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tv   The War Room With Jennifer Granholm  Current  June 19, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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i will be back tomorrow. stay here for "the war room" with guest host john i will be back tomorrow. a couple of days left. >> good evening. i am john fugelsang. tonight in the war room are progressives progressing towards progress? >> i think ireland is america's future if romney is president. >> who doesn't love ireland? >> rollingfields, my wee home hanging out with bono and van morrison. maybe i should vote for mitt rom romney. what do you say, mr. president. >> unfortunately the good doctor krugman krugman's criticism is not regular relegated to obama. he has had no problem drawing anger from his democratic allies. what's more important? loyalty to leaders or loyalty to ideals because the irony is the
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liberals are fighting amongst themselves even though they all love president obama while the conservatives are banded together even though they hate mitt romney. >> good evening. i am john fugelsang. this is the war room. there is a cold war amongst our friends on the left between democrats, liberals moderates, progressives and people who are just, you know anti-evil. on the one hand, you have got our hard-core democratic friends who think any criticism of president obama at all is tantamenttant tantamount to giving mitt romney keys to the white house to put s sasha and mia's dog on to the
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roof of a vehicle. i understand where the democrats are coming from. the republicans will allow no critiques of mitt despite the fact that they all totally hate him. we have hard-core liberals who can't stand the compromises elected democrats have to take. they think every time a democrat promises change, they change into a republican and i understand where they are coming from, too. i get the complaints. yes. obama caved on gitmo, the public objection, the bush tax cuts. the guy has caved so many times, there are mooninors trapped inside of him. i get it. you have the people in the middle who want to see president obama re-elected but they don't believe in blind loyaledty. they will criticize the president's policies but they don't want some test that no electable politician could pass. it's about the art and science of compromise. and every time liberals fight each other, it's like crack for the koch brothers my friends. so how do we unite all of these factions when the status quo is already united? you know, it's pretty overwhelming. if you ask me i think only a
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true progressive rock star can answer a question this complicated. van jones is the founder of rebuild the dream and the former obama white house green jobs zar. he kicked back the take back the dream conference. van jonesins us from washington d.c. welcome back to the war room. >> glad to be back. things going well for us at the conference. how are you? >> very good. thank you. tell us a bit about the conference and the work you are doing there. >> that's good. we have, you know, a little bit more than a thousand progressives from all over the country trying to figure out how we are going to make sure that we don't have a trifecta tea party government next year. i mean i think one of the things, you know, you say how can we be united? we have all of these different ideals all of these different ideas. we have a common terror among all of us. that is a tea party candidate taking the white house, tea party taking the house and the senate and tea party appointed, as you said three supreme court
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justices. that is the enough. the last time we had an election it was a hope election. this will probably be a fear election. but if wisconsin wasn't a wake-up call that we cannot put our divided minimum against their united maximum, i don't know what kind of wake-up call people need. >> it may be kind of a twisted irony, van, the only thing that could unite all of the pro-obama factions is mitt romney. >> i will tell you why. people act like mitt romney is some sorted of, you know a harmless sort of thurston how will will, iii, from gilligan's island. he is running to the right of george w. bush on everything. george w. bush came out for civil unions before that was popular. this guy in 2012 is against civil unions. he is running to the right of george w. bush on everything and the good thing about republicans, you can rely on them for one thing. they run to the right and then
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they governor farther right. remember w. the passionate conservative. look how far right he we want. the tea party governs that took over the state houses, they didn't run saying they were going to destroy unions. they ran to the right and then they went farther right. you have a major threat aimed at all of these constituencies and people are arguing and yelling and all have a common enemy. i think it's time for us to unite to stop the tea party in november and then in the budget battle in december, stop the sell-out on the part of mainstream dc on the key economic issues of our time. >> i think you are very right. i think a lot of people on the left thought governor romney was going to be the moderate we all grew to know back in 2008. i had an exchange on another network with this communication's director eric burnston that led to the famous etch-a-sketch. he hasn't gone back to the scepter. he stayed as far right as gingrich and santorum pushed
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him. can we on the left learn anything from our republican friends as far as presenting a united front in this campaign? >> i think so. the people on our side are necessarily going to be a little bit more thoughtful. >> that's a feature, not a bug. it's a feature of liberal and progressive politics. >> that's okay. i think that what people are dealing with, you have a lot of people who i think they like this president. they are not in love with him any more. but they like him. they want him to be re-elected but they also know just relocating him is not going to solve all of our problems. so what do we do? the formula here is to recognize that you have to have two forms of power not just one, to get real change. you have to have a president who is willing to be moved, but you also have to have a movement in the streets willing to do the moving. every single progressive victory you have seen over the past few months, the young dream act, young people getting a real victory, whether it's with the lesbian, gay, by sexuals getting
