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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  October 23, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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election, bothed campaigns have gun their closing -- have begun their closing push. florida is on the short list of states that could determine the outcome. something the candidates know all too well. after last night's debate in boca raton florida. president obama stayed in the sunshine state to campaign in delray beach where he unveiled a new brochure entitled the new economic patriotism, a plan for jobs and middle class.
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>> obama: i've laid out a plan for jobs and middle class security. and unlike mitt romney, i'm actually proud to talk about what's in it. and by the way the math in my plan adds up. >> eliot: despite the glossy new packaging the brochure offers little in terms of new policy. a fact the campaign openly admits. >> the pamphlet reflects the ideas that the president has advanced throughout this campaign but we wanted to codify it and put it in one place so that as voters who are making their final decisions contemplate the decisions and have a chance to look at the specific ideas the president is offering. >> eliot: that didn't stop the obama campaign from touting the campaign including ohio, new hampshire, virginia and of course florida. let's bring in former florida congressman alan grayson who is currently running to represent
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florida's newly-formed ninth congressional district. congressman, thank you as always for joining us. >> thank you. >> eliot: so how did last night's debate affect florida voters? it is still listed, florida that is, in a tossup category. although it seems to be leaning toward mitt romney right now. do you think the president made any ground up last night? >> i think he certainly did. look, he seemed like the president. he seemed like the president of the united states in full grasp of the fact. mitt romney seemed like somebody with 15 minutes of material trying to spread it out over 45 minutes. he seem to have this wonderful gift to string together words that mean nothing. i wrote down a couple of them as i was watching with my family. first answer, we need a comprehensive and robust strategy and we need to coordinate with our friends to address the rising tide of tumult. what does that mean? how can somebody who claim to be the president and give out vacuous nonsense like that? >> eliot: let me ask you this.
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there's no question that over the last several weeks florida has been moving toward mitt romney. what do you ascribe that to? the unemployment rate there. is it 8.7? can the president remedy that? >> well, i think that it's been more than anything, the impact of the lies concerning the president's plan regarding the healthcare plan. i think that the fact that the other side has been pounding with ad after ad after ad this nonsense that the president's going to cut medicare benefits when the opposite is true, he's actually closing the doughnut hole, that's had an effect on florida's senior votes and i think that people have to see through that. the romney campaign is running a campaign of lies. outright lies. i think the president's starting to point that out. i think that other people in the party are starting to point that out. i've been pointing that out for quite awhile. i think people will have to see through that. in fact, the romney and the ryan plan to cut medicare and social security and i think once seniors understand the facts
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they'll vote for obama. >> eliot: certainly hope that will be the case. the president doesn't have much time to change the direction of this and you know, for four years, foreclosures have continued to be a problem. so -- excuse me, i'm having a coughing spell. i'm troubled by the fact he hasn't addressed that more specifically. >> well, i think you're right. i think the president understands that. that's why you saw a difference between the first debate and the second and third debates. he realizes in order to beat the lies, he has to confront them and call them out and i'm pleased to see he's finally doing that. i'm pleased to see the democratic party is doing that. i mean for the republicans to come along and actually propose to turn medicare into voucher care and then turn around and say that the president is cutting benefits when, in fact, the president's plan which is passed into law doesn't cut a single medicare benefit whatsoever is just outrageous. it is outrageous they would try to abuse people like that with lies. >> eliot: alan, no question i agree with you. you said before we went on the air, up 18 points.
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will that continue to be the case? any real threat to you in your race? >> we'll see. we're pleased that the super pacs decided to take their money and play elsewhere. they still have a little bit of time left. last time i got hit by $5.5 million of dirty sewer money from the super pacs. i got hit harder than anybody anywhere in the country and any house raised in history. they decided to take their ball and play elsewhere. i'm happy. i think we're going to win. >> eliot: what did you make of mitt romney last night trying to run to the middle pretending his foreign policy was identical to the president's. that seemed to be waving the white flag on an issue he was talking about. the issue of israel is hugely important. did the president close that gap last night? >> well, honestly, no. i don't think the president closed that gap because i've been hearing as a jewish member of congress from central florida, i've been hearing now for the past four years that the right-wingers have been trying to make out this case that the president's a muslim. that he hates israel. he won't visit israel and so on and so forth.
