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GRITtv: January 13, 2011

“Candidates and politicians who are at their best do not touch our brain, they touch our hearts. It’s in our heart that our attitudes are shifted,” notes John Nichols of The Nation, and that’s what Barack Obama did last night, with his speech on the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, Arizona last week. He also provided, Nichols notes, a striking contrast to Sarah Palin’s response to the shooting, which made it all about her.

John joins us in studio to discuss Obama and Palin’s responses to the speech, the rights that are brought into question by the Arizona attacks, and more.

“It seems more like a class war to the folks that live in New Jersey,” says Fran Ehret, President of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, Local 194 in New Jersey. And GRITtv Labor Correspondent Ed Ott notes “First they shrink the private sector wage pool, then they turn to the public sector and say ‘You’re the rich ones.'”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is one of a flock of Republican state officials making a name for themselves with bluster about busting public employee unions, and the turnpike workers represented by Ehret’s union are one of his targets. We start our conversation about public sector workers here, with Ehret and Ott, and will continue it in the future. Send us your thoughts for future segments here or at our Facebook page.

It’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, the holiday that celebrates the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s birth and life. The Rev. King wasn’t assassinated, as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords almost was, at a Congress on Your Corner. Or on a civil rights march.

He was assassinated in Memphis, where he was showing up to support the right of public employees to organize, and strike. And Laura reminds us that he would want us to keep fighting for those workers. Distributed by Tubemogul.

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