'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guest Host: Chris Hayes
Guests: Alex Wagner, Mike Konczal, Howard Dean, Buddy Roemer, Jonathan Raab
CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST: In the last 24 hours, Rick Perry has accused
the chairman the Federal Reserve of treason, questioned the president`s
patriotism, and blown Mitt Romney a kiss.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We would treat them
pretty ugly down in Texas.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Lobbing grenades at all sides.
HAYES (voice-over): It took just four days for Rick Perry`s campaign
to get nasty
STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Immediately, start shooting
from the lip.
MITCHELL: He suggested that in some ways the president might not love
ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Any day now, Rick Perry will probably
ask to see the president`s birth certificate.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of us here are
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think President Obama loves America.
MCMAHON: Rick Perry sounds just like George Bush.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: He`s not George Bush on steroids.
DYLAN RATIGAN, MSNBC HOST: Rick Perry accusing our Federal Reserve
PERRY: We`re going to treat him pretty ugly.
MITCHELL: Some felt that that was a threatening comment.
PERRY: Well, I might have said it a little bit differently.
MITCHELL: Welcome to the NFL.
HAYES: Even Karl Rove is worried his party is going too far to the
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH AIDE: You don`t want these candidates moving
GIBBS: Republicans are going to have to make a choice.
ROVE: It will become a self-defeating message.
GIBBS: Quite frankly, they just don`t want to see this economy get
HOWARD DEAN, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN: The worst thing you can do in
politics is be a hypocrite.
HAYES: Howard Dean is here.
DEAN: There`s a lot of explaining to do, as they say.
HAYES: And Michele Bachmann gets fact checked again.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let`s all say
happy birthday to Elvis Presley today.
MITCHELL: Thirty-fourth anniversary of his death, not his birthday.
BACHMANN: I forgot my teleprompters today.
MITCHELL: But who`s counting?
BACHMANN: He`s still alive, alive in our hearts.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Bachmann got a commanding 80 percent of
the votes she paid for.
HAYES: Good evening from New York.
It took all of three days for smooth customer, political veteran, Rick
Perry, to say something odious -- not just odious to me, not just odious to
liberals, but thuggish and odious to anyone, even Mr. Karl Rove. We`ll
show you what Rove said about Perry in a minute.
But first, here`s what Perry said at a meet and greet session with
voters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last night when he was asked about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Oh, the Federal Reserve, I`ll take a pass on the Federal
Reserve right at the moment to be real honest with you. I know there`s a
lot of talk and what-have-you about `em. If this guy prints more money,
between now and election, I don`t know what you`d do to them in Iowa, but
we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.
I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time
in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion, because all it`s
going to be doing, all it`s going to be doing -- we`ve already tried this -
- all it`s going to be doing is devaluing the dollar in your pocket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right. Well, there are a lot of ways to unpack that.
The first is that this is a built of ideological signaling to the most
rabid factions in the farthest reaches of the right wing of the Republican
Party -- those who want us to return to the 19th century and the gold
Second way is an interesting glimpse of just what kind of rhetoric
Rick Perry thinks Republican voters wants to hear. Tim Pawlenty left the
race early because he could never quite just connect to the backlash rage
that`s animating the Republican presidential primary.
Rick Perry will not make that mistake. He`s practically instructing
the crowd to rustle up a lynch mob.
The Perry campaign doubled down on that rhetoric today. Perry could
not be more clear he had no regrets when he said this afternoon, quote,
"Look, I`m just passionate about the issue, and we stand by what we said."
A Perry spokesman told "The Washington Post" in a statement, quote,
"The governor was expressing his frustration with the current situation and
the out of control spending that persists in Washington. Most Americans
would agree that spending more money is not the answer to the issues facing
Just technical note here, the Federal Reserve is not in charge of
spending anything. They print the money. But that`s an aside.
Karl Rove sharply criticized Rick Perry last night on FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROVE: You don`t accuse of chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a
traitor to his country, of being guilty of treason, and suggesting that we
treat him pretty ugly in Texas, you know, that`s not, again, a presidential
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, Rove and Perry have a little bit of history. And like
nearly every member of the Bush camp, Rove has no love for Perry.
But you know what? Good old Karl is still right.
Joining me now is Alex Wagner, MSNBC analyst and "Huffington Post"
Alex, how are you?
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I am good, Chris. Thanks for
having me on.
HAYES: Let me ask you this, I saw this quote last night as I was
headed home. And I thought, what a bad, gross thing to say. But I was not
quite sure it would blow up. Are you surprised by how much it sort of
blown up today?