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victories, the fight on the keystone pipeline. it's when progressives said we are not going to accept the dc democrats say is acceptable. it brought the best out in the president. i think it made the president stronger not weaker. it gave life to the movement. we have to be as so far fist indicated as system we are trying to change. we have to be willing to reeitherreelect as president and reenergize a movement that can move the president forward. it's not either or. it's both ends i think you are right. going lbj would not have signed the civil rights act if he hadn't been pushed there by the people who did the work in the streets. >> without selma. without selma, no civil rights bill. >> if the people lead the leaders will eventually follow and the approximately has a jump jumpstart on reigniting the base 15 the marriage e qualitiesty announcement, the keystone pipeline announcement which we hope he will commit to. i have to ask, van: what more does the man need to do to ignite the people who were so
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turned out because will i am is not writing any more catchy jing els? >> i don't know if this will be jingel worthy. here is what i think the president can do if we are going to play ches and not checkers or tic-tac-toe. he should say out of his own mouth, not axelrod, he props to veto any budget deal that leave intact the bush tax cuts for the super rich for the 1%. why is that so important? we as progressives, the reason you see this we have two battles to win, not just one. we have to win in december -- in november. we have to stop the tea party in november november, win politically and then we go right into december with this massive budget battle. the bush tax cuts expire in december. the pel grant money rungs out in
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december. almost every major issue, economically gets worked out after the election after the election is called december. so we've got to be able to build the kind of a moval that can reelect the president and be in our interest in december. these come together in one word: veto. this president has to vow that he will veto any bill that will let the wealthy, the 1% keep their tax breaks while the rest of us suffer. that is key because the republicans have already tied their hands and say they want raise taxes on anybody, especially rich people. we have to have a counter balance from the president so we can have a contest here if we go into this budget battle in december with a sell-out baked into the cake because only the republicans have drawn a bright line, people have a reason not to fight. if he is going to fight for us we should fight for him. >> especially since the american people voted for that quite emphatically back in twee on raising taxes and resentencing the bush tax cuts.
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i want to shift gears a little bit van because i know you have a lot of friends in the white house. i am wondering: what do they think about the occupy movement? does it scare them? are they afraid it's going to equate the president with the occupiers, scaring middle of the road democrats away from the party or show that the president is a moderate and that can appeal to middle of the road voters? >> i know a lot of people at the whitehouse whitehouse. i don't work there any more. i am going to let them speak for themselves. i will tell you what i think. first of all, i think that probably most people find themselves somewhere in between obama and the media portrayal of occupy. in other words, most people i think, are glad that occupy existed. they think occupy raised all of the right issues but they are not willing to go out and get pepper strayed or sleep in the streets right now and most people, like this president, they are not in love with him. in between obama and occupy is a huge section of americans and those are people i think, who have the right ideas about the
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economy. they know that you are going to have to -- that we didn't get into trouble as a country. we dept go bankrupt because we spent too much money on scholarships and helping grandma. we went bankrupt because of two things: bush's wars and bush's tax cuts. if you are concerned about the beaumont, if you are concerned about about, as they claim to be and they want to have a balance budget, now they are concerned about a balanced budget the first thing you need to do is roll back the military expenditures back to clinton era and put the tax policy in place clinton had. i think there are a bunch of people who get that. i think having occupy out there has kind ofology oxygenated and lube indicated our tongues around speaking of some of these good economic ideas. it's impacted the president, but the reality is that we are de demobilizing and demoralizing ourselves too often by being so discouraged about the way that obama has to be formed and we have stopped our own movement. >> right on, van. it's great to hear liberal talk
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like a sane conservative. every day i see you on t.v. and glenn beck isn't, it's a good day. van jones who makes the progressive guys look bad and the progressive ladies have crutches on him. next mitt romney's lonely search for the perfect running mate and our coverage of lgbt candidates: brian sims, a man whose courage to stand up for who he is began before politics. what is it like to be a member of the most exclusive club? a fascinating book inside the lives of the presidents. we are getting started. you are watching the war room. this is only on current tv! [[vo]]joy behar is coming to current tv for one week only until the fall. what happens if you ask her to tone down her opinions? >>sorry, i can't hear you. what? [[vo]]or tell her she has to stick to a script? >>forget it. [[vo]]that will never happen on current.
