Guests: John Snow, Mike Paranzino, Tony Coelho, Ed Markey
FRANK LUNTZ, HOST: The economy is on its way back, or is it? And will there be more jobs? A man who ought to know, Treasury Secretary John Snow is our special guest.
Should the Ronald Reagan TV movie ever be shown? We’ll talk to a man who helped bring a network to its knees.
And how are the Democrats doing? This week the panel puts Dick Gephardt to the test. Plus Congressman Ed Markey talks aviation security and Democratic strategist Tony Coelho takes on the administration and our panel.
I’m Frank Luntz. This is a great show. You’re watching AMERICA’S
I’m Frank Luntz and these are AMERICA’S VOICES.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to see some vision. I want to see not just bashing Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the war for the future of the Middle East.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to invest in children. They are our future.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s still about the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we not be rebuilding Iraq?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many people in this country are suffering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are so politically insane.
LUNTZ: If you believe the economists, the economy is turning upwards, but if the economy is doing so well and if stocks are rising, why isn’t unemployment falling? Let me ask our panel, what economic issue, just economics, matters most to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preventing corporations chicanery from ruining a free market.
LUNTZ: You really hate those corporate chieftains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t hate them but I think they’ve acted irresponsibly.
LUNTZ: Can you spell the word “chicanery”?
LUNTZ: Does anyone know if he’s accurate?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he’s correct.
LUNTZ: Scott. Number one issue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The huge structural deficit that exists with our budget and looking down the road.
LUNTZ: Why does the deficit concern you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m a young person and someone is going to pay it back and it will most likely be my generation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m concerned about unemployment, as many people
are. There’s no question about it. I believe we’re headed in the right direction right now.
LUNTZ: Beverly, number one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t see our economy getting better because there’s too many people out of work. And even the people, the IBMers of the world, a lot of their positions and I’m talking about the technical positions, they are being shipped off to global services. So a lot of our positions, our jobs are going overseas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frank, you need a 3 percent growth in the economy to offset the need to increase employment. You have if a 3 percent growth in the economy, unemployment won’t drop. This quarter we had 7.2 percent.
The things that made that growth happen aren’t going to be around next quarter, but I still think we’ll have a 4 percent or 5 percent growth. So, when that’s announced on January 20, the interesting thing will be to see if the Democrat s say oh-oh, we’re slipping.
LUNTZ: Sounds like a guy after your own heart.
My very special guest today is a man who makes his money making money and I mean that literally. He makes our money, sells it, he trades it, you name it.
Treasury Secretary John Snow, it’s an honor to have you on AMERICA’S VOICES. You heard the concerns, corporate chicanery, if that’s the right way to pronounce it, the deficits, unemployment, growth rate. What is the number one concern in terms of the economy?
JOHN SNOW, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, I think the number one concern for most Americans is their job. And will they continue to have that job? And that’s where the growth that we’re seeing now is so important.
The growth rates for this last quarter are really truly encouraging, and with growth will come jobs and ...
LUNTZ: How long? What’s the lag?
SNOW: I think there has been a lag. I mean, we’re unhappy with that lag. There’s reasons for the lag. One is just the high productivity in the American economy today, which means firms can do more with less, but with growth rates in the 4 percent category that the blue chip economists are saying is what we’re going to see for the fourth quarter, and beyond into 2004, there’s going to be a nice pickup in jobs.
LUNTZ: So what does that mean for the average American? I’ll go to the panel in a moment, but what does the average-how much do they spend during the Christmas holiday?
SNOW: What it means for the average American, I think, is a lot more confidence because we have 94 percent of the people with jobs today. But they’re looking at their neighbors and their friends an they’re saying do they have jobs? And if they have jobs, and if the job trends are going the right way, people feel more secure in their own jobs.
LUNTZ: Are you confident, are you secure?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am. I think the bush tax cuts have stimulated the economy. I’d like to see more tax cuts because I think that puts more money in the hands of people, like you and I, which then means we go out an spend it invest, the size of the economy increases and that creates more jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those tax cuts are not enough to stimulate the economy. On average, single people are getting $100 back in or $300, or maybe up to $1,000, that in and of itself wasn’t enough to stimulate the economy and tax cut is not the answer. We’re at an all-time high with unemployment. I’m not sure we’re going to get ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All-time?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree, I think the thing that we’re forgetting is we may be getting a couple hundred dollars in our pockets now, but what’s going to happen a few years from now? These tax cuts are going to catch up with us eventually.
LUNTZ: So what is the answer? Do we need more tax cuts? Do we have enough already? Some people want to give back some of those tax cuts.