WAGNER: Yes. For two reasons -- one, there`s so much blood lust out
there from the archconservative circles. And two, I`m really surprised the
establishment GOP led by folks like Karl Rove has reacted so swiftly in
terms of condemnation. And I think that`s testament to, (a), the field
being unsettled but also the sense on part of sort of veteran GOP
strategists that Rick Perry might not be ready for primetime.
HAYES: Right. And I think the interesting here is that there`s --
you know, the chief dynamic here, which is always the dynamic in primaries,
but particularly right now in this early stage in the Republican Party
circa 2011 is the most rabid voters are the ones they are pandering to.
And, you know, this kind of like Fed pandering which is sort of obscure to
the rest of the electorate is super intense for them.
Here`s what Rove said about the Republican primary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROVE: You don`t want these candidates moving so right in the
Republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general
election because it will become a self-defeating message in the primary.
People want to win. They don`t want somebody who go so far to the extremes
of either party that they lack a chance to carry a victory off in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, what`s interesting to me is the whole kind of selling
point of the Perry candidacy was that he could be super zealous and
extremist and also electable, and Rove seems to be going right at that.
WAGNER: Yes. Well, I mean, I think suggesting that you`re going to
kneecap the Fed chair --
HAYES: Well, all the people in Texas might kneecap him.
Also, let me just say something -- in Texas, treating someone ugly
means them a massage. It`s a little-known fact. OK, continue.
WAGNER: My Texas, yes, I won`t even go there, Chris, you know, taking
Alan Greenspan to the woodshed.
The thing is, I mean, look, this is monetary policy -- you can have
gripes about it, but I think the violence of this metaphor at a time -- and
fundamentally just, if you look at the clip, it`s not like this seems like
a season sort of thawed out talking point. This seems an off-the-cuff
remark Perry known to have like this is a liability of his potentially, and
I think that there`s real concern that oh, my God, we can`t control this
What does that mean for the long term -- especially when you have
people like Michele Bachmann right at his heels? And it`s going to be this
tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, shifting the magnetic poles of the race far,
HAYES: I thought it interesting the response, when he said he stood
by what he said today, because I think this will be the first test, right?
I talked to a Texas Democrat -- long-time Texas Democrat yesterday, I was
sort of calling around about Perry -- and he said the thing about Perry is
when he makes a mistake, he just owns it, he doubles down, he embraces it,
and somehow, this has worked for him throughout his entire Texas career --
and now, I think this is sort of the crucible for him in this first test.
WAGNER: Right. I mean, your record -- your spoken record is going to
come back to haunt you on the national stage in a way it does not when
you`re running for Texas governor, I think. And, you know, there`s a lot
of argument, there`s a piece in "The New York Times" talking about Perry`s
legacy and sort of how much of that was an inherited good luck and how much
he`s going to have to prove that.
And I think you have this kind of stuff and then you have this
question as to whether, you know, he is a legitimate, you know, his job`s
policies, his economic policies in Texas were legitimate and I think
there`s a cloud of uncertainty that hangs over him. And it`s certainly --
it`s not mitigated by the fact that he refuses to sort of dial back any of
HAYES: The other interesting thing to me about Perry is that everyone
talked about him as a second coming of Bush, or like Bush but not as smart
-- you know, people say things like that.
WAGNER: Which is a terrifying prospect in some parts of America.
HAYES: You know, there is something -- I mean, what could go wrong
when you elect a Texas governor, Republican Texas governor.
The interesting thing is, at one level the Bush legacy has to deal
with is a political liability, if you look at the polling, people remember
what George Bush did to the country.
HAYES: The other liability, the other Bush baggage he`s carrying is
that it`s really interesting to see, if the entire Bush camp is working
behind the scenes and in front of the cameras on FOX News to destroy Rick
Perry out of the gate, that`s not nothing.
WAGNER: No, and again, it`s like we know there`s historical sort of
fist of cuffs between the Bush and Perry camps, the fact that Rove again is
coming out so vocally against him I think, you know, gives credence to the
theory they don`t want him to be the nominee.
You know, look, Ben Bernanke was an appointee of George W. Bush.
HAYES: Not only was he an appointee, he works in the White House.
He`s on the --
HAYES: Inside the Bush White House.
WAGNER: This is a conservative guy. And I think the other thing, and
this is what I think bears mentioning that like the Fed is supposed to
exist independent of politics. And for Perry to say Obama basically has
the Fed printing money for federal gain, I think, is not only a wild
distortion of what happens to our monetary policy but also is an untruth
that gets circulated among the American public and is really detrimental to
the national conversation.
HAYES: There`s an amazing anecdote. I think it`s one of Robert
Carroll books about LBJ, calling the Federal Reserve chairman into the Oval
Office and literally like getting up against him and pushing him into a
wall to get him to print more money.
WAGNER: Getting ugly with him?
