tv American Politics CSPAN February 28, 2010 6:30pm-8:00pm EST
do more. they just don't want to have some things they can declare victory on. it is not clear that those things can get to the senate. there are some real problems here for democrats trying to do with the optics. they might be able to pass some small things, but it is certainly not going to be a lot of happyñi members. a lot of the things that they want so far can i get to the senate. >> what you hearing about what comes first in the next month? >> i think he will seek jobs, some kind of jobs package passed within the next few days. they will keep its passing jobs package is. they're doing this over the weekend, small bids are going to go. that is not going to be one big thing. there is one of the transportation peace, a cobra -- unemployment piece, various pieces moving. because that is all you can get
to the senate. they seem to learn something at the leadership level of the house and senate. small bills work. it is very hard for republicans to say, i do not want people to get unemployment insurance. you saw just one senator, jim bonunning, who did a one-man filibuster. but all the other republicans were going to let it go because it is politically difficult to fight one thing. with a package, it is easier to do. the democrats are starting to learn that. >> one final note here about charlie rangel and what chairman miller had to say about his fellow colleague. they have been in the house together for a long time. >> he was not overly enthused ato defend the behavior. politically it would be better
if charlie rangel step down. but at the same time, miller -- the members note that he has been an incumbent for all longtime. it will be very hard for him to step aside. you see that tension and the way miller discussed the subject. >> we will have to leave it there. thank you for being here. >> great to be here. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> i come from latin america. i was never expecting to see this kind of poverty in the capital of the u.s.. >> photographer and documentary filmmaker kike arnal, "in the shadow of power." >> tomorrow on "washington journal," will englund and patricia murphy.
the business roundtable president talks about president obama's recent speech before that association as well as administration and congressional efforts to spur job growth and reform health care. and dr. cecil wilson, president- elect of the american medical association, discusses the much it for medicare and medicaid and proposed medicare cuts to dr. reimbursement. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c- span. now, mark penn, the campaign strategist 2 of fisa former president clinton in his reelection campaign, talks about this year's election. mr. penn has also advised secretary of state hillary clinton, tony blair, and microsoft ceo bill gates. from the clinton school public service in little rock, ark., this is about 50 minutes. >> thank you for that very kind,
very kind introduction, and underscoring that the voters are not numbers, they are people with habits, thoughts, beliefs -- and i find so often that the real intelligence of the american voter is really underappreciated. in fact, i got into the business of pooling pretty much after reading a book one day by fellow, which said, the simple fact of this book is that the voters are not fools. the voters, in fact, have real perspectives, real issues, real changes in their lifestyle. as this class studies the election of 2010, maybe it can provide little insight into what is happening right now and what happened in 2009 and before, what are the conditions that have been set up to make this
perhaps one of the most hotly contested in midterm elections probably in our lifetime. usually the midterms do not start until june. i think that they have already started, the political season is on. and that's why i think by the end, both parties are born to pull out the stops. i put up a little data, because it would not be a presentation without a little data. let's take a look at what the country went through over the last year. the country left the bush administration in a state of extreme despair. there really felt that president bush did not deliver on the economic promises or the promises related to the war in iraq. they really wanted a change. if you look at the numbers, 63% -- if you going to just the beginning of january, there is a
crossover -- 63% of americans thought that the country is on the wrong track. well, today, and some of the latest polls, 65% think america is on the wrong track. in fact, despite some doses of hope, optimism, an improvement that hawk -- that happened around march, april, and may, the general mood of the public remains exactly the same as one of the lowest levels that we record in terms of people believing that things are on the wrong track. what has happened to the president's job approval during that period? well, as you can see, the blue line is his approval and it started around 62%, a great start, an excellent approval rating. however the trend has been straight down.
as you can see, there has been virtually no change in that trend during the entire year. if we were in the white house delivering these charts, these would be tough charge for any president at any time, and if you look at the disapprove numbers, disapprove started at the republican base of 34%, and they have moved up. in this polling, it was an 51%, and in the new york times, it was 46-45. presidential approval is hovering below 50%. this is what i call the roll of 50%. the moment we get that 50%, it is everyone's political advantage to start kicking you. if you are above, people should
not take too hard because there may be a boomerang. presidents find that when you fall below 50%, it engenders a collective kicking up, so that things get even harder to manage during that period. it is critical for president to keep his approval above 50% for that very reason, to prevent that kind of impact from settling in. you saw that with president bush. one day he was at 50%, the next day he was at 30%. i do not think it is likely that we will see that with president obama, but he has to reverse this trend, and the stated the union did not reverse the trend. the biggest event that the president has every year to get up with the state of the union, outline your agenda for the future of the country, and use that as a springboard for restoring confidence in the
country. and what happened on the state of the union this year, where the president gave an excellent speech, but the facts of the problems, particularly the economic problems of 2% unemployment, that has people in a mood now where they have to see some results. and it is results that all tamale creates a bond between the people and the president. -- that ultimately creates a bond between the president and the people. how that the successful political candidate, maybe one in three ashley become successful leaders of the presidency. it is far harder to govern then to ashley get to the presidency. having said that, let me just say -- and i came on when president clinton was not at 47% but at 32%. in fact, the ability for the president to turn this around was really quite high and quite strong.
