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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 19, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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>> barb byrum, thanks for your time. i appreciate it so much. that's "the ed show." great to be back with you. rachel maddow also back. i hope you're feeling better, but i want you to know i got fresh air and i caught a fish this big. won't even fit in the streen screen, so i can't show it. >> that fish has now set up a legal defense fund and has called me to be leading the campaign on his behalf. you'll be hearing from our lawyers. >> i hope you're feeling better? >> i am. thank you for joining us this hour. it'sigate to be back. the reason i was out all of last year is because i had laryngitis which i always thought people were faking until i got it myself. you'll hear that my voice is a little off, but it's back, and i feel much better and big thanks to everyone here who picked up the slack, and ezra klein who sat in for me for a full week. i'm glad to be back, and there's tons going on in the news.
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as usual in american political news, the most interesting thing that's going on in politics right now is not actually the stuff happening at the federal level but what is happening at the state level. this weekend for example, did you know that the republican party convention happened in the great state of montana? it was kind of a doozy. it was held in miziela, montana, at the hilton garden inn and parked out in front of the hilton garden inn for the state republican party convention was this. it's an outhouse that features fake graffiti that says for a good time, call 1-800-michelle. and that's crossed out and it says for a good time, call hillary, and that's crossed outs and is says for a good time, call pelosi, and that's circled in red. the outhouse is riddled in painted on bullet holes as though someone has shot it up. it also has a fake birth certificate in it for the president, it says barack hussein obama, and it has
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stamped bull pucky. only the second word after bull is not pucky. the sign they put on the outside of the outhouse outside the state republican party convention, the sign you can see on there, is obama presidential library. the mitt romney for president campaign paid the expensed for the key note speaker at that convention this weekend. they flew newt gingrich to missoula, montana, to go to the convention with the outhouse out there. they paid for him to provide the culminating speech to the weekend's events. there's no word that he commented on the, for a good time, call michelle outhouse decoration, but it's interesting he was there on the mitt romney campaign dime. he did a fund-raiser for mr. romney when he was there, and his trip was paid for by campaign donations. now that the republican party
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has their nominee for president, mr. romney's candidacy, i think, has been inbued with retroactive inevitably, of course, he's the nominee, look who was in the field running against him. that's the main stream and beltway and the liberal and democratic take on what happened in the process this year, but it's interesting to note that's not the way the republicans see it. if they saw it the same way, they would be keeping mitt romney's distance from the other guys he beat in the primaries, right? the romney campaign has been treating his former rivals not as embarrassments, not as clowns, not as sideshow candidates, they're treating them as real assets to his campaign. even the really ridiculous ones like donald trump are not treated by the romney campaign as a joke.
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donald trump is seen as a full-time high profile official campaign surrogate for mr. romney. tim pawlenty represents him as a full time job. he was on "this week" giving the romney line or his closest approximatation of it. newt gingrich is dispatched on the romney dime to a state republican convention, specifically this week to the one with the outhouse, bullet hole laden. he's wrapping up support from his rivals and using them in hi campaign. he's bringing the primary campaign with him. the except, of course, is ron paul. techclael, the ron paul folks are onboard with romney in the sense that dr. paul's son, the senator from kentucky, endorsed romney, but as with everything, it's awkward, for example, this weekend, ron paul won iowa. it's official. there will be 25 delegates plus
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superdelegates sent to the national republican convention from the great state of iowa, and even though you heard that mitt romney won on election night and you heard a couple weeks after that, rick santorum won in iowa, really, ron paul won. of the 25 delegates, 21 of them are ron paul delegates, leaving the ron paul campaign to put out this press release, ron paul wins iowa. also hosting a ron paul revolution rally in tampa at the site of the republican convention this summer the day before it opens. which is a rather in your face move for a guy who is not getting the nomination. >> we should not be disruptive, but we should also not be pushed around. >> ron paul's message to supporters this weekend, announcing their plans for the counter convention in tampa this weekend. this weekend, frankly, with him winning a musknroert of delegates and technically also winning the states of maine and
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minnesota and nevada and possibly louisiana if republicans there ever finish sorting that one out, you have to ask what is ron paul going to do with the delegates he's sending to the convention? especially after he holds a counter convention in tampa the day before the real convention starts. nobody knows what he's going to do with the delegates yet. it may have to do with a party platform fight, although since nobody knows what's in a party platform, it looks like a waste of breath. it's interesting, a really interesting dynamic inside the republican party that mitt romney is using the other republican primary contenders who he beat this year against ron paul. using them to neutralize the ron paul factor. rick santorum promised last weekend that he wants to make sure strong principled conservatives like presumary him will stand ready to counterbalance the effect of the ron paul folks. if they make a crazy break for
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the republican party platform which nobody notices anyway, rick santorum is telling republicans he stands ready to counterbalance them. he will fight them on mitt romney's behalf. mitt romney has consolidated the support of his primary rivals. even once they have picked their nominee, even once mitt romney has consolidated the support, the republican party trying to figure out who it is and who is in charge and who gets a say remains the greatest show on earth, at least the greatest show on politics. in terms of the right, rick santorum is turning out to be more than a weapon for mitt romney to use against paul. he used him to tag team the faith and freedom conference. mr. romney appeared by video link, approvingly quoting rick santorum in his remarks. then rick santorum appeared right after him, approvingly quoting mitt romney right to him.
