tv Meet the Press MSNBC March 17, 2013 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
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with us, republican whip of the house, california congressman kevin mccarthy, and the top democrat on the house budget committee, chris van hollen of maryland. then the future of the gop and a senator's change of heart on gay marriage. is it the beginning of a changing tide in the party? wisconsin's republican governor scott walker weighs in. from nbc news in washington, the world's longest running television program. this is "meet the press" with david gregory. and good sunday morning. a busy first weekend for the new pope. meeting the press yesterday for the first time, and this morning an impromptu appearance near the vatican, greeting surprised well-wishers before delivering a brief homily at the vatican's small parish church. and then moments ago before a large crowd gathered in st. peter's square, pope francis gave his first weekly blessing. and another first this morning. his first papal tweet. "dear friends, i thank you from
my heart and i ask you to continue to pray for me." joining us this morning from rome, cardinal francis george of chicago. your eminence, welcome to "meet the press." >> thank you, david. good morning. >> i want to begin by asking you what you think pope francis can do right away that will define his papacy. >> i think what he's doing now, that is, the style is the substance, and while they're small gestures they indicate an attitude towards reality and towards the governance of the church that is very important in the long run. secondly, what he really has to do is to make some important decisions about who are going to be his closest collaborators as he moves forward in his papacy. >> there's the administration of the church. there is the sexual abuse scandal. what is probably foremost on the minds of catholics in this country is what does he mean to america. what does a pope from the americas mean to the united
states? particularly with a growing latino population here? >> well, i think you said that very well, david. he means very much to the latino population because even though many priests in the united states have learned spanish to take care of a growing number of spanish-speaking parishioners in first generation, at least, it's never quite the same to know the language as it is to know the culture. so he comes from the culture with the language, and that will be a source of great encouragement i'm sure, for all of us, but especially for them. beyond that, the universal church, that means we are global, truly, in fact, as well as intentionality, and so the crossing of the water to the americas is a very historic moment. isn't it? >> how he speaks about america is interesting, as well. i can remember being a young reporter in the early '90s covering pope john paul ii's visit to denver with a youth group from new mexico at the time, when i was covering him, seeing what a beloved figure he was there with president clinton, of course, and more
beloved even than his successor pope benedict. what, in your judgment, as you know this pope can he, should he do to cultivate that relationship with this country? >> well, i was a very young bishop at the time in washington state, and that was the first time i went to world youth day with a whole lot of young people who sold tacos endlessly in order to afford a chartered bus. and i was very deeply moved by it because they were. and i saw the way in which he transformed their lives. he had a huge impact on that small diocese in central washington state, a rural diocese, when they returned home. but pope benedict was not an extraverted. he was a very shy man. a good man, a kind man, but he had difficulty showing that in public, not used to talking to people as much as he was books. this man is a pastor. first and foremost he spent his life close to people, especially the poor, his own brothers in a religious society,
and to the people he served in a very large diocese in buenos aires. he's a man of integrity, and that shines through. even when you have to say this isn't what christ wants, he says it in a way apparently people can at least hear it even if they don't agree with it. that's an important pastoral note i hope we'll all learn from in years to come. >> as a management matter, a crisis management matter, what does pope francis do to come to terms with sexual abuse in the church that begins to close the chapter for the church? >> well, i can't close that chapter, none of us can, as long as there are victims. you have to accompany them if they're willing. we have to keep doing that. as far as the scandal itself, everyone that we know of who has done this, whether bishop or priest, is out of public thinstry and will remain out. that was because he had to change the law to do that and it took some time. he supports that.
