tv Martin Bashir MSNBC November 14, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced, responsible approach. i want a big deal. i want a comprehensive deal. >> too bad these guys can't see the writing on the wall. >> the congress opposes tax hikes. >> raising tax rates is unacceptable. >> i don't support raising tax rat rates. >> period? >> yeah. i've been saying that my entire career. >> we have majority of america who recognizes if we're serious about deaf dit reduction we have to did it in a balanced way. >> response to a range of questions at his first press conference since winning re-election. in the east room of the white house, the president took to the podium to press his agenda for the next four years. quickly dispatching a first question on the petraeus affair, saying he had no evidence any classified information was disclosed. then it was on to dismiss
concerns that he could cave again on tax cuts for the rich with the impending fiscal cliff. >> what i said at the time is what i meant. which is, this was a one-time proposition. what i'm not going to do is to extend bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford, and according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy. >> the president expressed confidence and urged action in reaching a deal to avoid the sudden increase of taxes and the imposition of spending cuts in january. but he reiterated time and again that he will not balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. saying that the election proved that the american people are behind him. >> when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced, responsible approach. and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more.
i think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate. and the majority of voters agreed with me. >> not just election results, though. new polling suggests the president has the upper hand going into the latest budget battle. in a new washington post/pew poll, 51% predict the president and republicans will not reach an agreement in time. 53% say republicans will bear more of the blame if no deal is struck. but at today's press conference it was another blame game that drew the president's ire, defending susan rice after comments by republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham that they would oppose her nomination to be secretary of state based on remarks she made about the benghazi attacks. >> if senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. but for them to go after the
u.n. ambassador, who had nothing to do with benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence she had received, and to besmerch her reputation is outrageous. >> indeed. let's get to our panel julian epstein, lynn sweet, washington bureau sweet for chicago "sun-times" and msnbc political analyst professor michael eric dyson of georgetown university. professor dyson,fy might begin with you, perhaps the most hated moment in that press conference was the president's barely concealed anger that republicans have been attacking ambassador susan rice for the confusion surrounding the benghazi consulate attacks. this, as you know, has been the drum beat from republicans from the right wing media for weeks. do you think the president's response will do anything to silence the drums? >> unfortunately, not, martin, because it's part of an overall
republican strategy to compensate for their loss. they're closing ranks around this particular issue, trying to find what they think are weaknesses and exploit them. i think this is a way of revenge, so to speak, of the republican leadership to try to get back at obama, first for winning, and then for being able to have a successful foreign policy that was supposedly from the beginning his weakness, but which has turned out to be one of his real strengths. so, unfortunately, all of this -- this commitment to our patriotic togetherness and unity that we will govern this country across the aisles with bipartisan attention is being foiled, input president obama showed, as you said, rare, if you will, anger, a flash of real support for susan rice, and indicating he's up to the battle. that should he choose her to become part of his cabinet, he will put her forth with the full expectation that she will be vented in the ways she should be -- vetted, excuse me, in the
way she should be without that rancor. you can be assure, the rancor will be following if she's nominated. this po >> lynn, you were there in the east room when the president was speaking. can you recall him being so intense, so passionate about an issue as he was then? >> that was a special moment, being in the room, you could feel the intensity. i was sitting a few feet from him. you could -- you could -- that steely gaze that he really was setting on mccain and graham was cutting. and his words, to be in the room to hear them, were a clear warning. and his body language was tense, too. so, it was -- people should know though, why. susan rice, who came out of the
clinton white house, was a very early supporter of barack obama when he was running for the presidency. she was there practically on day one. he is intensely loyal to her. >> indeed. julian, senator john mccain, who seems to be imbittered by his 2008 loss, took to the senate floor immediately after the press conference. take a listen to this, julian. >> the united nations obama at the direction of the white house went on all sunday talk shows to allege that this was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video. what did the president know? when did he know it? what did dough about it? >> your reaction to mr. mccain there, julian. >> i think, first of all, just to respond to how the president dealt with it, i think if there's a headline coming out of the press conference today with the president, it is this, no more mr. nice guy. that was the message on the fiscal cliff. that was clearly the message to-o susan rice.
