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tv   State of the Union  CNN  December 30, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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sister and best friend vanished. that sounds reasonable but amazon has been cutting reviews by people who don't know the author, little overzealousness there. what about writers who send out copies of books to their fans who post favorable reviews. at the same time, amazon has no problem with reviews by people who havet read the book. this is a tough line to draw but amazon's attempt has been remarkably squiggly so far. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources. "i'm howard kurtz. happy new year, if you missed our program go to itunes every monday, get the audio podcast or buy the video version. search for reliable sources at the itunes store. we're back next sunday morning at 11:00 eastern for another look at the media. "state ufrts of the union" begi right now. >> we are at the precipes of a very big thing. today the cliffhanger, president
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obama takes to the sunday air waves to make his case. we get response from olympia snow, bob corber, and congressman labrador. cutting through the clutter of the fiscal cliff and 2016, yes 2016, with a.b. stoddard of the hill, "the washington post," "time" magazine's michael crowley and jessica yellen. i'm candy crowley. this is "state of the union." we still don't know if a deal is in the works or out of the question. mitch mcconnell promised aen update as soon as he had any news to make. that could happen when the senate convenes a rare sunday session of congress. looking to dominate his side of the story while leaders wrangle on the details, president obama made his first sunday show appearance in three years, sitting down with nbc's david
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gregory this morning to talk about the fiscal cliff. >> i'm arguing for maintaining tax cuts for 98% of americans. i don't think anybody would consider that some liberal left wing agenda. that used to be considered a republican mainstream agenda. >> joining me senator olympia sn snowe of maine. let me start with that. it does seem sort of counter intuitive to have republicans wanting to fight for tax hikes for no one and in that fight, being willing to allow tax hikes for everyone? >> you know, i would agree with that. obviously it is important to make sure that middle income america does not confront a tax increase at the beginning of next year, which is less than two days away.
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that is critical. the second part is, of course, is trying to address the spending cuts that are going to be crucial next year as well. more for the long-term debt reduction that i think republicans are talking about, but the bottom line is, we should pass this tax extension for middle income america before we adjourn this year. >> and what is -- what do you -- where do you think this will land? as we understand it now, there is still a difference of opinion, about where that tax rate should end. is it 250,000 as the president said and everyone below that sees no hike in their tax rates or some place higher to satisfy republicans? >> it may well end up between 250 and 400,000. the 400,000 the president had offered to speaker boehner during the course of the negotiations and there is a tax quirk in the law that would
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actually impact income holders between 250,000 and 400,000, much higher and disproportionately than those who earn more than 400,000. obviously small businesses. but nevertheless, i think the bottom line is, that the senate has to step up to the forefront here and address this issue and reach an agreement, build a consensus, get the support of hopefully the majority of democrats and republicans and move it to the house of representatives. i think it would bill momentum. i do think it's crucial and in the final analysis that they will reach an accord on this critical matter. i think it would be horrific for the country if at this time, the final days of this legislative session that already has reached historic proportions of failure, that we would now culminate in failure to extend these tax cuts. >> senator, you sound willing to go ahead and agree to raising
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taxes on wealthier americans to preserve them for the middle class however that gets defined. what are you hearing among the rest of the republican caucus? is that something that would pass the senate? >> i think more likely it would. obviously there's some other issues that are part of this agreement. >> what are those issues? >> some of the tax extenders, for example, the amt, alternative minimum tax, which is important to middle income, that could affect somewhere upwards of 30 million americans. the other part is the estate tax and issues that are trying to resolve that they can get that to be permanent, whether $5 million or 3.5 million exception and the tax rate, 35 or 45%. i think overall there is an appreciation here about the critical impact of making a decision on this, on this issue, and also to get it done this
