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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  June 27, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT

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that's what i believe but it's up to you. you decide. >> but whether the affordable care act goes on to live another day or dies in the halls of the supreme court, americans still have mixed feelings about it. a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll finds 35% of americans say it's a good idea, 22% have no opinion, and 41% say it's a bad idea. jimmy williams, i'll say two things. one is, i think the president has an incredibly compelling message on this. it's in some ways not a hard sell, yet he hasn't spent a lot of time selling it. he's making a big push right now but you look at those poll numbers and americans kind of don't know what to think about the affordable care act. >> listen, i think that the obama campaign from 2008 did a great job of selling itself. the obama presidency has done a terrible job of selling itself. oh, we're back in campaign mode. we're doing a great job of selling themselves.
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i really wish the obama white house would just stay in campaign mode, especially during the health care debate, because they did a very bad job and these numbers show it and they show it over and over and over again. they have not convinced the american people this is a good piece of legislation. i would suggest that a lot of pieces of legislation that have passed the congress throughout a long period of time, civil rights legislation, et cetera, also had very bad reactions from the american public but turned out to be popular. >> i think you're exactly right. i think they're trying to argue the merits of something that doesn't exist yet. people are fearful of something they don't know. the romney campaign has done a good job of stoking those fears. it's one of those things, if it passes, if the decision goes the way of the obama administration, this becomes law, it may well be something that is a cornerstone of what people consider the federal government and something they really love, but doesn't exist yet. >> also, i think it's worth saying that in terms of communication problems, this is a really complicated thing to communicate.
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we're talking about 2700 -- talking about an idea actually that started as a conservative idea, if you remember the individual mandate came out of the heritage foundation. that gets lost in this debate. >> se. brainstorm it. >> i helped author that. no, i didn't. >> here's what i'm going to say. here's what i'm going to say. i get it. 2700 pages of legislation, not easy, it was messy and nasty. there are things in place now, children can stay on their parents' health insurance until they're 26. children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health care coverage. there are no restrictions on annual dollar limits for benefits, no lifetime limits. these are things that are, maybe they don't sound sexy in a two-second bite but they are not hard to sell once you actually explain it to someone. >> i don't think there's any doubt the outcomes are, i mean, the proposed outcomes are attractive to a lot of people. the question is what are the mechanisms and they are confusing and difficult in a country this large to put together a plan that with will did -- withstands the political
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test. it's a very difficult story to tell. i don't know what the advice is. i think the real thing is once this happens, the obama administration has to change the conversation. >> i think one of the issues, too, has been trying to sell this to business and in particular, small business which actually has a lot to gain but that's a hard sell because small business lobbies are traditionally aligned with more conservative causes. >> the lack of surety around what exactly is going to happen in 2014. >> markets never like uncertainty. >> s.e., i want to talk about the optics of the decision itself. in the "new york times," the liberal embrace of judicial restraint. for decades the ideas that judges showed show deference to the democratic process was the province of right wing populists. the left came to rely on fanciful court rulings as a trump card on issues where liberalism h not won public opinion to its side. the question is, depending on what happens with the supreme court, one side may be more
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disappointed than the other, do you think there is sort of bipartisan support for the idea that the supreme court needs some kind of -- there needs to be some kind of judicial reform vis a vis the supreme court? >> if you look at the numbers, you haven't seen as high approval for the supreme court as you had in recent decades, and i think that's a reflection of a lot of things. we've lost confidence in most of our institutions, whether it's congress, the supreme court. we're also incredibly polarized and there's been a significant number of big emotional rulings over the past few years with which the supreme court has sort of injected its personality, if you will. i think whatever happens tomorrow, look, if this entire piece of legislation is upheld tomorrow, this is a clear victory for the president. absolutely he can go out and say great, let's put that to bed, i'm moving forward, victory. however, kind of whatever happens, it's a win/win for romney, too.