john mccain used to have a lot of respects from democrats, including myself. i think that has all but evaporated. john mccain happens to be wrong on the allegations he's making. the comments susan rice made four days after the benghazi attack were perfectly and entirely consistent with the intelligence that she was getting from the cia. when we believed that the attacks were a spontaneous protest and reaction to the video. what we've learned since then was that two things may have been happening. one, the spontaneous protests could have been occurring while an al qaeda-like organization was also planning an attack and trying to take advantage of the unrest that occurred as a result of the video. so, both things could have -- both things are likely to have been accurate. but the fact of the matter is that susan rice's comments were entirely consistent with the intelligence that she was getting from the cia at the time. and republicans tried to scandalize her on fast and
furious. it turns out they were wrong on the facts. they've gone away from that. they tried to attack the president on solyndra. you don't hear anything else about that. they were wrong on the facts. and i bet you a dollar to a doughnut here, as soon as the republicans are forced to actually back up their rhetoric in a committee hearing, they will see they have absolutely no substance backing them up and that susan rice, who's been a superb ambassador, was doing exactly what they should have been doing, reporting to the american people what the best intelligence was telling us at the time. >> professor dyson, to julian's point, the president was also categoric on taxes saying if he has a mandate, it's to work on behalf of the middle class. now, does that mean, professor dyson, americans earning over $250,000 should expect to revert to the 39.6% tax rate under president clinton? >> well, certainly they're moving toward that particular goal. the president indicated that, look, the people who are wealthier have to pay their fair
share. i think an overwhelming number of those who voted for him understood that. even those who didn't vote for him understood that would be the case. the president has been clear and at any time here. those tax cuts -- those tax rates under president clinton led to an unprecedented era, if you will, of enjoying being in the black and not in the red. that was reversed summarily by george bush. i don't think many people are arguing with the president about a return to tax rates that led us to tremendous benefits and advantages in the economy and led us into the black, so to speak, and put us on good footing. the concern is not simply about the middle class but those who are working poor and poor. the president is saying, we don't want to give tax cuts it to the fat cats and those who make $250,000 and top 1% earners in this country. we want to make sure the middle class is stocked, retains enough of its own earnings so they'll
be able to contribute to the economy just as well. god knows the poor people have to be taken care of as well. >> lynn, in the light of what professor dyson has just said, how does the president win over mitch mcconnell, paul ryan, speaker boehner, who have already openly said, no increases in tax rates? >> well, you have to splinter off some republicans, in the senate it will be easier because you just have to get to 60. you might pass the december 31st deadline where you have a few more democrats in the senate. but the problem is always going to be the house. i think there may be a bargain in the -- in the side of coming to republicans and saying, here are cuts. but the price of those cuts will be that 2%. republicans will face a very tough choice in just a very short time. are they the ones that are going to be responsible for giving 98%
of americans tax hikes? do the republicans want to be known as the party that raised your taxes for everybody but 2%? >> right. and i think, martin -- >> so, the 2% solution may be a noose around the republicans' neck. >> i think the republicans have little leverage. not just for that reason but a couple of other reasons. if you consider the fact that taxes are at 15% of gdp, spending is at 24%, even the paul ryan budget proposes we only reduce spending to 20% of gdp. that means five percentage points have to be made up if you want a balanced budget from tax increases. you can't do that alone where just -- >> loopholes and reductions. >> the argument that obama has is eeb simpler -- >> no, republicans are losing leverage on the substance. they're losing leverage on the politics of this, as the polls showed. and losing leverage because if they do nothing taxes will go up on everyone. this is the republicans being hoisted with their own -- they
showed the debt as a principle issue during the 2011 debt ceiling extension talks. they're the ones that brought this to the fore. what obama is now doing is performing a jujitsu. he's taking their issue and using it to maximize leverage to get his agenda accomplished. because taxes are going to go up on everybody if the republicans try to play obstructionism, obama clearly has the upper hand here. combine that with the fact that he's taking this no more mr. nice guy attitude, and this will be a deal done on president obama's terms, i guarantee that. >> and the democratic base is giving him a lot of pressure not to cave. >> indeed. thank you all so much. next, it seems that paul ryan has learned nothing from his run as vp candidate. okay, he learned you shouldn't lie about your marathon times. stay with us. >> you don't think there's a mandate? >> i don't because then they would have put nancy pelosi in the charge of the house of representatives. i think these ideas we talked
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it appears a week is a long time in the week of republicans. despite waking up to the news of an emphatic win for the president. some say the president has no mandate to speak of. the man on tuesday laid down harsh truths just a few hours ago. >> i've got a man to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get in the middle class. that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said, work really hard to
