msnbc | August 29, 2012
>>> of the republican national convention . we're seeing a major push by the romney /ryan campaign to use the platform of their nominating convention to try to appeal to women voters. from new jersey governor chris christie 's extended riff on his mom to ann romney 's somewhat off script tribute at one moment in her speech to all of the ladies in the house.
>> i love you women !
>> that was not in the prepared rema remarks, but it was appreciated by everyone. the romney campaign is clearly trying to remedy its deficit in the polls with female voters, one of the barriers they're running into on that front is policy. they're a hard line ticket on abortion rights and access to birth control , but there are other economic issues that are important to women that have tripped them up on the campaign trail as well. cathy mcmorris rogers who is speaking this hour, she was first utilized by the romney campaign in a major way earlier this summer as the romney campaign struggled to say whether or not mr. romney supported the concept of and legislation to advance equal pay for women . one of president obama 's signature policy changes, of course, was the lilly ledbetter act. when they used mr. romney 's campaign to try to address this thing, it opened up mr. romney to the charges of being against equal pay for equal work . and so cathy mcmorris rogers , the highest ranking republican was dispatched to handle the issue. that strategy fell very desperately flat because the campaign still could not say whether mr. romney himself would have signed the fair pay act and the big surrogate they rolled out to defend him, cathy mcmorris rogers herself, the romney campaign's big defender on fair pay for women , she herself voted against the fair pay act she was out there defending mitt romney 's reputation on. joining us 93 is democratic senate candidate elizabeth warren of massachusetts. she's trying to unseat scott brown in november. and one of ms. warren's latest ads highlights the issue of equal pay for women and also reproductive choice . elizabeth warren , thank you for joining us tonight.
>> good to be here.
>> what do you make of the republicans ' efforts to market themselves specifically to women voters. we saw a lot last night, we'll see more from paul ryan tonight and mitt romney tomorrow?
>> they clearly want to do it. they think they need to it. they just have a real problem, and that is the facts are stubborn. and the facts are that they are not in a good place. they voted against equal pay for equal work . they recently, don't forget, just a couple months ago, had the bill in to say that insurance companies didn't have to cover birth control for women . mitt romney has said that he will defund planned parenthood , and remember, they just picked a vice presidential nominee candidate after careful, careful vetting, who is a guy who co-sponsored legislation to redefine rape and also legislation to make certain -- potentially make certain birth control pills illegal. they have this whole package of things that they have been working on and working on recently. it's the republicans who in many ways are putting the issue of women into play. and they don't want to talk about that. so instead, they've got to kind of smile and find other things to say, but they sure can't talk about the facts because the facts are a problem.
>> there is a split on the right in terms of people on enright who want to talk about policy around those issues you just described and people who do not want to talk about it. mike huckabee is the other big speaker tonight still to come, besides paul ryan . he has been the biggest defender in republican politics of todd akin , the missouri senate candidate who did talk about redefining rape, who did cosponsor legislation with paul ryan to do that. mike huckabee has been arguing that the republican party is wrong to try to sublimate these issues. they ought to be campaigning more on this. i wonder if you see there is a reasonable republican party on this subject and there's an unreasonable part of the republican party on this. your opponent, senator scott brown , said he doesn't want to be associated with the extreme portions of his own party on this.
>> what he says is he has that one part on choice that he says, hey, i'm pro choice . and he says, since i'm pro choice , i get a pass on all of the rest of it. and you know, that's not how it works. equal pay for equal work , access to birth control , supporting someone who wants to defund planned parenthood , the way i see this is, this is really about a senator who says the right thing some of the time versus women who need somebody, they need a senator who will be there all of the time. and so i think that's how this one plays out. there's a part of the republican party that centers around akin, but another part of the republican party who says we want to pick one thing we're okay on, but that's not enough. that's not good enough. it's not okay to vote against women on core economic issues like equal pay for equal work . it's not okay to vote against women on core issues like whether or not there's going to be paid birth control in their health insurance policies. it's not okay to say, we're going to defund planned parenthood . it's really a case of either you have an agenda that supports women , you treat them with equality and dignity and you really believe that you're going to be there on economic issues and on reproductive rights issues, or you're someone who can't be counted on. i think that's what it comes down to.
>> looking around the venue in the republican national convention , listening to the speeches we're seeing again and again and again, this theme of we built it, which is intended to be a rejoinder to an out of context remark taken from the president's speech, also related to remarks you made last year that became popular in democratic circles and not controversial. this idea that individuals have success based on things we do collectively, things like roads that allow you to bring your goods to market. we heard senator rand paul tonight say you don't have businesses because you have roads, you have roads because you have businesses. you sort of started this whole fight between democrats and republicans . i wonder what you think about the republicans have made of it?
>> you know, i really have to say, i'm astonished that the republicans want to make a major part of their case to the american people on taking a statement from the president out of context, everybody has seen the videotape, knows he was talking about infrastructure and they want to make it into something else. but here's the conversation i would really like to see go on. between the republicans and democrats, and that is this notion of where is real support for small business versus big business ? you know, i'm a big believer in small business . my daughter started her own small business , my brother start started his own small business . my aunt alice start eed her own small business where i worked as a teenager. but what i see today is there's discrimination against small businesses . and here's the difference. washington is wired to work for the big guys. think about it. the oil subsidies, the big oil companies, made $137 billion in profits last year. and yet they continue to suck down billions of dollars in subsidies. and who pays for that? all of the little businesses, all of the ordinary taxpayers. that when there's a tax bill that's coming up, the buffett rule, the republicans say no. the billionaires can continue to pay at half the rate their secretaries and everyone else pays. it's a game that's loaded for the wealthiest. it's a game that's loaded for those who can have the biggest lobbying outfits in washington , and it doesn't work for small businesses . it doesn't work for families. and so what i think is really going on, and the next part of the conversation that we should be talking about, is how it is that washington has come to be rigged for the big guy . how washington has come to be rigged for those who could hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. and leave small businesses , leave families behind. i think that's a really important issue.
>> elizabeth warren , u.s. senate candidate from massachusetts, challenging scott brown . thank you for being with us tonight. i know this is a busy campaign time for you. thank you.
>> thank you.