SNOW: No doubt about the fact that the president’s tax plan has had a big effect on the economy. It’s touched everybody. It touched over 90 million Americans with child credits, eliminating the marriage penalty, lower marginal tax rates.
LUNTZ: But Mr. Secretary, why is it that so many Americans would actually give up that tax cut for more spending on education, they would give up the tax cut for more spending on health care?
SNOW: Frank, you’re talking to people that I haven’t talked to, but
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re sitting right here.
SNOW: Some of them.
SNOW: Some of them-some of them ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe you talk to the rich folks.
SNOW: No, no. Listen, I’ve talked to small business people. You know what’s on small business people’s minds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lack of health insurance?
SNOW: Lack of health insurance ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe we could get another tax cut so we could pay for that?
SNOW: ...and the tort liability system, which is driving up their costs, and the inability to get health insurance for their employees. That’s what’s concerning them.
They’re delighted over the president’s tax bill because the president’s tax bill has lowered their tax rates, made their enterprises more profitable and made available to them $75,000 in additional expensing.
LUNTZ: Are there any small business owners here? Does anyone own a own a small business here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know people.
LUNTZ: You own small business?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LUNTZ: What is the greatest challenge in your small business?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health care costs, benefits to my employees, the tax cut has been a disaster.
My broader interest is the community that I’m trying to serve as a business. So I don’t see any benefits from the tax cut except for the wealthy and taking the money out of the economy that could provide for better education, health care benefits, and other types of vital community services to make for a better community.
LUNTZ: I’m going to give you a chance to respond and then we have to get out.
SNOW: Well, what the president’s tax plan has done is created, as Chris said, a lot more disposable incomes in the hands of millions of Americans and when Americans have more disposable income, they spend it. And when they spend it, it does good things for lot of their neighbors. It does good things for lots of other Americans. And it creates jobs in the process of a small business expanding and medium size business expanding. There can’t be doubt about the fact that lowering marginal tax rates as the president has done, putting more money in people’s hands is a good thing for the economy.
LUNTZ: Pam (ph) — We’ll have a chance to continue and you’ll get a chance to look into your crystal ball. We’ll have more with the secretary of the Treasury right after this. Your watching AMERICA’S VOICES.
LUNTZ: Welcome back to AMERICA’S VOICES with our special guest, Treasury Secretary John Snow. We’ve been talking about the economy and I want to change topics slightly.
Panel, give me a word or phrase to describe CEO. Chris?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leader.
LUNTZ: Alleese? (ph)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Corporate greed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don’t have any opinion. I’m a CEO.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good for you.
LUNTZ: OK, there’s some self-interest there. Morgan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like anybody else, often honest, sometimes not.
LUNTZ: Katherine, CEO?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My boss, who is absolutely crazed because he runs a small business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Business leader.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mega bucks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out for their own interests.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Corrupt.
You were a CEO. In fact, you were one of the most respected CEOs, but you have people in your profession that are going to jail, will be going to jail. How does that make you feel about corporate America when there is less faith and trust now than there has been in so long?
SNOW: Frank, you put your finger on something that is awfully important. Our system of corporate capitalism depends on trust. And the behavior, the terrible behavior, the egregious behavior forfeited, the most important thing we have, and that is trust in the system. And now we’re in a process of trying to rebuild that trust, but once lost, it takes time to rebuild it. And we haven’t fully rebuilt it yet and that’s a shame.
LUNTZ: How do we rebuild it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think with consistency.
LUNTZ: What do you mean by that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean overall, there should be a set-there should be a code of conduct for CEOs, a code of conduct across the board, like doctors have to take examines and have a code of ethics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’d like to say the Bush administration is the first administration that I can remember that’s actually taken tangible steps to deal with this. I mean, over the past 20 years, how many major CEOs have been arrested, publicly? In either party? And I credit the Bush administration for taking the right step. Still more needs to be done, of course, but ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of those that have been arrested have been friends of the Bush administration, so I don’t think it’s issue of corporate capitalism, I think it’s an issue of corporate cronyism. That pretty much mirrors the cronyism in this current administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, that’s rather silly, there’s been corporate greed throughout the existence of any capitalistic system. That’s one of the vulnerabilities of a capitalistic system.
And the question is, at a given time, what is the public attitude or knowledge about the corporate greed? It’s come to light more during the Bush administration. I’m not saying it’s because of President Bush. But it’s come to light more during the Bush administration, it’s being dealt with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the most important thing in corporate governance or any structure is transparency. I think this administration is just not very transparent in almost all-in a lot of the actions that it takes. Transparency in independence of the board members for the corporations is very important.
LUNTZ: What has the administration done in terms of transparency and what more do you think they will do to build up confidence in corporate America?