help us. >> for more now we turn to dana milbank, a political columnist for washington post, and michelle cottle. welcome to you both. dana, on the planet republican, john boehner was just re-elected to the speakership. he seems to think with his re-election comes the bigger mandate. is he serious? does he even have a mandate among hits own house republicans? >> i'm sure the voters of john boehner's district near cincinnati, ohio, do -- have given him a mandate to do exactly what he's doing. but he needs to represented the entire country when he's speaker of the house. >> oh, yes. cue remind him of that? >> there has to be a little bit of a game going on after the election. as both sides lay out their positions here. the president, i think, was doing some justifiable chest-thumping today saying, look, guys, i won this election
last week. he's not budging on his position. it appears, as a matter of policy, the republicans are at least showing some indication to move, even while attempting to rhetorically deny the president this mandate. >> that's a contortion. paul ryan is leading the charge. here he is about his own shellacking. >> you don't think there's a mandate? >> i don't, because they would have put nancy pelosi in charge of the house of representatives. these ideas we're talking about are popular ideas. >> these ideas we talked about, i think they're popular ideas. they were so popular, michelle, he lost the presidential election, he lost his home state of wisconsin, he even lost his hometown of janesville, but he says he has a mandate. >> look, mr. ryan has visions of 2016 dancing in his head. he can't admit that what he's based his entire legislative career on, this budget plan of
his s a loser. he has also made noises, as dana points out, he wants to be part of the solution going forward. he's going to be a little more conciliatory than they have been in the past if they want to get anything done. because the republicans don't want this fiscal cliff bomb to go off, because then their priorities are going to be in the firing line. >> you could have fooled me, michelle. when i listened to him giving an interview to abc news and he says i don't believe in raising any taxes, does that sound like a man who's prepared to compromise? >> but he has said that he thinks that revenues can be dealt with. and really, it doesn't really matter what paul ryan thinks by himself. i mean, we're going to get in there with all of the republicans and democrats together and the president's going to make his case. he has a much stronger bargaining position than he did a couple weeks ago. >> yes, indeed, because he actually won the election. dana, you recently wrote that the gop is going through the kubler-ross five stages of grief. i know it's still early for them
but they seem permanently stuck in denial. what else needs to happen for them to realize that grover norquist actually did not contest last week's election and the people have spoken? >> well, it's not just denial, martin. there's a lot of anger as well. >> of course. >> there's a certain amount of depression. what we're not seeing at all at this stage is acceptance. and i think you have more of that going on. we do seem to see a little bit of the bargaining stage of grief here but not nearly enough of that. you know, paul ryan, as i think we've discussed, he objected the bowles/simpson plan said i want to take this to the people and let the people decide in the election. the people decided in the election. he can't have it both ways. you think he would want to honor that result. >> that's a good and hopeful wish. michelle, when romney's economic adviser says average rates on the rich need to go up, when
bill kristol tells republicans, don't fall on your sword over the bush tax cuts, does that suggest mandate or no mandate? >> it suggests that even the republican party itself is very, very nervous about where it has landed. and everyone who isn't paul ryan or a lot of his house colleagues who are kind of still fighting that last battle, they're really looking for the party to do some soul searching and figure out a way that they can come up with an agenda that people will like. otherwise, they're going to find themselves doing this again in two years. >> back to you, dana. we know that, as i said earlier, mr. boehner has been ee re-elec. what about mitch mcconnell. he sounds as object strucktive as he has over the last four years. what's going to happen to him? >> i went to his photo op yesterday where he unveiled new members of the republican
freshman class. they could have had that in a broom closet because there were only three of them and they were sitting there nodding their heads and grinning for the cameras. is he going to play the bad cop here. i mean, boehner at some point is going to be in a position of actually having to lead. mcconnell can still be, because he's in the minority, can still be -- well, he can't make it his top priority to defeat obama but he can make it a top priority to defeat all of obama's policies. >> wouldn't it be great if they actually worked together? >> it's important to keep in mind john boehner is an old school guy willing to cut deals and be reasonable and compromise. now, the question is whether or not with eric cantor and the rest of the leadership kind of eyeing him how far he'll be able to go. but boehner is a more reasonable guy in these situations. >> let's look for the ghost of eric cantor. dana milbank and michelle cottle, thank you both. next allen west, the high fade refuses to fade away.
only pat robertson could come up with this. stay with us. >> she is an extremely good looking woman. she is a marathon runner. she can run iron man, triathlons. i mean, a man's off in a foreign land, here's a good looking lady throwing herself at him. ♪ ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman.