and then we have to be sure that it won't happen again, as much as we possibly can, and then stay with the victims. but the structures are in place now. the code of canon law has been changed. the thing is that every time there's a new report, then everything happens yesterday instead of 20 or 30 years ago, which is often the case now. >> there is the issue i think for a lot of american catholics of the impact that pope francis can have on cultural and political debates in america. gary bauer, the evangelical leader in the united states, wrote something for "usa today" this week that caught my attention and i'll share with our audience. he writes -- "as an evangelical i was delighted that the last two popes were moral and theological giants. john paul ii and benedict xvi introduced a new evan gemiccal era for the catholic church in
which the catholic church offered a confident rebuttal to the false promises of the secular world." how would you like to see pope francis influence american political debates? and we have so many of them now, whether it's abortion or gay marriage. how would you like to see that impact? >> i think he simply has to preach the gospel and then do it in a way that is accessible and the holy spirit makes the impact, we believe. conversion of heart and mind is not something any pope or preacher can do. it depends on god's grace. but you have to keep preaching the gospel and do it with integrity and he'll certainly do that. you're preaching it now in a context where in a sense you could say there is no god and freud is his profit. so for the sake of sexual liberation, we're willing to let a lot of other liberties go. and i'm not sure we realize what's going on. i think he'll help us to realize it better, and we'll see what happens. we can only trust that the lord is still with his people and loves the world that his son died to save. >> but your eminence, isn't that part of the struggle? what you're speaking act, about, preaching from the gospel as so many catholics in this country see that tension between
church doctrine and their own life experiences? their own consciences that are leading them in a different direction. whether there's a majority of catholics in america who support gay marriage, those who call for a greater role for women in the church, who are less opposed to abortion or even contraception. how does he resolve that tension? >> well, i'm not sure you can resolve it. it's a matter of principle. all those issues weren't around 50 years ago. what has happened to our cull cha cher culture that suddenly these have become imperatives? in history, when you look at societies that come and go and countries come and go, when the chips are down, people will always go with their society, usually, not always, and those that don't are the minority very often. what we want to do is create a society through dialogue that isn't quite as much at odds with the gospel of jesus christ as it seems ours has become at times at least. so the phenomenon you're talking about is not new. again, however, the church is universal. so, you know, we have to stay with the entire church,
and we have to stay with categories that aren't cultural. conservatives and liberals are the categories you use. you'll be using them today. our categories are what is true and what is false and then what's the evidence for that? >> i have to ask you in closing if you could describe the sense of spiritual renewal you feel with pope francis. i'm not catholic but i was certainly caught up in that sense of renewal that i think canal licks and non-catholics feel alike when you have such an important transition like this. >> well, all i can say is that during the conclave i felt personally a deep sense of the presence of the lord, even as you vote, and you write that name, you have to be sure that you're free, that you're not doing it for self-interest. and you have to be sure the man you're electing is free to do the ministry. so in that freedom, there will be renewal, i believe. >> your eminence, we appreciate your time very much this morning. >> thank you, david. good being with you. god bless you. >> thank you. thank you.
i'm joined by a roundtable. a wruben republican strategist ana navarro, msnbc's chris mathews, former democratic lieutenant governor of maryland, kathleen kennedy townsend, and former republican governor of oklahoma and former chairman of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops national review board, frank keating. welcome to all of you. it's great to have you here. a setup to a joke. nice jewish boy moderating a discussion on catholics. you said something this week, chris, that caught my attention. when a church needs reform, as this one does, you go back to jesus christ. >> right. >> you felt that very strongly. >> i think one thing that unites all catholics and certainly everybody at this table is concern for the poor. and this basic way that jesus led his wife. he was a jewish guy. i say if you can agree on that, the rest is easy. the rest is sort of detail. and i think we have to go back. i mean, not that there should be a reformation but the idea of looking out for the poor and being humble, and loving each other.
i mean, it's very basic, it's very positive and it's very generous. it's not about the old order that jesus went into, all rules and scribes and pharisees. we're not going to have a different attitude as a church about abortion probably and certain other issues. i think they're immutable. but i think it could be revisited special. that's about birth control. things can be refined and changed. i think a woman deacon -- women have more of a role in the church. the nuns have more of a governing authority. this could all be done by any pope. >> look at the facts of the church. the center of gravity changes. changing. look at the mere fact of a pope from the americas and how many catholics are from latin america. some 40% of over a billion catholics in the world, ana navarro, are latinos. and this is such a significant moment when the church changes
its -- >> huge, david. i can't talk about what it means for hispanics. you know, there's a lot of rivalries between latin-american countries. i can tell you we are also thrilled at having a latin pope. we don't even mind he's argentinian. it is wonderful to have a pope that's going to be able to relate to the americans, that lived in political strife, that lived under the repression, that has seen what's going on in argentina, the poverty, the economic crisis, that cannot only speak our language but can "get" our language, is one of us. i think you're going to see him active on issues like immigration. you're going to see that the catholic -- the archbishops here will be more active in that even though they've been very active already. like chris, i do hope to see more participation by women in the church. i'd like to see more respect, more equality for the nuns. you know, chris' wife, i, kathleen, we're all sacred heart girls. i can tell you, this church could use a much more present and vocal nunhood in the running of the church.