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year because it's -- it's really troubling in terms of what it portends for the future if at this point the united states senate cannot do what it's designed to do and that is to build consensus but secondly that the overall congress failed miserably in the final days to prevent a tax increase on middle income america and again could create some unforeseen consequences by virtue of the reactions that could occur not only in our own markets but global markets because we cannot get together and solve the problems for this country. >> senator, let me broaden that out a little bit. you are leaving the senate, you only have a couple days left actually, and your last vote well be on what has been an incredibly contentious but important issue. we are talking about tax hikes for anyone that basically gets a paycheck. if it is this difficult to dos
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this on something everybody says we can't raise taxes on the middle class, everybody says that, republicans and democrats, this difficult to come to an agreement what does that say about the future of immigration reform? what does that say about the future of anything that might be done about increased violence in schools or elsewhere? what does that say about important legislation that many americans would like to see happen? >> well, it does suggest that it's going to be troubling for the congress in its next year to reach agreements and consensus on some of these key issues. the gridlock has really superseded the interests of this country. the political party's interest has superseded the best interest of this country. and that's why i'll be speaking out about the fact that we need the public to be involved and to demand in real time accountability and transparency on the part of our political
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leaders and officials and the plitscle institutions to do the job they were elected to do. we've got some significant issues facing this country and they're all going to come to the forefront next year and if we can, as you say, resolve this issue at this moment in time, how can we come to grips, you know, with tax reform and entitlement reform and debt ceiling, a budget we haven't passed in three years, another budget that expires in march of next year? so these are overwhelming issues and, of course, the world community looks at the united states and says, why can't the united states of america and its elected officials come together to address the big issues of our time? >> senator, you know, a lot of the commentary and some books have been written say, this is on the republican party here. basically the republican party in the house, but many, many people blame republicans for this, for being intransigent on
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your side about judgeships, about any number of things. do you think your party has erred on the side of partisanship and turned its back in some cases on the country? >> i think that's certainly true, but it also is true on the other side. obviously, you know, we have responsibilities to bear with respect to the dysfunction and gridlock, but unfortunately it just grows exponentially on both sides with each congressional session because they keep looking at the elections and how they can leverage their political positions in the united states congress rather than what's in the interests of this country. in the house of representatives, we've seen this through congressional redistricting, to the point you really have 35 competitive seats based on a story that was disclosed this week in an analysis, that again, underscores how the deep divide has only grown wider because you
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have very few centrists left, very few competitive seats, and that is also true even in the united states senate. and the political parties want it this way. they want the divide. because then again, they can build on that, they can capitalize on that in the next election. every vote becomes about the next election. it isn't about the country. that's why i think it's going to be critical for the american people to watch very closely in this next session of congress and what congress is doing, whether or not they're in session doing their jobs, in session five days a week holding hearings, but considering legislation on the floor through the amendment process, and it's going to take both sides to get that accomplishedp. >> senator olympia snowe as i mentioned, retiring, we wish you well interest here. thanks for joining us this morning. >> thank you, candy. >> up next, senator bob corker joins me in studio to respond to the president's assertion that he has a mandate to raise taxes on the richest americans. i need you.
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the u.s. will tumble off the fiscal cliff in less than 48 hours. that's the main reason why president obama's sat down for a lengthy interview that aired on nbc. >> there is a basic fairness
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that is at stake in this whole thing that the american people understand and they listened to an entire year's debate about it. they made a clear decision about the approach they prefer, which is a balanced, responsible package. they rejected the notion that the economy grows best from the top down. >> joining me now is republican senator bob corker of tennessee. let's start with what the president -- you heard what he said. look, he argues we had an election, i won, he did campaign quite heavily on raising taxes for those making over $250,000. and he says, i went to john boehner, i offered him a trillion dollars in cuts, we're talking two to one cuts to income rates, why didn't you just take it? >> well, candy, that's interesting. i watched the interview. i don't think any american has ever seen the trillion dollars in cut that he offered.
