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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  September 13, 2010 1:00pm-1:30pm PST

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[captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute >> when president obama offer new proposals to prop up the economy, it was seen as an attempt to reclaim the narrative with less than two months until the elections. are the words and actions this week enough to stem the losses expected on election day? that question and more for veteran political analyst frank luntz. later, donal logue stock spy. he can be seen in a new series called "terriers by the creator of "the shield." >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better.
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>> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> nationwide is on your side >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: frank luntz is a vessel and author whose books include "words that work" and "what americans really want . . . really." good to have you back on this program. the president. in milwaukee earlier in the week
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on labor day -- jobs, jobs, jobs. ohio later in the week -- jobs, jobs, jobs. we will come later to the conversation about john boehner. what about this populist rhetoric of jobs? >> i do not understand how he got distracted with the mosque. i do not understand how he does the white house speech on iraq and afghanistan. the american people have to focuses in mind -- jobs and the debt. it is still hard to believe that only 50 days left between now and the election, how things could have gone so wrong for him and for the democrats in congress. you and i sat here several times between the election and now. the opportunities for him were so great. he transcended partisan politics -- transcended ideology.
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the american people wanted him to succeed and hated the republican party. now, republicans are winning every generic ballot by eight or 10 points. people are convinced republicans will win the house of representatives and the senate. obama's approval rating is in the low forties. what went wrong? i really feel that he lost touch, that he forgot the people who put him into office, and that he became the logical brother than pragmatic. tavis: so much there to pick apart. >> i know where this is going. tavis: when you say americans are concerned about jobs, and get that. when you say they are concerned about the deficit, let me split that. i can accept the argument about wistful spending, but there is no evidence that are concerned about debts. they are troubled by the idea that we need to pay down the
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deficit rather than have a stimulus plan. >> nobody wants more spending. but they want is accountability. they want personal responsibility. they want washington to say what it means and stop pushing this money out here. i do a lot of work on the issue of anger. it bothers me that we have become such an angry country. a business that i worked for had to do a survey of parents. it is not just the economy that frightens them. it is not just politics. it is about being unable to control what happens to their children today because of technology and unable to promise them a better future tomorrow because of all the things that are happening. they created this technology that allows parents to ensure bendy mills do not get to their kids. the cannot make sure the american dream is as alive for the next generation as it is
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four hours. that is where the anger comes in. that is what he lost. i remember the rallies before election day. i saw thousands of kids, 12- year-old. parents took their children to attend obama rallies because the wanted to show them the future of america. those same parents now are afraid for their children, that there will not have a better quality of life. tavis: how preposterous is it that the party who got us into this mess, who have been obstructionist every step of the way on try to get out of the mess, so much so they have been labeled "the party of no" -- how is it the party that got us in this mess, that caught to keep us in this mess, maybe the people we hand the keys to come november? >> that he reference is the one obama is using. you are following the talking points perfectly. tavis: i am now on the obama
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talking points list, as you well know. >> here is the problem. the american people do not like republicans. but they do not like democrats even more. they do not want to vote for them, but there is no way they are voting for the democrats again. that is why they are so upset. there is nobody we have faith in now. our trust in schools is diminished. our trust in media has diminished. our trust in politics, wall street, business, and corporations -- everything is falling. we turn more insular. we focus more on our families. we try to dismiss all that is going on right now. the gop did spend too much. the gop is somewhat responsible for what happened. who is going to fix it? we do not want more spending. we do not want more corruption. i do not know where you stand on
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charlie rangel. the chairman of the ways and means committee doing the things he did? whether he knew it was breaking the law or not, if you get elected to office, aren't you supposed to follow a higher standard? obama is supposed to be the first post partisan president. he mentioned john boehner by name six times. he has become as partisan as any president in my lifetime. tavis: we also the leaked memo. you are the one who advised the republicans have to spin this argument to fight against financial regulation. >> because it was not building trust and confidence. it was trading in other bailout fund. that bailout -- the public says no to republicans and democrats alike. and why are republicans getting
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defeated in primaries? because the voted for the bailout. in that financial legislation that was acknowledged by democratic leaders, there was a fund which would allow yet another bailout. we do not want to bail out wall street. we want to help main street. we want to help average, hard- working americans. tavis: i am with you on the point many americans are against the bailout. there is no debate on that. but when you are advising republicans how to spend an argument in opposition to financial regulation, which americans do want -- that is what i asked about. >> you want me to be detailed. on cable news, and they put one side and you do not see enough of the other side. i want to pretend -- i want to give credit to fox. there are a hell of a lot more democrats on fox then define republicans on msnbc..
