tv CNN Newsroom CNN November 21, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PST
remember, all medicare supplement insurance plans help cover what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now -- and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. brecking news, senate democrats vote to approve the nuclear option, a move that would make the partisan divide on capitol hill eeven worse. also right now -- a massive cargo plane getting ready to take off from an extremely short runway at a kansas airport where it was never supposed to be in the first place. woel sh we'll show you the challenging feat live this hour.
also, new jersey governor chris christie riding high, brand-new leader of the republican governors association, that could set him up perfectly for 2016. hello, i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. if you think congress is bitterly divided now, just hold on. only a few moments ago the senate approved the nuclear option, making it easier to end filibusters. it landed like a bomb on capitol hill. ahead of the vote, majority leader, harry reid, expressed frustration over republicans using filibusters to block president obama's nominees. >> these nominees deserve at least an up or down vote, yes or no. but republican filibusters deny them a fair vote, any vote, and deny the president his team.
gridlock has consequences. it's not only bad for president obama, bad for this body, the united states senate, it's bad for our country. >> minority leader, mitch mcconnell, says democrats are creating a crisis to distract attention from obama care. >> millions of americans are hurting because of a law washington democrats forced upon them. what do they do about it? they cook up some fake fight over judges, a fake fight over judges. that aren't even needed. >> our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash, is on capitol hill following the dramatic, dare i say historic developmentans huge ramificat n ramifications. explain what is going on right now in congress. >> reporter: what's going on right now, wolf, as we speak, actually on the senate floor, is
the fruits, if you will, of what the democrats tried to do. obviously republicans see it a whole different way. democrats successfully did, which is we're seeing a vote to stop a republican filibuster on a obama judicial nominee that will only require 51 votes to pass, whereas an hour ago, it required 60 votes to pass. so we're seeing the first procedural -- >> speaking to reporters right now. i want to listen in. >> at the beginning of each of the last two congresses, we've had a discussion about rules changes, senator alexander was right in the middle of those and will give you an update on what happened back in january, just to refresh your memory. but after that, majority leader said we set the rules for this congress. well, obviously, that was a commitment not kept. we thought he said, if you'd
like the senate rule you can keep them, but in fact we ended up having another discussion in july with another threat of the so-called nuclear option, and then you've seen what they've done today. talk about a manufactured crisis. we've confirmed 215 judges and defeated 2. and the problem with regard to the d.c. circuit entirely related to the size of the court and the size of the docket. we took exactly the same viewsing senate democrats took during the bush administration that there was no rational for extending, for increasing the membership of the d.c. circuit. exactly the same rational. the letter signed by schumer, kennedy, and others, saying there's no need for additional judge. we have judicial emergencies in other parts of country. this was nothing more than a power grab in order to try to advance the obama administration's regulatory agenda and, you know, they just
broke the senate rules in order to exercise the power grab. so i would sum it up by saying it's a sad day in the history of the senate. after today, advise and consent probably means to them 100% consent. senator dander will give you the statistics on how common a rejection of nominees has been in the past because i think it will be an eye opener for you. lamar? >> thanks, mitch. in my view, this is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of senate rules since jefferson wrote them at the beginning of our country. it's really not about the filibuster. it's another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants whenever it wants to do it. it is obama care ii in that sense. senator levin said, repeating senator vandenberg's words after
world war ii, united states senate in which the majority can do anything it wants, any time it wants, is a senate without rules. it would be like the red sox falling behind in boston and saying to the cardinals, we're the home team, we'll add a few innings until we can score some runs. this is a senate without rules. and it's done -- >> that's lamar alexander and mitch mcconnell, republican leaders, in the u.s. senate, blasting harry reid, senate majority lead somewhere democrats for dramatically changing rules of the game. rules in place for a long time. dana, they just decided to do this. they passed this change, you no longer need 60 voted to block a presidential nominee. you only need majority 51. ever since i've been reporting here in washington, that filibuster has been in place, 60-vote requirement has been in place, but now for the first