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obviously if the mandates overturned, this is a huge victory for romney. if it's upheld, this is a bigger target. romney gets to go -- well, now i have a mandate to get elected and overturn this. >> isn't this sort of -- >> however it's spun. >> it's a terrible thing forhe president because it sort of undermines or negates his signature piece of legislation. it's a great thing for the president because it returns the conversation to health care fairness, the role of government. >> and off the economy. >> the whole thing is a wash. >> it could be. it could be a wash. >> i think i have a hard time seeing the upside argument. i know some people have said if it's overturned, i think people are just going to say it's been two years, no upside. >> that's the question. if you're a member of congress and you were in there, jimmy williams, slogging this thing through, dealing with it, fighting it, supporting it, whatever, and this thing gets torn down, are you going to have any sort of energy, wherewithal or -- >> no. >> i think there is a little bit
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of an upside. the little bit of the upside is my friends on the republican side, s.e. will pbably agree with me on this, republicans always overreach, every single time when it comes to this stuff. you don't believe me, look at the darrell issa stuff. they always, always, always overreach. but here we go. what's going to happen, say the court strikes down the mandate, et cetera, or obliterates the entire case. congress has to do something. next time, no matter who the president is, whether barack obama or mitt romney and no matter who controls the congress. the american people will expect something to be done about the increasing costs of health care because i'm pretty sure the costs of health care aren't going to go down and guess what, 22 million people who would have been insured under private insurance now won't be insured. there will be an outcry on this. the question is what will that sausage making machine look like. >> also, what is the public mandate going to look like? i question when you look at those poll numbers, public opinion about health care and government involvement in health care is incredibly mixed.
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people think something needs to be done but i don't know that there's enough of a fire that the public is going to light underneath the behinds of our public officials to get something done. >> i don't think there's anybody looking much past november on this. that's the issue. >> i am. >> you might be. we'll solve that problem when we get there. >> however, politically, mitt romney is going to -- i think there's an interesting nexus between the immigration ruling and the health care ruling in that mitt romney will have to deal politically with two populations of people, the uninsured and illegal immigrants who are already here. it's sort of a third rail issue that he does not want to get into. >> he won't answer the questions about either of those. right. >> he'll have to deal with both of those populations. >> head on. absolutely. >> as a republican, as a conservative, i would rather hear now what he plans to do because probably, i think he probably has some good ideas but obviously, he's on the vague train right now. >> the whole romney thing is not about trying to offer solutions. >> he's on the vague train.
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>> it's about economy, economy, economy. >> he's in the captain's seat on the vague train. he's not just a passenger. he's collecting tickets and doing whatever you do. >> it's not going rogue anymore. it's going vague. >> he's a conductor. coming up, what will the supreme court's decision mean for future policy? ezra klein walks us through the possible scenarios because he's brilliant, next. ♪ [ male announcer ] you're at the age where you don't get thrown by curveballs. ♪ this is the age of knowing how to get things done. so, why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra.
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let there be no doubt. health care reform cannot wait. it must not wait, and it will not wait another year. >> what are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created according to the constitution? >> the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. >> lie! >> that's not true. >> i think people have no idea what's coming down the pike. this is the crown jewel of socialism, this bill. >> have you read the bill? have you read the reconciliation bill? have you read the managers amendment? hell no, you haven't. >> today we have the opportunity to complete the great unfinished business of our society and pass health insurance reform for all americans. >> after a year of debate, after
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a historic vote, health care reform is no longer an unmet promise. it is the law of the land. >> that was a look back at the health care debate that dominated much of president obama's first year in office. tomorrow, the president will learn if he has to fight the battle all over again. joining us now from the "washington post," msnbc policy analyst, the great ezra kln, my friend, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> ezra, let's talk, let's get into some policy. let's talk a little about -- >> you know i love this. >> there are two primary scenarios. one is the law is upheld. if the mandate is found unconstitutional, another couple things could happen. the mandate could be struck down, related parts could be struck down or the entire law could be struck down. we are talking about possible scenarios. the one that seems to be out there is the notion that the individual mandate will be struck down. how bad is that for the survival of the affordable care act? there have been various disaster
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scenarios painted. i would like your read on it. >> it's bad. let's just start, what the mandate does is pulls healthy people into the pool. it says everybody's got to come in but the real thing it's doing is saying healthy young people like me have to come in and buy health care insurance. the reason it does that, is if you don't do that, you get what's called an insurance death spiral because only sick people begin to buy insurance because suddenly it's cheaper for them, that makes it more expensive for everybody, healthy people leave, then it's even more expensive, on and on and on. now, whether or not you think this is a flesh wound or a mortal wound depends honestly on what your underlying assumptions are. i know underlying assumptions is a great term for ratings, but the affordable care act has a bunch of subsidies -- >> death spiral is good for ratings. >> the bill is giving you money to buy health care insurance and the fact of the matter is a lot of people want health care insurance. some folks say they have looked at the numbers here and it won't have a huge impact. other folks say it's going to make premiums higher.