now because it is early and it was -- and the programs have time to work and when they do work, there is time to make the bond. how did president clinton successfully navigate the waters of 1998 and the impeachment? because by that time in his term, he had told people he would improve the economy and he had improve the economy. ito people he could carry the country into the 21st century, and people felt there. they had an essential bond of trust warmed over six years that president clinton would deliver for them. that bonn was formed early. what happened was president bush, president bush did not deliver, and they soundly rejected him and could not wait for the change. with president obama, this is only a year. the charts are not headed in the right directions but the problems are there. you've got to reverse this by
the midterm or things will continue to snowball. if you take a look at this by party, if you see that democrats, the blue line up there, they started pretty happy and they are still pretty happy. there were 90% approval and they are a 80% approval. republicans were at 42% approval and they have dropped to 90% approval. so, more than half. and that independent line, that was at 62% -- and 62% was where the president started on average three that has dropped to 38%. where democrats are reluctant to it president is, they are dramatically separated from the others. there is the possibility for the united democratic party and
on the other hand considerable change in the result of the election of 2010. maliki take a look at congressional improvements -- now if you take a look congressional improvement, that has actually improved. it used to be 80% disapproval, now it is 71%. and you can see the similar pattern at close to 80%, 769 disapproval in january, coming off the bush administration. then things look promising. you see the dramatic swing up, almost 40% approval, and since then you see the similar pattern, down to 24% approval pattern, 71% disapproval. that means that if you are running as an incumbent in 2010,
most of the voters, close to 75% are saying that they want more change in congress. these are tough numbers. when you see someone like senator evan by saying -- evan bayh saying that he is going to resign because of partisanship, he is looking at numbers as well and seemed that the numbers are as bad for peopleñi reelecting - running for reelection as he is seen. i don't think it much worse than have disapproval in the night -- in the '70s. çólook at the blue line. for a while, democrats and that april-june period were pretty satisfied. they searched up to 62%. and then they trended down to 42% approval.
if you look to republicans, republicans have not been happy about congress's they do not have either house and so they're not going to be happy. but independents follow the line where they went up to 34% and now they are down at 19%. even a majority of democrats, who right now are not satisfied, when your own party has both houses and you do not have majority of the rahm party, that is more fuel on the electoral fire. then if you take a look at the congressional ballot it shows 44 republicans, 35 democratic, a lot of different polls have congressional ballots that show republicans either at parity.
they have traditionally run six or eight points ahead in the generic congressional ballot. this is about as extreme as i have seen the congressional ballot. let me go back to a theory i have about midterm voters. about 66% of two-thirds of voters -- of midterm voters are going to vote on the basis of the candidate. i think that if this issue, he is closer to me, about 33% will vote on the basis of mood. so the result of these midterms is the combination of who the candidates are, covering 67% of the voters, and the mood. a third come out to say that we have to keep going in the direction that we're going and, or we have to change the direction -- i am dissatisfied. that 33% does not know or even
care who the congressional or senatorial candidate is, but they care that they are expressing themselves through the vote. right now, the third that does that then produces bigger swings than one imagines, which is why the swings are stronger and bigger than pollsters predict. its wings on one direction, then that can really produce a strong reversal. the 1994 elections got me my job with president clinton, because the president really changed his team, his staff, the direction, and really move back to the center in a very significant way. but that ultimately led to his reelection in 1996, and the kind of approval that you saw what this president throughout.
-- with this president throughout. there is one other factor that is worth pointing out, the rise of independent voters. we have had several independent presidential candidacies, in the 1980's john anderson, ross perot went in and out of the presidential race, but typically if you go back -- this is not been a country with a significant number of independents historically. if you go back to the 1940's in terms of party identification, you can see that betweenb. 50%d 20% identified as independent. i around 40% identified themselves as democrats, and around 35% as republicans. you can see but a peak are around the time of president
kennedy's election in the early 1960's, the democrats went up to 50% of the country identifying themselves as democrats. the republicans went straight down as you can see, what it -- with the surge back coming back around 1980, or ronald reagan bringing back the republican party. but if you look at that middle line, that is the independent line. it has shown a steady rise in the country so that at this moment, with 36% in this poll, i have seen it as high as 40%, the biggest party in america is the middle party. and if you go back, this is the 70-year history here. this is a first in the united states of electoral politics. when we talk about independent
voters, we are no longer talking about a small swing group or microtrends. we're talking about the biggest imaginable block of voters, a number of voters that can swing back and forth greater than ever, and the number of voters saying, i had faith in the republican party but they let me down. i had faith in the democratic party but they let me down. i am now sitting back here waiting to see whether or not i am going to go back to the democrats if i see progress on the economy, or maybe swing in another direction. these are tough political currents but suggest that -- that would suggest that there is considerable movement, possibility of growth for independents out there. this could change back. if you go through the historical patterns, and you could see how the democrats and republicans
have both had times when they came back, but to get this new, younger group of voters, more plug then, networks, connecting on issues, and if you take the no. 1 sentiment in the country out there, which is i want to see progress, not partisanship, both parties are facing a crisis in confidence over themselves and frankly -- i should say that a lot polls and a lot of people always like to say that the crisis of confidence in government and our institution, and i am the guy that says, there is not really a crisis of confidence in our institution. people are voting and listening before. but there really are saying in a very clear way, enough partisanship. i want to release the the common
sense ideas -- i want to release a common-sense ideas adopted across party lines. as you can see from this number, this is tremendous change. the media is focused very much on a tea party republicans and sarah palin. when you look at the start, you understand that the electoral change, if there is electoral change one way or the other, it is not going to be driven by sarah palin or the tea party movement. it is going to be driven by the voters i told you about at the beginning of this tall, rational, thinking, better educated voters who care about the issues. and they are saying, i want a solution to this fiscal problem. i want a solution to the economy. and these kind of voters now are more tuned in. i think they are following politics as never before. they are saying, i am going to
participate in in on my terms. it is very important for the political leaders to be attuned to that. and the other thing about the voters in this growing group, it is frustrating for them to find the boys, particularly when they feel that the media is dominated by the left or the right, continually put the attention given to sarah palin and the tea party movement instead of how they really feel about issues like health care, education, and the economy. so, you know, at the end of the day, what does the president have to do about this? the president has to do a number of thingsñr right and he has clearly got the message of massachusetts, but the first thing is that in governing from the center, the actions have to be more than words.
