tv Politics Nation MSNBC December 9, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
this autumn. ready, get set, the worst is yet to come. also, the best chance to see what barack obama's made of. i don't think it's sugar candy. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politics nation" with al sharpton starts right now. welcome to "politics nation." i'll al sharpton. we have a special show tonight for fight for families from what is going on in washington to the cities and towns across this country. it's a battle that will define the 2012 election. it's important because every day we're reminded how much this country has suffered. a new report from the federal reserve says the net worth of american households dropped by $2 trillion in the last quarter. 2 trillion. that's the biggest drop in nearly three years. americans are suffering but
instead of helping, republicans are reflecting more pain. today, house republicans formally unveiled their plan for the payroll tax cut. it reduces unemployment insurance by 40 weeks. it cuts funding to the president's health care bill and it freezes the pay for federal workers. that's there's solution to ku t country in need. that's their priorities. but democrats won't stand for it. >> being aware of the public's interest in this payroll tax being cut have said okay, we'll put forth a payroll tax cut but so many poison pills on it that it couldn't possibly survive. it's about the extremism of the republicans in the house of representatives. >> this is a poison pill and this extremism is a slap in the face to a country that wants release. that's why we are rallying in cities across the country today as i speak. the need for jobs and justice
has never been more important. right now as i speak in 25 cities, along with allies and many others are joining us in jobs for justice rallies. why? because we must stay organized, we must stay visible, we must force this congress to bring jobs back and we must put the voter i.d. and voter suppression bills that are spreading this country front and center as a denial to our voting rights. joining me now, senator robert menendez, democrat from new jersey, and member of the senate banking committee. senator, thanks for coming on the show tonight. what do you think about the plan that we saw from the republicans in the house? >> well, that is an exercise in pacifying some of their members and what their ideological views
are but it's not a plan to come to a common ground to achieve help for families in this country, help in the payroll tax cut that we want to continue to extend, help for those who are working hard to try to find a job but still haven't been able to do so and have unemployment benefits. we simply seek to maintain those benefits. republicans want to cut them as we move into next year. and some of the provisions that they have, reverend just won't sell in the senate. so the bottom line is, it's not a serious proposal to help families get back on their feet. >> let me show you this graph. they are actually proposing, in light of all of the pain that we are dealing with, people are marching right now as i speak, marching tomorrow, people out with occupy wall street, people that have never marched are sitting at home wondering how they are going to survive through the holidays and this is their answer. you want a payroll tax cut extension? we're going to reduce the
benefits of unemployment from 99 weeks to 40 weeks. we're going to cut funding to the health care law. we're going to freeze pay for federal workers. i mean, this is like pouring salt in the wound, senator. i think nothing short of a continued prolonged active battle from the streets to you guys in the congress and the senate is going to make these people understand americans are not going to stand for this. >> well, their position is actually worse if we don't act upon the unemployment insurance just to maintain present benefits in january of this coming year, just weeks away. it will go down in 26 weeks and that will knock over a million americans looking for a job but can't find it when there's four applicants for every job that is out there off of their benefits. so that's just fundamentally wrong. and when you add that to what we as democrats want to do to
extend the payroll tax cut for employees, most economists have said from mark zandi at moodys and jpmorgan has said, if you don't do these two things, maintain the unemployment insurance and extend the payroll tax cut, we will see the gross domestic product fall by 2% when we need it to grow. >> right. >> so the economics of this as well as the human element is incredibly important. >> and that's important because we're not saying this is not good economics. that is just good politics or even good morality. it happens to be all three. and we're hearing some very, i would say, unfounded claims by the other side. they say we must protect the job seekers. well, let me show you this. npr, when in search of the millionaire job creators that they are protecting, these gops
keep talking about, we've got to protect the job creators. well, npr requested help from numerous republican on gregs nal offices including house and senate leadership and they were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview. it's amazing. when you call a heb on it, they can't come through. >> well, i think the republican motto right now is anybody but the middle class, anybody but working families. that's who they will protect. we saw it this week with the vote on the person that we wanted to head the consumer protection bureau. stand up for consumers in this country so they don't get ripped off. and they voted no. they are against the unemployment insurance maintaining the benefits level until we get this economy to defer and get back to work. they have a problem with continuing the payroll tax cut