time it has changed and democrats are making what point in arguing for this dramatic change, dana? >> reporter: it's that they believe it is the president's prerogative to have the nominees that he wants, both in the executive branch and also lifetime appointments for the bench. judicial appointments. and they argue that that is sort of the way it works, that if a president is nominated by the -- excuse me, elected by the majority of the country and is in the white house, that is one of the big benefits, big perks of being in the white house, certainly it's happened in both democratic and republican administrations, that they have particularly when talking about the judicial bench they've been able to stack the bench with people who fit and form their own ideology. if you look on the floor of the senate right now, already senate democrats are pushing through the first procedural vote on a judicial nominee, patricia
millet for the d.c. circuit under the new rule, so it will only need 51 votes to overcome a filibuster hurdle, and then go on to be approved which even republicans are telling us, based on the new rules, will likely happen before the end of the day. >> in 2008, harry reid swore -- he said -- he said, as a leader of the united states senate, he said he would never turn to's called the nuclear option, insisting, and i'm quoting him, it would be a black chapter in the history of the senate. how does he defend that dramatic change of what he said in 2008 to what he's saying now and doing now? >> reporter: well, we're going to hear from him any minute, actually, he's going to have a press conference. hopefully we'll be able to ask him that question. until now, asked similar questions, his answer has been that since between 2008 and now things are different. and he argues that republicans are a lot more aggressive about
holding up the president's nominations, more aggressive about grinding the senate to a halt. now, there are certainly a lot of statistics and numbers that republicans can and are putting forward, arguing it's not true, that they are not holding up as many or maybe not much of a difference between what they're doing and what democrats did when george bush was in the white house, for example. so that is what he's arguing. of course you have republicans as you just heard from mitch mcconnell arguing that this is political, that democrats are trying to make a point that they are trying to change the subject and that this is a fake fight. but you can be sure that if it's a fake fight or not, republicans will try to use it to their advantage, too, politically and argue to the republican base and independent voters that democrats are not being fair, they're changing the rules of the game in a way that benefits them and hurts the rules and the
options of the minority in the senate. >> yeah, dana, hold on. gloria's here, gloria borger, our chief political analyst. gloria, a lot of democrats over the years, they're in the majority now, 55 democrats, 45 republicans, but you know that can change. the democrats can be in the minority, they will then want to use that minority power with a filibuster to stop certain decisions by the majority who could be republicans. democrats and republicans feared a nuclear option, it could come back to haunt them sooner rather than later? >> where you stand depends where you sit. and that's the argument that a few democrats had been making, a few democrats didn't vote for this because they worry about this. and i think what we're seeing here is the extreme partisanship spill over on to everything. harry reid is effectively saying, look, this was minority rule, this wasn't majority rule, it was minority rule in the
senate so we could not get any of these nominations through. is it a long-term decision, you know? i would argue that in the long term, if you look at the democratic part it's going to be in the minority in the senate someday they may regret this, but, but, there is such a point of bottleneck and frustration and a point which they're not able to get what they believe is a fair number of nominations through, that you know, that this occurred. they've come to this brink before and they've avoided it. john mccain kind of worked out a deal. but for some reason now the nuclear option, the only thing for harry reid to do, again, privately, democrats are saying, this could be short sighted but just gives you a sense of the partisanship. >> the poisonous atmosphere. >> the worry here this poisons
the well even more. >> we'll continue breaking news coverage. dana is going to be with us. gloria's with us. jeffrey toobin standing by. historic moment here in washington today. democratic majority in the united states senate has dramatically changed the rules of the game when it comes to how to get confirmations through. lots at stake. hi honey, did you get the toaster cozy? yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate.
