tv Inside Politics CNN September 7, 2014 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> i know t is so sweet. thank you for being here this weekend. it's an early wake-up call. we love having you here. >> not a problem. >> you make some great memories. "inside politics" with john king starts now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thanks for sharing your sunday morning. with us to share their reporting and insights, peter baker of the "new york times," molly ball, robert costa of "the washington post" and politico's manu raju. we know president obama's soon means after the elections. trying to protect the democratic majority in the senate trumps his repeated assertion that every day that passed without action was bad for america's security and economy. now the president tells nbc the rush of undocumented children across the border in recent
months changed things. >> the truth of the matter is that the politics did shift mid summer because of that problem. >> politics shift, the president says. quick bit of history. the president in june after house republicans made clear they'd not act on major immigration legislation this year. >> that's why today i'm beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as i can on my own. >> senior aides leaked at the time he was considering de facto amnesty for millions of undocumented workers in the united states and they promised the announcement would come this summer. just friday the president insisted the wait was over. but 24 hours later he changed his tune and his timetable. the president now saying he will wait until after the elections, peter baker. how could it be in june he was ad adamant and would act but friday
he says soon. now they say after the elections and the president says no, no, no, it's not about protecting the democratic majority, it's at american people need more time to understand this. >> the politics did shift on him. he recognizes going into a fall campaign that this would become the issue across the country and i think what he concluded was if he wants this to work, if he wants this to be sustainable, he can't do it in the context of a heated polarized election season in which a billion dollars of tv ads would force candidates and lawmakers to take more extreme positions than otherwise. it's a calmer way to look. it looks cynical. i'm not going to do this while the american people might be casting judgment. aides to the president are saying he is going to do it, just a matter of timing and timing may or may not change the ultimate outcome. >> may or may not, but they had to know, sorry, you had to know
in june the dozen most important democratic incumbents are vulnerable. most of them live in states. mark udahl was the only one complaining yesterday. most states don't have a big latino population, don't even have a big liberal population in these states so what changed? i don't get it. you can have the same calculation months ago when he promised he would act. >> the politics as the president said and peter said became more heated given the border situation but democrats saw some scary polling out of some of these red states, particularly among independent voters where the idea of executive action in particular was not looking good for some of these democrats who were hanging on for dear life as it is. the activist community, the immigration activist community feel betrayed and i asked a top immigration activist why does it matter? why do you care if it happens now or two months after you waited so long? it would be the same thing.
he said you don't understand, we have been strung along and jerked around for so long and every single time we have to wait because something else is more important. there are major disappointment and a fear that in a few states like colorado and a few house races where there are hispanic populations there could be disappointed democrats who stay home. >> will it make things better for the democrats? so molly's point we had this past week polls in two hotly contested senate races. kentucky you have a republican incumbent but the democrat is within reach. the calculation was don't do this, mr. president, i don't have a big liberal population in kentucky i need to win moderate and conservative democrats and independents. in arkansas another one like this, the last thing mark pryor was the president to do executive action. does this make it better, robert, that he's not going to do this or not make it worse? >> i think he makes it better. i've spoke within a dozen
democratic campaigns, they're pleased, in places like west virginia democrats had a tough shot they feel at least they have a chance of winning the election and in arkansas with mark pryor, mary landrieu in louisiana, alison grimes in kentucky, democrats knew they had an outside shot but the president is not putting them on the spot, they think they can go to other issues and have strengths. >> what about the republicans do, they secretly wanted the president to act, even though they say it would be an overreach they wanted him to act so they could fire up their base. speaker john boehner saying the decision to delay this deeply troersallial and possibly unilateral action until after the election smacks of raw politics. the republicans have never played politics with immigration,er in, just the president. what are the republicans saying now, you have to elect us because if he has more democrats in washington he'll go further? >> also you have a republican senate, they can take action and
prevent the president from doing this are the election, put things in appropriations bills, block what the president is doing. it's harder to run a campaign when you don't know what the president is doing. for the democrats, they want to make this election season about each individual candidate, about their gaffes, about their personalities, they want to turn it into tom codden, being too ambitious, tom tilitz in north carolina, house speaker, they don't want to make this an issue-based election and if it's an issue-based election like in 2010 when health care drove republican voters out to the polls, 2006 when iraq drove democratic voters out to the polls, then it could be a wave and democrats hope this will be a state by state election and not be an issue-based election. >> if you talk, you mentioned the democratic strategists are happy the president did this. if you talk to ten of them last week, i think nine if not ten would have said we don't trust