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opponent. the reason, alleged ballot irregularities among those who voted early. for the record, he lost. yes, by a small amount. in the unofficial final count, not by an enough to trigger a recounted. it was his governor, rick scott, who tried to do great harm to early voting, cutting the number of days almost in half. the thinking went, long lines would so diminish democratic turnout as to secure a republican win. instead, we see today a democratic president with a mandate and a loser of the most expensive house race this cycle with a very ironic complaint about unfairness in florida's early voting. frankly, it serves you right, sir. stay with us. the day's "toplines" are coming up. [ female announcer ] you can make macaroni & cheese without freshly-made pasta. you could also cut corners
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from a paul ryan spit take to a pat robertson love connection, here are today's "toplines," everyone just take a deep breath. >> we thought we had a really good chance of winning. >> i think everybody needs to catch their breath. >> there are always a temptation to think they have a mandate. >> they also re-elected house republicans. >> we don't have the gavel. >> let's cut the, i'd love to be able to give employees health care, i just can't. take all the millions you donated for part san political purpose -- >> smart people who watched this stuff had a pretty optimistic view. >> i thought he did a terrific job running the olympics. >> the winning bidder wanted me to get a tattoo of a penis on my head. >> oh, gosh. >> did you consider just putting a sign on your lawn? >> i wanted to run a big campaign on ideas. we did that. >> we were wrong. sometimes have you to confront reality. >> this david petraeus scandal -- >> i certainly wouldn't call it welcome. >> we have to do something about heterosexuals in the military.
>> i think the term is propinquity. >> before this leads back to kevin bacon. >> justin bieber in there. you put selena gomez -- >> 30,000 pages of e-mails. >> take his mind off the woolz of the day. >> there's a fine line between sa deduction and spamming. >> what does this woman smell like? >> i don't know if you want to get diplomatic -- >> is it a petty mixture of ambrosia and crack? >> do you believe the story line he would not have told president obama about something that is so important? >> that's one of the dumbest questions i've ever heard. >> what did they know? when did they know it? >> senator mccain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. >> let's get right to our panel. msnbc political analyst jonathan alter, columnist for bloomberg
view, nia-malika, and goldie taylor, managing editor of the goldie taylor project. jonathan, i can begin with you, do we need a full-scale watergate style investigation to discover the truth about the so-called benghazi cover-up? perhaps even the bedroom antics of our top intelligence offer, john mccain, lindsey graham say we do? >> it's so pathetic. why don't -- >> so pathetic? >> yes. they lost the election. they're mad about it. they want to find a way to relitigate it. look, after he got his intelligence briefing, classified intelligence briefing, in the middle of october, mitt romney shut up about this. because when he actually found out, you know, that it was the cia that was giving both the union ambassador, susan rice, and the white house whatever information they had, you didn't hear him talking about it in the
third debate. he was asked the first question about it and he didn't say anything. john mccain and lindsey graham know this is much ado about nothing. are there legitimate questions to ask, bureaucratic questions about how information moves up the chain of command? of course. there always are in these sorts of situations. especially when they're tragic like this. but does that mean it's some sort of scandal, you know, watergate style cover-up or there was an effort to have people, quote, stand down in the fashion of terrorism? it's ridiculous. >> it's worth mentioning the president at the press conference made it clear that four americans did lose their lives and he's deeply concerned about that. and we all should be. but republicans e especially senators mccain and graham, have been beating up on u.n. ambassador susan rice every single day for the last two months. and the president stood up to that bullying today. take a listen. >> to bring those who carried it
out to justice. they won't get any debate from me on that. but when they go after the u.n. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. >> goldie, to jonathan's point, the president says if you want to pick on someone, then pick on him. hasn't this always been about him anyway, really? >> this really always has been about him. i think jonathan is absolutely right, this is about relitigating a campaign that's over. lindsey graham who has jim demint chewing at his ankles every given day. john mccain still relitigating the last campaign from 2008. so, i think that, you know, jonathan's absolutely right. the problem here is the cia backs up everything that susan rice said. i think if you check the transcripts of what she said versus what the cia was saying at the time, those things match.