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400-passenger plane, can haul more cargo than any other plane in the world. it made a mistake, pilots landed the wrong airport overnight, 6,000-foot runway as opposed to 9,000, that's really needed for a plane like this to take off. yet they've decided the plane's going to try to take off momentarily though the runway is considered too short. the weather is supposedly good for that. we'll watch it, we'll show it to you. hopefully everything will be smooth, the plane will take off and head over to a different airport, different airfield in the wichita area where it will be better prepared to deal with this enormous cargo that's on board. stand by for that. we're watching that story. back to the other breaking news, historic breaking news, here in washington. all of a sudden the democrats, democratic majority in the united states senate, they have dramatically changed the rules of the game. no longer allowing filibusters on most major presidential nominations, meaning 60 votes no
longer required to get the nomination confirmed through the united states senate. only 51 votes, bare majority needed. they clearly can pass the nomination, get them confirmed without the 60-vote threshold which has been in business in washington for so many years. jeffrey toobin this is called the nuclear option that harry reid, senate majority leader, used successfully to change the rules of the game. nuclear option because it is dire, it's something that wasn't supposed to happen, republicans and democrats have always resisted this for so many years, but now it's been changed. how significant is this, jeffrey toobin? >> this is close, not as important, but it is close to as important as obama care is for barack obama's legacy because this means he will be able to confirm judges on some of the most important courts in the
country who will serve for decades after president obama leaves the oval office. the d.c. circuit, where the fight has had its focus, four former d.c. circuit justices serve on the united states supreme court today. john roberts, ruth bader ginsburg, antonin scalia and clarence thomas, it's a farm team for the supreme court. barack obama has had five nominees, four of them have been filibustered, three of them will now get votes and now presumably be confirmed. it's really a very important day. >> and it sets an amazing precedent, if you will, for those of white house have covered the united states senate, jeffrey, all of these years. the republicans argue that, what they were doing was no big deal, this court, this d.c. court of appeals, was really not that busy, that they didn't have that many cases, they didn't really need these new judges to be confirmed. what they were doing was not a
big deal. what do you say when you hear those arguments? >> well, it had never been argued before that judges, who are authorized, there is a longstanding law that says each circuit has a certain number of judges, the senate doesn't decide which ones are busy and which ones are not. they simply fill the vacancies. this is what all presidents do. so the idea that a president couldn't fill havevie can't sean a court was an unprecedented argument. was it an unprecedented enough argument to have the rules changed? i suspect we'll have that debate for a very long time. but it was certainly a novel and unusual argument to stop three judges on that ground and i think the republicans overplayed their hands. i don't think they thought the democrats would have the guts, frankly, to change the rules.
but now they've changed the rules and i anticipate a lot more judges are going to get confirmed a lot faster. >> a lot of republicans, they are really angry right now, gloria. gloria borger's watching this with all of us as well. this will energized that republican base, because they're furious right now. not just mitch mcconnell, lamar alexander, john mccain and others that resisted this. so many democrats, including diane feinstein, patrick leahy resisted the nuclear option as well, but now they flipped. >> they flipped out of frustration, obviously, particularly on this particular case that jeff toobin is talking. but what the republicans are warning, they're saying, if you thought things were partisan before this, just wait because the question is, once you eliminate the filibuster on these set of judicial nominees, do you open the door on anything
else? and will republicans then decide, okay, as long as we got the filibuster on everything else, we will filibuster everything else because we believe this was a raw power grab as lamar alexander put it. lamar alexander said, you know, that this is now a senate without rules. >> let me play that quick clip from john mccain. >> okay. >> underline how angry he is right now about this. >> i know it puts a chill on the entire united states senate. it puts a chill on things like the dis abilities treaty, which we had a hearing on this morning. it puts a chill on everything that requires bipartisan. >> you're not reaching out to the democrats that you work with -- >> i talked to them for the last two weeks i spent an hour in harry reid's office. i've reached out. i've reached until my arm aches, okay? >> so you see john mccain reacting angrily. a lot of people reacting angrily
on the republican side. later i'll speak with kentucky senator rand paul about the nuclear option. i'll also speak with him about another issue generating lots of commotion in washington, military sex assault bill he's working on now. rand paul live this hour. harry reid's getting ready to meet with reporters. history made in washington, d.c. [ male announcer ] when you have sinus pressure and pain, you feel...congested.
