All In   |  July 16, 2013

Spitzer considers himself a feminist

Chris Hayes talks with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer about the Senate's confirmation of a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as Spitzer's candidacy in the New York City comptroller's race.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> big news out of washington today. a long-running and fiercely fought battle has been resolved sort of shockingly in democrats' favor. simply by agreeing not to blow up senate filibuster rules today, harry reid convinced senate republicans to stop blocking a number of key white house nominees. perhaps the biggest, clearest democratic victory and frankly victory for american citizens. that biggest victory out of the deal for the first time there is now an officially confirmed director of the consumer financial protection bureau. new watchdog agency created under the dodd /frank financial reform bill , signed to law three years ago in which republicans have been trying to dismantle ever since. joining me to talk about ha this means for american consumers in the fight over financial reform and talk about other stuff going on in his life right now, former governor of new york , democrat eliot spitzer , running for office of new york city comptroller. a new book called "protecting

capitalism: case by case."

>> thank you for having me.

>> you've been writing a lot about the ways in which dodd /frank fall short. the cfpb, this development today, what is it?

>> this is the one piece of unquestioned good news in dodd /frank. it was elizabeth warren 's brain child. she, of course, was chaperoning it through. should have been the first leader. the banks opposed her so vigorously they basically got the white house to cave. sometimes things ricochet in a good way. we have her and richard cordray . this is a dynamic duo . both powerful, clearest, sharpesharp est minds out there on these issues.

>> you're running for new york city comptroller.

>> right. you have an opponent named scott stringer , manhattan bureau president here. he was running unopposed until you got into this race. new york city has a public financing system, he opted into the public financing system. you have opted out. he is now saying you should release your tax returns . you've released a summary version. he wants to see all of them. the argument, i don't think it's an implausible one, yours is the one allowing you to opt out of it. i want to play a clip for you attacking mitt romney for not releasing his full tax returns . take a look.

>> romney has now made paying taxes the litmus test for good, moral standing in our community. he has done this by so avowedly dismissing the 47% as dependents and slackers. why i have grown tired and lost interest in tax returns , i have a newfound interest in examining them. if payment is the ticket to moral uprightness, i want to see if mitt has punched his own ticket.

>> so are you pulling a mitt romney here? is there hypocrisy?

>> public finance , the system in new york city is a good system. the difference is my opponent spent three years out raising money. i got into this race nine days ago. simply you can't raise the money. so what i've said is i'm going to spend money enough to be heard. competition is a good thing. primaries are good. i want my record of independence when it comes to finance, wall street , standing up for the immigrants and workers. i want that to be an opportunity for voters to say, yes, we will permit you and ask you to be controller which is a financially and fiscally important position. the difference between mitt's position and mine, the data that, and i hate to sort of put these numbers out there, i released my income for the past two years and the taxes i paid.

>> right.

>> and, again, you can understand why i'm hesitant to say this. last year my income was a bit over $4 million. i paid over $2 million in taxes. i paid 49%.

>> so the issue here is -- unlike mitt romney -- not to cut you off there, the issue is you're not paying this ridiculous rate.

>> the year before i paid 39.5%. the reason is there -- what i've said is everybody's going to see exactly what i own. in terms of the properties, in terms of where the revenue is coming from. but if the returns, themselves, were released they would see data about each of those that would reveal data about other people, partnerships that simply cannot and should not --

>> eliot, you know how this game works. you've sat in this chair. it's going to look like you have something to hide.

>> here's the thing. i absolutely understand you're going to ask the question, you should ask the question. having said that, i paid 49% and it seems to me the question that i wanted to ask when i calculated these numbers is, why haven't i fired my accountant? i don't know anybody, chris, honestly, i don't know anybody who pays 49%. i called them this afternoon and i said, really? i pay them. i'm glad to pay them. i believe in it. 49%.

>> okay. i want to also ask you about some prominent women politicians, prominent women leaders here. i think opinions about your paff and what they mean for how people evaluate your record. obviously there's a wide spectrum. this is president of new york chapter of n.o.w. speaking out about your candidacy. take a look.

>> do we want an elected official who has broken the law and who has participated in sustaining an industry that we all know has a long history of exploiting women and girls.

>> my question to you, do you consider yourself feminist?

>> yes. i think, look, i hate to hide behind the line, life is complicated. what i've said to the voters, look at the totality of my record. i have been forthright, direct. i resigned five years ago. done a great deal between then and now, teaching white and hosting a few tv shows . i'll let you determine. exactly. i don't want to try to be humorous or frivolous about the issue, though. the record i had was one of devout dedication to women's rights, on the issues of choice, on the issues of equal pay . on the issues of anti-discrimination. both as attorney general, where we were fervent in pursuing those cases. where we were fervent when i was governing in seeking legislation. we passed and got passed an anti- human trafficking law.

>> quickly, as a feminist, it has to sting a little to look at those clips.

>> absolutely. it hurts. i understand it. i understand where they're coming from. i respect that, too.

>> former governor eliot spitzer . we'll have the other democratic candidate for comptroller scott stringer on the programming on an upcoming day.