tv The Last Word MSNBC July 5, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
hurt this president. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. i'm chris haste in for lawrence o'donnell. i never thought i'd see the day when the republican party managed to alienate the washington establishment. looks like we reached that point. >> the verdict will be read in the courtroom at 2:15. >> as for the charge of first-degree murder, we the jury find the defendant not guilty. >> in the law, the concept of not guilty is not the same as innocent. >> as the casey anthony verdict distracted the nation, the president focussed on the debt. >> i don't think the american people sent us here to avoid tough problems. >> we're not expecting the president to talk about casey anthony. >> the obama administration is reportedly considering tens of billions of dollars in cuts. >> we need a balanced approach.
>> went on a dove opportunity. >> i'd love to see him shoot some birds. >> before the president could speak, senate republicans tried to steal the spotlight. >> that's, in fact, what drives them nuts. >> i would just say how much i appreciate the new members of the senate. >> i would like to introduce senator kay bailily hutchisson. >> you don't go on a tangent. >> who's going to make the best political play? >> are republicans willing to compromise? >> republicans are not willing to agree to any revenues. >> we will filibuster. >> members of congress in the house, more than anything else, want to be reelected. >> they do? >> guess who makes look reasonable and rational, the president of the united states. >> social conservatives aren't worried about taxes, they are worried about their candidates. >> we will stand, because we
serve a faithful god. >> i think it's a big mistake for governor romney. >> there's a move afoot to try to blame george w. bush. >> to make an informed decision and then come back to talk to us. >> good evening from washington. two week's notice, that's what president obama gave congressional republicans late today, two weeks to reach an agreement on deficit reduction and raising the debt ceiling to avoid what would likely be a catastrophic default. the president said he won't accept a short-term deal and invited republican leaders to join his previously-scheduled meeting with democrats on thursday. he restated this is an opportunity to "do something big to reduce the debt." >> to get there, i believe we need a balanced approach. we need to take on spending in domestic programs, in defense programs, in entitlement programs, and we need to take on spending in the tax code.
spending on certain tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest of americans. this will require both parties to get out of our comfort zones, and both parties to agree on real compromise. it's my hope everybody leaves their ultimatums at the door. >> leave their ultimatums at the door. the president showed he left his at the door by bringing up entitlement programs. democrat republican seems ready to appease a republican party whose stated position that even after -- 24 months, essentially amounts to mowism. they've expressed their dismay at this distasteful. they were shell shocked at the kurntd crop of republican lawmakers to endanger the full faith and credit of the united states. none have done it quite as
forcefully as columnist and beltway bell weather david brooks, writing in the "new york times," brooks said avoiding a debt default is the mother of all no-brainers for the gop. the struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the gop is, a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that separated itself from the habits of our nation. if reasonable republicans don't take control, independents will conclude the republican fanaticism caused this default and conclude republicans are not fit to govern, and they'll be right. it appears we don't need a few weeks to see which way the gop will tilt. we had a good sense of it this afternoon. here's john cornay on. >> the president is not listening to the same people i'm listening to, my constituents. it seems disingenuous to say
we're going to cut spending but also going to raise taxes. we're not for raising taxes through the front door or through the back door. i would say it's premature to declare who's being reasonable and not. >> here's house budget paul ryan on a conservative radio show. >> if you take a deal like this, you're requiring tax rates to be higher for everybody. you need to lower tax rates by going after tax loop holes. if you take away the tax loop holes without lowering tax rates, then you deny congress the ability to lower everybody's tax rates, and you keep people's tax rates high. and you take the pressure off of congress to cut spending. you keep government larger. >> these are not cranks, i should note. the noisy voices of the fringe of the party that sit far, far away from policy. paul ryan, of course, wrote the republican budget, john coreman
is president of the committee who voted to raise the debt ceiling when president bush was in the white house. mr. brooks, this is your party, like it oernt. david and eugene rum, columnist for the post. you and i spoke about this a month ago, you were saying it's irresponsible for the white house to even imply there would be a default or republicans would take it to the edge of default because it was such a sure thing this will be ironed out and the debt ceiling would be raised. are you still a believer in that? >> i am astounded we have come to where we are. we are heading towards a crisis of unimaginable proportions, we didn't believe it would come to that, it couldn't, and the behavior of the republican party through all this has been pretty
shocking. that said, it needs to be understood the president's own weakness has invited a lot of this problem. the republican party is a collecttivity, it doesn't have a single decision maker. the white house has unity. his weakness has empowered the most radical people in the republican party, people like john cornen. he has to worry about primary challenges. every time the president has retreated in the way he has, he's proven john cornyn's challenger right, so every time that you ask john cornyn, this is the best deal, this deal i'm offering you today, this is the best deal, there isn't a secret special price behind this special price, this is my best deal, you have to wonder what would my primary challenger discover if there was a better deal, what happens to me then? >> i kind of agree with that. what do you think? >> i agree with part of that