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>>try to be a little more conservative tonight.
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everybody's hatred on guy people to take away their rights. >> i'm not sure why you needed me on this program. you are making my arguments for me. >> cenk: mission accomplished. thank you for join us but i don't want to thank you for the hateful referendum that you're putting forward in washington that is hatred. that should be apparent. >> watch as a man who plays
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[ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> campaign front today, mitt romney had to back down news reports that he did not have inexplicbly marco rubio on his short list of potential running mates. take a license. >> there are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not. and that's beth myers and myself. and i know beth well. she doesn't talk to anybody. the story was entirely false. marco rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process. >> of course they did rule out
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sarah palin and herman cain after the rest of america ruled them out for them. i hope it will be marco rubio for the running mate because i have been saying for the past two years it will be. so has bill riley. that is one thing bill o'reilly and i have in common next to the way we treat people who work for us. romney wrapped up a bus duer and back to the private jet for insight into his beef"veep" stakes process. >> donnie fowler who has helped democrats the last four campaigns including directing al gore's field operations. sir, welcome back to the war room. >> glad to be here. >> i don't see how it can be marco rubio. you have to win florida. you need 40% of the latin 0 vote to win this election. am i missing something here? is there anyone else that's seriously in the running? >> this is like a bad version of the dating game. the bachelor can't make up his mind up. but he is doing it in awful public display. >> his great granted father
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could have picked as many as he wanted to run with. >> let's not go there? >> okay. >> the problem with rubio is issues and inexperience. pick marco rubio. maybe it helps you get battle ground state. good. plus. but he is a right-wing tea party republican. >> uh-huh. >> he is wrong on issues from immigration to tax cuts from rich people to education, police firefighters and all down the line. he is wrong, wrong, wrong. let him pick him. 41 years office, been in office two years. this is not a plus for romney. >> that's exactly the wedge issue that john mccain de-we knowed when he had sarah palin as a running mate. by the way, here is the takeoff. >> marco rubio has a good t.v. career after this. >> i think you are right. roger ales is getting the contract ready. the next front runner is portman who would be a smart choice as he makes mitt romney look like james brown. >> perfect. right. you get maybe a half percentage
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point in ohio, another battleground state but no one even knows that romney has picked a vice president candidate if he picks somebody like rob partman or mitch daniels. >> you are right. i found this buses tour rather interesting and hopefully, it rallies his base especially in michigan. michigan is, of course, the state that gave us his dad when his dad was governor there. why do you think he would choose to end his bus tour there in a state where the president leads him in the polls? >> two reasons and it's hard to tell because the romney campaign doesn't call me. i don't think they call you and give us their secrets. there are two reasons romney goes to michigan one is he wants to check the box. he wants to tell the american people and the obama campaign: i haven't written michigan off. >> that's words. but there is no -- they haven't bought any television ads there. so theirtions are not following words. the other reason he might have stopped in michigan is maybe the romney campaign sees something in the polling that says michigan will become a
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first-tier battleground state. it's not clear whether they are just checking the box so he can say he want to his home state or the romney campaign, does it see something real in michigan? it doesn't appear it's a battleground state but just in case, he will make a stop there. >> it's fun to make fun of mitt romney but one wants to be fair and being a progressive, one has the burden of being fair because we don't have a 24 hour propagandaa network. earlier today or this week msnbc and degree i can't mitchell got in trouble of showing footage of mitt romney being confused about the wawa supermarket chain. it led to a lot of conservatives saying he was a victim of very, very skewed reporting. when you are running a campaign when you are working on something like this, how do you push back against unfair reports? >> first of all, it's not clear that it was an unfair report. here is what's happening. there is a narrative about mitt romney that says he is a little out of touch or maybe a lot out of touch.
