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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 25, 2010 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

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pretty much scripted before this even started. he's saying the same things that have been said about this summit for the past two or three weeks, that it would be just theater that, the president would be condescending and all this kind of thing. if anybody sat there and listened to george miller, congressman miller, talk about pre-existing conditions and how they affect his constituents and many people that are watching us right now, andrea, and hear -- if they heard the president talk about -- listen to congressman canto r, republican, and said maybe we need to take a look at costs. i think the president and the democrats areç reaching out. but, again, all we have heard from the very beginning from our colleagues is let's start over. let's do it another way. we don't want to hear what's already been done.
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let's not orchestrate things from washington. and i have to tell you, sometimes i really wonder whether they are listening to the people that i listen to every day in my district, who are, many of them, ill, and cannot get the kind of care that they need and others who are seeing their premiums sky rocket. and i think the president is reaching out and doing the best he can to bring this to some type of agreement. >> thank you so much, congressman elijah cummings. we've heard a lively conversation there and i'm sure there are a lot of lively conversations now at lunch. the president is now outside blair house. let's listen. >> the argument that republicans are making really isn't that this is a government takeover of health care but rather that we're insuring the -- or we're regulating the insurance market too much. and that's a legitimate philosophical disagreement. hopefully, we'll be able to
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explore it a little more in the afternoo afternoon. >> from blair house back into west executive drive, heading back into the white house for lunch. obviously, to decide who got the best advantage so far. joining me here on andrea mitchell reports is patrick j. buchanan, msnbc political analyst and michael feldman, democratic analyst, part of the clinton/gore team back when, the last time health care was attempted by a president in this arena. let's talk about who had the best advantage so far today. we saw an extraordinary confrontation, really, political, sharp exchange between john mccain and barack obama. >> no question, andrea, that the president, as the day has gone on, has been getting increasi increasingly ex-increasing
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ly exasperated, especially with john mccain and cantor, who came in with 2,400 pages and says let me guess what you've got there. >> the senate bill. >> i disagree with mike pence to this extent. i think the president has conducted the meeting extraordinarily well and has appeared receptive to republican id ideas. he listened to them and seemed almost to embrace them. you've got a good idea. let's talk about that. i do think we get to a fundamental point that the congressman just mentioned, which is republicans are saying you'll have to throw out the big monster, we'll have to start over. democrats want to bring some republican ideasç in and to pa that. and here is where you get to harry reid. this is where mike pence was right. harry reid says we haven't been talking about reconciliation. he just exploded about it almost with lamar. that's not right, andrea. >> that's fiction. >> we've been on television saying should they do it by that? can they do it by that? >> not just us.
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we're not making this up. >> everybody in this town and harry reid acted as if lamar had insult insulted him because they were talking about reconciliation. >> couple of situations tip iyp where this thing is going. john mccain and the president having a heated exchange, most remarkable exchange so far. why? mccain was going back, litigating the politics of last year while the president was trying to reach out and get solutions to the problem. congressman pence's remarks, basically foreshadow where they're headed. he was in the spin room, already declaring this thing a failure and already saying we have to scrap the bill, which again is code for we have to kill this process. pat, i agree. >> i think that's a mistake. the way lamar has handled it, the way coburn has handled it. they've come up with ideas. they were respectful. we got some disagreements here, sir. you have to know it. but they were respectful. >> i agree.