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i asked them frankly tell me one thing that the president's done to harm israel. just one thing. and they can never come up with a single thing but there's been a whispering campaign regarding the jewish vote for four years. it is hard for the president to turn that around. >> eliot: allen i have been devout and stead fast support of the president particularly on the issue of israel where i remember when the campaign began. a misinterpretation of his speeches. he has been a devout supporter of israel. as a matter of politics, you and i have been in politics. why didn't he visit israel and do what would visually have been better? >> in fact, as he pointed out on the debate, he has visited israel. he's visited it in a way that was profoundly important to him. it shaped his thinking in a way far more superficial than romney going to raise money for his campaign. i applaud him for that. >> eliot: i agree with you. he went to the great memorial to the holocaust and i'm sure that was moving for him. but over the last four years why did he not set foot in the
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state and say to the american jewish community i understand how significant this is as your president, i'm here right now. i wish he had done it. i think it would have eased his capacity to win the state of florida and that would be the end of the presidential race. >> well, listen, one more reason for four more years. he'll have four more years to do it shortly. >> eliot: i hope that's the case. former florida congressman alan grayson, thank you for your time. thank you for bearing with me as i had a coughing fit on the air here but it no-no way reflects anything other than complete support for your position. alan, thank you for joining us. senator rob portman says romney's math works. why? because he says so.
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whatever your moves. payday. fill up and go! >> eliot: how do our friends overseas view our presidential race? we have a conversation with tom watson next. first, chris matthews makes fun of o'reilly. little kids make sense of the candidates and fox news makes a charlie sheen joke a year and a half too late. when it doesn't fit anywhere else we put it in the viewfinder. >> third and final presidential debate between former governor mitt romney and future former president barack obama --
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[ laughter ] i'm tivoing it so nobody tell me whether the moderate or conservative romney kicked the lethargic or energetic obama's ass. >> what did you think about mitt romney this evening? go. >> i think he understands the importance of friendship with israel. >> i think he was assertive confident and hungry for the job. >> actually found him to be more human and relatable tonight. >> winning. >> can you describe president obama? what is he like? >> he seems very faithful. like the loyal type of person. >> he's black. like me. >> a new poll shows that mitt romney has amassed a 22-point lead among president obama among rural voters in battleground voters. rural voters say they can't put their finger on it but there's something about romney that just seems right, probably just a feeling. [ laughter ] >> good-natured barbs or serious digs is the subject of this evening's talking points memo. >> i do respect bill.
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i do respect the fact that you give bill, give everyone's crazy uncle something to say on thanksgiving. >> i like that. that makes me feel good. >> what can you say specifically that -- has undecided voters out there giving some clarity about why the math works aside from asserting that it does work? >> david, two points. one, it does work. the policy does work. so it does work. >> if you were old enough to vote, who would you vote for? >> obama. >> i'm going to have to go for obama. >> romney. >> i would say to vote for both of them and good luck. >> i don't know. i don't really vote. because i'm too young and i don't understand voting. but no. i'm not sure. >> eliot: americans root only ones following this election. how is i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i build a ground-breaking car. good. now build a time machine. go here, find someone who can build a futuristic dash board display. bring future guy back.
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>> eliot: foreign policy was in focus as romney and obama grappled with getting it right on the international stage. now with exactly two weeks to go until election day in america at least one thing is clear. the world is watching! so what is the view from across the pond? how does our closest ally, britain, see american foreign policy? joining me now is tom watkin, a labor party member of the british parliament and author of "dial m for murdoch." thanks for joining us this evening. >> great pleasure to be with you. >> eliot: we're in the throes of an election, one of the great traditions we inherited from our british friends and allies is this notion of democracy. tell us what is the view from there of this on-going battle between mitt romney and president obama. what is the perspective you bring to this and that brits feel? >> well, look, obvious response to that is britain is seized with this election as well. we're furious with you for not having a decisive outcome in advance of the day.