on obama administration nominees. let's listen in. >> this is not a time for celebration. it's a time for being very serious. for too long washington has been in gridlock, gridlock, gridlock. the american people are sick of this. we're sick of it. is it any wonder how people look at congress? so as i said a little while ago, enough is enough. and, new york i'm not here talking about how clean we are and how dirty they are or vice versa, when it comes to what's gone on in the senate floor, there's a lot of blame to go around. but the obstruction we've seen from republicans against
president obama has reached new heights never dreamed of. never dreamed of. never even come close in the history of the country through all of the ups and downs we've had as a country. remember, for the first 140 years as a country, there were no filibusters. the founding fathers were very clear in what they thought there should be super majority. and impeachments, and in the same paragraph as it deals with two-thirds votes, specifically the founding fathers did not mention at all other things other than those two things that required super majority. the entire history of our country, there have been 168 filibusters against nominations. so for 230 years half of them
were accomplished. in the last 4 1/2 years, with obama as president, the other half. in the history of our country, 23 district court judges have been filibustered. 230 years, 20. i'm sorry. 230 years, 3. 4 1/2 years, 20. under president obama even consensus judicial nominees wait an additional average 100 days longer than confirmation of president bush. we have one nominee who deals with making sure that the water we drink is pure. he's been waiting almost 890 day s because they don't like the agency, it's the environmental prodeck agency.
it's a undeniable fact there's something new and very, very different. so this is not just about republicans versus democrats. this is about doing what is right for this institution to evolve and remain responsive to the needs our country has and we have not been doing that. the status quo of the gridlock has guaranteed that the middle class gets no attention whatsoever. so the most important distinction today is between those willing to solve this problem and those who defend this status quo. how can anyone in good conscience defend the status quo? and for people to stand and say we are -- you're breaking the rules to change the rules, since 1977 the rules have been changed 38 times. 18 times, sorry.
sorriry about that. i got nigh numbers mixed up. rules are changed all the time. senator byrd, master of the senate number two, he went forward and changed the rules a lot of times. we've changed the rules here. we've done it, just in recent years. but today's vote we declared we're on the side of the problem solvers and that's really true. it's simple fairness. the changes that we made today will apply equally to both parties when republicans are in power, these changes will apply to them as well. that's simple fairness. and it something both sides should be willing to live with to make washington work again, that also simple fairness. you know the republicans are depending what's going on here. how can you do that? the d.c. circuit, you know, i
got -- last night i got a call from one of my republican friends saying, harry, we've got a deal for you. i'm anxious to listen. what is this in we'll give you one of the d.c. circuit, that way it will be 5-4. i just can't imagine -- and one of my friends, hes a friend, anyway, we've been in the house together, senate together, a long type, what would you do? what would you do, i said? and he, justify the two of us, he did want to, he said i'm not answering that question. everyone knows that what has gone on is absolutely unfair and wrong and i'm glad we changed i. it's a day of freshness for this great country of ours. senator durbin?
>> there he is, the senate majority leader, harry reid, defending this historic decision to end for all practical purposes the requirement of 60 votes to break what's called a filibuster to get confirmation of nominees put forward by president obama through the united states senate. as of now with the exspgs of supreme court nominees all other nominees will only need 51 votes, a simple majority, on the floor of the united states senate to be confirmed. the democrats have 55 members. the republicans have 45. so the democrats are well positioned to get all of those nominees through right now with the historic change. republicans are furious about this change. a change to rules that have been in place for many decades. we're going to get republican reaction. kentucky senator rand paul is standing by. we'll discuss what's going on right after this. all weo is go out to dinne
pulled the trigger on what's called the nuclear option in a dramatic and historic move just moments ago. the senate voted to change the rules of the united states senate making it easier to end filibusters. the senate majority leader, harry reid, say his took the action because of republicans blocking president obama's nominees. republicans, however, call it a power grab and a smoke screen to shift focus away from obama care. let's discuss what's going on. republican senator rand paul of kentucky is joining us from capitol hill. we just heard harry reid make the case for this historic decision. i want to get your reaction. go ahead, senator. >> i think what we really need is an anti-bullying ordinance in the senate. i mean, now we've got a big bully, harry reid says he's just going to break the rules and make new rules. never been done this way before. typically you have to have a two-thirds vote to change the rules and there has to be consensus and there's tradition.