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yes, people want health care insurance but they don't want to pay that much for it so it could cut the number of insured people from the health care bill from an estimated 33 million now down to about 14 to 16 million which means the bill would become half as effective and it's important to say, taxpayers would be paying more per insured person so it would be a worse deal for the taxpayer. it's worth saying there are a lot of ways to fix the bill if you take out the individual mandate. we can go into them. the issue here is that nobody expects congress will be willing to work with the obama administration to put something in the individual mandate's place in order to fill in that hole. >> as you say, the difference between the flesh wound and the mortal wound is something the democrats themselves have not agreed upon. mark halpern makes the point that one of the reasons you haven't seen sort of a unified preparation among democrats is because they're not quite sure, maybe the health care exchanges will incentivize individuals to go get insurance themselves and the individual mandate isn't the linchpin that the administration has made it out to be. do you have a sense that there
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is sort of a workable consensus that democrats can arrive at before november? >> i don't think there's -- there are a bunch of things you can do. there are automatic enrollment which just means whenever you go and deal with a government agency they push you to get insured, something what medicare part d did which was passed by the bush administration, essentially make people pay more if they sign up later. one thing that's important to say, what nobody thinks anywhere is that taking the individual mandate out will be good for the bill. people disagree on how bad it is, but it is bad. it's a bad thing for the bill, a bad thing for people who need insurance, a bad thing for people who are buying insurance on the individual market. i think these strategic disagreements among democrats but also it should be said among republicans about what to do if the supreme court does act to overturn some part of the bill or in an unlikely scenario, all of the bill, simply is that nobody knows how to get anything passed. if barack obama had 65 democrats and a majority in the house this would be relatively easy. remember that barack obama's initial campaign plan didn't
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have an individual mandate and they had thought a lot about how to work around that. the problem the democrats have, they don't know what they're going to do because nothing is going to move through the house of representatives controlled by john boehner. they will not score this victory and say it's very terrible how it's not going to work out, why don't we go arm in arm and figure out to fix this bill. >> i want to open this up to the panel. if the individual mandate is struck down, you are talking about 16 million americans who would not be getting insurance. i'm sure republicans will beat the drum. the question is, how much pressure will republicans feel if the individual mandate is struck down or the law is thrown out, how much is this a part of the national conversation, how much attention is there to -- on health care that, you know, we've seen republican memos that have said listen, don't do victory dances -- >> i think the pressure might not be to do something but to look like -- to act like you're
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doing something, to act -- the pressure will be to act like you care more about the sort of reality of this than the politics of this. so i think you are going to see republicans coming together, putting plans together and saying let's do this, let's keep the popular aspects of this, let's add this. tort reform, these were always part of republican sort of ideas to fix health care. but i think you have to see a concerted effort to continue the effort for health care insurance reform on behalf of republicans, if they want to maintain any good will. >> that's a big if. >> boehner's smart. i'm not advising john boehner under any circumstances but if they were smart -- >> speaking simultaneously ]. >> i likoe john boehner. when they get back from recess, i would write a bill. it would do a whole slew of things that get thrown out or don't, it would have tort
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reform, health care savings accounts, a patient's bill of rights, et cetera. pass it through the house and dare harry reid not to pass it. that's pre-health care ruling by the supreme court. if the court strikes it down, the republicans have to be for something because barack obama's going to be on the campaign trail using it, so pass a bill, then dare the senate democrats to do something with it or not. >> we have to wrap it there. ezra, there's also the question of what the health insurance companies do because they obviously can keep some provisions or not. it depends on sort of their cost/benefit analysis here. >> yeah. some said they will deal with parts of it, they will keep allowing kids up to age 26 to stay on their parents' bills. one thing they do not have the ability to do is construct the individual mandate out of scratch. i will say quickly, the interesting thing if congress can't come to an agreement is what do states do, because states could set out an individual mandate as massachusetts did, they could do auto enrollment, they could as
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vermont is trying to do, blow the thing up and try to do single payer. one possible outcome, we have a state waiver process where they say we're handing you a bunch of money and a broken bill. if you can show you can meet these standards, you can do whatever you want. then we have experimentation kicking off across the country. >> msnbc's policy savant, the great ezra klein. thank you for your time, my friend. we will talk more about the affordable care act and bring you some word clouds coming up after the break.