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>> well, he -- >> and there's never been any specifics. if i were a president, i certainly would lay those out before the american people. i've been as involved with this as any senator in the united states senate, other than mitch mcconnell and harry reid. i have never seen those cuts, so i'd love to take those up on the senate floor. let me just say this, like every american, i'm disgusted with where we are. i know people are irritated at the president, they're irritated at congress, as they should be. there's no question that in the next few days or next few weeks, we're going to rescue most of the american people from a tax increase. we're going to do it. better to do it over the next day or two. but what hasn't happened in this debate is any discussion about real reductions, reforms in medicare and social security, to save those. i think that is totally irresponsible. >> but there's -- look, here's where we are. there is not time for you to
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reform entitlements between now and midnight on the 31st. so here is your choice. you either allow tax rates to go up on everyone -- >> we're going to deal with that. >> or try to protect some people. >> i would bet my life over the next very short period of time, 98 to 99% of the people in the country are going to be rescued. what's been missing in this debate candy, it's been building for two years now. the president had the simpson-bowles committee, 25 months ago, give a report. if i were president again, i would lay out a specific plan as to how it to solve this. the president keeps talking about the $1 trillion that he offered speaker boehner. i've never seen it. have you ever seen it? i was surprised that david gregory today didn't pursue that in the interview because he's really good at those kind of things. i think if we can get that on the senate floor also, to deal with this next debt ceiling debate, i've laid out a specific plan, given it to the president, i've given it to senator reid, but that's what's missing and
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what's happening, unfortunately, we're going to move -- you know, we created this fiscal cliff and we're going to deal with it over the next few days or few weeks. but unfortunately, for our country, every american's quality of life is going to be lesser than it should be because now this is going to drag on to the debt ceiling. we're going to have the same thing play out. >> the president says he's not going to play games, not going to play politics. >> i think he should lay out the reductions. we set the precedent on a dollar for a dollar, dollar increase in debt ceiling for a dollar in reductions. i actually laid out a bill to do that this week with lamar alexander. but i think what's been missing here, candy, is it appears to me that the president either lacks the courage or the will to lay out those specific things that need to happen because i assure you, if he would lay those out, the house would take it up, the senate would take it up, and we could move this behind us and we
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can start this next year with the wind at our back in this fiscal issue behind us like most of us would like to do. >> you know and i know that's not going to happen in the short time we have. >> why hasn't it? >> well us too. you're part of it, right? >> no. i've offered a specific -- >> all of america looks and goes why -- everybody is complaining about the other person, not -- >> no. wait a minute. i actually laid out a very specific bill five weeks ago. gave it to the white house. not many people are willing to lay the cards on the table. it's the president's responsibility when we have a situation like this to be very specific about what needs to happen and let congress take it up. so look, i think everybody should be disgusted where we are. we're going to deal with this tax issue, deal with it before midnight tomorrow or in the next couple weeks, but nobody in the country, 99, 98% of the people in the country should not be worried about revenues but they should be worried about we still
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haven't tackled the issue of fiscal solvency. >> where is your bottom line in terms of taxes? >> you know, i'm -- i feel so certain, candy, that something's going to happen on the senate floor over the next day and a half. i don't want to -- mitch mcconnell -- >> if mitch mcconnell says $250,000, everybody above that will get a tax hike, are you there, yea. >> mitch mcconnell says $250,000 and above -- >> he's not going too do that. >> tax rate hike? >> senator schumer doesn't want to see that happen. christian gillibrand doesn't want to see that happen. dianne feinstein doesn't want to see that happen. it's not going to be 250. some number. there's going to be -- i don't know what it's going to be. the floor is at least 400 because that's out there. my guess is, we're going to be in -- i don't want to say, at least 500 and my guess is it's going to happen and pass and -- but here's the thing.
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you're talking about 8 days of funding for the united states government. >> right. >> medicare -- >> when spending comes in. >> we have a medicare program where people are paying one third of the cost and 20 million more americans will be on it the next ten years and we have yet to deal with that. >> one other thing that the president said during this interview. he was asked about chuck hagel used to be a republican senator, his name has surfaced as a possible secretary of defense. there have been complaints about him, about some votes he made, vis-a-vis iran and comments he made about gays and some other things he said about israel and here was the question from david gregory. . >> do you think disqualify him? >> not that i see. i've served with chuck hagel. i know him. he's a patriot. somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the united states senate, somebody who served this country with valor in vietnam. and is somebody who's currently
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serving on my advisory board and doing an outstanding job. >> do you have any problems with senator hagel? >> i thought susan rice was going to be nominated after her name came forth and wasn't. i don't think chuck hagel will be nominated. >> why? >> i just -- look, i always start out and give people a fair hearing. i served with chuck for two years. but i've just heard too many very, very strong opinions both on the republican side and the democratic side about his positions, and i don't think he's going to be nominated. if he comes to the floor, i look forward to knowing more about his background and having a real hearing. i would be very, very surprised if chuck hagel is nominated. >> senator corker, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> have a busy day ahead. >> we do. i -- the american people should know that this is not going to linger and we're going to deal with this issue. should have done it a long time ago. >> or linger any further. >> we are waiting for today's rare session of congress to
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[ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast. [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. i want to take you up to capitol hill now and our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. how do we expect to see things unfold over the next couple hours. we have a little over 30 minutes before they convene?
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>> that's right. we are told not to expect any big break throughs to be announced when they come in. but they are coming in at 1:00. i'm told by an aide to senator mitch mcconnell, the republican leader, we expect -- we should expect to hear from him. just to sort of give people a sense of the fact that they are still talking. again, don't expect him to show his cards because they are definitely still being held close to the vest because these talks are still continuing one floor below me where i am now. >> this morning, dana, both at 9:00 and now, so far, at noon, i've heard a lot of optimism from democrats and republicans. it's hard to tell often when a politician is about to get nailed for not doing something how much of this is wishful thinking and how much of it is actual. what are you picking up up there. >> i checked before coming on with you republican and democratic sources, they are saying the same thing, things are going well, talks are proceedings, and then the next
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breath, but, but there are a lot of outstanding issues left on the table. i'll give you a couple examples of what we are told are outstanding issues. first and foremost the issue tax rates, how much will go up and for at what income and how many of these tax cuts will stay in place. democratic sources are saying they think at this point, they see it being at about an income level of $250,000 to $400,000. republicans say they want it to be more than $400,000, meaning they want tax cuts to stay in place for even upwards of people making $400,000. another thing that i'm told is, a sticking point, is the sequestration, the $110 billion of pretty draconian spending cuts that will start to take place january 1st. i've heard the democrats are saying well maybe we can just replace that with some of the revenue we get from these tax increases and republicans are saying oh, no, we're not going to do that because they want to get to deficit reduction by
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spending cuts and that's what the sequester is. that's one of the sticking points. i'm told one of the many sticking points right now, we're going to possibly see republicans and democrats mean meet in their respective corners to try to get a briefing from the leaders about what's going on at 3:00 eastern, but i'm also warned if talks continue, that might be pushed back as well. that's the next timeline we're looking for, 3:00 eastern. >> i think thee matically what we're hearing from republicans where are the spending cuts and we heard the president this morning also reiterate he thinks some of those tax hikes could help mitigate that $110 billion or so being taken out across-the-board cuts. we will see you later ons this afternoon, dana, as you follow every minute of this. thanks a lot. >> thank you. >> president obama says slashing the deficit is a priority but so is more spend oggen certain things. we'll talk with two republican lawmakers about the president's second-term agenda next.
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take a boat ride, go fishing or just lay in the sun. we've got coastline to explore and wildlife to photograph. and there's world class dining with our world famous seafood. so for a great vacation this year, come to the gulf. its all fabulous but i give florida the edge. right after mississippi. you mean alabama. say louisiana or there's no dessert. this invitation is brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. one of president obama's initial proposals to avert the fiscal cliff included $50 billion in new infrastructure spending. that as we know landed with a thud among congressional republicans but despite that reaction, it doesn't seem like the president is backing down. >> the second thing that we've got to do is stabilize the economy and make sure it's growing. part of that is deficit reduction, part of it is also
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making sure that we're investing, for example, in rebuilding our infrastructure which is broken. >> i'm joined now by two republican lawmakers wyoming senator barrasso of wyoming, we just said, and idaho congressman raul labrador. thank you for joining us. let's talk first about new spending. investment generally means you want to put more money into infrastructure, bridges, roads, schools, things like that. is that something that you all might go along with? is that a nonstarter? >> it's a nonstarter. the president really, and you have pointed to the problem, the problem in this country is we have a spending problem. that's how we ended up with $16 trillion in debt and yet the president doesn't talk about ways to minimize the spending or actually get the economy growing. you know, that's one of the thing he proposed was an additional stimulus package and then he wanted an unlimited credit card to be given to him so he can continue his spending binge.
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we're hitting the debt limit tomorrow. >> what the president is saying and has said all along and a number of democrats and treasury secretary geithner said we did a trillion in cuts the last time around with the debt ceiling, the president says he offered speaker boehner of the house another -- an additional $1 trillion so it would be two to one in savings to tax hikes, what's wrong with that? >> it's not a trillion dollars in cuts. he talked about this morning on "meet the press" he wanted to do away with the sequester by raising taxes on people. >> let me just design the sequester which is spending cuts that were also part of this fiscal cliff. >> he's taking credit for the spending cuts in the sequester in the budget control act, but now he wants to do away with them and then wants to do more infrastructure spending and he wants to do all these different things and pay 1 -- he wants $1.6 trillion in additional revenues and just a couple days ago he decided that he was going to start paying federal employees more. he did away with the freeze on
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federal employees' salaries. he want to raise taxes on people so he can pay federal employees more. i don't think there's anything out there saying federal employees are not making enough money. he wants to spend more money and i believe and some of my colleagues disagree, even senator barrasso disagrees with me, i think the president wants to go over the cliff. he doesn't want -- he's not acting in good faith right now. listen to him this morning, what he was saying on "meet the press" he's saying he came with a plan that was a balanced approach, a balanced approach, talked about two to one, three to one, we don't have a two to one or three to one and as senator corker said a few minutes ago, where are his spending cuts? there's not a single plan out there with spending cuts. >> you -- i understand the politics of this town fairly well. but -- and you're not the first to suggest that the president wants to go over the cliff but a lot of people are saying so do republicans. republicans would rather vote for restoring tax cuts to people than getting rid of them for some people. so i mean, two can play this
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game and in the end, the problem is, nobody's gotten the job done. >> patty murray who chaired the democratic senatorial campaign committee has advocated going over the cliff so the taxes would go up, more tax revenue would come in for more programs that they would have all of these military cuts that the democrats have supported an they could claim they'd have an opportunity to blame republicans. but the president the night that he was re-elected said i don't want our children to live in a country where they are burdened with debt. the president has done absolutely nothing, nothing at all, to focus on that and even in his interview today, he has again not gotten serious about tax reform or reforming the entitlement programs when 10,000 baby boomers today are turning 65 and they did yesterday and they will tomorrow. and as you said earlier, people are focused on the redskins game tonight, every week there are enough people turning 65 to fill that entire football stadium and
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we need to grow the economy to make sure that we can keep that safety net for those people. >> here's the thing. not going to do tax reform in the next 48 hours, not going to do entitlement reform in the next 48 hours. you had a year, two years, however long, it's not going to happen. we're staring down and looking at everyone's taxes going up. is that going to happen or do you think the house and the senate with republicans going along, will vote for something that would raise taxes on the -- in the upper brackets but maintain them for middle-class americans? >> i think something is going to happen. i don't know if it's going to happen in the next 48 hours. whatever happens, whether it happens the first month with congress, the next 48 hours, i think the majority of americans will be safe from a tax increase but the realities that we need presidential leadership, we've had two years to deal with this mess. he has not led at all. we've had -- he's had four years in the white house, he's going to have an additional four years in the white house. he needs to do what bill clinton
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did. he needs to do what president reagan did. president reagan was willing to sit down with the democratic speaker of the house and work on real common sense solutions. >> he met with speaker baner. >> he sat down once. >> couldn't speaker boehner get his house republicans to go along with his plan b. >> look at plan b. plan b was a plan that was advocated by nancy pelosi, was advocated by chuck schumer less than two years ago. they said that what we should do is raise taxes on people that make a million dollars or above. there were only 50 house republicans who said they were not going to vote for plan b. you couldn't even get 50 house democrats to vote for something like that, to send somethi to the senate and then the senate could maybe raise taxes on people that make less than that. so don't blame the republicans when it's the democrats that are unwilling to work on anything. when the president said that he wanted to look at chain cpi --
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>> that's the -- >> that's a nonstarter. >> changing the way social security payments are attached to the cost of living. >> the democrats in the senate are divided on what that tax rate should be as well as on taxes on small business as well as the death tax. they are very divided on this issue. >> the estate tax. yeah. so let me have you answer that. i have another subject i want to bring up. do you think there will be a deal and that most taxes will not go up? >> we're not there yet, but i'm hoping in a bipartisan way we can get something done before new year's day. >> okay. let me -- i wanted to play you something else, because you were an immigration lawyer before you came in, continues to be something you're interested in. and the president was talking about priorities for this year and here's what he had to say. >> i've said that fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority. i will introduce legislation in the first year to get that done. i think we have talked about it long enough, we know how we can fix it, we can do it in a grow hensive way that the american --
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comprehensive way the american people support, that's something we should get done. >> sounds like it could be a done deal. talked enough about it. >> i think he has talked enough about it and hasn't done enough about it. the first promise he made to hispanic community and was going to work on immigration reform. we have a broken system like you said. i practiced immigration law for 15 years. it's a broken system, a system you can't get can employers and employees to work within the system. we have too many people here illegally. we can get something done. the question is whether the democrats want to play politics with it or solve the problem. if you remember in 2007 when barack obama was in the senate, he voted for poison pill amendments in the senate that actually killed any kind of immigration reform where the senators were -- were not able to get anything done because the republicans walked away once the pro labor union amendments passed in the senate. those amendments passed 48 to 47
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and barack obama was the deciding vote. >> senator, let me get you in on this, do you sense a will in the senate to get something done, immigration reform? do you sense in the republican party there is a need to get immigration reform done because it really hung up republicans certainly during the election? >> well i do sense that. i've worked and discussed these issues with marco rubio who's taking a leadership role in that. one of the other things the president talked about today was energy. i'm from an energy state and the energy committee and his actions are different than his words. he continues to block the keystone pipeline which would help us in terms of energy security and bringing more jobs to america, so his words are very different than his actions and we see it again on energy, with his policies. >> so, senator barrasso, thank you so much for being here. congressman labrador, both of you come back. i appreciate it. >> thanks. >> up next, the odds and costs of diving over the cliff with "time" magazine's michael
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joining me now, "time" magazine's senior correspondent and denty washington bureau chief michael crowley, a.b. stoddard, associate editor for the hill, washington political correspondent karen tumulty and chief white house correspondent jessica yellen. welcome all. the president gave a news conference, first sunday appearance in three years, so there's a reason for that and
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it's because he's pushing to get this fiscal cliff stuff done. speaker boehner took issue, won't surprise you either, with the president's appearance, in particular the president saying wait i have offered $1 trillion worth of cuts, i offered two to one spending cuts and here's what boehner had to say -- the president's comments are ironic as a recurring theme of our negotiations was his unwillingness to agree to anything that would require him to stand up to his own party. needed cuts and reforms that the president agreed to last year were no longer on the table as he cited an inability it to sell them to democrats. somebody is inflexible here. >> he accuses the president of the failure of leadership and in these days when somebody in washington uses the word leadership what they are meaning is caving in and bringing you own party along. i think the president was very clear in this interview that his strategy all along he is not going to be drawn into these
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negotiations because the white house thinks that one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency was doing exactly that in 2011. >> on the other hand he hasn't got anything to lose. quite literally now in the second term of his administration. for a guy that came in that wanted to be a trons formative president -- transformative president, make a difference, isn't that the time to set in. >> who cares about his legacy. what he wants is entitlement reform, bringing down the deficit in meaningful way and to do it in a way that is consistent with democratic priorities. he can do that next year. his poll numbers keep going up the longer he stays at a distance from congress as karen is pointing out. >> and to your point, speaker boehner's complaining that he is not in the same place he was in the last time they went around this block. the president's position is, i just won a really hotly contested election and one thing that is struck me in his interview with david gregory the number of times he referred to that campaign. we've had a conversation about this for a year, the choices were presented to the american people and they re-elected me. i think he's playing that card,
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spending some of that capital right now saying i won the election. i know house republicans say we were re-elected to you do you think winning the presidential election has a certain force to it maybe he feels overrides that. >> it was. it was good, solid win. 47, 48% of the country didn't agree with him. so that's not a small little number of differing opinions. >> that's true. and i think the president actually is complicit in our permanent state of cliffitis. we are going to have a tiny patch, not going to have a real deal that solves our problems. we're going into another fight. the world has been waiting for a year and a half for us to solve our first debt deal. it fell apart. waiting on a second one. we're going to rattle the global markets, tell our enemies we're cutting our military. we are telling everyone we're paralyzed. he's going to be complicit in that. it's not good for him to go into his second term the beginning of it, without the ability to go on to move on to clean fights. we're always at the cliff,
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always at the precipes of default and the inability to deal with entitlements to really give on -- and move to the center, on the side of both parties has brought us to this point. i don't think republicans are going to be the only ones to take the the blame. >> let's be clear, there are two separate issues. the majority of americans supports raising taxes on people who make $250,000 or more. a bigger number of americans support that than voted for president obama. that's one issue. separately is how do we bring down our deficit? do we attack social security entitlements, medicare, medicaid and that's this ideological struggle we're seeing between democrats and republicans that will continue in a series of skirmishes probably over the debt ceiling come february and ongoing until they finally have it out and resolve this for the long term. >> i think the white house's view in political terms is that how he handles himself on this sets the terms of engagement for those subsequent fights. again, a few weeks ago, when i was talking to people at the white house about how they were going to strategize this, they
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said look, this is a re-set moment and we've got to re-set sort of the balance of power from the 2011 talks. >> i think it's worth emphasizing on the numbers you mentioned the public overwhelming supports raises faxes on the wealthy but on the spending cuts they oppose cutting those programs in large numbers. when you get specific about that, don't cut that, don't cut that. >> hands off medicare. >> the president has advantages in the polling although republicans have the card bring spending down, hands off my program. >> but the fact is, that there -- this whole fight within the republican party about tax cuts and tax rates and all of that, has masked, i think, some real divisions in the democratic party about what they're going to eventually have to get to which is these cuts in entitlements. that's when we'll see the inner party warfare within the democratic party? >> it's up to him to force that debate within his own party. you talk to a lot of democrats and they say we can never raise the eligible age.
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it's a disaster. people are in physical labor. they can't make it from 65 to 67 without falling through the crackses. other ones say do it, just do the three things republicans are asking for the change cpi or raise the age and means testing. it's a divide over there. he keeps putting off having the fight with his party to get to a compromise that actually gets this solved. >> although, as he pointed out in the interview this morning he has gotten there on the change cpi issue which seems like a technical thing but there's money there. >> we'll see if that holds the new year, if we go over the cliff it's a new ball game. >> our panel will stick with us. more sorting when we come back.
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restore revive rejuvenate rebuild rebuild rebuild
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welcome back. we've been discussing the president's interview this morning, things he had to say mostly about the fiscal cliff but other issues as well. he talked about his priorities for his second administration. he talked about writing the
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economy again -- righting the economy again. immigration reform. and energy. in his top four he did not mention gun control until prompted by david gregory. take a listen. >> you know, i've been very clear that, you know, assault rifle ban, banning these high-capacity clips, background checks, that there are a set of issues i have historically supported and will continue to support. >> back with "time" magazine's michael crowley, hill's a.b. stoddard, karen tumulty, and cnn's chief white house -- cnn's chief -- white house correspondent jessica yellen. so, it was not a yes, we're going to get this gun thing done, whatever the gun thing is, whether it is school safety, combination of that and mental health, some kind of gun control. it was not uppermost on the president's mind. what do you make of that? >> he's not running into the
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breach and as a president you have to prioritize. >> about anything. >> really about any of those. he didn't seem that passionate about his second term agenda. he may still be figuring it out. he responded to a question where he was prompted to talk about it. the test will be does he leap into the breach? does he choose in moments in press conferences or to hold presidential events when he could be doing something else to drive this gun control issue. in this case he waited until he was asked. that said, the language was pretty forceful, he does seem to feel genuinely about it, the day of the shooting as the worst day of his presidency. you don't say that lightly. it remains to be seen. >> he said i've historically supported and will it continue to support. >> i know the white house is mono focused right now on the fiscal cliff. they have put off all cabinet announceme announcements, maybe for a ravay of reasons, but they have made sure nothing is brought up except the fiscal cliff right now. that's part of the reason they're prioritizing only that.
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that said on gun control, he's getting emotional about this. you can say whatever you want to criticize president obama. he is not a man who gets emotional easily in public. and i do think that this is something that has hit him deeply, probably out of guilt, because he didn't do much about it or anything about it in his first term. will he make it a political requirety, will he be able to pursue it aggressively given the obstacles in his way, we'll see. >> but the one thing -- >> when we covered -- when the white house would come up with a bill and say here, capitol hill, we would like you to pass this. >> the one thing has always been clear on the gun control debate is that time is not the friend of gun control advocates. unlike everybody else, the nra has a is ingu lar focus and a -- singular focus and long memory and you cannot say that about the public at large. >> the task of getting them specific legislative resolutions by the state of the union, you
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can expect he will come out with specifics, i bet they will have a bill by february. is momentum gone by then. >> there will never be more votes for that bill than the day after that shooting. >> what do you think? >> like on the hill -- >> he was resigned, no, no one wants to talk about it on the hill on either side. he was resigned about how congress is broken and he does the best he can and he expects grass roots energy from americans on these issues, that they find the most important. he's -- he doesn't say i'm powerless but you change washington from the outside, not from the inside. he's urging the public to get involved. it is a huge fight and not one he knows he can win. we're going to stay on the cliff for a few more months and he doesn't know what he can get started. >> the final question next, is the debt ceiling. i mean that could happen as early as -- it's already happened and they're fudging the numbers now so we can continue to do whatever it is we're doing, but we hit that debt
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ceiling again, the president said a while back i'm not going to play the debt ceiling game. does he have any choice? >> listen, people tell me they're willing to go -- let us default this time. if they let them play that game. >> wow. >> which white house and liberals and democrats said was a completely reckless, irresponsible and even crazier position for the tea parties to hold. they will have a lot of back tracking to do if that's their new position. >> that's not their official position. >> but if the president's position is i'm not going to play that game again, he's ruled out this constitutional option of doing it unilaterally, if that leaves the other option defaulting is not so bad that runs against a lot of rhetoric from the last time on the back. >> karen tumulty, a.b. stoddard, michael crowley, our chief white house correspondent jessica yellen. i appreciate it. stay with us. we're standing by for the senate to reconvene. we'll be right back. s at the same time.
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