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>> it's getting partisan. >> partisan, in particular. let's watch this particular exchange between the president and eric cantor. >> that's the ultimate problem here, is in a perfect world, everyone would have everything they want. this government can't afford it. businesses can't afford it. that's why we continue to say, go step by step, try to address the cost and we could ultimately get there. but we're asking that you set aside this mandated form of insurance regulation -- this mandated form of health care regulation and let's go back to things we can agree on without this trillion dollar attempt here. that's all. >> i think the cost issue is legitimate and whether we can afford it or not, we'll be discussing that. i think that's an entirely legitimate discussion. >> that was one of the better moments. >> sure. >> cantor had started out with the stack of the bill and the
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president said let me just guess what that is. >> ronald reagan, what did he bring, a six-foot pile? >> he brought the budget to the state of the union, did he not? >> he did. >> and threw it down. >> here, look at the size of this thing. >> it's theater. >> it's theater. >> by the way, it undermined his point. it would have been a good exchange. but i look at that and see eric cantor who is trying to be very dramatic and is undermining his point. president handled it very well there. >> john mccain did repeat things that are true. there's no doubt when you bring up all your deals and things that went on, which areç true, that's not trying to bring us together. that's making points about what your case is, what your strongest case is. >> yeah. >> and the president said let's not -- the election is over and mccain said, yeah, i'm reminded of that every day. and i'm sure he is. michael, the president clearly has the turf here. the home court advantage. but republicans did present, as pat has been pointing out, lamar
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alexander, people who worked with the president before, and who might be willing to break ranks and support ideas. how do you get past the fundamental disagreement with starting over? >> that's the question. is there going to be a bill or not? we've identified several areas where there could be an agreement. republicans did a great job early on of presenting a reasonable tone. lamar alexander being typical of that. it revealed the strategy, undermined by mike pence in that last exchange with you, an dree gentleman. >> senator jon cornyn, let's talk about what possible communication can exist between the two sides, between democrats and republicans if republicans are saying that any legislation that's already been written is a nonstarter. >> the bill was written in the senate, almost entirely along partisan lines. there was an attempt, you know, by senator chuck grassley, mike enzi and olympia snowe but they
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were told no, thank you. the bill was voted out of the senate along partisan lines on christmas eve. that's why it's very important if this is going to be a bipartisan product, they need to start over. if it's a sticking point for the president they're stuck with a partisan bill. >> what if they do proceed with reconciliation? what will be the reaction among republicans? >> i think there would be a very swift reaction and negative reaction. you know, it's really not a question of power. i mean, there is a procedure in the senate where you can do reconciliation. republicans have used it in the past, democrats. never for a bill this big and this significant, which would reorder one-sixth of the economy and affect all 300 million people. and so -- and this is a bill that the american people, the more they find out about it, they don't want. i think there will be a very
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negative reaction by republicans to a partisan process, and i think, come november, there will be a very negative reaction by the electorate against the senators who participate in that. >> the republicans have used the same procedures for some very big bills in the past. so, why can't -- just to play devil's advocate here, why couldn't democrats do the same thing for at least the budget aspects of the bill? >> well, things like tax relief. there have been examples where reconciliationç is appropriate because they're really budgetary matters, but something called the byrd rule, to set policy that would prohibit any policy from being passed on this budget legislation, on the budgetary aspects of it. this is a very complicated procedure. it's going to be very ugly if it's employed. and i would suggest that the alternative is to take the president up on his invitation
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to do something bipartisan, but we're going to have to do something that's bipartisan at the beginning not just at the end when the bill is already finished. >> as someone who has been here a while and knows politics as well as you do. , you know all these players. you know john mccain. let me play a little bit of the exchange between john mccain and the president and ask you about it on the other side. >> okay. >> the other, among others, was that the administration would oppose drug reimportation from canada, a proposal that you supported in the united states senate. >> john, can i -- >> can i just finish, please? >> let me just make this point, john, because we're not campaigning anymore. the election is over. >> i'm reminded of that every day. >> well, i -- yeah. this would probably be a good time to turn it over to secretary sebelius who -- >> could i just say, mr. president, the american people cared about what we did and how we did it and it's a subject
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that i think we should discuss. thank you. >> they absolutely do care about it, john. >> well, senator cornyn, they don't like each other very much, do they? >> i think it was an awkward moment. the president did make these agreements behind closed doors with groups like pharma, the pharmaceutical industry, pledged to kick in over $80 billion and advertise vigorously in support of a bill that was a partisan bill. i think it was a fair question. the president didn't like it very much, but i think it was a fair question. and i also think, beyond the substance of the bill, sort of the way the bill was written with special deals for senators in exchange for a vote for closure, deals for certain parts of the health care industry, that that was as much of a policy why the american people, the more they found out about the bill, decided they didn't like it.