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a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll has some very interesting data regarding american opinions of governor romney and president obama, and
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it has been put into a word cloud which is a device that i know you, hugo lindgren, are a huge massive fan of. i want to go to you first. the romney word cloud shows it's a 40% positive, 43% negative. the positive word cloud, you'll see the highlights include good businessman, change, conservative, for smaller government. the negative word cloud shows wealthy, favors the wealthy, bad/disaster and out of touch. i want to show you president obama's word cloud. the 44% positive word cloud shows highlights include good leader, doing good job for the people, health care reform. the negative word cloud shows the economy, lack of experience/incompetent obamacare, health care which of course is both sides, both positive and negative. the thing that i thought was interesting there is if you focus on the negative as i tend to do, you learn a lot about
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campaign strategy. by far the most negative term in the romney word cloud was bad/disaster. the most negative in the president's was -- >> that's bad. >> -- lack of experience/incompetent. the white house or team obama has been hitting mitt romney really hard saying he would be disastrous for the country. likewise, the romney campaign has been taking a more, i won't say not kid gloves, but he's not a bad guy, he's just in over his head. >> actually it was one of the positive things in obama that caught my eye, doing the best he can. that was kind of large in the positive zone. you're like doing the best he can. >> also, romney, businessman, a lot bigger than will fix the economy. >> it's very telling that the focus of course for the president is they aren't harsh words but we sort of in some ways forgive him. he's not up to snuff. >> the polls show people like him. >> whereas mitt romney seemed to be more sort of damning as far
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as character insofar as they called him a disaster. at any rate, word clouds. we'll see how they factor into campaign strategy. >> that was fun. i do like word clouds. >> coming up, secretary of state hillary clinton's record-setting world tour shows there's more to her success than just the art of diplomacy. we'll have the exclusive new interview coming up next.
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today, the united nations reported that the level of bloodshed in syria has not decreased and perhaps has only gotten worse since the april cease-fire. hillary clinton is in finland today, the 99th country she has visited as secretary of state. she spoke this morning about the situation in syria. >> do we have disagreements, yes. we obviously disagree over the path forward on syria.
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we have made it clear to the russians that the outcome they are most concerned about which would be a sectarian civil war is made more likely, not less likely, by the international community's failure to take a strong position. >> in a new article on foreign policy magazine, secretary clinton describes her pragmatic style of diplomacy, saying i'm very outcomes-oriented. what's the best way to get there. sometimes it's being diplomatic and sometimes it's being harsh. some people criticize me for saying russia and china's veto on syria was despicable. i think it got their attention. susan glasser, the author of that article, joins us now. she is editor in chief of "foreign policy" magazine. welcome to the program. >> thanks for having me. >> let's talk about syria because that's very much in the news. secretary of state clinton has had some harsh words for the russians regarding their intransigence in the conflict. she expressed quote, great hope
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this morning that something could be done vis a vis annan's peace plan. i wonder what you make of her role in that situation and where her power lies in terms of changing anything measurably. >> well, you know, the russians for months now have really been the stumbling block to a much more serious and concerted international effort and unfortunately, that's part of the tough job that hillary clinton has right in this role as secretary of state. she has to get out there and express great hope even if for months and months and months what the russians have been telling her privately is pretty much sorry, but we have no interest in changing our position. >> the other issue in the story you mention that clinton has sort of shifted her focus or america's focus in terms of diplomacy to the far east and of course, there's quite a bit going on in the middle east. we know that president-elect mohammad morsi said he wants a christian -- he wants christians, secularists and female leaders to join his government. of course there's a lot of doubt there. do you think clinton has made sort of a strategic error in not being more active and engaged in
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the middle east, understanding of course that the president appointed several high level envoys to deal with matters there? >> well, you know, first of all, hillary clinton has spent an enormous time in the middle east as any secretary of state has to. that's simply the reality when you look at where the united states is enmeshed, it's in the middle east for better or for worse. what she's tried to do, what president obama tried to do, they announced the idea of a strategic pivot to asia and that has underpinned a lot of her diplomacy. she spent a lot of her personal time and capital on this notion that we need to move away from being entrapped in the wars in the middle east and toward a much more strategic look at the rising powers of the 21st century. but many people around town here in washington will say that that's still pretty aspirational, that we don't have the luxury of simply declaring ourselves free of the middle east and whether it's complicated elections in egypt and the rise of islamists or this terrible situation in syria, where clinton is