but when we talk about tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, they have no problem as it relates to those customers and they don't seek for those to be paid for. so it's clearly a double standard and it seems like it's anybody but the middle class. >> well, senator menendez, you mentioned they blocked cordray and 203 of the 233 executives of the appointees. they keep doing it but we're going to keep fighting. thank you for coming on the show tonight. >> thank you. from the halls of washington to the streets of cities across america, people are fighting for families. especially in wisconsin where they are rallying today, right now, for jobs and justice, trying to roll back governor scott walker's radical anti-union agenda. joining us now from the network rally in milwaukee is richard abelson, executive director of
afscue. >> we struggle. since the union busting the tax in february. >> people all over the country, other unions joining the network, the public workers are being laid off many have been laid off and not rehired and unemployment has gone up in wisconsin, not down. we have got to confront the national problem. when we look at the unemployment rate going one way, the wisconsin rate has gone quite the other. we cannot let this fight go. >> i couldn't agree with you more, reverend. the wisconsin people are suffering from walker's programs and anti-union busting and anti-middle class policies and we've got to find a way to stop
it. >> yes. and let me say this. i think that it is important that we see these coalitions across racial lines, class lines, labor civil rights come together but we must also make those in the congress that claim to be democrats, progressives, stand up. this cannot just be a fight for those that are no courage and afraid to be attacked by the other side. >> that's absolutely true, reverend n wisconsin we have another struggle going on. the recall efforts to recall governor walker are in full swing and are going very well. workers and unions, the faith community, and citizens across wisconsin are energized and engaged. people in all walks of life are fighting to take back our state from governor walker as puppet masters, the coke brothers and the ultra conservatives of this.
>> rich abelson, thank you for your time tonight. good luck as you work together in milwaukee. thank you. >> thank you for having me. ahead, the fight for jobs and justice. we're in 25 cities tonight rallying for the fight for middle class. plus, willard wants to destroy medicare. newt wants poor kids to be janitors. how will president obama run against the extreme? and trump gives dump. and now he's on the attack. you won't believe what he said about michele bachmann today. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose.
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the radical plan to end medicare is front and center in the republican presidential race. that's next. ? with covergirl lashblast fusion. our biggest brush meets our fiberstretch formula for a blast of volume and length. lashblast fusion. from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl. it's easy to see what subaru owners care about. that's why we created the share the love event. get a great deal on a new subaru and $250 goes to your choice of 5 charities. with your help, we can reach $20 million dollars by the end of this, our fourth year.
welcome back to "politics nation." the newt surge is driving romney to the extreme right. all the way into the arms of paul ryan, the man who wanted to end medicare as we know it. once upon a time newt thought the ryan plan was a bad idea and willard is now slamming him for it. >> speaker gingrich and i have a
very different view, for instance, with regard to paul ryan's plan and the need to fundamentally transform medicare version 2.0. >> this is a place where speaker gingrich and i disagree. he calls this a right-wing social engineering. >> folks, the ryan budget was the most unpopular republican idea of the year. they must be smiling over at the white house. joining me now is washington post national reporter who also writes for their election 2012 blog and victoria del francesca, visiting scholar from the university of austin, texas. isn't the obama campaign thrilled and willard is embracing the ryan plan? >> i imagine that they are because this thing has already been put to the test. in new york, this election back in may, new york 26 congressional district and you saw the democrat pounce the republican. this was a red district.
they ran a campaign all about the ryan budget, about his plans to turn medicare over into a voucher program, to turn medicaid into a block grant system. and they came out on the losing end. republicans did. so i think that democrats -- >> and they were expected to win that race. >> exactly. exactly. >> victoria, it seems as though willard is not thinking general. he's now desperately trying to deal with beating newt gingrich now. look at this ad that he has put out where he has said that newt is going to the far left of the republican party. i never knew there was a far left or even a near left to the republican party. but look at this ad. >> he is on the left wing of the republican party. >> now, if you look at the
numbers, 65% of americans oppose changing medicare. so even though it appears that willard is trying to go to the far right here, he really is making himself even less electable if he is the nominee and he's using mr. pat buchanan in commercials. i understand in iowa he's using ann coulter. i mean, this couldn't get better if i wrote the script myself. >> and they are milismiling at white house. i think they are giving themselves high-fives. when you see a long and drawn out front-runner, the candidates are going to keep moving right. this is the beginning because primary voters are the more extreme voters, party activists. and in order to get the nomination, that's who they need to cater to but that's going to hurt them in the general.