HAYES: Treating him kind of ugly, otherwise known as giving him a
WAGNER: Full circle.
HAYES: Alex Wagner of "The Huffington Post" and MSNBC -- always a
pleasure. Thanks a lot.
WAGNER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now is Mike Konczal, a fellow at
Roosevelt Institute writes one of my favorite blogs on the internet called
Rortybomb. It`s got lots of charts and graphs and alpha numeric symbols
that I can never understand.
Mike, how are you doing?
MIKE KONCZAL, ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE: Pretty well. Thanks for having me
HAYES: All right. Mike, I want to talk about the sort of substantive
content of this remark, such as it is. And I think for people not attuned
to the sort of far-right and the Fed, Ron Paul universe of gold buggism,
this comment comes out of nowhere.
When he says when this guy is printing more money -- what is he
KONCZAL: He`s referring to quantitative easing, where the Fed prints
money and buys financial assets like bonds. The purpose is to increase
demand. It`s designed to get, you know, people who are hoarding cash back
into investing and people and jobs. And also, it`s designed to kind of
reduce the net burden of this bad debt overhang that`s really suffocating
the economy right now.
HAYES: That`s what`s so insidious about this, right? So, what you`re
saying is, so far, the fed has done two rounds of what`s called
quantitative easing or printing money in layman`s terms and the idea is as
a sort of extra aide, a kind of way of stimulating the economy, outside of
the mechanisms of the budget and fiscal economy. Why is Rick Perry opposed
to that? And what is the ideological tradition out of which he opposes
KONCZAL: Well, when we see the conservative ideology come out against
the Fed, there`s usually three, kind of, approaches to it.
There are people who are fighting the last war -- people who are
looking at the `70s. They`re looking at inflation, looking at
hyperinflation instead of really realizing we`re in a Great Depression
We should never overestimate or never underestimate the cynicism of
GOP operators, who really don`t want to do everything to get the economy to
full employment anytime soon -- especially going into a presidential
election. And then there`s this third wave of really right-wing
conservative, kind of 19th century laissez faire people who really view,
you know, deflation as a good.
People who, like Perry, fundamentally think of Great Society, New
Deal, social safety net, federal government is fundamentally corrupt and
It`s possible -- you know, Perry doesn`t really clarify where he`s
coming from. He possibly stands in the center of this Venn diagram of
HAYES: In terms of Fed policy, there has been some debate about
another round of quantitative easing. Given the fact that more stimulus
coming out of this Congress is unlikely, just how important is Federal
Reserve action over the next 18 months in terms of alleviating some of the
worst parts of the jobs crisis through which we continue to suffer?
KONCZAL: It`s incredibly important.
So, you know, people are talking about a double-dip recession,
especially the chaos going on in Europe and the U.S. housing market.
Also, our economy has this kind of problem of a frog that`s in a
really hot pot of water but it`s not boiling enough to really cause it to
jump out. You know, our job numbers are really low, we`re looking at a
lost decade, lost decade and a half -- it`s really important that
everything that can be put into motion to create jobs and get the economy
going again is working.
And separately, there`s really no neutral when it comes to the fed and
monetary policy and the Fed is going to have to make decisions over the
course of the next year to either expand and speed up the recovery, or
contract and slow it down, and put more pressure against jobs and
investments. If it does that, and it`s under intense conservative pressure
to do that, it`s going to be a really bad economy going into the 2012
HAYES: Yes. I just want to reiterate this for people, because I feel
like the Fed policy can get extremely arcane, but this is basically all
there is in the arsenal right now for any kind of recovery, for any kind of
way of alleviating the massive, crushing weight of the joblessness epidemic
we have is a Federal Reserve and it`s the last way that there can be some
both economic help but also political help for an incumbent Democratic
president in Barack Obama, and this is the thing conservatives are now
turning their ire towards.
The last time the Fed Reserve board met, if I`m not mistaken, there
were three dissenting votes on the Federal Reserve board. Can you tell me
KONCZAL: Yes, we had three dissenting votes. And, you know, there`s
not a common statement. But the statements in general that, you know,
we`re worried about the `70s happening, it`s like listening to a Beegee`s
album or something. It has a real retro feel to it. They are worried
about inflation taking off.
HAYES: That`s right. It was the Rick Perry -- I mean, obviously, not
with the treating him ugly kind of idea. But it was -- the ideological
position staked out in those three dissents by conservative members of the
Federal Reserve board was the Rick Perry position, which is we are not
going to let the Fed step in to do more to alleviate joblessness.