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expending an awful lot of her time so far without results that she would like in terms of finding a way to end the bloodshed. >> i want to open this up to our panel a little bit. rana, we were talking in break about how the secretary has dealt with the chinese and you seem to have many accolades to shower her with as far as that delicate diplomatic dance. >> i think so. it's an incredibly difficult relationship. historically if you look at an established power and a strong rising power, those situations don't generally end well. the fact that we haven't had more conflict with china yet or more open conflict i think is testimony to some of her work. i think her enomic craft has been very sort of long-sided. i think the pivot to asia and thinking about that as a region that will be the hot spot in the future is absolutely right because if you look at where conflict is headed, it's headed away from the middle east longer term into the south china seas. >> hugo, you in your magazine have a hillary clinton profile. >> we have a story on hillary clinton as well. it's online today and in the magazine sunday. one of the themes we go into in
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some depth is her relationship with obama and the surprise that a lot of people had of just how well she's worked as being a real servant of the administration, not sort of -- it's one of those sort of sub terrainian kind of things. whatever conflicts they have, she has not made people aware of them. >> there is certainly no surface ripples. susan, you write much to the same point, no one asserts that clinton and obama have forged more than a solid professional relationship. if there's an inner circle of obama decision making, she's not in it. when i asked mcdonnough to characterize the difference, she's really the principal inner maker. >> i'm glad you chose to highlight that. i do think that really speaks to perhaps not any kind of big dramatic fireworks of the type we might have expected several
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years ago, but there really is a tension that still exists and i thought that that quote was very interesting when he said it. i asked him very specifically tell me what role hillary clinton plays in carving out the strategy of this. several other white house officials i spoke with told me on background that they felt that there was this kind of tug-of-war, particularly at the beginning of the administration, there was a lot of hostility. remember, one obama aide said listen, clinton was the enemy. that's what he told me. i think given that, it certainly is remarkable that they haven't had this sort of dramatic public dispute in their relationship but there's no question that clinton is riding pretty high. look at her approval ratings. they're in the high 60s. that's certainly a place barack obama would like to be right now politically. so i think you still feel that jockeying for position that exists between the white house and the state department over whose principal is getting more credit for things. >> susan, you leave us hanging,
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not to spoil the story, everyone should go read it, but talking about hillary clinton's 2016 prospects, i ask you someone that has studied her work, met with her and interviewed her, where do you place the likelihood of a bid, a run for president in 2016 by hillary clinton? >> well, that is certainly the question that everybody wants to know. remember hillary clinton will be turning 69 right before the election. she has publicly said she's not interested in it, this is her last year as secretary of state. not only is it the question you and i want to know, even when she was in china on this dramatic trip negotiating for the freedom of the blind chinese dissident, she told me that even the chinese were asking her in thmiddle o these negotiations what about 2016. >> what did you come away thinking, your own personal view after spending time with her? >> you know, it's a great question. i think that it's not known yet. my guess is that certainly the people around her feel that she's been on pretty much of a high note in the last few months. there are a lot of political supporters that she still has and i'm sure many of them hope
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that she will run. my guess is that it's not known. one of her aides who has been with her for a long time said to me she's going to be speculated about until the last minute of the last hour of the last day, until this nomination is decided. so whatever she says publicly, we're still going to be speculating about it. >> one thing is for sure. hillary clinton is definitely going to take a long nap when she is done with her duties as secretary of state. thank you to susan glasser. >> thanks so much for having me. after the break, can turkey sandwiches bring the two parties together? don't bet your potato chips. you want to save money on car insurance? no problem. you want to save money on rv insurance? no problem. you want to save money on motorcycle insurance? no problem. you want to find a place to park all these things?