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>> senator john cornyn, thank you for joining us. >> thanks. >> thanks. senator john barasso, one of the doctors in the senate. ght? roasted chicken recipe? ght? okay, savory rice and lamb stew. [ barks ] you're right. tonight is a beef stew kind of night. you've made another fine choice. look at those beefy chunks all packed with protein, the real vitamin-rich vegetables, the wholesome grains. and you think you're getting spoiled. it's so good for you too. [ announcer ] beneful prepared meals. another healthful, flavorful beneful.
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i would like to make sure that this discussion is actually a discussion and not just us trading talking points. i hope that this isn't political theater, where we're just playing to the cameras and criticizing each other, but instead are actually trying to solve the problem. >> republican senator john
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barrasso has spent decades serving wyoming families as a physician. he joins us now across the street from blair house on the white house lawn. thank you for joining us. what is your verdict? did you think it was just playing to the cameras or were people actually having useful exchange of information? >> well, there was some useful exchange, andrea. i wish there would be a lot more. the president seems to be taking up a lot of time, making his points, countering anything that others have to say and also having the democrats as well. it does seem it's a little bit of a political theater going on. i think our points are very important, which is when you look at this thing, it's going to cost too much. cost $500 billion in cuts to medicare. we haven't really gotten into that yet. significant tax increases. go to any people in america and they think the cost of their care is going to go up, quality is going to go down and it's going to cost americans more if this becomes law. >> there's been a certain amount of tension, certainly, in watching john mccain, for instance, and the president. we just played a little bit of
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it. did you sense that in the room? it seemed as though there were a lot of sparks flying. >> senator mccain, obviously, is very concerned about the sweetheart deals, things that have been promised in the campaign that he saw to be on c-span and only 13 months later or something on c-span that there hasn't been the openness that the president had promised when he was running against senator mccain. and i think that all americans have been very upset with these sweetheart deals, whether it's the nebraska -- the louisiana purchase, the cornhusker kickback, what's happening in florida with medicare advantage and the seniors there. all of these votes that seem to be bought to pass this bill with 60 votes in the senate. so, i think that senator mccain reflects what the american people have been seeing and saying. and that's why less than 40% of the american people want this to become law. they're telling us it's time to start over. >> if you think that there's been posturing and maybe too much dominance by the president, who seems to be eagerly
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rebutting a lot of the points that he views as being more political as they go through this, do you think that they can get past this? when you guys come back from lunch, can -- do you think that there can be a different mood set and actuahv start talking, point by point, about what can be salvaged, or is that impossible if republicans open up, as lamar alexander did, by saying you have to start over? >> the president set four criterias for discussion. we're not even through the second discussion criteria. these are defined by the president. these are not the four that i would have chosen if i really wanted to get agreement on this. they have a whole section that vice president biden is supposed to go into this afternoon on the national debt. we'll see how this goes. and in terms of covering more people, their solution is 15 million more people on medicaid, a program that is broken right now, that many doctors won't see those patients. i'm hoping to have some constructive discussion and debate. i don't see it happening right
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now. >> all right. thank you very much, senator barrasso from wyoming, doctor, one of the physicians in the senate. up next, dr. howard dean, another physician, former d democratic party chairman, of course. and then "hardball's" chris matthews. ♪ the budget masters. the knockout artists who are finding more ways to spread their dollar further. to bolder color in less time. say hello to newer ideas and lowered prices, enabling more people... to turn more saving into more doing. that's the power of the home depot. try behr premium plus ultra, it's paint and primer all in one, and rated number one.