actually. many times i thought the president has gone into many negotiations with too weak an opening bid. he's essentially said okay, you can have three quarters of an eighth of what you want and we'll take a quarter of an eighth and let's start there. that em boldens the radicals. however, i don't think you can blame the president entirely for the fact republicans are looking over their shoulders at the tea party caucus and asking where's the energy, enthusiasm, money in our party, and that's where they see it. >> in terms of this notion that the difference is the marginal difference between deal one and three is the difference between a primary challenge and not. i think it's clear what happened to bob bennet and others that did get primaried, and mike cassel, i don't know if the motivation for the primary is going to may too much attention to the sort of careful details
of this deal. >> no, it pays attention to the emotional quality. that is the secret -- one of the important secrets of the republican party. you can be quite moderate like chris christie, you can be conservative, like bob bennet, but if you're a conservative deal maker, you're a seller. that's what people have to worry about when they are in a room alone with the president. >> i have to push back on that, you want to talk about christie or talk about anyone along the spectrum, right? the sort of central ideological principle, the line you cannot cross is taxes, core of the edifice, of course, the whole thing comes down on our heads unless you pay for the government. >> 235 republicans in congress have signed the pledge, no new taxes ever, no taxes ever. >> this is where the president is a player, and i'm making no excuses for the people on the
other side of the table, they have played badly, but he's agreed with the republicans the deficit, at a time when unemployment is 10%, interest rates 1%, he's agreed with them. >> do you think he's wrong about that? >> i have a job and i think he's wrong about that. >> why do other conservatives not seem to think that? there's two discussions you can have, a discussion about the proper role of government, revenues, whatever, another discussion about what the priority is, that's what seems so mismatched to me, the deficits and not jobs. >> right, and every poll that's been taken since 2007 has said that the number one thing on america's minds is jobs. >> why is there this mismatch? >> republicans see the job assessment is a kpapproximaty a if we were to have a discussion
about the future role of government 30 years from now, it would end to the left of where the discussion would be five years before or five years later. you want to avoid the discussion, and the president has gone along with it. that has been a big enabler of the unimaginable fiscal catastrophe. here's what i don't understand, i said it was irresponsible to speculate. when michele bachmann said the president can prioritize, i don't know. i've been tempted where he would say, that's a good idea. here's things at the bottom of my priorities, medicaid in the state of texas, that comes last. you defense coordinators, later, later. i'll be getting to you as soon as i can. what would lyndon johnson do in a situation like this? not this. >> that's true. it is time to play hardball.
i think democrats and progressives were heartened, i think, by the president's press conference last wednesday when he essentially drew a line in the sand. it's unclear whether he moved that line or kind of kept it where it was today, but, you know, we'll see. what's the ending sneer. >> here's the end game. this is why from the beginning i've been shocked. the end game is sachs owns a lot of treasuries. people think it's the chinese, no, you have treasuries in your 401(k) and are we really going to -- is wall street going to tolerate running through the red light on this? >> a lot of the worst disasters happen without trying to get to that point. everybody believes you're going to be able to pull off the highway before you hit the traffic jam, then you discover it's something unimaginably
worse. that's where, i think, the president has disserved the country, his party, i hold no brief for his party. i would like to see this ultimate deal look more like the way the republicans like it to work, but without mass i have default and -- massive default and institutional failure. >> let's not go to massive default and institutional failure. the president has a fail safe of being able to claim there's a constitutional mandate that he has to focus on debt. >> this is the worst thing he's doing yet, i'm sorry, to be discussing this possibility. >> he hasn't discussed it. he's been careful about it. >> tim geithner has. the game of chicken, pull away the steering wheel. >> it's a commitment game. that's how you win chicken. >> he's saying to the republicans, i want you all to know if you press me and press me and press me, we don't default. >> you need on the other side of
that catastrophe, and that's default. >> if you press me, press me, i give you grounds for an impeachment trial if you don't win the next election. >> thank you so much for your conversation, we appreciate it. we here at last word would like to help with the search for revenue. where can we find tax revenue? well, here's one idea, financial transaction tax ranges from one-tenth of a penny to half of a penny on any financial transaction like it. wouldn't affect trades for retirement, health, or education savings. 2008 study estimated it could conservatively raise about $100 billion a year. talking about $100 billion in an industry that conservatively handles $50 trillion in reactions a year. industry, arguably responsible -- not really arguably responsible for the mess we're in.