KONCZAL: Right. It`s important to remember monetary policy will
always be a factor, even if somehow there was an additional round of
stimulus, infrastructure, tax cuts, whatever. If monetary policy tightens,
if Rick Perry gets his vision on the Fed, you know, put into effect, it
will cancel out that stimulus. You know, those jobs which not being
created. It`s an incredibly crucial part of the economy going forward, and
the fact it`s under ideological attack is very important, because there`s
no counterpoint pushing against it in the other direction.
HAYES: Exactly right. Keep our eye on the ball here, folks. Mike
Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute and Rortybomb, thanks so much for
joining me tonight. I really appreciate it.
KONCZAL: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up: it will cost you if you want to ask some Republican
lawmakers questions at their constituent events. No, really, it will cost
And the president gets an earful while campaigning as the primary
season slogs through day two.
HAYES: Coming up, former Governor Howard Dean on the 2012 race and
the entry of Rick Perry into the fray.
And just what would Michele Bachmann and Bill O`Reilly`s hypothetical
love child look like? It`s brought to you by the magic of the Internet.
HAYES: Today is day two of the real Republican primary campaign.
It`s launched in a small rural state with a presidential caucus that weeds
out the casual citizen and empowers only those filled with angry
conviction. The first contest in Iowa, the Ames straw poll, filters even
further, elevating an even slimmer subsection of the most ideologically
extreme activists inside the Republican Party -- until you basically get
down to a guy named Al who lives in Waterloo and listens to Rush Limbaugh
and expects each candidate to parade before his porch and personally beg
him for his vote.
In this winnowing process itself takes place against a back drop of an
unsettling and volatile political department. The S&P downgrade, the
fluctuations of the Dow, extremely high unemployment and a dyspeptic
electorate already bordering in rage, the Obama campaign seems to be
staking its identity on the president`s reasonableness, invoking the phrase
balanced approach at nearly every turn. But the incentives for Republican
candidates are for more resentment and more fury.
Joining me now is former Governor Howard Dean.
Governor, how are you?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: I`m great. How are you?
HAYES: I`m good. I wanted to get your perspective on the sort of
incentives we see in the primary, because there are certain ways in which,
I think, this election is similar to 2004. You have an incumbent
president, and that incumbent president has made a certain portion of the
other side extremely angry.
Now, in the case of 2004, I think, with tremendous justification, that
there was a horrible war we waged and a million other sins of the Bush
administration. But that anger is also sort of a dangerous tool to wield
in terms of how you move from a primary to general election.
Is that -- was that your experience in 2004?
DEAN: Yes, I think -- actually, that`s one of the ways that Kerry
beat me in Iowa is that they were able to portray me as somebody who was
angry and kind of -- you know, I think the voters liked what I had to say,
but I think they wanted somebody to win and they foresee that John Kerry
would be a better bet to win against President Bush. And that was a
successful attack on my campaign.
And I think this is fascinating, this thing between Rove and Perry.
HAYES: I know.
DEAN: Well, but the thing is, it`s serious business. The Bush people
don`t fool around, as you know. You can say a lot of things about Bush`s
presidency and things about the president, but one thing nobody should say
bad about his political team. They know what they are doing and they are
ruthless, and they are going to take Perry out.
And Perry I think made a bigger mistake than most people think. This
is not a mistake he`s going to get over, and the reason is that he is now -
- he came into this race in competition with Romney and Bachmann, and
that`s a winning strategy for Perry. He is now in competition with
Bachmann and not with Romney. That`s a losing strategy for Perry, because
they are going to split the right with the far right vote, and I think this
is great news for Mitt Romney.
HAYES: For me, the crucial dynamic from the White House`s perspective
is the president has this gap in between his job approval, which is fairly
low, and his personal approval, which is actually much higher. And so much
I think about the Obama strategy for reelection is about reinforcing the
things that people like about Barack Obama, they trust about him.
Here`s his response, which is sort of vintage Obama, to Governor
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, Mr. Perry
just got into the presidential race, and I think that everybody who runs
for president probably takes them a little bit of time before they start
realizing that this isn`t like running for governor, running for senator,
or running for Congress. And you got to be more careful about what you
say. But I`ll cut him some slack. He`s only been at it for a few days
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you make of the response? In some ways, it`s exactly
what infuriates people who want Obama to go for the jugular. It also --
DEAN: It`s the perfect response because you guys -- I watched the
national news networks before I came over, this was a story, and a very
high-up story on both NBC and CBS, I didn`t catch ABC. This is a bad story
for him, and the president -- you know, when you`re not doing so well on
the national networks, the president best step out of the way and let you
do the work, that`s exactly what he did, very, very smart.
HAYES: What do you think about the sort of competition to be the
renegade candidate in this? There`s been sort of different cultures in the
Republican and Democratic primary for a long time. I mean, Republicans
have tended to nominate the next in line, the Bob Doles, the George H.W.