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and welcome back. the health care summit is in recess. while they enjoy their lunch, they'll be resummiing at 1:45. joining me now, howard dean, who has seen this from all sides, physician, political leader, party leader. it's a fascinating opportunity for the two sides to exchange. >> it is absolutely great. i didn't expect that. i thought oh, god, it's going to
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be -- i think the president has a lot of guts for doing this. i think there's risk here. >> there's risk, but he has home court advantage, as we've been pointing out. they come into it, the republican, having to go up against the president, the agenda, and interrupting them, as he has, when he feels they're misstating the facts. >> they do misstate the facts. there's been a lot of fact misstating since august and the president gets face to face -- gets to come face to face with his critics and say no, that's not what's in the bill. here is what's in the bill. >> what are the risks for the president here? >> that republicans are so polite and so well behaved that he looks like he's trying to push them around or something like that. i think that's not likely. not so much the republicans in the room but the supporting cast that's just got the talking points and usual mean-spirited personal attacks. so, it's interesting. i would sayç so far, it was relatively even. >> it reminded me of bill clinton back in december of 1992
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during the transition, president-elect, economic summit, since the country was in economic crisis. now we know what a real economic crisis feels like. at the time, he has this table in little rock and brings all points of view together. the difference now, though, is it's -- the republicans coming in and saying no bill, start over. the white house and the democrats saying, let's start with this senate version. how do you ever bridge that divide? >> that is very help fful to th democrats. the american people, despite what the republicans say and some polls say, they want something done about this. the point that we're not going to have a bill is not a point that's going to be winning. people want something done. what i always thought -- i thought the mistake was we didn't get something done much earlier. in my moments of frustration i said if george w. bush wanted health care reform, it would have been passed in august. that's exactly what he did do
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with tax cuts. this reconciliation is nothing new. bush did it five times with controversial items. what people want is action and they want strength. if you don't agree with them, it's not so important. what's important is that you get something done and you do it. i applaud obama for putting this thing back on the agenda and not letting them get away with can killing it. the more republicans say we don't want a bill, the worse trouble they get in, i think. >> i was interviewing dianne feinstein and she said if the president goes out there and fights for this, we will be with him. >> she's right. >> from that, i infer there's a feeling on the hill and talking with other people outside of that interview, other people have suggested to me, members of the house and senate, that they feel let down that the president didn't fight hard enough for this. >> i think there were two major mistakes made very early on. in a sense, the wrong lessons were learned. the first was not to go through reconciliation. you had to do that. the idea we were going to get all 60 votes, when one of them is joe lieberman, who can't
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stand the democratic party, was never going to happen. they should have figured that out early. the second was to let congress write the bill. that was the wrong lesson to learn. mistake bill clinton made was to write the entire bill with no congressional input. >> and do it in secrecy. >> and give it to them. the anecdote is not to let congress write the whole bill. they're not good at that. that's not what they do. that's not what their job is. they needed a bill to work from. they needed the president to say these are four thing that is have to be in the bill and they would have been in the bill. >> there's a sense that this process today is partly to çune the various wings of the democratic party behind a way forward. >> to that extent, it works. i can tell you why it works on me. >> you were in favor of a public option. you were very -- >> i still think we need a public option. >> but you're willing to settle for something less. >> i don't like this bill very much, but i agreed to support it because, a it will cover people who are uninsured and, b, one of
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the reasons i'm supporting it, i'm not going to let the far right to push us around anymore. i want the president to have a win. it's not a big win, but it's an important win and i think it's important to pass something that's going to insure people. look at the way insurance companies are pushing everybody around. republicans will be on the insurance company's side? i don't think so. it's time to fight back. >> howard dean, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> great to see you. coming up, "hardball's" chris matthews and nbc's kelly o'donnell. with my subaru forester and its all wheel drive, handling even the toughest conditions is just another day at the beach. subaru, the only manufacturer with 2010 iihs top safety picks for all models. preparing for retirement can be complex.
