tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 10, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
hour. thanks. >> thank you. >> thanks for staying with us. for the next hour, if things look different, that's because we're in los angeles again tonight. we're going to be speaking live this hour with the city's mayor who is the chair of the democratic national convention. in the world of politics, today, the biggest news was news that everybody knew would come some day. we didn't have any real reason to expect that today would be the day it came. the news is the de facto crowning of mitt romney. his even remotely conceivable, long shot opponent conceded the race today. >> we made a decision to get into this race at our kitchen table against all the odds, and we made a decision over the weekend while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign
effective today. we are not done fighting. we are going to continue to fight for those voices. we will continue to fight for the americans that stood up and gave us that air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected. i walked out after the iowa caucus victory and said, game on. i know a lot of folks are going to right, maybe those even at the white house, game over. this game is long, long wam from over. >> for rick santorum the race is over as of tonight. oddly, after saying today that his presidential campaign is over, rick santorum did go what he had another campaign event tonight with religious rights, anti-gay figure james dobson. maybe it's a sign of how he wants to keep a hand in the old school religious right part of
the republican party in the post president presidential candidacy phase of his career. it might be an oversight that he didn't endorse mitt romney in his i'm getting out speech. that left newt gingrich for any remaining santorum supporters to support newt gingrich instead. with newt gingrich pledging he will show up in tampa to collect his nomination but not doing all that much work anymore toward trying to get that nomination. with ron paul's campaign soldering on and attracting large crowds on college campuses but with nothing really to show for it in terms of momentum toward the nomination or states won or delegates accumulated, it now seems like it's okay to say
it's done. it is worth admitting that we're sort of back to where we started, which is the most interesting question in all of partisan politics right now, the defining question of the american right in this age is a question that has remained totally open, totally unanswered and totally fascinating since february 2004, which is when it was confirmed that george w bush would not replace dick cheney on the ticket. that was critical because nobody ever thought that dick chenye would run for president himself. the succession question has been open since then. the question of who would inherit the leadership of the republican party. who would become the new face of the republican party, the new spirit of the party in the wake of the george w bush years. that's been the central and most
interesting question in american politics for almost a decade now. post-bush cheney. the party did have to nominate something else for the 2008 race. the party nominated john mccain for president and sarah palin for vice president. no one would say that either of them have emerged as leaders of their party. who is running it? what does the republican party stand for after george w. bush? who is the republican party after george w. bush? today on the day that mitt romney all but locked up the republican party's next nomination for president, today we learned that the republican party post-george w. bush is the republican party of george w bush. in a strange con influence of political news, george w. bush picked tothd to gather headliner republicans, governors like chris christie of new jersey and members of congress like paul
ryan of wisconsin. george w. bush picked today to convene in manhattan, a who's who of current republican politicians to campaign for keeping his tax cuts. wow. the still deeply unpopular president has kept a low profile but his emergence today of all days heading up a tax conference did put him squarely back into today's 2012 politics. >> if you raise tax, in other words, i wish they weren't called the bush tax cuts. if they were called some other body's tax cuts they are probably less likely to be raised. >> former president bush should not be so modest about his legacy in the republican party. not only does everybody still call them the bush tax cuts, but this republican party after him is absolutely campaigning on
keeping the bush tax cuts. despite the decade so far of the bush tax cuts exploding the national debt, adding trillions to the deficit, remember they said they would pass them because we had a surplus, we had extra money. despite what the bush tax cuts have done to the debt and deficit, paul ryan and mitt romney, calls for keeping the tax cults in place even for the wealthiest people in the country who don't need more tax cuts, they are not only keeping them in place, the plan calls for doubling down on the most rad cat idea of the bush tax cuts which was to narrow he target the people that have the most money and focus intently on giving them more taxpayer help than anybody else. the ryan-romney plan would give the average millionaire, look at this, it would give the average millionaire $265,000 per year.
