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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  February 23, 2014 5:30am-6:01am PST

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small way. we are so glad that you spent some time with us today. make some great memories. >> we'll see you next weekend. right now, stay tuned for "inside politics" with john king. it's president obama's turn for a big election year about-face. first it was speaker john boehner on immigration. now the president on social security. >> my budget does also contain the compromise i offered speaker boehner. >> that was 2013 when working together and deficit reduction mattered. but never mind, this is 2014. governing takes a back seat to politics. plus, chris christie's command performance. >> there may be people in this room who disagree with me on something. all of us are from new jersey. what that means is if you get it, you are getting it right back. >> but one upbeat town hall won't make bridge gate go away and now a govern prospect faces
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a big investigation. republicans giving hillary clinton a starring role in 2014. >> conservative republicans love hillary clinton. right? just ask lindsey graham. >> and beyond. >> if the election were tomorrow, had hillary clinton would most likely be the president of the united states. >> ""inside politics," the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters -- now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thanks for sharing your sunday morning and with us to share their reporting and insights, amy walter, david maranis, julie pace of the associated press. yes, there are 254 days until election day and yet, sad to say, the year of governing is over. politics rules. we've watched republicans dodge land mines on immigration and the debt ceiling. now president obama ducks a big democratic civil war dropping a huge social security reform from a new budget that also calls for big new spending on things
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democrats think help them in the fall campaign. julie pace, you cover the white house. is it safe to say that nothing big is going to get done this year and this is a concession by the president to frame the election and forget about policy. >> it is really hard to see what they could get done this year. when you look at the budget, this is such a wonky thing but it is really important to understanding how the white house views this year in terms of focusing on democratic success in the mid-term elections. because one year ago the president put something in his budget on social security that was basically a good faith gesture to republicans. it was meant to start negotiations on a grand bargain budget deal. this year it is out. it is the clearest sign that we have that a grand bargain on the budget is not going to happen this year and really nothing much else is either. >> policy cpi is a more modest way of calculating the social security annual inflation increases and it saves a lot of money. the president put it in as a gesture of good will. now he's saying what's most
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important is not john boehner but elizabeth warren. >> it is much more important to make sure the base comes and turns out. one thing that democrats know is in a mid-term election their base tends to stay home especially younger voters, minority voters stay home. the other issue they are looking at are people who are not as well off, people making less than $50,000 a year. they need those people to go to the polls which is why we'll still hear about minimum wage and safety net programs, why we'll hear about throwing the middle class out. it will feel very much like 2012 all over again. >> we'll hear about the minimum wage but the congressional budget office report is being used by republicans to say this would cost a boat load of jobs, we're not going to do it. how damaging is that report to the president's hopes of actually getting congress to do something as opposed to just campaigning on it? >> john boehner probably wasn't going to bring that up before the house but now when you have the cbo saying this is in fact going to cost us jobs -- that's
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not all the said -- but the gop will seize on that. it does seem boehner would be not inclined to give democrats a -- but here's the thing, for democrats it is not bad to have the issue either. >> what does it tell us about the evolution of barack obama? he was, remember, in 2008 going to be this transformational guy, republicans and democrats were going to get along, "kumbaya," washington will pass big things, we'll deal with big issues. now this is all base, base, base and it is a all politics, less policy. >> well, it is all politics but you have to understand that the reason it is is because his legacy still depends on what happens after him and so everything he's doing now is to try to assure the possibility there is a next democratic president. if not, it completely rewrites his presidency. >> so you surrender 2014 and maybe 2015? >> i don't know if he surrendered 2014 because i don't
