tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current May 3, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
adio talk show host stephanie miller rounds out current's morning news block. ♪♪ >> well it doesn't come out until june. there is nothing salacious, we don't think, at least in the excerpts released so far but the new david moranous biography of president obama has got washington buzzing. the blogs were all about it today. here to discuss that and the obama re-election campaign is joe williams white house correspondent for politico. joe, welcome. >> hi. nice to be here. >> yeah. nice to have you inside the war room, political jumpingie that you are -- junkie that you are, we are glad to get your insight. your website is calling this yet to be published book dangerous.
why? >> that's because in a white house and a re-election campaign, you don't want any surprises. you want your narrative tightly controlled. you want to be able to introduce the public or reintroduce you in this case if you are president obama, to the public on your own terms. the book actually re-examines president obama's youth and his formative years in new york city and comes up with a few details that he didn't quite spell out so clearly until "dreams for my father." that's number 1. no. 2, you have a white house that images everything messages everything so they don't like something that's out of their control, something that they have no ability to manage. so that's a second possibility that they are really worried about. the third is the fact that these details, while they are not necessarily anything game-changing, it goes against the narrative of him as a very selfless person. it speaks to the fact that even at a young age, he was quite
distant, obama was quite distancep distant, was self-contained and was ambitious to the point of knowing exactly where he wanted to go but i submit that it's probably less worrisome for the white house and probably something that will set tongues wagging in the short-term but won't have any long-term effect. >> well, it's very interesting to at least read the excerpts if the most damaging thing is that he said thank you rather than i love you back to a young woman he was seeing. you know joe, you probably did that once or twice. >> i was going to say, any person in their 20s who -- i would challenge you to find anybody in their 20s who haven't had that sort of awkward moment that they wish had never existed. >> for sure. so when we know that there are not a whole lot of bombshells in this book but are there things in there that were not quite revealed in "dreams of our father? father"? are there things the white shouse should be afraid of.
>> generally speaking, not really. again, my take on the excerpts that i have read is the fact that it just opens a window into how he started thinking about himself along race lines. as we all know he is the first african-american president. he is the one president who doesn't look like the others. so that opens up a lot of areas for people to explore in his motivations and how he defines himself and in this relationship that he had with a young white woman in new york city. i mean that's one of the dynamics that i think really draws people's attention. but, also you want to point out that there is a part of people that don't really want to go there, especially when we have got so many challenges facing our country and such a clear choice that we have to make in about five or six months about who we want to lead us out of that. again, to me it wasn't anything i didn't already know or at least suspect and it wasn't anything other than the sort of core that you find somebody finding your yearbook with big thick glasses.
>> we have all had some of those we don't want to emerge publically. president obama officially launches his reelection campaign on saturday and you started our conversation by saying campaign does not want to be surprised, and that's really sort of the thread we are weaving through this show, obviously campaigns want to control things and don't want stuff popping up. how did this campaign and this administration deal with those wildcards in your assessment? >> i think they have got a mixed record. on things like this bark where certainly the president granted access which is a good move. he can try to push back on some of the narratives and get his own say in they have handled the chinese dissident situation a little less well although that was a big wildcard but it's something that the opponents of president obama, mitt romney and some of the republican talkers can really dig in to because they can see it as a political football that got fumbled by an
inept white house, which it's a lot more nuanced than that but campaigns and commentators tend to talk in broad strokes and the finer points tend to get lost to people who are busy and don't have time to dig into the details. i would give it a plus 1. >> a plus 1. what great would you give mitt romney for handling his wild card of yesterday which was the grenell resignation and not saying anything about it? do you think that was a good way of handling that? >> i don't think in abstract terms, no, because you always want to manage a crisis by getting information out by having your say before it gets defined by other people. but in this situation, romney made a difficult choice. he can seek out in defense of his aid of his gay campaign aid and say look. it really shouldn't matter. this guy is with me. he knows what he is doing and i trust him or he could say yeah, you know what? it wasn't working out. we had to dismiss him over fill philosophical disagreements. but now it looks like he was the
victim of a bullying campaign by right-wing thinkers who don't want to come anywhere near the gay agenda and makes him look big and small and not egalitarian. >> greed. quick last question before we go to the break. this time campaign the obama campaign it was hope four years ago and now it's forward. what does that mean? "forward"? >> it means whatever you want which i guess is the whole point. they want you to think about progress. they want you to think about not going backwards which they assumed the republicans, you know, they will try to print them with that. but i think it's abstract yet specific enough that it can mean whatever you want and will resonate very positively. >> i think it's personally my he hadorial comment makes you think the of not going backwards. a brilliant move. we will talk more about campaigns and the ramifications of wild cards after the break. joe williams of politico is going to stick around and coming up next the war on women is a
card that mitt romney hopes gets buried in the deck. but local g.o.p. legislators have not gotten the message. we are going to see how it plays out. >> that's next. and it's only in the war room. don't go away. it takes people with real knowledge to build and maintain a race car. polymers, hydo-carbons, thermal plastics, math and science? you bet it is. many kids don't understand how important these subjects can be that's why time warner cable developed connect a million minds. to introduce kids in our communities to the opportunities that inspire them to develop these important skills. how can my car go faster? maybe your child will figure it out. find out more at connectamillionminds.com new 5 rpm gum. stimulate your senses.