and the other thing that's very important is, you know, here in the united states sometimes we get real happy when somebody comes in that's from outside of washington. for me it gives me real hope to have somebody come in from outside the vatican, because there are real problems in the vatican, and it may take an outsider, a no-nonsense, humble outsider focused on the people to be able to renew that hope and enthusiasm of catholics all over the world. >> kathleen kennedy townsend, you wrote in your book, i'll skip ahead to that, "failing america's faithful," something about the role you'd like to see the church play more generally, and he seems to speak to that, pope francis. you wrote -- "my own catholic church has allowed its social agenda to be trumped by an all-consuming focus on contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic cell research, none of which are mentioned in the gospel. my catholic school dealt with the issues at the core of the gospel, suffering, poverty, sickness." cardinal george, i asked him about that. how did he respond? >> my heart is full at the moment.
i'm very excited about this pope because he seems to represent simplicity and humility and willingness to listen. he understands the importance of symbols, riding on the bus, saying to all the other cardinals, come in. we're all ins they together. in this together. he took the name st. francis, because he said he's the saint of the poor. >> he paid his own bill, by the way, at his room this week after getting the job. pretty special. >> and we should share what chris said so true, what all catholics have shared is a caring and attention to the poor. and that's what we need. we need something that brings us all together, that we are all human together, and i'm very excited about him. i love that he chose st. francis because one of my favorite words from st. francis is, preach the gospel, and use words only if necessary. and i like the idea that it's -- as a jesuit as well, you look to yourself, you have to
improve yourself and then you go out so that it's not this hierarchical church in their gowns and princes of the church but the humility and simplicity. >> frank keating -- >> robert francis, of course. >> chris of course is pointing out my father was robert francis. chris makes the connections that nobody else even tries to go there. >> frank keating, we can also in a way, without being disrespectful at all, sort of look at the pope as politician in a way and the "national journal" this week had some advice, focus on messaging administration, take advantage of larger-than-life personality, use social media as he has, but use it wisely. no its limitations, but revamp the p.r. strategy. there are expecting of all of that that he has got to bring to bear to lead this church. >> happy st. pat's. >> thank you very much. i wore my green tie. >> i'm not irish. >> i agree with everybody here how exciting it is to have,
after 1,200 years, somebody outside of europe. ow exciting to have a jesuit. i've got to say to have a jesuit embracing francis of assisi, take his name, and as a francis, i'm thrilled about that. but the reality is, and i think everyone has made this point. you have an individual who lives a life of humility and will insist that the church live a life of humility, which means what? in the united states, 50% of social services are provided by the catholic church, but what this pope is saying to the cardinals and bishops in united states, i think, is we need to care about the defenseless, the left out, the left behind, the poor, lift them up, love them as christ loves them. but realize we are an institution to serve, not an institution to be served. and i think that's what's remarkable about this papacy. >> what about the political element, though? and by that i mean the fact that the church wants to influence american debates. and look at this in terms of how catholics view whether the church is out of touch with
their own thinking, their own development of conscience and their life experience. 53% in a poll recently said the church is out of touch. only 39% said that it's in touch. chris mathews, the cardinals talking about continuing to preach from the gospels on this, but there is a real split on some of the issues that we are debating in america right now that are about social policy. pope benedict was quite dom nai dominaire on this and conservative on the issue of gay marriage, for example. >> yeah. i mean, i can't say all this on television because a lot of us who go to church talk about, a lot of it doesn't sound right on television, but there's always been a real suspicion, generally speaking, about the way the church handled this sexual abuse of altar boys. and governor keating was involved in trying to deal with that horrible thing. but it was never dealt with quick enough. i think speed is -- it's like watergate. you have to be there all those years that nothing was getting
done. every time you drive by the vice president's house in washington here, across the street, the papal -- this guy is standing on the corner who said -- and i believe it looking at him -- who was abused by priests back when he was a kid. that guy was on the corner every day i drove home. every single day he's out there with a sandwich board. and he was there before 2000. and all those years the church was slow to act. and i think that slowness made a lot of us suspicious they were covering up more than just this, that there are a lot of people with their own embarrassments, perhaps sexually they didn't want to go out every catholic that goes to church thinks like this. they don't like talking about it. maybe i shouldn't have just now. but the church wasn't on top of this thing. people said, what side are they on, the priests or the altar boys? it should be the altar boys. >> i don't think you should feel any catholic guilt talking about this. we must air it out. this pope needs to understand and does this is part of what he needs to do as his duty. i can tell you, i'm a catholic who's grown very distant from the church and it has been over this sexual scandal. i just can't get over the cover-up. i can't get over putting the
