tv Newsmakers CSPAN February 7, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EST
i think that we won't have any health care, we won't have any special interest money or anything like that. we're going to have frobs problems trying to fund our military. host: we'll leave it there because we are running out of time this morning. coming up, senior advisor to president obama is our guest coming up after "washington journal" ends. tomorrow on "washington journal," david shepardon. we'll talkñi about toyota's recall. and then lawrence yun. we'll end tomorrow's show with julian zelizr talking about national politics. thank you for watching today. we'll be back tomorrow. .
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> joining us for "newsmakers" on this sunday is senior advisor. and here with the question is jerry with the "wall street journal" and the "washington post." let me begin by asking you to respond to senator cornyn.
he said we'd like to have the president. we don't want it on camera. >> well, look, we want to have a dialogue with members of both parties, and we'll do it as we can. i think there was something valuable about the exchange that the president had both with the house republican caucus and with the democratic senate caucus this week. i thought they were good exchanges and i think it's valuable for the public to see those exchanges. they were open and honest. but if the senate republicans don't want to do that, the president is not going to not talk to them because they don't want to do it in public. >> is this a photo op or is this this serious? >> i think most people who watched thought that they were quite serious. i think they were substantive and valuable. so i think they were very
positive. >> during the president's exchange with the house republicans, he had some kind words for congressman paul ryan. he said he wanted to work with him. immediately afterwards the house democrats attacked what he talked about. what does that do at the attempt of bipartisanship? >> well, look, there's going to be back and forth about ideas. we shouldn't be afraid to advance ideas. we should discuss them. one of the things the president was saying is bring me your ideas and let's debate and discuss them and as i bring you mine and we debate and discuss mine. that's what people want. but there is no doubt that this is a tough environment in which to govern. and i think one of the thing that is frustrate people about washington generally is that sport is made of serious things. these are very serious times. and there is this sense out in
the country that people here are more concerned about winning elections and per pet wutting themselves in power than solving problemsful 6789 and i think they recognize that that's a very dangerous thing. we've got so many challenges now. they sense them in their own lives. so we want honest dialogue. the president is more than willing to accept ideas from wherever they come that are good ideas. and it is in that spirit that he has talked to both republicans and democrats in the last week he is going to be bringing people together in a bipartisan meeting at the beginning of next week around the jobs issue. you know, we're going to continue to try and penetrate this very, very difficult environment. >> let me ask you about the bipartisanship, that same difficult environment. senator she will by has put a number of presidential nominations on hold over a project in his state. what does that do to this effort and what is the white house response to that?
>> i think this is a prime example of what i'm talking about. let's just talk about a little history about the last year. in the last year, there have been more fill busters on the part of the republican party, more phil busters in the united states senate than there were from the year 1919 to i think the year 1970 in one year. and oftentimes the bills that were being fill bustrd were bills that everybody agreed on. we just saw a gast director confirmed -- gsa director confirmed last yeek and yet her nomination was on hold for six months. this is the person who is going to run the physical operations of the government. there's no excuse for that. the they are there for principled objection. it's not there for delay. and mischief. and that's what we've seen. and certainly, when a senator puts all the appointments of the president on hold because he wants an earmark in his state, that is not in the
interest of either his state or the country. and it's disappointing. these are the things we have to overcome. and we're going to work hard to shine a bright line on that and ask people to do what they were brought here to do, which is to govern and solve problems. >> let's turn to the real economy. and outside of washington. the latest unemployment numbers that came out at the end of the week show the rate fell from 10% to 9.7%. good news but the economy still lost jobs. so clearly there's still a jobs issue. raises a question of what can and will be done in this town in the near term. projects for a job bill. will there be one? what do you want in it, what do you not want? >> first, you are right. the numbers were mildly encouraging. there's no doubt that the direction is the right direction when. when we came to office the couventry was losing 750,000
jobs on the month. that's changed dramatically. as you point out, about 20,000 in the last month. in november we gained jobs. but we're moving in the right direction. one of the most heartening things was that manufacturing jobs were up for the first time in three years largely because of the automobile industry and the parts associated with it, which reflects some of the decisions that the president made earlier in the year. in terms of where we go from now, we are working towards a jobs bill. the president has laid out his priorities for that, which is has helped for small businesses in terms of tax credits. and also, additional lending. and so so that's one piece that i'm hopeful will move quickly. we want to see additional investments in infrastructure and rebuilding roads and brudges and railways, and the physical plants of this country that puts people at work and leaves the last thing.
