tv Inside Washington PBS July 20, 2012 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
>> "inside washington" is brought you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org. >> what do you think of when you see a tree? a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? and do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do.
weyerhaeuser, growing ideas. >> the president is looking around for someone to blame, and recently i became the reason for all their problems. >> this week on "inside washington," mitt romney on defense as the president boris n. on bain capital. >> that goes to the rationale of his candidacy. returns, theax headache he refuses to treat. >> the american people are asking where are the jobs. they are not asking where in the hell are the tax returns. >> the uprising in syria. >> spreading out of control. >> a suicide bomber targets tourists in bulgaria. >> it was part of a global
campaign of terror carried out by hezbollah. >> a summer of the storms and extreme heat and drought. acts of god or the wages of environmental sin? >> we are asking god to send us the rain we need. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> bain capital, of sourcing, short tracks offshore tax accounts, tax returns. mitt romney has been on the defensive even though the issue on which he chooses to run, the economy, runs a slow pace. at has been about romney's
bain capital and his refusal to release tax returns even though some republicans want him to do so. >> romney has released just one full year of his tax returns. >> he has no one in new to blame, he is out of touch with what is happening in the country and that is why in november we will put him out of office. >> why doesn't romney just released the tax returns, charles? >> gordo, you are killing me. this is the week where obama makes the gaffe of the year and you lead with the taxes? look, i will play along. this is an arm of the dnc, but i will play along. [laughter] john mccain released two years, and john kerry -- terry's wife, who, as willie sutton would say,
is where the money is, never released any. >> nina? >> obama released eight years, clinton 12 years, george h.w. bush, 14 years. these are all people who got to be president. it does make you wonder, what is in there? >> colby? >> 57% of the american people want him to release his tax returns. he has promised republicans who want him to release his tax returns. i thought this was a non-issue until i heard somebody like george will say that maybe he has something to hide. let's see what is there. >> roger? >> this is a loser of an issue for george romney. >> mitt romney. george is the father.
>> mitt romney, sorry. democratic as targets are going around in saying that one man has seen romney's tax returns. it was john mccain, when he was vetting him for a vice president, and the first thing he did was say, "i want sarah palin instead." why not just do it? why not tell us about what was in the swiss bank accounts? romney separates himself from the massive average american people by doing this. >> mccain's answer was not "i will go for sarah palin." his answer was, "i look at them and there was nothing in them." either he is lying and you think he is a dishonorable man, or he is not. second, you release these returns for 10 years, you imagine that there are hundreds of pages long, all the
complications because of our insane tax code. there will be endless stuff in there and we will be talking about nothing else for a month. romney is right, he should be talking about the economy. yes, he will be hit on this. people will imply darkly that he will be fighting stopped trade but the issues are the economy, obama's gaffe, and other issues. >> a " new york times" poll say is that a majority of people disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy. are these guys going to talk about anything real? a real debate about the direction of the country is the subject of charles' column this week. >> when obama got off prompter and said that if you are successful in business, if you think it is because of your
intelligence, well, a lot of people are intelligent. if you'd think it is your hard work, well, a lot of people are working hard. teachers, roads and bridges, the government in invented the internet -- it did not -- he puts government at the center of american success. in a center-right country, that does not play well, and romney should hit him on that from now until election day. >> rush limbaugh has also been beating the drum. if you take that same statement, you hear him also said that the point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. go back to the speech in kansas. the point he made it there that
needs to be remembered is that he said that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. this has been said over and over again by president obama. but you want to make him the son of karl marx in the white house? go ahead and do that. >> but you do have two versions of the economy. >> you do, and one of the reasons this thing does play is that we had this banking scandal, the libor scandal. business thinks obama is the enemy, but bankers and business are increasingly distant from the american public. they are the super-rich, the super-corporate, it appear -- super-crooked, it appears -- >> obama was not speaking about bankers. he was speaking about entrepreneurs and individuals, and he says that if you think you are responsible for your success -- >> does not -- >