but he's breaking the rules to get his way. meanwhile, we have a bill right now, we have several amendments lined up, but he's disallowing amendments. he's got to have everything his way, he's got to control everything. this is more about them trying to control the agenda and shift it away from obama care than it is anything else. >> he makes the point that you, the republicans, have blocked the nominations of three potential judges on the u.s. district court of appeals in washington, d.c., for no reason other than you don't want the president to have these nominees in place, they would be influential judges for many years to come. these are lifetime appointments. and he says this is totally unfair on the republican part. >> well, it's untrue what he's saying because, frankly, the argument we're using is the same argument that he and the democrat minority argued in 2006, when they said the case load for the d.c. circuit has dropped so precipitously what what we really need is to
transfer judges to other circuits that are busier, what we offered to do, which is a compromise. he's saying i'm in charge, i'm a bully, i'm going to get my way or change the rules. never been done. he's breaking with hundreds of years of precedent do do this. in doing so he's causing more discord and disharmony here, and there will be more dysfunction, i think, because of it. >> well, let's talk about that for a moment because you've been trying to work with democrats, for example, kirsten gillibrand from new york state to change the rules as far as sexual assault in the united states military. there's a collision, you, some other republicans, some other democrats, you've got opposition from john mccain and other, they don't want to change the rules they want commanders still to be in charge, not military lawyers or prosecutors.
will this decision by harry reid and the democrats, to change the rules on confirmation of nominees affect your cooperation, for example, with senator gillibrand? >> you know, it won't my cooperation, i'm very supportive of senator gillibrand's amendment which would give sexual assault victims more justice. i'll continue to fight for that. but it's complicated in the sense only way amendments come forward is if you have an open enough process. one person can object and the whole thing's scuttled. people object because they're not allowed to introduce amendments people in their statement are interested in. we have a tight and close process. one guy in charge of the senate and basically he's become the dictator of the senate. he's going to bend and break rules until he gets his way, but he's not going to let any amendments come from the mine
senator. we have a type ship up here but good things like senator gillibrand's amendment get cast aside because they won't allow a process of open debate and amending. >> what do you say to senator mccain on changing the rules of the u.s. military in dealing with sexual harassment or sexual assault cases? >> i have a lot of family members in the military and i don't doubt any of their motives or generals' moetdives but i think it's more fair if you've been a victim of sexual assault or rape you don't have to tell your boss about it you tell authorities about it. in the military this would be lawyers and judges that are trained in dealing with sexual assault and rape, 85% of them are going unreported. military's been given three decades to fix the problem. i don't doubt their motives but it hasn't worked. so we need to try something new. to me, if it were my daughter in the military and were a son,
whoever, they were abused, they should be allowed to report this, not to their boss who may go drinking with one of the abusers, but to an independent commission that doesn't know any of parties and looks at the facts objectively. >> i know you, i think senator ted cruz, is with you on this as well, is that right? >> yes. >> an interesting coalition of a lot of liberal democrats, conservative republicans, on this sensitive issue. you think it's going to pass, what you want? you think you have the votes? >> it's very close. right now, if senator reid would let it pass with 50 votes it would. it's got 55, 56, with 3 or 4 votes hanging in the balance. we probably have to get to 60, though. i don't know if we make 60 or not. >> thanks so much, senator. i want you know, i want all of our viewers to know, getting a statement from the white house, the president will make a statement to the american people from the white house briefing room in about ten minutes or so,
15 minutes, 1:55 p.m. eastern. the president will go into the briefing room and deliver a statement. the white house not saying what that statement is going to be about. maybe it's about the so-called nuclear option, maybe it's something about obama care, maybe it's about something involving involving iran, troops in afghanistan. lots of issues on the president's agenda right now. see if he makes a statement, answers reporters' questions. senator, thanks very much. >> thanks for having me, wolf. we'll get ready to hear what the president is about to say. we'll try to find out what the statement will be on. we'll take a quick break. [ lane ] are you growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair has the fastest retinol formula. to visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just one week. neutrogena®.