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joining me now, host of "hardball," chris matthew, the man himself. you've been watching this. great political theater. >> sometimes, unfortunately, it gets away from the substance. once john mccain made phrases like unsavory deal making, the president was going to show some attitude, and he did. >> you could almost hear or feel the hair on the back of his neck rising up, because this was a repeat of a campaign.
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>> did you notice how john mccain was just angry, came in there with that sort of angry aspect and obviously it's all prepared what he's going to say and the president is going through his papers to look like he's distracted like he has other things to do while he's doing all this, to show he's above it all. yet they got into that little bicentennial moment. that's there. it's a guarantee. >> that is, of course, what captures the political tension of the day. >> how many times do you think they'll repeat that back and forth? 100? >> as many as we can. >> right. >> the fact is that there are areas of potential graem, if they ever get down to it and forget -- >> the trouble with it is the opposite of peeling an onion. if you do what we all agree on, the country, pre-existing conditions, portability, you have to then increase the size of people who are insured, the number of people who are insured, which means you have to get younger, healthier people insured, which means in most case you have to help subsidize
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them. claire mccaskill laid this out brilliantly. you have to enlarge the number of people insured and subsidize those who can't afford it. it does involve, çultimately, big change in our financing. >> everything is inextricably connected. >> right. and everyone has to settle their own fish. it's a question of fixing something that's otherwise great. our health in the country is the best in the world. everybody shows up here to get fix. >> or every political figure. >> they come here. that's why you could make a case for using this extraordinary system called reconciliation. it's basically a financial question. it's not a health question. how do we finance, at the federal level, health care? you could argue it belongs as a majority vote. >> this is what the president had to say as he was leaving for
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the lunch break. >> okay. >> how is it going, mr. president? >> it's interesting. i mean, i don't know if it's interesting watching it on tv, but it's interesting being part of it. >> are you making progress? >> i think we're establishing that there actually are some areas of real agreement and we're starting to focus on what the real disagreements are. if you look at the issue of how much government should be involved, you know, the argument that republicans are making really isn't that this is a government takeover of health care but rather that we're insuring the -- or we're regulating the insurance market too much. and that's a legitimate philosophical disagreement. we'll, hopefully, be able to explore it a little more in the afternoon. >> the white house and the president, and we talked to linda douglass a little bit ago on the air saying there are areas of agreement.
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they want to say that the glass is half full because they're trying to appeal to the polling that shows that people want progress. they want some sort of bipartisanship. then if it all falls apart, they can try to ram it through. >> it's not going to happen. it's not going to be a bipartisan deal. everyone is looking ahead to november. democrats know they need a win. republicans know they need a loss for the democrats. it's all transparent. we'll learn a few things. in the end, perhaps by 5:00 tonight, we'll know that whatever harry reid says during the daylight hours, as we get to nightfall, he is going to admit he's going for an up or down vote in the senate. >> after the massachusetts senate defeat for the democrats, the political wisdom was that the white house had to turn to j jobs, that the economy -- jobs, jobs, jobs. forget about health care. yet, this is the president, trying to say we've got to make one last ditch effort at it. otherwise, the whole year has been wasted. and we paid this heavy political pri price. this is what bill clinton said
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to the house and senate democratic caucuses. you've already taken the tough votes. you've already gotten yourself in trouble. at least now go forç it. do something. >> they've gotten a bill passed in the house and in the senate. they were on the road to a conference agreement. they were going to get one. they would would have had to have tilt in the house to get around stupak. >> on the abortion issue. >> they'll need 13 votes or so from the more liberal side to make up for the prochoice people they're going to lose. but it was doable. i think there will be a lot of heavy lifting on the left. to me there's one big message. the democratic party has to deliver for the president, left, right and center. democratic party will have to bring us health care. this is not a partisan assessment. look back the last 50 years. with the odd exception of richard nixon, as he was facing the watergate struggle, when he offered an employer mandate, very dramatic program that required employers to give health care to their employees, which was dramatic -- as you and
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i know, richard nixon was a liberal president in history if you look at his domestic program. not in any other case has the republican party is stood up and said, no, we want health care for everybody. it's only the democrats who really believe in health care for the 30 or 40 million people uninsured right now. that's why it's going to be very hard to reach agreement at the table today. >> you know the house and the conventional wisdom is this has to start in the house. >> they have to pass the senate bill. it looks like that. they're still meeting, still trying to get a clear ruling and from the people watching, it's pretty simple. do you have to get a bill passed before you fix it through reconciliation? probably, yes, which means speaker pelosi is going to have to get 217 votes with the agreement that right after that happens and the president signs the senate bill, passed by the house, there's immediately going to be reconciliation in the senate, which rectifies all the problems they have with that bill. >> you're asking house members to vote on something on the bet that the senate will follow through? >> more than a bet.