SNOW: Well the president appointed corporate fraud task force, which has been in the forefront of going after bad behavior. The president has taken this extraordinarily seriously. He knows that the sort of behavior that-this egregious behavior that’s been discussed-is a threat to the very system on which our livelihoods and the livelihoods of our children and our futures depend.
He’s appointed a first-rate guy, Bill Donaldson, to run the SEC. And he’s given Bill Donaldson his full support to deal with these issues.
LUNTZ: But there is one word and that word is “accountability”. Have we sufficiently-and I can see heads nodding, when I say that word-have we sufficiently held these corporate leaders accountable, so the rest of corporate America can go about creating jobs and growing the economy?
SNOW: Well, there’s a whole new set of rules out there now. Whole new set of rules. Sarbanes-Oxley requires fully independent board members. It requires the audit committee to be responsible for hiring the outside auditors. It creates the Oversight Board for the audit profession so that the audit profession is no longer self-regulating.
We’ve made-we’ve made a lot of changes.
LUNTZ: You’re the youngest panelist here. This is your future, this is the man who’s got more influence on the economy than anybody else. What question would you ask him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like right now we’re spending-the Bush administration is spending way too much and increasing our debt tremendously. And my generation and even the generation before mine is going to have to be able to pay this off.
How do you feel we should be able to do this? Do you feel that Bush should change his policies or should you just lay all the pressure on my generation?
LUNTZ: You, personally?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
SNOW: Scott, we’re not happy about these deficits. They’re that large. The president has said that. They’re unwelcome. And they’re going to be dealt with. By getting the economy growing faster, which is what the president’s jobs and growth plan does, will generate a lot more revenue for the federal government.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how can you explain ...
LUNTZ: You have to let him answer.
SNOW: And by going after spending, controlling spending, that’s the other side of it. The president is committed to cut that deficit, Scott, in half in five years. As that happens, the deficit as a percentage of GDP will fall to below 2 percent. At 2 percent of GDP, it’s a very manageable deficit level.
LUNTZ: Secretary, I want to thank you very much for participating with, listening to, and responding to AMERICA’S VOICES.
When we come back, the panel rate Dick Gephardt’s performance. You may be surprised by what they say. Stick around.
LUNTZ: Welcome back to AMERICA’S VOICES. This week we continue our series on the major Democratic presidential candidates with Representative Dick Gephardt. You’ve probably formed some opinions-and so has our panel.
What you’re about to see is a visual representation of their reactions as they listen to Representative Gephardt take on the issues.
Here’s how it works. Earlier we showed the panel some video of Representative Gephardt and gave them these dials to tell us scientifically which clips they liked and which ones they didn’t.
The red line represents people who voted for President Bush in 2000. The green line represents Gore voters. By turning the dial, the panelists register their moment-by-moment approval or disapproval of what the candidate is saying. If they agree with it, the lines go up. If they disagree, the lines go down.
And how fast the lines go up or down determines how much they like or dislike what’s being said. That’s take a look at how the panel responded to Dick Gephardt’s interview with Chris Matthews earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: If you were president of the United States, commander in chief right now, November 3, 2003, how would you lead this country differently right now in Iraq?
REP. DICK GEPHARDT, DEMOCRAT IC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would go to the U.N. I told George Bush over a year and a half ago if we believe that this was necessary to do, he had to go to the U.N., he had to start the inspections again.
He had to leave these other countries through this, so we had the best chance we could have of getting the help that we need. Now he didn’t get it done. Incredibly, it’s five months after he landed on the aircraft carrier in his flight suit and we still don’t have the help that we should have gotten a year and a half ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: The moment that Dick Gephardt mentions the United Nations, the Republican lines go down and the Democrat lines go up. Both of you are reacting to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LUNTZ: What is it about the U.N.?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest bureaucracy on earth, that gets very little done, and serves no purpose.
LUNTZ: But you don’t agree?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I absolutely disagree.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that what we need is coalition building and international support for the war that we can’t seem to finish or get ourselves out of.
LUNTZ: Does he look presidential to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he does. He knows how to build coalitions, knows how to go to different groups, he’s got the support in the Midwest and with the laborers and I think he would be a great president.
LUNTZ: Does he seem presidential to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is George Bush?
LUNTZ: No, Dick Gephardt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gephardt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at hall.
LUNTZ: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is far too partisan. He is just interested in one thing and that is tearing down the Republican s and building up the Democrat s ...
LUNTZ: But he just spoke about the U.N.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and the things he says are fraudulent.
LUNTZ: He spoke about the U.N., he didn’t talk about George Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m a Republican and want Bush to win, but I think Gephardt is a decent candidate, I mean, one of the best candidates, I think, that is running.
