Skip to main content

tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  December 21, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

1:00 pm
another. since when do americans shrug and say we have a problem, we can't solve it, oh, well, america is better than being terrorized by gun, better than being held hostage by the nra and the party of glocks, better than a nation where newtown is the norm. gary wills says america treats guns like a secular god. e.j.dion says depose the false diety. i say amen. we owe it to those 20 newtown babies. that does it for "the cycle." we're on break next week. michael eric dyson is now in for martin. michael eric dyson, what you got to say? >> i say that which you promote is just wonderful. >> happy holidays. >> happy holidays to all of you. thanks, guys, and good afternoon. i'm professor michael eric dyson in for martin bashir on this very busy friday, december the 21st. today speaker boehner lost his way. the president chose his man.
1:01 pm
and the nra, well, the nra turned tragedy into an opportunity of the worst kind. >> nra has blood on its hands. >> the media demonized lawful gun owners. vicious, violent video games. we have blood-soaked films out there, a thousand music videos, the media. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. politicians have no business and no authority denying us the right, the ability, and the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. this is the time, this is the
1:02 pm
day for decisive action. >> this is the beginning of a serious conversation. we won't be taking questions today. the friday before christmas and it is a busy day in washington, d.c. the president just made his announcement that senator john kerry of massachusetts is his choice to succeed hillary clinton as secretary of state. but his business yea day started with a moment of silence to remember the victims at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. from wall street to main street, millions of americans stopped to remember the 20 children whose precious lives were so senselessly cut short in a high-tech hail of bullets. [ bell tolling ] they stopped to remember the children, chase, charlotte,
1:03 pm
daniel and caroline among them who won't be celebrating christmas next week or ever again. their loss and the painful thought of the lives that might have been have rekindled a call to action against guns that politicians in both parties have muzzled for 20 years. and as americans mourned and strengthened their resolve to put an end once and for all to the slaughter of the innocents, the nra broke its silence with a diatribe dressed up as a press conference from the nation's number one apologist for gun violence. >> vicious, violent video games with names like bullet storm, grand theft auto, mortal combat. we have blood-soaked films out there like "american psycho," "natural born killers," a thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder as a way
1:04 pm
of life. >> somebody tell mr. lapierre to update his references to pop culture and stop reaching back a decade or two. they will blame gun violence on anything and anybody but guns. music videos, the media, movies, and video games that came out 20 years ago. it was as incoherent as it was inappropriate. the nra could have used this occasion to declare their sympathy and solidarity with the families of the victims. start by identifying with the horrible incident that occurred, with the enormity and magnitude of the tragedy that descended upon us and ambushed us, but, no, instead what did we get? we get from wayne lapierre what could be the longest suicide note for a special interest in american history. a special interest whose evil etch pir of firearms and fear may soon breathe its last and not a moment too soon. i want to bring in nbc's michael isikoff. michael, you were actually in
1:05 pm
the room when all of this went down. take us there with you. tell us what the mood was like, how were people reacting as they watched this happen and unfold before their very eyes? >> i think a lot of people were surprised. given that the nra had said publicly it he wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the debate, about an hour before the press conference began or hour and a half, david keene, the nra president, came out and said he wanted everybody in the room to observe the moment of silence for the victims of newtown. there was an expectation we were going to hear a more conciliatory tone from the nra, an effort to at least show that it wanted to work with congress and the vice president on fashioning something that wouldn't compromise its principles but would at least address some of the issues about gun violence that have been
1:06 pm
raised, and what we got instead was this pretty defiant talk from mr. lapierre blaming a whole host of facets of american life, hollywood, the video game industry, the music video industry, the news media in general, but not accepting any sense of responsibility on nra itself, and then this proposal about armed school guards in every school in the country, and a couple points to say about that. there's over 130,000 schools in the country. no specifics on how much it would cost, how you would do background checks on the people who would be guarding the schools, and as one gun control advocate pointed out to me, this is a description to have a lot of george zimmermans patrolling our schools. george zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch patrol person. >> absolutely. and that's a scary thought.