people have to feel that the administration itself is governing squarely in the center, looking for the common sense solutions to the big problems out there. that means that if you look at the chart, they have to see a change in direction from the white house. explicit, clear, change in direction. or they have to see some results. their patience for results is wearing thin. if you recall president clinton, he had a clear economic strategy, and elements were popular and some are not. he believed in expanding trade and expanded investment in infrastructure and education, math, science -- he believed in closing the federal deficit. those three elements was the strategy that everyone understood, whether people were for or against trade, where they
like -- whether they like higher taxes to close the deficit, whether they agree or not with the additional infrastructure expenditures, and those on education -- they come together as a clear strategy. years later, it was attributed to their success. and i think president obama has to outline a clear strategy. what are the elements beyond stimulus as a strategy for the long-term success of this country in a competitive global environment? the president is going to need a deficit strategy. without a clear deficit strategy, people are going to say that it is out of control. the commission is a for step toward that strategy, but at the end of the day, it is not a substitute for that strategy. and then working on the everyday problems. sometimes it is popular to ridicule a lot of things that
president clinton did in 1996. he did some small things like balancing the budget, reforming welfare, creating 24 million jobs. take a look at the things that were done and the 1996-2000 period, which were in many senses that kind of in powering achievements that started with these individual strategies but later up, not just the accomplishments of welfare reform or the balance budgets, and putting 24 million people to work, but also making people feeling good about the role the government played in people's lives. the year of big government was over but that did not mean that the government did not help eliminate some of the problems of smoking, help protect the kids on school playgrounds, it help protect women from abuse, and it took on day after day a
series of growing modern problems, with a soccer moms who help them or whether or not it was the aging work force -- relentlessly taking on those problems to show that the presidency was about both big things and really connected with people's everyday lives. if i were going to say that what is really needed to turn things around, it is very much a dose of the clintonism that we saw in the years following 1996. that clintonism, i think, in many ways can be easily underrated. it was not flashy but it sure was productive. having a clear economic strategy, with its three legs, really going for the balanced budget, deficit reduction, will lead in creating welfare reform the moving the country to the center and a way that the people in the center felt like the
president was listening to them. that was so critical for president clinton. all of these elements are very similar for what president obama has to do in order to both reversed a kind of numbers that you see here and to be an incredibly successful president. we all hope that he is going to do that. we're opening a good dose of clintonism will in fact really help with this country in the direction that i think the country is clearly looking for, and will again be successfully resulting in another two-term democratic president. thank you. [applause] >> thanks, mark. all right, your turn. all those who want ask questions, raise your hands and wait for the microphone to get to you. lots of questions about the 2010
elections, i am sure. >> thank you for being here. my name is emily fisher and i am a student here at the clinton school. we have been talking about our predictions for the house and the senate in the midterm. it is still early in the year, but do you think the president will take back over the house and the senate? >> in fairness to you and the class, i would say that it is early to make those predictions. i think the point of this talk was, yes, if these numbers continue as they are, if you can see the kind of swing with a house would shift and the senate would become considerably closer. these are pretty frightening trams from that perspective. but the most important part of this talk is that these trends
are not set in stone. what happens with unemployment, what the president does, when it shifts direction -- there is a lot of time here. people say that polls are a snapshot in time. your predictions are actually a snapshot in time, based on what conditions are today. conditions are today not good for the 2010 election and could very well produce the kind of swing that would move the house. i think it is harder -- in 1994, there were ashley 22 resignations. here there are only four open seats. structurally it is probably a lot harder for the conditions that happened in 1994 to relate reoccur. the republicans don't seem to have their act together, either. they don't have that type of leadership that has a coherent alternative strategy.
we saw what happened in 1994. what is the probability of that happening again? there's certainly a probability. but structurally it is less likely. numbers-wise, it even set out as the discontent could be so high. if unemployment got down to 8% and people saw a new direction, i think you could saw -- see a lot of production of the pressure. question. .
since 1992, people saw clinton as being more in the center in 1992. in 1996, it was very much the same thing, where he held the center against bob dole, who was seen as more conservative. in 2000, bush managed to win the presidency through conservatism. his move to the center -- he pointed out court as a big- government liberal. he pushed al gore to the left.
the election came down to the wire. bush reheld that in 2004 against john kerry. he lost in 2006 -- after the 2004 election, he was dominated completely by cheney and the right wing and the center said, this is not what we bargained for at all and they dramatically shifted. i think obama held the center going into the election. with the growth of independence, it is thtere cenhat is at stake. the media continues to make it look like it is the extremes or -- the other thing i noticed is that they tried to depict all voters as angry. it is all about who can tap into the inner better. a lot of voters are distressed. they may have anger, but their
actions are rational. they are upset with the conditions of the country -- the deficit, unemployment. they will vote on the basis of that. they will vote for who they think offers them not a more extreme picture, but who offers them a more rational way out. i think that is how president obama got elected because he appeared to have a rational thought all way out of the economic prices and john mccain did not seem to have a plan. that was not about anger. it was really quite thoughtful. >> in looking at the independent numbers, it may be tempting to think that the tea party members -- could you give us background on what is inside that independent constituency? >> that is a good question. the independents are really not monolithic.
