tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 1, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
honest about it it if we're going to correct it. >> we have to be honest. do you think it's fair for progressives to somehow -- sometimes hold the president accountable? >> i think they should hold him accountable, but they could be honest. some of said even on this station, let's wait until after the election. that was a mistake. adam green, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> that's "the ed show." i'm reverend al sharpton in for ed schultz. you can catch me on msnbc live tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. the last word with lawrence o'donnell starts right now. unfair, unbalanced. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews. leading off tonight, political polygamy. the problem with a deal struck among republicans, tea partiers and democrats today is the problem with polygamy. it is not balanced, it is not equal, it is not fair. right now, the house of
representatives is voting on it. and congresswoman gabrielle giffords returned to washington for the vote. what drama. first of all, there were three parties to this, that's the problem. two parties to the right, republicans and tea party, making demands on a president that was negotiating from center left. the result is what you would expect. something well to the right of center. so we have peace, but at a price. the tea party sets the terms, republican party lives with it, democrats are forced to live in a political household dominated by the other side. today, republicans have been preening, democrats bowing their heads. we start with howard fineman, msnbc political analyst, joining us now. howard, let's watch this now. what do you make of the vote as it transpires? >> watching this now, chris, you know having once worked on the hill, you know exactly what's going on.
this is -- the leadership, speaker boehner and his top republican lieutenants and nancy pelosi and her lieutenants are deciding right this minute who gets the privilege of voting no. they need 216 to pass this thing on both sides. they are going to get votes from both sides. but very few people actually want to vote for it. there's no positive energy in the room there on the house floor. everybody is going to the leadership saying please, let me vote no. if you desperately need my vote, if i am the last vote, the cushion, i am with you, but please, i don't want to do it. that's the dynamic now of what's going on. >> ken, following up with numbers, the numbers on the hill, 33 republicans, 120 democrats. looks like they are rationing nay votes. the democrats are holding this. watch the dynamic. it is fascinating. >> and sten ee hoyer said
earlier he thinks republicans have to deliver 150 yes votes. they have that with 20 to spare. at least 22 no votes, there were 22 no votes against the boehner plan that failed to go through earlier this weekend, or that did go through earlier this weekend. that's the real hardcore tea party caucus. there's really no way the people can vote for this. >> sorry to interrupt you. 53 against so far. so it will be a lot more than 20. look at the numbers here. watching it live, it is fascinating. i love the drama. 28 republicans haven't voted, 118 democrats haven't voted. as you both point out, they need 216.
howard, you come on, there's 181. it is like a horse race to get to 216 and 41. >> i think there's not going to be overwhelming vote for this obviously. all the reporting i have done today, nobody likes this thing. they don't think it will help the economy, don't think it helps credit worthiness necessarily. yes, it is a disaster avoided, but hard to come back to voters at home and say the best thing i did in washington this year is help avoid a disaster that i helped create with the drama up here. so nobody wants to vote for it. and i think the leaders of both parties are going to permit as many to vote no, as long as they have the majority. you have jockeying within each party and then measurement and jockeying between the parties to see who contributes how many votes in the end. >> gabrielle giffords apparently just voted. that's the only reason i can imagine there's cheering. not the results or even the bill here. we are up to 191. we have 25 republicans that aren't voting. they will have to do something, yea or nay. a lot of democrats don't want to vote. >> that's right. well, both on the bases of both parties.
