tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 21, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EST
debacle. >> yeah. >> unfortunately, i think the debacle will continue without herman. >> probably. >> i wish the elimination of herman cain and rick perry and michele bachmann would end the debacle, but i wouldn't get your hopes up. even if we get a couple of white guys in there. full debacle. anyway, that does the it for us. i'm dylan ratigan and chris matthews is up right now. failure by committee. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading out of tonight, worse congress ever. you might have thought it was impossible for this congress to be more unsuccessful or less popular, but this group never gives up trying. first, this congress punteded deficit reduction over to the so-called congressional super committee. and now that committee has announced it can't reach a deal. so now what? here's the first result.
look at the dow jones. it dropped almost 250 points today on anticipation of the news. so what happens now? who gets the blame? and how does this affect the 2012 race? plus, when you hear republican flip-flopper, you think perhaps mitt romney, ri t right? well, check out newt gingrich. his website has shiny new explanations for why he's changed his positions on the health care mandate, global warming, t.a.r.p., and what he called paul ryan's, quote, right-wing social engineering medicare plan. and luckily for newt, all of his new position line, it lines up nicely with the conservative republican primary voters. big surprise. also, the video that went viral this weekend. campus police pepper spraying peaceful occupy protesters at unc davis, that's out in california. university's police chief was placed on administrative leave today and many students are calling for the university's chancellor to step down. and look who's decided to take a chance on iowa! give iowa a try. mitt romney.
he may be trying to win it all up there in that first big event next year, but if he loses big, it could be all over for mitt. finally, let me finish tonight why i think november 22nd, tomorrow, should never be a day to remember john f. kennedy. we start with the super committee's failure to reach a deal. howard fineman is "the huffington post" media group editorial director. chris cillizza is managing editor of postpolitics.com and author of "the fix" on the washingtonpost.com. both are msnbc political analysts. here's the statement released late this afternoon, just moments earlier, late this evening, from the super committee, announcing their failure to reach an agreement. "after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline." howard, lack of confidence, no confidence. i keep thinking that word, i've been scribbling this on my notes tonight. confidence. the ability of the federal government, in any of its capacities, to do what it
promises to do. this congress set up this committee. this congress said this committee will act. this committee will do the job or we're going to cut defense and do all these atrocious things. it set it up so it had to succeed and then it failed. >> yeah, it's a result that conforms to what the american people think about congress and about washington in general. they called it "super." it wasn't. they said it would produce a deal. it didn't. they said it would have triggers so it would have immediate far-ranging consequences. it doesn't! the changes that now supposedly are going to be triggered by this don't come into effect until january 2013. in between that time and now, there's going to be a presidential campaign, which will be all about the issues that this committee refused to deal with. >> you know what i think is really -- let me go to chris for your general thoughts. but it seems to me if you're out watching tonight, you may be a progressive, you may be a
democrat, you may be a republican or an independent. but in any case, your people didn't deliver. your people. it seems to me that the progressive -- let's take the progressive side. the progressives didn't put forth a plan that increased revenues by a certain recognizable amount through some kind of, maybe going back to the clinton tax program, 39%, top rate. something that was quite reasonable and fair. they did not come through with entitlement reforms that would have matched up to that and added up to $1.2 trillion reduction of spending over the next eight years. they didn't do. the republicans did nothing on revenues. they really did nothing in terms of a complete package on entitlement reform. so neither side even put forward a deal that the other side could reject. they're both so squeamish about offending their constituency groups, whether they be the aarp organization or grover norquist, so afraid of these outside players, that they didn't play. >> chris, i don't disagree with you, but let me offer an alternate theory, which is that
the two parties just simply do not agree -- >> well, why don't they show us how they disagree? why don't they propose what they believe, and then we can look at it and decide who's right? if both sides would come up with a plan, we could look at it and say, maybe an outside arbiter could say, i know how to put those together. do them both. >> what i would say, chris, is we know -- you're right on the specifics. broadly, we know republicans don't want any tax increases and we know democrats don't want to go into entitlement cuts. they just don't agree. they're waiting for the next election to decide it. i would say, i think that's a can -- >> oh, that will deliver us. >> -- a nerve wracking proposition, because i don't think the american public knows the way they want to move forward -- >> but we don't elect people to follow us, we elect people to lead us. >> and they don't. >> we're going to have a close election. everyone at this table, the three of us, agree it's going to be a darn close, tight as a drum election next year. we won't get a mandate for change.