institution above the people. this is something that i hope he brings me back, and i think there's a lot of american catholics who feel the same way that i do. we want that hope, the hope from the new pope, and hope he brings it back. >> i share that. i think we catholics have a tendency to wait to be told as opposed to participate in the debate. and when i was asked to chair the board, i didn't choose that board. we had a wonder. it group of very active catholic, and we were hoar fired at the extent of this. and the three elements of the catholic review board -- transparency, if you're settling a case, we want to know about it. criminal referral. anybody who does this should go to jail, and zero tolerance. i insisted on due process and zero tolerance. and a very small number of priests and religious were involved, but it was an agonizing, embarrassing, humiliating moment for the church. the bishops were up front and aggressive, but then some
started sliding backward and saying, well, let's don't get too carried away. but it was a very, very difficult moment for the faith, and we haven't, to your point, ana, gotten over it yet, and hopefully this pope, the new pope, will be very aggressive to see that righteousness and virtue is paramount and common denominators. >> does it overwhelm, kathleen, this issue -- when i showed the poll about the views of the church being out of touch, the ability of the church to then impact these other political debates, whether it's women in the church or abortion or contraception, which we've seen play out or gay marriage, which is now front and center for us now? >> i mean, just to go back with what frank said earlier. i think what happened during the pedophile scandal is that our priests, we learned, our bishops, weren't protecting us, and we who loved our church had to take control of our church ourselves. you've seen that with the nuns who have done a terrific job of
saying we're catholic, we're part of the church, and if the bishops aren't doing the right thing, we'll be able to stand up and say that. and that's been i think in a way a great liberation for what it means to be catholic. and i think that this pope, by actually saying to the other bishops, you know, i'm the bishop of rome. i'm not the pope of the whole church, is theying that we are going to have to take much more control of our lives. now, what role they play on these issues is the question, is the church has always had a range of issues, and what have they focused on? unfortunately in the last 20 years i would say they've focused mostly on sex. and i hope that with this pope they'll focus more on something that brings us together rather than individually saying you're bad on sex. it's just the church of sex. >> as catholics, you know, a pope is human. >> yeah. >> we don't have to agree with him on everything. but we just have to know that he's coming from the right place. >> chris, quickly, before i get to a break, though.
beyond this conversation that's going on among catholics, as you look at this catholic moment in american politics, what does he mean? >> i think, you know, our backgrounds are different. you're jewish and i'm catholic. everybody in america -- one thing catholics are taught from the time we got here, we're mott no the majority. we are a minority religion. we have to get used to the fact we're americans, too. therefore, this is a very different attitude than you see from other churches. we are not spain or ireland even. we recognize all the other religions have an equal right to their beliefs. that's why catholics are hesitant on the choice/pro-choice issue, hesitant to tell other people about their deepest beliefs. but i want to get back to -- let me stick to that because the first thing the pope did the other day, saturday, was call the chief rabbi in rome and open up a relationship. these things we talk about, being good to the poor, being good to each other, respect to women, respect to people with different sexual orientations, is universal. we as americans can agree on these things and i think that would be nice. i think we have an american
religion and agree on a lot of these things together. i'd like to unite behind this. i know what you meant saying you were inspired by this. i think there is a common hope we find a good common morality. >> let me get a break. you're all comiing back. but first the debt duel in washington as we shift gears. is anything going to get done this year? and would a balanced budget hurt the economy? joining me kevin mccarthy and the top democrat on the budget committee, maryland congressman chris van hollen. a little later, our round table will be back talking about the future of the republican party, and republican governor scott walker of wisconsin will join the conversation. and let in real people. it smells good. like laundry fresh out of the dryer. a man fresh out of the shower. nailed it. proof. febreze car vent clips keep your car fresh. breathe happy.
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on tuesday, the day a new pope was installed in rome, on tuesday, the day a new pope was installed in rome, president obama makes a sensitive trip to the holy land for his first presidential trip to israel. the trip isn't ambitious. mostly the president seems to be responding to critics who question why he's not been to
israel as president. truth is, reagan never went, and president george w. bush only visited during his final months in office. the president, however, is dogged by the perception that he's cooled towards the government of america's strongest ally in the middle east and by the criticism that his outreach to improve relations with the muslim world has been at israel's expense. during an interview on friday with me for "press pass," israel's ambassador to the u.s. sought to downplay any rift. >> there is a u.s./israel relationship which is deep, which is unbreakable, and that's a message of assurance to the people of israel at a very turbulent time in our region and a message to the people of the middle east. >> mr. obama will visit the grave site of theodore hertzel, the father of modern zionism, meant to send a strong signal to the region that this president stands behind israel as its right to exist as jewish state. also on the agenda, a visit to the holocaust memorial and the church of the nativity in bethlehem, a revered site for christians.
stay with nbc news for comprehensive coverage of the president's trip starting wednesday. coming up here, our roundtable is back and wisconsin's republican governor scott walker joins the conversation. conservatives wrap up a big annual gathering in washington to discuss the future of the party. can be costly. challenge that with olay facial hair removal duos for fine or coarse hair. first a pre-treatment balm then the effective cream. for gentle hair removal at far less than salon prices. there's no place like home. for gentle hair removal at far less than salon prices. [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk.