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nixon pushed the emerging discussion and discovery of the plumber's activity at watergate, pushed it past the election. >> that was congressman darrell issa comparing the fast and furious investigation to watergate. as the daily show points out, republicans have made a habit of comparing president obama's problems to the scandal that brought down richard nixon. >> guy's had four watergates. that is a record number of watergates. passing the previous watergate record holder, a richard nixon, with one. >> today, republicans and democrats will gather for a picnic at the white house for a split second of unity before tomorrow's house vote to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt. luke russert, nbc's sage of capitol hill, and the man with his own capsule collection at vineyard vines, joins us now. >> like you don't have a tote
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bag. >> there, i said it. >> good afternoon, alex wagner. wilson high school's finest. good to see you. >> good to see you. luke, tell us -- okay, we talked yesterday that maybe a deal would be possible. we know the white house released some papers to doj but it looks like a deal is not in the cards and the house caucus is going to go ahead with this contempt vote. >> that's correct. yesterday, representatives from speaker boehner's office, darrell issa's office and the white house, the lawyers, they got together. the republicans said look, we want to have access to all these documents. democrats sort of gave them a sneak preview saying look, here's 30 of the documents you want, there are hundreds, maybe thousands more that you can see. republicans said look, that's not good enough. we're going to go forward with the contempt vote. the white house said we'll give you all the documents if you don't do the contempt vote. republicans didn't believe them and allowed their rank and file members to move forward. it's going to happen tomorrow. there's going to be two votes. there's going to be an eric holder criminal contempt vote and an eric holder civil contempt vote. the difference between those, criminal contempt vote would go
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to the u.s. attorney, district attorney here in this area, and they would not go forward, they would be prosecuting their boss. the civil one would then have to go with referring it to another court and then ask them to make eric holder get involved with the congressional investigation. so neither one of those have a lot of teeth but they do have a lot of show. one more important point on the eric holder thing, the nra is going to score this vote, this is very significant because this means you can see upwards of 25 to 35 democrats joining with republicans because of the fear of the nra. that comes from this idea that darrell issa floated out that the reason why the white house was involved in the fast and furious was so they could perhaps bring up a larger version of gun control and assault weapons ban by saying look, there's all this illegal gun running in mexico and the u.s., we need to do something. so a lot of moving parts in that regard but the nra is very significant because it will make a lot of democrats have to join
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with republicans. >> the nra piece is something i want to talk about. the fact that republicans are voting along party lines to hold eric holder in contempt is one thing but certainly the fact that 25 to 31 democrats may join the other side of the aisle largely because of pressure from the nra i think is a very, very interesting development. nra letter to lawmakers said the reason we support the contempt resolution is the same reason we first called for attorney general holder's resignation more than a year ago, the department's obstruction of congressional oversight of a program that cost lives in support of an anti-gun agenda. it is worth noting, jimmy williams, the nra contributed nearly half a million dollars to federal lawmakers in 2012, not just republicans, but democrats too. republicans got $435,000. democrats got nearly $60,000. >> close. >> yeah. the numbers are slightly disparate. i am a pro-gun gay democrat. >> it's what makes you, you.
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>> i suppose. this is the craziest thing the nra is going to score this for several reasons. first and foremost, remember i spoke in the earlier segment about overreach? here we are. this is overreach. my friends on the republican side in the house, not the senate, the senate would never go down this path, even if they were in control, because they're far too dignified for this kind of thing. i have images of dan burton. remember the burton whitewater hearings, cost us $52 million, they found out virtually, virtually nothing about the clintons or anyone else, for that matter. here we are and we'll have them again. the fred thompson hearings in the senate. they had to shut them down. trent lott shut the thompson hearings down because they produced nothing. this produces nothing. this was a bush program, finished off by the obama white house. what's next? ken starr? but this nra vote, that's a big, big deal. it takes jim matheson from utah, makes them walk the plank and puts them in one hell of a
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position on november 6. it's bad for them. but they'll be able to vote the way they want. >> it's worth noting that jim matheson, as folks have deduced, this is a lot of pressure from the nra. these guys are feeling the heat. jim matheson says this is more about evasiveness and transparency. sadly it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable. >> i think there's something to that. that's the issue on the overreach. in a sense the republicans did have substantive issues here and they kind of had the administration in the corner but then they went below the belt and you're like why did they do that. >> republicans, look, fast and furious is about brian terry and these hearings are about a potential cover-up. the nra is free to speculate on the motives of eric holder and the department of justice. i think republicans would be wise to sort of leave this about the evasiveness and lack of transparency and potential cover-up, and not speculate just