>> now, one of the arguments nia, the romney people have made, is that he's the one that's electable. but if you look at these new polls that say that if you look at the polls that are out to date, barack obama, 49%, newt gingrich 40%. so he wins and this poll was taken between november 14th and obama beats him 9%. gingrich, 45. i mean, i'm sorry, romney, 45-44 during the same period. so the argument that mit has been making is that i can tie the president up better than newt can. does he hurt that? does he erode that by starting to take these extreme positions like the ryan plan and americans understanding what the ryan plan is in terms of changing medicare and other things? >> i think he does because,
again, senior citizens are among the most reliable voters. and they are very protective of medicare and i think you are seeing him obviously make that move to the right. he's trying to get to the right of newt gingrich which is very hard to do. certainly it's something that he's trying to do. not only on medicare have we seen that but also on immigration we've seen that with newt gingrich. but, again, if you look at this general election campaign, it's going to be about seniors turning out, about latinos turning out and the more he tries to make this play for the far right of his party in iowa and try to make some noise there, we see him dumping millions of dollars in ads over there. i think it does make him -- it damages him for this general election campaign but i also think that this idea that he is the most electable candidate against barack obama, it becomes less and less believable every day as you see him stuck at 23%. if you can get out of the primaries, then how do you win in the general? >> now, victoria, the president
himself seems to have said, okay, i've tried to work with these guys in a bipartisan way. it looks like they will not come around so they want to start the election. let's do that. and he said this about what he is up against, how he's trying to be fair but this is what he's facing. >> their philosophy is simple. we are better off when everybody is off to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. i am here to say they are wrong. that is the message that is going to resonate with the people of this country. >> and people are scared. we have been weathering the economic storm. we are finally starting to clear it and i think that's going to happen with those more moderate
republicans and democrats when they go to the voting, they say we don't know what's going to happen if we vote republican and the primaries, this is what is really going to help obama, is that people get nervous and they don't want the vote to tip. >> victoria, nia, thank you for your time tonight. have a great weekend. >> thank you. still ahead, our interview with the living legend of the civil rights movement. congressman john lewis. we'll talk about gop attempts to suppress the vote and set back the cause he fought and almost lost his life for. ♪ you, you ain't alone
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it's time for us to occupy wall street, occupy washington, occupy alabama. we just are getting started. we getting ready. >> and our jobs rally in october, we said we were just getting started. now we're following up on that promise by taking the fight across the country. right now, labor groups are rallying in 25 cities calling for job and justice. we're talking about getting people back to work in a conversation we need to have. joining us by phone, congressman robert brady, democrat of pennsylvania and a member of both the carpenters and teachers
union. congressman brady is about to speak at the rally in philadelphia. also on the phone, georgia state representative, democrat from atlanta. she's at the rally in atlanta. congressman brady, let me start with you. you're fighting for jobs but republicans back in washington don't seem to join you at any level in fighting for the -- against the rich. >> you know, reverend, they don't want to put teachers back to work, they don't want to put fireman to work to protect their houses and emergency workers back to work, mu nis pap back to work? what do they want? i can never understand what they want. if they don't like the bill and parts of the bill, what parts don't you like? they want to sink the whole ship. the whole united states of
america to sink the captain. and that's not going to happen because the people are going to rally around it. they understand the 1% and 99% and what is the problem with the 1%? if i was the 1%, i wouldn't mind paying my taxes. it's america. share. that's what we're supposed to do. pay your fair share. >> people around the country ought to know right in your home district, right there in philadelphia, the average medium income, household income is $28,261. that's the average median income where the national is 50,221. they want to know why you are out there rallying tonight. look at your district. >> that's exactly why i'm rallying. we're losing the middle class and they must be the nonworking