1:07 pm
that's a perfect setup michael isikoff. thank you so much for giving that to us. let's bring in our panel now, mark glaze the director of mayors against guns, karen finney, and representative adam schiff. the nr a spent a week saying nothing and, boy, did they break their silence today. as someone who has been in the trenches fighting this group for many years, can you tell us are people going to be more or less scared of the nra following this so-called press conference because by all measures, it was a complete disaster. >> it was a disaster. i think those who take a lot of money from the nra are probably scratching their heads rethinking how they're -- where they could get other dollars because actually my read of that press conference was that it would further galvanize support for the kind of common sense measures that we've been talking about because he was so -- lapierre was so disconnected from reality. i worked in new york city public schools. the idea of putting armed guards
1:08 pm
in schools is not even worth treating as a serious idea. it was so sort of out of step with where i think the conversation has been, the level of respect, and the kind of conversation we've been having nationally that i would almost guarantee you that it has done more actually to help our cause than any one of us could have done. >> no doubt. and to your point, of course, studies have been done, the greater amount of guns are in a particular jurisdiction, the greater likelihood homicide will occur and some gun violence will be sparked off. so it's a pretty ludicrous idea. mark, franklin roosevelt in one of his famous fireside chats said all we have to fear is fear itself. he was speaking about the looming terror of an approaching enemy from the outside, but this seems to be something from the inside. it seems like fear itself is the only thing that wayne lapierre has to offer. let's take a listen to this. >> violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years.
1:09 pm
add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural or manmade disaster, and you've got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. >> mark, can wayne lapierre get then ra out of the fix it's in by scaring people into thinking that all we need is guns, that guns are the answer to every particular catastrophe that we confront in this country? >> you know, i must admit, i have been a student of then ra for a long time. my dad was a gun dealer in colorado, knew lots of nra members. i have to say i was surprised by what happened today. his comments were, first of all, factually incoherent and struck me as being so politically tone deaf that it kind of left me wondering where this impression came from that the nra was a political powerhouse. i think they have a real problem on their hands, and part of the reason they have a problem on their hands is that, in fact, the average nra member who is a
1:10 pm
hunter or somebody that wants to defend themselves in their home is quite mainstream in their views about what we need to do. we had a republican pollster poll nra members and gun owners and he found that, for example, 74% of nra members think everybody should pass a criminal background check before they get a gun. that's something wayneapierre opposes. let's not confuse nra gun members and the leadership whose principal product is fear. >> i want to turn to representative schiff. just like earlier john boehner said the perception that the president was out here with a desire to raise taxes on everybody made it less likely we could negotiate the fiscal cliff. the perception here is the nra is out of step with the mainstream. mayor bloomberg issued a statement saying, quote, today the nra's lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. while they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most
1:11 pm
basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives. not only in schools but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. enough. as a country we must rise above special interest politics. what's your response to that, conman schiff? >> well, i think mayor bloomberg is exactly right. the answer is not to put armed guards in our kindergarten classes and high schools, our universities and shopping malls. it makes no sense whatsoever and i think the news conference today had people scratching their heads, really appalled at what they heard the spokesman for the nra say, and plainly there's nothing constructive coming out of that leadership. the leadership of that organization is not only out of step with the country but as mark pointed out, they're out of step with their own members, and i think it will serve to galvanize those that are supporting gun control legislation. i think it is another shot in the ample, and i would expect to
1:12 pm
see in january some strong legislation on the assault weapons, on extended ammunition clips, on the gun show loopholes move in the congress and i think that the nra demonstrated today it doesn't represent anyone but itself, a narrow group of the leadership. >> right. karen, let me bring you in. look, in that meandering morass of a message, if you can call it that, the main point that he was expressing seemed to be this idea of putting an armed guard or community watch person in every school in the country. isn't it ironic that wane lapierre's solution is to create an army of george zimmermanermans who will be armed to defend their own particular bias or perspective. >> not to mention it was the nra opposed to putting more cops on the street during the clinton administration. here is part of the larger problem that both the conservative movement frankly writ large as well as the gun movement is facing, their arguments no longer stack up.