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he is a rich guy who has been away from what regular american are going through every day. >> uh-huh. >> when he makes a comment that suggests he doesn't know what happens in a convenience store, how you check out a burito or sandwich, it feeds into the narrative. so if barack obama said something like that, people would say, so what. he we want to buy a sandwich in a convenience store because the narrative about barack obama is not an elite, out-of-touch politician. this by it's self doesn't mean much but when you add it to a long list of things like elevators for your car and your house and a dressage olympic horse coming up this summer, you know, you see where the story goes. >> that's why this story about wawa this little tiny story was a storage. >> poppy bush buying socks. a new report shows asian americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country. why don't we see more politicians pandering to them? >> they don't live in the right
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state. >> what do you mean? >> the presidential candidates care about a dozen states where there is a close race because of the way we have the electoral college. asian americans don't live in michigan or florida. they live in new york and california. and new york and california are not states that are being competed for. asian americans don't get as much attention as say, latinos who are big voting blocks in states like colorado and new mexico, even states like north carolina and virginia. >> fascinating. so asian americans, you should move to swing states and have candidates suck up to you on a regular basis. donnie fowler great to have your strategies. i won't be here but the governor will be happy to have you. what a pleasure. thank you. up next even today in america, a gay candidate for office is quite a rarity. a gay captain of a college football captain is just about unheard of. brian sims has been both. he joins us next for part 2 of
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our lgbt can dates in 2012 series right here in the war room. [[vo]]joy behar is on current tv for one week only until the fall. what happens if you ask her to tone down her opinions? >>sorry, i can't hear you. what?! and who doesn't want 50% more cash? ugh, the baby.
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life of a child gives them such an enormous advantage in their lives going forward. >> that was mitt romney slamming bristol palin. i kid mitt romney at the face and freedom bravely telling that audience exactly what it wanted to hear, that marriage is between a man and a woman unless you are mitt's great grand father miles p. romney. check out ongology why he left america. his position on marriage believe it or not has not been 100 percent con sitit, to nyguen wit. in 1994, romney said we seek to establish full equality for america's gay and lesbian citizens but when he ran for governor in 2002, he opposed gay marriage and civil unions. in '04, he backed civil unions as part of a compromise. but a year leader aband owned his supported for civil unions saying it was confusing to
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voters. and lacked the simplicity of letting your partner die in a hospital room without being allowed to visit. before he was against it before he was for it against it. >> that's four positions on one issue making mitt the kumasutra of homo fobs. joining me is mr. brian sims running for the pennsylvania house of representatives. he came out as gay his senior year as bloomsberg university where he was captain of the football team and regional all american. he works as an attorney and a civil rights advocate. ryan joins us from philadelphia. ryan, thank you so much for being here in the war room. >> john, thank you so much for having me. >> it's a pleasure the let me kick off. what do you make of governor romney's ever evolving stanchion on marriage equality? do you think the g.o.p. is really backing themselves into a corner in being on the wrong side of history on this issue? >> you know what? i am not -- first of all, i am
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not surprised he is having difficulty sort of figuring out where he is on this english. lots and lots of americans are. certainly lots of americans in the republican party. do i think he is spending a lot more time trying to figure out what polls say about this and trying to figure out what he himself feels about this? absolutely. >> i agree with you. don't you think that's worse? i don't really believe in his heart, mitt romney is a hom 0 february. i believe he pretends to be a homophobe to up and downer for -- pander for homophobic votes. isn't that being a bigot? >> my guess is behind closed doors, he would tell you he has had gay friends, gay co-workers. he probably treated them with the utmost respect. but the fact that he, in order to receive the nomination from the republican party feels that he needs to stray so far from this what is very common sense for most americans, i think, speaks more to the party than it does maybe to mitt romney. >> based upon the sequenceing, we
