Roundtable: Bain Backlash

George Will, Cokie Roberts, Jon Karl, Peggy Noonan and Paul Krugman.
26:22 | 01/15/12

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Transcript for Roundtable: Bain Backlash
President Obama wants to put free enterprise and free market has never been read license. To take whatever you can. Remove ever -- this president has. Beckett a federal government -- perks and bloated and I will make them better government simpler smaller and smarter we shouldn't be weakening oversight. We should be strengthening oversight and accountability -- president has an active job killing regulations I'll eliminate we've always come together. To our government. To help create the conditions were both workers and businesses can succeed this president put his faith that got about. We put our faith that the American people. Little preview of what could be the fall campaign -- -- -- but on our roundtable got a great roundtable. Together today -- us now from the museum in Washington George Will and Cokie Roberts. Here with us in the studio Paul Krugman of the New York Times and Princeton Peggy -- the Wall Street Journal. ABC's John -- -- George let me let me Begin with you -- -- that big debate. -- free enterprise and -- coming up the first. Mitt Romney in South Carolina polls show a pretty close race even though is social conservatives. Are now rallying behind Rick Santorum it seems like Romney is being helped by split opposition. He has George the Republicans haven't had a really protracted nominating contests since 1976. When the Reagan Gerald Ford -- -- all the way to Kansas City convention. We've had the first two nominating -- -- -- Iowa and New Hampshire which are swing states South Carolina is solidly Republican. Rick Perry is a veteran themselves campaigning -- the state with 450000. Veterans Newt Gingrich is from next during Georgia. Rick Santorum is an -- -- evangelical Christian campaigning now on the state where about 60% of the Republican vote and still. And still it looks as though Mitt Romney may survive. And survive he may even win win or come -- close second they go on right away to south two Florida. I'm very expensive state to campaign and so it's very possible that this -- contest could be over on the 31 day of this month. That we're that would be incredible and Jon -- you -- recovering this group of social conservatives in the yesterday trying to prevent that. From -- they've they've come behind now Rick Santorum saying he should be the candidate to take on Iran Yemen a couple points about that first of all it took -- three ballots to get there. So was like Santorum was the overwhelming immediate favorite here and you know. There's no sign in South Carolina that social conservatives have rallied behind Rick Santorum and remains a very divided field. Among them again working very well. For Mitt Romney on George's point about about Florida there have been 400000. Absentee ballots already requested in Florida. Now what is the one campaign has an absentee ballot program going on the Florida it's the Romney campaign he could already be putting it away in Florida thank you know some time this week. In South Carolina seems like you came away with the impression that Romney's going to get the question is how much damage that. Yes -- how much damage under these Bane attacks how much money is spent by the super Paxson and by campaigns to do the -- attack. What struck me as someone -- -- South Carolina is indeed it is true. Being not myths have not had a chance to come forward because they're broken up the evangelical vote -- -- is broken up. The Tea Party vote is broken up so the silent vote. Is the Romney vote so he looks like. He's in a very good position be interesting point also is the dog that didn't bark. And that is. The assumption on many parts that the evangelical vote in South Carolina would. Naturally performs. Reject the Mormon candidate -- hasn't happened that's exact. Whatever dinosaurs -- -- no surprise -- right. It is surprising that -- in the keep in mind Rick Santorum is a Catholic. And then not particularly popular in South Carolina either. So I think that day you know you -- not you don't have the obvious person to go to. Newt Gingrich has all of his and his moral problems. You you got the Mormon Catholic and Rick Perry. And and his campaign seems dead so it really is is just too it's too hard. For everybody to come down on the side of one of these concerns. And while that Bob Parker our opinion on this and and taking mention it really agency this social conservatives are coming behind Rick Santorum. We saw the establishment close ranks behind Mitt Romney even more in reaction to these -- attacks. Well it's -- because look -- That the rule for the Republican Party these past thirty years has been -- use social conservative issues to rally the base and to win elections but ultimately. It's always in the hands of of the economic conservatives ultimately it's it's always you know whatever they talk about in fact. The priority after the election is -- cutting taxes on rich people united at. 2004. George Bush won reelection by promising to defend the country against gay marriage terrorists and then the day after the -- he says now -- have a mandate to privatize Social Security. So Mitt Romney is the kind of guy that