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if the senate doesn't do it, it's the end of the democratic party, i think. they absolutely -- at that point, are so much exposed, they have to pass it in the senate. >> keep that thought. we'll take a break and come right back with kelly o'donnell, who covers the senate and can bring us up-to-date on that. stay with us. client's come in, they're anxious.
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can i just finish, please? >> we're not campaigning anymore. the election is over. >> i'm reminded of that every day. >> well, i -- >> the american people care about what we did and how we did 4- u$at we should discuss.bject thank you. >> they absolutely do care about it, john. >> well, here with us now, chris matthews, host of "hardball," of course, and "the chris matthews show" and kelly o'donnell, our capitol hill correspondent. you've been talking to some of the mccain people. there was a lot of tension in that room. what's their perspective of
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what's gone on so far? >> well, mccain aides, both current and former, say they were surprised that the president cut off john mccain and yet at the same time they know these are two personalities that don't back away from a fight and really fierce interaction. we certainly saw that. one said it was unfortunate that the president cut off john mccain, because he had some other things he wanted to say. now, clearly mccain's role today -- each of these republicans had a job to do. part of what he was there to do was two-fold, one for the party and some of what reflects what's happening for him personally running again in arizona. as some took on the policy, mccain was there to hit on some of the issues of backroom deals, very much a part of public achor anger, the notion that some states were treated differently, that perhaps some votes were obtained because certain senators got deals. that was mccain's role. why does that matter for him in arizona? so many retirees live in arizona. we know they're reliable voters. when you talk about florida
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retirees getting one kind of deal, but not arizona, that's an issue he can use in his own campaign, in addition to being able to echo that for a larger audience. mccain had a job to do and some of his people were frustrated that the president cut him off, in their view he cut them off and moved to the secretary quite quickly. we haven't seen that kind of direct tension before. the other thing i noted in that exchange, along with others, the president gets to call everyone by their first name and everyone else has to call the president mr. president. and that gives a balance of power that tips in the favor of the president. >> there was that imbalance there, chris matthews, especially when you've got this moment between the two former riva rivals, competitors in a presidential election campaign, one of them now running for his polit political life, challenged by j.d. hayworth, and facing a tough election potentially in arizona. you almost would have thought that the president would have
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cut him some slack to let him make his political points. that clearly wasn't going to happen. >> he might have called him senator. it wouldn't have offended anybody. i think if he had -- if he expects the title -- see, everybody in that room is either a congressman, congresswoman or senator. it seems to be easy enough to remember that. >> the president also, though, not letting mccain get out his points. to rehash the political deals. that really, as you pointed out, set him off. >> in fairness, he did use the word "unsavory." that was a pretty strong character attack on the president. kelly knows this, to be a member of the senate club, you have to be willing to make deal that is would make either one of you embarrassed if somebody else heard about them. deal making is not a wonderful thing to do on the hill. you have to make the deals and they have to be somewhat shameful. that's why they require -- >> that's how you get things
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done. >> that's how you get things done. this thing is in daylight but most deals are not. >> dick diurbin, leader of the senate is talking right now. >> i think the president before we come to an end is going to try to see if we can bring us to some basic, fundamental agreement. >> do you think that the bridge will be -- closing the gap anyway? >> that's what mr. cantor said. i would rather say the gap be bridged. >> whatever. go ahead. >> it's possible. i think the president is trying. the american people want him to try to find some common ground here. we have a chance. there's key things i think we agree on. >> what happens tomorrow? >> if nothing comes of this, we'll press forward. you can't just quit. this is a once in a political lifetime opportunity to deal with a health care system that is unsustainable. it's just too expensive, too
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costly and beyond the reach of families and businesses and it's getting worse. >> reconciliation start tomorrow? >> i wouldn't go that far. let me just say that we will sit down in leadership, if we can have some help by republicans, this could be a good assignment. if not, it could get harder. >> dick durbin, kelly and chris matthews, saying if something doesn't come out of this, which is less than likely, they're going to proceed. chris, to your point, they're going for it. >> they'll go for an up or down vote in the senate. it's only 50 votes plus the vice president. it's doable. i think they'll be able to do it. >> kelly, you've been watching this on the hill as well. obviously, this is what you do every day of the year. what about nancy pelosi's lift right now? she has a tougher deal because she only won 220 to 215 on the house bill and now has to do it all over again with fewer democrats in the house. they've had the death of jack murtha, from hawaii resigning
