Martin Bashir | June 11, 2012
>> we begin with the fallout from the president and mitt romney going flub for flub with remarks on the economy and how to fix it. while the president is facing a republican pile-on after uncharacteristic gaffe saying the private sector is doing fine, democrats are pouncing on mitt romney 's rather more substantial response which involves an actual matter of policy.
>> he wants to hire more government workers. he says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. did he not get the message of wisconsin ? the american people did! it's time for us to cut back on government and help the american people !
>> right. because teachers, firefighters, and police officers aren't part of the american people . they are just some socialist hanging on and taking taxpayers' money. even wisconsin governor scott walker had to scratch his head at romney 's invocation of his own state.
>> i know in my state we protect firefighters and police officers and teachers and not what i think when i think of big government .
>> if fellow republicans were scratching their heads, the remark was enough to make senior obama adviser david axelrod question mitt romney 's very status as an earthling.
>> we don't need any more teachers. 250,000 teachers have lost their jobs in the last couple of years. what planet is he living on when wwhere he thinks we can take these kind of hits in our education system and progress as a country? i would suggest he is living on a different planet if he thinks that is a prescription for a stronger economy.
>> a very different planet, the romney tron perhaps? no he is coming from a place like massachusetts! where he saw fit to enact those very cuts he is talking about as illustrated in a new obama ad.
>> local government was cut dramatically. we lost police, firefighter, teachers at rapid rates. people that directly impact the lives of every citizen. our cities were less safe, not as clean. larger class sizes.
>> right. romney is the same guy who suggested that the impact of class size is a myth on a visit to a charter school in west philadelphia . since that excursion was marred by hecklers, we are suggesting that west philly is not on the map for romney 's new announced bus tour. philly won't count in the every town counts tour as the romney bus rolls through small towns in six swing states starting in new hampshire on friday. who knows, maybe sarah palin will show up. let's bring in our political panel in now. anna marie cox and karen finney who is now a columnist for "the hill." in philadelphia, professor james peterson , director of studies at lehigh university and a blogger for the huffington post . karen , we know that this election is being fought between those he believe government should be reduced and those who think the government does have a role. isn't mitt romney also revealing he has little understanding for schools and teachers because he has no experience of public education ? he went to an elite private school where class sizes were small. i mean, that's what he knows. he knows nothing about public education .
>> well, that's right. i think what we are also seeing is that mitt romney doesn't really understand how the economy isn't working for the majority of americans and how government is supposed to work. right? but remember this is a guy who thinks self-deportation is an employment strategy, specifically with regard to education. i mean, think about it, martin. what are some of the things we know? our kids are falling farther and farther behind. they used to work in education in the new york city public schools . we also know that things like bullying are on the rise. in part, why some because class sizes are getting bigger because of cutbacks in our schools which means teachers don't have the capacity to take care of students the way they need to be, you know, taken care of based on their learning needs. so the idea that cutting more teachers, which means less of an investment in america's future is a good idea, i totally agree with david axelrod . i don't even want to go to that planet if that is what he thinks is a good idea.
>> anna marie , in west philadelphia , romney cited mckenzie consulting studies from asia on the subject of class sizes. i guess that's as close as he can get to public education . and, of course, he asks his wife ann to advise him on women. so that's how it works. he goes to mckenzie for education and his wife for women's issues?
>> that's as close as he gets to this planet, i guess. although my theory has been he is an android and not an alien. i don't know exactly like what happened for him in this gaffe when he cited teachers and firefighters as being part of big government as a problem. it's lamb like wisconsin victory has been such a great thing for republicans that it's like a tic and mention it whenever they think they need an applause line. a lot of people don't know what the wisconsin victory is. you can't add it in a speech and hope you make sense what you said before. i think with saying this, you're right p.m. romney showed he is really out of touch with how most people view the government and how most people see it as a part of that were lives. not an enemy but you need a relationship with to have a good life.
>> the president has faced an onslaught after saying the private sector is doing fine. isn't it much more serious for this republican nominee to state as his policy that actually he thinks we should reduce these public service employees and everything will be fine.