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will look forward to it. your story was fascinating. what was it like to come out as gay in college when you were captain of the football team and an all-american? >> you know, i had just wrapped up a national championship at the time that i came out. and, you know, the truth is, it was great. you had said during one of the promos about how unique the situation was. and, you know, i want to be clear. it happened 10 years ago. and i didn't play for a big 10 school. i iplayed for what my coaches would say was a hard-nosed pennsylvania team with guys from new york and new jersey and pennsylvania, a very working-class football team and you know what? they were great. they had spent years playing alongside me, had the opportunity to sort of test my meddle and see where i stood on a whole bunch of issues. when the time came for them to have to stand up for me they were ready to do so. >> okay. well, you were cool because of that. but i am going to top it because you come from a military family. both of your parents were i believe, army lieutenant
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colonels? >> yeah. >> how signifcapital was the end of don't ask don't tell to them as well as you? >> it was a big day for me personally. i was in the senate chambers for the fall of don't ask don't tell. it was, you know, it was as historic and as epic as it should have been. you know, in my family, i was raised by two people that, you know, absolutely military officers officers, career military, and absolutely 100 respectful of the people around them and the people that they worked with day-in and day-out. i was not raised in a houses in any way of big on theory or judgmentalness. i tell people two of the biggest indicators of how a person is going to view civil rights are travel and formal education. if you are an officer in the u.s. military, you are very well traveled. and you are pretty darn educated. and so, you know for me it wasn't surprise when we started seeing the polling figures about how many people in the military itself, really did support repeal. so, you know, it was an exciting
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day for me. you know i spoke to both of my parents that day. it was a very, very proud moment. i am very proud to have been around for it and to be able to participate in my small way. >> i have got to say as a comedian who does military shows, i have been inspired as how pro gay equality our troops have been, the ones i have met. i want to ask you: in the democratic primary, you were running against an incumbent who had an impeccable record on gay rights. so it probably wasn't a big issue for your campaign, which i view as kind of a positive. i mean when we see homophobia accident happening as a campaign issue, it means progress has been made. do you think gay equality is still a big issue within the democratic party? >> we hear about the strulingsz with the democratic platformggles with the democratic plat: had the president not just come out in support of marriage equality i don't know it would be a part of the democratic platform. at the state w50id level, those conversationswide level those conversations are being
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had across pennsylvania's 67 counties. there are a whole slew of issues regarding lgbt qualityequality. my state >> philadelphia, i am blessed to live in a city that for 30 years, has in some way protected me as a gay american. but my state lacks even the most basic lgbt rights. it wasn't that it was a non-issue. i had the benefit of running against an incumbent who was very vocally and for a very long time supportive of lgbt civil rights. what we talked about was the difference in just supporting lgbt civil rights and being pro-active and making progress on civil rights. there were differences there. but, you know, i didn't run in a district where i needed to hide from being a gay man. this is people who stand up for their communities and speak their truths. it was a part of my narrative. >> brian, it may have been easier for you to come out, in college having been the captain
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of the football term. but i think it's your candidacy that's going to make the nerds and non-athletes about coming out as well. your campaign makes me proud to be an american. >> john, thank you so much. this is something i am very proud to do. i feel very up to the task. i am excited to see what we are >> right on. best of luck to you. >> that's brian sims, google his campaign. he is joining us from pennsylvania tonight and tomorrow, we will wrap up our series on lgbt candidates by welcoming in california congressional candidate mark decano. go to for a more in depositth look at this series and more as current celebrates pride month. good stuff. next all of the presidents and all of the president's men. what's it like when the only person in the world who knows what you are going through is often your fiercest political enemy. welcome to the president's club. this week marks the 40th anniversary of the watergate brake in and the start of one of on you country's darkest hours. we will hear from the congress
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woman who helped write that chapter of our history. those storesies and much much [[vo]]joy behar is coming to current tv for one week only until the fall. what happens if you ask her to tone down her opinions? >>sorry, i can't hear you. what? [[vo]]or tell her she has to stick to a script? >>forget it. [[vo]]that will never happen on current. >>try to be a little more conservative tonight. she thought allstate car insurance was out of her reach. until she heard about the value plan. see how much you could save with allstate.