>> arguing about gaffes is less important than tax returns -- >> you are wrong about that. it is only a gaffe in the washington definition, that i guess when a politician accidentally says what he believes. >> i know we want to be fair. if you go back to that kansas speech, that statement was about teddy roosevelt, who said that we also had to have the infrastructure in this country. same thing obama is talking about. >> i would like to hear more about the role of government in our society. are these guys going to talk about anything real in this campaign? how about real that of the subject of charles' column this week, the role of government in
our society? how about the medicare crisis? how about syria? would you like to hear the candidates talk about this stuff? what do you think, roger? >> they talk about it. we tend not to hear it. what campaigns are really about our, as roger ailes said when he was not in tv, he said that campaigns are about creating cartoons of your opponent. obama is the out of touch, and, b who wants to turn american -- incompetent at guys who wants to turn america into european socialism. mitt romney is the out of touch rich guy who wants car elevators and a dog on his car roof. we tended to concentrate an enormous amount of time on the fortunes -- cartoons because,
the media is set up like that. >> we cannot blame the candidates, we have to blame ourselves. >> we have to to some extent. i was talking to a democrat and republican, and each one thought the only way they were going to win was to savage the other guy. if you turn on your television now, it is disgusting. i don't want to see it. the american people don't want to see it, probably, either. it worked in the past, and will probably work now, and maybe they are right. but that is not the way to run a democracy. >> i think everybody should calm down a little bit. the important thing should be the debates. there will be the opportunity to frame the issues and listen to the candidates respond and we will get a sharper contrast and a better understanding, and they
won't be able to speak in sound bites. this is going to play out through the summer, but we will get down to the serious business sometime after september. >> they will be able to speak in sound bites. i have never seen a debate where they can ask each other questions. >> there will be three debates? >> free presidential, one vice- presidential. >> i like rodgers pointed out how the candidates caricatured each other. -- roger's point about how the candidates care richard each other. when you don't have the presidency at stake and you don't have personalities and court since -- i think 2010 was one of the most serious elections of our time. it was about obamacare, the size of government. there was all this resistance by conservatives that resulted in a changing congress. it was about issues because you did not have personalities. once you get into a presidential
election, where the ideas have a head and face attached to them, it lends itself to be caricaturing and personal attacks that we are inundated with. >> 2010 did have a personality, the personality of barack obama bit republicans ran against barack obama -- >> as a man to achieve something historic, obamacare. >> they have been making some of the same arguments against obama -- not just about health care, but the economy -- that they are making now. >> why did the disclosure act die in the senate, roger? >> it to die in the senate because politicians don't want people to know where it they get their money from to even john mccain, the champion of campaign finance disclosure, voted against it. >> what about the human factor? the republicans said that unions are protected by this thing.
>> unions have to disclose, too. >> are you suggesting it comes from union members? >> just the way an exxon pac comes from exxon. this is one of the great political flips of all time. it used to be that republicans argued that they did not want restrictions on the amount did you should simply disclose and that was enough. now, suddenly, the ball has moved. the supreme court's says you can say what you want, and the ball has moved completely down the field to a different place. disclosure means that people will be targeted. >> which is exactly what has happened with donors on the republican side, who have been targeted personally, the families and businesses, and that is why people are worried about the disclosure, because of the vindictive treatment of people exercising the free right of association --
>> sorry to interrupt. they are giving money to produce vindictive, attacking ads. that is targeting. people giving millions and millions to produce some of the most vicious -- >> when you send in $20, you are not writing the script of the ad. >> so talk of running mates. it is he going to choose? bobby jindal? chris christie? marco rubio? >> i have no idea. it will probably be romney lite, somebody like pawlenty or portman. >> does that make a difference? >> no. >> it could make a negative difference. the role of first do no harm is always important when choosing a vice president. you want someone to will not overshadow the top of the ticket. people generally don't care,
state and our p -- generally don't care, some they are pa lin or quayle. >> the rnc announced that christie will give the keynote address on tuesday. which means he is out of the running. christie said a day later that it may not happen, but i think he is out. pawlenty is rising. perhaps, if it turns out that the attacks on romney about the wealth and attachment andy card lif an attack -- and the card list and the tax returns that you want for seven year -- 70 years -- [laughter] if that becomes the issue, then pawlenty is a guy with humble roots. he actually said on fox that he is a log cabin republicans before i realized that it has a new meaning.