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and also çwexler from florida resigning. she doesn't have as many members to deal with in the democratic caucus. >> that was probably something unexpected. and there were different factions, for lack of a better word, that really have strong feelings, and that's where it's hard to get them all in the room. liberal democrats voted against it last time because it didn't have a strong enough public option. they wanted something that was referred to as more row but have. can you get them back now? the blue dogs, known for wanting to be more fiscally conservative. can you convince them to come along? we talk about cultural social issues that have been part of this on the margins, but making a very big difference, language on insurance coverage for abortion and access to insurance through any federal exchange for illegal immigrants. people with very different constituencies and personal issues. hard for the speaker to get
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everybody together. >> all right. thank you very much, kelly o'donnell. we look at live pictures of the meeting room in blair house, garden room at blair house, where harry reid was in there by himself for that break, at least part of the time, we'll go to a break. . host: does charlie daniels play a mean fiddle? ♪ fiddle music charlie:hat's how you do it son. vo: geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. mine too. my cut's all better. [ female announcer ] 'cause sara's mom discovered neosporin® with patented technology that heals cuts two days faster than store brands. neosporin®. heals faster than store brands.
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as we come back to msnbc's coverage of the summit, you can see the garden room at blair house, which is now awaiting the arrival of the president and the other members of the senate and house, who are there for this bipartisan -- unprecedented bipartisan summit. joining me here on the set is chris matthews. >> did you know the player house had a room that big? >> i did. >> such a big room. >> you've been in that room. >> i remember being in there one time for some occasion. i never realized it was able to handle such a forum. >> people don't realize when you look at blair house, and we've seen the pictures realize when u look at blair house and we've
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seen a pick of the frontage, it is joined by several other houses on jackson place, perpendicular to blair houses. they have the big garden, the garden room. that's where they have visiting heads of state. president truman lived there while the white house was renovated. >> that was all redesigned and maintained the facades under kennedy, part of his fine arts commission. >> it's beautiful. has its own chief of protocol, director. blair house is quite an operation. >> we're going to call it blair house throughout the rest of the year. >> blair houseç summit. it was named for -- i didn't know this until chuck todd brought it up on the daily rundown today, a journalist who was the favorite kentucky reporter of president andrew jackson brought to washington. that was his home, mr. blair. >> really. >> named for a reporter. >> that's probably the last time the president has paid such an honor to a reporter. >> let's talk about the likelihood now, chris, of something actually happening on
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health care. what would you -- what odds would you give a health care bill this year. >> let me tell you, i've had some experience with these summits. in 1982, president reagan, a conservative, a republican, very good year with legislation met with tip o'neill, old time liberal who i worked for at that time. they had one of these summits. they had it on capitol hill, had to do with the budget, how to reduce the deficit, maintenance of the fiscal responsibility of programs like social security. and at the end of it, they decide they couldn't reach an agreement. whether that was planned or not, the president took the entire press corps down to the white house and held a press conference. >> i was there. >> at which point people like jim baker, very bright, put together a very smart statement as to what had happened to the benefit of president reagan. you can only expect late this
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afternoon in the white house press room, the president will walk in there and say here is what happened today and give it the white house spin. he will not bring the republicans in other words. he has an advantage he can speak to the country through the press between the time they adjourn at 4:00 and the "nightly news." that's a critical time period for him to establish he did his best, gave them their day, but he's going to have to go ahead now. >> let me give you another example, which was during president bush 41, budget meetings, dick doorman for the white house, bowl dole, his counter-point george mitchell negotiating for the senate. they all went to andrews air force base with no cameras. this is against our self-interest, we loved the theater of today. they did it in private. no posturing similar to the obama-mccain moment.