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herman cain was also at the event speaking. even rick santorum's billionaire, foster friess was there, wearing a very nice shirt. remember him? >> this contraception thing. it's so inexpensive. back in my days, they used bayer aspirin. the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly. >> excuse me. i'm just trying to catch my breath from that, frankly. >> remember him? so mitt romney spoke this weekend alongside not just rick santorum but alongside that guy, right? alongside rick santorum's billionaire, put an aspirin between your knees guy. the specific part of the faith and freedom conference at which santorum spoke, was hosted by ralph reed. he's the guy who put on the weekend event. it's his organization. remember ralph reed, the disgraced jack abramoff scandal guy who tried to get made in the
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usa labels on clothes that would be manufactured in near slave labor sweat shop conditions. ralph reed lobbied christians to lobby for a made in the usa label on clothes made in those conditions doorth with tim phillips who runs the koch brothers group, and on behalf of the jack abramoff client. he gets them to write letters supporting the sweat shops with forced abortions. they mailed them literature that said they were exposed to christian literature. that was the jack abramoff scam, the reed scam. mitt romney appeared beside the aspirin between your knee guy, the fake christian scandal guy,
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mitt romney appeared alongside the discrased failed presidential campaign and the 999 economic plan that seems to be majorized by the sim city video game, and this guy, with the pimp suit, and this guy, governor forced vaginal probe, ultrasound, depending on who you ask, and this guy who wept from the stage this weekend. he now has a pay per view internet show on the internet. he used his speech to talk about how "glee" is destroying america and how he's going to create right-wing version of "glee" to save america by destroying liberals. >> we have given enough. we have given enough. we're going to lose. a year ago, i was watching the show "glee" with my wife, and we
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watched it like this. it's horrifying, some of the things they're teaching high schoolers. but it's brilliantly done. it's brilliantly done. it's produced brilliantly. it's music brilliant, acting brilliant. cinematography, brilliant, all of it, and i said to her at the end of this, a year, a year and a half ago. we lose, there's no way to beat that. well, yes, there is. we have spent about a year now trying to put together a push back with artists, with musics, but not that's stereo typical conservative lee greenwood music. i call it my oedipus project because the left will be making out with me and they'll never see it coming. they'll say, don't you know who produced the music? no, i like it, it's great. yes, yes, it is. >> yes, i'm secretly your parent and you're making out with me, blah.