class and it's crazy. i can't understand what they are thinking. they don't want to give the penalty for the employees. i don't know what they want and they don't know what they want. >> well, we know what we want and we're going to fight for it. thank you and and i'm going to let you go. give our regards for all of the people in philadelphia. >> i will. >> let me go to atlanta quickly. we have on our phone line representative alicia morgan. alicia, thank you for joining us. i know you have the rally in atlanta. you have fought in the legislature there around the question of unemployment and poverty. let me show this to people around the country. 1.83 million people living below the poverty line. one in four are children in the state of georgia. in 2011, this is unbelievable,
representative morgan. >> it is and it ought to make everybody in georgia mad. because you're right, reverend al, we have the highest poverty since 1983 in the state of georgia. we also have an unemployment rate at 10 when the rest of the country is at 9.0. there's a lot of work to do and it's not just about it's about people struggling, don't know how they are going to eat, don't know how they are going to pay the light bill. this is serious. >> one of the things that we have to do is have sustained troubl troubles. people around the country need to mobilize and be prepared to vote. it's the justice issue. voter i.d. narrowly voting. you're a young-elected official. one of the most leading and
promising figures in your generation. how important is it for us to protect the right to vote and not have those that are trying to change the voting laws doing that without trying to back them up? >> listen, if we're going to do anything about unemployment and poverty, we have to have the right kind of people in office and i think there is no better time than now than for people to understand the connection between voting and the issues that affect our daily lives. and i'm not a conspiracy theorist but it started in georgia with voter i.d. and they were successful in restricting the kind of voter i.d. we could vote with and now it's happening all over the country. republicans are very clear. they know that they are wrong on policy. how do they do it? they try to restrict the access to the ballot. so we can not allow that to happen. i'm in the home of dr. martin luther king jr. and we will not stand by and let our voting rights be taken away
from us and we are not going back. >> state representative morgan, thank you. up next's willard's mission to destroy newt is in full effect. but will he do it face-to-face? that's next. all energy development comes with some risk, but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives...
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least $1.6 million from freddie mac before it caused the economic meltdown. then there's the $37 million from health care and industry groups. and on the issues, newt's been on all sides msnbc contributor maria, the executive director of latino. >> hi, al. >> thank you both for being here. >> peter, can newt handle the heat? >> i think you remember it, it wasn't a game of t-ball. he's used to the run and tumble. probably could punch harder than romney. he's not doing any of these attacks himself. he's got his surrogates out there. you could even say no in person to donald trump. he had to say it was a scheduling problem. so until romney defines himself and does the dirty work for himself, people are going to
question whether he has the spine to go up against the president. >> now, maria, newt reiterated in an interview today he's still going to have his campaign stay positive, while insinuating that an attack on him will backfire. watch this. >> my only observation is, every time these guys have attacked each other, they have gone down. so i don't know that being the attack dog is necessarily a big asset. that's not a game i'm going to play. my answers will be positive. >> maria, mr. gingrich talking about attack dogs? >> that was what i found most amusing. all of us will remember when he was the attack dog. he knows how to do it quite well. what i find interesting is he may be reading the american public, specifically the iowa caucus goers, we're ready of
dirty politics and mitt romney needs to walk a fine line. they are not saying, wait a second, a couple of the things that you're accusing them of, the medicare manned dates adatef that, you supported that as well. i think it's curious that both the iowa caucus and north carolina caucuses, over 60% that cast a ballot were christian. i think that's why they are increasingly resonating with newt. >> well, richard, as we look at this, the gop establishment seems to be quite disturbed with being hit by this newt surge. how are they going to handle it? karl rove is on the attack. romney has been caught with some of his supporters having a collective strategy yet it seems like newt keep's surging. in some ways, the more