>> it is much more serious. first when we look historically how to recover from recessions, the government has got to spend some money. the way do you that is by hiring public workers. what we have seen because of the republican takeover in 2010 and republican legislature and governors they are balancinging the governments of their stack on the backs of workers. some estimates say our unemployment could be as low as 7% if we didn't lay off 700,000 public workers. that doesn't get to education and fighting crime and the way we prepare for more robust society overall going forward. the bottom line is not only is romney sort of orbit with the planet but actually the republican party that is pushing an agenda that is trying to erode public services and that just doesn't make sense. does not make sense.
>> karen , when you hear republicans rehearsing this view as professor peterson says, do you think the people welcome the idea of fewer teachers, of fewer police officers , of fewer firefighters? is that what we are really looking for?
>> look. the republicans have for a very long time now, been at war with the idea of public sector employees which, to me, it's public service .
>> even some of the people that work in the building behind me actually came to washington, actually worked for government because they are trying to do some good. so bashing public sector employees which, by the way, means fewer cops, you know, on your streets, fewer teachers in your kids's school.
>> that's right.
>> the one thing i want to take on in terms of what president obama said in the full context he is not wrong. if you look at -- even moodys has suggested if you look at nonfinancial firm corporate profits are at -- up 15% and haven't been that high since the '60s.
>> that's right.
>> technically, we know they are sitting on over a trillion dollars while middle class wages are stagnating and people don't have more in their pockets and these companies aren't hiring. again, sort of blaming people who don't have jobs for what is going wrong in the economy when the people it at the top are doing better than ever in the corporate world and sitting on, you know, over a trillion dollars in cash. that's not an understanding, again, of how the economy is supposed to actually work.
>> we have dealt with that issue. anna marie , we are hearing that romney is going on this magnificent bus tour. as you know, sarah palin did the same. what are your thoughts about the purpose of this? whether it will be as effective as sarah palin 's, which seemed to me like a family holiday off the northeast coast of america.
>> as long as he doesn't tie a dog on the top of the roof of the bus, i guess it can't hurt him but i think what we are looking for here is really just to put him in front of people who might be friendly to him. a lot of polls in swing states as many as 25, 28% of people who say they don't know enough about mitt romney to have an opinion of him and that is actually kind of remarkable in a bad sign. considering like how much coverage the presidential election has gotten so far. i think that this is an attempt to put him in a friendly atmosphere, to let him show his human side or at least show the side that is programmed to be human and hope for the best. although, you know, his record in massachusetts sort of suggests the more you get to know him, the less you like him. but i guess that's a risk they have to take.
>> indeed. professor peterson , there is also this issue out there of a vp pick. one name that is being floated still is jeb bush who had some harsh words for the republican party and i'm quoting him. back to my dad's time or ronald reagan 's time, they got a lot of stuff gone by a lot of the bipartisan support that right now would be difficult to imagine happening.
>> that's right.
>> do you see any sign of a pull-back from republicans , hearing such a kind of critique by someone as influential as jeb bush ?
>> well, jeb bush is right. he is not going to accept any invitation to be romney 's vp. we may see him down the line in 2016 or 2020 . i say this all the time. the republicans i grew up with, we could have conversations with them and talk through some of these issues and compromise was at least on the table. but what ma happened with the rise of the 1% and the ways in which money and special interests dominate politics, is that partisanship has become totally different. we are at war with ourselves around the legislative processes because special interests overdetermines and i mean that literally, it overdetermines the ways in which politicians think and vote. so jeb bush is actually right here. he understands that. there is no space in this republican party for him, for his father, or for him in the future if they can't relieve that choke-hold that special interests and 1% have over the republican party .
>> karen , do you agree with prefer peterson that actually it's the money that is now driven this partisanship to such extremes?
>> absolutely. i mean, those are the voices that are having the most influence. again, i go back to, you know, shelley writing a check for newt gingrich which completely drowned out the will of republican primary voters who said we don't want this guy. yet, addleson kept him afloat an extra month or so. i also think what jeb is speaking to, we have heard privately a lot of republicans are more moderate voicing concerns about this idea that somehow compromise has become, you know, a dirty word and sort of the grip that the far right has taken in the republican party . i hope that it means more moderate voices will actually though, stands up and speak out publicly. almost immediately jeb was attacked by none other grover norqist.
>> everything is wrong with politics, mr. grover norquist .