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know that he had it to surrender. but the linkage he has to make now between the next possible president -- >> that's the question. did the president have it to surrender. trying to gin up turnout, grass root activity. was it inestable that he didn't have this year? the republicans have the advantage so he is just embracing reality, do the best i can? >> that's not what it sounded like when we went into this year. it did seem like, wow, we have the good will, you have the good election behind you to get something done. especially on something like immigration where republicans also want to get something done. what's broken down is inability for the two sides to trust each other and now that republicans see control of the senate so close, it's right there in front of them, why would they possibly jeopardize that by giving the president -- >> just a couple weeks ago he was calling for a year of
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action. instead we get a year of posturing and politics? >> the republicans have said we're not going to do immigration -- we want to do it in theory but not this year because it exposes gaps in our party, we're not going to put up a fight over the debt ceiling because we don't want to expose those differences. >> but one thing you are leaving out is foreign policy which always throws a surprise in there. we might say that nothing's going to happen over the next eight months. something will happen, we just don't know what it is. >> one thing that is happening is we know this election's going to be a huge debate about the role of government, the size of government, scope of government, the reach of government, what is the government's responsibility and what's not, what's washington's responsibility, what belongs to the states. the republicans want to make that all about obamacare. i want to pose a question -- is there any democrat in the country who will stand up this year and say, thank you, george w. bush. and i say that in this context. we've just seen you all the money from fannie and freddie is back. the tea party started not
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because of obamacare, not because of barack obama, but because george w. bush bailed out the banks and got ready for the auto industry bailout and that infuriated his base. democrats accepted it. will democrats now say thank you? will any tea party voter in america believe the government is actually going to make a profit on this? >> you can put all the facts and figures and reports but your average american hears "bailout" and all they think is the government putting out money. they never think about the money coming back in. i think that's a really hard case to make even if facts are on your side. >> what's it mean for them? the tea party was more than just bailouts. it was you bail people out, they're supposedly sush lly suc. it hasn't translated down to me. i still don't have a job. >> the great philosopher barney frank had a quote in 2010. he said he wanted a bumper sticker that would have read -- 2010, things that would have sucked worse without me.
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that's one heck of a bumper sticker. >> it's baked in. no matter what the data shows, people think it was a mistake. >> it's part of the whole litany with the auto bailout and with the stimulus package. all three of those you could say worked better than people predicted they would, and yet neither george bush nor barack obama are getting the credit. >> it's that legacy thing. right? >> which legacy thing? >> that's it. that's the question. they think it is a good thing but in your time if you can convince anybody that it is a good thing. everybody, stay put. today is drape measuring today. as president hosts the nation's governors for dinner, how many of those governors think they should be the next president and who's notably passing up a free meal? our puzzle is next. weekdays are for rising to the challenge. they're the days to take care of business. when possibilities become reality.
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welcome back. our puzzle this week, part card game, part history lesson. tonight the president welcomes the nation's governors for a dinner at the white house. many of those governors had dreams of moving on you up. let's take a look. we know at least nine governors are thinking about giving some thought to 2016. blue are the democrats, andrew cuomo, john o'malley. the red, at least a half dozen republican governors thinking about 2016, chris christie in new jersey to mike pence in indiana. at least 3 of the 9 will miss the festivities at the white house. hillary clinton might disagree but history does suggest pretty good odds the next president will be a governor. john f. kennedy in 1960 elected from the senate.
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then barack obama in 2008 elected from the senate. hasn't happened since then. directly elected from the senate. if you look more recently, the five presidents before barack obama -- jimmy carter, bill clinton, ronald reagan, george w. bush. 4 of those 5 governors, two democrats and two republicans. let's continue the conversation focusing on the republicans. let's begin with the two republicans under investigation. chris christie and scott walker. as they look at 2016 are these investigations clouds or serious obstacles? >> they're clouds certainly in the short term especially for chris christie who really wanted to make 2014 his big year to shine. head of the rga, which is the group that's dedicated to electing gop governors across the country. he wanted to tour the country, get his name out there, take advantage of that post. obviously the first few months of the year have not gone as they originally thought. i think the jury is still out on the walker issue. it is not quite as clear as it is there with governor christie there was wrongdoing.