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are you in good hands? the new slogan should be "we own wall street." that's my view. desk top, lab top, ipad. iphone. >> pleasant your hearts. >> the big one. >> stephanie: all i know, the little flower is there and it means go to meeting. i love go to meeting.
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gaeme inc. thank gaemezilinsky, thank you for joining
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>> but the point is a president ought to lead this country. except for avoiding another watergate, it has not accomplished one single major program for this country. >> in fairness, president ford did give dick cheney his first job and comedians are grateful that was jimmy carter back in 1976. you can see those guys could barely contain their contempt for one another. years later, like so many presidential rivals they would become terrific friends. and their relationship is just one of the many fascinating stories told in the new book "the president's club" by time magazine editor nancy gibbs and michael duffy.
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we are thrilled to welcome michael duffy from washington. michael, thank you for joining us tonight. >> it's great to be here. thank you. >> great to have you. like many americans, i first read the excerpt of the book in time magazine and was riveted. not just for the fun annek dotes but how these men managed to mend their differences. how were they able to patch up differences and become friends? >> it was almost like a mid-air collision actually. they were both september, in 1981, to cairo to the funeral of anwar sadat. richard nixon was sent with them. it was awkward on the way over but on the way back nixon sort of peeled off to do his own secret mission, as he was want to do, and so they were left in a relatively small boeing 707 and they bonded against all odds, against differences in
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ideology and their horrible fight in 1976. they realize they have sorted of the same problems and challenges and they don't much like ronald reagan. so they find out that they have more in common than they actually have that separates them. over the next 25 years, those two guys really did about 25 different projects together on all kinds of things middle east peace, arms control, budget. it was a it was a remarkable, so that carter would be the one who gave the you'lleulogy a lot ford's funeral. both promised to do that depending upon who died first. >> the time was the first time four living presidents were gathered together. what was the importance of january 20th, 1953, as it relates to this president's club? >> well, that's our creation myth. >> that's where we think the club was really founded. truman and herbert hoover had become partners during truman's
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presidency once again against all odds. neither men were particularly keen about eisenhower yet. hoover went up to truman on the diaz at ike's swearing in, in '53 and said, i think we should start a president's club. truman said, you be the president. i'll be the secretary. that was kind of or shorthands but it turns out it's like a club. they talk about it like it's a club. each different president that comes along extends new membership privileges, whether it's, you know secret service or a pension or in the case of richard nixon in 1969, he created what every club needs, which is a club house. >> uh-huh. right across the street from the white house? correct? >> he did it pretty much to get lyndon johnson off of his back. johnson had repaired to the texas hill country in '69 and he kept calling and he wanted planes and cars and office space and an office place to stay and nixon said find him a place. get him something. they carved it out of an old
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townhouse and it's still in operation now 40 years later. >> they all had this crash pad for the ex presidents in d.c. i smell a reality show. i want to play for you a clip from president bush at the resent unveiling of his white house portrait. take a look. >> when the british burned the white house as fred mentioned in 1814, dolly madison maimously saved this portrait of the first george w. now, michelle if anything happens, there is your man. >> i have to ask you michael: do obama and bush really get along? >> they don't have much contact actually. it's worth noting this much: bush has paid obama a huge favor by going away by getting off of
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the grid and by saying as he has said he deserves my silence. even in the very -- once or twice in the last year bush has said something about obama, and it was very gentle and very suggestive hardly critical at all but he did say in the last remark, you know, i don't think our country should be critical of our president. he knows he sat there. he knows how horrible the job -- can be. he has had presidents snipping at him. he didn't appreciate it t he is not going to join that line, that tradition. he has so far not done so. >> there were those who think every time george w. bush speaks in public, barack obama gets 10 more reelection votes. >> yeah. >> go ahead. >> i was going to say, it will be really interesting to see what the republican party does with former president bush when the time for tampa comes around the we will see. typically, all parties kind of pretend the last president doesn't exist. >> that's kind of normal.