we'll get a mandate for division then. they'll go back in, nobody will have 60 senate seats, nobody will have a commanding lead in the house, and we're right back where we are right now. >> i think that's a very good point. i'm fascinated by president obama in this the democrats on the committee, on the super committee -- >> what a name. >> and some of the republicans, basically said, keep the president out of this. and -- because he'll, quote, politicize it. all right. so the president stayed out of it and i -- and they didn't come up with a deal. so now some people are going to blame the president for lack of leadership, even though the congressional allies told them to stay out of it. i think he's damned if he did and damned if he didn't. i think he probably -- it's easy to say this and i often find myself on the role of monday morning quarterbacking with this president, whose i think heart is in the right place, but he doesn't know how to execute the politics of it. he probably should have gone in there and said, i'm going to have to lead us and do it. somebody's got to lead. there's no leadership anywhere
in the city. there's no leadership anywhere in the city. >> chris, and howard back to you, do you think the president missed -- and i like him too in terms of his heart. i think his values are very good. i'm not sure his guts are always there in terms of what has to be done. you never know when to put your guts on the line. you never know when to bet it all at the table. when we didn't take that middle of the road position, i know it wasn't the democratic position, but it was a position that could have moved things forward on debt reduction if he would have taken it. do you think he's looking back now saying, no, this wasn't the right time to stick my neck out, but damn it, that was. >> they'll never acknowledge it. because presidents, democratic or republican, never admit that they should have done something they didn't do. but yes is the answer to that. that was a fully formed plan that there was at least the possibility to rally democrats and republicans behind and get the barack obama as a guy who can fundamentally change the calculus, political calculus of washington. that dynamic, what he was elected on, proved that point.
it got too far down the road. he really didn't mention it in the state of the union. and by the time we were at where a decision was going to be made, it was, you know, the cake was baked. you can't go back and reverse engineer -- >> well, the president's going to respond to our explicit and implicit criticisms at 5:45 tonight. we'll have it as a part of this program. howard? >> on the other hand, if the president had done that and taken on his own base, there's no evidence whatsoever that it would have induced, either through politics or guilt, the republicans to do anything. >> why the profile in courage then? >> so the thing is that basically the bush tax cuts were still being ruled in a way by the bush tax cuts from a decade ago. they are defined the politics of today, every bit as much as they did back then. and because, ultimately, the president really hasn't figured out a way to make the republicans -- put the republicans on the defense about that. nothing else can follow.
>> so in other words, once bush got through a tax cut for upper middle class people, who were the ones who were deciding, and rich people, that basically cut the rates down from 39 to lower, 35, it's very hard to get them back up again, politically. because there's so many people affected by it, and wealthy people. and here's the republicans, by the way, put the blame for the committee's failure at the doorstep of the white house. by the way, the president will respond to that this evening. in a memo sent from speaker of the house john boehner to gop house members today, boehner laid out the republican argument. the memo says, "the joint select committee was unable to reach an agreement because president obama and washington democrats insisted on dramatic sttax hike on american job creators, which will make our economy worse." it's all propaganda now. job creators, washington democrats, the language is all pr now. >> they're not dramatic -- well, i guess they're dramatic if you're very wealthy. but even for them, it's not
necessarily that dramatic. and they're still lower than we were under bill clinton, let alone under that. but the terms of the debate have been changed in a way that the president has been unable to think -- >> i think you're so right. >> he's been unable to change. >> the chinese handcuffs. here's the republican presidential contenders accusing president obama of causing the committee's failure. here was mitt romney today. let's listen to the former governor of massachusetts, although he tries to forget he had that job. >> some of the democrats were asked, well, what's the president's role been to try to help this super committee to come to consensus? the answer is, he hasn't had any role. he's done nothing. it's another example of failed leadership. he has not taken personal responsibility to get this super committee to find ways to balance our budget and cut spending. >> well, neither has mitt romney come out with a proposal. by the way, this campaign is beginning to look more and more like nixon's '68. no press conferences, really. no meetings on -- no showing up
on mo"meet the press" or any of the sunday shows, much less here. >> it doesn't -- i mean, i think mitt romney has a partial point there. i think president obama was too trusting of john kerry and all those other people that said, don't worry, mr. president, we'll force a deal. you've got to be kidding me. but you're also right that the republicans, for the most part, and especially romney, have stayed away from anything specific, because they haven't been forced to do it. all the advertising on the campaign, all the rhetoric on the campaign trail is to keep the tax cuts where they are, we'll find savings here and there. yes, maybe we'll look at entitlements carefully. then you ask them more specifically, where would you cut and what would you do, specifically. none of them has an answer. none of them has an answer. >> chris, for the people who get up in the morning -- chris, i've got to talk to you about the people who we really talk over night on this program. i know that most people who watch this program read the newspaper, they try to keep up. they are watching this. they are watching with some hope, like we all have, about our politicians delivering. and they're watching again,