[ mocking tone ] i'm ms. brown. i'm soooo chocolatey. i'm giving away money to make people like me-eee -- is what he said. and i was like "you watch your mouth. she's my friend." friend is a strong word. [ male announcer ] chocolate just got more irresistible. find the all brown bag and you could win! ♪ >> planned parenthood i am going to get rid of that. >> romney endorses a consent bill moving through the north carolina legislature which not only requires a doctor to perform an ultra sound on a fetus to be aborted but makes the mother certified she had reviewed the ult straysound imageshers. >> do i believe the separate property should overturn roe v. wade? i do. >> the democratic national
committee released that ad linking mitt romney to the string of recertificate laws and they can add one more to that list. georgia just passed a law requiring women who get an abortion after 20 weeks to "bring the fetus out alive" to induce the labor even thought the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. a law has no exceptions for rape or incest and if doctors break the law or commit criminal abortion they can be jailed up to 10 years. the war on women has gone nuclear. democratic women in the state legislate temperature in georgia walked out in protest, but it still passed making georgia the 8th state to pass such a law in the last two years. it continues to shock the conscience, this extent to which the party of personal freedom
and personal responsibility, how far will they go to undermine the constitutional right of all women to choose what to do with their own bodies to have personal integrity over our own choices. this war is not yet over. here to talk about the continued assault on women's rights and how the issue will play this election is michelle brenard for the scepter for women. michelle joins us from washington. welcome back inside the war room. >> good evening. >> hi michelle. thanks for joining us. we asked ben labolt of the obama campaign, the spokesperson about the life with julia spot that the obama campaign is pushing. it's an interactive web tool. will that attempt to tie romney directly to the war on women, will that stick? >> you know, for example the ad that you showed a little earlier before the segment, i think, is
very, very effective. and i think it's going to stick not just against romney but against republicans across the country. the republican brand right now if you really think about it, is -- did has been harmed not just as at the federal level but at the state level. we continue to see state legislators all across the country attacking women on a variety of issues. we see it at the national level, all of that is going to harm mitt romney in campaign and quite frankly, we've got his own word saying that he would be -- that he is someone who would want to overturn roe versus wade. >> it's amazing to me the republicans continue to say that the war on women is a fiction and yet every day, there is this legislation coming out of state legislatures. i don't even know if it matters whether or not mitt romney's views are as extreme as some of these state republicans because he is going to be branded with it anyway. don't you think snfrn.
>> yeah, he was going to be branded with it no matter what. and, you know, quite frankly mitt romney has a lot of problems on his own, even if we are not talking about abortion rights. for example, i think earlier this week, the chairman of the democratic national committee, desser wasserman-schultz called on mitt romney to tell the country what is his stance on paycheck fairness act? what is his stanchion on the wage gap? people are asking him: what is his stanchion, for example, on the violence against women act which is on its way back to the house of representatives to be stripped down by republicans. women going out in november are going to have to say, give us an answer or if you won't give us an answer, we have to assume it's in the negative and that means you are going to see a lot of women check the democratic box in droves. >> and, in fact we were talking about this. he may not want to talk about this stuff. but his silence is deafening, and it's killing him because it makes him look weak.