extending the bush tax cuts would give them $129,000 tax cut per year. pall r paul ryan and mitt romney are good with they. they are doubling down on the rich people bonus tax present. another quarter of a million dollars for every average millionaire. this is not the politics of past anymore. talking about george w bush at the center of today's republican party thinking and today's politics. president obama was arguing for closing the loophole that lets people that make their money as financers pay mini tax rates instead of the the tax rates that everybody else has to pay. >> you're bringing in a million bucks or more a year. what the rule says if you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class
families do. you shouldn't get special tax breaks. you shouldn't be able to get special loopholes. >> the president's proposal is sometimes shorthanded as the buffet rule named after warren buffet role. i think it might stick better with people if they call it the romney loophole. it would leave the tax rate for rich people where it currently is, but would close the loophole that prevents really rich people from paying that tax rate if they made their money in the mitt romney world of finance. it's a loophole for people whose income comes from the financial sector. george bush weighed in on that as well. he said it would be a mistake to raise any taxes on rich people because we need to ensure that they get as much money as possible because they are the
job creators. the more money rich people are given, the better off we all are. to be clear, this is not about the overall tax rate on zillionaires going up. whether or not they should pay a special mini tax rate that is even less than what other zillionaires bay. the george w. bush legacy is the central issue in politics. the way that has played out for mitt romney so far is things like rom having to explain to poppy bush that he hasn't received george w bush's endorsement and barbara bush has to interject and say we'll talk about that later. it's things like mitt romney having a political constraint on his foreign policy in the campaign because his foreign policy add viers are a roster of
george bush guys. they do not think good things when america thinks about bush. today, on what i think is an arguably day one of the romney versus obama 2012 election, the day that rick santorum gets out of the race, the day that the path was cleared for mitt romney. today of all day, george w. bush popped out of where ever he's been to hang the legacy of bushanomics around mitt romney neck. that's a legacy that looks like this. eight wreckless debt exploded years of fiscal irresponsibility. the sort of aimage that hangs around mitt romney's neck. this is the thing that hangs around questions about whether or not somebody like rob portman or mitch daniels might have a chance. they were both george w bush budget guys and the budge elt
was not a pretty thing. this goes to the central question of what people think of when they feel aggravated about the state of the economy now. do they think of the current president? do they think of president obama? what is what republicans hope? is there a possibility that people think about george w. bush and his economic legacy? his economic record. it's not just the national debt and deficit that president bush left behind. this, for example, is median household income during the bush administration. income went down during the time that president bush was in office. this is the u.s. manufacturing jobs. manufacturing jobs in the united states during the 1990s heading into the year 2000 heading into the bush administration. here is what happened to manufacturing in the united states under president bush. disaster. the manufacturing sector is now rebounding under the current president. look at what happened during the bush administration. throughout most of the 20th century as american workers got more productive, their hourly
wages increased as well. if you did more over the course of the hour, you got paid more. worker productivity and hourly wages were tied together as you stl there. what happened during the bush years. rocker productivity skyrockets, hourly wages remained totally flat. there was one silver lining during the bush years. there was one economic exception to these rules. the sole exception was the growth of corporate profits. corporate profits experienced annual growth of 10.8% as compared with average growth of 7.4% for other comparable po post-war periods. corporations and rich people did great. that's the economic legacy of the george w. bush legacy. it's a legacy that from the mitt romney campaign did out of exele
and start making news. >> i have decided to stay on the limelight. i don't think it's good for our country to undermine our president. i don't intend to do so. i do intend to remain involved in areas that i'm interested in. >> joining us now is esra cline. it got me thinking about he did a way too today's policy. the tax cuts were presented as way of paying down the surplus. we had spare money so spend it on a big tax cut. what's the impact of further extending the or doubling down on those kinds of cuts now versus what the situation was 11 years ago? >> the impact is for, for the first part, $4 trillion in debt.