this white house. we think he's going to put his legacy, his own personal positions in what he wants ahead of us. what changed? >> i think there's an analogy they are think being in the white house, that's 194, when the president went ahead with gun control legislation in advance of that election, that helped contribute to the republican wave that brought newt gingrich to the speakership. they conclude the statement if he waited until after the election it wouldn't have animated the nra an gun control foes as they did and that's the danger they face this year so worth waiting. if you remember he got a lot of activists on other issues for waiting, don't ask, don't tell, took two years to repeal that. today nobody talks about the delay, they talk about the fact he repealed it. that's the calculation president obama made. >> they'll pay a short term price. >> to bob's point the democratic campaigns are relieved, yes they feel this is the best outcome
given the bad choices but i think it also does embolden the conservative republicans who are stunchly against immigration reform. we saw with the border bill about a month ago how the steve kings in the house got their way. this is another win for them and this will give them more ammunition to say the people are behind us and we have a mandate to demand action in our direction. >> that gets to their political calculation which is the shame, whatever your position of this and other issues, we can't have an open, honest debate and see who has the most votes. if you look at the last two presidential elections you might think republicans would say what an opening the president gave us, he decided not to act. why don't wie tell this latino community look what we can do. chris christie was in mexico city this week, thinking seriously about running for president in 2016. he knows you can't win without getting more latino votes. look what happened in 2018 and
2012. chris christie is ready to tell us what he thinks. right? >> i won't have anything to say on immigration unless and until i become a candidate for president of the united states. if that happens then i will articulate a full position on it and then you guys can pick it apart and praise it or damn it however you like but until that time that's not my job and it's not my role. >> so until that time, is he and what i'll call the more moderate republican faction the establishment faction on immigration that either favors citizenship for the undocumented or at least legal status for the undocumented, want to work on a guest worker program, want to deal with high-tech visas. if he won't take a position does he hand the mantle of leadership to the steve kings, to the tea party, to the people who say over my dead body amnesty. >> this is the tricky thing if you're a republican presidential candidate. you need to broaden your appeal to latino voters in a general election. in states like iowa, states like south carolina, that will determine the republican nominee
for president, those latino voters are probably not going to be dominating a republican presidential primary electorate. so you've already seen potential candidates taking harder line, marco rubio who drafted a comprehensive immigration bill abandoned even after it passed the senate. rand paul opposed to legalizing undocumented immigrants, rick perry who played a big role in 2012, now also taking a tougher line. i don't think chris christie wants to open himself up on this. >> jeb bush must be watching that christie clip and saying i have an opening. christie's establishment rival ahead of 2016 takes the ball in his hands while in mexico and punts it away. christie does not step up and doesn't have an opinion. jeb bush has an opinion. we'll see if he emerges as a voice. >> will anybody in the republican party with a national platform stand up and say mr. president you failed.
everybody sit tight. the president summons congressional leaders to the white house to discuss the isis threat and his plans to deal with it. first we go back to the new jersey governor chris christie, he of bridgefeat fame in mexico city joking about, of all things, traffic. >> reporter: what do you think of mexico city and culture? >> mexico city, one of the things, you know, besides the fact that it makes new jersey traffic look like a picnic, one of the things that strikes me is the architecture is really extraordinary. to combine solar and natural gas at the same location. during the day, we generate as much electricity as we can using solar. at night and when it's cloudy, we use more natural gas. this ensures we can produce clean electricity whenever our customers need it. ♪
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brief them on the isis threat. many democrats complaining the president is being coup to cautious both in what he is doing and what he is saying. >> very systematic and methodical in going after these kinds of organizations that may threaten u.s. personnel and the homeland. and that deliberation allows us to do it right. >> there are some including close allies at the white house who would prefer he take a cue from the vice president. >> we will follow them to the gates of hell, until they are brought to justice. >> peter, is there anything new we expect the president to say about timetables, scope of actions, possible air strikes in syria, or is this just bring them down to give them a briefing on the summit? >> i think he'll brief them on the summit and talk about the coalition he put together ten nations that will help combat isis or isil in syria, and i
think he will give a sense of where he's going, he'll give a speech on wednesday to the nation. the question is, is he going to ask congress for any kind of vote and i think that they do not want a vote at least in congress before the election. having said that, the president would like some buy-in, he likes the idea of having congress to have a little skin in the game and not sitting on the sidelines camping a i carping and whining. he'll get through a funding appropriation or some support, even if non-binding support resolution because he doesn't want to be hanging on his own. >> you say he wants a buy-in and everything unfortunately gets shaped by the election that is now 58 days away. so if they're so, think this is so urgent and they're criticizing the president, why aren't they willing to take a vote? look what happened in the last week, that was the vice president in new hampshire, jeanne shaheen tweeted out "do not believe isil is manageable.