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as i think democts should leave race and other weird nefarious boogeymen out of these arguments. this can just be about brian terry and a potential cover-up. >> absolutely. >> i have to say i think the biggest issue here and the most upsetting one is you have yet another institution that's become partisan, enmeshed in this polarization debate and i think the attorney general's office in particular needs to be above that. i think that a.g.s have actually been much less partisan than critics would say under clinton, bush and obama. i think that presidents wish they were probably more compliant. >> this is of course the president's first use of executive privilege. luke, we're talking about all the negatives but we just have word that the keystone pipeline provision is not going to be included in the hotly contested transportation bill so that would seem to point to a deal being made in the next couple of days, would it not? >> that's true, alex. all indicators have been over the last few days that both
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sides are working towards a deal here. you are not going to see most likely keystonen the final deal. why? because democrats said look, we can't do keystone, the fallout from us on the left would be too much, the environmentalists, sierra club would freak out. we will water down some of the environmental regulations we had in the senate version of the bill and make it more satisfying to the house side. last but not least, alex, this will be a big defining moment because this is the last bill that congress really will do this year and it's one that gives some certainty to job creators. we hear that message all the time on capitol hill. they get this transportation bill through, it also helps student loans, specifically on the transportation bill, you'll have this through fiscal year 2013. that means a lot of construction projects will have guaranteed money through then, put millions of americans back to work. >> st. albans finest, offering a ray of sunshine on this gloomy day. nbc's luke russert. thanks for everything. coming up, author, film maker, journalist nora ephron's
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efforts. we examine her life and career, next. coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports" we will remember nora ephron with george stevens jr. and "washington post" columnist sally quinn. plus a decade of dysfunction behind the war in afghanistan. and the unlikely pairing of warren buffett and john bon jovi. s. avoid bad. don't go over 2000... 1200 calories a day. carbs are bad. carbs are good. the story keeps changing. so i'm not listening... to anyone but myself. i know better nutrition when i see it: great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. for multi grain flakes that are an excellent source of fiber try great grains banana nut crunch and cranberry almond crunch.
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there are two kinds of women. high maintenance and low maintenance. >> ingrid bergman is low maintenance? >> definitely. >> which one am i? >> you're the worst kind. you're high maintenance but i think you're low maintenance. >> i don't see that. >> you don't see that? wait i'll have the salmon with the mustard sauce but i want the mustard sauce on the side.
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on the side is a very big thing for you. >> i just want it the way i want it. >> i know. high maintenance. >> welcome back. time for "what now." that was a scene from "when harry t sally" a film classic. nora ephron passed away yesterday at the age of 71. hugo, your favorite moment? >> i'm just going to pick one. i read it in the "new york times," a piece she wrote a few years ago in the "new york times" describing her time as an intern in the president kennedy white hoe. she described herself as the only intern that he did not make a pass at. >> s.e.? >> "heartburn." great movie. >> incredible, underrated film. rana? >> i like that she found humor in age. >> i feel bad about my neck, incredible book. jimmy williams? >> once again, s.e. and i agree. "heartburn." it was the first big boy adult book that i read and i thought i got to be like those people. not so much. >> jack nicholson. >> i wanted to be like meryl
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streep. >> there you have it. thanks again to jimmy, rana, s.e. and hugo. that is all for now. see you tomorrow in washington, d.c. for a supreme edition of "now" at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific. until then, follow us on twitter. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement available only with liberty mutual auto insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today. responsibility. what's your policy?
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," death of a trailblazer. author, screen writer, director, nora ephron. her work spoke to a generation of women with unforgettable characters and the most memorable romantic comedies. >> it's you. >> it's me. >> i saw you in the street. >> are you annie? >> yes. >> we better go.
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shall we? and a nation divided as all sides await tomorrow's health care ruling. our new nbc news/"wall street journal" polls show voters are putting parties over issues. chuck todd with what's at stake. the gun lobby has the fire power going into tomorrow's contempt vote against attorney general eric holder. despite last minute white house efforts to try to avoid a shootout. >> we've given them ample opportunity to comply even as late as yesterday.
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the white house sat down with some of our staff to outline what they would be willing to do. unfortunately, they're not willing to show the american people the truth about what happened. >> without objection. >> so how many democrats will ignore the white house and take their marching orders from the nra. and good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. in our daily fix today, president obama and mitt romney are all but tied in the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. president obama is ahead 47% to 44%, that's within the margin of error, but after a $25 million ad campaign against romneyn battleground states, in those states, the president has widened his lead to eight points. all that could of course change after tomorrow's supreme court ruling on health care. so far, the best on their beats. chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and managing editor of

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