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we're back, switching gears to talk about the budget battle in washington. joining me, democratic congressman from maryland chris van hollen and majority whip, republican congressman from california, kevin mccarthy. welcome to both of you. big week in this debt duel, competing budgets in the senate, in the house. how these it get reconciled? i don't know. but i want to start with a different part of the debate. the president i thought was pretty provocative this week in talking about the need to take on the debt all together. it was just days before the election last fall, and he spoke to mika brzezinski and joe scarborough of "morning joe," and this is what he said back then. >> how would you define your mandate for the next four years? and what is -- i'd like to know the sacrifice that will be asked not just of the 1% but of the 99% as well. >> well, there's no doubt our first order of business will to be get our deficits and debt under control.
>> then just this week, a different tone. he said we don't have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. in fact, the next ten years it's going to be a sustainable place. congressman van hollen, why the change? >> it's not a change. they're totally consistent. right now our big problem is to sustain the economic recovery. we've seen momentum in the job market. and the last thing we want to do right now is to put the brakes on that. in fact, one-half of this year's deficit is due to unemployment, the fact that more people aren't at work. so what the president is saying is, right now, our focus should be to get the people back to work, sustain the recovery, and then reduce the deficit in a measured, balanced way. there's no doubt that we have to do it and the budgets the president will present and the ones we will present will do that. it will put us on a sustained downward trajectory on deficits. but our priority is job growth. >> this is the point, right? his argument is don't get us in the middle of austerity in the next ten years. you're going to hurt economic recovery rather than solve the problem you really want to solve? >> no. the president said deficits don't matter. all these deficits add up.
we're at $16.6 trillion. more than 100% of our gdp. the problem is i disagree with what the democrats are doing. it's the old washington fiscal game of janga. you try to build as much debt as you can take, as much taxes you can take until you topple the entire economy. this is the challenge that this week will have. this week republicans will have a budget that balances in ten years. the democrats' budget never balances. no household can run that way. >> let me challenge you on this point, because here is paul ryan this week, and he laid out very clearly what he thought the job was. let me play that. >> we think we owe the country a balanced budget. we think we owe the country solutions to the big problems that are plaguing our nation -- a debt crisis on the horizon, a slow-growing economy. people trapped in poverty. we're showing our answers. >> right, but the answers rely on $700 billion in savings from interest. most of the deficit reduction comes from repealing the
president's health care reform, which nobody thinks is going to happen. so how seriously should this be viewed as a roadmap for a balanced budget? >> it should be very serious, because budgets -- >> you're not going to repeal obama care. >> budgets are blue prints and priorities. we lay out. we think obama care should be repealed. the majority of americans agree with us, but we also think tax reform should happen so you can grow the economy. if you allow these debts to continue to grow, they crowd out the private sector, crowd out the opportunity for small businesses to grow. that's why the economy continues to linger. if we are able to balance the budget, which ours does in ten years, you will unshackle this growth in america. >> david, it's worse than that. their budget is built on a hoax. on the one hand, they say it balances in ten years. on the other hand, they say they'd repeal obama care. the fact is they repeal all the benefits of obama care, the things that help provide affordable health care to millions more americans. but you know what? they keep the savings in obama care, and if
you were to repeal obama care today, their budget would not be in balance. now, kevin has said that our budget will never balance. we believe that our projections show that the balance we will submit will actually balance. it will balance at the same time the republicans' budget balanced last year, which is out in the future, around 2040, because we put ourselves on a path downward. but our priority, our priority is to have job growth. and their budget will slow job growth at exactly the wrong time. >> but aren't you also building something that's false in the political climate that republicans face? i mean, here the senate budget requires more tax increases, roughly a trillion dollars. you know how difficult it is for your colleague here to go back to bakersfield or other conservatives to go back to the districts and say we need more tax increases when there simply isn't support for that. >> david, two things. one, the senate democratic plan has less tax revenue embedded in it than the bipartisan simpson/bowles plan, number one. number two, republicans in their
budget say they're about $5.7 trillion in tax breaks that you can eliminate. their plan would drop the top rate from 39% to 25%. they claim that they're going to make that up by just taking away deductions from the wealthy. but the reality is they're going to be raising taxes on middle-income taxpayers. family will pay $2,000 more. in order to finance tax breaks to the very wealthiest. it's like the romney plan on steroids. >> you would dispute that. "the wall street journal," though, congressman, wrote thing something on friday that caught my attention. the headline, "conservatives warn lawmakers against tax deals. conservative activists and organizations have begun warning republican legislators if they agree to raise taxes in a broad budget deal with the president, they should expect to face challenges from the party's right wing in the next primary elections." i've tried to ask this week after week. is there any ratio of spending countries to tax increases that
