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FROM THIS EPISODE

Republicans and Democrats agree that it's time to reform the tax code, but "reform" almost always means that, when somebody's taxes go down, somebody else's go up. Is tax reform a great presidential issue for Democrats or a gift to Republicans? How would it impact the people who pay for campaigns? Also, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto defies Presidential emergency rule, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy mends fences at the Bush White House and a joint session of Congress.


Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Carina Miller
Frances Anderton

Making News Bhutto Calls for Demonstrations Despite Pakistani Government Crackdown 6 MIN, 1 SEC

After meeting with some opposition parties today, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called a rally for Friday, despite an official ban. She also demanded that President Pervez Musharraf stand down as head of the Army and end the emergency rule he imposed five days ago. Zahid Hussain, author of Frontline Pakistan: the Struggle with Military Islam, reports for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

Guests:
Zahid Hussain, Journalist, Wall Street Journal and London Times

Main Topic Democrats, Republicans and 'The Mother of All Tax Reform' 36 MIN, 12 SEC

Polls show Americans believe that President Bush's tax cuts helped the rich at the expense of the middle class.  Will Congress do something about it? Last week, led by Democrats, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a $76 billion measure to stop the growth of the alternative minimum tax and provide tax breaks for middle-class homeowners and poor parents. It would be paid for with tax increases on business executives and Wall Street financiers. Those sound like the kind of changes American voters are hoping for, but tax reform and election-year politics don't always mix. Even Democratic consultants warn that it's risky to mess with taxes in an election year. Voters are fickle and campaigns have to be paid for. How will Democrats choose between their votes and their contributors? Will tax reform have traction in the presidential campaign?

Guests:
Jonathan Weisman, New York Times (@jonathanweisman)
Stanley Greenberg, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (@StanGreenberg)
Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (@econjared)
Tom Donlan, Barron's (@barronsonline)
John McLaughlin, Republican strategist, John McLaughlin and Associates

Reporter's Notebook France's Sarkozy Meets with President Bush 6 MIN, 27 SEC
bush-sarkozy.jpg

When French President Jacques Chirac opposed the Iraq invasion in 2003, French Fries became "Freedom Fries" in the US Senate dining room. Last night, there was a state dinner for the new French President at the Bush White House, and today, President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed a joint session of Congress to standing ovations. Later, the two presidents conferred at Mount Vernon, a shrine of American patriotism.  Serge Halimi is a journalist for Le Monde Diplomatique.

Guests:
Serge Halimi, Journalist, Le Monde Diplomatique

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