LUNTZ: OK. We’re going to show you the next segment. This one deals also with the war in Iraq and how the administration has handled the last six months.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEPHARDT: I’ve tried to help this president because I think that’s my responsibility, to keep our people safe. He is hard to help.
GEPHARDT: He does not work well with others.
GEPHARDT: Let me just finish that. He doesn’t work well with people. He doesn’t go to people and listen to people and hear them out. We have to respect these countries. France is our friend. Germany is our friend. Russia is our friend. And you’ve got to go work with people, and their population, to get this done.
I would have gone to Berlin and talked to the people of Germany. I would have gone to Paris. I would have gone to Moscow. I would have talked to the people in those countries and told them our worries.
It’s fascinating to me that when he says the phrase Russia, “Russia is our friend”, “Germany is our friend”, you have this negative reaction even among those who are Democrat s, Gore supporters. You don’t even see Bush on the charts because you’ve already voted him out of “Survivor” basically.
Will you get a Democrat even a chance, Dominic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give him the chance. And the reason that line jumped, there, was probably because of me partially. I know that I had voted up when he started talking about reaching out to other countries. I think that’s very important, that’s something Bush hasn’t done well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Representative Gephardt is an easy position being in that chair, because he’s saying what he would do if he was in the office of the president. And he hasn’t had to make those choices.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I probably jumped up a little by as well when he said Russia. I mean, honestly, I have no use for France or Germany. I agree with the old Europe concept; Russia is where our future has to be. It’s the biggest nation in Europe right now. And frankly, they’re the only ones that can really help us.
This going back to France and Germany, constantly, I don’t understand even why Democrat s say let’s raise our numbers on this one because I know most Democrat s I know don’t even like France and Germany before or after the war.
LUNTZ: Now we’ve got one more segment. And this one actually Republican s rated Dick Gephardt rather favorably, at least part of it. Let’s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that is true Democratic Party has paid adequate attention to the needs of America’s poor, both rural and urban?
GEPHARDT: No, I don’t. I don’t think either party has. I don’t think we as Americans have. I think we have to earn the vote of minorities and the poor in this country every day. We can never assume the vote of anybody, so we need to return to programs and ideas that will lift up the poor.
The proudest achievement of my time as majority leader, with Bill Clinton, was we passed the 1993 economic program, which lifted up the poor and got wage increases. And the best thing we did was to raise the minimum wage and when I’m president, we’re going to raise it big time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: When he was talking about appealing to all voters, lifting up all voters, even Republican s gave him over an 80. That doesn’t happen. But the moment that he started to get specific, Republican s started to dial him down and Democrat s actually went off the charts.
Explain it to me, Beverly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I agree with what he was saying. I think that no politician can take for granted anybody’s vote. I think that we have to educate politicians. Everybody has to be educated on what’s happening in our country, politically and worldwide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn’t get specific. He said something that everybody here agrees with. I think everybody everywhere agrees with.
LUNTZ: Raising the minimum wage?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LUNTZ: That’s what he said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, what he said was, that everybody agrees, with is we have to appeal to everybody. We have to earn everybody’s votes. And then he got general about failed programs. That means we have to have programs and ideas and what he’s talking about, if I’m interpreting it correctly, are old programs that don’t have any ideas ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is very emblematic of the Republican Party, today, Frank. It’s all about-it’s all sizzle and no steak. The moment you get to specifics, they’re all about diversity, they’re all about bringing people up, when they get to specifics, it falls down.
LUNTZ: And that’s the last word. Quickly, how many of you feel better about Dick Gephardt now, raise your hands? If you feel better about Dick Gephardt?
And who here feels worse about Dick Gephardt after seeing that? OK.
When we come back, is it totally safe to fly again? We’ll talk to Congressman Ed Markey about his push to make the homeland more secure. You’re watching AMERICA’S VOICES.
LUNTZ: Welcome back to AMERICA’S VOICES. We’ve talked about the
economy and now let’s talk about the other big issue in this election year
” security. It’s more than an election issue, it’s a day-to-day challenge for so many people.
Let me ask the panel, when I say the word “security”, what do you think of first?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: War.
LUNTZ: War. What do you think of?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrorism.
LUNTZ: Catherine (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hassle.
LUNTZ: What did you say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hassle.
LUNTZ: What do you mean by that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time I need to do anything, there seems to be some new rule about security, even in my tiny 20-person company. We get new codes every time anybody leaves the company.
LUNTZ: My special guest has spent the last two decades, actually 27 years ... How old are you?
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am 57 years old.
LUNTZ: Wow. So you were elected when you were-I can’t add-
MARKEY: That’s 30, 27 from 57, is 30.