1:13 pm
you had lapierre talking about we need a database to track people with mental illness when they have been the principal people standing in way of us having the kind of database that could have told police officers in aurora, colorado, that they had somebody that was not only amassing a number of weapons but ammunition. we don't have a kind of rational national database. i can't buy sue da fed one day sooner, that's how close they trook the purchase of sudafed but you can go online and buy a gun. a friend of mine who is about to be redeployed for a fifth time in afghanistan looked at a picture of that assault rifle and said, you know, that's the gun i carry in afghanistan. what is this woman doing with that in connecticut? >> absolutely. well, we're sudafed up with all of that madness. let's turn to mark. in light of what karen finney just said, the nra seems to stand for no rationality allowed. you have been fighting the nra for a long time. they have been tough opponents, but here they are today saying,
1:14 pm
quote, we need security guards in schools, end of quote. don't they know that there actually was a policeman, a sheriff's deputy, at columbine on the day of the tragic shooting at that school and it did little good there. the security guard returned fire but they were not able to stop people who are superiorly armed. >> that's exactly right. i'm from colorado. we all sort of lived through columbine, and there was not just one sheriff's deputy there, but there was another security guard nearby who immediately came to the scene. it defies common sense and any survivor of that kind of mass shooting shall and we work with them all the time, and any police officer will tell you putting more guns in the hands of more people in a tense scene where bullets are flying does not make people more safe. what makings people more safe is to make sure that guns that we have a right to and should continue to have a right to with reasonable restrictions don't fall into the wrong hands. but for the nra which let's be
1:15 pm
frank helped create this problem of letting more and more guns into the stream of illegal commerce, to now say, wait, there are so many guns in the criminal market that the only way to protect ourselves from criminals is to give everybody a gun in the preschool is simply absurd. >> congressman, very quickly, is this going to be bluster and blather? is this much ado about nothing? we're wringing our hands, we're going to hang our heads low and then we're going to go on with business as usual? can anything get done? >> yes, it can get done, and it really has to get done and the american people have to hold their representatives accountable. this can't be yet another horrible incident that raises some protest at the time and then dissipates and ends up with no progress. we have got to take action this time. but i have been in congress for 12 years. i have never seen the kind of momentum over the last few days, and i think that this momentum will turn into a productive result. i think it will lead to meaningful gun legislation. i think it will lead to a stronger assault weapons ban
1:16 pm
than we've had in the past and i think that will be a significant piece of the puzzle. there's going to be a broader solution as well and we have to bring everyone to the table, but this is an important step and i think we can take it and we have to. >> from your mouth to congress' ears. our thanks to karen finney, mark glaze, and representative adam schiff. next, boehner's blunder or a man without a party? stay with us. >> are you quitting? >> absolutely not. >> you blew it! our thanks to karen finney, mark
1:17 pm
our thanks to karen finney, mark
1:18 pm
sleep train thanks all those who helped make a difference last year for thousands of california foster kids. thank you for helping foster kids. thank you for the school supplies. thank you for the new shoes. thank you, secret santa. and thank you for donating money. your generosity proves that while not everyone can be a foster parent, anyone can help a foster child.