watching with great specificity, believing what they were told. that this committee would work. not because these guys are good guys or good women, but because if they didn't, the sword of damocles would come down on this defense department. now we're told they're always planning ways to avoid the sequestration to follow this, the automatic cuts. it looks like it was a game and we were sapped into it. >> and if you need anymore evidence of that, when do sequestration, automatic cuts trigger? january 2013. that's not by accident. after the 2012 election. look, i know that blame is going to go all over the place. i tend to think there's plenty of blame to go around and it's going to fall on everybody, because you're dealing with a congress that's at somewhere between 9 and 14% approval. you're dealing with 70% plus of the american public who said the country is headed in the wrong direction. if you paid any attention to the super committee or you're watching this show now, you're going to watch what the president's going to say, it's going to further convince you this congress, this government as currently constituted cannot
do be things. and the answer to that, chris, is, i hate to say it, but go out and vote. that's the only option. >> they better vote with clarity too. >> can i just say one thing? the idea that the sword of damocles cuts to the pentagon would force the republicans to negotiate and come to a deal, if you look at it, was ridiculous. because you still have from now until 2013 to change it. what's going to happen is, the republicans will force a vote, they'll force the democrats into supporting the pentagon budget, so that will be taken off the table, while cuts in medicare and medicaid and the rest of the budget will still be out there. >> why didn't harry reid look two steps down the road instead of one? >> that's a very good question and i don't have the answer. >> this is checkers and it should be chess. thank you. i think at some point, the president becomes lord of the flies here, not president of the united states. because these people don't look like worth leading right now. thank you, howard fineman and chris cillizza. we'll have the president's statement on the super committee coming up at 5:45. coming up, think mitt romney is a flip-flopper?
well, he is, of course. wait until you catch this one. newt gingrich is explaining why he changed his positions on just about everything from health care to global warming to t.a.r.p. and big shocker, every one of this has changes are to the currently popular conservative primary voter and caucus voter opinion. big surprise, newt. you're catching on. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ess pro. premier of the packed bag. you know organization is key... and so is having a trusted assistant. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above and still pay the mid-size price. here we are... [ male announcer ] and there you go, business pro. there you go. go national. go like a pro.
one of the critical battleground states for the presidential race will be the state of michigan. we've got a new epic mra poll from michigan in tonight's "hardball" scoreboard. here it is. mitt romney has a five-point lead over president obama right now in michigan. wow, romney was born there and his father was governor back in the '60s. the president leads newt gingrich in michigan by 45 to 40, a five-point lead, and his lead over herman cain is 14 points, 50 to 36. president obama beat john mccain in michigan by 17 points in 2008. what a difference a day -- well, three years makes.
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welcome back to "hardball." newt gingrich continues his rise to the tonight of the republican presidential field. take a look at this u "usa today"/gallup poll. gingrich is tops. over the weekend, the gingrich campaign launched a website to explain, in his words, his positions on issues. well, take for example, his calling the paul ryan medicare plan a right-wing social engineering. well, newt now says his words were too harsh. how about his past support for health care -- a health care mandate. now he see as the error of his ways. he thinks mandates are wrong on principle. the 2007 political ad with nancy pelosi that argues for climate change, does that still work? no, he refers to the interview recently where he calls it, quote, the single dumbest thing i've ever done. for the latest on newt gingrich and whether conservatives will
buy his explanations, let's bring in mother jones' washington bureau chief, david corn. and tony parkinson is head of the family research counsel. tony, i want you to go to this one here. this is where he explains his position on impeachment. the gingrich answers website has this to say about newt's tenure during the clinton impeachment. of course. he was speaker back then. quote -- actually, this is a group of people designed as newt, himself, callista, his wife, and his campaign. it was sort of like a group of people explaining in the third person newt gingrich's behavior. so even though newt co-wrote this or perhaps drafted it himself, he's talking about himself in the third person. "opponents often try to de-legitimatize newt gingrich by point iing out that he had admitted to having an extramarital affair during the impeachment of bill clinton. what these accusers are ignoring is that the impeachment proceedings against president clinton were due to the fact that the president committed perjury in front of a sitting federal judge, which is a felony.