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we will see what happens this time. >> well, i must commented you. the book is fantastic. i recommend it so highly hugely entertaining and smarted. michael duffy coming to us from washington. thank you for being in the war room. really a solid book. you will love it. up next, water gaitgate 40 years later. he liz beth holtzman japes us to reflect on her role in our historic history. only right here in the war room.
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three words, dad -- e-trade financial consultants. so i can just go talk to 'em? just walk right in and talk to 'em. dude those guys are pros. they'll hook you up with a solid plan. they'll -- wa-- wa-- wait a minute. bobby? bobby! what are you doing, man? i'm speed dating! [ male announcer ] get investing advice for your family at e-trade. [ train whistle blows ] [ orbit girl ] don't let food hang around. yeah! [ orbit trumpet ] clean it up with orbit! [ orbit glint ] fabulous! for a good clean feeling. try new orbit micro packs. >> it is my conviction and that of the other committee members that the accusations that have been leveled and the evidence of wrongdoing that has surfaced has cast a black cloud over our society. >> we have reached a moment when we are ready to debate
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resolutions, calling for the impeachment of richard m. nixon. make no mistake about it: this is a turning point whatever we decide. >> according to his staff, unless the president has a sudden change of head and heart, his announcement will be resignation. >> i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. >> forty years ago this week five men were arrested for breaking into the democratic presidential campaign office of george mcgovern at the watergate hotel. fourteen months later, president richard m. nixon became the only sitting president to ever resign the office after the house judiciary committee called for his impeachment. one member of that committee was elizabeth holtzman. she was just 32 when she joined her colleagues in recommending
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three articles of impeachment against president nixon. she we want on to serve eight years in the houses and was comptroller of new york city and my dad voted for her proudly for the u.s. senate. she joins me to talk about the legacy of watergate on the 40th anniversary. she comes to us from new york tonight. thank you so much for joining us. >> i am so glad to be here. thank you for having me. >> thank you. now, i have to start off by saying, and i am sure you are asked this all the time, but what was it like for you at age 32 to be involved in something of this magnitude? >> well it was pretty awesome in the literal sense of the word. first of all, i didn't want to be on the house judiciary committee because in november 1972, the cover-up had been so successful that the idea that richard nixon could be involved in the break-in was the farthest thing from anyone's mind. so he was put on the house judiciary committee decide my desire not to be on it. so i was very, it was a painful moment. i thought this was not a good
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beginning for my involvement in the house here then i am thrust into history. when we had the vote i have to tell you that i felt ready for that vote. i had done my homework. it's likely going to a final exam. you have done all of the reading and you have done all of the preparation. i had read all of the tomes about impeachment. i had gone through all of the facts action big black books we all had to go through, getting the evidence under control understanding what it was about. i was ready, but i have to tell you that the moment that i had to cast that vote as much as i didn't agree with richard nixon's policies, as much as i had done my homework, i did not want to cast that yes vote. i felt awful having to sit in judgment of my president and knowing that he is engaged in these actions that were abuses of power and crime. it was a very very hard vote to cast. it was a very somber moment for me. it was a somber moment for everybody on the committee, i
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think, who voted for impeachment. i think the story is that chairman peter odino, whose face we just saw went back to his office and cried. it was a very very sobering moment. none of us wanted to have to do this to the president of the united states, but all of us felt it was critical to stand up for our democracy. and i also want to add one other thing. it was hard for me to believe that here i was a brand-new member of the house of representatives, the first generation of my family born in america. my parents came here as immigrants, in one case fleeing prosecution, the other fleeing poverty. so it was kind of like the american dream for me to be sitting there and being asked to take this enormous responsibility on my shoulders. >> so what was it for you that was the tip point? what was it that convinced you that the president was guilty of high crimes and miss demeanors? one thing that finally, made you cast this vote?