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certainly with christie it is pretty obvious at the staff level at least. what's so fascinating to me, john, watching these governors is that there's no obvious heir apparent. how many decades have we seen in the republican party that there is on obvious candidate. that person doesn't exist. some would have said chris christie last year. that's certainly not now the case. it is a wide-open race as wide open on the gop side for probably the last four years, maybe more than that. >> the question for governor walker in wisconsin is whether he as a milwaukee county executive whether he had people on the govern payroll doing his campaign work or whether or not there were not clearly defined lines. he says it is old news but there is an active investigation. >> there's two john does. the old news is the first john doe who's over with and presented a lot of things people didn't actually know about in templts sen terms of the sensibility of the
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people that work for him. the other thing is the focus is just going on him right now in an intense way that he's never really had before. during the whole recall movement it was more about the issue of labor and actually a policy dispute and now it is a personal focus on scott walker himself and there is a lot there that goes all the way back to his days as an undergraduate at marquette when he got kick out of school for fooling around with an election. >> there is one positive to having this happen now though, both for christie and particularly for scott walker. this exposes you to what it really would be like to run for president, and if you can go through these investigations, have all this attention on you and it turns out nothing actually happens, it lets you start your presidential campaign next year with something of a clean slate. >> if walker survives that, you're absolutely right. because surviving the recall strengthens -- >> going back to the clinton days, i used to call clinton
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weeble. you see these guys tested. are they strong performers. people who didn't like bill clinton or his policies came to respect his toughness. chris christie in the town hall this week was grateful, no one asked him about bridge gate. he did get a little testy when asked about sandy relief aid. listen here. >> why did you privatize most of the grant programs? you didn't have to do that? >> i just disagree with you. i'm answering the question. >> he's -- >> that was right. that was nice as opposed to just turning and punching somebody. >> so he's growing. >> he's mellowing out. >> if it's not a governor and most republicans think -- a lot of republican strategists think our case against barack obama, first term senator, nice guy, wasn't ready, let's get a proven track record. if it's not a governor, you look
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around at rand paul, ted cruz, rand paul i think is the most fascinating guy in what he's trying to do, this sort of patchwork quilt, but i think this reach he was reaching out for the middle, independents. he went after ted knew gebt who called the president the rock star of the united states a subhuman mongrel. then ted nugent campaigned for one of the republican candidates for governor in texas. rand paul tweeted ted nugent's derogatory description of president obama is of offensive and has no place in politics. he should apologize. what's he trying to do? >> he's trying to demonstrate that his outreach efforts to the african-american community are legit and that when somebody who's popular with many conservatives says something that's offensive, he will actually speak out. >> we have he's heard this now for the last couple of leaks. each side trying to get the "authentic" card. usually when you say that, it is because you're not. in rand paul's case this is
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where he is. he's going to be on all of these different issues not easily put into a box, whether it is on restoring felons' rights to vote, whether it's on drug minimum sentencing. and he's just going to call it like he sees it. >> keep in mind that rick perry that same day also denounced mr. nugent's comments. i think rand was seeing a potential rival out there so he hopped on board, too. >> we're giving people credit for being rational human beings. >> the standards in washington have fallen so low. >> i think one of the questions is can you keep all these pieces together or a at some point -- >> the thing that's great about rand paul is the authenticity and he does seem to make decisions issue by issue. then you go into a republican primary and how will that hold up when voters who are going to vote in a lot of these primaries are going to have a list of things that they want their candidate to have supported. >> the things that you say to
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the old caucusgoers in iowa are instantly transmitted to the young libertarians if california. it is not like you can say one thing to an audience. those days are long gone. that gauntlet for him is going to be even tougher because of this technology we are in now. >> but supporting ted nugent is probably not -- >> he's on safe ground there, we think? >> i don't think a whole lot of people out there are saying we should defend ted knnugent. >> we know rand paul, ted cruz, potentially some other candidates for president will be there. but one thing all of the republicans agree on is we think we're going to be running against her, "her" being hillary clinton. john mccain said this week if the election were today she wouldn't get his vote but he thinks she would win and there was an ohio poll out this past week that some would read as proof mccain is right in the sense that hillary clinton beat everyone of a half dozen or so republicans they tested her against. i'm going to be a contrarian. to me that poll showed -- again, it is 2014, february.