he cannot stand up to the far right extremes of his party and his silence tells you that he doesn't have the courage to say something something. i mean even if he said that he was against it. nothing is almost worse. >> absolutely. you know one of the things that i talked about earlier in the year, for example, is when we saw rush limbaugh attacking saturday are a fluke, that law student from georgetown university and calling her a slut. you know, you had to sit back and say to yourself, where are the people running for president on the republican side of the ticket on this issue, and why did it take that long for any one of them to say anything? and quite frankly, mitt romney's statement was very very tepid. i believe he said he would have used different words? >> yes. >> other than what rush limbaugh said. it's very, very scary. the republican party, the party of abraham lincoln, is supposed to be the party of individualism, the party that protection people's privacy interests and to see people
attacking women on levels that are so absolutely fundamental to individual liberty is really very very scary. >> i don't know -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt. >> no. congressional republicans are doing it in addition to the state republicans because they are pushing a bill that would effectively force 17 states, including california and massachusetts and new york to discontinue funding for programs that help low-income women pay for abortions, 30 house republicans have signed on to pay. the question about that is if you use block grants like paul ryan's plan is that also part of the republicans' war on poor women? >> yeah, and i would venture to guess that the republicans would say that this is not, you know, this is not a war on women. they would probably say that all we're doing is giving the power back to the states to deal with these issues any way that they want to. but the thing that's interesting about the legislation that you mentioned is they are giving the power back to the states on
every issue except for this issue. when we talked about abortion rights for the poor the bottom line is what they are saying is, you can't use federal money and you are going to have to go out and incur additional costs to get separate policies that cover abortion rights. and there is really a huge problem with that particularly i mean i kind of find it a paradox, governor, to be so absolutely against abortion rights but then again, not want to be able to put women and children, particularly low-income women and children in a position where their healthcare needs can be met and where they have health care insurance for themselves and for their children. >> all i care about children is before they are born as opposed to after. michelle don't go away. you are going to come back with joe williams and we will take a quick break, but later, brett erlich becomes pen pals with the g.o.p.
republican love letters. it feels so wrong because it's s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s we will not settle for easy answers. (vo) the former governor of ny eliot spitzer, joins the new news network. >>every night we will drill down on the days top stories in search of facts that inform. >> we don't stop until we get answers that are truthful, serious, and not based on simplistic answers. >>we're here because we're independent.
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america would be a legalization of american's energy a legalization of millions of high-creating jobs. >> that's our future in america , that's something to get excited about. it's why we must elect mitt romney as the next president of the united states. >> that was michelle bachmann on campaign front in portsmouth virginia pledging her support to her former rival and back with us for insight into today's happenings on the campaign trail is politico white house correspondent, joe williams and michelle bernard. thanks, you guys, for coming back. let me start with you michelle. i want you to listen. i will ask you both but listen to another sound by the of michelle bachmann. here is what she told abc news about mitt romney. the day before the iowa caucuses. take a license. >> he can't beto bameat obama.
>> how do you think that mitt romney is going to use michelle obama on the campaign trail? >> you mean how is he going to use michelle bachmann. >> did i say om bam obama? you don't want to mix those two up. >> that's for sure. >> well, as long as you don't call me michelle bachmann myself. >> you are another michelle. my god. how is he going to use her, michelle bachmann and santorum for that matter when they both said such negative things about mitt romney. >> this is going to be the problem for mitt romney with everyone he ran against this election term. it was such a brutal and nasty primary season in the republican party. and, you know, you now see all of his former colleagues coming in and subtling or tepidly endorsing him. and i assume it's because they feel like they don't have any choice. but i don't know how he uses them effectively because we have all of their own words that you
know are going to show up in campaign ads, used either by the dnc or the obama administration or super p.a.c.s that are in favor of an obama administration, and i mean, quite frankly, tying him to -- to the -- tying the massachusetts health care plan to quote/unquote obamacare, particularly ther this summer when we know the supreme court is going to make a decision on the constitutionality of the patient protection and affordable care act, it's going to be very difficult for him. i think he is going to go have to keep an arm's distance away from michelle bachmann and everyone else. he's got to do this on his own. >> it's going to be so interesting. i was asking joe, josh -- ben labolt billion whether the obama campaign was going to use the language of his opponents. of course they said that they would. to unleash that does it start dribbling outright away or does it even matter? >> well at this point, i think