LUNTZ: Even members of Congress can’t add. You wonder why we’ve got a deficit.
LUNTZ: You’re from-hey, I’m no better.
LUNTZ: You’re from the state of Massachusetts. You have spent a lot of time focused on the issues of security, particularly aviation security. When you hear people talk about hassle, how do you respond to Catherine (ph)?
MARKEY: Well, I guess what I would say to Catherine (ph), and everyone else here, how many of you are planning on flying over the next three or four months? How many of you will be on a plane?
LUNTZ: Raise your hands.
MARKEY: OK. So when you go through the airport, they make you take off your shoes. Right? They make you put through your computer, they make you put on your carry-on...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your belt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your belt.
MARKEY: Your belt has to be twisted this way and that way, and your luggage has to get checked. Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
MARKEY: So that’s a hassle, especially if it’s a line. Now what if I told you that all of the cargo, which goes on the same plane doesn’t get checked at all? That is those big boxes that get put on, as cargo, on the same plane.
As you’re all looking out the window now, looking underneath your shoes, you have to see this cargo go on. Now that really makes it a hassle, doesn’t it? Why did you go through all of that if someone who is not even going to be on the plane is able to send a piece of cargo, without any inspection on the same plane, right?
So believe it or not, the Bush administration says that they don’t want to have that cargo screened. They’re not going to spend the money to screen the cargo while you have to get screened. Now to me that is the definition of a hassle. Right? A real pain that is unnecessary if you’re not going to finish the job checking the back door as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman, with all due respect, I don’t think the Bush administration doesn’t want to check cargo. I think, like any administration, they’re making hard decisions on economics and putting money other places rather than there. I don’t think any administration would actively not want to do something like basic security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They actively have promoted policies that have put America, and the world, at risk. They’ve actively promoted policies that have led to disastrous economic conditions in this country.
LUNTZ: Let’s focus on security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I realize you hate Bush...
LUNTZ: I realize that you want to attack the president. Let’s focus on security.
LUNTZ: Are you really saying that George Bush is deliberately putting Americans at risk?
MARKEY: Well, let me just go back to Nigel.
Nigel, is basically saying, in summary, that he’s willing to spend $87.5 billion to protect our security by sending money over to Iraq, but as we know, none of the terrorists on September 11 came from Iraq. They came from Saudi Arabia; they came from Kuwait; they came from Egypt. And so those people are till out there.
And what Nigel is saying is, you can’t say there’s $87 billion for Iraq, but in our own country, we don’t have enough money on the same planes, where Catherine has to take off her shoes, that we don’t have enough money to check the cargo going on if we know that al Qaeda has still put airplanes at the top of their terrorist target list. It just doesn’t make any sense.
LUNTZ: So, you’re opposed to that $87 billion?
MARKEY: No. I don’t have...
LUNTZ: Do you support or oppose it?
MARKEY: I oppose ...
LUNTZ: Did you vote for it?
MARKEY: ... the $87 billion-if the president isn’t willing to
repeal the tax break for the upper 1 percentile that would then pay for it.
My problem with the president would-
LUNTZ: Did you vote for it, or against it?
MARKEY: I would support the $87 billion, if the president would pay for it. If he would take the money back that from the ...
LUNTZ: But there was actually a vote, you voted for or against it?
MARKEY: No, that’s a false question. OK?
LUNTZ: You vote, either yes or no. It’s not a false question.
MARKEY: Well, the president is saying I’m going to cut Social Security and Medicaid in order to pay for the $87 billion.
LUNTZ: That’s not what he said.
MARKEY: Yes, he did.
LUNTZ: He did not.
MARKEY: Yes, he did.
He said by not funding it, that the money has to come out of the next generation, that’s what he said. Although the words don’t come out of his mouth ...
MARKEY: ...they come out of the Office of Management and Budget.
LUNTZ: Those are words that you’ve put into his mouth.
MARKEY: No, not at all. Those are the unspoken, untruthful words that the administration refuses to utter, because it’s a false promise that you can increase tax cuts for the wealthiest and fund $87 billion, and it’s not going to come from someplace. It’s coming from education and health care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Frank, I definitely think the issue is not just did Bush say or did the president not say it. As the trend is, he doesn’t say it, he has his supporters say it for him and then he is the one that ends up getting the break, well, I didn’t say it. If something goes wrong, it wasn’t my fault.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I’ve never heard so much nonsense. Are there two different tax cuts? Is the tax cut that is across-the-board tax cut? I’m not talking about the child care, child-uh, $300 that everybody just got. I’m talking about the tax cut. That was across the board, 90 million people, tax cuts. I’m not rich. I got a tax cut. People that are paid by people like me aren’t rich. They got a tax cut.