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you know, a democratic president does not have to do this kind of stuff on the left. i know the beltway common wisdom is there's an equivalent and parallel and exactly equal counterbalance on every partisan side of every issue, right? it's not true. there is no equivalent to this on the left that a democratic president has to decide what to do about. yes, there are people who are out there on the left and weird and creepy, maybe not exactly the same way, but on the left, there are people who say things that are very, very politically incorrect or otherwise have a high gross-out factor, right? that happens, but they're not the kind of people who are so central to democratic politics that a democrat president has to make a decision or whether or not to associate themselves with them. a candidate has to share a stage with and appear at their events and co-bill himself along with this person. it doesn't happen on the democratic side the way it happens with the republicans,
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right? marriage a world in which the democrats used this to their advantage. imagine if they made him answer for it. >> we have given enough. we have given enough. we're going to lose. a year ago, i was watching the show "glee" with my wife, and we watched it like this. >> hu. imagine that in an attack ad. it's not that hard to imagine, right? that's what mitt romney did this weekend. we watched "glee" and hu, that's what he did this weekend as he was hosted by the abramoff scandal forced abortion guy alongside the man on dog guy, the pimp costume guy, not to mention mr. aspirin between your knees. and what did mitt romney give a speech on? contraception, and he multitasked, while he was doing
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that himself, the campaign was paying for the keynote speech for the for a good time, call the first lady bullet riddled outhouse event, that's what mitt romney did as the republican party's nominee for president. with him dragging around all this stuff on the right, why aren't the democrats making sure the cans that are tied to his bumper make some noise? why aren't they making him answer for that? if the democrats did hold him responsible for the right wing of his party which he does not disavow and courts in every way, would the beltway explode from what should be their obvious advantage here? joining us now is frank rich, new york magazine writer at large, his latest article is called "nuke 'em." nk, it's gre here. >> great to be with you. >> democrats are amused by the
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way republicans cannot disavow even the craziest stuff on the right wing of republican politics. do democrats ever stop laughing about it and use it against them? >> you would wish. that's, in the piece, i go back to the goldwater campaign, with johnson, they used it against goldwater, the crazy fellow traveling with right wingers, but what happened with the democrats is obama makes a really rather gentile ad attacking bain, not as vicious at newt gingrich's ad, and you have booker and the establishment saying it's frightening the horses. the democrats if they want to win have to go after this radical party for which romney is especially a front man. he's a perfect sort of faux moderate mask.
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does that mean john ash rauft comes back and resumed his singing career with orrin hatch? i don't know. donald trump is a statesman next to ralph read, who is a statesman next to herman cain. they should go after it because romney is this placid front for this party that is a radical right wing party. >> in terms of the democratic criticism of it, i mean, your whole take on this, your whole piece is about how everybody says they don't like negative ads, but a, they work, and b, there is nothing shameful in them provided they are factual, and that they are -- they're done for the right reason, which essentially is to win because you ought to win over somebody who has hard truths who should be told about them. one of the things you say is that any president should go negative early, often, without apology if the goal is victory. the notion that negative campaigning is toxic is bogus.
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everybody on both sides of the aisle believes it's modern, believes we never used to do this. >> it's crazy. one campaign i talk about is the andrew jackson/john quincy adams campaign jackson was accused of cannibalism. his wife was described as a bigamist, his mother as a prostitute, and those were the nice things that were said and that was in the early part of the 19th century. and people say obama is going negative so early. both george w. bush and bill clinton in their second campaigns began earlier than obama did. they began in march and april. obama didn't begin until may. and so this kind of squeamishness, is it amnesia, is it -- i don't get it. >> i would understand why the beltway, which i think sort of leans conservative, that's my take on it, but the beltway
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leans conservative and the republican establishment would say tut, tut, tut, don't you dare go negative. i don't understand why democrats would say that. cory booker is a friend of mine. i believe he legitimately and passionately wants obama to win. i think ed rendell feels the same way. they're loyal democrats and strategic guys. why do they say no? >> some of this is tied up with what is thought of as the obama brand, hope and change. and boy, that really works and we don't want to mar that. it's so pure, it's so lovely, so idealistic, all of the things that a lot of people, including me, liked. but you can't fight the last war. that was four years ago. >> that last war also had a lot of negativity about john mccain in it. >> remember the ad with mccain couldn't remember how many homes he owned. >> and it was called seven, the answer.
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>> people forget, but the thing is that that was then you know, this is a tough election for obama. this is not a nostalgia tour. he's fighting a bunch of extremely wealthy people with many of who's names we don't know. we know foster friess, but we don't know all of them who are writing unlimited checks and he's got to nuke them. >> yeah, you know, and it's -- the fact that everybody looks back on 2008 and doesn't remember any of the negativity tells you what you need to know about people who say don't go negative, people will hold it against you. once you win, people don't remember how you won. >> we remember the willy horton ad in the dukakis/bush 41 race, but dukakis ran more negative ads than bush that year. and everybody is forgetting that, too. >> i like to talk to you about this.