the Republican Party has republics that goal we want an excellent that is the united with the -- but he didn't -- on these other issues like a ring. Perry was making a good point though that that I mean it is -- in his -- -- to make this point but but to get these attacks out of the way now. Really does help the Republican Party. Clearly in it for it I BM a huge upset if Romney were not the nominee at this point that -- -- add these and these as this this whole line of attack is certainly one the president views against. There's no question about that -- but that's what everybody's shaking their heads to an almost -- -- and and hopeless one and that it does raise an important question. I want -- George Will first thing get that they've -- and -- here do these attacks immunize. Romney or in fact. I think they do both you're probably on balance immunize him more. It's been seventy years storage and has since Joseph -- put her famous Austrian economist Harvard put into our vocabulary of the phrase creative destruction. American people are clear that capitalism destroys jobs on occasion -- 125 year period recently it was estimated that 15% of all American jobs disappear every year. Try to create more than that so -- the adjective is a creative destruction. And in in this sense it seems to me it is much better to have this argument now than in October and in the South Carolina it's extremely good for Mitt Romney. To be attacked now in the vocabulary of the left. -- -- thing is it would only immunized if -- -- would go away. This is not like some -- scandal that once or vice heard the story of -- being a story the issue about jobs by the economic inequalities -- Is going to continue to present its I think it does it it it actually though it does -- it. It gives the Democrats a chance to -- Republicans saying the same thing they're doing. Up plus you know we are learning more about Mitt Romney. On this morning's Washington Post have very -- -- an article about about how being function and Iran which said basically they were into double crossing. Not double crossing the poor workers but double crossing their partners and deal. So this story zone yet I think there is no inoculated and Romney against the -- attacks. -- -- potential is that they can become exhausted. By September October November there's no inoculate -- there may be exhausting but let me tell you what I think the threat of the -- taxes. Nominee has been coming forward. Identifying himself as a businessman. And Sean creator a man whom I was -- turn around an economy. And that's a good place to be in Republican's love that person. However there's a strong populist streak -- Republican Party and there's a sense that they don't like these Wall Street sharp things. Who in the 1990s. And in the -- -- -- where he shifts. But grieving and we and then -- guys there's a different Suriname a businessman and oh my gosh I was secretly a bad guy that's the potential home. Job and -- -- -- on the Donnelly let this open differently but you know these attacks have been clumsy and pop up I am mystified as to why. Romney's opponents. Having done more to go after his record as governor of Massachusetts know we're starting now -- -- -- almost over here you know that the route to the rate of job growth in Massachusetts six times higher for government jobs the private sector jobs that's the kind of thing would resonate. But this but this documentary that -- did. The the super -- for Gingrich has been putting out there I mean it's unbelievably bad I mean it's wrong on the facts. Three of the he's just pleased that there probably between -- the people featured in this world you actually got raises under under. Maybe win it when -- when Romney was there didn't lose their jobs until -- sold it to a teacher's union. In in Canada I mean it's been. -- becomes the -- that will be a powerful answer but when you just look at that half hour. Not really knowing that much it's got him. It's -- or anywhere Snyder we -- -- that but the wrong. We can yes we're -- don't know what it is why didn't they and their -- at -- happens though is that people always talk about these businessman like there's some big saviors. And they run for governor all the time they've run for senate from time to time and gotten elected. But by and large we don't elect them by the time the Election Day comes along. I'm not suspend set about their businesses that that I would disturbs people but even more so there's -- -- a lack of political ability. Disturbed people and so and you have to be careful about running as a businessman that does Lee do they generally we don't we don't vote. Well it -- -- -- they don't -- the cover of this week's economist has got Mitt Romney -- there's another headline America's next. CE oh -- you weighed in on this this week in New York Times saying America is not a corporation he had it's you know. Even even if we have seen Steve Jobs running instead of instead of nick Romney you know or or get -- get -- we getting here. I'm -- not the same skills that that are required to stop the seeing is -- -- stunning intellectually the same thing we. The things you have to do to run economy are very very different things have to do to run a corporation. And you know the thing about about Romney is. His opponents don't have to make the case that