i think it's important to say, that nobody has seriously put on the table, specific spending cuts that equal $4 trillion. that's what you would need to do to climb out the hole you're creating. for republicans who say the whole question is deficit, that's what's holding the economy back, if you extend the bush tax cuts, you dug a $4 trillion hole for yourself that you need to get out of. the second bit is that problems bush tax cuts were there to solve whether or not you think they work, i don't think the 2000s were great economic years were not the problems we have now. the bush tax cuts were developed at a time we had very large surplus. the idea is they were going to super charge investment going forward. then we had a light recession. they were supposed to give us insurance there. what we have now is not an investment driven recession. we have a recession of the
middle class or a downturn in which consumer spending is not recovering. giving money to the people at top is now how you make the middle spend again. >> not only as you describe the recession of the middle class but the problem with the people at the bottom end doing incredibly poorly but not only high poverty rates but a lot of bad socieconomic indicate kers. is the ryan and romney economic plan any better for economic inequality, for people at the bottom of the income scale than the policies of the bush years were? >> no. it is vastly worse. this is an important point to make because george w. bush ran as reaction to newt gingrich and the republicans of the '90s. they wanted to cut into medicare
and medicaid. he said i will not balance the budget on the books of the poor, and he did it. he increased deficit spending. he didn't pay for tax cuts by cutting medicaid. he expanded food stamps. he expanded the medicare prescription drug program, creating it in the first place and did much more than that. what romney and ryan have proposed is to extend the bush tax cut, add a couple trillion more in tax cuts, and the way you actually pay for that is you cut into programs for the poor. the only specific cuts they have really named, the main ones are into medicaid, into food stamps, are into housing subsidies and job training. they talk about it in terms of what they call block renting. the secret is they give the money to the states and say that money cannot grow as quickly as the programs are supposed to grow. that's where the savings come from. george w. bush didn't balance
the budget on backs of the poor, romney and ryan, the only plan they have put forward for balancing the budget given their tax plan is on the backs of the poor. it is a shift, but it's not in the right direction. >> it's taking the compassionate conservativism thing deciding it didn't work out and saying you'll drop the compassion part. ezra, thank you very much. >> thank you. it turns out one area where president george w. bush did make some positive headway for his party is an area that's specifically and aggressively being abandoned by mitt romney. adios. that's next. wow. this is new. yep, i'm sending the dancing chicken to every store
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today, the skies opened. the sun broke through. the clear day dawned for mitt romney when rick santorum, his last even remotely, maybe plausible rival conceded the race. for mitt romney who has had a difficult time shaking a pretty weak field of rivals, it must have felt like a ray of warm sunshine beaming down on him after being caught out in a cold rain. what a relief, right? today, all of a sudden, new cloud, rogue cloud. today, seriously, today, george w. bush had to pick today to
rejoin republican politics. >> if you raise taxes, in other words, i wish they weren't called the bush tax cuts. if they were called some other body's tax cuts, they're probably less likely to be raised. >> former president george w. bush reemerging from his post white house exile to put himself back in the news, back in the center of republican politics. this has two main negatives for the republican parties now de facto nominee, there's the overall challenge of republicans associating the republican paesparty with the george w. bush years. with the iraq war, the torture, with deficit, with, with, were, choose your poison. the last time they had a choice between barack obama and a party associated with george w. bush, they lost in a land slide. today, the party's nominee from
that year was on the turkish border demanding that they get in a fight. every day she does not work in politics except as a comme commentator. he was supposed to be mitt romney's big day in the sun. this is the last day in the world the romney campaign would want america to have a big visual reminder of george w bush republicanism. beyond there being bad things about the bush era, mitt romney has a different problem of there being some relatively good things about the george w. bush era, at least when you compare those things to mitt romney.
he ahead a real effort to cultivate the latino vote. they are not a traditionally republican constituency. in 2004, he got 44% of the latino vote in the general election. that's a lot for the republican. in the next election, republicans got shillacked. the republican proportion dropped to 31% and the republicans lost the election badly. now, now look at how mitt romney is doing with latino voters. yeah, no. that's really bad. that's 14%. i can almost count that high in spanish and i don't speak spanish. john mccain got 31% and he got crushed. george w. bush got 44% and mitt romney is at 14. yes, there's a reason for that.