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frank's new piece in new york magazine is called "nuke 'em" in his typically subtle style. we'll be right back. ♪ hello...♪ing ♪ wt the... what the... what the... ♪ are you seein' this? ♪ ♪ uh-huh... uh-huh... uh-huh... ♪ ♪ it kinda makes me miss the days when we ♪ ♪ used to rock the microphone ♪ back when our credit score couldn't get us a micro-loan ♪ ♪ so light it up! ♪ even better than we did before ♪ ♪ yeah prep yourself america we're back for more ♪ ♪ our look is slacker chic and our sound is hardcore ♪ ♪ and we're here to drop a rhyme about free-credit-score ♪ ♪ i'm singing free-credit-score-dot-com ♪ ♪ dot-com narrator: offer applies with enrollment in
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since the 2010 elections which in republicans did so well, particularly in the states, america's republican party has been laser focused on jobs, jobs, jobs, by which i mean abortion. in the republican controlled house of representatives in washington, the third bill, the
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third bill that republicans introduced upon gaping control of the house, was an antiabortion bill. h.r. 3, they do them in numerical order. then a line in the sand in which they threatened to shut down the federal government, was their effort to defund planned parenthood, now in the second year in the majority, they're working on antiabortion legislation all the time. they're fighting right now to restrict abortion rights in washington, d.c. since congress has some control over the district's affairs. that has led d.c. residents to stop by one republican congressman's office this month with a long list of other issues me might take on things like potholes and vermin infestations and parking tickets. >> and republican's primary this year, the abortion above all else climate has led to a race in which not only did all of the leading candidates say they would overturn rowe versus wade to make having an abortion a criminal act, but beyond that,
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all of the leader candidates for president on the republican side said they support personhood to outlaw the most common forms of contraception in the united states. that was at the federal level. at the state level, it has been an antiabortion free for all with more antiabortion legislation being introduced and passed than at any time since it became a legal constitutionally protected right to get an abortion in the country in the early 1970s. so after that laser like focus on jobs, jobs, jobs, by which i mean abortion, it seems like now maybe in this current news cycle, maybe, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, or at least people
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who are on the other side of the issue from republicans are starting to make real noise about how far republicans have swung the pendulum since the 2010 elections. today in michigan, republicans got a performance they did not ask for, but they definitely did earn. as you may have heard, particularly on this show, last week, state republicans banned two democratic lawmakers, both women, from speaking on the floor of the michigan house. it was the first time in anyone's memory lawmakers had been sensored like that. it began in a debate on a new republican antiabortion bill that expands the state's right to regulate abortion clinics out of existence. not accidentally, intentionally, honers regulations designed to shut down the clinics. during the debate, female legislative leaders argued against it vigorously, and one used a word that got her sent to the penalty box by the republicans in charge. >> i have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs.
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why are you asking me to adopt yours? and finally, mr. speaker, i'm flattered that you're so interested in my vagina, but no means no. >> for that comment and a few others from democrats that day, the republican majority floor leader that day banned lisa brown and another woman democratic legislator from speaking. that was last week. fast forward to today, and this was the rather incredible scene outside the michigan capitol. activist eveenseler there to perform the vagina monologues. the state legislator, she and nine other legislators starred in the play. they used the word that must not be named more than 100 times. that's michigan. in virginia last week, home of governor ultrasound, the state's board of health there did something shocking. the state board of health in
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virginia last week decided to not make it more difficult for abortion providers to operate. they wanted to pass regulations specifically targeting abortion clinics. but they voted to block the republicans' move. they voted to exempt existing abortion providers from the rules that seemed specifically driven to shut them all down. the board made this vote against the advice of virginia's radically anti-abortion state legislator. >> the mayor has issued a list of adopted resolutions they all voted on, things like antiviolence programs and drug treatment and education, and also on the subject of reproductive rights, they listed ten different ways their rights were being impinged across the
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country. they affirmed the importance of reproductive rights and called on them to improve women's access to safe and reproductive health care. that's the nation's mayors, but wait, there's more. today, a group of catholic nuns launched a bus tour of nine states from iowa to virginia. they're calling it nuns on the bus. nuns drive for faith, family, and fairness. after the vatican said in april that nuns in america are spending way too much time on social justice issues and caring for the poor when they really ought to be focused on being good antiabortion activists, the nuns decided, no. they decided instead to travel around in their bus now talking about other things. they're now, for this week, for example, talking about how the paul ryan budget that mitt romney said he would adopt as president, would hurt the poor and the sick and the people who
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nuns can't help but be nice to and be concerned about even when the church tells them to focus on other things. so whether or newt all of these developments mean the pendulum is really springing back or people are at least getting mad at how far it has swung, i have one thing to say here personally. not as a tv show host here but as a person who happens to be related to some nuns. don't mess with nuns. it's not a warning, not advice, not a threat, it's fact that i have learned from personal experience. ask anybody in my family, if you mess with nuns, you will lose every time. you will always regret messing with nuns. joining us now is not a nun, debbie wasserman schultz. chair of the democratic national committee. >> great to be with you. >> i realize you're not catholic. do you agree with me that one should not mess with nuns? >> absolutely. they would be way at the bottom of list of women or men i would want to mess with.
