Up   |  October 07, 2012

Topics omitted in presidential debate

Topics in the first presidential debate last Wednesday were largely centered on the economy, particularly on taxes. Comedian Lizz Winstead, Columbia University professor John McWhorter, and New York Times contributor Rebecca Traister join Up host Chris Hayes to talk about the topics omitted from the debate.

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

>>> mountain goats on this sunday morning. i am going to make it through this year, if it kills me. according to a recent nbc news wall street journal poll, 46% of voters say the most important issue is the economy. second is social issues. wednesday night, there wasn't a single word mentioned about the latter. thursday between joe biden and paul ryan voters will get a chance to hear what candidates have to say about a host of issues beyond budget, policy and health care . things like voting rights , women's rights, topics that were omitted last week between president obama and romney. the issue of sensible gun laws . the first presidential debate took place a short distance from aurora, colorado . a victim had a message for the candidates in an ad that airs during the debate.

>> this past summer in a movie theater in colorado , i was shot. shot in the face and neck. but i was lucky. in the next four years, 48,000 americans won't be so lucky because they will be murdered with guns in the next president's term. enough to fill 200 theaters. when you watch the presidential debates , ask yourself, who has a plan to stop gun violence ? let's demand a plan. it didn't get an area. joining us is comedian chris. john warner and rebecca, contributor to the magazine. i feel of two minds about the debate. focus is good. depth is good. i was appreciative they allowed depth on the issues they talked about, but frustrates there's only so many of these. one is foreign policy . in terms of domestic policy , the next debate is basically it and the vice president debate. i feel there's a lot of stuff i want to hear them on. the other issue i'll say then shut up. i'm curious what you have to say. the other thing i wished had come up, there's a ballot initiative in colorado that hasn't gotten a lot of attention here. amendment 64 to legalize marijuana in the state of colorado . 51% in favor, 40% not in favor. it's a big deal . it's probably going to happen in colorado . i genuinely wanted to hear mitt romney and barack obama say where they were on it.

>> one of the things that strike me, i hear the dichotomy on we went deep but didn't touch on the social issues. we don't talk about the social issues we write off as soft are economic issues. when talking about people's ability to participate fully until the economy, you are talking women's rights, reproductive rights , drug laws . you are talking issues like prisons that we didn't talk about. gun laws .

>> there ends up being a mars/venus distinction.

>> right. in fact, what we never get to is the important thing we need to acknowledge and address, they are economic issues, the heart of economic issues across the country.

>> drug laws create an entire generation of people because of things they have done and regret holds them down for the rest of their lives and creates a distraction. if life has not been kind to you maybe sometimes for a week or two, it's easier to make the choice of going on to the black market and selling drugs. next thing you know, you are stuck. if you have done time, it's difficult to have a life. it's not a race neutral issue, it's creating a group of people. it's not a social issue, it's the fabric of the nation.

>> it's one of those issues that when we talk about these independent voters, you know, legalization of marijuana is something that libertarians talk about, that tiny little middle when we all say how could there be people undecided? that issue is one that resinates.

>> it's showing up. i'm amazed by the polling in colorado on this. i think this is a place where we have paid a lot of attention on this show to the amazing evolution of public opinion on gay rights , but this is on legalization is another place. there's a real change happening.

>> congressman are you ready to come out here?

>> we have medical marijuana in vermont. what struck me is the debate, the presidential debate mirrored congressional debates to say we don't talk about anything. we don't have that conversation.

>> congressman, we talk about nothing --

>> it's so different from the vermont legislature where the committee would be in the same room at the same time and over time you build up trust and have confidence that the person you were talking to wanted to make vermont a better place . in washington, it's all talking points and poll tests. we don't sit together in a committee room, the folks have an agenda. the contraception issue of all men talking about women's issues. the inability to have adult conversation about issues that are tough and to have a certain amount of mutual respect and trust debating prisons or legalization, it's not anni izeasy issue. the debate mirrored that. it's a breakdown in congressional functioning.

>> there's no formal issue where they are walking down the hall and have the real conversation?

>> no. it's terrible. i started having lasagna dinner parties at my house. we had republicans over. it was such a big deal , it was on the news. it was costco lasagna.

>> delicious.

>> hold that thought. as a sitting member of congress, what would you like to see addressed in the vice presidential