>> the answer is self-deportation which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to run here. >> i'm running for office. i can't have illegals. >> if i were elected and congress pass the dream act, would i veto it. the answer is yes. >> he ran ads against rick santorum attacking him for voting for sonya sotomayor mitt romney attacked rick santorum for that as if she's turned tout be a scandal that politicians should be ashamed of. the republican party this year is in a fragile position. their nominee has taken policy positions that are wildly unpopular and latino voters are saying wildly unpowular with them. that said the last election
cycle did see three latino republicans elected to state offices. yeah, george w. bush is kicking around again and latino voters did not like him as much as they disliked mitt romney. one thing to watch is how the republican party tries to course correct. that's part of why new jersey governor had to al but beat reporters off with a stick in not onlying say she is not going to be picked as mitt romney's vice president and if she is picked as the vice president, she will say no. nevada governor bryan sandoval is saying the same thing. not just i don't want it, but i will say no if i'm asked. also, florida senator marco
rubio saying i will say no if i'm asked to do the job. they are now constantly being badgered after if they would like to be vice president because the republican party has a huge problem with latino voters and everybody wants to see how republicans are going to try to fix that. i have a different question. how is the democratic party, not the republican party, but the democratic party going to try to prevent the republican party from fixing this problem that it has with latinos. how are they going to press their advantage? the next chairman of the democratic national convention is the current mayor of los angeles. he's here in person for the interview, next. your finances can't manage themselves. but that doesn't mean they won't try. bring all your finances together with the help of the one person who can. a certified financial planner professional.
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being the top elected official in the nation's second largest city means dealing with things as diverse as a giant bear on the loose in the city. we'll have more on that later. also, carmageddon. the biggest shutdown on a freeway. it passed without incident and under its time con strantss. it means dealing with the largest jail system in the world. they have been plagued with trouble. the sheriff announced a commitment to shutting down the most problematic section. it's a landmark decision for the city and frankly, for justice.
if you are this particular top elected official in this nation's second largest city, get your day-to-day work done means hanldsing the responsibility of chairing the democratic party's national convention at which the party will renominate barack obama for president. the party hopes to re-election. joining us tonight for the interview is mayor antonio of los angeles. >> great to be here. >> i want to ask you about chairing the convention. what do you hope it will accomplish? what can happen at the convention that can't happen at the campaign? >> there's going to be a spotlight on the convention. an opportunity building up to the convention to get people to solicit ideas about what they think the platform should be like and the campaign and the conversations that will take
place at kitchen tables all across the country. it's an opportunity to be more open with respect to how we have that conversation. >> one of the controversies that is sort of brewing ahead of the convention and nobody knows sort of, it's one of real unanswered questions. nobody knows what will happen is the question of whether or not there's going to be plank on marriage equality in the platform in time for the convention. what's your position on that and what do you think will happen? >> when i was speaker of the california state assembly, i did all the gay and lesbian civil rights issues, anti-discrimination, domestic partnership, the dignity for all students bill. i've been on record in support of marriage equality since 1994. i believe it should be part of the platform. what i've said to people is there's going to be a process.
you have to have delegates. they pick a platform committee. they weigh in on what the platform should look like. that platform will take place going into the convention. i hope that plank is in there. i think it goes to the heart of who we are. we're for family values. we're for the notion that government shouldn't interfere with the fundamental liberties that come with the right to marriage. >> if it happens at the party level, does it push to president to go further than he wants to go? >> i'm glad you asked about the president. let's be clear, and i think you are clear. this is the president that passed don't ask, don't tell. who supported and signed anti-hate crimes legislation. who extended benefits to same
sex couples in the federal government. i believe our our party will embrace the most four progressive plank on that issue. i can't tell you where the president is going to be. i can tell you where he's been. he's got a record second to none on these issues. >> in terms of the general election, one of the things i was discussing before the break is the real problem that the mitt romney candidacy and what they with the latino voters is you're one of the most prominent latino figures. you've got a long record. >> it means i'm hold. >> you've been doing this since you were three. do you think they can turn it around? can they turn it around with policy? can they turn it around by choosing a latino vice president nominee? >> they're going to try to turn
it around. i think mr. romney's campaign person said they were going to approach this like a kid would with an etch a sketch. they're going to try to erase our memories about what he has said and what he's done. i think you chronicled a lot of what he's done. the idea that we would engage in the south deportation of 11 million people. no country in the history of the world has ever done that. that you separate families that way. we wouldn't come up with a more humane way to secure our borders. the fact that the dream act, to him, serving in the military, defending your country is from where his, the republican party icon, ronald reagan, where george w. bush, president bush was at on this issue. so far out of the mainstream when he's campaigning with the
author of the alabama and arizona laws. >> he says arizona should be a model for the nation. >> it's going to be very difficult to try to move away from what he said and what he's done. i didn't see him challenge mr. john mccain when he said he would electrify the fence. when you're a leader and you hear someone say something like that, you say no, not on my watch. i want to be a uniter. you solve the problems in a more humane way. they will make that effort. i don't think who you pick for vice president is really made a difference for the most part. they may try to do something like that. there's no question that they are going to try to move away from where they have been with respect to this primary.