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>> let me ask you, looking at all of those developments in turn, the conference of mayors resolution, mayors speak for a lot of americans. the virginia board of health -- knl and they're a nonpartisan group. >> absolutely. and also seen as a sort of technocratic group, doing what is best for their constituents. the virginia board of health defying what the republicans were trying to do there. that outpouring in michigan to the in response to them shutting up the women last week, and the nuns saying we're going to do what we think is right, do you think it's right to cluster those and talk about the idea there is sort of a reaction to what we have seen as the republican agenda on women's rights and reproductive health. is there a back lash? >> it appears to be. you can take it back to the beginning of this congress when the republicans took over the house and became the majority and introduced the bill you referenced, h.r. 3, which also would have changed the definition of rape to mean only
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forceable rape. so there has been this relentless attack on women, and a relentless hyperfocus on women's reproductive rights in spite of the fact that the number one, two, and three issue is creating jobs and getting the economy turned around, so their obsession with women's bodies and controlling women's bodies has really seeped all the way down, so deeply, and the extremism has seeped so deeply in the republican party, you have state after state that is initiating the legislation, and so much so that yours and my generation, which has really benefitted from having reproductive freedom for our entire lives and has become complacent, now even women who are my girlfriends, and probably your girlfriends, never pay attention, are saying okay, you know, this is enough to get me off my couch and out of my house, and onto the lawn of a state capitol to fight back.
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>> you know, in terms of strategy on these issues, i feel like the big dynamic in american partisan politics is on the right, there's a conservative movement that operates independently of the republican party, and they constantly are pulling the republican party to the right, demanding orthodoxy, purification, and they're doing that whether republicans are in power or not. it's an external force to the party at least. in the democratic party, there's not a progressive movement that has the same kind of effect on the democratic party. so democrats don't move that much on the issue, they're not drawn to the left the same way republicans are dawn to the right. because of that, abortion rights are a litmus test for republicps. there are almost no pro choice republicans left. there's a lot of pro life democrats, so how can the democratic party say to women who are upset by the republican's agenda, come to us? when there are so many running in office who are against abortion rights? >> because we're the big tent
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party and we welcome the diversity of points of view, and you oftentimes see democrats that are antichoice, that aren't making that the top of their legislative agenda. so there's a difference between someone who simply has a personal view that is different than the majority of our party, and someone who says, i'm going to washington or i'm going to the state capitol to make limiting abortion rights my number one priority. and that's -- we're tolerant and respectful of a diverse point of view. the republicans are not, and on top of that, they nominate candidates for president like mitt romney who want to take it even further. support personhood amendments and who when it comes to the issues important to women like paycheck fairness, won't take a position and say whether or not they would allow those things to become law. the dramatically out of step, out of touch extremism that
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exists from the top to the bottom of the republican party is really, i think, finally startling and shocking to women, enough to get many women who aren't normally involved and engaged off the sidelines. >> that key issue about intensity among elected officials and people who care, you're right. debbie wasserman schultz, member of congress from florida, and again, not a nun. >> not a nun. >> nice to see you. thank you for being here. frank rich was here, debbie washerman schultz spitting here, and frank will be here. this is probably my best night at this desk in quite some time.