the breaking news, the president of the united states within the next ten minutes, according to the white house will go into the briefing room and make a statement reacting to the historic decision on the floor of the united states senate to change the rules of the game as far as presidential nominees are concerned no longer require 60 votes to break a filibuster but according to harry reid and democratic majority in the senate, 51 votes required for all presidential nominees with the exception of supreme court justice nominees. this is an historic moment here in washington. it's not just procedural. it will have long-term ramifications, as far as presidential nominees are concerned, as far as the d.c. court of appeals, specifically right here in washington, d.c., but all sorts of other presidential nominees as well. democrats have a majority 55-45,
republicans in the senate. if you need 51-vote, simple majority, the president will get his way now, by and large, down the road, republicans understandably very very angry. we heard from senator rand paul saying it's a dark moment in u.s. history. we heart from mitch mcconnell, senate republican leader, as well. there's obviously a lot going on right now. enormous ramifications. brianna, the white house just announced, brianna keilar, senior white house correspondent, set up in the briefing room there, announced a few moments ago the president wanted to come in to where you are into the briefing room and react to what the senate has just decided. i assume it's fair to say he will applaud this decision by the democrats. >> reporter: wolf, that is certainly the expectation. we're expecting president obama will come here to the brady briefing room in just a few minutes to make his comments. earlier this week he said he was deeply disappointed that senate
republicans have, in his words, once again, refused to do their job and give well-qualified nominees to the federal bench, yes or no votes they deserve. this is something he has been calling for for some time now and also something that has certainly been, i guess you could say, a sore for the obama administration for some time. the objections that think have seen from senate republicans to his nominees. and so i think it's also you're seeing in a way as well, wolf, also an opportunity that the administration and the senate democrats are seizing on because they've also received so much negative attention recently when it comes to the failed launch of obama care, still trying to get their feet beneath them. it's certainly a political opportunity there to try to change the conversation as well. but also to focus on something i think they want democratic voters to focus on. for years conservative voters seemed to have seized more on the issue of judicial nominees
and why this is an important function of congress. it's something that really only recently more liberal voters have come around to see the importance of it something senate democrats in the white house want to reinforce, wolf. >> he's a former senator himself, the president of the united states, the former junior senator from illinois. so he fully understands the historic traditions, the role of the filibuster over the years in dealing with presidential nominees. this is a subject the president is personally familiar with, also given the fact he once taught constitutional law at university of chicago law school. he's well aware of what the senate has decided today. do we know if the president is only going to talk about his reaction to the historic decision in the senate? will he get into other matters, for example, like iran nuclear negotiations under way in geneva now or the decision to keep u.s. troops in afghanistan, maybe now for another ten years, beyond the exit that was earlier scheduled for the end of next
year? is he going to to get into other issues or >> honestly, we don't know at this point, wolf. what we have been told is he will address what has happened on capitol hill. but of course, as you know, and we have seen this before, it's entirely possible that he will talk about other issues. be that iran, be that afghanistan, and this is something, of course, that the white house has been talking a lot about recently. reports that there could be troops there beyond 2024. you had white house officials really trying to bat down those suggestions, so it may be something he wants to address, but we don't know that he definitely will. >> we don't know that he will answer reporters' questions. he may make a statement and bolt, right? >> he does that, but we don't know at that point. >> the last time, he stayed for about an hour. hao made a statement and wound up taking questions for an hour or so. he got very personal in dealing
with the affordable care act and the botched rollout of the website and all of that. so from orstandpoint, as journalists who are interested in what's going on, it would be good if he took a few reporters' questions. i know you have a question or two you would like to ask the question. i'm sure all your colleagues at the white house would as well. if the president is watching or his aides, go ahead, mr. president. answer the reporter' questions. brianna, anything else special on the president's agenda today, on the schedule? >> at this point today, wolf, i'm not aware of that. >> nothing else beyond this. the president also has a lot going on. we see a little bit of movement behind you, but we'll wait for the president. right now, he's supposed to walk out in about three and a half minutes. usually there's a delay for understandable reasons. hold on, dana bash is up on capitol hill where the reaction has been intense. positive reaction coming in from democrats. very negative reaction coming in
from republicans to this historic change. the rules of the game are been changed in the senate for the first time in decades. dealing with that 60-vote requirement earlier for sensitive nominee confirmations. now the rules have been changed. dana, what other reaction are you getting? >> well, it's very interesting. you're hearing from some of the republicans who have at least in recent years been the most frequent negotiators with democrats. john mccain, lindsey graham, who have said this is horrible. thill this will have a chilling effect in relations across part ies in the senate. it will hurt some of the issues they work together on, like treaties, for example, but harry reid just had a press conference. the point he made was how could it be worse than it is now inmeaning, i'll take the chance of having this rules change make things really strident or, you know, calcify with regard to the
parties because he just can't see it being that much worse than it is under what he sees adobstructionism and an institution that has been grinding to a halt on a regular basis because of very deep partisan differences and because of the use of that filibuster and specifically the 60-vote threshold that until a couple hours ago was there to overcome the filibuster. i asked the question, wolf, that you were discussing earlier about the fact that reid himself made, that it would be a dark day in history if the rule changed. he said things changed and that's why he changed his mind. >> he did change his mind since he said that. when we come back, we'll hear from the president of the united states. we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness with our auto policies.