1:19 pm
- thank you. - thank you. gracias por su ayuda. thank you. now to john boehner's waterloo on the so-called fiscal cliff. the speaker's plan "b" going
1:20 pm
bust last night in a staggering loss of leadership and leverage for the gop. there goes the speaker leaving for ohio after wasting most of the last week trying to pass a one-sided plan to raise rates only on earnings over $1 million. boehner could not even get that passed his conservative caucus. this morning the speaker faced challenging questions. >> what went wrong? >> are you giving up on your conference? are you quitting? >> in light of what happened last night, if you're not concerned, shouldn't you be? >> no, i'm not. merry christmas, everyone. thank you. >> merry christmas, indeed. let's get right to our panel now. one of those tough questioners, nbc's luke russert on capitol hill and in philadelphia lehigh university professor james peterson, contributor for luke, if i might start with you. you asked what next on this deal? boehner said, quote, god only
1:21 pm
knows. you may not have a direct line to the almighty, but what the heck is next on these negotiations? and could boehner really lose his speakership as you may have implied? >> reporter: well, professor, you and i watch a lot of basketball together, and it's not exactly a mike brown with the lakers situation quite yet. john boehner has a little bit of leeway, shall we say, mainly because eric cantor was all in on this deal as well and the vast majority of the house gop conference supported it. he just couldn't get those 40 chuckle heads, quote, unquote, as his colleague steve la for ret calls them. the way going forward for john boehner is he's taken himself out of the negotiations and the big loss for him last night was that he's essentially allowing harry reid and president obama to draw up a fiscal cliff bill they would like to see. now, there's talks from the senate side that that bill could possibly look like the $250,000 or below tax cuts, an extension of unemployment benefits or getting rid of the sequester. whether that could get through
1:22 pm
the house remains to be seen, but from where we are right now, the friday before christmas, john boehner is not communicating with president obama and has removed himself from these negotiations. >> well, he may not be mike brown, but he could be mike d'antoni. even senate majority leader harry reid expressed some sympathy for the political beating that boehner is taking right now, but do you see any indications that he'll now have no choice but to negotiate in good faith with the democrats? what choice does he have left? >> wow, imagine that. imagine the republican caucus actually negotiating in good faith with democrats. we could only hope for something like that. luke, your coverage of him this last night was spot on. i'm curious as to whether or not the chuckle heads, what kind of strategy they have going forward. i mean, how do they see us going over the fiscal cliff as being advantageous and even the more key question here is, is the start that happened last night, will that alienate more of the republican caucus so we end up having more than the 20 to 25
1:23 pm
folk who might actually vote with the democrats here to actually see if we can have some kind of negotiation. tend of the day though, this is a pretty big black eye for the speaker. it may not cost him his chair but i think you have to wonder how does party politics operate? how do they get things done in the republican party in the house of representatives? >> it's very true. you have this sort of demint wing which is almost apocalyptic which is stand for conservative principles over everything against these establishment guys who are tied into wall street and that's the one thing to look at here, guys, is the markets. you saw some market moving down today. if that happens after the holidays because of this, you best believe the calls from the wall street republicans will be coming to capitol hill to say get your act together. >> get something done. >> maybe another part will be sold to another investor as the new york stock exchange was recently. luke russert, professor james peterson, thank you so much. >> take care. >> stay with us. we have much more ahead. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
1:24 pm
a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, including celebrex,
1:25 pm
increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history and find an arthritis treatment for you. visit and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion.
1:26 pm
1:27 pm
we've just learned that the president will appear before cameras at 5:00 p.m. with a statement on the fiscal cliff. that will, of course, be carried right here on msnbc. stay with us. the day's "top lines" are coming up as we head to the christmas weekend. ho, ho, ho. ♪ oh what fun to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight ♪ i gave birth to my daughter on may 18th,
1:28 pm
five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story.
1:29 pm
1:30 pm
before you begin an aspirin regimen. when you lost the thing you can't believe you lost.. when what you just bought, just broke. or when you have a little trouble a long way from home... as an american express cardmember you can expect some help. but what you might not expect, is you can get all this with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. from our rawest emotions and calls for action to an nra charade. here are today's "top lines," the week in review. >> we do not take what you are going through slightly. ♪ sleep in heavenly peace >> we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. we must change. >> he is going to have a bill to
1:31 pm
lead on. >> limit the size of clips. >> i don't want us to lose the hurt and the anger. >> i don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. >> enough is enough. >> it's really a gun of war. >> this is an outrage. >> i have asked the vice president to lead an effort. >> this is my baby. >> that's his baby, he needs help. >> this is not some washington commission. >> we could only save one life, we have to take action. >> probably very little will change. >> where have you been? >> i have been president of the united states. >> 1,100 guns turned into the police buy back. >> somebody else was able to point a gun right back to them. >> i wish to god she had had an m-4. >> putting people in the pickle. >> shoots his head off. >> many gun owners have stepped up. >> president barack obama is attempting to use the sandy hook tragedy. >> this is a difficult time for americans. not a time to put americans through more stress. >> it's going to take an effort from mothers and fathers, law enforcement, and responsible gun owners. >> this has been politicized so
1:32 pm
quickly. >> it's not a gun problem, it's a people problem. >> why do they need a bash muster? >> i'm not going to let you say that i am, quote, politicizing. >> this myth that the nra can destroy political careers. >> hopefully they'll do some self-reflecting. >> wayne lapierre is a professional liar. >> blood soaked films out there aired like propaganda. it's cullalled kindergarten killers. isn't fantasizing about killing people the filthiest form of pornography. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. >> there are no words that can wash the blood from his hands. >> let's get right to our eloquent he will cuters. toure, could host of "the cycle" and democratic strategist julian epstein. toure, these guys will blame obama for just about anything, and you know, global warming or the latest loss of the lakers,
1:33 pm
god forbid. but at his so-called press conference today, wayne lapierre actually took a shot at the president, pun intended of course. after blaming video games, video games that are like 20 years old. president obama, who hasn't been attacking them, by the way, but wayne lapierre took a shot on some cuts that have happened, so i guess obama is to blame for school shootings just like mortal combat, right? >> obama has actually been good for the gun lobby. he's made it legal to carry in public parks, right? he's not taken away gun owners any liberties at all. but the nra has been really good at marketing the idea that obama wants to take away your guns. >> what's behind that? >> well, i mean, just that he's liberal supposedly. he's not, he's moderate, but we can sell that idea. for a large part, the gop is like clint eastwood talking to a chair to an meteorologisted obama a --
1:34 pm
meteorologi imagined obama so people will believe it. they've been selling lots and lots of guns and rising nra membership based on the promise that obama will take away guns. >> has that hamstrung him? has that muzzled him in terms of his -- >> no. >> -- if you will challenges to the gun industry. >> no, what is muzzling is the party of glocks is not going to allow anything to happen partly because of the nra, partly because a lot of republicans own guns and nate silver talked about that. that's not a slur. a lot of -- gun ownership is a predictor of being republican and fewer democrats own guns, keep guns in the home. so the republican party is very much tied and wedded to we want to have guns. if you don't allow us to have guns then you don't understand us, you don't get us. that's not something the democrats are all about. until that is changed and we don't have a party of glocks as joe scarborough talked about, the party of bush masters which is like we're going to protect our right to have any gun we want, stand our ground, cost ca
1:35 pm