and i think going forward, as we learn more information, as the information begins to spool itself out, as the investigation begins to conclude itself, and i think it will be some time when we get some real answers, i think that you're going to find that it absolutely was plausible that you had a terrorist organization who was taking advantage of a -- you know, of a protest in progress. i've always said that was very plausible. that seems to be, you know, the idea of what's happened here. today when i saw the president during this press conference, i thought he was going to start reciting the line from mop's ante up. he stood tough this afternoon and i think the white house press corps was not prepared for the president obama they saw today. >> nia-malika, some conservatives are calling out talk radio and fox news for lying to their audience. it seems like many republicans are still nurturing what psychiatrists call polythematic
delusion. when are they going to concede that they lost? >> well, i mean, i do think in some ways they're licking their wounds from what was a decisive win on the map and then in the popular vote as well. i think in the case of susan rice, i think that was a wow moment, for this president, very surprising. i think we learned from that press conference he's certain to nominate a susan rice and he's ready for this battle that is certainly going to occur between him and some of the republicans on the senate foreign relations committee there and in the broader senate. again, they've got the numbers in the senate to approve senate -- to approve that confirmation of secretary rice. you definitely saw a president who was willing and ready to almost engage and pick an even bigger fight, calling out mccain, calling out graham in that press conference. they immediately responded. so, i think the battle
continues. it's going to be a pretty big one going forward. >> did the president not indicate in that press conference by implication that his next nomination, his candidate for secretary of state, is susan rice? >> well, he seemed to be implying that. but i think it would be premature to say she's definitely the choice. you know, there are a lot of factors that go into this. john kerry is still, you know, a contender for this. he would also make a very good secretary of state. i want to go back to the whole question of what capitol hill's engagement in this should be. i think in some ways we're looking -- we're asking some of the wrong questions. to my mind, in addition to the questions about what happened in this particular episode, we should revisit the state department's request for $300 million more in security for its embassies and consulates last,
which was roundly rejected by republicans in congress. i believe that any republican who is on record rejecting that $300 million request to beef up security should answer questions from the press that have not been asked, i should note, as to why they objected to approving what the state department understandably felt was the need to improve its securities at those embassies. which needless to say, might have helped in this situation. >> of course, we look forward to hearing paul ryan's response to those questions. >> not just ryan, all of them. >> indeed. jonathan alter, nia-malika henderson, goldie taylor, thank you. mitch mcconnell refuses to face reality. you put up akin and mourdock and you lost. deal with it. >> president obama can follow suit or he can take the extremist view that both reagan and clinton rejected. by thumbing his nose at the other side and insisting that if
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and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. the president in winning not one but two general elections ran on a single consistent promise when it came to the issue of taxes. that if you earn more than $250,000 a year, then your taxes will go up. but not if you earn less. >> by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. in the next couple of weeks, provide certainty to middle class families, 98% of families who make less than $250,000 a year, 97% of small businesses, that their taxes will not go up a single dime next year. >> unfortunately, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell
continues to operate in an alternative universe believing mandates only apply to him and his republican colleagues. he's even taken to repeating himself on the matter. >> the voters also re-elected a republican-controlled house last week and a closely divided senate. if he's serious he'll put the campaign rhetoric aside, propose a solution to pass a republican-controlled house and a divided senate. >> john yarmuth, good afternoon. you know mr. mcconnell very well. can you explain to me and his viewers how he believes he and not the president has a mandate, despite democrats increasing their number in the senate, winning the presidential election and not winning the house, mostly because republicans jerry manneded so many districts. >> primarily i'm not sure he believes it but he's saying it
because he's talking to a different audience than we are and most of the country is. i think he's in a very difficult spot. i don't think he really faces a serious threat from thinks right in kentucky but he doesn't want to do anything that's going to invite one. meanwhile, his real vulnerability is if he's the one seen blocking a deal that everybody in the country and everybody in both parties wants. so, i think he's trying to negotiate this, sounding tough for his right flank but also i think the important thing to watch is what he does. and if he lets his members, the other 44 republicans in the senate kind of do what they're going to do, make the compromises that everybody wants to make, then he can sort of have it both ways. >> given that exit polling showed 60% of the population believe that taxes on the wealthiest americans should go up, to help deal with the deficit, and given the president's emphatic victory, what more does mr. mcconnell require to persuade him of what the american people want? what does he need?