more particularly with the right, republicans, we will see tea party back lash against members that cast themselves as tea partiers, heroes in the 2010 election that got elected with tea party support who just looking at the math are going to have to vote in favor of this for republicans to be able to get that 150 votes that hoyer predicted they needed with democrats delivering the rest, and tea partiers don't like it. they are not going to see the validity an argument that compromise was necessary and that they shifted the debate and moved it from a place we were talking about just a straight yes or no vote whether to lift the debt ceiling to how many trillions we would cut. >> it is in. they got the vote they need. it passed. 224 votes out of 216. the press probably go to nay now. howard, they are getting more
votes than needed for the bill. i am surprised. your thoughts? >> one thing is that president obama and the democrats have been telling the leadership, telling progressives don't worry, none of the cuts kick in until 2013, which is not quite true, but it is true that a lot of cuts are back loaded, and they're saying don't worry, the super committee and other things we may try down the road may change it. that's not an argument they want to make publicly or widespread, that would have increased discontent on the tea party side. >> the safest vote in washington, howard, is to vote against something that passes or vote for something that doesn't pass. you know i am being cynical. it is true and you know it. ken, you know that. vote on something that passes, vote for something that is defeated. 91 democrats, a majority of democrats will have voted
against it. looks like 91-88. 91-90. that's close. interesting party divide. >> and the democrats -- howard mentioned progressives are uneasy with this, of course they are. they didn't get nearly the level of -- they didn't get any increased revenue, euphemism for tax increases. but some cuts are potentially in areas that are near and dear to the hearts of folks in the democratic base and they're going to have a lot of explaining to do. this is not the type of thing that's going to motivate high base turnout on either side. this is something that really the electoral gains and sort of -- wash out. >> looking at a human interest story. the fact that gabrielle giffords of arizona, has a blue shirt on in the screen in the back of the picture, she's surrounded by supportive members of congress.
she's wearing glasses, she's right there voting on this measure. so excited she came back to make it. there it is, the final count. all times expired. republican, 174 for it, democratic, 93. 267, 51 more votes than necessary. howard, comfortable victory for the compromise. for all we heard from the left and right, discontent, you could argue both ends of the ideological spectrum, sound victory for the establishment here. >> i think it is the result of the fact that, you know, i know a lot of democrats were critical of president obama for not putting out a specific plan and lobbying for it, instead telling everybody to call congress and flood the switchboard. but i think the flooding of the switch boards had a roll here, because i think all the polls showing that the american people were just utterly disgusted with the shenanigans in washington had an effect here, and i think the reason why there was a bigger margin than expected was just that. people were in the middle, as if they were afraid of the
independent voters on this. >> here is the speaker. let's take a listen. >> the gentleman from utah rise. without objection to order. [ inaudible ] >> kids in the back can't see because you're standing in front of them. first time we had pages here not in two small groups but one summer group. these pages go home this week. they have had a chance here to see history in the making on several fronts. >> that's a little house
business. cheering pages for work they did. like mr. smith goes to washington. back to the wholesome part of the work. howard, this is history in the making. i don't think it has been great for the country. i don't think the next poll about what do you think of congress is going to look too good. >> that's true. but i would have to admit i'm a little surprised that the margin ended up as big as it was. i think it is for the reason i said. i think there was widespread understanding here inside the beltway in the last 24, 48 hours, that the spectacle that was put on here was just completely intolerable to most of the american people, and especially -- >> howard, hold on. there is congresswoman giffords in the short hair and glasses. they are cheering. >> mr. chairman, i yield to the gentleman from michigan. >> mr. speaker, i would like to
take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude. >> he is retiring the end of the term. we have to say, ken, a wonderful tribute to american medicine and resilience to see the woman that was shot in the head so recently, to come back on the floor, it is a statement about our national character in this one personal way. this is certainly a distinction from what we have been watching, the pettiness of the debate that's gone on for weeks now. >> it really is the one redeeming moment at the end of this nasty partisan and high profile dispute that in some ways is a microcosm for the way congress works, not the gabrielle giffords coming back,
but the unprecedented -- rather than the fact we had this debate that happened to draw extreme amount of attention. but it is the way the issues tend to work where you have the two sides navigating their bases, and having to find a compromise solution that actually in spite of all the nastiness and partisanship speaks well to the democratic process and the way congress works. >> howard, go ahead. >> i was going to say the fact that she made it back here and came for this vote i think ace message not to be overly dramatic, message from out of the beltway, the real world, if i am committed to coming back here, trying to make sure we avoid default, end this fracas debate, i think that had some emotional effect on the floor of the house, the fact she came to vote yes and the impasse really mattered. >> also why she was coming back. she was shot by a violent act, of course, a person using a gun,