that they start using some of their ammunition while it's still fresh because the republican primary literally still is going on. but we do have a sort of decision where they are going to go. so i think they will probably start rolling out the ads one after another pretty soon and to michelle's point, i think that the way you use the former rivals as sur 0 gas is using their -- surrogates is using their words. their mere presence reminds everybody these were the same people now backing romney who said some harsh things about him when the 2012 campaign was going on earnest. i think that's probably what their strategic decision is going to be. >> there were a few polls out today, thein quin post and washington post poll. michelle the big three states that the quinnipiac poll out today, florida, ohio,
pennsylvania. in florida, it was basically tied and ohio it was basically a tie. i am curious about which state you think the swing state focus is going -- and in virginia of course, the president was far up. which state do you think that the president is most concerned about, the president's team? >> i think the presidency is probably going to be most concerned about ohio. ohio is a very difficult state given the demographics of the election. i am somebody who really believes that despite where we are economically in the country, the demographics versus economics are going to be the deciding factor in this election and the president has a very difficult time with middle income and low-income white males, the dem graphics act against him in ohio. in florida, he has seniors, the hispanic population or at least a great deal of it that he can more or less rely on or make some sort of inroads with. it's going to have to really fight hard in ohio. i will tell you though i think
it's very interesting that the president is ahead eight points in virginia. you know, virginia, you never really no which way it's going to go in the election. virginia was a very important state in 2008. it will be interesting to see if going forward we see that gap continue to expand in the state of virginia or if it kind of goes back and forth between the two con tenders. >> joe, do you think he is going to take virginia? >> i think that he's got a very good shot. i mean one of the things that virginia has for the democrats as an advantage is over reach. you were talking earlier about the war on women. virginia is one of the simple fronts. we are talking about the ultrasound bill. we are talking about some very restrictive policies and bob mcdonald when he was running, had problems with women voters. he had written a very famous thesis or a thesis that became famous arguing against birth controls and some policies that would advance women. i think that's where they can have a crack to perhaps open up the pinata of delegates there if they get a good start on it.
>> nice metaphor. michelle today there were eleven state democratic party chairs who issued a statement urging the party to add a same-sex marriage plank to the democratic party platform. do you think that issue could end up dividing democrats as they go to their convention? >> you know, i don't. you know i read the statements and i know people think it's an if fy thing for the democratic party to do. i don't think so. we are all americans and we have to see our elected leaders pay respect to every single demographic, every single individual in the country, and the rights of, you know gays and homosexuals are just as important as the rights of women, of african-americans or anyone else. right now, the republican party seems to be the party simply only for white males and that leaves everybody else to the democrats. the democrats have to pay a great deal of attention to everyone in their country. i think it's a smart thing to do. >> i do, too. it meshes with your point about demographics. thank you so much michelle
bernard and joe williams. appreciate the really smart conversation about politics and policy and coming up next brett erlich to take us in an entirely different correction begins a core respond he knew course in republican politics. believe me you are not going to want to miss it. you've heard jennifer's views, now let's hear yours. >>the war room needs your help. >>the only online forum with a direct line to jennifer granholm. >>our goal is to bring you behind the scenes with access to stories that you've never seen before. >>politicallydirect.com join the debate now.
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?ñ >>we tackle the big issues here in our nation's capital. >> this week vanity fair leaks passages from the diary of an australian woman who dated barack obama in the '80s. brett erlich found love letters from other long-long political letters. shh! bretts talking now. >> this week someone leaked the hot steamy diary of one of one of paymentpom's long last girlfriends. i have a diary of those who
dated republicans. >> love notes of the g.o.p. chris christie dear diary, today, he took me to an all you can eat buff ate until they ran out of food. he ordered a milk shake with two straws and used them both. i reached for a crouton, and he said the nicest this inc. to me. he told me to get my own. >> mitt romney. >> the food took forever probably because mitt kept changing his mind about what he wanted. halfway through the meal he made up half the wait staff. >> paul ryan. >> paul is so dreamy. he instead of a tip he left a 500 page proposal on how to replace tips with a coupon program. he didn't pay for my dinner but he gave me a copy of ayn rand's "fountain head. >> newt gingrich. >> most guys give you a romantic
evening looking at the stars and the moon. he promised me looking at the stars from the i almost choked on my food thinking i was sick, he left me for another girl at the restaurant! >> and that was love notes of the g.o.p. >> now, what can you say about love other than data democrat. i am done talking now. >> thank you brett erlich. and we want your stuff. check it out. we want you to send us your political posters and buttons and chechtschockes. this one, nixon i am paetsches or we have wonderful vintage posters being given to us, too. this one from sam keane, also of california. this was the war room. this is an old war poster from