LUNTZ: And you point is?
MARKEY: Your point is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My point is I don’t know what the tax cut is for the rich is. Were there two different tax cuts?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the numbers, Julian.
MARKEY: Yes, there was. There was a tax cut for you. You’re not rich, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were two different tax cuts?
MARKEY: That’s right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s two different bills or one bill?
MARKEY: No, there was one bill. And there was a tax cut for you, you’re not rich.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MARKEY: And then there was a tax cut in the same bill for the upper 2 percentile, which you’re not in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that?
MARKEY: That was the tax cut that gave 44 percent of the all the benefits to the upper 2 percentile. That’s not you. And what we’re arguing is. That if you’re going to give a tax cut at the same time that you’re spending $87 billion in Iraq...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MARKEY: ...then some-the money has money has to come from somewhere, Julian. And it’s coming out of your Medicare and Social Security benefits...
MARKEY: ...because you’re not rich.
LUNTZ: Maureen? (ph)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think to bring it back to the discussion of security and to echo what Catherine (ph) said before...
LUNTZ: Thank you, Maureen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You’re welcome.
MARKEY: Is that a good Irish name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is, it’s from Dublin.
MARKEY: That’s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The issue of hassle, I look at it more of an issue of change. If my life has to be inconvenienced for those moments waiting in line to get on a plane, if that means I’m going to get to my destination, my husband is going to travel safely, I don’t mind.
MARKEY: It’s exactly that point of shared sacrifice that’s being missed right now. There’s a portion of this country getting away with massive tax cuts and the rest of us are waiting in line literally. That’s the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is exactly that point of shared sacrifice that is being missed right now. There is a portion of this country that is getting away with massive tax cuts and the rest of us are waiting in line, literally. That’s the problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What really upsets me is you’re complaining about this tax cut, but we’re here to talk about security an you’re saying that we have to pay for security upgrades with no tax cut right now instead of seeing it as an investment in our future.
MARKEY: No, over here, on this....uh,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billy-
MARKEY: Huh? Billy, Mr. Morgan ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’re saying that this tax cut has to be repealed before you’ll support $87 billion?
MARKEY: No, Mr. Mogan is saying there are priorities. And he’s saying we don’t have enough money to screen cargo which goes on passenger planes, which you’re all going to be flying on over the Christmas and Thanksgiving season ...
MARKEY: ...with your families. And he’s saying the priority is, we can’t pay for it. And I’m saying that if we could just take back a small fraction of the $1 trillion tax break for the upper 1 percentile, we could fund the war in Iraq and we could fund screen of cargo.
LUNTZ: That has to be the last word. We’ll be talking more about the tax cut when we continue.
Ed Markey, thanks for joining us.
And when we come back, how did the Democrat s crunch the numbers?
Strategist Tony Coelho takes us inside the Democratic electoral machine.
Stick around, there’s a lot more AMERICA’S VOICES ahead.
LUNTZ: We’re back with AMERICA’S VOICES. You’ve heard the Treasury secretary’s take on America’s economy and job growth. Now it’s time to get the Democratic perspective on this issue.
Panel, what do you see as being the big difference between Republican s and Democrat s when it comes to the economy? Billy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the big basic difference is the Republican s want to make things better and the Democrat s want to do everything they possibly can to stand in the Republican s’ way. It’s just as simple as that.
LUNTZ: Now, you don’t look too much like a Republican to me, right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
LUNTZ: The suit, the tie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does a Republican look like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s better than a black shirt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looks like-Billy!
I believe that both the Republicans and the Democrats want the economy, of course, too, to get better. They want people to have jobs, because if you have jobs, then you can spend money and you can make the economy better. So I think for the basic belief for Democrats and Republicans, for the economy they have the same goals.
LUNTZ: What’s the difference?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are they going to get there. That’s the only difference ...
LUNTZ: What’s the biggest how?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the Democrats ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Class warfare.
LUNTZ: Is your name Beverly?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s really not about how, if I could just chime in here. It’s not really about how to get there, it’s when. The Republicans want to do it now, the Democrats want to do everything they can do to destroy Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)....about Republican debt?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t think....
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, it’s economic recovery.
LUNTZ: OK, I want to make this fair. My guest is the man who modernized the Democratic Party machinery, former congressman, successful businessman.
Tony Coelho, welcome to AMERICA’S VOICES.
TONY COELHO, DEMOCRATIC ADVISER: Thank you, Frank.
LUNTZ: I know that you tend to agree more with Beverly than you would with Billy. What is the difference between the Republicans and Democrats?