breaking up a political meeting with a gun, bringing one to a political event which we saw a lot of in the tea party demonstrations, people carrying firearms to political events, the violent level of the right wing in this country, not particularly this case, but generally where people feel the need to show firearms at political events, i think it is a bad development in our history to bring guns to political events. you should come to argue, not to show your firearms, and to have now this horrible case of a woman who was shot down in her political act, meeting with her constituents, shot only not dead because of modern medicine and her character and resilience, that is all part of this story this year, howard. and i am not going to forget it. >> chris, if the leadership, democratic and republican leadership, if president obama and john boehner and the rest needed somebody or something to sankity phi this vote, give it its plesing as a sort of act after a long, fracas debate, no
possible better way to do it than have her here voting for it. i think it is an important symbolic moment, even if the bill itself remains controversial, even though many think it won't do much to or for the economy or the debt, the fact she was here to give blessing to this establishment compromise is a big deal. >> how much are we going to have to live with now that the right, far right, tea party right got its way here tonight, the fact they were able to threaten bankruptcy, default, international, financial embarrassment to historic extent to get their little argument won, are we going to have to see this done, is this going to be bonnie and clyde again, take down more banks now that they got one? >> they are displeased with the result. i agree they shaped the debate,
wanted was impossible, certainly the balanced budget amendment to the constitution which they continue to hang their hat on was a no go in the senate, president obama wouldn't have signed no matter what, they did shape the debate, and again, this is the way the legislative process works. you have the bases of either party making their points. in this case, the tea party made their point. made it in a way that attracted a lot of blame and scrutiny, but nonetheless, they are activists trying to influence a political process, i think they will continue to do so, and i think they will seek to extract some measure of revenge against republican lawmakers that they deem to be -- >> couldn't disagree more. i don't think this is use of the process. i think people found their way into our political office and government who don't accept the responsibility of government,
don't accept fiduciary responsibility of paying bills, yet accept their paychecks, medical, travel, staff paid for -- i am talking about people elected to united states congress and using their votes to bring this government to the brink of default. those are the people that are not acting -- if you want to stand outside with plaque ards and yell, that's first amendment. once elected to the united states government, you take an oath to keep the government going. it is not legitimate use of your vote to bring the government to default to make your point. jay, your thoughts about the historic nature of this event tonight, the vote with gabrielle giffords joining the vote? >> it is amazing to see her. she looks like she's speaking, talking, walking around. she looks normal. i mean, it is heartening after
such a horrible month, the sausage grinder was, nobody likes watching the sausage, but this was particularly bad sausage grinding. so just to see that, it is like an uplifting moment, that politics isn't all awful, all sausage making, there are some nice moments to it. >> heard one from luke russert on the floor, saying her colleagues, she remembers their names, quite aware of people around her. everything is functioning at the level she's being asked to perform. let moo go to jonathan. your sense at this point putting it together, picturing gabrielle giffords back from attempted assassination to this moment tonight. >> it is amazing, chris. talking roughly seven months here. this is a situation she was shot through the brain. people didn't know if she would survive.
here she is voting, doing her duty as member of house of representatives on the floor. gabrielle giffords stands out among her colleagues and always has for having particular interest in constituent service, being somebody that really enjoyed her job as a legislator in a way that i think you would appreciate as somebody that used to work on capitol hill, so an amazing, touching moment with her, and obviously on a very, very important day for the country in terms of the massive deal between president obama and the congressional leaders. >> how do you score this event in terms of the deal itself, jonathan? >> i'm sorry, which event? the deal or gabby giffords showing up? >> the deal. >> look, it is huge, chris. when you talk about -- >> who won? >> who won? i think senator mitch mcconnell won more than anybody else. he was able to negotiate down the last minute. shows up to be the only guy on capitol hill that negotiates
with joe biden at the end of big deals. he basically preserved his ability to run for majority leader next time because there wasn't this default crisis which could have been blamed on republicans. he is the big winner here. president obama is not going to have to deal with default again between now and the next election. he did all right in this. and of course, you know, the big losers here are the left who are going to see programs they care about and constituents need gutted. >> jay, if it hadn't been for mitch mcconnell -- if he hadn't offered up this mechanism for the second part of the deal which basically gives the president the authority subject to congress being able to veto with an override required there, if that hadn't been offered as an alternative to an all out fight, i don't think we would have had a deal tonight, do you? >> i think you're right.
