit that email and it comes in. >> so this headline from today which is obama to raise more than $4 million with four new york city events seems like a heck of a lot of money for one trip to new york. is that a blockbuster some. >> oh, it's certainly a great event. when you compare $4 million to what carl rogue is saying, i'll do 250, wait a minute, 250 450 on and on.
it is so important that people give as much as possible through the normal process with full disclosure, full accountabilit the ads have the candidate saying i approved this message as opposed to i have no idea who put this ad on. >> this goes directly to the candidate. how hard is it for democrats to compete against some of these republican super packs? >> it's certainly much harder. there's a very small percentage of corporations, forget about people, but corporations who actually control their board of directors have unlimited access to unlimited amounts in very partisan ways. >> steve jobs would never do this. hewlett packard would never do this. >> that's so interesting. >> you only need 1% of corporations on the out liers who will spend 10s of millions of dollars to distort the political process. that's what people need to understand. it's not the fortune 100 or 500
it's about a handful of small corporations that can highjack the national political process and ruin guys like newt gingrich who you might like or not like but i don't think he should have lost because of a handful of people making contributions. >> do we need a constitutional amendment? >> i think the supreme court is going to reconsider citizen's united and i think there is a great piece of legislation about amending the corporations code in california. >> state by state. >> state by state can matter. when you actually look at the facts and if you read citizens united they assume facts that are clearly untrue and proven untrue in this election cycle. i think we're going to see a second bite at the apple. >> i this i we're going to see a big bite at that. >> there's another case through the state of montana that may make it to the united states supreme court. >> to reevaluate. ok, you are going to hang on
here. we're going to talk about electing women. thank you so much for joining us. we really appreciate it. we may have you back to dive into it a little bit deeper. this money stuff is not going away. >> if you are a democratic politician and a woman and pro choice, simply put you are going to be on the front lines of the social war. we're going to get stephanie's thoughts on that and more right after the break. you are in the war room, only on currenttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt