tv Inside Politics CNN May 4, 2014 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> we are so glad that you spent some time with us this morning, made some great memories today. >> always a pleasure to be with you. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. >> prom night in washington, a mingling of media, hollywood and politicians and a chance for president obama to try his hand at comedy. >> an american won the boston marathon for the first time in 30 years, which was inspiring and only fair since a kenyan has been president for the last six. >> but will the laughter fade fast? six months to election day, the president is trying to shake a serious slump. >> you hit singles, you hit doubles. >> this was anything but if funny, a post-2012 election presidential promise to get to the bottom of benghazi. >> we have provided every bit of information that we have. >> but a court challenge turns up white house e-mails that were
not shared with congress, reigniting a partisan firestorm. >> this is the closest thing to a smoking gun i've seen. >> benghazi, beb ghazi, benghazi, why aren't we talking about something else? >> the white house flunks another transparency test. big brother george offers a 2016 lifeli lifeline. >> hey, jeb, if you need some advice, give me a call. >> hold the phone. "inside politics" the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now. >> welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. margaret and jonathan martin of the "new york times," ronald raji of politico and politico's maggie haberman. sarcastic edge as prom night, the annual white house correspondsents dinner brings the media and the politicians, a
night off, a cocktail, that's the idea but in the humor there are always flashes of the biggest political debates of the moment. president obama noting his anemic numbers make him so unwelcome on the campaign trail it's beginning to hit home. >> i did notice the other day that sasha needed a speaker at career day and she invited bill clinton. >> not bad there. another gem from the president and his joke writers, how things will be different once his heir apparent takes office. >> let's face the facts, you'll miss me when i'm gone. it will be harder to convince the american people that hillary was born in kenya. >> humorous fun. it's nice to have a night off. maggie, does this help the president at a moment he pokes fun at himself and the moment. he's in quicksand, approval ratings stuck in the low 40s, six months to the midterm elections. any look back at history says a president in the low 40s headed
into the six-year midterm election he and his party are in deep trouble. >> laughing gets him good headlines for today and that's about it. laugh something not going to make people feel better about their lives and this dinner represents for regular people what they don't like about government and washington, so this was a nice reprieve for the president. debris, there were some funny moments. some of the stuff about hillary was striking to me. he essentially referred to hillary clinton not directly but basically set her up as the nominee. i was struck by him pivoting to that. >> that's interesting. we could show our viewers if you didn't watch, there was a nice play to joe biden, if you watched "hbo series the veep" with julia louis-dreyfus, there' joe biden playing on that, a great play, but this is bide be's part of the dinner and as maggie notes, margaret, the president i think it was three times talks about hillary clinton. we've talked about this the past in a serious context. joe biden's team feels slighted.
they feel the political people and party money, is it just a night to laugh or another example that from the president on down they've anointed hillary. >> it all comes together really with the cameo that i walked away from thinking about which is biden throwing his shoe at hillary clinton. if that doesn't say it all i don't know what does. it's not just hillary, it's the tip of the hat by bill by saying my daughter wants to be like you. this is sort of getting things ready and i don't know what they have to look forward to in 2014. they're all playing for the 2016 game now. >> if you look yesterday where clbt clinton and joe biden were while this conversation was up it speaks to the dynamic going forward. joe biden is doing the grunt work. he's down in miami doing events for a house freshman democrat i cannot known and facing a tough race. hillary clinton is in chicago, illinois, getting an award as i think it's the biggest award in illinois your home state and you know, receiving all kinds of
accolades and great press coverage back home. >> the question for the president, he has a night of laughter, hopefully cleepg in, drinking herbal tea, not hung over. if you're a president in political quicksand you look for something to give you a rock, your footing and this past week they had numbers you would think would be great for the white house, unemployment report came up from march, the rate dropped from.7% in april to 6.3%. 288,000 jobs created last month as the winter faded and spring started and the down number, it closed on thursday at 16,538, more than double than when this president took office. if you get out in the country, a lot of people still think and i make the comparison to 1992, when you had better economic numbers. it was a presidential, but the george h.w. bush team could not make it better because people didn't feel it. >> things have been so bad for so long they don't experience it. the number 6.3, remember the whole thing with the president, he went through most of the 2012
election with an almost 8% unemployment rate. this is a big drop but people are not feeling it in their lives and the democrats are not, this is the argument the republicans make and some democrats privately will acknowledge are not putting forward an economic message that really resonates with voters, something they feel like they can trust will make a dirvfferee in their life, that's focused on growth and the middle class. >> the jobs report was a pretty mixed report for the white house while it was great to see the unemployment rate come down, there's still 800,000 people or so who left the workforce, in addition wages are still stagnant, and people's unemployment, applying for unemployment benefits are on the rise. this is mixed news for the president and frustrating for democrats who want to run on the economy. >> it makes it hard. they thought they could run on the economy, thought the middle of last year the economy would rear back and that would be their buffer against presidential history and obama care. the last week the abc/"the
washington post" poll is the coming getting better, 20% think that. 41% say it's improving and obama deserves some credit but six in ten americans think something else. >> 28% say it's improving web it's gone from 10.1% in the fall to 6.3. that is remarkable. look at people like mark udall of colorado, he's entirely based upon turning out women there and it is focused on issues that are important in the eyes of their pollsters to getting women to the polls. it's not some broad based message on morning in america, the country is turning around. >> they can't run in the national mood. it's clearly about disqualifying their opponents. >> republicans have obamacare and benghazi which we heard from
pelosi before and that's very real. democrats don't have something like that. i had a conversation with a democratic strategist. at this point where do you see the big theme going and the person who is very involved in the midterm said if you find out let me know. >> president obama has sort of given up to some extent, really looking for his footing trying to figure out where to step in, how much to step out of the way, playing the long game, the legacy bid, bringing kathleen sebelius up on stage at the correspondents dinner, that's the statement he wants to make. >> that's about him and you make the key point he realized he's not going to get invited to most of the races. we'll see what happens on the campaign trail but i think you make the key point the republicans have national turnout arguments, benghazi, obama care, whether it's the economy, democrats go race by race. we'll continue
this conversation in a minute. next our puzzle pieces together, the thrust of the gop's new benghazi conspiracy theory. first in this week's edition of "politicians say the darnedest things" a flashback to
correspo correspondents dinners. >> i wish i could be here but i think has bill has everything under control. >> wait, wait, wait, wait! wait! hold on! hold on! your lunch! >> as you know, i always look forward to these dinners. it's just a bunch of media types, hollywood liberals, democrats like joe biden. how come i can't have dinner with a 36% of the people who like me? the only thing miss something hillary clinton stiting
on the front row, rolling her eyes. i don't know about you, but i have always
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republicans call it the long sought ben ghazi smoking gun. the white house calls that partisan nonsense. we have a newly discovered white house e-mail that has washington in a frenzy. she doesn't want to work here. all right. the e-mail comes from the deputy national security adviser ben rhodes, written back in 2012 before the election. ben rhodes preparing susan rice for an appearance on the sunday shows. congress says this was could have had by a subpoena. remember here is the president of the united states just after the election in 2012 promising if congress wants information about benghazi they will get it. >> we have provided every bit of information that we have and we'll continue to provide information and we've got a full blown investigation. >> that's the president talking just after the election in 201237 we'll have a full blown investigation, we'll give them what they want. the e-mail that came out from ben rhodes was released from a
lawsuit called conservative watch, it talks about benghazi but listen to jay carney at one of several contentious white house briefings saying this e-mail was not covered by the subpoenas. >> because all of the documents, the thousands and thousands of pages of doums includingcuments information around the benghazi talking points, were around benghazi. this was not about benghazi but about the general dynamic in the arab or in the muslim world at the time. >> that argument however from jay cashy at the white house podium undercut by the obama administration's own state department, which when it sent that e-mail the ben rhodes e-mail up to congress said it was responsive to the committee's subpoenas. so the question at the table is, we know the white house ben rhodes before an election was trying to defend and protect the image of the president. no breaking news there. that's what political staff does.
we know the white house flunked the transparency test and politics 101. if there are documents get them out as early as possible. congress want john kerry to testify about why we didn't get this sooner, forming a new select committee. is that just let's drive up republican-based turnout or some factual smoking gun? >> a little bit of both. remember for a while republicans have been pushing for this committee, the hawkish republicans like lindsey graham, john mccain. in some ways this is dissatisfaction with the way the current investigation is going led by chairman darrell issa. the concern is that republicans believe a lot of them believe they have not really drawn much blood from the white house yet and if there is a selected committee digging and digging they'll get to the bottom of how this happened and the white house and administration's ex-plangs of what happened afterwards and bring people forward like hillary clinton in the middle of the election year
and can drive that up. >> that's what makes the white house decision and i get it, they have contecht for congress, period. lot of democrats say the white house doesn't even like them, don't like the oversight process. they could make a case issa overstepped but you have a document that talks about this, know what it's going to do, why not put it out for everyone? why give the republicans this? >> to your point about transparency you can't selectively decide what in a subpoena you're going to respond to and not respond to. he was right this little bit of both. it remains to be seen what else they'll draw from this. hillary clinton certainly would be relevant. this will be falling at the time hillary clinton becomes public again and worth remembering her book is going to focus not in small degree on benghazi and what happened and so how that matches up with what ends up coming out of this committee will be interesting, too. >> it's definitely great campaign fodder for republicans for their base but you have to
understand the conservative psyche here a lull bit, too. i think there is still to this day regret that mitt romney did not embrace this more in the fall of 2012. call that a bit of revisionism. they're so convinced this is something, that this was something then and there's regret he did not use more of it. >> that's absolutely true. >> it's why in may of 2014 it's still here. >> that does go to the point this is at least at this point a base issue. it's not like you see the american public clamoring for more information about benghazi. you look at the polls, people are concerned about the economy just as we were talking about before. >> if substantive information came out about something wrong, they wish they could have acted faster, the state department and the communications between everybody and the pentagon. >> it's going to be a huge distraction. >> it was avoidable. >> self-inflicted. >> the republicans are fixated
on this. why wouldn't you put everything out? you're enabling them. >> another investigation came up at the white house correspondents dinner. the host was joel mchale and he was making note that chris christie is under investigation for bridgegate, that chris christie hired a law, conducted an internal investigation and here's joel mchale parroting chris christie. >> i just looked into it. it turns out i'm not responsible for it. justice has been served. >> a the love people thought there were one or two too many christie jokes last night but he laughed through it all. >> i think he laughed through some of it, he was laughing on the outside, i don't think he was laughing internally. the bit mchale did was funny. the weight jokes felt excessive and too much and too many of them and on and on and on, and at a certain point, pick one or the other, but both seemed too much. >> there were a about the of bill and hillary clinton references. clintons are in the news all the
time. >> you noticed that? >> i do notice that. >> what? >> first this is bill clinton's at georgetown university earlier this week, his context is obamacare. the former president saying with he in the political media are the problem because once we get fixated on something we won't let it go. >> there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline and then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness on everything that happens into the storyline, even if that's not the story. >> an interesting take from the former president, who i covered for many, many, many years. he is a master at working the media, he'll shut you out when he doesn't want to, loves you when he needs you. if had in the context of a fascinating piece you wrote about hillary clinton and her relationship with the media, these are the quotes that jumped out and stick in your head.
you have in your piece look, she hates you, period that's never going to change, i assume they meant us not you. you're delightful. >> i was going to say it might have been my co-author glenn prush. how bill clinton handles the media the quote he just gave he said this behind this behind closed doors in a media matters conference and he repeated that line, his relationship with the media is different than hers. she has never had the type of interest in engaging with the media and working the media he does. she's much more like obama than her husband. >> in the piece it's interesting they noted if she doesn't run they're always making an excuse she doesn't want too go through the media scrutiny and have to deal with us all the time. >> on the flight back from mandela's funeral, george w. bush came back, talked to the press, forced obama's hand, he had to talk to the press and finally hillary clinton talked
to us for 30 seconds. >> we got to go. thank you for getting up early the day after prom. tomorrow's news today, our reporters get you out ahead of the big political stories to come including the next step in the republicans' establishment plan to get this, humiliate the tea party. and that's epic, bro, we've forgotten just how good good is. good is setting a personal best before going for a world record. good is swinging to get on base before swinging for a home run. [ crowd cheering ] good is choosing not to overshoot the moon, but to land right on it and do some experiments. ♪ so start your day off good with a coffee that's good cup after cup. maxwell house. ♪ good to the last drop
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before we go as always, let's get you a sneak peek at the political stories that will drive the week to come as our reporters share some nuggets. margaret you had a close seat to the president. start with you. >> i did. the. the was really tired from his asia trip, drinking herbal tea. yes. but if you'll indulge me, 100 years later i think he was struck also by how much that correspo correspondents association has changed. 11 members all white men started in 1914, you know, there's 237 members now, a very diverse group, about half men and half women on that board. the most interesting dinner wasn't last night, it was in 1941 when fdr used that speech at the dinner to talk to the american people about world war ii. >> history lesson. we like that. >> rand paul the uniter, this is the role he wants to play after the primary, the may 20th primary for mitch mcconnell. so far he's endorsed mcconnell but and it a lower proprofile role. expect once mcconnell wins this race which looks like he will,
rand is going to play a much more aggressive role to bring not just the tea party and the libertarians to mcconnell but also any other of these supporters to his side. this is crucial for mccobble. they believe in order to win this race those republican voters need to come back home, the people who will not vote for mitch mcconnell because he's so unpopular. >> not a bad play there. jonathan? >> the story this week is going to be the senate primary north carolina and late last week when i was talking to top gop strategists they are cautiously optimistic that the house speaker there can get 40%, that's important because if if he gets 40% that means no runoff in july, which would save the gop millions of dollars. so if tillis can get 40.1, then that's good news for the gop, otherwise they're going to have a protracted runoff going into mid-july. >> the republican food fight would continue instead of going after the democratic incumbents.
meghan? >> the story that didn't get as much attention it would have otherwise was virginia senator tim cain endorsing hillary clinton. this had been in the works for a long time. the ready for hillary group which put this together was basically annoying people around hillary clinton with the endorsements last year. they didn't want the inevitability. while they don't coordinate, there are a lot of people around hillary clinton who would see value in having this come out at this moment and makes it all feel as one democrat put it much more real as very hard for her to step back and not run. >> starts the clock. democrats say we need your decision. if you don't run a lot of people are mad they didn't have time to prepare. >> she is about to embark on this book store, that begins the public decision period we'll see before the end of the year. >> the republican establishment now thinks it is on the verge of an almost total rout of the tea party in the contested primaries around the country. we told you about big establishment spending, one of
them the north carolina contest jonathan talked about. look this week for the chamber of commerce to spend big on tv ads in ten house races from massachusetts to new york to illinois to california. when races establishment versus tea party challenges increasingly. remember when mitch mccobble talked about crushing the tea party increasingly among the establishment strategists using the word humiliate. they think they can win almost if not all of the primary challenges. thanks for sharing your sunday morning with us. see you soon. "state of the union" with candy crowley starts right now. ukraine on the cusp, the u.s. economy on the move. maybe. today, ukraine tilts toward civil war, weighted with east/west tension. >> if, in fact mr. putin's goal is to allow the ukrainians to make their own decisions, then he is free to offer up his opinions, but it can't be done at the barrel of a gu