agree these terrorists must be chased to the gates of hell." al franken, a liberal democrat from minnesota, we don't think his race is in danger but he sends a letter to the attorney general "i was troubled by the president's recent suggestion that the administration has not yet addressed the comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of isil's activities in syria." we know the republicans are critical of the president, we know john mccain and marco rubio will say go into syria and do something but gene shaheen, tight anyoning the polls, if she can neutral him him by attacking the president on this issue, maybe that's good for her politically. republicans believe if there is a wave they can take al franken's seat. he wants to show distance with the president because lisa marie democrats are hearing this back home from constituents wanting
to know what's happening. don't take that to mean they want to vote to authorize action in iraq. democrats would like to avoid the issue and hope they can avoid any sort of vote, anything until after they return from the november elections. >> is this what we're in for state by state, race by race for 58 days, a debate about foreign policy, isis may be about immigration, not obama care and jobs at the top the list? >> foreign policy is rising. look at who the republican nominee is in alaska, iowa, new hampshire, it's military veterans on the republican side running in purple states, swing voters are wary of republican positions on economics and social issues. they're moving to the right on foreign policy, running as hawks, making democrats like franken feel uneasy, why they're spending like hawks as well. >> the president shifted and changed his position or timetable, no question. molly, any reason to think he'll respond to the political pressure on something that's
much more a commander in chief issue? >> the white house feels this is far more complicated than the binary do you go in or don't go in. obama doesn't want to feel like we're going to bar. i don't think anybody is talking about actually sending troops in this situation, so it's a question of what sort of steps do you take short of that and also about rhetoric, about whether you sound soured of bellicose or leaderly or dithering. the problem for the president is not that he is perceived as cautious. that's a good thing, but that he's perceived as sort of reactive and not having a strategy as he himself said the other day as sort of improvising and not necessarily knowing what he's doing so that's why you hear him using these words like deliberate, methodical, trying to give the impression that there is a plan, it is moving forward, we are doing something, but we are being careful and responsible about it. >> even rand paul, people view perhaps unfairly as completion
isolationist, he's writing in "time" some pundits are surprised i support destroying islamic state in iraq and greater syria. is this a shift president obama won saying i'll get us out of iraq and afghanistan as soon as possible. is this shifting because of the barbaric videos? >> that can change the public mood. the differences between the different actors is relatively modest on the substance side, is more as molly was saying about rhetoric and leadership, the sense of commitment and dedication, decisiveness and you saw in biden the visceral comment a lot of americans like to hear and it's not opresident obama's style or nature and even if we take actions that might be the same things that other actors would order themselves >> it will be interesting to watch the meetings coming out in the week ahead. sit tight.
built for business. let's head around the "inside politics" table and ask our great reporters to share some important reporting, big political stories yet to come. peter baker? >> the most important thing that happened in europe last week there was a supposed cease-fire in ukraine. russia agreed with the new
government there to pull back. the problem is that that doesn't end the story. it doesn't solve the fundamental issues. what i think we'll see is what we call frozen conflict as we see elsewhere around the former soviet union in which it remains sort of continuing set of tensions and frictions basically for the next few years to come. >> this president and the next president probably at lagerheads with vladimir putin. >> exactly. >> molly? >> congress comes back this week and facing a deadline. the end of this month they need to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open. that offers an opportunity for she nan ganz and the republican leadership is on pins and nee e needles. they don't have a game plan how to get the house conservatives to fund the government. it's riled up the right, emboldened a lot of conserve tichs to make demands. the export/import bank is a tough issue and leadership signaled they're going to get it
reauthorized. there may be fireworks on capitol hill. >> in an election year that still should be going in their favor. robert costa? >> i spoke with insiders in the kansas republican party and say senator pat roberts facing a popular independent candidate who appeals to democrats. he's shaken up his entire campaign. roberts had a strong debate saturday. he brought in a consultant for virginia and got rid of leroy townes his campaign manager. have a lot of opposition research and gary maloney is helping roberts, coming to help out with the research to get roberts ahead and back on track. >> last woke clinton clinton was ought for harry reid's annual summit. she didn't talk about discussions under way for her to fund raise for harry reid's democratic party in nevada.
the reason why that's important for harry reid he needs his candidates in this november's location, local candidates to win. if they do his chances of survival in 2016 really improve particularly in the lieutenant governor's race. the current governor brian sandoval does not leave the governor's mansion and challenges reid in 2016. reid has brought out clinton, biden, o'malley, all fund-raised for the state party. >> look for the chamber of commerce in the week ahead to make another big play in the battle to control the senate. they're going to make a multimillion-dollar investment in a tv ad campaign out in iowa, attacking the democratic nominee helping the republican on the heels of a big chamber in new hampshire they put up a mitt romney ad supporting scott brown. it tells you why the republicans are more confident they can take the senate, blue states are still in play. the best opportunities in red
states but they'll keep spending in blue states to expand the map keep it in their favor. that's "inside politics." thanks for sharing your sunday morning. "state of the union" with candy crowley starts right now. september brings the president double trouble in an election season. handling isis and immigration. today, the president gets blowback for his immigration turnaround. california congressman tony cardenas one of many unhappy democrats is with us. then the strategy is uncertain but the end game is defined, destroy isis. >> you can't contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory. the goal has to be to dismantle them. >> capitol hill's go-to people on matters of security and intelligence. senator dianne feinstein and congress tan mike rogers are here. plus, 13 years