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we need to be informed, not just a firm. we are gathering information just to confirm what we already believe rather than being open- minded and try to collect information in. that is another of the great problems we have. there had to be oversight of wall street, which there was. the bush administration should absolutely be held accountable. but when we create some many rules and regulations into thousand pages of legislation, you do not know what the unintended consequences are. the people passing new legislation did not know the details, and ever-changing them in the last 48 hours because lobbyists for coming in. one thing we probably agree on is we do not need lobbyist legislation. we want legislation that has a positive impact. we want to make sure there is the right amount of oversight and accountability. we want to punish those who do something wrong. we do not need 2000 pages. how many pages is the bible?
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tavis: we agree on this, i think. the regulation that passed was not tough enough for me. there was not enough teeth in it for me. i do not think fox is any better than msnbc. they are both in the business of spinning. >> yet the american people in watching those networks have chosen fox not because of some intellectual bias but because you can at least get both sides. you may not always like -- >> tavis: i do not believe you think the folks who watch fox believe they are going to get a fair and balanced point of view. >> neither does the crew. they are laughing back there. tavis: what is going to happen with the bush tax cuts? >> if they are framed as bush tax cuts they probably are not extended. bush accomplished a lot when you consider that english was his
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second language, pause for laughter. the american people look at this and say, "how are you going to create jobs when you tax people who create those jobs?" name me one job other than an accountant or an irs agent that is created when you raise taxes on people. this would be a big tax increase at a time when our economy is still constricted. if i am a moderate democrat, i would support an effort to prevent tax increases for one year, because you never, ever raise taxes in a recession. tavis: how bad is a good to be for democrats? are they going to lose both houses? >> the senate may be 51-49 democrat. in california, i believe the barbara boxer race determines who wins the majority in the senate.
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it is too close to call. they are both very good debaters. they are both intense. if fiorina spends the money she has, she has a 50-50 shot. boxer is one of those people who can will themselves -- you cannot knock her down. i am going to get in trouble for that one. tavis: i am going to put that on youtube immediately. frank luntz calls barbara boxer a bubblehead. stay with us. donal logue is a talented actor whose credits include "the tao of steve" and "grounded for life." his new project is the fox drama "terriers."
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>> martha, i am over here and there is a bit of a problem. sorry? 3520 costa del madre? that is a bit different. ok. you are a peach. thanks so much. >> no problem. tavis: is he stealing dogs? >> he stole his dog. it is interesting. i think the show's tone is great. it is hard to define at first because it starts out like. this is kind of where they are and circumstances draw them into a world that has a lot more
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gravitas to it. it gets a lot heavier as it goes down the road. tavis: i do not know what you meant by that, but this is not one of those episodic things where every week there is a different show on a different thing. >> it has to build. we had a lot of these discussions. one thing i always find interesting about these kinds of shows were either in a certain situation these guys would be in real danger, and yet in the middle of bullets whizzing by they can say funny things to themselves, as if to suspend the danger for a moment for the audience. or they are in real danger in their hometown, but next week the danger is gone. you have to kind of keep track of it. if someone is after you, they are after you. if you are looking over your shoulder, you are looking over your shoulder next week.
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tavis: we jumped right into the stealing of the dogs and moved past what the show is about, what character you play. set the stage for our audience. >> i play a guy who was a police officer in san diego. he was asked to leave the force. he was terminated disgracefully. he is a recovering alcoholic. he certainly was not a recovering alcoholic at that time. now, he has lost his job, his reputation. he has lost his wife. i think he thinks unfairly, "i am trying to get sober and do the right thing. why aren't these things coming back to me?" he is putting together a livelihood doing private investigation work with a friend of his, who he busted doing drinking -- doing breaking and entering.
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he knew he was good at the nefarious side of the trade. these guys doing this thing stumble upon something that i think causes them to embrace a life of being like don quixote and such upon as a -- and sancho panza. when you have done everything to get something back and it is not want to work, you are free to act. there is no end in sight. it is a journey. they go for broke. part of it probably is they do not really mind failure because they have had enough failure. tavis: they are both unlicensed? >> yes. it is handy. tavis: that is one word. i was thinking more like hustler. >> there is definitely some hustling to it.