>> well, you know, i'm not sure anything's going to totally persuade him, but mitch mcconnell will always do what's in mitch mcconnell's best interest. he's made this calculation that adhering to a fairly hard line is going to guarantee he doesn't face a primary. the disingenuous thing about the republican argument right now, this whole thing about rates is unfortunate because you cannot do what they say they want to do, which is deal with the tax code and deductions, without impacting the middle class. because any time you touch a deduction, whether it's home mortgage deduction or even capital gains or whatever, you're talking about middle classes being impacted along with wealthier americans. so, this is all phoney. we've got to do something with the rates. the president is absolutely right to hold to his line. the american people are on board. and i think eventually the republicans will fall in line. >> i know that you head up the bourbon caucus, a most excellent caucus, if everyone there was
one. you invited republican massy ey with you. could you not invite mcconnell and introduce him to working with as opposed to this president? >> absolutely. the minority leader was re-elected this afternoon. he issued a statement afterwards which actually read a lot more conciliatory than what we've heard from him. so, maybe he has had a little bit of a realization that he needs to at least profess to be willing to work with democrats and with the president. let's hope that, for once, that the interest of the country and mick mcconnell's interests coincide. that would be fortunate. >> fingers crossed, congressman john yarmuth of kentucky. next, the president meets with america's about business leaders. first hampton with the business news. >> we had a late day wall street selloff after comments from
president obama that raising taxes on the wealthy must be part of any deal to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. the dow down 184 points. s&p losing 19. the nasdaq shedding 10 points. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. [ male announcer ] this is steve. he loves risk. but whether he's climbing everest, scuba diving the great barrier reef with sharks, or jumping into the market, he goes with people he trusts, which is why he trades with a company that doesn't nickel and dime him with hidden fees. so he can worry about other things, like what the market is doing and being ready, no matter what happens, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense, from td ameritrade.
with today's press conference behind him, the president quickly moved on to meetings with business leaders from companies as diverse as aetna and epcy to chevron and walmart. on friday he welcomes congressional leaders to the white house when he says he'll attempt to come to an agreement on taxes and soon. >> i want a big deal. i want a comprehensive deal. i want to see if we can, you know, at least for the
foreseeable future provide certainty to businesses and the american people so that we can focus on job growth. >> msnbc's mike viqueira joins us live from the white house. the president is clearly ready for whatever republicans plan to throw at him when they show up for meetings at the white house tomorrow. he showed up at that press conference today and he was in fighting form, wasn't he? >> reporter: he was. certainly with regard to that issue of susan rice, u.n. ambassador. in terms of the tax cut, the fiscal cliff approaching, looming now, which everyone agrees would be a catastrophe if we were to go over it, there's still a lot of brinksmanship going on. the president said proposal from republicans to raise revenue without raising tax rates on the wealthy, which president again insisted on today, the president says the math simply does not work. he said that is not a red line, per se. if they can come back to me and show me how we can raise the revenue one way or another and get the wealthy to pay their fair share, he's keeping an open mind to that.
so, the president on the one hand setting down a firm line, as he has before, about having that rate rise from 35%, where it's been for the last ten years, to 39.6%, where it is due to go for the top 2% of earners in this country, those making over $250,000. on the other hand, he's also talking a lot about compromise. we'll see how it works out on friday. one gets the point the two sides have been staking out their positions leading up to that meeting. >> indeed, they have. union leaders were bouyant yesterday. how will that message go down with business leaders this afternoon? >> well, i think, you know, the business leaders have been trickling out now over the course of the last few minutes. that meeting lasting over an hour in the west wing. a lot of them talking about optimism, how the president was listening to them. i have to tell you, a lot of these business leaders are part of a coalition, fix the debt. they're simply concerned about the effects on the economy. obviously, they don't want
corporate taxes raised or corporate tax rates to go up. but they're more concerned with washington coming together, i think. in that respect they have something in common with the group the president met with yesterday. >> indeed. nbc's mike viqueira, thank you. we'll be right back to "clear the air." ah.
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temptation? there's been understandable disappointment and shock that david petraeus may have compromised the standards we expect of him. particularly as one renowned for self-discipline and self-control. but that begs the question, what do we expect of our leaders? recent history tells us that almost every one of our most treasured institutions has had its troubles. the worldwide catholic church has been exposed as an institution that allowed pedophiles to operate with immunity and even protected them when they were exposed. in government one of the nation's most successful presidents found it impossible to curb his own sexual appetite, even when he was commander in chief. in sport, a cyclist who could fairly be described as the greatest athlete on the earth is now exposed as a drug, cheat and fraud. now the military itself. this nation's most revered institution is reeling from the self-confessed adultery of
general petraeus. amid the disappointment, perhaps the most conclusive analysis has been offered by ruth markis, a columnist on "the washington post" where she says this, each of us is captive to the capacity of self-delusion. every hero has a fatal flaw. but instead of learning from history, we seem to prefer the delusion of perfect expectations. and that particularly applies to the current president. you know, there's a strong suspicion that president obama will not be granted even a single mistake. that he cannot be guilty of any indiscretion, that he must live the most perfect life. but that would be as ridiculous as expecting perfection from a four-star general. because if we've learned anything from this latest episode, it is that part of treasuring o