any republican is actually prepared to support? >> every viewer that's watching today that's working already got a tax increase. the president took $600 billion out of this economy. he talks about a balanced plan but he never talked about cutting. >> but you extended 99% of the bush tax cuts, your own leader said that was a pretty good deal. >> he raised $600 billion worth of taxes. he took from the economy, and he never made any cuts. look, the president has a different belief than we do. he believes deficits don't matter. we do. this president has never missed on a deadline turn in a march madness bracket but four out of five times he missed turning in a budget. >> i asked you about spending cuts to tax increases. any ratio you could expect. >> no new tax increases because you don't need it. if you look at the report -- >> you'll never get entitlement reform without tax increases. is that political reality? >> why do you have to wait? why does the public have to have a bigger crisis? the longer we wait, the more we add to it. there's only one person at this table who voted to raise medicare.
the republicans did not. we're planning to save medicare not only for this generation but for the future. and for someone to say that you can't do that -- >> raise medicare, what -- you said to raise medicare. >> save medicare. >> actually their plan is with medicare by shifting rising costs and burdens on the beneficiaries rather than reduces costs. kevin repeatedly says the president never talks about cuts. we did $1.5 trillion in cults over the last couple years. the president's plan that he's put on the table for republicans has another $900 billion in cuts. but, yes, we also want to cut the special tax breaks, the tax expenditures for very wealthy people which, by the way, speaker boehner said he had a plan that could raise $800 billion by doing exactly that. let's see your plan. >> before i let you go, i want to just cover a couple other issues while the budget fight continues. on gun control, is it possible that what passes for meaningful reform is a background check
that looks like it's still complicated in the senate but could pass? can it pass the house? >> well, i watched what came out of the senate. just the senate committee. i don't think that bill passions the full floor. the house is taking up the bills right now. they're analyzing it. i would say that's prejudging to say where they go. >> do you think that universal background checks is a reasonable way to deal with gun violence? >> i think that's one of the things they will look at. doesn't mean it will pass. i think they're also going to look at -- in california, we have a background check. the challenge i have, they're not enforced. if you looked at the president's administration, even though somebody came in, put in the form but they lied on it, they weren't prosecuted. i think the first thing you have to do is look at what we're doing with the current laws we have and see if we can go there. >> if they have background checks in california, we should have universal background checks. they should be enforced. this is a commonsense idea supported by the overwhelming number of americans, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, and
there should be a simple vote on whatever universal background check or whatever other safety measures come out of the united states senate. the people who were shot down in newtown, people shot down every day, they deserve a vote on these very important issues. >> the issue of energy is one that looks to be something that the president and perhaps can get some bipartisan agreement. that xl pipeline coming down from canada, the state department, congressmen, has cleared the way for the president to say, yes, let's open it up. why shouldn't he? >> i'm in the process of looking at the state department's analysis. they did a very complicated analysis. we have resolved that you can actually build the pipeline safely in terms of the committees it goes through but a they rerouted the pipeline, because the president and others raised concerns. now the question is whether or not the overall climate effects, the overall energy impacts are something for us. i'm in the process of looking at the state department's report right now.
>> that's the easiest thing to do. you could create 20,000 new jobs. it's been out there for three years. i mean, this is the challenge. energy is even in our budget. the budget that balances, it puts a new energy perspective in there that we become energy independent. how many jobs would that create? why do we have to wait? this is common sense. this isn't talking act getting more taxes, doing something on social security? just make the decision and build the keystone pipeline. >> well, we've gotten all of the above energy strategy. we have more oil and gas being produced now than we did before. and natural gas throughout the country. it's a good thing. >> it is. >> natural gas is a good thing. as you know, there are lots of people with leases who weren't using them. let's see them use more. >> let's see if this progresses more easily than the budget. good luck to both of you as these debates continue. thanks very much. we'll come back after this short break. our roundtable will be back to talk politics and the governor
who took on the unions in his state in a pretty high-profile way and survived politically to talk about it. wisconsin's republican governor scott walker will join the conversation when we come back after this. having. mommy's having a french fry. yes she is, yes she is. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. 100% vegetable juice, with three of your daily vegetable servings in every little bottle.