>> no, jay now. >> i said absolutely not, you're right. i think in many ways, mitch mcconnell sort of did president obama a favor at the end, last day on saturday, he refused to negotiate with harry reid, senate majority leader, brought in and insisted he negotiate with the white house and the president, ended up more negotiating with the vice president. in a weird way, he sort of gave obama the leave to take credit for whatever the final deal was. even though it is one the left doesn't particularly like, it averted a crisis, enabled him to say, enable him to say he cut $2.4 trillion from the deficit and in objecting lates him against claims he is a socialist rgs big government guy. in a sense, mcconnell did help obama in the end. >> who's laughing. >> howard. >> howard, back to you. >> i go way back as reporter to louisville where i started and
covered mitch mcconnell when he was county judge in jefferson county. in his mind, he is propping barack obama up against the ropes to get him ready for the knockout punch next year. >> let's go to this very point. i want you all to hear. my con seat from the program is there are three political parties in the field, republican party, democratic party, tea party. i would argue mitch mcconnell is a republican, opposition leader in the classic sense. his goal is to get back power to the presidency. the tea party people are in the business of protesting. we had what's his name on tonight -- they believe their job is to attack, criticize, protest. they are the protest party. they are not an opposition
party. accept no fiduciary responsibility when the government goes bankrupt or not. they say pay the interest, they are not serious about it. so interesting. your thoughts. we have an opposition party, government party, now a protest party. >> and i think jonathan is right about mitch mcconnell being the winner. i disagree about the president. he think he dragged the president down, made him look weak, was dividing the democratic base and all kinds of other things, but mcconnell started in louisville at a time when busing was a big deal in kentucky, in louisville, there were busing protesters. he was not a protester. he was a new generation establishment republican who figured how the to use the energy protest and anger of diseffected people in middle class to gain power as a republican and build a republican machine in kentucky. that's what he did in the last
20 years. now he is trying to do the same on a national level, taking the anger and protests, using the energy of it to cut deals in the senate, and he did it brilliantly. his role model is an old name in american politics, henry clay, going back to the 19th century. the great compromiser. henry clay was trying to use compromise to build a nation and keep it together. mitch mcconnell is using his role as the sort of anti-clay to tap into this protest movement and try to take the federal government out of a lot of business at the state and local level. that's his vision, what he is trying to do. that's why as jonathan said, he preserved the position in the majority leader role, because as jonathan rightly pointed out, republicans didn't want to drive the bus over the cliff, did not want to be blamed for shut down,
for default, et cetera, and it was brilliant maneuvering by mcconnell. >> joining us now, jim more and, democrat from virginia. congressman, i watched you this morning, you didn't look happy about the deal. >> i'm not, chris. i trust if you were here, you would have voted the same way. i think this is a bad deal. you know, the tea partiers put us into a straightjacket, but i think to some extent, the democrats tied the knot. in order to get through another short term crisis, we have really created a situation in the long term that's going to come back to haunt us. the real problem is the economy. we never cut ourselves out of recession. we have grown out of recession. i know the way you feel about this country. we tap the human resource potential, we will be fine and generate enough revenue to pay the debt. the problem is we will have no money for education, research,