anti-establishment he looks, the more popular he becomes with some elements of that party. >> somehow they are managing to turn him into john mccain. with, you know, mccain had been there for years, of course but he had always poked the eye of the establishment. newt was the establishment and they are trying to make him out as if he's not one of them. that only plays into the idea that he's some sort of truth teller who's always been against the structure of washington as opposed to the republican party. i don't know how this is going to help him. i don't know what constituency they are bringing to him. who does karl rove bring to the table here apart from the coke brothers? >>. >> now, another figure of the year, the donald, mr. trump. first he was a leading con 2e7bder, then he was a leading power broker but then maybe he
made it go too far. but now it looks like nobody wants to come. he's left with newt gingrich, santorum, all of his friends that came and "kissed the ring" won't come and let him moderate a debate and really culminated with his great donald endorsement. and he seems to uncharacteristically seems to be having second thoughts. look at this on fox news. he said, i'll have to look into it. doesn't sound too affirmative for the voiciferous, very definite donald trump that we all know. what's going on here? do you think he's getting cold feet or that he's been turned down cold as the problem, maria? >> well, i think this is the closest that we've ever seen
donald trump to being humble and i think that's amusing but really i think he's realizing that the american people, when politicians jump into the reality of the tv race, we know how that turns out. palin had a flop. everybody expected her to do well and he's seen as the reality tv king and at the end of the day, american people appreciate -- they appreciate sensational television but they really want to understand their politicians as leaders and i think that's what he's understanding, that there's a clear demarkation between the fluff and what people really want is substantive from the people that are going to be elected as the next leader. >> he seemed to be violated when he referred to michele bachmann. he answered a question on fox this morning. this is mr. trump talking about how he felt about michele bachmann's rejection. >> you know what i'm very disappointed, michele bachmann, she came up to see me four times, four times, she would call me, ask me for advice.
she said i should be her vice presidential -- you know f. she wins, she would like to think about me for the vice presidency. >> that will work. >> and then after all of that, she just announced she's not going to do this debate. it's actually called loyalty. how do you do that? i mean, it's amazing to me. >> loyalty in politics. republican politics. >> after four visits, what kind of friendship did this man have? and he is so rude billion anybody that says no. didn't anyone teach him any manners. >> thank you for your time. have a great weekend. >> thanks, reverend. ahead, we wrap up the week with a very special interview with congressman john lewis who nearly died marching for rights in 1965. also, a group of republican lawyers prove my point about voter suppression. [ male announcer ] cranberry juice? wake up! ♪
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let that happen. they were beaten and killed while standing up for all americans rights to equal access to the polls. the turning point in the struggle happened on march 7th, 1965. 600 voting rights protesters attempted to march across the bridge to montgomery, alabama. they were confronted by police at the foot of the bridge. georgia congressman john lewis is a key leader in the civil rights movement. he was one of the men leading the march that day. >> the major said, troopers advance. >> what happened next horrified the nation watching on tv. >> they came toward us beating us with sfik sticks, trampling us with horses, releasing tear gas.
i thought i was going to die. >> if you're looking for the turning point in the struggle for equality, this was it. the spectacle back known as bloody sunday. >> joining me now is congressman lewis. thank you for joining me tonight, congressman. >> well, thank you, reverend al. thank you for all that you are doing for all that you do. i'm delighted to be with you tonight. >> how do you feel today when we see the vote under assault after you went through what you went through in '65 and thought you were going to die, now you're a member of congress and they are trying to erode these rights again? >> well, i feel very sad and distress that after all of the struggle, after many of my colleagues and so many of my friends gave a little blood on that bridge and others died in alabama and mississippi, in other parts of the country and all these years later, after the signing of the voter rights by president johnson, that still
people around all over america are trying to depress, take that voter away. the vote is precious. it is almost sacred and to be able to participate in a democratic process, to be able to cast a vote should be very simple, almost like getting a glass of water. >> you and the movement of that time marched and got things done. >> we're marching today to draum advertise to the world that hundreds and thousands of negro citizens of america deny the right to vote. >> right after you were beaten bloody on bloody sunday, a week later you sat with dr. king and watched president lyndon johnson speak and deliver a voters speech to a joint session of congress announcing the voters rights legislation to the congress.