and footprint, we are committed to investments in clerge projects and thing -- clean energy projects and that will make us stronger and put people to work and help with energy independence and help with the environmental challenges that we have. these remain our fundamental commitments and i think that there is reseptivity to that in the congress. i espect the congress will move this week on a jobs package. i hope it will be on a bipartisan basis. >> let me ask you about another idea on the table. senator shumer and senator hatch have proposed a pailroll tax holiday which will have the effect ofputting some bucks in the people's pockets. is the administration in favor of that? >> we discussed a similar idea. the notion is that we are right on the cusp of hiring growing in this country.
you've seen product tivity at record highs. people hiring large numbers of temporary workers. and that's generally a prelude to hiring. the notion is if you give people an added decision, they might make that decision six months from now, this might encourage them now. so we are receptive. >> the other issue is the deaf sit spending that we could see. run away inflation. >> you always have to -- these are concerns for the future. right now that's not our concern. right now our concern is that we still have a fragile economy. we have real growth but it's not yet translated into job growth. and the worst thing that we could do is be stinting in our recovery efforts. now, we've seen in history what happens when you do that. in japan, a couple of decades ago, and in the united states during the great depression. so we're going to be very
careful. we want to deal with the deficits and we've put forward a budget that speaks to it and proposals that speak to it including paying, pay as you go financing, which was reinstating this week at the president's urblinging. that will be helpful. but we also have to be mindful that we have to get people working again. >> so you say you want the jobs bill. the senate make take the jobs bill in the next couple of days. how soon should they return to the health bill? >> quickly. we want to move quickly on that. the president feels as great a sense of urgency as ever about this, and his sense of urgency has been made more acute by figures released just last week that showed enormous increases as a proportion of the economy in health care spending just in the last year. in the last week in california, blue cross blue shield announced a 39% rate increase
for people in the individual insurance market. these problems are just going to get worse. the burden that they place on families, businesses, and the budget overall are just going to get worse. the american people don't want us to walk away from this problem. the president isn't going to walk away from this problem. >> he said last week he wants democrats and republicans to come together. if it didn't work over the last months why sit going to work now? >> i think everybody has to recognize if they read the message of the american people that we should walk away from this problem and leave them to the tender mersies of the health insurance industry and higher and higher rate increases, i think they're misreading the mood of the american people. the president has been working with the leaders of his own party to try and reconcile differences between the house and senate, and he also wants to hear what republican ideas are, and in the next few weeks
you'll see a process where by democrats and republicans come together. we have a discussion about it. but then we want to move forward. >> but there have been people in your own party who have been saying to the white house essentially, look, you have to tell us how you want this process to unfold. you yours heard it i think from senator franken. >> we had a frank exchange as they say at the exchange department. so the question is why doesn't the president come forth and say here's how we get from the five yard line across the finish line? >> i think, look, everybody is eager. we worked very hard on this. everybody recognizes the problem and that it's only groing to get worse. everybody wants a solution to the problem. and i think people would like the president to be able to say , to snap his fingers and finish this out. the fact is that it's more complex than that. we have a system, you have to
have a certain number of votes to pass a bill putting that together takes time. and he has been working on doing that. his goal and his interest is not in scoring a symbolic gesture, not putting up votes for the sake of putting up votes but in getting something done. >> there have been some who said the only way to get those votes is to strip down what's currently on the table or even to break it into pieces and move it forward in a more modest fashion. >> but that underscores the point. because there are those who say we should simply chort the house to pass the senate bill. there are those who say we should break the bill up and go into, as you suggest, smaller pieces. there are a lot of views even within the democratic party about how to proceed. reconciling all those views is a task. and it is not something that you can do by command or by ordinance of the president of the united states. it takes some work and we're
working through it. i'm encouraged by what i see because as i've said before so much of what has been proposed is supported not just by democrats and in the the house and senate but also there >> things support bid republicans. i was interested to hear governor mcdonnell's response to the president's state of the union address where he said he needs to embrace republican ideas like allowing insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines. that's actually in the bill. so maybe that will make him more comfortable. and maybe one of the reasons to sit down and work through our differences is because i think what people will find is that there are many more areas of commonality than the public understands and that perhaps they understand or perhaps that they want to acknowledge. >> let me follow up and that is your meeting with senator franken. because the headline in politico was that senator franken lit into you.
>> i saw that. >> was that a fair characterization? >> i think we had a very good exchange. he expressed his feelings about this. i thought responded very candidly to him. and it was a good airing of views. and at the end of it, as i was waxing -- watching senator franken, however this turns out, i'm good, i'm smart. done gone it, people like me. >> he's been practicing that. let me turn to national security for a moment. in the new issue of new yorker jane has a story about the decision to try the 9/11 co-conspirators in new york. and some unhappiness she reports within the white house especially, chief of staff rahm emanuel by the attorney general to do that. was that a mistake? >> no. the attorney general was responding under the protocol that was developed between the
department of justice and the department of defense for the prosecution of terrorists. and he made the decision on that basis. rahm has the perspective that's different. he's the chief of staff. he looks at things from a legislative perspective. he looks at other perspectives that the attorney general was ruling on his view of what the law commanded in that point. but we have, believe me, we have disagreements all the time within the white house, within the administration. that's as it should be. people have various perspectives and various points of view. >> let me ask you also on the same subject of detainees. part of senator scott brown's election hinged on this idea. he made the case that the united states is now giving new rights to terrorists. is, a, that true? and, b, how is that going to affect the 2010 mid terms if that's a narrative that takes off? >> lets review history.
there are over 190 accused terrorists tried by the last administration, the bush administration in civilian or article 3 courts. that includes richard reed, the shoe bomber. that includes mue sueie, the 20th 9 9/11 bomber. republicans applauded that. dick cheney supported it. rudy giuliani said he was in ah of our justice system after he was convicted. so the real system is why the change in attitude because because we had the change of presidents? the reason they were tried was because that was the most efficient effective way to bring people to justice. and in terms of vinsing rights in these prisoners, it was judge mukeski who then became the attorney general under the bush administration who ruled that there were certain rights that even people who are enemy combatants had rights to a lawyer, and various other
procedural protections, habeas corpus and so on. so, no, this isn't new. we haven't invested anybody with one more right than they had before we took office and we're not behaving any differently than the last administration did. which raises the question, is this about politics or is it about dealing with the issue at hand? >> speaking of politics. you could make the case that the most interesting and maybe the most important political event of this weekend isn't happening here in washington at all but down in tennessee where the tea party movement is having a convention. raises a lot of interesting questions, not the least of which is, what does that whole movement tell us about the political mood of the country? and what are the democrats do to take advantage of it? there's been conversation about how if republicans want to co-op the tea party movement. what do the democrats need to do? >> one thing we ought to recognize is that the tea party movement has grown out of a sense of frustration about government here in washington
and politics here in washington. it's not isolated to democrats or republicans. what was interesting to me about the brown election in massachusetts is that people said they were unhappy with the policies of democrats in washington but they were more unhappy with the politics and policies of republicans in washington. there is a sense that this town is scapumed by politics, that -- consumed by politics. that people are consumed by their own ambitions and that we're not dealing with the real problems facing the country including the deficit. the president in his last couple of weeks endorsed the idea of a fix commission, because he understands that republicans and democrats have to join together if we're really going to get a handle on these deficits of -- that have grown up over the last decade. and that bill came up and, as you know, it got 53 votes. it needed 60 because once again it was big stalled. and it failed because seven
republicans who had sponsored the bill walked away from their own fiscal commission. debt reduction bill. well, we're not going to get anywhere if that's the kind of politics that we play in this town. i think people who are involved now in the tea party movement are expressing their frustration about that. and i think politicians in both parties in this touven have to understand that frustration. >> there are some who see the movement as a call as a conservative movement. do you think that's what it is? >> i don't know how i would characterize it as -- i think it's a movement that has grown up out of protest and frustration about the hyper part snship, about the special interest influence, about lack of responsibility. that they perceive here in washington and, frankly, elsewhere, on wall street and other places. there is a real sense in this country that every day people are meeting their
responsibilities but our institutions are not. and i think that's what motivates this movement. it may land harder on us right now because we're the party in power. but understand, some of those same forces are what drove people to vote for barack obama in 2008. and we are completely faithful to the notion that we have to change the way we do business in this town and we have to start dealing with the big problems facing this country. >> but when the house voted to raise the debt limit, two thirds of the democrats who voted against it up for reelection this year, freshmen democrats. so what does that tell you about their mindset moving into the 2010 election sns >> it tells me that was a tough vote. the fact is we didn't create the -- understand, when the last democratic president left office, we had surpluses. surplus of about $237 billion i think. projected surpluses for the decade of about over $5 trillion. when we came to office, we had
a $1.3 trillion deficit and projected debt for the decade of over $8 trillion. and people are very angry about deficits, they're angry about debt. the debt ceiling is a terribly negative symbol and so it's a difficult political vote. i understand that. we've had to do a lot of difficult things this year. but we have to do that because it's in the interest of our country. what we also did, however, as part of that was pass the paying legislation. pay as you go so that the government has to do what every family and business does. which is pay for things rather than putting them on a credit card. >> another 2010 question for you. with many open governor seats in play, 21 open seats, how many are democrats going to lose? how bad o of a hit are you going to take? >> i don't know the answer to that. i do know that it's a difficult
time to be a governor. it's a difficult time to be a mayor. it's a difficult time to be in any executive position because the economy, we have the worst recession since the great depression. that has taken a terrible toll on states and communities around the country. and even those who govern valiantly have become the follow crumb of discontent. and it's understandable this discontent. that comes with the territory. so there is an added burden on these governors. i think many of them will be reelected because they have governed responsibly. but it's certainly a political reality. >> another item on your agenda this year has been global warming cap and trade. there's a sense on capitol hill that the exhaustion at the moment with the economic crisis and with the health care debate makes that simply a nonstarter. is it a nonstarter to you or is that still an item on the active agenda?
>> lets first talk about the issue of energy. because i think that can't be a nonstarter for the united states of america. right now, what you see are the, is china just full speed ahead and trying to command the clean energy economy of the future. india moving in that direction. these are -- and this is going to be an important part of the economic mix in the future. we have to compete for those jobs and that future. and so we can't just walk off the field when it comes to energy and the president spoke about that in his state of the union. in terms of specifically that aspect of the cap and trade aspect of it. there are efforts ongoing in the united states between republicans and democrats to come up with an overall energy bill that would help drive this clean energy investment in clean energy economy if the consensus can be reached we
want to support that. but this is clearly an issue that republicans and democrats are going to have to do together. it's not something that one party or the other party can do. >> as long as we're ticking off unfinished items on the agenda, financial regulatory reform. it looked until the last couple of days as if that might be an area of actual bipartisan area of action in congress. and the senate, republicans and democrats on the banking committee were working together. but that seems to have broken down now. is that another item that's not going to be passed or is going to have to be passed with democrat votes only? >> we'll see. i think there's a real sense of urgency about that. nobody wants to be placed in the same situation we were. again, no american taxpayer should be in the position they were during this last crisis to have to bail financial institutions out because of their own irresponsibility. and though we've managed that well and gotten most of the money back, it's a source of irtation to people. one of the things we ought to do is we ought to pass the president's proposal for a fee
on the largest banks to help make the american taxpayer completely whole for the support they gave these firms in their time of need. in terms of financial reform, there's been enormous lobbying campaign going on and i'm afraid that some on the hill are yielding to that lobbying campaign. just last week, the leader of the republican party in the house met with one of the leading bankers in the country and so him, we're the ones who are standing between you and financial reform, and you ought to support us. so if the republican party makes a decision that they can turn this into a fund raising device, then it's going to become more difficult. but i think the american people are not going to accept that. i don't think the american people are going to feel good about that. so i'm hoping they'll take a second look at that and say this is one of those problems we all have to work together to solve. >> when did you decide to start taking a tougher line with
republicans as you just described? this is really a shift in tone that began around the state of the union, a little before. why did you decide to do this? >> we're dealing with the reality of trying to govern in a very difficult time. and it became apparent because of this sort of habitual use of the fill buster, because every appointment was being put on hold and so on that political mischief was making it difficult to solve the problems of the country and we really felt that we had to penetrate that in order to move forward. and we would be more than happy to work together with people from both parties to solve problems. and that's what we're trying to encourage. but what we can't do is be governing while the other party is simply running a campaign, an election campaign. i don't think the country can afford that right now. but we're going to shine a
bright light on that and we're goiven to give every opportunity for cooperation but where cooperation isn't forth coming not as a matter of principle but as a matter of politics, then we're going to make a point of it. because the american people need to know. >> as you know, in 2008 it was a referendum on the bush administration it was also a change election. so does this approach affect your thinging of the 2010 elections, making it a an election of choice? >> there's no question. i mean, any time candidates appear on the ballot, it's a choice. and so -- and i'm very eager for that discussion. the president has worked very hard to pull the country out of this deep hole that we found it in, and made some very courageous decisions to do that. and has also thought long about what we need to do to strengthen the country in the strengthen the country in the long term.