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they actually produced a budget deal. it was a deal president bush embraced and ended up potentially defeating him because he broke his no taxes pledge. >> that's harder to do today with the blogosphere. today as we saw with scott brown of massachusetts, just by agreeing to a very small board, $15 billion jobs bill, he has been raked over the coals by his concerned supporters. it's very hard to cut a deal now. >> as we've been çspeaking, lo at harry reid and mitch mcconnell. these two gentlemen don't get along very well. they haven't worked closely on the hill. they are at least sharing notes. jon kyl, from arizona, conservative but veteran senator, who knows how things used to be done on the hill. we used to have not just in the house but also in the senate, in both bodies, people who worked together. >> a lot was killed by jed. he allowed people to go home every weekend. it separated them from living in washington, which everybody says
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is terrible, but it is a way to bond people. people you knew, they drove home to the chicago suburbs every weekend together. >> democrat and republican. >> by the time a ten-hour car drive is over you've talked about everything on your mind. a lot of bonding going on there. it doesn't happen that way. that's a loss of the congress, which means coming together. now, people on the left and people on the right don't want them to come together. let's be honest. they like this you win or i win kind of thing. but most americans want to see a government that works. >> polls show exactly your point, people want something to work. you saw a lot of posturing, both sides saying they are there -- the president saying we have more agreement than disagreement. they want to appear to be bipartisan. >> people come to a capital city to meet and negotiate. if you're just doing to stick to the position you came with, why bother coming. just stay home and vote.
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the reason you come together is to find common ground. that's a middle of the road argument but it was the argument of the founding fathers. >> do you think there's any common ground to come out -- >> not today. i think this battle, the lines have been drawn. i think you'll see a democratic go alone effort. health care is a fundamental difference between the parties. democrats believe as a party that we have to ensure 30 to some 50 million people that aren't insured some way using the power of the federal government, taxing power, whatever. republicans don't agree with that. they do not believe we should be paying for health insurance of people who can't afford it. >> those philosophical divides are not going to be bridged. >> they represent geographic differences of the country. people in better off neighborhoods, more concerned areas don't believe with the philosophy the government is responsible for health care. people in big cities do believe that. that's the difference. >> chris matthews, we want to
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thank you for your position. >> i think i've been honest and analytical on this. >> we're going to have more coverage tonight and coverage of this whole issue as we proceed on msnbc and on nbc as well on all of our networks. thank you. >> the blair house project. >> the blair house project. >> you can continue to watch today's summit, which is being streamed live on msnbc.com. i'm andrea mitchell. be sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 eastern for a special two-hour addition of count doun wn with keith olbermann. a complete wrap up and analysis of the summit. up next, 2012 winter games, finland takes on sweden. be sure to stay tuned for our olympics wram wrap show at 4:30 eastern right here on msnbc. in calories.
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