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so invest a penny in any polls about 2016 and no more. however, the highest she got against any republican was 51%. you could read that that she beat them all. or at a time the republican party has no singular leader and she is the singular leading prospect, to me i think, she's at 51%? i can get her. >> maybe. i think still it is ohio. nobody's going to win ohio with less than 53%. it doesn't matter who comes out of the republican primary. the fact that the democratic party actually is in as much trouble as it is at least when you look atmy term elections and where the president is right now and you have a democratic candidate hitting 51%. i agree with you, don't even invest a penny. whatever that is. that's less than a penny. it still is a better sign for democrats that they can have their own brand separate from the president's brand. >> you know her and her mindset,
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david. what do you think? here's another poll, hillary. you're winning ohio, hillary. does it become the -- >> they eat up those polls. believe me. you know that, both bill and had hillary. but she knows where she was in 2007 so i'm sure she's thinking about that as well. >> talking to a long-time democrat this week pointed out a very important point. it goes what the importance of who follows barack obama. that is democrats are now so consumed with keeping this streak going. the old democratic party was so full of sort of fighting back and forth, they've become a much more stylistically cautious and conservative party because they're now in a lot of ways the majority party nationally in this country and that's why you see them, to borrow the old bill clinton phrase, falling in line, not falling in love. >> up next, a sneak peek at the
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headlines to come. our reporters empty their notebooks, including proof jeb bush is taking a hard look at trying to follow in his father's and his brother's footsteps.
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our big goal here is to keep you ahead of the curve on big political news. each week we ask our reporter to share a nugget from their notebooks. i call it "tomorrow's news today." >> i have been fascinated and bewildered swla omewhat by the constant drip drip drip of the hillary attacks, leaking stuff to bill. they haven't understood history.
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actually when you attack anything with bill, it helps hillary rise. thing to do is just wait for clinton to figure out something else to get in his own trouble about. >> amy? >> we talk a lot about the minimum wage helping to motivate the democratic base. but this issue, says the afl-cio and their allies, is something that actually can divide republicans. they look at the issue, they divide it up by class. how much money you make. if you make less than $50,000 and you are a republican, you are much more likely to want to support minimum wage. if you make more than $50,000, they have polls in five states showing you don't support this. why not use this not just to pump up your base but also divide republicans. >> try to get some votes from the other side. >> why did john boehner and the house gop punting on immigration for now? one reason, next month, march, 90 house gop members will have their filing deadlines.
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why that's important is because they are watching those deadlines because if they see primary folks get in the races that could he potentially imperil their re-election. in these seats that are much more conservative leaning and for action it is more the primary in the fall. >> i'll throw a little foreign policy into the mix here. there is a very important meeting of nato defense ministers coming up this week. u.s. had been hoping to have a security agreement with the afghan government signed so they can decide what happens after the war formally ends. no sign that agreement will be signed any time soon so we'll get a lot of sense out of this meeting on how patient nato is willing to be with afghan president karzai. >> i'll leave you with a footnote about jeb bush. he has said he'll think about 016. but a lot of people think he just likes the spotlight. former florida governor hasn't
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said he is going to run but at least he is asking some serious questions so people are starting to give it a very serious look. thank for sharing your sunday morning with us. "state of the union" with candy crowley starts right now. food for thought this sunday morning -- 4 of the last 6 presidents were governors first. today, from new england, the midwest and the southwest, hear them roar. >> it is time for washington to focus on the few things that the constitution establishes as the federal government's role. get out of the health care business. get out of the education business. >> it is good economic policy. let's increase the minimum wage in connecticut and let's do it together. >> 1 out of 8 jobs created in the united states was created by businesses right here in indiana. >> missouri is a low-tax state. sixth l


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