doctrine means america is a police where we can shoot someone. >> the republicans are the party of the bushes. i don't know if they were masters. julian, as a democratic strategist, what does the party's response need to be when you have extremist like republican congressman tim huelskamp going around and accusing the president of politicizing the tragedy like he did on "morning joe." >> i think that and wayne lapier lapierre's reaction saying this countries needs to be an armed camp, i don't think this is a credible argument. i think the nra has more than shot itself in its own foot. i think it's response represents a tipping point here. i agree with everything that
1:36 pm
toure just said, but a majority of the public wants very, very significant new gun laws. in fact, a cnn poll a couple days ago said a majority of the public actually wants major restrictions on gun control, 6 in 10 major restrictions. 6 in 10 want assault weapons. i think you have to keep in mind here we've had a silent majority that's only starting to become very active now. 30 gun homicides a day. as we were going on air today, another mass homicide in pennsylvania where at least four people as we know it are dead. 30 a day. 200 a week. 11,000 a year. that's the equivalent of a jumbo jet airliner going down every single week of every single year, and the public does not want and parents and teachers don't want to make schools armed encampments. if you look at the data it shows if you have a gun in the home, you're as much as 20 to 22 times more likely to be shot with it
1:37 pm
than to use it in self-defense. what i think to toure's point, what you have to see with this silent majority who is no longer becoming silent, you need to see a political movement. we have a huge political infrastructure coming off the last election. we have social media. we have a lot of capabilities to make this become a political movement if people want to get active and if people want to -- >> the most obscene thing that happened today was that wayne lapierre rolled out a new product, a new policy, buy more guns is always the nra's answer. if we don't like what's going on in schools, we'll have the school shield program which means millions of more guns sold which is totally disgusting. where are the stories of the vigilantes who had a gun who happened to be concealed carrying or stopped somebody coming in to shoot up a school or movie theater or a mall or a church or a temple or did i get them all? a college. where are the stories? >> if i'm correct, i think there was an armed officer at
1:38 pm
columbine. >> there was an armed officer. >> let me take a look at this given what julian just said. let's crunch the numbers. when you look at the poll from "washington post," 53% say the republicans need better policies. 38% say they need better leaders. either way this is a party that's still got a lot of soul searching to do, right? >> it definitely has a lot of soul searching to do. they lost 2012 because they're the party of the wealthy and party of legitimate rape. they're planning to lose 2016 because they're the party of the glock but we don't have a congress that will open its doors to new gun legislation. i think we've had like three changes in gun legislation over the past say 40, 45 years, and the 1968 happened because dr. king, jfk, and rfk got killed almost in quick succession in terms of american history, but we don't have a congress that will allow major gun changes, and we want those changes, julian. i think a lot of americans want those changes but we don't have -- >> but here is the problem. there is a problem. >> julian, we have two seconds. tell us, yes or no, anything going to really happen in congress?
1:39 pm
>> i think something will so long as progressives and the media don't suffer from attention deficit disorder which has been the major problem facing us when dealing with guns. >> all right. so given the fact that if we don't suffer that attention deficit disorder and we do have the ability to gin up something, julian says yes -- very quickly. >> can't get through the house. dominated by republicans. >> all you need are 18 republicans. i've done this before. >> a lot of democrats are with them on this. >> but i think you've got a majority in the public that wants very, very significant reform right now. there are a lot of procedural mechanisms you can do to get an amendment on the floor. i think we will see something get done. >> republican voters will vote out republican who constrict beguns. democrats don't do that. we need to punish democrats who are -- >> there are a lot of people in republican districts that want major reform. >> we will see if we can -- coming up, the president addresses the failure of boehner
1:40 pm
and the boys to avert the fiscal cliff. we will have that statement live. >> you sat here yesterday and expressed optimism you were going to pass this bill. >> i sure did. i always wait until the last minute. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. coming up, the president [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. coming up, the president yes, that's the cold truth!