HAYES: And Democrats have been -- you know, we saw Barack Obama sort
of take the campaign model that you had pioneered in 2004 and used it very
effectively in 2008.
Do you think we`re seeing something new this year in the Republican
primary in which an insurgent candidate, because of grassroots fundraising,
that again you helped pioneer in 2004 like Michele Bachmann, can actually
seize the nomination? Or is the establishment still strong enough to beat
DEAN: That`s a stuff one. On paper, Perry looked like he could beat
Romney when he got into the race. I`m not so sure he can now.
I think Bachmann is probably a little far out to be able to beat
I mean, Romney is the establishment candidate, there`s no question
about that. Most people in the Republican Party, establishment, Wall
Street folks, are going to feel more comfortable with him.
This is a year the Tea Party people, who don`t have a lot of influence
in the national politics except when people are afraid unnecessarily. But
they do have a lot of influence in the Republican primary. This is a year
that they could actually make a nomination.
It`s really -- I don`t know what`s going to happen. I think the
analysts are saying, and I agree with this, that the top three candidates
are right duking it out and everybody else is pretty much not going to get
a lot of airtime, which is going to be Bachmann, Perry, and Romney.
Romney is not very popular among mot of the people who are going to be
voting in the Iowa primary, but anything can happen. I just, you know, I
know that president cut Perry some slack, and I don`t know Perry
personally, I don`t have anything against him. This was not the kind of
mistake you want to -- you know, people do make mistakes early in the
campaign, just don`t like to see them on the evening news four days after
they got in, this is much worse for him than people think it is.
HAYES: Final question, what is -- when I watch the sort of pageantry
of the straw poll and eating the corn dogs, and all of these things, these
set pieces that we`ve come to associate with American presidential
campaigns, which is stretched longer and longer -- is the weirdest thing
about running for president of the United States?
DEAN: Oh, there`s lots of weird things about it. The Iowa fair,
which I actually loved, because they have the best pork chops I ever had.
HAYES: Now you`re pandering, Governor.
DEAN: I am. But they also have fried ice cream. I mean, give me a
break, who could eat fried ice cream? So, that was pretty weird, fried ice
HAYES: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, also used to be head of
the DNC --thank you for joining me tonight.
DEAN: Thanks a lot.
Coming up, the must read for today. What a soldier about to be
deployed says how we treat men and women who fight after they come home.
And the only candidate in the entire Republican field saying no to
Wall Street money, he`ll be my guest coming up.
HAYES: Michele Bachmann pretty much ignored last week`s provocative
"Newsweek" cover photo, which Bachmann supporters said was designed to make
the presidential candidate appear crazy. For that image and those eyes
have become an Internet sensation. Behold the Bachmann eyes Tumbler,
featuring Bachmann`s unforgettable stare plastered onto dozens of
celebrities, muppets, politicians, child beauty queens and others.
Among my favorites, Bill O`Reilly -- I love that one -- the Youtube
sensation, Rebecca Black, Michael Jackson, from his "Thriller" video,
fellow pop stars Mariah Carey, of course, Lady Gaga -- doesn`t actually
look that different -- and Jabba the Hut.
We have a link to Bachmanized Tumbler page at our website,
TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. They are taking suggestions. You know, maybe we`ll
Still ahead, are Republican congressmen charging constituents to talk
to them? That`s coming up.
And later, the one presidential candidate who refuses to accept PAC
money and individual donations greater than 100 dollars. He joins me next.
HAYES: Four days ago, I saw a headline in the "New York Times" that
made me queasy. It read "money no obstacle as Perry joins GOP race."
That`s certainly correct. Access to campaign money is not an obstacle for
In fact, Perry`s ability to raise campaign money is one of the primary
reasons his candidacy is being taken seriously in the first place. The
article read, "he is among the top political fundraisers in the country,
with a vast network of wealthy supporters eager to bankroll his
presidential ambitions. And he has the potential to energize Republican
donors who have shown only limited enthusiasm for the candidates already in
The premise here is one we`ve grown so accustomed to, it no longer
strikes us as bizarre. But it is this: in order to be leader of the free
world, a necessary precondition is having lots of rich friends, lots and
lots and lots of rich friends, who owe you favors. This was a precondition
that Tim Pawlenty did not quite meet, and one of the main reasons he ended
his campaign so abruptly.