as the speaker of the u.s. house of representatives, newt felt that he had a duty to uphold the rule of law by pursuing impeachment. he stands by that decision today." so there you have written in the third person, this reference to newt, by newt, apparently, with his new wife. so i don't know what to make of this, tony, i don't know how flexible you are, but can you see this guy, who does these sort of jumping jacks of morality here, as our head of state? head of state of the united states? not head of government, head of the conservative movement, but the symbol of the state of our country? >> chris, i think what this says, what we have here is kind of a political version of musical chairs. and this week newt is in the chair. he's at the front. i think this says more about what people think regarding mitt romney than they do newt gingrich. newt has done a pretty good job, i think, in the debates, providing some kind of a senior statesman elder role, and has provided, i think, some pretty good insights. i don't think people have been focusing on all of his past
indiscretions. i will say that as he has dealt with them, he's shown a little more humility than is characteristic of newt gingrich, which i think is helpful. but i think he's going to undergo some really, really intensive political poking and probing. it's going to be worse than going through a tsa gauntlet at the airport i think when he's finished in the next couple of weeks. i'm not sure he stands up to that scrutiny. >> what do you think about him as head of state? you, tony perkins? i've watched you and listened to you for years. i understand your point of view, i think. would you like to see newt gingrich as our head of state? the man who represents, he and his new wife, our country? would you like to see that? >> i'm not completely convinced of a -- i mean, i know people make mistakes and they have change of hearts. and i do have some concerns about -- one of the most significant pledges you make, i think, is a pledge that you make to your wife, to your spouse, to your husband. and that's a pretty -- >> well, he's made a lot of them.
he's made a number of them. >> and therein lies the problem. and i'm not sure that he can overcome that, especially with female voters. because if you -- >> how about with you, tony? where do you stand on him as head of state? i'm probably getting your answer. you can say you haven't decided yet. >> you know, i haven't decided. no, i have not. i am undecided on this race. i am looking and keeping an open mind. i think he has some hurdles to overcome. and i'm trying to be -- it's not so much what i think, but what i hear other people in our constituency that are saying, and they're not convinced that he would be the right one. but they're also not settled with mitt romney, so they're looking for an alternative. and right now, mitt is at -- newt is kind of at the head of the pack of being scrutinized as a possible alternative to mitt romney. i don't know that he'll be able to survive that kind of scrutiny. but we'll see. >> well, let's go to this, the reports that newt gingrich served his dying wife divorce papers in the hospital. the gingrich site says, "this
story is a vicious lie. it was first reported by a left-wing magazine in the 1980s based on hearsay and has survived in left-wing chat rooms on the internet until today. it is completely false. recently newt's daughter, jackie gingrich-curbman wrote a column to set the record straight about this smear. the column reveals that, one, it was her mother that requested the divorce, not newt, and it was months before the hospital visit in question. two, her mother was in the hospital to remove a tumor, but it was benign and she is still alive today. and three, newt visited the hospital for the purpose of taking his two children to see their mother." >> in the spring of 1980, the gingriches broke up. this is two years after his first election to the congress. in september -- they separated. in september of 1980, newt brought his two young girls to see his mother, and they asked
the mother, can daddy come up and see you? while she was recovering from surgery related to her cancer, he gave her divorce papers to review. he didn't ask for the divorce, but there were divorce papers to review. and who also backs up this account? jackie gingrich herself, the wife. so it's not hearsay. this is what -- >> so the gist of the story is that he was so insensitive is to ask his wife to agree to various points of a divorce agreement while she was in a hospital with a cancer treatment is true? >> yes. that is true. it's undeniable. he and one of his daughters have said it's not true, without giving an alternative account. >> so he and his new wife, calista, are now re-writing history in this new statement they're putting out. this, by the way, is a new form of life here, where the candidate and his new wife put together these statements referring to himself in the third person, innocent of all previous wrongdoing. this is a self-exoneration like we haven't seen in a while. >> newt gingrich has more
flip-flops than the mitt romney surf shop. it's not just on policy, but on a lot of aspects of his life. he kind of reminds me of a snake that eats his own tail and keeps rolling along. >> tony, i wish you well. i've always respected the fact that you're an honest conservative and always try to find the truth. i hope you don't have to be so nimble to take this guy. >> what people have seen in the last few months of newt gingrich is kind of a different version of newt gingrich, in that he has played a role, as i said, as kind of an elder statesman, and has provided some really key insights. but again, eahe's going to undeo some intense scrutiny and i'm not sure he holds up to that when it's all said and done. >> thank you, sir. happy thanksgiving to you, sir, and happy thanksgiving to you, sir. i can do it both ways. up next, we all celebrate thanksgiving in this world. rom on romney.