see, wasn't so hard, was it? with the debt ceiling to beat, worth noting this congress has done less than any congress in decades. just how broken is the first branch? congressman james clooi burn joins us next. >> ( rooster crows ) >> by 2020, 50 billion network devices will roam the earth. that's seven devices per person. this will change how we work in ways we've never before imagined. what do you need to secure your people, their devices, and your business? a network that can evolve and grow to protect your human network. ♪
coming up, the current congress is shaking up to be the least productive since this guy was president. congressman jim clyburn will be my guest. where that leaves us in the continuing use of american fire power. glenn greenwald joins me. [ male announcer ] at nissan, we test the altima's durability on a track that simulates the world's toughest roads.
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we need to come together over the next two weeks to reach a deal that reduces the deficit and upholds the full faith and credit of the united states government and the credit of the american people. this should not come down to the last second. >> i want you to take a look at these fine government buildings. first, the john m. roll, united states courthouse in yewma, arizona, named for the judge shot and killed in january in tucson where congresswoman gaby giffords was almost fatally wounded. this is the broad water building
in martinsburg, west virginia, and this one, the specialist jake robert veloza post office in california. what do all three of those buildings have in common? all three were named as a result of bills passed by the 112th congress. a heavy feat considering 20 bills have come in law this year. a majority were extensions of expiring laws, officials to the board of the smithsonian institution. those buildings count for a full 15% of this congress's successful activity. not included, a bill to raise the debt ceiling or a single, solitary, job's bill. after a week of vacation, the house of representatives will be back in session tomorrow. critics, including president obama have chastised the house for a republican-led two weeks on, one week off approach to
congressional busyness, but as the los angeles times put it, not necessarily time spent in washington where the congress is falling behind, it's how little it accomplishes when it's here. the 112th congress is on pace to be one of the least-productive congresses in more than 60 years. joining me now, the democratic assistant leader in the house, congressman jim clyburn of south carolina, thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you so much for having me. >> president announced congressman pelosi will be in attendance. what do you think will take to get the deal done, seems to me the impasse has been done for three months and nothing has budged to get it done. >> well, i think a lot has been done. the fact of the matter is i am a member of the biden group.
i guess we still exist. we, i believe, 85% there. we were about to have our very last meeting, or next to the last meeting, when eric cantor decided he would no longer participate. we did a lot. i'm very proud of what we've done, and i think the vice president will tell you that we are about 85% to where we needed to be, and i think that the president now, working with the leaders of both houses, hopefully nancy pelosi on the house side and mr. boehner, the speaker of the house, and maybe the minority majority leaders over on the senate. we think they are in a good position to close this deal, so we've done a lot, but there is that tough 15-20% left on the table involving mostly revenue
raises. >> yes, let me ask you about that, congressman. i'm sorry, let me ask you about that, congressman. let's say we strike a deal magically some sense comes into the republicans, and we strike the deal as has been reported in the press, the one that is almost there, which looks something like the contours of which are 85% spending cuts, 15% on the revenue side, somewhere in that neighborhood. do you think it will hurt the economy at a time of 9% unemployment to take that level of federal spending out of the federal budget when we have the jobs problem we have now? >> well, i think we need to do a jobs bill. you mentioned something i'm a big proponent for, i work for the representative from philadelphia as well as peter defasio on the transaction tax in order to pay for infrastructure development, to
create jobs, so i think that if we had something like a transaction tax to pay for that, we can have what we call on the democratic side, a make it in america job's bill, so we can do a job's bill as well as the deficit and debt relief bill without any real serious harm being done to any process, so i'm all for creating jobs, and so i don't think you are going to threaten that with this process. remember, revenue raises that we've been talking about got a lot to do with getting rid of loop holes, getting rid of all of these deductions that we've been giving to big oil when they don't need what they've been getting, getting rid of corporate jet depreciation. these kinds of things, we could do without bringing any harm to anybody, without raising
anybody's tax rates one iota, and that's what we have been proposing, and i would hope that my republican colleagues would really sit down and get serious about that. what do we look like giving tax breaks to companies that continue to create jobs overseas? we want to give those tax breaks to companies that would create jobs here in our communities and so that people can get back to work, and it would not in any way bother people who are paying their taxes rather than those 38% of corporations who aren't paying any taxes at all. >> those 38% being the sticking point here. congressman jim clyburn of south carolina, thank you so much for joining me tonight, i really appreciate it. well, thank you so much for having me. >> coming up, religious rights say they want texas governor rick perry to run for president.
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leaders of the christian conservative movement have apparently decided their best hope in the 2012 presidential contest will come from a candidate that's not yet declared he's even running. time magazine is reporting texas governor rick perry is the new darling for right wing religious icons, tony perkins of the research council, david barton has been documented on this program, and john hagee, the pastor so controversial, john mccain turned down his endorsement in 2008. time reports those three men think perry has a better chance of the nomination than rick san tor up and seem to be ignoring
michele bachmann's momentum. perhaps perry's religious megarally set for next month have something to do it. >> i hope you'll join me on august 6th and take your place in reliant stadium with praying people asking for god's forgiveness. >> perry is no slam dunk candidate. a non-partisan study group says perry used accounting tricks to hide a $8.3 billion deficit. in order to close the massive short fall, perry went to enron-style accounting, for instance, delayed a payment to schools by one day, the budget also predicts a flat increase in the number of school children in the state, even though texas is one of the fastest-growing
states in the country. and even more audacious, the legislator instructed the state's accountants to increase their projection of future property increases so as to predict a full $800 million in more property tax revenue, and that's just on the one budget. as for perry's social conservative stance, let me bring in someone familiar with that. joining me now, terry hall. terry, thanks so much for joining me tonight. >> thanks, chris, good to be here. >> terry, you and i have spoken before a number of times, and you describe yourself as a pro-life, christian conservative, based on what we're reading today and what's been reported, i would say you're in the demographic cheering on a rick perry presidential run, but why is that not the case? >> i actually am in that demographic, i should be in his
demographic and should be very much in support of rick perry as a candidate for president, but we are absolutely not, and there's a whole lot of mixed members in our ranks that are not. this guy wants to toll and tax every existing highway in the state of texas, over 400 toll projects contempt plaits right now, he wants to sell our infrastructure to foreign companies. and so that's just the few things that have gotten us stirred up around our state, and we feel like the more we push back on this governor, the more he throws it back in our faces, the budget you were talking about, ended may 30th, i believe, it was, has 15 texas roads sold off to these foreign companies. it's going to cost texans 15 cents a mile to use the roads. when you're governor of a state of texas, this big, for ten
years, you have a lot of campaign contributors to pay off, and he's done a whole lot for corporate america but not very much for small business owners. we pay some of the highest property taxes and home owners insurance rates. he passed the largest tax on businesses, business margins tax, 400% increase in a year. he's not a fiscal conservative. i think if we're going to have a presidential candidate that's a true conservative, you have to have both, not just social, but fiscal issues as well. >> terri, you started in activism fighting this mass iroad privatization project, that's how you and i first met. when we were speaking outside san antonio a few years back you talked about this streak to rick perry that you felt what was sort of uniting the opposition to him. how has he run the state of
texas? in whose best interest has the state of texas been run while perry was governor? >> fair to say that rick perry is truly a special interest governor. that's who he's serving, it's not we the people of texas. you can trace it. look at the hpv vaccine, he passed an order that would mandate an hpv vaccine for all 6th grade girls in texas, and he did it for $6,000 campaign check from the drug company, merk. the lobbyist turned around, worked for rick perry at one time, and then got the trans-texas corridor rights granted to his former employer. the revolving door is clear on a bunch of issues, not just on the trans-texas corridor, that just is one that started our grass roots group. he's got more corporate welfare
slush funds than i can counted. i mean, we have all kinds of money to increase perry's corporate slush funds, but not enough money to fund government, as you were talking about in our -- in your opening. our budget was balanced on accounting tricks. last biennium's budget was balanced on stimulus money, so what does that tell you? >> terri hall, thanks so much for being my guest tonight, appreciate it. >> thanks, chris. earlier today, harry reid pulled a vote on libya from the floor to allow the senate to focus on the debt crisis. what does that say about the productivity of congress? that's coming up. and after casey anthony is acquitted of murdering her daughter, both the defense and prosecution criticize the media for their handling of the trial. a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience
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forces over libya can't even get to the floor. and what the casey anthony verdict says about the judicial system in america. your finances can't manage themselves. but that doesn't mean they won't try. bring all your finances together with the help of the one person who can. a certified financial planner professional. cfp. let's make a plan.