development, for infrastructure investment. we have hundreds of billions of dollars of projects sitting there. >> that's my question. congressman, that's exactly where i am at. i look at the situation where corporate america is not hiring people back. cop ceos make money finding out ways not to hire people, temporary, overtime, any trick in the world. how do we get out of the recession except through government. >> thank you. 75% of corporate profit over the last two years has been a result of cutting personnel and innovation. we are cutting jobs to maximize profits, and corporations are sitting on $2 trillion of cash. we are not a poor nation, we are a wealthy nation, but we are never going to realize our real wealth as long as we don't invest in our people. you know, when you think of the fact, the last four years the bush administration hispanic families lost 66% of wealth,
african-american families 53%. asian families, 54%. they need help. getting into homes. getting the education and training they need. they need to get into the mainstream of this economy, and they need the help of the federal government. this is like 1937 when a conservative congress came in and forced roosevelt to repeal all the measures that rescued us from the great depression, and put us back into depression. the only thing that rescued us was hitler having to spend the money we needed to, and then we invested in the gis returning home, housing, higher education. that's what made the difference and the interstate highway system, infrastructure, it sustained the middle class for two generations. now here we are again, we are going to make the same mistake we made in 1937, chris. this is wrong and we ought to focus on the long term and not make these kinds of expedient decisions just to get through one crisis after another. we are going to have another crisis september 30, another the day before thanksgiving, and every time we yield on this that we don't confront the real problems, we empower those that want to diminish government, take it out of the picture, and
as a result are going to sustain the economic recession we're in. >> sitting around, trying to beat the republicans at budget cutting won't win elections. i agree with you, congressman. back when i was a staffer for tip o'neill. i called the chief engineer of the leader, i asked for a list of bridges below safety code, all the roads in disrepair. names and addresses, the speaker, tip o'neill had all the guts in the world said i am going on the floor with that. he went on the floor, read the list of those. why don't you go after the republicans district by district, i don't care how far. make them see all the jobs need to be put to work in their district, all the bridges that are dangerous for the next school bus to cross, all the roads with potholes and disasters about to happen, and put the names to it. say we have real work to be done. your congress person won't support. why don't you bring the fight to them? >> i was going to on the water infrastructure projects.
we got $688 billion of water infrastructure projects that are suspended because they don't have enough money. we were going to do that on the floor of the house, and they pulled the bill. i don't think they are bringing it back again. >> why don't you list the projects in districts that republicans represent and embarrass the hell out of them. say look, what's the unemployment rate in your district, mr. congressman, republican, what's the unemployment rate among minorities as you point out? it is what, 20%. you're going to sit on that? go to work. go after these guys. >> good thoughts. those are jobs that are here and they pay well, and they lay a foundation for even stronger economy in the future. that's what we should be investing in. we are selling our people short. we are selling this nation short. that's why i voted no. >> why doesn't hoyer or pelosi have a jobs bill that emanates from the house, force the republicans to vote. i guess you have a hard time scheduling it. at least post it out there online. >> we have. we tried that, chris. but we can't get that kind of thing on the floor, and it
wouldn't go through the committee. we don't have the majority in the committee that we need. you know that. it is horribly frustrating. >> they are trusting the republicans negotiating with him weren't negotiating. they had the hard right back to the tea party say no to everything. charlie rang he will joins us when we come back. the house of representatives passed a debt deal by 269 to 161. trying to get a breakdown of who voted where. the senate votes tomorrow at noon. charlie rangel joins me from new york. give me an idea who voted for it.