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we like to know who the winner is with our allies. there's been a lot of tired parliamentarians staying up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning watching the debates but it is exciting. and obviously even for little ole britain who the president is vital for our economic and foreign policy future as well. there is a big debate in the country like there is in the states. >> eliot: when you watch the debates here in the united states is there a division in england? is the labor party lined up squarely behind president obama because there is some sense of intellectual alignment kinship with his ideology and approach to economics and foreign policy, the conservative party behind mitt romney? is there the division one might predict? or critique of what goes on here? >> i think there are broad alliances. the party would be the democrats obviously. but it is incumbent on party leaders in the u.k. to work with any elected president.
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and they've done that successfully when they represent the opposing wings of each part of the movement. you know, i would say that labor party members on the ground and some of our back benches are obviously very keen to see president obama do well. but our leaders will make sure that they'll work with whoever is the ultimate winner. >> eliot: the relationship between the two nations is so deep and cultural in so many levels, two twins who cannot ever think separate one from the other. president obama became president. if he had one calling card at the beginning, it was his opposition to the invasion of iraq. is the opposition to the iraq war now as you said, a calling card in great britain as well politically. do those who oppose it early on have some capacity to say look how pressurent i was even when the tide was running the other way. >> we've got collective responsibility. the leader of my party the labor party was not actually in
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parliament when -- he wasn't elected when the votes on iraq took place. he did say he would have opposed the iraq war. so that has allowed him i guess, the sort of -- ability to sort of move beyond the iraq war prison by which tony blair and gordon brown were judged in the country. you know but i think people are moving on now and for us, i'm sure it is the same in the states. it is the global economy that's the issue and that is the number one issue that is going to determine politics in the u.k. over years to come. i'm sure that will be the same in the states. >> eliot: absolutely. the foreign policy debate here really veered very quickly back to economics and the prism of foreign policy as you say was viewed as it related to economics. let's talk about the economics of the globe right now. to a certain extent, some of us have been arguing in europe you have tried the largest macroeconomic experiment ever with this notion of austerity and at least from my perspective, it doesn't seem to be working that well. are we wrong about that?
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is the austerity paying off in ways that we're just not seeing it? it seems to me it has driven unemployment up and growth way down. >> that's exactly what it's done in the u.k. it has driven us back into two quarters of recession and for longer recession made it harder for the recovery to come. we have no growth. we pay for the costs of rising unemployment. and that's the lesson of the 1980s as well. we had a similar global recession. so the difficulty in europe is we've not quite -- we don't have a plan b yet. we're putting a lot of pressure on current range of political leaders to try to look at that. >> eliot: it seems to me that governor romney's proposal of austerity appears to mirror what i view as the failed effort on the part of the eu to sort of cut its way out of a recession. it has pushed knew a double dip. so how much pushback certainly from the labor party is there to change course and to embrace a more damian approach to more
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spending to drive the economy forward? >> the biggest challenge for the labor party my party and the u.k. is to convince people there is an alternative. we think very much looking at what president obama is trying to do to sort of put jobs at the heart of the economic plan. that is the way that you can get the building blocks out of this kind of mess. and the problem is that states need to do this collectively. otherwise, you know, we're sort of networked in now the effects of that sort of massive state intervention are quite hard to sort of manage if you can't do this on the global stage. >> eliot: look, i can't conduct this interview with you without asking about rupert murdoch. he is a titan of the media across the globe. titan who spreads misinformation and illegally obtained information in my view. what is going to happen at the end of the day? you have at least had criminal cases brought against people within his organizations. he's under scrutiny.