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we talked about the fact that the montana republican party convention this party had a bullet ridden outhouse labeled the obama presidential library. it also contained a birthday certificate for the president. you keep it classy. however, republican birthers are winning bigger battles that the decorative outhouses outside their state conventions. that story coming up. [ female announcer ] the best way to predict the future... to create it. [ female announcer ] now create a new future for your skin. only aveeno positively radiant has total soy, for a whole new level of radiance. it's clinically proven to visibly reduce blotchiness,
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1984, ronal reagan won re-election by such a huge margin, he won 49 states. ronald reagan that year even won wisconsin as a republican which is almost statistically impossible democrats always win wisconsin. since democrats lost that one year in 1984 when they lost everything, they have won wisconsin every year since. when the democrats lost the next election in 1988, they still won wisconsin. michael dukakis won in 1988. in 1992, bill clinton won wisconsin. in 1996, democrats won
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wisconsin. in 2000, when the democrats lost, when george w. bush beat al gore, stillering al gore, nevertheless, won wisconsin. in 2004, when george w. bush beat john kerry, john kerry won in wisconsin. in the last six presidential elections for the last 24 years, democrats have won wisconsin in presidential elections every single time. this year, however, republicans say they're going to win it. at least so said mitt romney today. >> we're going to win wisconsin and we're going to get the white house. >> the implicit cay that republicans are making about them having good chances in wisconsin is not so much that mitt romney is a perfect candidate for trying to win over a state that hasn't gone republican in 24 years, it's that republican politics are getting very wisconsiny overall. when mr. romney took the stage in wisconsin today, he was shoulder to shoulder with the chair of the republican party,
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and there was wisconsin governor scott walker, and then of course, there was congressman paul ryan, mr. romney has endorsed mr. ryan's kill medicare budget at his own and started hiring paul ryan budget staffers as his own policy adviers. wisconsin is not a place to try to win that they don't usually win. it's not a place where they think this particularly republican presidential candidate has an appeal and a shot affwinning. for the republican party, it's not about that. for the republican party, wisconsin is important because wisconsin all of a sudden is what republicans stand for. wisconsin this year is where republicans are getting all their ideas. >> you want us to hire more government workers, he says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. didn't he get the message, the american people did, it's time to cut back on government.
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>> i think at the national level, we can learn a lot from this guy, you know that? >> this guy, republican governor scott walker of wisconsin. the message of wisconsin, according to the republican party's presidential nominee this year is it's time to cut firemen and policemen and teachers. that's the message of wisconsin. and he says the message of whisk wiv is now the national message for the republican party. here's the thing, though, if the big republican idea this year is cutting firefighters and teachers and police officers, it's shrinking the public sector, firing people with public sector jobs. we're already doing that now, and it's not helping. this is a chart of public sector jobs in the last four recessions. we have organized the recessions by president. so what's the difference between the current fragile recovery from this current recession? and the better recovery from the previous three recessions? well, first of all, this recession was worse, but second
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of all, in the previous three recessions, policymakers let public sector employment keep growing, which frankly helped with the recovery. president obama has proposed doing that this time, too, with his jobs act, right, but republicans in congress have said no along with some conservative democrats, so in trying to recover from this recession, we have been doing something differently than we did in previous ones. in trying to recover from this recession, we have been hampered by a public sector that is still firing people. cops and teachers and firefighters. we have been trying to recover from a recession while firing people in the public sector all the while wondering why things aren't getting better. when paul writes about this dynamic, it calls it the republican economy that we're in, and that drives republicans nuts, but he means it and says it's a huge, huge problem. not just politically, but for the country. he says overall, the picture for
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america in 2012 bears a stunning resemblance to the great mistake of 1937 when fdr prematurely slashed spending sending the u.s. economy into the second leg of the great depression. in his case, it was an error, but in president obama's case, much if not all of the responsibility for the policy wrong turn lied with a strictly republican majority in the house. paul writing about the first depression, but what he said what we're in right now is another depression. it's not a recession right now, it's a depression. he does say it's beatable. it's beatable politically, and understanding why republicans are blaming everything on policemen and firefighters now is the key that unlocks the door to making things better. nobel prize winner paul crudeman is here tonight for the interview. stay tuned.