the house of representatives passed a debt deal by 269 to 161. trying to get a breakdown of who voted where. the senate votes tomorrow at noon. charlie rangel joins me from new york. give me an idea who voted for it. >> i really don't know because i didn't check out the vote. i was surprised so many, but certainly not the majority of the congressional black caucus voted for this bill. it was a terrible bill and it is hard to say. i was overwhelmed with the size of the votes for the bill. i really thought in the final analysis that this was a very historic occasion, and that people would not want to be recorded. i have to admit if my vote meant the difference between default and survival of our great
nation, it would have been a conscience vote, but i guess i could have done it, but to hold the president of the united states hostage when this has never happened with any other president, to hate him so much and the policies that democrats have had, that they would risk the good faith and credit of the united states of america, i don't see how anyone can be happy with what they have done. that means so much for shared sacrifice. as i look at it, they mugged the president, let him keep his wedding ring and said, you know, they were giving something back to him, but never from the beginning of this discussion did they have anything with anybody that enjoyed the wealth of the united states made any sacrifice, not even an
inconvenience, so this puts a different front on our great country in terms of what we want people to believe we are. and this vote, all i can say is that there will be changes in 2013. >> you think there will be public reaction to this that will help your party? >> there's no question that congress was far behind what the polls were saying. depends how you ask the question. do you believe the united states of america and especially congress should cut back in spending? yes. and do you believe that tax loopholes worth trillions of dollars and the fact we haven't had a decent increase in pages for the rich since 1950 should then make us sacrifice? yes. it is clear that equity and fair play was understood by americans. it just wasn't understood by certain people that said under no circumstances would we even look at closing loopholes.
revenues are off the table. so it doesn't make any economic sense to cut programs and to put people in the street at a time we are going through this recession, and the only way you can pull out of this is that people are working on quality jobs. our schools are producing people and training them for jobs, and getting the corporations if they need incentives to bring the jobs home and not incentives to keep it overseas. it is easy to do that, but instead of that, they would rather embarrass the president instead of creating jobs, which we haven't heard from them since they got the majority. >> we will get back to that. thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, chris. >> great to have you on. we are going back to huffington post howard fineman, jay newton small, richard wolf. howard, a big night. you seem to be enjoying it. you seem to appreciate the historic nature of the program. in all seriousness, i want a score from you on the president,
want you sober minded and brutally challenged. the president's score card handling this. a, b, c, d, or f. give him a grade? >> i give him a c minus. he had a difficult situation to deal with, but i have to say i agree with a lot of his democratic colleagues that think he misplayed it in negotiating terms. i think he underestimated and didn't really understand the strength of the tea party. i didn't think he understood the dynamics within his opposition that he was dealing with across the table. at one point he said when he was sitting with boehner and cantor who am i dealing with? he should have known better the dynamics of his foes. number one. number two, he should have put out and committed to if he wasn't demanding just a clean bill, should have put out a more specific program.
at least that's what the democrats said, had it scored, had it buttoned up, and take that to the american people. now, he survived to fight another day and it is true he won't have to at least in theory deal with debt increase again until after 2013, after the presidential election. but i think he lost a lot. i think his party is divided. i think a lot of people are disappointed in him, that we're already concerned about him. i think he conceded the point about taxes yet again, he has now done it twice, he is going to have a hard time doing it a third time. the one thing about barack obama, he is a terrific situational politician who always seems to benefit from comparisons and from his surroundings. so he'll live to fight another day, but i don't think this was his best or strongest moment as president by any means. >> howard, you made a great point there. i am in los angeles, remembering the great movie "grand canyon" thinking of the scene when kevin kline is surrounded by hoodlums.
and danny glover comes to save him with the pickup. he gets him out of a terrible situation, kids want to hold him up with his nice car, and danny glover says who am i talking to with the kids, remember? who am i talk to go. wanted to know which kid was carrying the gun. that is what you're saying the president was missing. he didn't know, it wasn't boehner he was talking to, it was whoever was leading or speaking for the tea party people. is that what you're saying? >> i also think he has many virtues, many as a leader and as a president. but it is at least my sense, at least the sense of democrats in the senate who were yelling at the omb director the other week behind closed doors that this white house and president in particular don't enjoy diving into the dynamics of congress. not all presidents do. barack obama who didn't have that much legislative experience really, he had a cup of coffee
in the senate, wasn't that involved in the illinois legislature. i think the fact he doesn't have a granular feel for congress, at least according to fellow democrats, a problem for him and it showed this time because i think mitch mcconnell essentially took him to the cleaners cleaners. >> first some human interest. your pal came back tonight. gabrielle giffords. >> it was an incredible experience to see her triumphantly return to the chamber. little less than eight months ago, we predicted she would. she has the determination and heart of a lion, has been working so hard. she knew it was important for her district to have her voice on probably the most pivotal vote that we will have this congress. incredibly important to her. >> how did you vote, how did she vote and why?