COELHO: Well, Billy is rather simplistic, Beverly is a little more complex.
Obviously, I agree with Beverly.
COELHO: The issue basically is-I think Beverly is right-in that she says both parties want to have success. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But who’s going to benefit from that success? To a great extent, what the Republicans feel is that if you have — if you are successful today and you have money today, you can do the most to help everybody else out. It’s sort of a trickle down.
We Democrats feel that we have to empower lots of people. Give people jobs, give people opportunity, make sure that everybody is at the table, so that we can build it up. The whole big difference there. And you can see it in every policy that is pursued, programs that are pursued, that’s really what happens.
LUNTZ: Scott, who empowers you more, Republicans or Democrats?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From an economic standpoint?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have to go right now with Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the tax cuts were unfair. I think that they greatly benefited the top percentages of America, and I believe that the trickle-down effect, which is what most Republicans would advocate really, really hasn’t worked. I think it’s been empirically proven ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you say it’s fair, Scott, to say that you can’t really ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What really empowers me is what’s in your hand.
The money in my hand; talk is cheap.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s fair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you can’t give a tax cut to somebody that doesn’t pay taxes. Do you agree with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you blame the poor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pardon me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’re going to blame the poor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m not blaming anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you just did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he did not.
LUNTZ: Hold on. John, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can’t give a tax cut to somebody who doesn’t pay taxes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That’s all he’s saying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand, but also they pay they pay money every time they go to 7-11, that’s another tax. So if you want to be fair on the tax issue ...
LUNTZ: One at a time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That tax wasn’t cut.
LUNTZ: I have to ask you this question, whenever we get to taxes, when we do this on AMERICA’S VOICES, the group always degenerates and everyone starts to yell and scream and no one pays attention to each other. What is it that is so device about these tax cuts that causes such emotion?
COELHO: Well, you know, it’s a great thing about America, is we have the ability to have this fight. And we create this huge middle class. But I think the real thing here is that people-about our country, everybody wants to hope that they can advance forward.
They want to participate in it, they want to make sure they can participate in the American dream as such. This fight that you hear tonight is that you hear people basically saying I want to be part of it. You have others saying we can do it for you. You know, I want to be part of it is really what America is all about, and when people say that the tax cut isn’t directed toward the wealthy, I got a lot of benefit, I didn’t need it. Why give it to me? It should have been given to other people.
LUNTZ: Did you give it back?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, donate it.
COELHO: You know what I did, I did donate it. So, you pop-off, I did donate it.
COELHO: And you know, the problem is the majority of people like me didn’t donate it. And I think that to a great extent what we need is we need to empower people. We need to empower people that are lower middle class, empower people that are struggling to be part of it.
We have 70 percent unemployment in regards to people with disability. You go across the board, that exists today. That’s not what America is all about. America is empowering these people.
LUNTZ: You’re on the Republican side, that sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds reasonable.
LUNTZ: Isn’t that something you can vote for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds reasonable until you get just a quarter inch under the surface.
LUNTZ: And what’s the problem? And what’s the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is, who generates wealth in this country?
LUNTZ: Let him finish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you give the wealthy the more power, more power to create, it’s going to help the little, poor guy.
COELHO: Billy represents ...
COELHO: I think the issue I found intriguing what Billy just said, he said it’s the wealthy are the ones that create it, and the little, poor guy. I mean if you listen to the terms, they’re very demeaning terms. Basically ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think ...
LUNTZ: Let him finish.
COELHO: Let me finish.
COELHO: The basic thing is here is that you want to make sure that these “little” people have an opportunity to spend money because they create wealth. It isn’t the wealthy, people like me don’t create wealth, it is the little working people who spend their money, and they spend 100 percent of it.
People like me do not spend 100 percent of our money. We put it into other things to save it for our kids, and for our grandkids. Poor people, “little people”, so-called little people, spend all their money. That’s what creates wealth.
LUNTZ: I’m going to make a point here, as a way of getting out. I don’t agree with you.
COELHO: You never have.
LUNTZ: But if you were running the Democratic Party, you’d be in the majority.
LUNTZ: Your language and your communication skills are still superb.
Tony Coelho, thank you for being with us.
COELHO: Thank you, Frank.
LUNTZ: Now, while we’re talking Democrats, here’s the surprising response to last week’s interactive poll question.
We asked you, “If the presidential election was held today and the only choice was Bush-Cheney or Dean-Clark, who would you vote for? And 70 percent of you said you’ve vote for Dean and Clark, 20 percent said Bush and Cheney, 3 percent said you wouldn’t vote at all. That has got to be your dream come true, Tony Coelho.