1:41 pm
1:42 pm
1:43 pm
more on breaking news now. we're awaiting president obama to speak at the top of the hour on fiscal cliff negotiations. that after john boehner suffered a smackdown from his own members defeating his own plan "b" plan to raise taxes on america's millionaires. it always befuddles me how republicans who are so much against any kind of birth control can even come up with their own plan "b." even harry reid feels a bill sorry for the speaker. >> i like john boehner, but, gee whiz, i mean, this is a pretty big political battering he's taken. >> translation into common
1:44 pm
parlance, smackdown. we might pity poor boehner, too, except that the bill that did pass the house last night is one that spares defense cuts from the so-called sequester. instead of making $200 billion in additional cuts to programs including food stamps, meals on wholes, obama care and transportation services for the disaged. what's wrong with that picture? democratic congresswoman edie bernice joins us. >> thank you. >> should we feel sorry for a man unable to corral the most extreme members of his party? they can't even vote to raise taxes an itty-bitty little bit on millionaires. what's the president to do, congresswoman johnson? >> well, let me say that i do have respect for speaker boehner. in my one-on-one relationship with him, he's always been very
1:45 pm
gracious and respectful. he's dealing with a very, very difficult group of people. as a matter of fact, there are times i wish we could wait until after january 3rd so he could have a different group because many of the extreme haters of the president were defeated, and i think this is more of a reaction against the president and not wanting to cooperate than it is -- i can't believe that they want to really do what this plan does. it's unconscionable to think that they are willing to put out front, to throw all of the seniors over the cliff, the children, and the poor, the disabled, and yet give the richest tax breaks. that is so unreasonable that i happen to believe this is just an affront to the president. >> well, let me ask you, congresswoman, a lot of us felt in the after math of what happened in newtown, that this country had turned a corner, that not only was it going to really tamp down on gun violence
1:46 pm
and amp up gun control, but that it would be sensitive to those other children who are victims of economic violence, and it seems here that the country is schizophrenic. it's concerned about gun violence targeting some children but not concerned about the economic violence that could take meals and resources away from millions of other children. >> that is very true. and i was very shocked to hear the response by the nra earlier today. i can't believe what i'm hearing. this is almost like no the country that i'm accustomed to thinking will rise to the occasion and respond to the people. this past year dealing with the cuts, we have cut so much until you can't single handedly say i will cut this and cut that. you've got to do a little dancing around to see how you can manage to keep a few people alive with a few cuts. there's no longer a yes and no on what you can cut. we have cut to the brim. we now need to bring in some
1:47 pm
revenue. >> right. so in light of everything that's developed here recently and, of course, with speaker boehner getting a kind of smackdown from his own constituency, what's the president's next move today when he makes a statement at the top of the hour? >> i don't know yet, but i'm very eagerly waiting to hear what he has to say because it appears to me that the say needs to be coming from the speaker at this point. but i know that we cannot give up. i will not give up standing up for the poorest people, our children, their food and education and our disabled and the seniors. there are some things we can do. maybe a little bit more, but the main thing we need to do now is bring in a little revenue so we won't be getting rid of that many more jobs. >> right. and we've learned, of course, that president obama and speaker boehner did not speak today. that doesn't bode good for what's happening with our country in terms of avoiding the fiscal cliff, does it?
1:48 pm
>> it does not. i think no matter what, we need to keep talking because we cannot give up and walk away. when he made the statement that he'd wait to see what senator reid and the president would come up with, it sounded good to a degree, but knowing how much these people seem to despise anyone who looks out for any poor person, it's going to be difficult for me to see that they're going to be willing to cooperate. >> we got film of speaker boehner leaving the meeting. do you think that was a good move? is that something that should be, you know, seen by the american public that there's a refusal to at least engage in conversation around the table, so to speak? >> well, i don't know what happened prior to that. i do know and i do believe that speaker boehner has given his best with this particular group of people to try to come up with some kind of answer. i also know that he's under the pressure of whether he can be
1:49 pm
re-elected as speaker, which comes after 12:00 noon january the 3rd. and so all of that, i think, plays into some of the reaction. the other part that plays into the reaction, unfortunately, the cliff comes before then, but a number of the people who have been so mean and so anti-president obama were defeated, and they will be gone. hopefully this lesson from the people will sink in to those who got elected to pair up with some who are already here, and i think that the democratic caucus is very willing to cooperate with something sensible. >> right. congresswoman, eddie bernice johnson, thank you so much for joining us here today. >> thank you very much. next, the president gets his man. stay with us. this holiday, share everything. share "not even close."