you said that to king cry that day? >> well, we all cried as we listened to lyndon johnson deliver that speech to the nation and he got to that point after and he said, and we shall overcome. >> really, it's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice and we shall overcome. [ applause ] >> that was the first time hearing an american president use the theme song of the movement. i looked at dr. king, tears came down his face, and we all cried a little and dr. king said, we will make it from selma to montgomery and a voters rights will be passed. he he was right. congress debated the act, passeded it act, and it was
signed into law on august 6th, 1965, almost 47 years later. there are people who want to subvert that act, make it almost impossible for people all across america to cast a vote. one person, one vote. that is part of our democratic process. it's part of our democracy. and now people want to make it hard sh hard, want to make it difficult. photo i.d.s in early voting. we cannot go back. >> you were the last active of the big six leaders of the '60s of the voter rights movement. it must really gall you to see people come back now with impediments, five states coming with 30 laws, states trying to do different things. we can't let you, dr. king, and others who died down that fought to give their life. people need to understand, this
was not automatic. people died. you were beaten to a pulp to get us a right to vote. this is serious. >> well, it is very serious and it's important for young people with not even a dream to understand that people suffered. people bled, people died. >> these were all americans that went to the deep south to fight, going to take all americans to stand together today in the tradition of dr. king and john lewis to fight the james crow juniors who fought 47 years ago. >> we must continue to stand and stand together. we are one people. we are one family. we are one house. we all live in an american house. and if we're going to hold the american house together, all of our citizen, it doesn't matter whether we're black or white, latino, asian america, native american, we all must be able to participate in a democratic process. >> congressman john lewis, thank you so much for your words tonight and for joining us
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all week we've been playing out how the voter fraud is ridiculous but the republican lawyer's association is trying to prove us wrong. counting every conviction of prosecution across the country since 1997. so what do they come up with? 311 cases. yep, only 311 cases. but we saw more than 593 million votes cast in that same period. that's a fraud rate? that's a fraud rate of 0.00005%.
that's the lowest rate we've seen on this show. so thanks, republicans, for proving our point for us. joining me now is lee saunders, the nation's largest union for public service workers and lee co-chaired the jobs is justice march in washington. he's in washington tonight. he's co-chairing these 25 cities tonight. lee, we spoke with a couple of cities as they are gathering. i'm going to join the gathering there. you're in washington. but the justice side of this, the voter i.d., you heard this very moving conversation i had with congressman lewis. he was beaten to get the right to vote. we're not talking about guys who want to vote. we're talking about people who want to overhaul the whole system of how we vote. and this clearly is a threat to
the working class people who you and your union represent. >> well, it's their agenda and their agenda is very clear. it's to rob us of our freedoms, to rob us of our voices, whether it's taking collective bargaining away from us from the state of wisconsin, the state of ohio, or whether it's taking voting rights away from us. and that's why it's so important in these cities where we're having these rallies today, those 25 cities, we've got to grow the number of cities where we have those kinds of rallies. i believe the american people get it. they understand that there is a clear choice. those who want to support the 1%, the billionaires, the millionaires who continue to get those tax increases who continue to see that they are moving and trying to move this country in their direction or they are going to support the 99% of the folks who are trying to play by the rules every single day or trying to make ends meet moving through the middle class. and i think that distinction is
very clear and people are understanding the difference and we've got to continue that momentum. n n >> now, lee, as we look at unemployment, jobs, let me show you data for november. african-americans are 15.5% unemployed nationally, according to the bureau of labor statistics. hispanics, 11.4. average rate is 8.6. african-americans almost double the rate. when we look at that climate, 8.6 is an improvement but it's clearly high. we look at that and the next battle is unemployment insurance. how costly would it be if benefits ran out. six million people lose benefits next year. 1.8 million cut off within a month. that's why we're rallying tonight. this is incredible. >> we've got to fight to extend
unemployment insurance benefits. we've got to fight to make sure that that payroll tax cut remains in effect. i mean, it's just unbelievable to me that you have these conservatives on capitol hill who are continuing to provide these tax breaks to billionaires yet they will not provide $1500 a year to the middle class and working class who need those breaks. this is a clear distinction that we need toun understand and i think we are getting it. >> look at ohio. they made a law and you made the call. i went in three times with you. people turned that law around. we won that in november. if you fight, you can win and we're going to continue to fight, mr. saunders. >> we sure will, al. we're going to be walking hand in hand with you. >> lee saunders, thank you for your time tonight. thank you all for watching. i'm al