it is mostly former democrat and former republicans. i have analyzed them -- they are ross perot independence, more anti-government, more alienated from the political system. it is an old analogy, but there are more of the john anderson independents who are well- educated and thoughtful. their boat is about what they think is right -- their vote is about what they think is right. they are socially more tolerant, but economically more conservative. the system has a structural issue -- if you are socially more tolerant and more comfortable with the democrats, but you believe in smaller government and some of the republican -- but you do not want to put your lot in with the sarah palin and the extreme
right, you continually are confused about where to go. i think that is a very big part of the growing independent group"4/. >> a question here in the back. >> hello. you have not mentioned health care. how big a role do you think that will have in the 2010 elections? is there anything that obama in congress could do to really move that along between now and then? >> the issue about health care is -- if you go back, after hillary's original attempt at health care, the administration said, we are going to move a step-by-step on health care, because we know everybody agrees with the goal of having better health care with wider coverage and lower cost. the issue is how do you get
there and how do you pay for it. that opens up a pandora's box of very difficult issues that 85 percent of the voters have coverage and they did not want to see changes that might impinge on their ability to get the health care they want at any time. i think the obama administration's look at some of the same things that hillary did and said that she waited later to do health care so some of the issues got away. she did the plan and gave it to congress. they took an opposite approach saying, well, maybe this will be more successful. we will do it earlier and we will not write the plan here at the white house. we will let it bubble up from congress. what they learned was that it did not matter how you approached the problem. even if you did what previous people did not do, it's still got to the very same place
-- people are reluctant to see big changes to their health care system occurring at all at once. they continually prefer -- let's do electronic medical records. let's get rid of discrimination. let's get rid of health care discrimination. let's not just at all children, but let's move that the next set up. i think you see voters saying -- they are very wary of enormous plants. they did not understand. -- weary of enormous plans. they do not understand. i do not think health care, if it is where it is now or the president comes back with some limited pieces, i think the president will successfully walk is back from becoming a big issue in the election.
clearly, if you look at the numbers on health care, it would have shown a similar pattern were people started out positive and then the more they heard, the more negative they became. i would look for the president is sick, we could not agree on the overall plan, let's pick somethings -- i would look for the president to say, we could not agree on the overall plan, let's pick some things we can agree on and keep the process moving. he will come back, either after the midterms or after the second collection, and keep moving the process forward. to have the goal -- after the second election, and keep moving the process forward. that is the message the voters have sent. >> this woman has a question. . >> back to the independents and how they make up their mind and when they make up their mind --
how much do we know about whether they match up with the candidate -- do they flow from candidate to candidate? or are they more likely to stick? when do they stick with that decision? >> there is no real a single model about when that independent will make their vote. by definition, they are more of a floating bvote. there is up probability that they will vote for their party choice. it is not straight down the line in 80% of the elections. if the bigger group of independents, the greater the probability of volatility in the elections. those voters are more likely to decide later and more likely to
change their mind once or twice and more likely to swing. there are more likely to vote on how they think conditions are in the country at the time that a boat. -- at the time that they vote. if you have an electorate that is dominated by independents, by definition, they are going to swing much more. we think of the swing voters as a small group. i think philosophically, a lot of people push this notion that it was a small and telescoping group in a country that aas essentially chosen sides. the numbers show the exact opposite has happened. that is not what the country is like. in fact, there are three very distinct groups. if you are democratic or republican -- you are only going
to win almost any collection almost anywhere, only if you have a majority of the independent support. >> another question. >> i hear you saying that folks out there want to move the process forward and see progress. with the republican minority, there is gridlock in the senate. the uc any political advantage -- do you see any political advantage for them to take a harder line enforce the republican had hand? -- and force the republican hand? could that help the democrats? >> if there is one thing that you do see in the polls, it is that the president is seen as the one reaching out now to both parties.
