Ali Velshi: Working Men and Women and the Unemployed are Not a Special Interest Group
Here's something I never thought I'd hear myself saying... thank you Ali Velshi! He's absolutely correct here and the working class and the unemployed in America are not a "special interest group" as RNC Communications Director Doug Heye called them earlier in this segment on CNN's Rick List, following President Obama's barn burner of a speech he gave for Labor Day. He also did a nice job of knocking back his talking points on small businesses feeling "squeezed" by Obama's policies and not hiring because of "unpredictability" on government policy.
SANCHEZ: Ali, what did you see? And, you know, you look at the economic side of this. There are some new numbers out today that seem to show that more and more Americans are taking jobs that they don't necessarily want, but you know what? Any port in a storm, buddy.
ALI VELSHI: That is exactly right.
SANCHEZ: Sometimes you don't get the job you want. You get the job you can get at the time.
So, the president is pushing on special interests, seeming to be blaming corporatists for keeping Americans from those jobs. That's what I heard. Is he right?
VELSHI: Let me just give you a little perspective.
Doug said something that I think needs to be challenged here. There are special interests in this group. There's no question. And everybody caters to them. Working men and women of America and those 14 million who are not working who would like to be, they are not a special interest group.
You want GDP to go up? People have to have jobs. You want to stop foreclosing on homes? People have to have jobs. So to say that the president talking to working people is pandering to a special interest is quite remarkable to me.
Now, back to the point, the fact is you're right. This was a campaign -- this was a president on fire. This was a president who was back into campaign mode. But the reality is there is an anger out there that we have seen in our polling that indicates that people feel that not enough is being done and this is an urgent situation in the economy. And I think it is better that we all treat it that way and that's the kind of conversation we're going to have.
SANCHEZ: Hey, Ali, you mind -- since you kind of challenged Doug there a little bit, you mind if we bring Doug in to let him respond?
VELSHI: Absolutely. I would be happy to. I think he makes a lot of sense on a lot of things, but we do not call workers in this country -- we do not call workers in this country special interests, Doug. You need to learn that.
DOUG HEYE: Well, no. Absolutely. People who work, who drive the economy -- small business is the engine that drives this economy.
VELSHI: Absolutely right.
HEYE: That's why it was interesting to say that "The Washington Post" today had a story that said small businesses feel squeezed by Obama policies.
VELSHI: Small businesses are squeezed because they can't get loans from private banks.
HEYE: But loans have not driven jobs yet.
Look, I was the former -- I'm former press secretary to the Small Business Administration. I know how important our 7(a) loan program is. I know how important contracts and access to capital is. These are critical for business, no question about it.
So is predictability. So are low tax rates. So are fiscal policies that don't squeeze our credit.
VELSHI: Doug, how many businesses do you know that don't make decisions to hire people because they're concerned about government policy? That is a big business problem. It's not a mom and pop shop problem. They want credit.
HEYE: No. You can talk to small businesses throughout this country...
VELSHI: I do, Doug.
HEYE: ... that have laid off people because of the health care bill that the president and this Congress has passed.
VELSHI: But that's not unpredictable, Doug.
VELSHI: ... predictable. We have a bill. We know what it is. That's not unpredictable at all. There is one thing that is very predictable. We have health care in this country now.
HEYE: Well, and we did predict that.
And look, you want to find out really where this country is going? You don't have to listen to Republicans. You listen to Democrats like Joe Donnelly, who is running ads against President Obama. Mike McIntyre from my home state of North Carolina, he is running ads against Obama.
Bobby Bright in Alabama, another Democrat, suggested that Nancy Pelosi might die. OK, we want to talk about personal politics? They're coming from Democrats. They're aimed at President Obama because they don't want him campaigning for them.
It's probably why you saw Russ Feingold not stand with the president today.
SANCHEZ: Doug, before we finish this conversation, explain to us, because you have used this word very personal several times now. Do you believe that this speech that the president gave today was over the top?
HEYE: Well, it was exactly what we expect. So I don't know that it would be over the top. It's obviously unfortunate language...
SANCHEZ: Well, but you said he was too personal.
HEYE: ... and shows exactly how desperate the Democrats are.
SANCHEZ: OK. Was it too personal? Was this president unfair to Republicans during this speech? Was he too personal in the way he conveyed his message?
HEYE: Well, I think the veiled references to John Boehner were certainly beneath the office of the presidency.
But, look, the important thing is that we build jobs and create this economy. This administration has not shown that it has any clue how to do so. And that's what voters are going to be voting on in November. That's really what's important. It's why you're seeing so many Democrats fleeing from this president.
SANCHEZ: Good stuff.
HEYE: And, again, if the president wants to talk about what Republicans are doing, he should talk about what Democrats in his own party are doing.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Doug. Good stuff.
Ali, thanks so much for joining him.
VELSHI: Thank you.
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