[laughter] i think i.t. is not going to make a lot of difference. >> this was a week of apologies. john sununu apologized for saying president obama needs to learn how to be an american, the democrats apologize for putting a dancing chorus in one of their ads. it was alleged to be shot at ann romney. >> charles those us an apology, too, because you don't have to record your contribution if you give $20. for an independent expenditure, $10,000 for an organization. >> don't hold your breath on the apology. >> i never apologize. >> the apology we are still waiting for is the one from michele bachmann, who complain that huma abedin, secretary clinton at's top staff member, was not careful enough in choosing her father, mother, and
brother, all of whom may or may not have had ties to the muslim brotherhood, who won the presidency and egypt, and is not considered a terrorist organization by the united states. it is mccarthyism. >> john mccain address this on the floor of the senate. >> good to see the old mccain back. >> when your party's standard bearer and the republican speaker of the house both attack you, maybe your art of touch with your own party. >> it was good to see that. we have sunk so low in some regards that it was good to see the republican leadership stand up -- >> this was partially the response of the republican party leadership. you had john mccain and doing what john mccain does best, which is speak independently as a maverick, and he called this the way he did. boehner came out after and said it was dangerous stuff to be talking about, but that was not
a strong response from the republican party. they did not single out for criticism those who made the scurrilous attack. >> you mean something so low as when we had the tucson shootings, and gabrielle giffords was shot, and it was implied, aactually said by "the new york times" and democrats that this was attributable to sarah palin -- all that speculation that went on for three or four days, and the president did not step in and stop it? >> i am going to stop this. turmoil in the middle east. >> assad is losing control, of violence is increasing rather than decreasing, and all our partners need to come together and support a transition. >> this week a bomb tore through a syrian security compound and killed three high- ranking officials, including assad's brother-in-law.
russia and china vetoed a resolution that would apply sanctions against the syrian government it just a matter of time before assad goes, charles? >> these people are fighting for their lives. the alawites are a 10% minority and they ruled the sunnis for a century and they will be decimated, because it has become a sectarian war. you do not get on an airplane and live in moscow and live well. it will be a long and drawn-out fight. the house of assad does not have a future, and it is the question of days, weeks, hours, could be months. i don't see how it continues the minority rule. it has lost so much of the population, and i guess a little worrisome that they are moving, what does co -- that they are
moving chemical weapons because you don't know what they will do in desperation. >> it has happened much more quickly than any of us thought, and it is turning into a sectarian war. substantial parts of the military are defecting, and they now how to fight, unlike just street fighters who pick up a gun. >> russia and china vetoed the resolution. >> that's stopped the resolution, but he does not stop the changes taking place in syria. the larger question is what happens to the country after they leaves. who will have influence there? they are working to get turkey involved, jordan, organizing the aftermath. >> there is another large question to me, which is what is the u.s. role going to be? it is not like we will just sit back and watch. the president feels we have a
duty to stop savage murders of so many people, republicans are urging no-fly zones. once again, we have a mideast and problem and we are not urging an arab mission. the countries that colby mentioned all have large armies. why are we asking them to be part of the solution? >> bulgaria -- a suicide bomber kills tourists and netanyahu points to iran and hezbollah. >> well, he is right. it was 18 years to the day after a hezbollah attack that destroyed a jewish center in argentina. it was not an israeli facility, it was a jewish center.
it is no accident that happened on that day. everybody knows it was iran acting. how will israel retaliate? my guess is that it will not be an attack on iran, because it will allow iraq to dictate the timetable of the attack. i think it will be the quiet way israel went after the terrorists of the munich massacres. you will see people disappearing. >> 61% of the land mass of the united states is being characterized as impacted by this drought, and our hearts go out to the producers, the farm families who are struggling through something they have no control over. >> that is tom vilsack, secretary of agriculture. 15 states under heat advisory. the drought has been called the largest natural disaster in american history. elizabeth kolbert of "the new
yorker" writes that "there is no discussion about what to be done about climate change even as the insanity of doing nothing becomes increasingly obvious." >> the difference between this drought and the others on record is that it is so much hotter. there are 2000 he records that have been broken already. you hear responsible scientists and nobody can say this is precisely caused by climate change, but everybody seems to accept that climate change is moving the patterplanet to difft weather pattern any warmer conditions. it has been submerged as an issue. >> why is this a political issue, and if the earth is our home, what we take better care of it? >> that is why we have to go to mars, but you guys are not interested in nasa. this is absolutely ridiculous. we live on a small patch of the planet and the weather pattern will always be pr
unpredictable. the fact that we are hot today meaning that the planet is warming. there is other evidence -- >> there is other evidence -- >> but the reason it is the topic on this show is there is a drought. it is colder in northern europe -- >> that is why we are not talking about warming. we are talking about climate change. >> it makes the theory empty. "climate change"? anything that happens anywhere in the world -- >> charles, you know better than that. >> if you want to be consistent, use a warmer or colder. when we had katrina, we said it was climate change. >> colby, when was the last time you heard the candidates discuss this issue? >> we need to have time for this
to be carried out in the debate. it gets to the fundamental question earlier in this program, what does government do? that is one of the ideologies kick in. does government have responsibility to do something, and how his government affect industries? then you get the arguments and the epa comes into the picture and you want to fight the epa and there you go. >> politics is parochial, nature is not. >> see you next week. >> "inside washington" is brought you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org. for more information about afge and membership, visit afge.org.