for awhile, he was seen as just playing with the democrats, but right now, since the state of the union and the last couple of weeks, pushing for the commission -- i think about 2- to-1 -- they said that the president is reaching out to try to find more bipartisan solutions. that is the single biggest movement that i saw in the latest polls in favor of the president. it is not really seen by the democrats in congress. they can adopt one or two strategies. they can join the bipartisan notion along with the president -- they can seem to be reaching out to try to make compromises to end the logjam. alternatively, they can put through a number of votes that
are really unpleasant for republicans leading up to congratulate -- congressional elections. that is something the republicans always tried to do. the democrats are -- probably, the democrats need to do a little of each. you need to show that you are for progress and that you -- and that the republicans do not have any ideas or are clean to old ideas and are without a leader and are not voting for solutions. i think they need to deploy both of those strategies. >> pattern? on this side. -- patrick. >> i really like your comment about having a president that is transparent and lays out a simple, feasible plan that we
can identify with. lately, i have been frustrated with watching the events happening in congress. there seems to be so much bickering. i saw a video on youtube of president obama addressing the gop -- he was standing in front of the republicans saying, what do you want to know? just talk to me. i was wondering, what is your opinion about his new initiative to try to televise or at least make footage available of the events like that going on in congress? >> i thought that was an excellent -- there was an excellent event that the president obama did. it was genuine and real. there was of a widespread sense that we do not get to see real discussions of political figures on issues. in britain, question time really
provides an opportunity to question everybody. they are used to the open, televised, rough and tumble between political figures. in many ways, we run a culture of press conferences, staged events, isolated messages, and not so much that interaction. the only interactive even as we typically have are the presidential debates. i think it is not just a question of transparency, but i do think that -- the downside would be that although people would see bickering, people would see working across the aisle and that it is not staged. it is part of a genuine, ongoing interchanged. one thing that president obama ran and won on was the idea of being the most transparent president. that is in the modern world where everything is online
instantly, delivering on that promise is part ofñi what he nes to do. every president, in order to be maximumally successful, has to be the person that was elected. one reason they voted for him was because they said he would bring a modern sense of transparency -- of not listening to special interests -- into the presidency. he cannot do enough of such events. >> a question right here. >> i am from the federal reserve bank. how important, in reality, is a turnaround of the financial crisis to where the middle class feels like they are seeing a turnaround? >> well, i think that there is a very, very strong connection
between unemployment numbers and the numbers you see politically. it is very hard for you to see -- to get widespread approval with 10% unemployment. as i have said throughout this talk, they are doing a lot of the right things -- they are being more transparent and creating a sense that you are bringing in both parties and moving forward and having progress -- but there is no substitute for results. when people seeñ!ó the unemployt number reliably down, everyone can -- everyone can say, the program is not working. or they can say, this program is working. that is why we have four-year terms, precisely because of the problems that if people judged everything on what happens every day. i have always said that unemployment at 10% was like a
trip wire. once it got to 10%, that kind of number would just become emblazoned in people's minds. i think it has. it was unfortunate that it could not be avoided. getting it back down to 8% or below will be a similar or first tripwire that will show the progress is happening. we hear various predictions about what will happen. i think the reality of that again changed a lot of the political numbers we see. >> you said a few minutes ago about congressional approval and disapproval -- 24/71 -- levels that are very high. decided that perhaps -- you cited that this may have affected senator bayh's decision to not run. what about an incumbent?
what would you say -- what would you do? >> i think it is a tough situation. i think that the general sense for most people is to really come out and pick some issues -- some strong issues that you think are important to people, run a public campaign on them, tried to say, let's not get caught up on the politics of partisanship. senator by struck a chord in a lot of people -- senator bayh struck a chord in a lot of people. the people who want to stay in the senate -- they have to echo that that is where they personally are. they have to pick a couple of big common-sense issues and
really drive those home. third, i think they have to say the republicans do not have any answers other than no. the public is saying, do not take at term -- when you look at the congressional numbers, under the republicans, they were actually a few points worse. why turn to something you know does not work when you have not given the democrats at their chance at turning the country around? -- of their -- a fair chance of turning the country around? i think those have to be elements of a strategy. it is a difficult election. >> one more question. right here. >> how much of a quandary are people going to be in when the campaign contribution limits have been thrown out the window? do you think that, on a daily basis, public opinion will be
swayed by who has the best commercial? >> i used to joke that we spend a lot more on advertising a hamburger in america than we did on our political system -- that has changed. [laughter] there is a lot more spent in politics today. the effort to restrict money in politics has backfired. so far, i do not think the supreme court ruling will actually make a lot of difference because, already, interest groups add significant numbers of advertisements on the air -- had significant numbers of advertisements on the air. already, we have seen a tremendous amount of money from all sides. when i started this, i think we have probably not seen a midterm
election the way this could shape up. the american public -- and they got involved in the 2008 elections, like never before. a lot of people put away politics for a while. now, i think it is coming back. i think you'll see that hotly contested. i used to do polls a political donors and the average age was 80. i would ask if it was the whole list when they handed it to me. you have a full 3 million people participating in politics. in the real thing that change, in terms of the ability to go on the air, was the involvement of
the 3 million citizens. if you take those citizens and the interests, the advertising industry could be in for continued success on alternate even years. i do not know that will result in more volatility of the electorate. i believe that the electorate has a sense of what they want. they want to work -- working and middle-class voters are educated and research things on the internet and they tend to be more serious the voters than people give them credit for. we may have his or clean -- historicallly high levels of political involvement for some time.
>> ladies and gentlemen, mark penn. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> now, a look at political issues heading into the 2010 midterm elections. this is about 20 minutes. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we are pleased to welcome back a familiar face to this slow and the author of "the chrystal ball" larry sabato.
guest: there are two ways to look at the trends. one is based on sta activity cal -- statistical analysis. that suggests the republicans will pick up 30 house seats. we think it is between 27 and 37. let's remember it is february 28. you and i have been around a long time and loads of things were going to happen between now and november that will lift that number or lower that number. host: chuck todd on his morning daily rundown said we have already seen massachusetts flip to republican and now delaware and illinois have the potential of becoming republican seats, barack obama and joe biden's respective seats. guest: yes, those are two perspective seats. there are several others that
can switch -- arkansas, nevada. michael bennett is certainly a candidate for switching. when you go down the list, it is obvious that republicans are going to drastically cut the democratic margin. look what democrats are not able to do with 59 seats. think about what they are going to have as of 2011. they are going to be lucky to have 52 or 54 seats. they are going to be lower than that. how are they going to get it done if they can't get a health care passage with 59 senators. >> do you think the house could flip and become a republican house? >> the important word there is could. >> look, if it is between 27 or 37 in february and it takes 40 to turn the house over to republicans, it is obvious that a flip is a possibility. it is a very real possibility. i don't personally think it isity a probability. again, it is february 28.