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on the senate decision to change the rules as far as confirmation of presidential nominees are concerned. the president will make a statement. don't know if he'll get into other questioness. don't know if he'll answer reporter questions. gloria borger is here. we covered washington for a long time. and people who may do tuning in, saying senate has changed the rules of the game, they say, well, this happens now and then, but this is a big deal. >> and it hasn't happened recently. we were looking back, and up until 1975, i should roipoint o to you, it actually took 67 votes for filibuster. now, of course, that threshold was lowered at that point to 60 votes in 1975. so it's a changing of the rules again. >> now it's gone down to 51. >> now it's gone down to 51. the constitution says nothing about this. the senate can do what it wants. i think the real question here is whether this is something the democrats could regret in the long term. or how this is going to affect ledgeilation. the democrats could argue, look,
nothing is getting passed anyway. judicial nominees are very important, long lasting, a important part of presidential lega legacies, don't forget, a very important part. and these things have been in such a bottleneck, and harry reid said obstruction against obama has reached heights never dreamed of. >> if the atmosphere was poisonous already -- >> it will get worse. >> and the opportunities for both sides on the remaining three years of the obama administration for republicans and democrats to work together, that's going to be difficult. >> it will, because somebody like lamar alexander, who called it a republican who is not known to be -- he's in the leadership, but not known to be among the most conservative there, i mean, he's certainly conservative, but he works with the other side of the aisle, essentially called this a power grab. and said that it's the senate changing its rules in midstream, and so republicans -- i think there is probably a little bit
of calling your bluff going on here, that harry reid basically threw up his hands and said, enough of this. it's time to do it. as you point out, this is not what harry reid always believed. >> no. >> pretty recently. >> i want to bring dana back in. you asked him about this, 2008, he said as long as he was leader, he would never turn to that nuclear option, saying it would be a black chapter in the history of the senate. you said, what? things changed? is that what he said to you, dana? >> that's the gist, that would be the best way to paraphrase what he said, that certainly he never wanted to do it. he also took the heat and took the blame for things being pretty divisive when he was in the minority, saying that, you know, it was his fault in part that things are where they are, which i thought was interesting. and sort of a moment of candor that their understanding and saying both sides are to blame for where we are right now, even though democrats are saying over
and over again that things have gotten completely out of control, that they are much worse with regard to the president's nominees, just sitting there and not even getting a vote at all right now, president obama's nominees. but that is the gist of what he said. ee he also, just to underscore the fact he said things change, he said the legislation just passed on the floor to support -- to be against discrimination for homosexuals. he said he was against that before, now he's for it. he said things change, people change. >> hold on for a moment. let me take a quick break. 60 seconds. we'll be right back. [ lane ] are you growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair has the fastest retinol formula.
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never been more frustrated with washington, and one of the reasons why that is is that over the past five years, we've seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in congress that's prevented too much of the american people's business from getting done. all too often, we've seen a single senator or a handful of senators choose to abuse arcane procedural tactics to unilaterally block bipartisan compromises or to prevent well qualified patriotic americans from filling critical positions of service in our system of government. at a time when millions of americans have desperately searched for work, repeated abuse of these tactics have blocked legislation that might create jobs. they've defeated actions that would help women fighting for equal pay. they have prevented more progress than we would have liked for striving y