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will something fundamental change either at his company or in the media over in britain? >> i don't think -- i think the jury is out about what happens to news corp. they have had 70 arrests in the u.k. people arrested for phone hacking, computer hacking conspiring to pervert the course of justice bribery. people have been accused of blackmail. there's all sorts of lurid stories. my view is this story could move stateside. i believe that they were commissioning private investigators to hack computers. i think the software, the investigators were using was used on american servers and when the evidence is finally brought to light they potentially breached the -- in the united states. you treat those far more seriously than we do in the u.k. >> eliot: tom, i think you're right. it is almost impossible when you look at how many people were hacked thousands of people over
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in great britain. many of whom traveled the world and were in los angeles new york, all over the convince. when they were hacking, they did not differentiate based upon where they were. they went after the phone number. i think as you point out, it is almost inevitable that information, with respect to hacking will end up proving out to violations of law here in the united states. tom watson, member of the british parliament and author of the recently published book "dial m for murdoch." thank you so much for your time. we look forward to have you back. >> thanks very much. >> eliot: the big banks and their poster boy jamie dimon. has he skated through the financial crisis
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our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered.
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>>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> eliot: with candidates as smart as romney and obama it is safe to say that nothing happens by accident. what is the take away from last night's foreign policy debate? mitt romney wanted to obscure differences rather than clarify them. even going so far as to etch-a-sketch away his most hawkish language on afghanistan and iran. but why? faced with a debate where he would have to articulate what differences in policy underlay the tough talk and harsh critique that are easily spewed in speeches and interviews on fox where follow-up questions are forbidden romney threw in the towel before the fight started. he realized that beyond the bella coase words that have carried him through the primaries and in contention for the presidency, there were no policies that made sense. romney decided to hide behind a
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platform that was little more than me, too and parroted the president's lead. with the three debates complete and the campaigns running on vapor and adrenaline until november 6th and only one jobs report left to frame the outcome, where are we? there are three silos of substance to think about. foreign policy, domestic social issues and domestic economic issues. on social issues, romney has swung to moderate mitt moving us across generations of conventions week by week leaving us confused and baffled about his core convictions. on economic issues, romney has exhumed the skeleton of an economic agenda that touts lower taxes as a mantra for growth. if only the historical record gave any credence to the claims. and now on foreign policy, romney has conceded no real disagreement the romney campaign at the end of the day is so much less than meets the eye. so much less in any area of creativity or thought than one
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might have expected. so why its appeal? why is the race so close? because the president's first -- it went well but not the trend lines of declining middle class income and security. people are unhappy. and when alternatives appear with promises, no matter how empty and unfounded they may be, people will give them a long look. the anxiety about our future that has allowed mitt romney a seat at the table is what will drive our politics to the next decade. it has not been and will not be pretty. that's my view. now to my point. (vo) jennifer granholm ... >>for every discouraged voter, there are ten angry ones taking action. trickle down does not work. in romney's world, cars get the elevator and the workers get the shaft. that is a whole bunch of bunk. the powerful may steal an election, but they can't steal
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>> eliot: out of ashes of the economic cataclysm of 2008, jamie dimon head of j.p. morning an chase rose like a phoenix. he managed to steer his megabank through the crisis relatively unscathed. his institution required no bailout. preserves thousands of jobs by taking over distressed banks that no other company would and void most of the risky mortgage related bets that other firms had not. that was the story put out there by jpmorgan chase's p.r. team and accepted wholesale by the media. then this summer, jpmorgan announced it had sustained huge losses on risky bets made by a rogue trader knick navalled the whale. critics began to focus on jpmorgan's long list of regulatory failures.