the election is november 2nd. host: charlie cook indicates he thinks it is a strong possibility. some of those districts are those john mccain won in 2008. guest: yes. if you look at the overall picture you will see there are 83 truly competitive seats, but by more than 2-1 they are democratic seats. they are seats -- steve, this is really important and it is often missed. it isn't just about health care or president obama's popularity or the economy. a lot of this election is structural. that is -- midterm elections often are. the democrats won over 50 seats. where are they? they are in suburban and areas that normally vote republican. this is the first republican year since democrats won more than 50 seats. they are going to lose a lot of those seats.
right there it tills tells you it is going to be a republican year and republicans could at least come close to taking over the house. host: what's happening in that arizona senate race? guest: i still think john mccain will get renominated. in part, i think because he's taken this challenge from former congressman hey worth -- hayworth very seriously. he should take it seriously. republican primaries can be dominated heavily by very conservative voters as we're seeing in the texas gubernatorial process. so if you take it seriously and have the support that mccain has, you ought to be able to win. host: web ads have bime a new -- become a new phenomena in american politics. and we don't have the ads ready, so we will get them ready.
we'll go to tom from detroit. go ahead, tom. caller: good morning. host: we wanted to hear from you first. we didn't want those ads to get through. caller: thank you. i sort of see myself as reflective of the general populous in this country. i'm 62 almost. ultimately it seems to me the american electorate tends to, when pushed, will receive back to the center fro i voted for clinton because of his fiscal responsibility. his other matters were of no little concern to me. i voted for george bush and i think he and dick cheney were -- i do not know what they are.
they are not true republicans. they are something else. i think that the country is right -- the gentleman is right that the country is going to swerved back to the center and maybe a little bit right of the center. that is where the country generally goes. guest: he sounds like an independent who has clearly boasted in both directions. that is one of the republican strengths this year. they sided with democrats in 2006 when they took over the house and senate and with the democrats in 2008 when president obama ran an increase their margins and the house and senate. for a combination of reasons, including spending, taxes, and that, they are moving back to the republicans. they voted overwhelmingly republican for the governors of new jersey and virginia last november and for the new
republican senator brown in that special election. host: welcome to the program. caller: i wanted to comment. the democrats on the last election -- obama is our president. i have heard nothing but a derogatory statements about him and his administration. i would vote for anyone before i would vote for republican. i am basically an independent -- voting both for republicans and democrats. this tea party deal is destroying our country. host: thank you, jamie. guest: obviously democrats hope that voters like that caller show up in great numbers. if they show up in larger than expected numbers in noffer,
maybe democrats can cut those losses. i do think, though, they are headed for losses. it is almost inevitible given the historic imperative for mid-termñx elections. elections are cyclical. they are like the economy, they are like life. they are cyclical. they have had two strong democratic years. we are likely to have a strong democratic year. that doesn't mean 2012 will be a republican year. that is very much a question mark. it will depend in large measure on the president's popularity and the state of the economy in 2012. host: from the opinion page of "the new york post." "aides tell of laziness and deceit."
guest: it is amazing you could have a governor resign in disgrace two years ago and having this next governor forced out of the re-election race because of all kinds of problems, and yet when you look at the scene in new york, you will find that probably attorney general cuomo will, if not opposed, a very heavy favorite ñ kirstin gillibrand, she also has a chance to get elected to a partial term, to hillary clinton's term. that is mainly due to the weakness of the republican partó in new york. they are down to a couple house seats. the historic average is seven or eight house seats. they have to do better in places like new york if they are to get a majority of the house of representatives again. host: steve rudin -- rudy
guilliani considered a senate bid and opted out. did that surprise you? guest: no, that's been his way for a number of elections. i think the one that surprises me more pitachi could defeat gillibrand if he runs, but it is not certain he will run. host: i think we have the ads ready. we'll go back to show you what the john mccain campaign has put forth and follow that with the response from j.d. hayworth. >> obama is completely illegitimate for u.s. president not only for -- for two reasons. not only because he didn't provide the place of his birth but because he has to be a u.s. citizen. >> obama knows he was adopted in
indonesia. if he had a hawaiian birth certificate, we would have seen it now. >> for every race across the country it would be great if people can confirm who they say they are. >> the sad fact is, questions continue. until president obama signs his name and in fact has the records revealed, the questions will remain. >> the only difference between these people is that only one is running for the u.s. senate. john mccain character matters. >> citizens across america are rising up, standing up for liberty.