i think it's important for the media to make sure they are honest about who they are and what they have done. >> i have to ask you one last issue about the jails. the system is so big it makes national news. i know we have worked on issues in previous jobs. do you have an issue on what will happen with this huge old jail in los angeles the the sheriff talked about closings down? >> i think he's closing down the old part of the jail. that will be -- the devil will be in the details. i want to make sure whatever we do, we're not just letting people out. we're putting re-entry programs together. we're doing smart things to address the crime issue. i've said many times it's not enough to talk tough. we want to be smart and effective. that means we need to allocate resources for it too. that's my hope. s >> thank you. it's great to see you.
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♪ programming note. i will be on the tonight show with jay leno tonight. if you have a really, really good arm, his studio is about a stone's throw from where i'm sitting now. it's fun to be on the tonight show. i can report jay leno actually read my book, and i had a great conversation with him about it. totally cool and humbling. me talking about my book. i know. great. also, best new thing in the world still ahead. to watch it for us. thank you so much, i appreciate it, i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money ?
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so has kraft foods saying it will not renew its membership. same with intuit and same with mcdonald's. they said that company has decided not to renew its a.l.e.c. membership this year. tough times are falling on the folks at a.l.e.c. as. they have been getting a lot more attention from the stand your ground laws which a.l.e.c. worked with the nra to export to other legislatures to new make it harder to vote laws which an a.l.e.c. task force adopted in 2009 to arizona's papers please law which resembles a model bill drafted at an a.l.e.c. conference. the legislation they peddle is increasingly being regarded as toxic. it's a group that's counted in
the past as flying under the radar. now that they are no longer under the radar and people are paying attention to who they are and what they do, a.l.e.c. is becoming political poison. now is really bad time to be known as a politician who keeps introduce legislation that's sort of written by a.l.e.c., which is to say it's a bad time to be chris christie. you might think being outed as the guy who keeps introducing a.l.e.c. legislation would be the worst political problem for chris christie, but it turns out he's having a really bad political time in more ways than the one. being the a.l.e.c. guy at the moment public opinion is turning against a.l.e.c. when even big companies that didn't mind being part of it before are running away in a full on sprint, at the same time that's happening,
governor christie is dealing with a one and a half billion dollar corporate welfare record, which is getting more and more attention at a time he wants to seem like a fiscal conservative having not served a full term as new jersey governor, he's on the hook for having passed out a record amount of money to state corporations, $1.5 billion. news that the reasons chris christie gave at the time for killing the biggest public works project in the country might not have been real reasons. this is based on findings from a government accountability office report, a bipartisan, nonpartisan report that is set to be released. governor christie exaggerated when he said that unforseen costs to his state were forcing him to cancel a new train tunnel between "the times" finding that mr. christie also misstated new jersey's share of the project's costs and while mr. christie
said at the time that the agreement with the federal government would have required the state to pay for any and all cost overruns in the project, the goa report says that the federal government was, in fact, offering to share those costs. so what was the problem? well, having nixed the big tunnel project, governor christie spent the money for it, spent the tunnel money on the state's transportation trust fund. which it just so happens was almost empty at time and which it just so happens is funded by a gasoline tax, which it just so happens chris christie made a campaign promise not to raise. so how do these dots connect? killing a giant state federal infrastructure project did a couple of things for chris christie. it helped make him a famous conservative republican guy. he's known as the guy who stood up to the feds and killed this expensive tunnel project. he's got his own bridge to nowhere, but he killed it. it also gave him an extra $4 billion to help him keep a campaign promise. an extra $4 billion to funnel