he was evil -- just have to cast doubt on his case which is that I know how to run this thing because I ran a successful business and the -- of the -- with a situation which is macroeconomic problems and that quicken our problems are almost exactly but I think we're thinking like a corporate leader is all wrong. And then George Will did did it literally make a mistake and maybe you think akin to what they had Obama administration did when they promised a million jobs -- 8% unemployment -- -- the stimulus. By saying that he created more than a 100000 jobs and Bain Capital. Well it if it invites. A lot of bookkeeping as to what the -- -- how many created how many destroyed. Fact this capitalism in some of its aspects of the lot like surgery it's necessary but you don't -- look at -- up case because it's unpleasant. And I think the American people understand this and George the part of our society -- -- seen the most creative destruction. -- the intensive. Industry of agriculture hundred years ago 30% of the American people working in agriculture that they it's less than 2% I don't think the Americans are upset by -- public. The point that they -- was making George anything in order to to put this election where Republicans are gonna have to really. Corral. A lot of its blue collar base who want to -- -- Wall Street. Monologue with Wall Street they're not alone with the professorial president -- this can be very hard for them to fall in love with Mitt Romney. That's why the Republicans so far one of the lessons of their campaign is that the enthusiasm and energy they were counting on. To drive their campaign throughout 2012. Enthusiasm not -- there except. After that Obama is likely to give it to mean that is the -- you sit there expecting Barack Obama -- it to inject the enthusiasm into the Republican base. -- one of the great phrases that has been news in defense of venture capitalism and and Bain. Capital is -- that -- Creative destruction. When I hear Republicans saying that I wanna say you know what America's been looking for five years -- pot of destruction creative and non creative. They're not come alike that defense that you like and offensive says guess what I can create jobs I have a plan. We can move this thing forward we can save our country. Treaties on on the essential nature of capitalism I think won't do -- for mr. -- We just talk substance about that is that the campaign for a moment the fact of the matter is that creative destruction. He's a great thing when the economy is your full employment and with the issue is clearing with a dead -- -- -- companies we can make their case. But that's not the -- the team right now we're living in a world that is kind of in the low key version of of the Great Depression. An -- with thirteen million people out of work with four million people -- -- working here. What you really need substantively is indeed something that is about creating demand about expanding employment we don't want ruthlessness and don't want to. In particular we don't want -- slash in government spending while the economy is still deeply depressed so if if we actually do end -- the president Romney and if he actually does the things that he says he's going to do. And with the total disaster. That is precisely the debate you saw -- at the top of this roundtable between the speech in that Romney gave on -- on Tuesday night in New Hampshire when the President Obama -- in Kansas. Pres Obama saying you're gonna need government to help. Invest in certain parts economy -- -- basic point get government out of the way. Yeah well that's going to be the debate of this of this campaign that is -- Bottom line debate we're having right here in Washington right now. In the capital. And the debate that's going to be out -- -- the American people is the fundamental question of the role of government. And -- the Democrats continue to believe that it has more of a role. Than the Republicans do particularly in this incarnation. You know we've seen times and Republicans. I think that the government should have more of a role but not right now and Democrats are also wary about it because of the size of the deficit in the concerns. Among voters about the deficit and the debt and so the united it's going to be in a nuanced debate but still that is the fundamental debate. -- -- with an amazing Gallup results about. People's concerns -- be concerned about employment for about the deficit. And it's totally classless high income people worry about the deficit low income people worried about employment complete and it's good -- that's a that is in -- and -- -- for me right now both parties have. About a third. The electorate like that maybe a little bit more on that precise argument that it can be fighting over a sliver in the middle. -- anyone of Romney's problems during the primaries his. Then. Lower income he's done very well among hiring com Republican voters but even lower income that the populist Republicans in this is what. There's been talking it's it's not about using the language of the left it's by using the language of Republican populism and Romney has not connected with lower income middle class working class Republicans inability to even pretends. To relate to problems of ordinary people is quite extraordinary. You think you can. With the