from townhalls to thejx+ nation mall. we the people took a stand in new jersey, massachusetts and won. now the torch of liberty comes to arizona. j.d. hayworth heard our call to take on moderate john mccain. now we can reclaim a place in the senate. for the people of arizona that are conservatives, do your part. join j.d.'s campaign today. >> one match, one winner! the conservative or the moderate? >> i'm j.d. hayworth and i approve this message. >> your reaction to those ads. >> the mccain ad was rerun of 2008 on character. ok versusly j.d. hayworth is hoping to win this long-shot challenge to mccain based on the energy of the tea party and the birthers, the people who® question whether obama was born in the united states, and i
should add that the evidence is overwhelming that he was born in hawaii and the birth certificate is valid, but he's attempting to tap into that sentiment. if there is a sentiment that can produce an upset, the tea party, the anti-immigration group and the bergers, as i said, i don't think that will happen. this is a tumultuous election year. anything can happen. host: and what is the most recent? guest: the most recent was a more perfect constitution to see if that could stimulate public discussion. it has done that. some people agree, some people don't. host: part of that discussion is the senate. is it dysfunctional? does the national need to change the rules whether it is a
60-vote requirement to end filibuster or one senator to hold up legislation, we saw it this past week, we saw it before with senator@m÷ shelby of independent guest: it is the least firble part of government. congress as a whole is not an efficient part of government, shouldn't be, and the senate is the least efficient. i think you could make a good argument that it is so inefficient that it prohibits normal circumstances. even when you have, as the democrats had for years, 60 votes, it is difficult to get things done. you can go the route that you just suggested, steve, which is changing the filibuster rule. if you really want to talk about change, then you need to talk about the natureukq of the sena two senators per state. when thek4p founders set that u the largest state had about 2
1/2 times the population of the smallest state. today that ratio is 70-1. california has 70 times the population of wyoming. when you add up all the small states together, you find 17% of the american public elects 51, a majority, of the united states senate. we know 41 senators can actually run the senate. 11% of the american public elects 341 senators. now, the founders were concerned about the tyranny of the majority. they were right to be concerned about minority rights and the tyranny of the majority. i think you can turn that around and say what about the tyranny of the small minority? isn't thatm(á legitimate concer, too? it's worth an argument. that's why in,ñ wrote the book. rñ to have an argument, and we're having one.qw
host: paul, we welcome you. caller: i have been a tortured republican for a long time, but it seems like the republican party has left me. i was a deficit hawk. i voted for perot a while back. now i just see the republicans just horrible fiscallya'o. they talk like they are going to help small business, but all i ever see is that they are helping the big businesses. on the health care, it just amazes me that the big story isn't that people really want a nonsubsidized public option, even republicans i talk to, and the democrats i think are 80% and they don't even talk about it. and the housing deal, i just don't know where to go. nobody does anything that the people want. that's my comment.
guest: thank you. this gentleman sounds like another independent. this gentleman has recognized what a number of americans have, and that is that both parties have problems in different ways. look, the reason why democrats are hesitant, at least some democrats during congress or at least has been about the public option, is because it reinforces those stereotypes about the democratic party, that they are a bunch of big spenders, big taxers. on the other hand, you correctly point out that during the bush administration with a republican congress during the almost six years of the bush term bush and the republican congress doubled the national debt. you can portray both parties as being fiscally irresponsible in different ways or unresponsive to public opinion in different ways. maybe that's the general siss of support for the tea party and some other independent groups.
on the one hand, i don't think you can round up 12 million, so it is important to ask that question. host: this has been one of the most recent efforts by the crist campaign. we should point out the election is still 5 1/2 months away. guest: that is really crist's remaining hope. he started out 40 points ahead. he was a popular governor. he was assumed to be the next governor from florida. he's now 20 points behind a little-known conservative$v challenger rubio. that was a good ad. it had a lot of pieces to it that struck notes that might
to take a lot more than that to regenerate charlie crist. there has been some talk -- and the crist camp has denied it -- that crist might run as an independent. you point out it is a primary five months away. that's a long time to play out a campaign. i would have to say charlie crist is in deep trouble. caller: good morning. i do not understand why the republicans on health care want to scrap it and start all over. it is like they are saying to me that the bush administration did not happen. let's start fresh with the obama administration. thousands of americans have lost
their jobs, their health care, due to the bush administration. as far as the weapons of mass destruction -- i do not think there is one republican right now who can show me those weapons of mass destruction. but they also -- they can probably show me an american without a job and an american without health care right now. host: let me take your point and move forward. will health care passed? guest: the democrats have a chance because they have a majority in the house and they have enough votes in the senate. this started out being a shenandoah photo climb -- foothill climb. with the democratic majority and a president who had run partly on health care, there was a good
chance of health care reform happening in the first year. there will be books written about what has happened. it is incredible that the democrats blew this opportunity in obama's first year. i think, instead of climbing of foothill, democrats blessipassig health care is more akin to mount everest. maybe the planets will align just right and some of the democrats that didn't vote for it in the house will come on board. these things are possible, but it is going to be very, very tough. >> this is from richard who says, professor sbato -- this is from a professor sabato. if a candidate announced that he or she would not accept contributions from a person other than ordinary constituents, could or should that person wen win?
