Martin Bashir | November 01, 2012
>>> five days to go before voters hirt the polls and we're about to be carpet bombed with a sustained blitz of political advertising. nbc news reports the total ad spending in the presidential race is about to hit $1 billion, and in this week alone both campaigns plus all the outside interest groups are spending $143 million. that's more than both bill clinton and george h.w. bush raised for their entire presidential campaigns 20 years ago. we're joined by bill cohen , a columnist for bloomberg view and the author of "money and power, how goldman sachs came to rule the world ." what do you make of the amount of money that's being spent, but specifically the so-called social welfare organizations who are completely unaccountable and completely unidentifiable because nobody knows who they are, they spent millions of dollars and 83% of the spending has been used to attack democrats.
>> well, once again it's the lack of accountability that we see across government. we see it across wall street . to be able to spend that kind of money targeting your message against democrats and not know who is behind it i don't think is doing our democracy any good. and i think, you know, once we get through this election cycle, i think that's one thing that we need to take a new look at and see if we can possibly change that. there was that incredibly good program on front line the other day examining this very long and it was mind boggling the money that they used without any accountability to get rid of candidates in local provinces like in montana.
>> michael scherer who has written for "time" says $800 million has been spent by outside groups and the vast majority of this is untraceable.
>> right. and again -- you know, martin, i think the thing is think about is huge sums of money are being spent but it doesn't always mean that the people who are spending it get their message across. just because you're spending all this kind of money doesn't necessarily mean it works. we saw that the former ceo of ebay, meg whitman , in california spent $125 million of her own fortune and it didn't work. she lost the governorship to jerry brown who obviously spent a lot less. because you're spending this money doesn't mean that you're persuading voters to your point of view.
>> to your point, we have an ad which is from americans for prosperity which imagines a future world in which china dominates the united states . it's a pretty ugly ad.
>> but it's also dumb. if you look at the front page of the "new york times" today, there's a story that says all the highly skilled people in china are actually leaving to go elsewhere. so it seems like a dumb ad in the likes of that analysis.
>> plus, to offend your largest creditor, which clearly it's offensive as well and borderline racist --
>> zen o phobia never hurt some of these organizations.
>> there's no reason to offend your largest creditor. we need to work with the chinese, we need to work with the japanese, we need to work with all the people who are financing our massive debt and not offend them in any way.
>> many of our viewers who know you because of our writings and know that you spend a considerable time in wall street want to know what the 1% have against of this president given that he appears to have done very little to upset the apple cart?
>> honestly, it has me scratching my head.
>> has you scratching your head?
>> aside from calling them once upon a time fat cat bankers, president obama has done more for wall street than almost any other president i can imagine in recent years. there's been no prosecutions of anybody on wall street for what happened. not one. the stock market has doubled since march of 2009 . he's bailed out the banks which is tantamount to providingbackers and traders with huge billion dollar bonuses and he's encouraged a fed policy which is low interest rates which hurts savers and has floated every boat on wall street for years now. so they should be thanking him and instead they criticize him.
>> if bill cohen doesn't get it, no one does. thank