Is that representative of America or just viewers of AMERICA’S VOICES? When we come back, the TV movie about Ronald Reagan that everyone has been talking about. We’ll be talking about it with a man who some say is the reason CBS pulled the plug.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From now on, you don’t just call the president, to tell him what’s happening, you call me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What’s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert McFarland. I’m your national security adviser. Perhaps you don’t remember me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don’t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: Welcome back. This week’s poll question is about that TV movie you just saw. Some people say it presents a biased view of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and CBS has said they won’t air the film.
Here’s the question. Should the Showtime cable channel air the Reagan movie now that CBS won’t. Either yes, it’s fictional, and filmmakers can interpret events as they choose. Or vote no, if the film is inaccurate, it shouldn’t be shown, even on pay cable. Go to our Web site, at Voices.msnbc.com, and let your voice be heard.
No matter which side of the issue you’re on, there’s an amazing story behind it. A story of one man who started a national movement. Political consultant Mike Paranzino didn’t like what he was hearing about the Reagan film and paid $8.95 for the BoycottCBS domain name on the Internet, as his personal protest.
He spread the word about his site and within days, had tens of thousands of e-mails in support and it started in motion a chain of events that some say led to CBS’ decision to pull the film.
Mike Paranzino, welcome to AMERICA’S VOICES.
One individual has this much impact. And don’t be modest. What started this whole thing? I want to get to the panel in a moment. But I want to know what started this in your mind?
MICHAEL PARANZINO, BOYCOTTCBS.COM: Well, I’m a Reagan fan. I’m always Republican. That’s up front and known. And when I saw the “The New York Times” story, which broke a couple weeks ago, including some of the lies that were being put in the mouths of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
LUNTZ: Such as?
PARANZINO: The most notorious one, now, is the one having President Reagan suggest that people with AIDS got what they deserved. Now, the author has admitted he never said that. She just inserted to it to make him look bad, to smear this man on his deathbed, this great American.
So, I was furious. I went and bought the site, as you said, for $8.95, and let it sit for a few days, and went about my life. But I was still furious. A few days later, as more and more came out about the film, and I threw up a Web site, I threw up a brief essay, urging people to boycott the miniseries and boycott the advertisers for 30 days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was absolutely outraged, the fact that one person or even a movement of people can start this very scary trend of censorship in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that the media, the right-wing portion of the media is taking over our airwaves. It is un-American and un-Democratic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Censorship is when the government orders to you pull something or not print it. The government did not do this. This is not censorship. Time out, please. This is not the government, so it’s not censorship. This is the will of the people. This is what the Founders believed in. That’s why they wrote a First Amendment. Did he what he had to do.
LUNTZ: You’re reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually think that if it is a fictional story and it is clear, then filmmakers, we’ve created dramas and fictional stories about people. They should be free to show it. CBS has the right to show what they want to show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNBC reported the Republican congressman called top executives at Viacom, putting pressure on-I think our guest here is getting a little too much credit. I mean, this something, there may have been a grassroots component, but the real pressure came from Republican congressmen. That’s frightening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And look, the Martha Stewart movie came on. They didn’t put her in a nice light, but it was on the television.
LUNTZ: She’s not a nice woman.
PARANZINO: First of all, CBS is free to show this tomorrow if they want to. They can show it every day for the next three years, but Americans have stood up and said, we’re going to use our free speech rights. And we’re saying we want no part of it. And we’ll economically take our wallets and pocketbooks elsewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is clearly dishonest. And it is clearly putting for a certain position of the issue. If it was just honest, good or bad, I think that’s fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A small group of Americans doesn’t necessarily define all of America. I’m wondering where the conservative outcry will be when yet more Clinton or yet more JFK fictionalized stories appear on the television.
CBS several weeks ago presented a 911 story, a 9/11 story that by several analysts was viewed to be overly biased towards the administration. That went ahead without a peep.
LUNTZ: Ellen, your reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that the people have a right to say-I don’t believe that this is a case of censorship. I believe what you did was absolutely just speaking up for what you believe. I think that’s fine.
LUNTZ: I want to congratulate you for what you have done. I want to congratulate you for involving the public, but I do wonder whether this won’t have a chilling impact on the creativity and what we see on television.
Republicans, Democrats, it doesn’t matter. I want to see as much as I can but I congratulate you on your success. Mike Paranzino, thank you for being with us.
That’s all the time we have for AMERICA’S VOICES this week.
We’re proud that we are the only show on television, as you can see, that gives Americans like you the chance to question and challenge your leaders. I hope you’ll check us out next week at this same time.
And remember, whether you agree or disagree, keep talking and keep listening. Honest debate promotes true understanding. I’m Frank Luntz. Thank you for watching.
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