msnbc | April 02, 2012
>>> the country are meeting today to work towards solutions that prevent youth violence in america. politicians, law enforcement officials and church leaders have gathered to discuss how to lower the national juvenile crime rate while doing more to protect young men and women in our inner centers. eric holder opened the event --
>> the majority of young people , more than 60% of them, in fact, have been exposed to crime, abuse and to violence. we've seen that exposure to violence either as a witness or as a victim can have devastating long-term effects. today's summit presents an important opportunity to renew our commitment to these critical efforts and reaffirm our collective resolve to protect our nation's young people in every way that we possibly can.
>> president of the united states conference of mayors is los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa . sir, great to have you here. as we talk about this kicking off in d.c., there are other top administration officials also speaking today. as i understand it, secretary duncan, secretary sebelius. tell us what hopes to be accomplished in the discussions today and that you personally want to take back to los angeles .
>> well, in los angeles , violent crime is down ten years running. we're safer than anytime since 1952 . and yet even though that's true, there are some parts of the city where young people are an endangered species because of gang and gun violence . as you may know, l.a. is the gang capital of the united states . we saw that in 2007 , even though crime was down, gang crime wasn't. so we put together a comprehensive strategy in our city that addressed prevention, intervention, suppression and reentry. we developed an effort around parks during the summer when you see a spike in gun and gang violence , we're working to identify the kids who are most at risk. and we were sharing that story with leaders from around the country to see what we can do to partner with the federal government to really address this crisis. you know, we were watching -- i was watching your show right now on the lottery. we need a lottery to make these kinds of investments. we just don't see the kind of resources coming from the congress to make these very, very important initiatives work and funded.
>> sir, while i have you here, i want to switch gears and remind people you have the cho chair for the president's reelection campaign. i want to talk to you about gas price , certainly a large talker during this primary right now. here's an attack from the right on the airwaves that is playing right now in a handful of states. take a listen.
>> since obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled. obama opposed exploring for energy in alaska. he gave millions of tax dollars to sin dolyndra and blocked the keystone pipeline .
>> sir, right now in california --
>> you said this was a commercial from the right, funded by oil interests. let's be clear about that.
>> let's talk a little bit about where the figure is. above four bucks a gallon in california. how politically toxic is this issue for the president in an election year?
>> look, i've said for some time, the economy, gas prices are going to be part of the debate in november. there's no question that with the country evenly divided with so many people out of work that these issues are going to be raised. but let's also be clear. oil production is at an eight-year high. every year it's gone up. natural gas production is at an all-time high. the president has engaged in an "all of the above" strategy to look at how we can improve an enhanced domestic production, identify renewable energy and really do what we can to keep gas prices down and have enough of the other options that we need to be self-reliant and to move away from an overaddiction on foreign oil . but those commercials, as you mentioned, weren't just funded by the right, they're funded by oil interests that want to protect a $4 billion subsidy that they get, even though they have profits that are at an all-time high. so, look, commercials like that don't reflect reality. they do try to exacerbate the concern that people have about gas prices .
>> as you talk about the economy is big during this election year, let's talk about specifically the unemployment rate in this country. it's double digits when we talk about the latino community. and i understand the disconnect that has been discussed about mitt romney going after latino voters. but explain to us, what will president obama bring to the table for those americans over the next four years?
>> well, i think it's been very clear that the stimulus, as an example, helped to put about 2 million latinos back to work, speaking specifically about latinos . we've seen that the health care act, which is in jeopardy as we speak, could benefit as many as 9 million latinos . his support, the president's support for the dream act , for comprehensive immigration reform , for investment and education all benefit disproportionately latinos . it has a benefit for a much larger group of americans as well. i think the president's going to be able to tell that story, a story very different from what the republicans will be able to tell, as reflected in the latest poll that i think has latinos supporting the president at about 72%.
>> mayor antonio villaraigosa of los angeles , sir, thank you for your time today. we appreciate you reworking your schedule so you could be with us.
>> thank you, thomas.