It`s a precondition that grassroots fundraiser Michele Bachmann also
lacks, and a reason many doubt her campaign can outlast those of Mitt
Romney and Rick Perry. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will then
face an extremely talented fundraiser in President Obama, who has the
benefit of wielding the influence that comes with already occupying the
Now, the 2010 Citizen`s United ruling further amplifies the importance
of securing big money, a good thing for a governor who has served over ten
years in oil-rich Texas. According to the "New York Times," "whatever
money his wealthiest Texas supporters cannot give directly to Mr. Perry
could easily end up in the coffers of one of the half dozen or so super-
PACs, technically independent groups, that in the wake of the court
decision can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support a
candidate, that have been set up in recent weeks by supporters and former
This election will be the most moneyed in American history. We are
entering into a very strange and daunting new world of a parallel shadow
money system for campaigns. It was, let`s remember, the shadow banking
system, unregulated and exempt from disclosure rules, that brought about
the financial crisis. I`m convinced this new order of democracy for sale
to secret bidders will bring about a genuine political crisis.
Joining me now, former Louisiana governor and current Republican
presidential candidate, Buddy Roemer, whose campaign refuses to accept PAC
money or individual donations greater than 100 dollars. Thank you for
The question for you is why have you decided to make campaign finance
the center of your campaign?
BUDDY ROEMER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn`t want to be part of
a corrupt political system. I think this is a great country, but I think
we`re in great peril. I think we`re in trouble. And one of the reasons I
feel that is that big checks decide the issues.
It used to be one woman, one vote, one man, one vote. Now it`s one
big check and you have banking reform that doesn`t stop too big to fail.
One big check from the insurance companies, and you have health care reform
that doesn`t require insurance companies to compete with each other.
Something`s wrong with America. And what`s wrong with it is that one
or two percent at the top, special interests, control Washington, D.C.
Listen to me, conservatives. Listen to me, liberals. The big money talks.
You have no say so.
HAYES: When you say the word corrupt, I think it`s a powerful word.
And I`ve used it myself in describing our system. What do you mean by that
word when you mean it in the context of our current fundraising system?
ROEMER: Good question. It`s when an idea can`t gain ground. It`s
when an idea can`t gain acceptability. It`s when money comes before
courage, wisdom, teamwork, cooperation, fair play. It`s when money decides
that a system is bought and sold or, in our case, rented for four years.
HAYES: I spend a lot of my time, you will be, I`m sure, not shocked
to learn, around liberals. And I write for "The Nation" magazine. And the
kinds of things you`re saying --
ROEMER: I forgive you, Chris.
HAYES: That`s kind of you. And I`m glad you`re on our program,
because the kind of things you`re saying are the kind of things we write in
the magazine and I think have been things that a lot of liberals have been
talking about for awhile. And I wonder if there`s an appetite for that
kind of message in the Republican party.
ROEMER: We don`t know. I`m a conservative. And I have fought
corruption in Louisiana most of my life. So maybe it`s because I`ve been
hand-to-hand combat with the corrupt political forces that I feel so deeply
about this. But I don`t think it`s a liberal or conservative issue.
We might debate, Chris, whether it should be full disclosure that we
want or limits on giving. Liberals like limits on giving. Conservatives
like full disclosure. That could be a good debate. Right now, we live in
a world where we have neither. We don`t have any limits, none whatsoever.
And there are no disclosure requirements.
The super-PACs -- Rick Perry has seven of them. There`s no disclosure
at anybody who gives money. There`s no limit of anybody who gives money.
There`s no independence. The law requires independence and former chiefs
of staff run this.
Mitt Romney has the same thing. Obama is the master at it. His top
five ambassadors gave a minimum of 500,000 dollars each. That`s the
ambassador to Great Britain, the ambassador to France, the ambassador to
Switzerland. I could go on and on and on. It`s about the money. It ought
to be about our country. It ought to be about jobs. It ought to be about
Those are conservative principles. And I think many liberals share
the same thing, disclosure or limit. That`s what we need to decide. Right
now we have neither, Chris, zero.
HAYES: Final question for you; obviously, it`s difficult -- it`s a
sort of chicken and egg question, but it`s difficult to gain traction if
you impose these limits on yourself. Of course, that`s why the other
candidates are not, and that`s why they`re raising lots of money and
they`re going up in the air. You`re not getting invited on Fox News
debate. How do you cut the knot of that paradox?
ROEMER: I need people to join me. It`s BuddyRoemer.com, if you let
me say it, is my website. A hundred dollars is the maximum. You know,
G.E. could give, 100 dollars maximum.
HAYES: Anyone can give.
ROEMER: We`re not going to pick winners and loser. That`s right.
Look, look, we can do this if I have a million people join me. I`m in New
Hampshire day after day. I can`t afford to pay 15,000 to go to Iowa. But
by God, I can be in every county in New Hampshire. And we`re taking it to
It`s tough when you start with no money and no name I.D. But we are
slowly climbing, Chris. We are slowly making a difference. And I will not
give up. Others have fallen off the table. I have balanced books. I have
cash in the books. I have contributions from 50 states. We`re going to
give them hell.