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most of the ideas that would create jobs and grow our economy, republicans in congress have not lifted a finger. and right now, congress should pass a bill to help states put thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers back on the job. they should have passed a bill a long time ago to put thousands of construction workers back to work, rebuilding our roads and bridges and runways. >> he wants to hire more government workers. he says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. did he not get the message of
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wisconsin? >> joining us now for the interview is paul krugman, nobel prize-winning economist, "new york times" columnist, and the author most recently of "end this depression now!" and he does mean depression. paul krugman, thank you for being here. >> good to be on. >> government jobs are real jobs, obviously. i do not think of them as a huge proportion of the overall american economy. how much of a difference could it really make to the overall economy, the overall unemployment picture if we just hadn't lost all the public sector jobs? >> okay, the right comparison is if we had normal job growth in the public sector, which is roughly with population. so, which is what happened more or less under george w. bush. so if we'd had that kind of job growth instead of actually laying off 600,000 public employees, we'd have an unemployment rate that was about 1 percentage point lower, just directly from those jobs. we'd be at something like 7% unemployment, and that's even counting the indirect effects, the fact that schoolteachers, if
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they were still working, would have money to spend on other things, and we'd have more private sector jobs too. so this would not be a depression if we hadn't had those big public sector cuts. it would still be an economy that was underperforming, but nothing like the disaster that we're experiencing. >> is there any way you can quantify the economic impact about decisions made about public sector employment versus what's been decided at the state? >> the thing is, for the most part, most states -- states operate under balanced rules, and local governments too. so they cannot do a lot of deficit spending. they could have raised taxes to hire more workers or have fewer layoffs, but mostly, it's a question of making sure that they have the money, and if we had a federal revenue-sharing program, which we did have at the beginning of the recovery act, which president obama opposed last fall, then you can do that. so if we had, i've been saying, $300 billion a year, but we can negotiate numbers here, if the federal government were to provide that money, then those
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schoolteachers would be rehired with and we would be out of this depression. >> in terms of the republican counterargument on this, i've been sort of calling this wisconsin school republican politics, romney arguing against the idea of public sector employment as something that somehow crowds out private sector employment. but there's also been a strange argument, at least strange to my mind, made by his campaign that we actually need fewer teachers. that we've got too many teachers right now, artificially supported, i guess, by union rules or something, and we ought to have fewer public sector people, because we've overpopulated those sectors. >> first of all, try visiting a classroom. do you get the impression -- you know, i sometimes wake up with nightmares of actually ending up being an elementary schoolteacher or a high school schoolteacher, which would be a much harder job than i have now. do you really think those hard-working teachers have an easy time because they don't have -- they have too few students to teach? but the other thing is, look, we are in a depression.
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right now, public sector employment doesn't crowd out private sector employment, it's reversed. slashing those jobs is making our economy worse. this is not the time -- i think it's a stupid argument to say we need fewer schoolteachers, but for sure this is a really bad time to be laying them off. >> even if we didn't have enough, this might be a good time for some extras. >> that's right. and, by the way, the president also did say, you know, what about the potholes, which are proliferating, certainly, all over my state of new jersey. what about construction? what about repair? what about all this public spending we've been cutting at exactly the time it should be increasing instead? >> paul krugman, princeton professor, "new york times" columnist, author of "end this depression now!" thank you for being here. a big election update coming up next.
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update tonight on what i may think may be the most single riveting race in american politics that nobody has been paying attention to. it's the kreep versus peed race for a county judgeship in san diego, california. the contenders are a birther guy named gary kreep and a career prosecutor named garland peed. the race finished a week ago with mr. kreep ahead by 56 votes. since then, the san diego election folks have been counting 135,000 absentee ballots that were cast. they've been posting daily updates. at one point, it seemed like the career prosecutor guy had grabbed what seemed like a significant lead, go, garland peed, but it was not to last. now the birther guy has crawled out into the lead. tonight, one of our great promoters of the idea that president obama is secretly foreign is incredibly close to taking the bench in an actual american courtroom. gary kreep ahead by 1,400 and


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