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>> no. i almost kind of remember the feeling. we had been given a lot of homework. we first had to study about the constitution, what was the high crime and misdemeanor. we never studied that in law school. fortha get that. we got memos and read books about it. and it was very very, you know a very serious question: is it a high crime and misdemeanor? does that mean it has to be a criminal act? is it an abuse of power? i finally made my determination that it was an abuse of power. but then we were given the evidence. and in order to make sure that every committee member actually read the evidence, understood the evidence and had a chance to question it, the evidence was red to us pages of statements of fact were read to us and we could debate them. and i remember at some point just feeling as though i had gotten into quicksand and sinking, that the weight of the facts, the weight of the evidence was overwhelming and it wasn't just one small thing.
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it was -- it wasn't just firing archibald cox, trying to get the tape. >> right. >> it wasn't just sitting with john dean and saying, remember, we had the tape recording, sitting with john dean and saying, i know where we could get the money to pay the burglars to keep quiet. it wasn't -- it was, you know, the enemy's list. it was the irs harassment of people who opposed his war policies. it was sitting with the justice department people, getting the details about what the investigation was and then turning them right over to his -- to the people who were being investigated that woulderman and ehrlichman. it was when we found that he specifically ordered the cia to stop the f.b.i.'s investigation. so it was just fact after fact after fact. i still remember saying in my statement when each one of us had to make a statement during
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the debate. we were given five minutes to do that. i said, you know, in all of the tape recordings in all of the transcripts of conversations, i never heard or saw president nixon ever ask what the right thing to do was. it was just: how do we get around that? how do we stop this from happening? how do we -- how do we keep these burglars from telling the truth? and it was later which i thought about it, it reminded me of tape recordings with heard when i was district attorney, when we are wiretapping the mafia, criminal conversations, one after the other. and it was so depressing as an american, as member of the house judiciary committee to see that was what my president was doing. >> people like to talk in the media a lot about the lessons of water watergate. it's not the crime. it's the cover-up. we have seen it repeated time and time again. congressman elizabeth hotzman,
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thank you for serving this country and joining us on the war room. what an honor. thank you so much? >> thank you. >> former congressman elizabeth hotzman. we will have much more to come right after the break. [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] [[vo]]joy behar is on current tv for one week only until the fall. what happens if you ask her to tone down her opinions? >>sorry, i can't hear you. what?!
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after the commercial. >> it is a combination of low self-esteem, low blood sugar and missing red wine with my -- and mixing red wine with my painkillers.
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jennifer speaks truth to power. >>the bottom line is we need an amendment. >>now it's your turn. connect with "the war room" jennifer granholm. >>it's a call to arms. make your voice heard. ♪ >> in today's mitt moment we find our hero in merciful getting tapeded from above. the sign reads, "let detroit go bankrupt." really, mitt? were governor granholm here, i wouldp i am sure she would have some choice words for his appearance. i cannot match the governor's he will quenc experience or ute outrage. i will say i don't think the trees were the right height to check the truth or the plane. mitt romney taking credit for
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saving the auto industry is like bill but never for taking credit for beating the mets in game 6. negative campaigns are crawling. so how does governor romney make his stand out. romney has been packing ads with a little something extra. bretts talking now. >> mitt and elizabeth romney released a new web video called "our time" how our economy sucks. and to jam the point home, he uses my favorite tactic and negative campaigning, super sad extras or he puts them in pretty much all of his negative ads. sad extras are great. black ones white ones lady ones, guy ones. the point of sad extras is to just make it seem like this entire country is sitting around thinking, when is someone going to give me a prozac.
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it's fantastic. if you didn't have the titling on the screen, you wouldn't be able to tell the differences between a romney ad and a commercial for symbalta. the point to convey everyone is concerned about our economy no matter how young they may be. i am sure thisblied baby is thinking. at the end of the video, the big reveal is that romney can save us all. >> well mr. president, you have had your moment. we've seen the results. and now, mr. president, this is our time. >> was that the fake chorus of angels? >> and now mr. president. >> mitt why so subtle? i say go big or go home. >> now mr. president, this is our time. >> that's more like it. i am done talking now. >> that will do it
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