HAYES: Buddy Roemer, who has outlasted Tim Pawlenty in the Republican
field, I should note, and candidate for president and for the Republican
nomination. Thanks so much for joining me tonight.
ROEMER: By the way, Chris, I`m the only guy running who`s been a
governor and a congressman. I got something to say.
HAYES: Some experience. Buddy Roemer, thanks so much.
Coming up, the stark truth about what civilian employers are thinking
when an Afghanistan veteran stands in front of them and asks for a job,
from an Afghanistan veteran.
And THE LAST WORD does some myth busting on behalf Paul Ryan. Man
bites dog after the break.
HAYES: Last night, we brought you the latest in what has seemingly
become a new annual summer tradition, town hall confrontations. In
districts all over the country, lawmakers are facing angry voters, some
united into groups, others who are unorganized, but all who are angry with
Washington from dragging out the deficit fight and completely failing to
attend to the urgent and unfolding jobs crisis in the country.
This type of town hall ferocity was first made famous, of course, back
in 2009. That was the summer when Tea Party groups made their voices heard
loudly, loudly, loudly and clearly, in town hall meeting after town hall
meeting, convinced that Barack Obama`s unelected health care bureaucrats
would be coming soon to their town to euthanize their loved ones.
This summer, there are plenty of progressive voices speaking out.
That`s what happened to Mitt Romney in this now infamous exchange on
Thursday before the Ames Straw Poll.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to make sure that
the promises we make in Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are
promises we can keep. There are various ways of doing it. One is we can
raise taxes on people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporations!
ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on --
of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to
Where do you think it goes?
ROMNEY: Whose pockets? Peoples` pockets. Human beings, my friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: My friends. And while this summer of our discontent rages on,
there`s some speculation that some Republicans have found a novel way to
keep their angry constituents at arm`s length, by opting out of free town
halls and appearing instead at events with a ticket price to get in.
A piece published today by "Politico" focused on a group of
Republicans, in particular House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and a
15 dollar event he`s participating in at a local rotary club. The price
tag covers food for the event, nothing else. No fundraising is being done,
because -- we know this because we checked.
To get in, you have to pre-register online. You`re only option to do
so is in English, we will note. And we had a back and forth exchange today
about this event with Congressman Ryan`s press secretary, Kevin Saford
(ph). And after talking to the event coordinator of the local rotary club
in question, we`re convinced there is some myth busting to be done here.
It`s fair to assume after some really awkward and fiery exchanges in
the past, Paul Ryan isn`t looking forward to his next town hall meeting.
If you`re in Ryan`s district, you may well want more access to the
congressman during the summer recess.
But frankly, it is not fair to say he`s locked inside a fortress, only
meeting with voters who will slip 15 dollars under the door first. Another
Republican mentioned extensively in "Politico`s" report was from
Congressman Ben Quayle from Arizona. "Politico" focuses on a luncheon
Quayle is having with the Arizona Republican Lawyers Association, where for
35 dollars attendees can question Quayle and enjoy a catered lunch at the
Phoenix office of the Snell and Wilmer Law Firm."
Now I disagree with Quayle politically in pretty much every way
possible. The differences are not subtle. I mean, I really disagree with
him a lot. He encapsulates so much that`s rotten about our post-
meritocratic age of aristocratic political entitlement. That said, Quayle
did organize a free jobs fair, where businesses and people looking for work
could meet last week in Phoenix.
Quayles offices says about 1,300 people showed, while the "Arizona
Republic" puts that number closer to 1,000. Here`s the truth: when we saw
this piece this morning, it caught our eye. It was true that a group of
young Republicans were ignoring their out of work constituents completely,
dodging town halls and sticking only to events with a ticket fee, that
would be outrageous.
It would also make for excellent cable TV. But that`s not what the
actual facts of the story add up to. So we`re telling it to you straight,
sometimes good TV has to take a back seat to the truth.
Still to come tonight, the unemployment rate isn`t good, no matter
where you look. But for men and women who come back from serving overseas,
their job outlook is worse than most. Why that is and what one veteran has
to say about it next.
HAYES: I don`t have to tell you that the unemployment numbers in this
country remain at historic levels, 9.1 percent in July. The huge headline
number is so big, it obscures the even bigger story hiding beneath it.
There are groups of our fellow citizens in this country so
disproportionately affected by the economic down turn, they would love to
see unemployment at only 9.1 percent.
Take, for instance, the 15.9 percent unemployment rate for African-
Americans in this country. Teenagers, 16 to 19 years old, who are looking
for jobs, face an even tougher time, with a 25 percent unemployment rate.