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the private sector that brings true freedom and prosperity. >> we are back now with more from our roundtable. joining the conversation is republican governor of wisconsin scott walker. governor, good to have you back. that was you at this gathering of conservatives. i want to talk about the future of the party. first, let me get some reaction to this debate about the budget. from where you sit as a governor, here you have this tension right now between the parties, and the president, i thought, really sort of clarifying his position this week saying we don't have a debt crisis. we are not in a hurry to balance this budget. let's focus on the economy first. >> i think we need to do both. in our states when i ran i talked about both the economic and fiscal crisis we faced and we acted on it. most governors, democrat or republican be alike, not only because we have balanced budgets in all but once state but more importantly because we understand a balanced budget, it's spending within your means and connects you to the economy. we need to do both, create a better environment for jobs but also live within our means. >> let's talk about reality as well. you just heard it.
no ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases republicans will accept. democrats will not cut or reform entitlements on their own. so there is no grand bargain to be had. >> it's the problem overall. one of the frustrations in washington is the fact you have on one hand the entitlement issue and you said democrats aren't going to move the direction without more tax revenue. on the other hand, you have republicans saying hey, if we're going to have tax reform we should reform it, get rid of the loopholes but put it into lowering rates to stimulate the economy. >> chris mathews, you made a point this week on a panel discussion saying you don't think the republicans are telling the whole story. they don't want to cut medicare or social security either. >> the problem is both sides are really in positions they're happy to be in. that's why they all prefer sequestration to the next situation, which is if you're a republican, the democrats are basically saying -- i'm speaking for you here -- basically saying, okay, why don't you raise taxes on people that have big tax loopholes, like home
mortgages and charitable contributions, which is never going to happen. so they're really talking act raising revenues, raising taxes. in exchange, we'll let you take responsibility for cutting medicare. i mean, why would any republican ever seek re-election saying, yes, i did cut taxes, i raised taxes on people that are out in this audience, and i also screwed you on medicare. i mean, why would anybody want to do that? >> ana navarro, this is part and parcel of where the republican is going. near as i can tell, it's been hanging out in maryland at the cpac conference. your trinkets, stand with rand posters. not necessarily an endorsement. >> i'm still twitching, so you know, three days after at cpac. but rand paul had an entire campaign going on. this did not happen by accident. >> here's what i want to do. two sound bites from this week, two different visions of the road ahead. let's play that and get some reaction. >> we don't need a new idea. there is an idea. the idea is called american, and it still works. >> the gop of old has grown
stale and moss covered. i don't think we need to name any names. do we? >> one of the things he means i think, senator mccain, or picked a fight with hawks in the republican party. what does it say about who's the face right now? what does it mean to be a conservative in the party right now? >> i don't think we know. i think that we learned something in these last three days, is that you can see it one of two ways. there's a very healthy debate going on or the conservatives are suffering from multiple personality disorder, because i heard both some panels and some speeches that were very pro-immigration reform, and then i heard some very against. i heard panels that were very strong on national defense and having a strong role for the u.s. and international security, and i heard some that were rather isolationist in saying we need to back off. i think there was a lot of debate going on. you could either see it as healthy or you could see it as
not healthy. >> frank keating, where are you with all this? >> well, i mean, cpac, i was the emcee once for one of their -- >> former governor. >> dinner several years ago. it really is a spring stew. you have conservatives. you have social conservatives. you have economic conservatives. you have libertarians. and rand paul won the cpac poll. what is his viewpoint? his dad's, i guess, would be legalize heroin, get rid of nato. i mean, it's a very, very -- >> he wants to cut the department of education. he wants to stop aid to -- >> it's all over the place. that to me is the conservatives, not the common denominator of the party. what is the common denominator of the party i think is growth, opportunity, incomes, making us finally address this very serious debt, deficit. >> you're going to iowa. would you like to be a nominee of the republican party? i've been to michigan, illinois, other places. i'm satisfied being governor of
wisconsin. i had to do it twice to run for office. but both senators, they're somewhere in between. there's the prince. principles, timeless, combined with the fact that we need to be more relevant as conservatives and republicans. what i mean by that, to your point, who in america grows up wanting to be dependent on government? who moves in from another country, comes in as an immigrant and doesn't want to live the american dream? we need to be the movement and the party that says we're the ones that have you not become dependent on government but empower you to live your dream for more freedom and prosperity. >> david, we used to talk about conservatism as a three-legged stool. i can tell you at least one or two of those legs are awfully wobbly if you judge it by the cpac conference because the national security, the strong defense is getting wobbly. and also social views, social issues. you've got rand paul saying let's back off from talking about that. so, i mean, we're either down to being a bicycle or unicycle depending on who's speaking. >> rob portman, senator from ohio, where there was a gay