1:50 pm
share "you owe me..." share "just right." the share everything plan. shareable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. hurry in for a droid razr m by motorola for $49.99. stop! stop! stop! come back here! humans -- we are beautifully imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. that's why liberty mutual insurance has your back with great ideas like our optional better car replacement. if your car is totaled, we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. call... and ask one of our insurance experts about it today. hello?! we believe our customers do their best out there in the world, and we do everything we can to be there for them when they need us. [car alarm blaring] call now and also ask about our 24/7 support and service.
1:51 pm
call... and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
1:52 pm
a very busy day at the white
1:53 pm
house. one in which the president named senator john kerry as his nominee for secretary of state. well, that busy day is going to get a bit busier. at 5:00 p.m. the president is expected to appear in the briefing room to deliver remarks by the so-called fiscal cliff. joining us with the latest a mike viqueira. mike, we have seen video of speaker boehner on his way out of town. we've heard that he hasn't spoken to the president today. that doesn't seem to bode well for a deal, does it? >> reporter: well, no. on the other hand, harry reid, the senate democratic leader we understand has spent the last several minutes, he might still be there for all we know, at the white house huddled with president obama. you're right, last night when the house gop didn't have the votes, they pulled that bill from the floor, plan "b." everybody now sifting through the wreckage trying to figure out exactly where to go from here, michael. we saw john boehner take -- have a press conference today, he says it's all in the senate's court, all in harry reid's
1:54 pm
court, we passed a bill back in august. it's really serving as sort of a fig leaf for them that extended rates for everybody. harry reid got up on the senate floor and said it's up to john boehner to do something, mitch mcconnell says it's up to the president. we understand that harry reid is huddled with president obama. incidentally, john boehner we're told is still in town, but you're right. i'm also told that he has not spoken with the president today. unclear where we go from here. you've got to believe, michael, that the only plausible scenario left at this point is to go over the cliff, rates rise on everybody very temporarily. the congress comes back, it's then a vote to cut rates for 98% of americans instead of allow them to rise for 2% as plan "b" would have been 1% actually, and that makes it a lot easier for everybody to palate, but nothing is guaranteed right now. it's one big hot mess at this point, michael. >> look, mike, if speaker boehner isn't keeping in touch with the white house, are democratic leaders pelosi at
1:55 pm
least involved as well? you have mentioned harry reid is there. what about pelosi coordinating with those two guys? >> nancy pelosi to a certain extent, her role is minimized in this thing. if there is a deal, the president will call the democratic leadership in the house and senate and say we need x number of votes particularly in the house. it appear that is the position is to work somehow with the bill that's already passed the senate. there was a bill that passed the senate earlier this year that would have done exactly what the president, his original position was, and that say lou rates to rise on only those individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,0 $250,000. there are procedural problems with that that can easily be gotten around. that may be what they're talking about. the bottom line question here, michael, as it has been all around is will speaker boehner put a bill on the floor that gets a majority of democrat support and virtually no
1:56 pm
republicans would vote for it. that's unlikely to happen. john boehner is weakened. if he were to try to do something like that, that might be the thing that would be the coup de grace for john boehner. don't expect him to do that. there are very few options. the smat is leaving town in a matter of minutes. the house of representatives says they're going to return next thursday but it's unclear what, if anything, they can do, largely waiting for the senate to act. we may be headed over that cliff at least temporarily, michael. >> nbc's mike viqueira. thank you so much. >> reporter: okay. >> nbc will bring us that statement by the president in just a moment. stay with us. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
1:57 pm
1:58 pm
1:59 pm
♪ you're wonderful ♪ you have a heart of gold [ male announcer ] vera wang love. the new diamond bridal collection from vera wang. exclusively at zales. thank you so much for watching. on behalf of martin and his entire staff, a merry christmas and happy holidays to you and yours. "hardball" picks things up right now with the president's