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, laugh it off. he may not be first in the polls or anywhere close, but gop candidate jon huntsman did beat his opponents in one way this weekend. the former utah governor became the first of the 2012 republican contenders to make an appearance on "saturday night live." was he game to poke fun at placing all of his bets on winning new hampshire? the video speaks for itself. let's listen. >> you know, i'd like to start with something you never get to hear at the debates. governor huntsman, the first
question is for you! isn't it true that nationally you're currently polling in the low single digits? >> it is true, seth. but only a few months ago, i was polling at margin of error, so to have any digit at all is a pretty big deal. i love all of america, from dallas, texas, to manchester, new hampshire. from the innovation of silicon valley to the affordable outlet malls in north conway, new hampshire. >> i'm from new hampshire. >> well, that makes sense, because you're kind and good looking, classic new hampshire. >> well, he's paved the way for the rest. i wonder who will be next to take the plunge on "snl." next up, letting down his guard. when you think about mitt romney, you're not alone if the first word that comes to mind is boring. what if mitt romney made an attempt to be a little less vanilla. "snl" took that on too. >> tonight, mitt romney is going
to really let lose. get ready for mitt romney, raw and unleashed. sometimes i hope my closet and i think, is this a graveyard? because there's so many skeletons inside. was there a sex scandal in my past? could be. could be. why don't we ask one of my former employees, debora singer. y i never made a comment about your clothing? >> you said i was a sharp dresser. >> oh, over the line! keep me away from the ladies, because i'm a real dog, bark, bark. >> it looks like the candidate was up late on saturday and caught wind of himself raw and unleashed. let's see how he brought the phrase to the complain trail, just hours later. >> today, this is me just raw and unleashed. >> all right, thank you. >> i don't know. he still sounds pretty clean cut to me, unfortunately. next up, ready for rahm emanuel's two cents on the 2012 election. the chicago mayor blasted the gop field in iowa on saturday
with a special nod to front-runner mitt romney. not one to sugar coat his opinions, this is no exception. let's listen. >> republicans are having a debate across town. i never thought i'd say this, i'm beginning to miss the wisdom of sarah palin. their debate was called the thanksgiving family forum. which is fitting. because i've never seen a greater collection of the turkeys. take mitt romney. he said he'd be in iowa tonight. we should have known he'd change his mind. mitt romney says he's a man of steadiness and consistency, and if that's true, then i'm a linebacker for the chicago bears. >> well, i'm sure we haven't heard the last of this if romney stays on top. anyway, up next, the fallout from this incredible video. this is serious business. campus police at the university of california davis pepper spraying peaceful occupy protesters. this is bad news and it's not good for the country. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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i'm brian sullivan with your cnbc market wrap. u.s. and european debt concerns sending stocks into a tailspin. the dow fell 248 point, the s&p down 22. the nasdaq giving up 49. investors not exactly surprised at the deficit cutting so-called super committee hasn't been able to reach a deal. but today's drop shows that complete failure wasn't necessarily priced in either. now, on top of that, you had rating agency fitch warning france that its aaa credit rating remains, quote, under pressure. this heightens fears that europe's debt contagion continues to spread. it was a broad decline across every one of the key sectors, with losers beating out gainers more than five to one. financials, though, got absolutely clobbered, banks tumbled, and aig skidded about
4% after suing the government for bailing it out. get this one. on the bright side, hewlett-packard bouncing back after hours on better than expected earnings it posted after the closing bell. and that is it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." the occupy wall street movement is back on the front burner, politically, after a video of campus police at uc davis pepper spraying, see it all right there, nonviolent protesters, and that went viral this weekend. this week, the campus police chief was put on administer eve leave, joining the two police officers who used the pepper spray. all of them on leave now. 11 protesters were treated on the scene after they were sprayed and two were sent to the hospital. the officers said they felt
threatened by the protesters. but in the video we're watchi, the protesters don't look threatening at all. they look supine. let's listen to newt adding insult to injury. >> all of the occupy movements start with the premise that we all owe them everything. they take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park. that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, go get a job right after you take a bath. >> what a pander bear. cynth cynthia tucker is joining us.