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with dimon sustaining a blow to his reputation, the question being asked by wall street critics are the huge financial institutions too big to fail but too big to manage as well? joining us is reuters columnist bethany mclean who co-authored a profile of jamie dimon for this month's "vanity fair." jamie dime on the line. thanks as always for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> eliot: is jamie the last big repentant ceo? >> i think there are lots of them but jamie is a true believer. he believes that firms -- into thank these big banks are better off as big banks. they can serve their clientele be it individuals be it corporations. i think he genuinely believes that. >> eliot: when he speaks, he does it with conviction. either he's the best actor or he genuinely believes it. >> i don't think he's a guy capable of acting. i think he believes. >> eliot: he is what he is and pops right out of his skin. he is from -- the view that the size of morgan chase created the
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security that permitted it. as he says with the fortress balance sheet to survive the london whale losses. >> survive it in sort of undented fashion in the sense that $6 billion is a big number but jpmorgan chase still produced a profit in that quarter. >> eliot: he has to acknowledge they're involved in libor and involved in a slew of the sorts of mortgage-related securities marketing problems that other big banks as well were involved in. >> right. so the flip side of that and you can argue this question both ways the flip side of his defense that jpmorgan -- could survive this, would it have happened if jpmorgan chase was smaller. there is another question in the index, the securities that jpmorgan chase got so big and they almost were manipulating the market because they were so sizable, such a huge position. is it right for our markets that you have a firm capable of taking that big of a position. >> eliot: there are two major questions. are they too big to manage, you just said. i will acknowledge jamie dimon
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people say he's a great manager. take that as a premise. can anybody manage an entity that big without these types of serious issues cropping up every now and again and having been in charge of state government, i can tell you with something that big, stuff will happen. maybe they are bigger than we permit them to be for that reason alone. >> i think that's a great question. does it come down to management. when you look at a guy like jamie dimon who is an extremely skilled manager and somebody who cares a lot he really cares a lot and if this can happen under his watch what does that mean for other firms where the ceo may not be as skilled or care as much as. >> eliot: everybody says he is meticulous. he drills down to numbers and he does it in a meticulous way. the other question, does he acknowledge when you talk to him that he has a depository institution because of its scale, the beneficiary of government subsidies and that permits him by -- many different levels to use the subsidies to then make other types of bets using taxpayer dollars to sort of reinforce his balance sheet.
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does he acknowledge that? >> probably not in those exact terms. i think jamie's response would be that the firm as it has served its clientele better than it would if it were smaller and his response to that question is well if it is not a u.s. bank serving our business customers and our business customers it will be a chinese bank. >> eliot: i saw that in the article. what that leads to is the phrase regulatory arbitrage where you say somebody else will do it, therefore we have to match their lower standards rather than saying it is dangerous to the entire financial structure. therefore raise the standards and so he's buying into sort of regulatory triage that created the crisis of 2008. >> perhaps. i think there is an element of johnny jumped off the cliff therefore we have to jump off the cliff. people point to the size of europe's banks and the u.s. banks may be big. >> eliot: everybody said look how deep their capitalization is. therefore we have to emulate that. >> there is a question about
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what serves the needs of a corporate customer who may be in the united states, may operate in china. may operate in europe. a bank like jpmorgan in order to serve the customer well. i don't actually, for all that -- if we're going to break up the banks what do we replace them with. in the end you need a financial system that functions well and you need one that serves in the businesses and customers. what does that look like? >> eliot: the vocal rule which would try to create a divide between the proprietary trading that we're talking about here and depository work, not purely but in essence doesn't itself go to scale. you could still have two very large institutions. another element of dodd frank of course, does try to make it more expensive because it creates systemic risk. jamie dimon is losing the debate. even sandy while disagrees patron saint. i think there is will almost a consensus emerging that leaves jamie dimon off on his own in the minority now. >> i think that's a really interesting point. i think there's a lot of movement in washington that would suggest that the big banks
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are losing the debate because at a certain point if you impose punitive capital levels -- it becomes too expensive and shareholders will start to pressure the big banks. the contrary to that is that no shareholder has the power individually to take on one of the big banks. the banks are so big. >> eliot: whether or not shareholders run -- we have a tiny bit of time left. one of the things that people used to say about jamie dimon was he's loyal. people around him who love him. your article almost debunked that. he cut people off left, right and center. what's your bottom line? boil or not? >> i think they had to struggle to find the definition of loyal. what are you loyal to? a person who's no longer doing the job for the institution they're supposed to do? are you loyal to the institution. do you say in order to be loyal to the institution and to do the job we all need to do, i'm going to cut you loose because you're not doing your job anymore. >> eliot: very clever answer. defines loyalty for fulfilling the fiduciary duty. it could mean loyalty to
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