debt -- -- spectacular area pink slip or looks to fire people taken out of context or not you're using that phrase and I promise you will be taken out of context in the fall campaign to get reasonably -- -- compassion feeling out of begging. There are some counties in South Carolina that have unemployment. Higher than 1%. Of course joblessness is a big issue. I don't imagine the 2012 campaign as being a lovely debate between. The between Republicans and Democrats over the size of government it should be big should be small. The fact is the American people think government often gets in the way of growth it gets in the way of job creation. It'll be more like that and and it if it's like that the Republicans. Will have a big leg up but mostly people just want -- Who can turn I want this thing around -- -- economic thing you. Let's switch topics now we're also seeing this week a lot of fallout from this book. About the -- by Jodi Kantor to New York Times -- finally provoked a response from the First Lady herself with Gayle King. I guess it's more interesting to imagine. This conflict -- situation here and a strong woman and you know but that's been an image that people -- tried to paint of me since the you know the baby Barack announced that on some angry. Black woman. Cokie the First Lady said she hadn't read the book but clearly is irritated at what she's read about it in the last couple days -- -- or butting heads at times. With the White House staff and not always happy in the White House but is the White House overreacting to the book. Probably -- -- from what I understand it doesn't advances sympathetic portrayal of the previously but luck. As you well know. Stamps and first ladies do butt heads and they have from the beginning and stamps and candidates -- But heads because the candidates wife -- the First Lady has only one interest and that is her husband's back. And and she is trying to do -- she can to protect that and -- -- have other agendas. It's also -- this -- been true from first ladies from the beginning. Martha Washington had troubles you know with the the congress because she. -- and says -- yet revolutionary soldiers their pensions to she'd been to camp with them. Throughout those long eight years of the revolution. She also by the way one of the other thing -- that mrs. Obama is quoted as saying is that she hates living in the White House. Obviously she's tried to get rid of that because then the reaction of voters will be fine so don't -- there and we didn't go away your athletic. And -- again let me just say quickly Martha Washington also said. I am they call me first lady of the land she wrote in the letter attendees but I am more at the cheap state prisoners -- She was yeah and -- house in New York area. Now George Jorge -- backwards reels the mind -- the 1980s and all the stories many of them quite true about the conflicts between Nancy Reagan and certain members of the president's staff including his chief of staff Donald Regan. Mrs. Obama is black she is a woman and she doesn't get angry on occasion she's not human shield him. There is no -- -- story that you I have read through the book and it is a positive portrayal I'm sure there's a few. You know anecdotes but but it's overwhelmingly positive portrayal. She comes across is very real and the whole idea that you considered staid Chicago. To let her kids finish school musical to. Won't have a better. As -- at -- and an -- -- all of its been said First Lady is a hard job eventually they all feel like prisoners. They get written about everybody also wants to find some tensions between east wing on the west. They always find something let it go and what strikes me is how incredibly scandal free this administration has been. That's some some harsh words said -- a couple of occasions. -- and don't mind. Meanwhile we could. Visit to the talk about a former First Lady continues. We had a question on Twitter about this came from Jennifer Moore. I'm wondering if any of your panelists think there's any chance we may see Hillary -- -- as we paid at a -- start with you on this. What I can't figure that is why this conversation continues as far as I can tell that it has never been considered in the Oval Office never been considered by the First Lady never -- considered. By vice president biting at the talk goes on and on. -- only goes on on -- Among the professionally talking classes could make some sense in this particular if you -- a -- over the places where the Democrats lost congressional seats in 2010. He would fairly much replicate where Hillary Democrats. Outpolled. Obama Democrats during the 2000 and -- primary. So there is a sense in which she could connect with the kind of working class Democrats who are now Reagan Democrats or. Now -- to become Republicans so make the kind of sense but frankly George I have never met. And now that this America's my eleventh presidential campaign in Washington I'm never met anyone who said they voted. For presidential candidate a because of running mate be. But the only evidence we have than it's ever happened really was with Lyndon Johnson in 1960. Where he was able to carry Texas and therefore the election period and there is an innocent people voted against. Sarah Sarah Palin got an answer actually happened but. The but the truth is the reason