guest: yes, if that person could raise enough money. i think the odds would not favor that individual unless that individual were in a district that favored his or her party. i've heard these arguments for year. i understand why the argument is made. in an ideal world you would have perhaps only local contributions. you would also make the argument that since members of congress effect all of us, the committees they are on affect all of us, we all as americans have a right to give something to them. this is one of those endless questions about health care reform. steve if we live long enough, we will stillz talking about it. host: tea partiers say the bush
administration grew government. guest: they can take from of the credit and blame of growing government. both parties have responsibility in that. maybe you support the growth of government, maybe you oppose it. it seems unfair to point to just one party. since obama has taken over, you can certainly say that the stimulus plan, the health care plan the other bills that have either passed or been proposed by obama would, in fact, substantially increase the deficit and the debt. of course a lot of that is structural and it would have happened even if mccain had been elected. i like to put it this way -- george bush in a republican congress dunled the -- doubled the national debt in eight years. president obama and the demmeds are on track to double it again. that frightens just about everybody including democrats in office from obama on down. let's hope they do something
about it. host: this is a picture of a cup of hot tea. it is called "a complex brew." quinton is joining us. good morning. caller: good morning to you both. really quick point. one is that the republicans will never regain the majority until they get either the blacks, the gays or the mexicans -- i'm sorry, the latinos in their corner. they have to go after one more demographic in order to tip the scales. until that happens, i don't see them regaining any seats. guest: that's a good point, but here is how i would answer it. this is a mid term election. i'm guessing the turnout will be
40% of all those age 18 or over. compare that 40% to the percentage that turned out in the presidential election of 2008. 63% of americans age 18 and over voted. so you have a tremendous decline between the presidential and the mid-term election. this is standard operating procedure. who doesn't show up? i sr"-term electrics it is democratic leaning groups such as mine -- elections it is democratic-leaning groups such as minorities that do not show up. minority groups will be a majority of americans. over the past 20 years minorities have given approximately 7r5% 6 their --
75% of their votes to democrats. if minorities are a majority of the electorate and 70% is going to democrats, that tells you how most of the national elections are going to turn out. so republicans absolutely have to find a way to attract minorities, to attract young people, to attract women, to attract groups that they have not been able to win substantially for the last 20 years. host: do you tweet? guest: i do. my staff and i kid about this. i'm a dinosaur. they said he could do facebook or myspace or something like that and i could tweet, and since it is 140 characters, i figured i could do it. host: one e-mail from a viewer who says "if the 2010 elections
bring in republicans we will rue the day. the republicans have one answer to everything, tax cuts. we cannot cut a trillion dollar debt with only tax cuts. once we are out of the recession, only the democrats sanity." and he refers to bill clinton. guest: reagan was lucky. his recessions were well timed. his deepest recession was the 1981, 1982 recession. that recession was the deepest since the great depression. but when did it end? the last quarter of 1983 and first quarter of 1984. perfect timing for his re-election. president obama hopes he will have the same luck.
host: carl from augusta, mississippi. what is your comment? caller: i am a fan of senator mccain and i voted for him. i'm not a resident of arizona but i don't know why you would go for someone who doesn't have any experience when you have a man that has given his life for this country. he's given dedication to this country. he doesn't have to do this, but he stays in there fighting, and he's not a quiter. why would you vote for someone that is inexperienced? i think we're learning from our current administration, and i don't want to make a lot of comments about that, but senator mccain deserves to be senator as long as he wants to because he's still in there fighting. that's all i wanted to say. host: did you want to respond? guest: that's the mccain argument. obviously the hayworth argument is that conservatives have long been at war with moderate john mccain. we saw that in 2008 when the
conservatives were disillusioned with the presidential campaign, so they see this as an opportunity to get a more conservative senator in arizona. i think the gentleman has well summarized the mccain pitch. host: caller? caller: i wanted yourñi thought on campaign contributions and can congress correct that? guest: you are referring to the citizens united decision and a lot of people are concerned about it because they don't know the extent to which corporations will take advantage of this. i tend to believe they won't take advantage to the degree that some critics fear. but it is true that the decision may have opened up another
loophole permitting corporations to give to nonprofit groups that don't have to disclose their donars, thereby in a sense washing the money. will.i.am just -- we'll just have to watch very closely what happens in this election. if it turns into a major problem, it will increase the momentum for reform. there already is a substantial bill for reform that is being pushed for hard by senator chuck schumer and others that will correct some of the problems that many feel were corrected by the citizens united decision. you may get a reform bill ahead of the general election. if you don't get that reform bill and there are major problems in the ways that i'm suggesting to you, i think you will get one after the election. >> our viewers liked your discussion on the u.s. senate. vicky says "one change in the constitution that should be made is the repeal of the 17th
amendment. the original design of the government was for the senators to represent the interests of the states and as such they were to be elected by state legislators." guest: that is actually a correct comment. when we went to popular election, as the writer suggests, the basis for the senate was dramatically changed. now, you are never going to move back to state legislative election of u.s. senators. utah has proposed this. it hasn't even passed in utah, ways very conservative state. the people will never give up the power to elect u.s. senators. i think you have asked an important question. what is the nature of reputation in the senate? how does that compare to the house? how do the pieces fit together in a way that can produce good government for the people of the united states? so it is good that you are asking the question.
host: a look at senate races -- colorado, illinois, indiana, kentucky. caller do you have a question? caller: do you think the pro-life movement that is sprouting up with our african-american folks and our downs syndrome kids are going to be an impact on the vote? secondly, i think that thing "go to meeting" why not have our senators stay in their home states and have a go to meeting type conference? guest: on the first question, keep in mind that minority voters, particularly african-americans, have the strongest democratic partisan identification of any group in the electorate. as a consequence, even when they disagree with democrats on issues like social issues, like
abortion, for example, they still vote democratic overwhelmingly. my answer to your first question would be no. to your second question, and i'm showing my age and why i'm not going to be here in 20 years, what was it again?%vñ host: i'm looking at a at which timer comment -- twitter that asks is there a way the republicans could lose their momentum? guest: if the economy regenerated very quickly. if unemployment dropped from 9.7 to 8.0 or somewhere in that vicinity, which is unlikely, i think that would help democrats significantly. if president obama for some reason, god forbid, another 9-11, became very popular, then you might have an effect like 2002 when president bush was able to add six house seats and a couple senate seats in his first session when the republicans were expected to
lose seats. that's why you say, you never know whahat is going to happen them that tomorrow on the "washington journal," will englund and patricia murphy. john castellani talks about president obama's recent speech before that association as well as administration and congressional efforts to spur job growth and reform health care. dr. cecil wilson, president elect of the american medical association, discusses the budget and proposed medicare cuts. "washington journal," is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
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