hours before the vote. bipartisan resolution would have expired when the nato mission ended or after a year, whichever came first. it would have prohibited the use of american ground forces or private security contractors in libya. they do not require congressional approval. republicans are divided on military operations in libya, so they'd like to focus on something that units them, raising revenue of any kind, even revenue to pay for the wars they've supported both complicitly and tas itly. >> no question we need to return to the question of libya, because you cannot have somebody calling something not hostilities when it is. most important thing to our country and national security is dealing with the debt ceiling, the debt, and the deficits. >> joining me now is glenn
greenwald. glenn, thanks so much for being here. >> great to be with you, chris. >> so the fact the senate wasn't even able to vote on authorizing the war in libya, i wonder what you think it says about how dysfunctional the politics have become and our framework for waging war. >> well, it's really quite extraordinary because the constitution says congress has to declare wars for them to be fought. the president has the right only under certain circumstances, so what we clearly have is a war being waged by the obama administration that is plainly unconstitutional and plainly illegal, and so for harry reid to stand up and say we were going to have a vote in recognition of the legality, but we just can't get the vote so we're going to cancel the vote. you know, barack obama said when he was running for president, no more ignoring the law when it's
inconvenient, that's not who we are, yet this is a perfect example of doing exactly that. >> i want to get back to a quote from then-candidate obama in 2007 on exactly that, but first i want you to walk us through -- clearly, the white house's position -- for full disclosure, my wife works in the white house council office. the position is they are waging a plainly illegal war, what is the chronology for why they are not waging a illegal war? >> when the war started they claimed they were in compliance with the war powers resolution and said we have 60 days and there's no reason to get congressional approval, yet once 60 days elapsed and it was clear they had no interest in getting congressional approval or were unable to do so, their position changed, and they said because these are not hostilities taking place in libya, that's the word the law uses, that whenever the
congressional approval is required, the president's position, amazingly it was rejected by his own attorney general, and the chief of the offensive legal council, but he nonetheless said that his view is these are not hostilities, and therefore, congressional authorization isn't required. and yet, you know, you'd look at not only his top aides, but the majority of the house rejected the proposition, laughed at it and mocked it, not taken seriously by any legal scholars, any libya, dropping bombs, trying to destroy their military, if that's not hostilities, than nothing is. >> in a blog post you quoted president president obama's answer in late 2007 whether the president has substitutional authority to bomb iran at that point and he replied then, the president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a
military attack in a situation that does not stp stop an imminent threat to the nation. this is interesting, regarding u.s. actions in libya, he's responding to candidate obama's statement in 2007, i want to play this for you. >> i don't think that's legally correct. >> i'm not asking legally correct. is this or is this not the president's position today? >> i have not asked, but i would be very surprised, because i do not believe it to be legally correct or shared by those in the administration who are legal experts on this issue. >> i'm not talking about that, the president of the united states, is this or is this not his position today? >> i don't know, senator, i haven't asked him that question. i do believe that the same rules apply to presidents of both parties, and i do believe that the general understanding of the
constitutional structure that that would be a true limited statement for whoever is president. >> glenn, the president of law school before he went and became the top lawyer, basically, of the state department. seems to have switched quite a bit in terms of his posture of the executive authority to wage war. >> this is what's so amazing about this, chris, and what's so significa significant. that statement obama made that the president does not have the authority to involve the u.s. in military attacks without congress was a statement that he prepared as part of a questionnaire from the boston globe. in that, president obama said these are the issues that are most crucial to the country because of what the bush administration has done. please, before you vote for me or anybody else, read what we're saying about presidential power and make your decision then. this isn't twenty years ago, it was three years ago. harold koh was a long-time critic before he served