Then there are cities like Modesto, California, where the unemployment
rate is a staggering 17.2 percent.
When it comes to those who have fought in the ongoing wars over the
past decade, an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent seems particularly
unjust. Today, one of those veterans wrote a remarkable article for "the
New York Times`" At War Blog about the unfortunate situation they face
after coming home from the front lines.
Joining me now, the author, Jonathan Raab, spokesman for Iraq and
Afghanistan Veterans for America. Jonathan, thank you.
The piece was really affecting. Tell me, you`re redeploying. And it
was that redeployment or the specter of it that seemed to have cost you
your part-time teaching job.
JONATHAN RAAB, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: Right, I
want to be clear. I was working as a long-term substitute at a charter
school in the city. And originally I had taken on that long-term sub-
position as kind of a way to interview for a full-time position the next
Once I reenlisted, getting back into the National Guard, I had to go
away for training for three weeks. Towards the end of my training, I
received a phone call from my principle telling me that I had been
replaced. While I was still welcome to come in and work, I no longer had
my original position and I had kind of been demoted, more or less.
HAYES: Why do you think we are seeing an elevated unemployment rate
for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan?
RAAB: I think it`s a difficult, complex problem. But I think the
biggest thing is that a lot of us who have served in the armed forces,
especially overseas in a combat zone, come home and have a hard time
communicating what we can do and what we bring to an organization, whether
it be a school or business.
And I don`t think employers are always necessarily receptive to the
types of things we can bring to them. And they`re not always sure how we
can benefit them.
HAYES: What do you mean by that? Do you mean that there -- is there
suspicion about your sort of mental stability or is it just a question of
being able to sort of communicate how your experience in these -- what are
to many people exotic locales, doing things that they are not familiar
with, translates to their organization?
RAAB: I think it`s actually a mixture of both. In the piece, I talk
about a conversation I had with my father, who is a great man, very
supportive of my service. He hires a lot of people. Sometimes he hires
veterans as well.
And in the piece, I talk about how he expresses to me about his
difficulty when he hires a veteran or someone who is in the reserves or
National Guard, and he has to kind of give up something for them, whether
it`s time away for training or sometimes they`re dealing with personal
Even though someone like him, who is patriotic and has a son in the
military, he has to think about it because it`s definitely going to be a
little bit of a burden on the business. So he`s definitely got to approach
these problems in a way -- even though he`s got a personal connection to
it, sometimes he`s got to think twice.
HAYES: You write in the article, "everyone wants to support the
troops until they have to share in the hardship and sacrifice. Then all of
a sudden, that bumper sticker or that flag pin doesn`t mean anything
One of the features of the wars that we`ve been fighting over the last
ten years is that a very small population of people, relative to the
population at large, has been doing essentially all of the fighting. We
don`t have a draft, obviously. And it`s an all volunteer force. And we`ve
had two, three, four deployments. How much is that gap, that fundamental
civilian/military gap the kind of root problem here?
RAAB: I mean, that`s really troublesome. A lot of us in the military
are more aware of it than our civilian counterparts. It`s difficult to
come home and just have a simple conversation with your family, sometimes,
let alone a complete stranger in a job interview, and try to explain to
them what exactly you`ve been training or what you`ve actually been doing.
You know, our experiences are very diverse and very different. And
sometimes the only things people see are movies like "The Hurt Locker,"
And they think that`s what the war is.
In a reality, we are very complex, nuanced individuals. WE have a lot
to offer. We very, very many diverse experiences. And unfortunately
people tend to look us like a monolithic structure that they don`t really
want to approach, because they`re afraid of either offending us or they`re
actually afraid of us ourselves.
HAYES: Finally, I was surprised -- well, not surprised, but there`s
the point in the article in which you`re writing, and then say you`re
redeploying to Afghanistan.
RAAB: That`s right.
HAYES: That`s your choice, my understanding. Why did you choose to
RAAB: That`s a complex question. I usually tell people it`s because
girls like the uniform. But in all seriousness, it`s kind of hard to
explain unless you`ve actually worn the uniform, unless you`ve served in
the military. Films try to capture it and say it`s about camaraderie and
brotherhood. But that falls short sometimes. I`ll leave it at that, if
HAYES: Absolutely. Jonathan Raab, spokesman for Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans of America, and really an exceptional writer. You can read --
what is the name of your blog, Jonathan?
HAYES: WithABibleInMyRuk.Blogspot.com, I highly recommend it. Thanks
for joining me tonight, appreciate it.
RAAB: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,
TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. You can follow my Tweets @ChrisLHayes. And my new
show begins weekends this fall, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is up next. Good evening, Rachel.
<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2011 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2011 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
MORE FROM MSNBC
Add msnbc headlines to your news reader: