tv Martin Bashir MSNBC December 3, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
martin, it's yours. >> thanks so much. good afternoon. it's only december the 3rd, and would you believe it, republicans say they found a lump of coal in their christmas stockings. >> i'm starting to sweat this out a little bit. >> flabbergasted. i have just never seen anything like it. >> they can't believe with a bunch of keystone cops you have operating in washington. >> weeks have been wasted. >> what we've got here is -- >> the president's plan is just, quite frankly, a joke. >> -- failure to communicate. >> i don't want any part of going over the cliff. >> i don't like it any more than you. >> the president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what i ask. >> if republicans are not willing to let rates go back up, then there will not be an agreement. >> right now i would say there's nowhere, period. we're nowhere.
>> the history of these showdowns is the white house usually wins. >> sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. ♪ >> and the deck is stacked for another high stakes week. at this moment the president is dealing with one of many pressing issues. he's about to speak at the national defense university on efforts to secure nuclear weapons. and as the president faces security demands on the global stage, he's proving as tough a negotiator as republicans have ever seen on the fast approaching fiscal cliff. in the last hour house republicans presented a counteroffer to the president's plan including $800 billion in savings through tax reform with no tax rate hikes. john boehner blasting the president's, quote, la la land offer. that just moments after the president took his plan to the people answering questions about the fiscal cliff on twitter, and
with less than a month to go, the white house dispatched treasury secretary tim geithner to five sunday talk shows to declare tax rates on the wealthy are going up one way or another. >> if the republicans say, sorry, no way are we going to raise rates on the wealthy. you guys are willing to go off the fiscal cliff? >> it republicans are not willing to let rates go back up, and we think they should go back to the clinton levels, a the a time when the american economy was doing exceptionally well, then there will not be an agreement. >> while geithner was drawing a line in the sand, house speaker john boehner was busy trying to lift his jaw off the flar after geithner presented the president's debt reduction plans to him last week. >> i was just flabbergasted. i looked at him and said you can't be serious. i have just never seen anything like it. >> yes, indeed, it seems that republicans are not quite sure what to make of the president taking a harder line across the
bargaining table. >> you know, the president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what i ask. >> i think we're going over the cliff. it's pretty clear to me they made a political calculation. the president's plan is just, quite frankly, a joke. >> i'm not sure about that, senator graham, but there will be plenty of time for jokes later this evening with every member of congress invited to the white house for what may be the most awkward holiday party of the year. i want to bring in nbc's luke russert now for the latest on capitol hill. luke, what can you tell us about the republicans' counteroffer delivered i understand about an hour ago? we're hearing it's $2.2 trillion in savings. what are they putting on the table? >> here is the letter right here, martin. there you have the graphic of what they're putting on the table. $2.2 trillion in savings. $800 million through tax reform, $600 billion in health care savings, $300 billion in mandatory savings. $200 billion in entitlement scale revision, $300 billion for
further discretionary savings. the one thing there is none of it is pef. what we're seeing is a plan put forward by john boehner that's essentially a plan that was put forward by mr. bowles when he was testifying before the super committee. this is meant for both sides to feel pain. the idea from john boehner is, look, let's pass some sort of agreement where we'll do a down payment between now and january 1st and then these will be the numbers that the committees on capitol hill work towards in terms of having sizable deficit reduction. >> here is the problem, luke. how is it possible that speaker boehner puts on the table $150 billion less than he considered conceding during the grand bargain negotiations? did the last year not happen? >> reporter: what you're seeing here is a proposal by speaker boehner with the $800 billion in revenue which is where they were during -- >> you're trying to stifle yourself from laughing, luke.
>> reporter: i'm not. i think one interesting points here in terms of the letter is that the first line is, dear mr. president, after a status quo election, and if you talk to folks at the white house, they don't view it as a status quo election. they thought what they had was a huge victory, and they are just -- if you're flying at 35,000 feet, you see the difference between both of them here is babe e boehner is like our margins in the house, you know, we still have a sense of clout. democrats are saying we increased our clout. this offer is meant by boehner to say the first one from geithner was the white house's position was the white house budget. we could have come back with the house gop budget. we're trying to do something that's middle ground. but the white house does not believe it was a status quo election. they believe they were handed a resounding victory. >> absolutely. nbc's luke russert. thanks so much. let's get right to our panel now. msnbc contributor ari melber is with me in the studio, and democratic strategist julian epstein joins us from
washington. speaker boehner today hold reporters the president is in la la land. then he presents a counteroffer based on the mythical dynamic scoring system that saves money through projected growth. who is actually living in la la land? >> yeah, this is really extraordinary. and the republicans are not living in the real world. consider what we're thinking about, what we're talking about right now. obama, who won the election with an overwhelming electoral college mandate has put forward exactly what he campaigned on, which is sensible tax reform allowing the top 2% of the tax -- of rates to increase on the top 2% of tax earners and spending cuts. we've had a trillion in spending cuts already, $800 billion additional in the drawdown from the war efforts in afghanistan and iraq, and then a number of spending proposals that obama put on the table in august of '11. consider that against what republicans are doing, and this shows that republicans are really chicken hawks when it comes to reducing the debt. they have a plan on tax reduction which most economists think would do far more harm than the obama plan would. secondly, they fail to specify
what kind of cuts they want. remember, this is the party that's campaigned for two election cycles now on cutting government spinding, but when you ask them to identify exactly what you want to cut, you get mishmash from them. you get $100 billion in medicare savings by increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67. you get some unspecified savings from reducing social security. the only specifics if you add them up are about $300 billion or $400 billion in specific cuts, the rest are inspecific. this is the party whose fundamental premise is to cut government spending. you ask them to identify how they want to do it, and they start speaking in gibberish. it shows you this is a phony, phony movement on the part of conservatives to cut government spending. >> absolutely. ari, the president took a question on twitter this afternoon. quote, what is your opposition to taking away deductions for the 2% rather than upping the rate? seems like a reasonable compromise. his answer, not enough revenue
unless you end charitable deductions. he's right, isn't he? the math doesn't add up. it didn't add up with mitt romney. it doesn't add up today. >> it doesn't add up, and those targeted revenue measures serve certain goals that we actually care about more than helping billionaires. those goals include what you just said, incentivizing charitable giving, and also home ownership, which is a middle to upper class benefit, but it's one that we've always encouraged with the mortgage interest rate deduction because we want people moving into the middle class. that matters more, that is better than just worrying about billionaires. one other point i want to hit since we're on the martin bashir show, i know this is a place for real talk so if we can have some real talk for a second. there is no fiscal cliff. there's no special deadline. these are long-term debates. you were asking mr. russert about the past negotiations because these are debates we've had in the past that we will continue to have in the future. some people would rather solve
them in the bottom of the ninth. that would be better. but if we go into the tenth or 11th inning it's not a cliff because eventually we will work this out. why? congress has a time machine. if they want to make cuts retroactive, if they want to help you in the last fiscal year, if they want to back date things, they can do that, we can't, you can't do that with your own taxes, but the government can. so i agree we are seeing the republicans put the gun to the collective head of the congress and the economy hoping to get the same hostage antics they got before, but let's be clear, if this deal gets done in january or february, as long as it gets done the right way, it will be fine. it's not a cliff. >> do you agree with that, julian? because my understanding is that this would in effect usher in a period of austerity and trouble the markets. >> it's partly right and partly i disagree with it. it is true on january 1st, tax rates go up for everybody, and the economic consequence of tax rates going up for everybody,
even if you try to retroactively fix that middle of the year, the economic effects are very negative. so there's no interest i think on any party on going over the cliff. secondly, there are some cuts that go in automatically at the beginning of january that would be difficult to unravel, but you could, as ari said do, that theoretically. remember, the fiscal cliff is an idea that was put forward by republicans -- >> of course. >> as an austerity plan. i agree with ari in the sense that it's a total artifice. there's no reason why you necessarily need to have that, but railroad ama-- ari makes th good point that home ownership and charitable giving are two things in the tax code we want to keep in place. all economists are nearly unanimous if you raise rates on the top 2% you will shave off 0.1% of gdp. you will have no effect on economic growth if you increase tacks on the extraordinarily wealthy here. but, you know, again, this is a party that has campaigned for
three years now on cutting the deficit, on cutting government spending. it's unbelievable to me that when you come down to the 11th hour in the negotiations right now, this party cannot identify any significant cuts of any significant scale in either entitlement spending or discretion yaer spending. it shows you this is a party that can talk the talk but can't walk the walk. >> to julian's point, last week boehner tossed out the idea of maybe going back to paul ryan's budget. today he tosses out erskine bowles recommendation, aside from the fact he's a plagiarist, doesn't that indicate it's not a constructive and detailed plan. >> the onus is on the republicans to come up with a response. they failed to do that. what they came to a was erskine bowles plan which is funny for a lot of reasons. we don't have the time to get into it. >> we don't. >> it's not their plan. it doesn't deal with the specifics. we will have a moment of clarity, and if during that moment of claire clity the
republicans don't back down, the public will see this same mechanism again they want to put their political maneuvering ahead of a common sense middle class approach for the whole country. i think this time will be worse for them than last time and i think the markets can see what's going on. >> okay. >> two final points -- >> i'm sorry, we just don't have enough time but thank you both. next, republicans really did think mitt and paul were going to win, didn't they? might explain why they have no plan "b." stay with us. hungry for the best? it's eb. want to give your family the very best in taste, freshness, and nutrition? it's eb. eggland's best. better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. it's eb.
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former gop standard bearer is now detached and in sec collusi seclusion. there's no aide to make his peanut butter and honey sandwiches. romney has told friends he has little interest in helping the republican party rebuild and rebrand itself. for more let's bring in goalldi taylor and karen finney. romney was plan "a" for winning the fiscal cliff. do they not have a viable plan "b"? we have had this counteroffer today but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. >> i saw a couple reports about how ann romney specifically is taking this loss. you know, no candidate ever plans to lose. you know, we don't plan to pack up and go home. we plan to head to congress. you plan to head to the city council. we plan to head to the white house. so they really did not have a plan "b." as for the gop, well, neither
did they. they didn't expect that this president was going to come out with as strong of a proposal as he did. they thought first term obama was going to show up again, and clearly that wasn't true. you know, the plan that they presented today just isn't serious. it isn't serious if we say you're not going to raise the rates on the top wage earners. it's not serious if it says you're going to make significant cuts and try to tie entitlements to this so-called fiscal cliff which isn't a cliff at all. just like mitt romney wasn't a serious candidate, this is not a serious plan. >> karen, the president's plan includes talk not just of taxes, but also extended unemployment insurance. there doesn't seem to be any thought in the gop plan. did the gop just literally wake up today and think, right, i know, let's get erskine bowles' recommendation to the super committee and throw it out there. >> i think it's worse than that. >> you think it's worse? >> i do. because just in the same way -- we learned last week that romney's pollster was relying on
bad math based on bad assumptions, and i think here again you have the republican party doing the same thing. what are we talking about? closing loopholes to try to fix the gap. we already had that conversation in the context of the election, and a number of economists said that that wouldn't work, which is part of the reason that the president is insisting on this conversation about the rates set for the top 2%. what do we hear about? the job creators. time and again. governor romney was not able to convince a majority of americans that by protecting the job creators and trickle down economics, we were going to solve our problem. 53% of americans thought he favored the rich and wasn't going to help the middle class for the poor. i think it's a deeper problem. most of the rhetoric sounds a lot like the romney plan. >> and, goldie, to that point, romney obviously is no longer in the picture, but paul ryan and his budget still are. take a listen to what boehner
said last week about that. >> well, you could look at our budget from the last two years and there are plenty of specific proposals, most of which were part of the conversation that the president and i had two years ago or a year and a half ago. >> goldie, he's talking about the paul ryan budget. so i assume that plan "b" is now exactly the same as plan "a." >> you know, they've got to wake up in the morning and understand that they lost this election, that this president was re-elected, that the vast majority of americans do believe that the rates ought to be raised on this nation's top wage earners, that we don't want to see cuts to deductions dealing with charitable contributions or to, you know, home mortgage -- you know, tax relief. you know, they've got to understand that the election really is over -- >> but goldie, paul ryan says he has a mandate because the
electors sustained a republican majority in the house. he's the one with the mandate. >> they sustained that majority through gerrymandering. if you look at how many votes house democrats got across the country, they beat republicans in terms of the sheer number of popular votes in the house. and so really the house gop is nothing more than a collection of local party officials. >> paul ryan's ideas, they did try that in a national election. it's one thing as goldie points out, ger ji manderred congressional election, not the same. in a national election, the paul ryan ideas went down in flames just as they did frankly the first time he proposed the ideas when a majority of americans didn't support them. i know the republicans don't like facts and they don't like data that doesn't go along with their narrative, but here we've got 60% of americans are perfectly fine letting those bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest and that includes 63% of independents. so the numbers are just not there, and they're just continuing to ignore it. >> john boehner says --
♪ la la la la la la thank you both. coming up, fox news continues their phony claim that there is a war on christmas. great times. >> but it's a holiday that atheists can celebrate certainly under -- >> absolutely. and jews can celebrate it. it's a holiday -- >> everybody can have a good time. everybody can have a good time. [ emily jo ] derrell comes into starbucks with his wife, danielle, almost every weekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too. five days later, i had a massive heart attack.
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brad because he obviously agreed to lose his hair. john boehner said he was glaber gasted by by the president's offer. what's your response to mr. boehner's offer? >> i'm a little flabbergasted by it. i'm really flabbergasted by the introductory sentence in the letter that talks about a status quo election. look, the president is not someone who has run around and tried to have a victory lap, but let's be clear. these issues were debated in the election. the president won overwhelmingly. i mean, this was a big electoral college victory obviously. you know, when it's all said and done, he will probably win the popular vote by 5 million votes. the american people gave judgment on john boehner's plan or so-called plan. they rejected it, and they favored the president's plan. i don't think john boehner should have been surprised at the president's offer, that it was similar to if not identical to what he campaigned on. that's what the american people
voted for. >> and 60% of americans overall actually support his plan to raise taxes on the most wealthy in this country and that includes people who did not vote for him. but going to speaker boehner, his plan sounds great, doesn't it? you cut taxes, you grow the economy, you reduce the deficit. it almost seems like someone who would have tried to run for president maybe on a line like that. surely republicans could win on that platform unless it didn't win. >> exactly. they've all been quick to distance themselves from mitt romney, except they have presented his plan as their own. i guess maybe it was their plan to begin with in the form of paul ryan, and, you know, look, it's just not going to fly with the american people and the days go on. what i really think, if i were giving them political advice, i think tom cole, a representative among them who is probably one of the smarter political tacticians in their party gave them some advice. let's get this over with. let's not be the party that looks like we're only looking out for the top 2%.
but that's really, martin, exactly what they look like. the differences here i think to most americans are fairly small. let's keep taxes low for 98% of americans and lets ask the wealthy to pay a little more but it looks like republicans just want to protect those at the very top even if it means going over the fiscal cliff. >> the president will host members of congress for a holiday reception tonight. i would love to be there. even as fiscal cliff tensions are very high. would you recommend someone perhaps spike the punch for republicans in order to break the impasse? >> well, look, i don't know what it will take. i'm not even sure that would do the trick, but, i mean, i think what they should consider with the president tonight is that they need to get this behind them. they are a party that is weaker politically than they were a month ago. they're a party that will be even weaker once the new year rolls around. they'll have a smaller majority in the house.
they'll have a smaller minority in the senate. the president has very strong approval ratings right now, particularly for his approach to the fiscal cliff. they're going to be in a stronger political position if they reach an agreement with the president and put this behind them. then they can go on into the new year. they're not going to be strengthened by allowing us to go over the fiscal cliff and then having smaller numbers in congress after the 1st of the year. >> indeed. brad woodhouse, thank you. again, congratulations on your shaven head the proceeds for which we know will go to cancer research. we acknowledge the sacrifice you made, but it's a good one. >> great. thank you so much. >> stay with us. the day's "top lines" are coming up. want to try to crack it? yeah, that's the way to do it! now we need a little bit more... research. the value of quality time and personal attention. which is why we are proud to partner with health care professionals who understand the difference
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bp has paid overthe people of bp twenty-threeitment to the gulf. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. from groundhog day and willy wonka, to that dreaded fiscal cliff. here are today's "top lines." you cannot be serious. >> you think we'll get a deal by
the end of the year? >> i do. >> flabbergasted. i looked at him and said you can't be serious. >> you cannot be serious! >> the president's idea of a negotiation is roll over and do what i ask. >> bark like a dog. a big dog. >> would haof. >> he doesn't stamp his feet and get his way. >> i want to you get me one right away. >> every republican who has impure thoughts has to go back to the drawing board. >> you have to check your mirror. >> i would say we're nowhere. >> they're chasing us. >> i think we're going over the cliff. >> don't drive angry. >> we have already gone over the cliff. how hard are we going to thump down there at the bottom? >> there's no smooth transition from a ballet to led zeppelin. >> we need that extra push over the cliff. we do. >> some hotel rooms trashed, mayhem all around. so it's fitting we're doing this in a room where windows that are about 3 inches thick. >> when you win the presidency, you're walking around with your chest puffed out. >> they must think john boehner
is santa claus. >> what do you want for christmas, little boy? >> that's a christmas wish list. >> how about a nice football? >> talking a tinker toys factory and say things like scrooge and coal in your stocking. it's an insulted to the american public. >> if barack obama says it's a christmas tree, why do some other politicians dissent? christmas is under siege. >> there are a lot of anxious gri, bitter people out there. >> i guess it's pretty serious. >> we want to include everybody. >> you look so angry about this war on christmas. i can tell. it's like really -- >> thank you, father. >> from that to this. it's now legal to smoke marijuana. >> wonderful segue. let's get right to our panel now. jonathan capehart is an opinion writer for "the washington post" and an msnbc contributor. and ana marie cox is a columnist for "the guardian." john, one conservative columnist is up in arms over the president's role in the war on christmas saying the president
has too much of the christmas spirit. andrew malcolm writing for investor's business daily has criticized the white house for being extravagant in its show of the season. he just can't win sometimes, can you? >> apparently not. i mean, could you imagine what would happen if, say, the white house had some scrawny christmas tree with a few colored lights, a couple of balls on it, and -- >> stop describing your own christmas tree. >> i am not describing my own christmas tree. anyway, imagine what they would say about how -- here is the secret muslim who hates christmas and hates christians and is defiling the white house. it's ridiculous. >> ana marie, we just saw a priest teaching the fox and friends weekend crew about the meaning of christmas. he says it's silly to spend so much energy getting upset at people during the festive season. if the clergy itself doesn't support the notion of a war on christmas, what is fox's purpose
in continuing to hammer this line? >> well, if you took away all the things that the fox news -- the morning show people especially get worked up about, that like really are not problems, they wouldn't have a show. i don't know exactly what they're going to do if you take the war on christmas away from them. i, of course, am protesting the obama drone strikes on santa's workshop. i think that's probably going too far. but i do dream of a world in which we can all celebrate christmas openly. so let's just keep fighting. >> indeed. jonathan, alan west, who i know you like a great deal, is actually leaving congress. i know that's disappointed you, but listen to what he told npr about his future. listen to this, john. >> and always remember, abraham lincoln only serve one term in congress, too. >> dually noted. >> when you think alan west, do you think abraham lincoln or are we to infer he's thinking of running in 2016? >> good grief.
he is no more like abraham lincoln as he was like harriet tubman. remember that classic historical figure he compared himself to? this is a man who has always viewed himself a lot more grandly than he really is, and it's a good thing that the people of his district voted him out so maybe now we won't be subjected to who he might compare himself to a couple weeks from now. >> ana marie, do you share jonathan's view or do you accept there's great similarities between the great alan west and abraham lincoln. >> they walk upright. >> this is true. >> i'm thinking. i'm thinking. >> two arms, two legs. >> they're both men. >> both men. >> yes, they're both men. i mean, they both served in congress. >> four. >> i mean, i guess that's true. but also, you know, abraham lincoln i think decided on his own not to run again for congress. so there is a little bit of a problem even there. >> didn't they also share the same hairstyle?
>> i think i have seen alan west in a stove pipe hat but i don't think there's any photographic evidence. >> that's alan west and mc hammer. >> that's right. i forgot. forgive me. grover norquist also made some headlines this week for something he said on "meet the press." both of you, listen to this. >> that somebody is actually celebrating their faith and passing that onto me. i would respond happy hanukkah to you as well. >> okay. one second. that was not the individual that i introduced. but here is grover norquist on "meet the press." >> tea party two is going to dwarf tea party one if obama pushes us off the cliff. >> so, ana marie, as sequels go, they don't often live up to the original. what do you think? >> i'm glad you came to me first so i can say tea party two electric boog aloo before
jonathan does. the tends for sequ -- rules for sequels tend to be they have to be more violent. i'm not sure there really is a tea party two, and if anything i think it's a weaker tea party moving into this congress. i'm not sure what grover thinks. >> jonathan, what do you think? a tea party two? can anyone beat joe walsh of illinois, allen an west of florida? >> i don't think there's going to be a tea party two. do you remember "alien." it was good. "aliens" the sequel was fantastic. "alien resurrection" not so much. if there is going to be a tea party two, it's going to be a "alien resurrection" feat. >> grover norquist pregnant. >> what? >> thank you so much. stay with us.
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states rights surrendered quite conveniently. we're back with anna marie and jonathan. the arizona republic found over 39,000 licenses and even state i.d.s were issued since 2006 to noncitizens who were presented federally issued employment authorizations. so is this another attempt by brewer to initial young immigrants who find themselves in this country, of course, through no fault of their own or does she just enjoy wagging her finger at the president? >> i don't know why that's a binary choice, martin. >> i apologize. that's not a nonsec nonnon sequ. >> i think she knows how to get in the paper. she represents a segment of the republican party that they should be ashamed of. and that they're going to have to deal with at some point. like she cannot be someone who is the future of the gop, let's face it. this is the kind of thinking that alienated so many lahtino voters and anyone who thinks about the dream act.
>> jonathan, on the issue of health care, brewer has decided against creating a state-run health insurance exchange to implement, as you know, a key part of the president's federal law. how is that likely to go over with the nearly i think it's 20% of residents in her state that have no health insurance? >> well, it shouldn't go over well, and we'll see whether that 20% rises up and says, look, this is the law. you have to follow the law. also i wonder if there's anything, anything that the federal government can do to get miss brewer -- governor brewer to do right by the citizens of her state. >> governor brewer hosted the western governors association winter meeting this weekend, yet when she delivered her keynote speech on the subject of energy, only two of her fellow governors
showed up. maybe they'd heard her answer a report aers question about climate change. >> everybody has an opinion on it, you know, and, you know, i probably don't believe that it's manmade. i believe that, you know, that weather and certain elements are controlled maybe by different things. >> controlled by different things. do you think she spent too much time in the sunshine? >> different things, martin. you know, i think maybe this is a good sign again for the gop if her fellow governors are kind of running away from her. someone is getting the signal that the kinds of attitudes she puts forward are pretty toxic. there was a time when things like climate change or immigration were really divisive and you had huge chunks of the american public doubtful about them but that's changing, as our demographics change, those opinions change. people are starting to want, even from conservatives, they want common sense solutions.
they may not want the kind of solutions democrats present but they want these things addressed. >> but marco rubio was not able to give a definitive answer on the answer of climate change, was he? she's not entirely isolated. >> no. i do think -- we'll see -- i'm just like, yeah, you're right, no. progress, progress, not perfection. >> jonathan? >> but, martin, here is the problem with jan brewer and senator rubio for that matter. remember, both on climate change and on immigration, their leaders in the republican party who were leading on this, remember president george w. bush was leading on immigration, so was senator john mccain, both on immigration and on climate change. the fact that the republican party has gotten away from sensible positions on both those issues shows how far down the rabbit hole the republican party has fallen. >> okay. well, politico reports governor
brewer has met with casino magnate sheldon adelson amid talks she may run for president, yes, in 2016. stop laughing. he was such a big help to mitt romney, i suppose jan brewer might be the right logical choice next. after all, he's only spent, what was it? $150 million on this election? john? >> go ahead, john. >> go ahead, ana marie. i'm dumbfounded by the fact -- >> you're speechless? >> i'm speechless. >> why? >> jan brewer, presidential timber. are you out of your mind? there's no way. i mean -- >> i say jan brewer 2016. ana marie cox and jonathan capehart. thank you so much. next, is this the week the president picks susan rice as his next secretary of state or has he preferred someone else? stay with us. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, stay with us.
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we want to go to the white house where other kristin welker has gotten reaction to the republican proposal this afternoon on the fiscal cliff negotiations. what has the white house reaction been? >> reporter: as you know, the republican plan calls for about $800 billion in new tax revenues by basically reforming the tax code but it doesn't cover increasing taxes on the wealthiest americans and that is something that president obama says must be included in any plan, so white house communications director dan pfeifer just released this statement. i'm just getting it. quaet quote, the republican letter does not meet the test for balance. it sticks the middle class with the bill. their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate. independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires
and billionaires. while the president is willing to compromise to get a significant balanced deal and believes compromise is available, he's not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. that's just a portion of his statement but you see this fight is still really centering on this issue of taxes. the white house saying president obama is saying rates should go up on those making $250,000 or more. these are two starting proposals. the white house has put their proposal out last week. it really drew a hard line, calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue, most of that coming from increasing taxes on wealthier americans, but this republican plan very different, does not call for increasing taxes on wealthier americans. president also wants to end congressional oversight of the debt limit. there's no such offer in the republican plan. in fact, some aides have told me that that is a pipe dream.
so these two sides still very far apart. now, tonight, martin, the white house will be inviting members of congress here for the holiday party. house speaker john boehner will be here as well. there have been a lot of questions about whether these two will run into each other, whether they will talk about the fiscal cliff. no one is signaling what they might discuss, but house speaker john boehner when asked about tonight's event said that he thinks he might run into the president. >> no doubt. kristin, we're also hearing that the president has made some reference to the possibility of president assad or the fear, the rumor, that president assad might use chemical weapons against his own people, and we know, of course, saddam hussein do that against the kurds. what is the president saying about the prospect of that? >> reporter: well, some tough talk just a few minutes ago. president obama saying that if, in fact, the administration receives serious evidence that syria is, in fact, using chemical weapons, moving
chemical weapons, that that would be a red line for this administration. now, we pressed white house press secretary jay carney on this point earlier and said, what specifically does a red line mean and what would the consequences be? the administration being fairly tight-lipped about that, but president obama just a few minutes ago saying the world is watching, and essentially that this administration will not tolerate that type of behavior from syria. >> indeed, a busy afternoon. thanks so much, kristin. kristin welker at the white house and we'll be right back. you ever notice that some people just have a knack for giving the perfect gift? they put real thought into it. and find just... the right...thing. how do they do that? more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot.
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up. >> it's unacceptable for some republicans in congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest americans. >> hostage negotiators around the world agree that there are three essential components to any resolution. first, it's essential to have one primary negotiator. but this is speaker boehner's number one problem. there's the lobbyist grover norquist who has issued threats against any republicans who might break their promise to never raise taxes. speaker boehner is also being pulled and harangued by an extreme group of tea partiers wlo would happily tip the economy back into recession rather than compromise with this president. and we haven't even mentioned paul ryan and his brutal budget of austerity. so republicans are having trouble deciding who really is the primary negotiator. the second requirement, again, according to law enforcement, is that hostage negotiators must
minimize any background distractions. but for the last three weeks, republicans have engaged in a pointless pursuit of u.n. ambassador susan rice. instead of focusing on the fiscal cliff and without the president ever saying that he plans to promote miss rice to secretary of state, republicans have preferred this distraction to the core task of negotiations. and now comes the third essential component to a successful negotiation. it is to isolate and contain the hostage taker, and this is exactly what the president has done. speaker boehner has not offered anything more than what mitt romney tried to sell throughout the election campaign, and the people voted against him. and now the president has speaker boehner cornered and isolated like never before. according to law enforcement, these strategies of