ron christie is a republican strategist at the iop. ron christie, what did you think of the pepper spraying, a, and what did you think of newt gingrich adding insult to injury by saying, they're the bad people. the good people are the guys opposed to them? >> good evening, chris. i was pretty appalled looking at that video of the students at uc davis. here these students aren't protesting, here the students aren't battling with the police. here the students just appear to be sitting there. and i wouldn't call that pepper spray. i'd say that was a pepper hose. i mean, it just looks like excessive force for what the students were doing or frankly, not doing. as it relates to what the former speaker had to say, i understand what he's saying. i don't know that occupy wall street is necessarily 100% tied in the with the left, but i agree with the sentiment that people need to get a permit to occupy lawfully. and my wife include who had works in the financial district in new york city, of blocking people's ability to get to and from work is a little bit
excessive for me. >> do you think newt gingrich, who has made his career out of lobbying, basically, selling influence through one means or another should be talking about people getting a job? his job notion is leaving off his experience as speaker and living off the government. is that a job? >> chris, i think i found a strategy based on my experience working in the hill and in the white house, and i think people certainly value from people who have been there and done that. i think it's a job. it keeps me up late at night and gets me up early in the morning. >> newt gingrich is advising people to get jobs like his, which is strategic advice on how to manipulate congress. >> exactly. >> particularly congress, right? you worked in the executive branch. he's talking about how to manipulate members of congress who are supposed to represent the people. newt teaches interest groups and people with money how to influence other ways. do what they want done. >> on top of all that, chris, i would argue that it is not politically smart for any republicans to be out there,
bashing the occupy wall street movement, because many, many americans, they may not identify with their tactics, but many americans identify with the income inequality argument that the protesters are getting out there, out front. and who is to say a lot of these folks, i went to zuccotti park one morning about two weeks ago, talked to a lot of the protesters. some of them have looked for jobs and can't find jobs in this economy. and so this idea, you need to just go get a job, tell that to people who have been out of work for a long time and can't find a job. >> every time there's a hotel job opening in any big city, ron, you know that, there's like 2,000 or 3,000 jobs, men usually, just waiting in line for those jobs. i think the congress ought to take a bath after what they did -- literally, after what they did on that super committee. i wouldn't be bragging about my white-collar job right now. republican congressman joe walsh, this guy is a piece of work. he's from illinois.
maybe he should go back there. he criticized the occupy wall street movement at a town hall meeting on saturday night, saying the group's proposed solutions were -- this is handy little phrase -- anti-american. let's listen. >> i generally think this whole occupy wall street stuff is a well orchestrated, well funded far left effort to disrupt the american people and drive up obama's left base. young people and a smattering of other people, who don't understand this country and are advocating anti-american solutions. >> okay. they're advocating anti-american solutions out there on occupy wall street. well, the congressmen then took a question from the audience about veterans who have joined the occupy wall street protests. let's listen to that. >> what about the veterans that you see protesting with occupy wall street? do you consider them
anti-american? >> yes. >> you consider veterans who have fought in foreign wars anti-american? that's abysmal. >> i don't know how many veterans are part of the occupy protests. i can't imagine it's many. but anyone who would advocate socialist solutions to certain problems in this country, they don't understand this country. >> well, they're socialist, they're anti-american, and i don't think he handled the issue hoff how many are veterans. i think that was a question he was sort of stumped by. >> well, like newt gingrich, he doesn't know much about these protesters at all. he doesn't know who's out there. a veteran was seriously injured during a clash with police in occupy oakland. again, those protesters weren't doing anything, and police came in with excessive force. but let me -- >> by the way, he's a deadbeat
dad. just to put things straight. he owes $117,000 to his wife for child support. so his idea of talking about bums and all these people, the way they talk, like they're not clean on that point. >> they're all irresponsible and trying to live off somebody else, which is what they're trying to tar them with. and it seems to me that the occupy wall street movement is very american. america is supposed to be about opportunity for all, galtarianism. and that's what occupy wall street is protesting for. >> okay, thank you so much. ron, we have to go right now. i'll get you next time. we've got the president of the united states. >> fair enough. >> even you have to step aside for the president. here he comes, the president of the united states on the failure of the super committee. >> good afternoon. as you all know, last summer i signed a law that will cut nearly $1 trillion of spending over the next ten years. part of that law also required congress to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion by the end of this year.