that this continues in -- -- -- because we talked about the enthusiasm gap on the on the Republican side. The -- enthusiasm gap on the democratic side as well. And so there is in the people who talk about putting Hillary Clinton and -- people who think that that will. Help get our voters excited about a democratic ticket anyway yeah. Right -- I don't know I don't think politics is magic. That you can magically remove one person of the ticket put -- somebody else and everything becomes electric and electrified. It's not like that. The president apparently doesn't want to this vice president doesn't Hillary doesn't is no talk anywhere in Washington seriously doing this. -- -- campaign strategists. On the comment threads of our great. Nation are all very -- -- letting the facts get ahead all right I didn't need I don't really think. Everything I hear and I talked people producers involved that this is a terrific secretary of state and why would she trade -- huge career success provocative -- well. Good to be in line to run in 2000 condition. -- just. My they're gonna -- what's gonna happen and it just made me think they'll has technically he's a few weeks back it turns out the back in 1980 James Baker actually considered. For a nano second replacing putting Clint Eastwood on the -- you with that went away. As well finally last night's big football game -- -- Tim -- season finally ended and here's what he had to say about it. Still wasn't a bad day there was a good day because him for the game I got spend time exactly clout and make him smile and overall and you get to do that it's still positive and it's really good day sometimes this is hard to see but it depends vote in silicon -- You George tests while that attitude is similar feeling but how do you explain how Tim Tebow became such a polarizing -- this. That's a good question because when Hank Greenberg the tigers and Sandy Koufax and Shonn -- of the Dodgers all three Jewish. Missed extremely important late season games because of the the observance of Vietnam report no one said this was exhibition as -- and no one complained about it they thought it was exemplary. As far as -- can -- -- and every particular Tim Tebow is an exemplary gentlemen and maybe this is just the democratic small. To level people. It's unattractive the attacks on -- from whatever source. I just want to say it's clearly got however is not a Broncos -- And I don't think -- make that clear vision team is the -- and you know at the archbishop said when the saints where it was named the saints. Archbishop and was asked if that was disrespectful and they said no just remember the most saints -- markets. You know that it Tebow is just about the most. Popular sports figure in America right now he's they're not. Controversial. Really -- with regular Americans. With the folks like us we talk about the controversy but this guy is loved he has come up and across the past few months as a kind of refreshment. As an inspiration and after all the terrible scandals in sports and outside the past few. Six months say of the past year he he comes as an antidote and somebody parents come. Point debt to their children and say -- good man see that. -- -- -- when it comes to football I mean he's controversial is divisive even -- football analyst because he's not here. Typical NFL quarterback but this guy is good he already has as many playoff wins as Tony Romo. After fifteen games -- at fifteen starts. He already has a better record -- Aaron Rodgers had after fifteen starts Drew Brees sorry -- had after fifteen starts he's going to be around he's going to be a force. And -- that you know good personal side to go it. I have I've been keeping my commentary -- freedom and painting and -- a little over a minute let them that a lot of what and the Motorola giving your chance to weigh in on Steve -- bear his take on super pacs you've been outspoken. On the holy. -- Citizens United. Well the student programs and better comedian and is an -- -- on his constitutional scholar and fact the Supreme Court has held over and over again that money is indispensable for the extermination of speech. Campaign reformers constantly argue that hey there's too much political speech in this country be they know the right amount can see they want to criminalize speech and access of that. Reformers spend so much of their time George regretting their reforms with -- super pacs are a consequence of driving money away from candidates away from campaigns. And away from the parties. Do we have too much money in politics I'm astonished. At how little money there isn't politics considering the stakes of our politics and allocating wealth and opportunity in about four weeks George. People will Begin doing an American what they do every year. Spending about two billion dollars on Easter candy. But but other methods we're talking it is it is distorting the system right now we looked at super pac money in South Carolina super pacs are spending. Twice as much as the campaigns themselves basically the campaigns have been outsourced. Two groups that don't have to play by the same rules that the campaigns have to play out. He's the ruling I wish we had more time we don't have that continue to silent thanks a lot to all of this great -- it.

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