>> i voted yea. she voted yea. default is not an option. we couldn't allow the economy to go over a cliff. we needed to protect medicare, medicaid, social security. they tried to end medicare as we know it, and make sure we have a balance when it comes to deficit reduction, and when the super commission sits down and hammers out the second trench of deficit reductions, that it be balanced and considered revenue as well as cuts. >> why was the tea party, you're a congresswoman, politician, leader of democratic party, why was the tea party able to muscle aside much of the political establishment and basically control the ball for months. the tea party that were telling boehner what to do, talking perhaps through cantor and mccar thee, but they were calling the
shots. all along they controlled the ball. how did that happen in this country, are they speaking for the majority of the country? >> chris, i don't agree the tea party has been controlling the ball. >> they haven't? >> no, they have been controlling the republican party, and unfortunately john boehner allowed the tail to wag the dog. as a result, he was not able to do something historic like barack obama wanted to do which was pass a significant, historic plan to reduce the deficit and really address our long term economic problems. john boehner walked away from that opportunity twice because he essentially the strengths from the tea party, cooler heads prevailed, we struck a compromise that was not something the president or any of us were thrilled about, but we were able to make sure we don't default. we were able to protect seniors so the safety net isn't yanked out from them when it comes to
medicare and increasing medicare costs. we were able to get real reductions and ensure when the commission meets, there will be balance between revenue, spending cuts, and the spending cuts include significant cuts to defense. that's in a not very good situation a good victory for a side that really wanted to do something much more significant. >> as you point out, and i think you're right, the tea party crowd controls the republican party now. >> right. >> and half the membership of this new committee that's going to decide the second round of cuts is republican. what's going to stop the tea party from doing again what they have done now so successfully, called the shots for the republicans? >> here is what's going to stop the tea party. it is called an election. what has to happen in the next election is the american people who repeatedly overwhelmingly and in every poll in the last few weeks indicated they want deficit reduction that includes
balance between revenue and cuts. they want us to focus on jobs and the economy and they want us to make sure we continue to get the economy turned around. the tea party has been obstructionist, insisted it being their way or the highway. a plan would have ended medicare, privatizes social security, puts all the pain on the middle class, on working families on people who can least afford it, leaving the wealthiest and most fortunate with no skin incompetent the game. the election will bring the change we need. we need to reelect barack obama. we also need to make sure we give democrats the house of representatives and majority so we can get on the road back to getting our economy turned around. >> do you believe president obama used all the powers of the presidency, including the bully
pulpit effectively in this long fight over the debt? >> i am very proud of barack obama, very proud of the president who used all the levers that he had available to him. look, he put on the table what would have been every sacred cow that we have in the democratic party. he was ready to put his presidency on the line and stand up and say this is what the right thing to do for the country is, and john boehner and the republican leadership were so afraid of the tea party that they walked away not once but twice. and you know what, at the end of the day, doing the right thing to president obama is more important than holding on to power. it was evidenced when it came to republican leadership that power was more important than doing the right thing. and that's the choice the american people will have at the end of the day when it comes to who they choose to continue to lead this country. >> thank you very much for coming on. >> thanks, chris. >> i am proud of you and your friendship with gabby giffords. one bright light tonight in an otherwise sultry event. debbie wasserman schultz. there she is again. gabby giffords and her friend. thank you for coming.