in september, i sent them a detailed plan that would have gone above and beyond that goal. it's a plan that would reduce the deficit by an additional $3 trillion, by cutting spending, slowing the growth in medicare and medicaid, and asking the wealthiest americans to pay their fair share. in addition to my plan, there were a number of other bipartisan plans for them to consider from both democrats and republicans. all of which promoted a balanced approach. this kind of balanced approach to reducing our deficit, an approach where everybody gives a little bit, and everyone does their fair share is supported by an overwhelming majority of americans. democrats, independents, and republicans. it's supported by experts and economists from all across the political spectrum. and to their credit, many democrats in congress were willing to put politics aside and commit to reasonable
adjustments that would have reduced the cost of medicare, as long as they were part of a balanced approach. but despite the broad disagreement that exists for such an approach, there are still too many republicans in congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of washington. they continue to insist on protecting the $100 billion worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of americans, at any cost. even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research. even it if means deep cuts in medicare. so at this point, at least, they simply will not budge from that negotiating position. and so far, that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce our deficit. now, we are not in the same situation that we were in -- that we were in in august. there's no imminent threat to us
defaulting on the debt that we owe. there are already $1 trillion worth of spending cuts that are locked in. and part of the law that i signed this summer stated that if congress could not reach an agreement on the deficit, there would be another $1.2 trillion of automatic cuts in 2013, divided equally between domestic spending and defense spending. one way or another, we will be trimming the deficit by a total of at least $2.2 trillion over the next ten years. that's going to happen. one way or another. we've got $1 trillion locked in and either congress comes up with $1.2 trillion, which so far they've failed to do, or the sequester kicks in and these automatic spending can cuts w sl occur that bring in another $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. the question right now is whether we can reduce the deficit in a way that helps the economy grow, that operates with a scalpel, not with a hatchet,
and if not, whether congress is willing to stick to the painful deal we made in august to the automatic cuts. already some in congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. my message to them is simple. no. i will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. there will be no easy off-ramps on this one. we need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not the turn off the pressure. the only way these spending cuts will not take place is if congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. that's exactly what they need to do. that's the job they promised to do. and they've still got a year to figure it out. although congress has not come to an agreement yet, nothing prevents them from coming up
with an agreement in the days ahead. they can still come together around a balanced plan. i believe democrats are prepared to do so. my expectation is is that there will be some republicans who are still interested in preventing the automatic cuts from taking place, and as i have from the beginning, i stand ready and willing to work with anybody that's ready to engage in that effort to create a balanced plan for deficit rux. now, in the meantime, we've got a lot of work left to do this year. before congress leaves next month, we have to work together to cut taxes for workers and small business owners all across america. if we don't act, taxes will go up for every single american starting next year. and i'm not about to let that happen. middle class americans can't afford to lose $1,000 next year because congress won't act. and i can only hope that members of congress who have been fighting so hard to protect tax breaks for the wealthy will fight just as hard to protect
tax breaks for small business owners and middle class families. we still need to put construction workers back on the job, rebuilding our roads and our bridges. we still need to put our teachers to put teachers back in the classroom educating our kids so when everybody gets back from thanksgiving, it's time to get some work done for the american people. all around the country, americans are working hard to live within their means, and meet their responsibilities, and i know they expect washington to do the same. thanks. >> there it is, the president of the united states saw what he saw today and said i'm going to veto it. howard and cynthia, thank you for watching this with me. looks like the president made the nightly news tonight, he will veto any attempt to remove that automatic spending cut of $1.2 trillion, a lot of it going into the cuts in defense, he's not going to allow them to dump that. if you want to get rid of that,
replace it somewhere else $1.2 trillion, that he's the deal. stick to it. >> right and he's trying to do that to cut off what the republicans have already been talking about. >> rick hughes from california talking about it. >> get rid of the trigger cuts for the pentagon about $500 billion over ten years, and the president is saying if you try that, and if you manage to buffalo the democrats in congress into voting for it or if you manage to overcome a filibuster and get it to my desk, i will veto it. it's got to stick to the $1.2 trillion. you want to keep those defense cuts -- you want to restore those defense cuts? then try cutting something else, or -- >> raising taxes. >> raise taxes. >> cynthia, this puts it basically the president in the leadership position finally. of course i like it, because it shows that he's the boss, because he is the one who sets the schedule in effect. he's telling them he knows how complicated it is for them to cook up a bill that can come to his desk as an alternative for $1.2 trillion. he knows it's harder than some
softy bill that says no cuts. >> quite frankly, chris, i think the president has exerted leadership throughout the process. did he sit in the super committee meetings? no. what good would that have done? he spent months in the summer trying to work out this grand bargain with john boehner. >> he said just now, it could have been the deal on the table a year ago. >> it didn't get anywhere because -- and let's remember also that members of his party were furious with him because he was putting entitlements on the table. he talked about raising the age for social security. he talked about substantial cuts to medicare, so it's not that the president wasn't prepared to put a democratic, things that are precious to democrats on the table. he was. where did it get him? nowhere and low poll numbers. what followed from that was republicans, we to cave in at the end to get the debt ceiling increase and his poll numbers