into the transportation trust fund, can thereby keep his promise not to raise the gas tax, which was the second lowest in the nation. it also means that amtrak and new jersey transit trains will continue to share two century-old single-track tunnels underneath the hudson river. that's all there is. and those tunnels are now operating at capacity. over the next two decades, demand is projected to grow 38%. where will the projected growth go if the tunnels are already at capacity? chris christie made sure it would go nowhere. joining us now is kate zarnky, "the new york times" reporter who broke today's story, detailing the federal government's disputes with chris christie official tunnel story. thank you very much for being here. nice to have you here. >> thanks, rachel. >> let me ask in summarizing your reporting quickly like that, did i get any of the details wrong? that was a lot of details. i wouldn't be surprised if i misstated something. >> no, i think you hit the high notes. your first point is that chris christie said that the costs would be much higher. christie came out when he announced this decision to cancel the tunnel, he said my
steering committee on this tunnel has said that the costs will be at least $11 billion and maybe as much as $14 billion. and the gao found that these costs didn't exist. what they said is that for two years, well before christie took office, that there had been been an estimate that it could bed from $9.5 billion to $14 billion. it's not like the christie administration came in and discovered there was some new cost, which is clearly how it was portrayed at the time. and the governor was sort of playing off this idea that the tunnel was supposed to cost $8.7 billion. that was a very early estimate that was signed on by the federal government and the new jersey transit to get their first funding agreement. but new jersey transit officials had said all along and fought with the federal government saying that this project isn't going to cost anymore than $10 billion. so the governor clearly overstated when he said that the new jersey transit said it would cost $11 billion. >> i remember him explaining it
as if there was a sudden and previously unforeseen cost projection that he had not seen coming and that's why we had to act in this unexpected and unilateral way. when he killed the tunnel project way back in october of 2010, why didn't anybody question or challenge those cost estimates that he was putting forward at the time? why did it take until now toe merge? >> well, i think, first of all, the cost estimates for a project like this are confusing, so he played on some of that confusion. but the governor put out this memo, saying my committee says it's going to be between $11 and $14 billion. so you have a memo from the governor saying his steering committee had done this. so people took it at face value. but what the gao report did was look at what the estimates had been over time and find out exactly what the estimates had been. and they didn't find any estimate of $11 to $15 billion. they found one point where the federal government said, well it might be as high as $13.7 billion, but that estimate only stood for a day before new jersey officials came back and
said, no, we don't think it's going to be higher than $10 billion. so the governor came out and said, well, i'm shocked, shocked to discover this, but no one should have been shocked by these estimates that had been hanging around for two years. >> and yet, that has had continuing political fallout, mostly about his reputation as a fiscal conservative. governor christie talked about the tunnel project in a speech today, attacking it as a tunnel into the basement of macy's, i think trying to caricature it as a sort of bridge to nowhere. is this actually a new line of attack for governor christie? hadn't he supported the idea of the tunnel at first, but now he's attacking not just the cost but the whole idea of the project? >> yeah, he supported this in his campaign in 2009. he supported it through the first months of his governorship. when he canceled the tunnel, he did make noises about this tunnel into the basement of macy's, tunnel going nowhere. but he also said at the time, i see the merits of this tunnel, i see that commuters need this, but we just can't afford it at this time. and this defined his role as this fiscal conservative, a hero in the republican party.
>> "new york times" reporter, kate zernike, thank you very much for your reporting on this and helping us to flush it out. >> thanks, rachel. coming up, best new thing in the world. bear teaches human lessons. yes. stay with us. they have names like idle time books and smash records and on small business saturday they remind a nation of the benefits of shopping small. on just one day, 100 million of us joined a movement...
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month now. the bear was first spotted going through a refrigerator, eating somebody's meatballs. it's been seen drinking from a pool and knocking over trash cans. this morning, word went out that the bear was back in town, and with news helicopters in hot pursuit, fish and game authorities were able to corner the bear in somebody's backyard. but not before the best new thing in the world happened! one guy, watch this, learning a vital lesson about text the evening and walking at the same time -- see the guy? see the guy? see the guy? oh, god, it's a bear! in super slo-mo, there's the bear, there's the guy texting, looking down, looking at his -- and he notices a little something -- oh, geez, right away? california fish and game advice for anybody who encounters a bear is don't run away, face the animal, make noise, and try to appear as large as possible. but in this case, texting dude is okay. he says he was texting his boss. and also, bear's okay. tranquilized and successfully transported to the angeles national forest, even if it does