marriage -- an effort on gay marriage back in 2004 that was a big part of turning out the base for george w. bush. he had a change of heart on gay marriage this week. this is what he said about it to cnn. >> i'm announcing today a change of heart on an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about. it has to do with gay couples' opportunity to marry. i've come to the conclusion that for me personally i think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married and to have the joy and the stability of marriage that i've had for over 26 years. i want all three of my kids to have it, including our son who's gay. >> something that he's known about for a couple years, said it was not a factor in mitt romney not selecting him to be a running mate. how do you react to that? >> i think there's just a sea change, obviously, in gay right, and i'm very excited about that. i think as more and more people are comfortable saying my child is gay, my best friend is gay,
my -- you know, my niece, my nephew are gay, it's going to change. it is changing. i think it's a wonderful opportunity -- you know, america is saying we're going to allow everybody -- you know, everybody to come in, everybody to be able to participate. and i think that's very, very exciting. i would say about the question about the republican party talking about growth, i mean, just to go back to the other issue, growth really could occur, as pointed out, by actually spending government money. you can see what has happened in england when everybody's practiced austerity. the currency is going down. and the unemployment is worse. so i don't know if the republicans are really interested in growth if they're not actually saying let's spend money now. this is our biggest challenge. >> stay on the gay marriage issue if i can because i want your reaction to both. is it -- governor walker, is it a civil rights issue? do you sense a sea change in the republican party on this issue? >> well, i think the senator's announcement made the topic
timely, but in our state, i mean, it was in the constitution years ago. they made a similar change in ohio that you talked about. it didn't come up in my 2010 election or 2012. >> you said it's generational. >> i think it is. >> are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic rather than as a disqualifying issue? >> i think there's no doubt about that. but i think that's all the more reason, when i talk about things, i talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country, that's what people want to resonate about. they don't want to get focused on those issues. >> frank? >> well, i think the issue is sensitive, real -- a challenge in families and in society. you know, there is a sea change going on. i think federally and certainly at the state level over the course of the last 20 years 30 states still have a prohibition against same-sex marriages. and you can see generationally where that has changed.
i would hope we wouldn't have one bludgeoned federal solution one way or the other. but let the states, that did not happen in the abortion resolution, roe v. wade, would resolve this state by state. my state, oklahoma, would probably -- i don't think probably, would, in fact, have a traditional marriage view. other state, maryland, for example, just voted for same-sex marriage. >> first state in the country. >> and i think that's federalism working as it should. >> but i want people -- >> it gets down to the question whether it's a right or not. i think you're going to see that with the court this decision. we're all watching, you know, anthony kennedy. do we have a due process excuse for denying the right for someone to marry a person of their own gender? or is it a right? it's profound.
we can't talk about it in practical terms. do you have a right to follow your love? and this is a serious question. we can't get away with it with just day-to-day politics, i don't think. >> i've had young people, i think an appropriate question, not expanding it to include one man, one woman, but a question, why is the government sanctioning it in the first place? that would be an alternative to say not have the government sanction it, period, and leave that up to the churches and the synagogues -- >> well, there are social security payments and all kinds of things involved and rights of persons in the military. >> as the youngest person on this panel, i think it is generational. people like will portman are a lot more comfortable living their truth today than they were 20, 30, 40 years ago. but i also think the a personal choice, and as republicans, we are the party of personal freedoms, family values. it's a personal choice for everybody and an issue of tolerance. i want people who are pro traditional marriage to tolerate
my views and don't think that makes me less moral or less of a republican. and i need to tolerate the views of those who think marriage is just a man and a woman and know that that does not make them a bigot. it's a personal choice. >> i got to get a break in here. back in just a moment. as in the 37 billion transit fares we help collect each year. no? oh, right. you're thinking of the 1.6 million daily customer care interactions xerox handles. or the 900 million health insurance claims we process. so, it's no surprise to you that companies depend on today's xerox for services that simplify how work gets done. which is...pretty much what we've always stood for. with xerox, you're ready for real business.