began plummeting. he didn't look like a leader at that point. >> now we know what the plan was, if there was one. harry reid came up with this goldberg thing if they didn't get the spending cuts by agreement they would become by machine basically. the president teaches us what he had in mind, right? >> he does, because the obvious hole in what the democrats were trying to do is that the trigger wasn't a trigger if it doesn't take place until 2013, republicans could try to come in and change it, democrats could try to come in and change it. the president made the next move on the chess board here and i think it's the right one politically and substantively because politics is a game of comparison. the congress had their chance, this he look like complete dysfunctional idiots. >> what happens when they join up with leon panetta and doing their gnashing of teeth saying the president is endangering our fighting forces overseas by demanding cuts. >> then the president enlists leon panetta, who actually began
life in the old eob of richard nixon a generation ago and says to him and all the pentagon people, if you guys want your money, you got to get behind selling a compromise package of some kind. in other words if they're going to be drawn into the political game the president has to do some things he hasn't done before which is to properly deploy his troops and his supporters and own cabinet to get out there and compromise. >> howard, good point. you lead me into where i'd like to see this president do more of and my criticism of, he doesn't enlist confederates. he goes out there like a solo act again tonight, will we see in the next couple of days, hours perhaps harry reid saying good job mr. president, i'm with you all the way, nancy pelosi the former speaker, i'm with you. will they wait with their constituents and hear from aarp and all of the other organizations and nea, oh, i got to check with my peeps before i
find out who my leader is? >> let's hope the president has learned something. he is entering a very, very tough re-election battle. he needs people like nancy pelosi. she's a good soldier to deploy. he needs her out there. he certainly needs harry reid out there. >> we'll see tonight. howard? thank you, mr. president, we know which way we're going now, substitute $1.2 trillion cut or go with what we've got. >> i think he'll get some. i think he'll get quite a bit because for no other reason than the leaders of congress, including the democrats, realize how poorly they look in the eyes of the american people. so they're going to want to climb aboard the only boat that's still floating, which is the president's. >> is he saying basically if he's really tough, i don't know, if you guys want to save defense, start paying for it. >> absolutely. >> raise taxes to pay for it. >> that is where he's been coming from all the time. he isn't trying to take a sledgehammer to the defense department, but he does want republicans to own up to what it
costs to run that kind of military. >> don't fordebt -- >> it costs real money. >> leon panetta was chief of staff in the white house. he's the example of somebody who could get in the ball game to protect his own bureaucracy but also to create a deal for the whole country. >> let's also remember how one of the ways we got this huge sea of red ink, unfunded wars during the bush administration. you don't go to war and cut taxes at the same time. george w. bush was the first president in history to do that. >> okay let's talk about that because that's a good starting point. we were talking earlier tonight and it's an excellent point. i want to embellish on it. obama was elected president of the united states in 2008 but he eninherited policies he's had a hard time changing. one is the iraq war, that's grinding down. somewhere in that comes savings by not spending billions a day practically on that war. he also inherited the ratchet
effect, something you can't poke away from once you go to. cutting taxes is fun and the brutality of a tax cut it's hard to go back up again once you've gone down. how does this take him from that? how does he succeed bush instead of just inheriting the job in terms of policy? >> he's got to follow through on the veto threat now that he's made it and got to make it credible and got to make the real trigger to get people to do a deal. i think that this debate is going to continue all the way through the presidential election. i think it's going to define the presidential election. >> this particular thing he did today? >> yes, this particular thing he did today, because it really is going to come down to taxes and spending. you need a little bit of both to make it. >> let's look at the fight coming now and howard, this is interesting. so you can expect by tomorrow morning that john mccain will come out and say how dare he jeopardize defense spending. mccin california, they
appropriate defense, they love to spend as much as they can. you're smiling because the game is about to be played. there might be a dollar cut in defense spending and the president will have to say i'm not cutting defense. i'm saying if you don't cut defense you have to cut someplace else or raise taxes. >> i would argue that they're about to touch the pentagon, about to cut defense, doesn't have nearly the resonance with the american public that it did ten years ago, when al qaeda was such a clear and present danger. at the moment, the american people are talking about rebuilding at home. if you have to cut the pentagon to do that, they're war-weary, that's fine with them but there was something else that the president said in that press conference a little while ago. he talked about, let's extend the cut in the payroll tax. i hope these folks who fight as hard to cut taxes for the rich
will also care about cutting for the middle class. that is a winning political argument for him. let's raise taxes on the rich. >> let me go back to this one thing. if you listen to the president's words tonight, he said the only thing that's going to stop the sequestration, this $1.2 trillion cut in defense is an actual bill coming to my desk. i love the beauty of that. that requires the democratic senate and the republican house to agree in conference on a bill that comes to him ready to be signed as an alternative to the $1.2 trillion cuts in defense and the other areas, right? >> right. >> he has raised the bar so high the chance of them getting their act together and, the republicans and jamming a bipartisan deal through both houses is almost 1 billion to 1. >> that's probably true. he sees the high ground here strategically and now he's got to follow through it and got to have a team to do it with. >> i want to see at lies arrive, i want the confederates coming