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i love doing the show. it is hard to say, because i have no objective is to when it comes to it. i have so much chemistry with my fellow actor in this. the strength of the show is on their shoulders. tavis: the critics are loving this. i was looking earlier this week, and every major paper in the country had a piece about this new show. everybody was raving about it on my radio show. my tv crew were raving about it. everybody seems to think this thing is going to be pretty special, which is interesting. i told you that my nickname for you for a while was "pilot man." you did every pilot in this town, it seems. some of them were good. talk about the journey of doing public after pilot. then you hit on one that everybody seems to love. >> i think that is part of the
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joy, learning how to let go. part of it is you have to be this diplomatic master, like you are at the un. how to stay on the radar and not get too high on the screen, but not falling off completely. every time you get a pilot, it feels there is this finite number of chances you are going to get where someone hands you the reins to an expensive television show. if they do not go, at some point they will say how many chances have given you. we did one for hbo called 1% that was a duel pilot with a "sense of anarchy." there are some that are very close to my heart, like "the tao of steve." there was a movie i really wanted to do with steve zahn called "shiny new enemies." they were scared about something
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to do with my schedule and i could not do it. the next hour, "the tao of steve," and i got to step into this. i do not think "shiny new enemies" was ever released. the good lord shuts the door and opens windows. sometimes it sounds hokey, but it is true. you have to be willing to go with the flow. i also think that this show, because it was shown and ted, the people involved in fx -- there were a lot of times where i felt that people liked what i did. it was very character driven and all improv. from a hollywood perspective, they would see that and say, "he does comedy, so we will stick him in this." that was not my sensibility at all. a lot of the pilots i did -- it was not a great fit for me.
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i did not feel like a lot of what i do i was able to touch upon. so this was the first show where i really felt as a human being that i could do the things that were funny, but there was no hydraulic pressure to be funny every 15 seconds. if the scenes are poignant, they are poignant. there is this interesting thing. now that i am 44 and have children and have been two different things, you feel as an artist like my well is deeper now. i kind of know how to draw upon it a little differently. tavis: to your point earlier that you sometimes worry or wonder whether there is an infinite number of pilots, or a finite number, how do you navigate through that process when these things are now working? do you ever forget they are going to stop the four carriers come?
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>> i embrace it as well. i would also adopt the mindset that they do not owe you anything. if i get into this weird state of bitterness about what i am owed, i am not the kind of person that like sitting on a couch waiting for someone to tell me what i am going to do with my life, for whatever reason. even when i did that work for mtv in the early '90s, it was the result of auditioning for things and not having much success. friends would say, "why are you taking things you do not even like? come back to new york." we were pro-active about it and that opened doors for me. last year, things were slow, and i got a job adapting this carol lack novel into a screenplay. i will find books. "the second coming" i got the rights. wim wenders is going to direct it. when stay in motion, it is
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easier to continue in motion. i am sure you can relate to this a lot. if i sit and wait for them to dictate whether i am driving one of those vehicles toward my own success or not, i am not going to be good. i never was the kind of person who was an easy sell at the front door. [laughter] tavis: that is a nice way to put it. >> once i adopted that -- billy bob thornton was a big influence. he -- i do not know him. he came here and wanted this kind of success. it was running from him. he finally just wrote a movie. a fantastic film. that is how -- that is how you do it. if they do not let you show them and you work hard to show them, and if you show them and do not respond -- that is ok. you tried. it is a good attitude to take
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for anyone who does this stuff. >> i did that a long time ago in this town. many do not. i am -- tavis: tell me about terriers' or donal. >> let parents are from county kerry and ireland -- in ireland. donal is the gaelic derivation of daniel or donald. they have an accent over the o. i was born in canada, but we went back to ireland and got green cards and came here. my sister siobahn plays my schizophrenic sister on the
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show. tavis: it is a family show. >> it was interesting for me because i take acting seriously but do not like to talk about it that way. i do not like to look indulgent. i have my thing i do, but do not prince around and talk about it much. the first time doing things with my sister -- i was so overcome with emotion i could not -- i could not get to scenes. this is kind of a thrilling thing when you are taken by something. it is artifice. you know how the scene starts and ends. when people always say, "i do not know where i went. it is so real," it is real in that it provoked a response when you watched it, but you knew where you were going. it was thrilling because there were moments where we really felt like we were flying, in a way. hopefully, if that resonated with us that way, all you can hope is people feel the same way when they watch it. tavis: apparently, they will.
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the critics like it. everybody seems to love this thing. "terriers" starring donal logue. >> you have an interesting name as well. tavis: the story is not as interesting. you can access our podcast to our website. i will see you back the next time on pbs. until then, good night from l.a.. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: join me next time with the norland its saints' head coach on what winning the super bowl meant for the city. that is next time. see you then. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all
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live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> nationwide is on your side >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ztecs,@st with a razor-sharppros and the skilled craftsmen
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