it's all the people of the hard right with the progressive, the people on the left, all joining and holding hands against this. >> yeah, well i suppose that might make the white house feel a little better. i actually don't think the politics of the -- work in their favor. even though they can legitimate legitimately say they don't like it, republicans can legitimately claim they brought the president closer to making the cuts than sooner than they wanted to. this is not in his time frame. it's not in his economic policy framework to be making these cuts at this point in the economy. so this kind of deal, the normal strategy inside the white house is any kind of compromise is good, i don't think this time it works for them. independent voters will hear republicans say this was our agenda, we brought the president to account and they'll take credit for it. it doesn't read down to them no matter what the no votes are. >> the congress now can hold the president's feet to the fire and say if you don't give us based on what you want, we'll find something else you absolutely need to keep the country going and we're not going to let you have it. constitutional overflow in some direction here. >> this is the strategic
negotiations with hostage takers. the president didn't take this approach with the somali pirates, by the way. the tea party has two opportunities to play the same routine, one when it comes to the super committee, they've been promised no taxes in this deal, white house is saying taxes are legitimately in the deal. triggers don't balance out equally. many in the tea party are happy to see defense cuts, so it's not an equal trigger in that sense, and secondly, the money runs out triggers don't balance out equally. many in the tea party are happy
to see defense cuts, so it's not an equal trigger in that sense, and secondly, the money runs out at the end of september. there's going to be another government shutdown on the card, so right to the brink, run it over the edge of the cliff, who's going to blink this time? >> right before the presidential election? >> this year, before we get there. that's the problem with debby shultz's approach. two more rounds on exactly the same subject. >> let's go to kelly o'donnell. hold on, richard, kelley's on the hill. give me the smell of the crowd out there. what we can't see, what was it like out there? >> today there was a real intense energy, chris. one of the things that was different was there was sort of a tired euphoria when the deal was announced by the majority leader and mitch mcconnell, then the president came out, then there was this sort of lull today where it was sort of a twist. you had had tea party
republicans and conservatives dominating the headlines for days with the things they were upset about and they were demanding, then all of a sudden today you heard much more from liberal democrats. not that we hadn't heard their concerns before, but it blew up today. they gave the vice president an earful in a meeting that went more than a couple of hours. the vice president was here not to convince anyone to vote but to hear them out, explain how the deal got from where it began, where it ended up. there was a tense exchange where people in the meeting described some of the more liberal members were so heated with the tea party they threw out referring to them at terrorists and hostage takers. later the vice president said no, he was not using that language. he didn't think it was appropriate for political discourse, but he was sure caught up in the mess of it,
then had to explain that afterward, not helpful to the vice president for sure. then, of course, just now there was this emotional lift of the surprise return of gabrielle giffords, and what you do have in the not part of the votes, not part of the underlying bill, not part of what happens with the committee, but just the human reaction from both parties seeing her return, seeing her look as well as she does, seeing that she wanted to be here and was returning to the floor and it's been eight months since we have seen her in washington, d.c., so you're even getting republicans, this no surprise in a circumstance like this, they are putting out statements now of encouragement and welcoming her back, so it has in a way put a pin in the balloon of the really toxic environment that has dominated the day. certainly, they'll get back to that, but for a moment when there was so much focus on the fight, there was this breath of optimism that walked into the room.
not about the politics, the human story of gabrielle giffords' return. tomorrow, senate votes, not as tough a fight but won't be easy there. >> thanks so much for that report, human report. thanks so much, kelly o'donnell from the hill. thank you howard fineman and jay newton-small. we're going to finish with something about this vote. it's really important historically. there's something missing here. what other options could this our boy's a genius. we are awesome parents! biddly-boop. [ male announcer ] if you find a lower rate on a room you've booked, we won't just match it. we'll give you $50 towards your next trip. [ gnome ] it's go time.
this country than to simply listen to the other side's demands and try to meet them? is there another way than buckling to the republicans? how does a president like barack obama command authority? how does he move a country so that his rivals have to buckle? how does he use the power of the presidency, logic, emotion, to thwart those willing to threaten, disrupt, even destroy to get their way and how does he find the authority to push back on, push down on if necessary, those who do not agree with him, those who do not wish his success, do not wish him well, do anything to get their way. it's a basic question but an important one we get an answer to. is there something missing in this thing, some stretch of power, some leadership capacity that he just simply failed to exploit? i'm willing to leave that question open right now, but the country's going to r