tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC July 16, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PDT
going to end. let's play "hardball." >> it's a beautiful day why not have class outside. in tonight for chris matthews, leading off the adult in the room, that's how president obama is trying to portray himself. the calm daddy trying to discipline a group of unrule children on the other side of pennsylvania avenue. the president again positioned himself as the sensible centrist insisting the public agrees with
him on not just cuts but taxes. and that republicans in congress are dug in for idealogical reasons. as we all know how it's going to end with the debt ceiling being raised, no real big agreement on spending and taxes, all that's left is a week of political posturing. what would happen politically if no deal was reached and the u.s. did default? would voters blame the president or the economy and republicans? the answer to do could determine who wins the 2012 election. also, the videotape, michele bachmann's husband denying he referred to gas as barbarians despite the tape that indicates differently. we have a full unedited tape on that. that tops our 2012 coverage tonight. the drip of the rupert murdoch scandal continues. first rebeck ka brooks the head of his newspaper operations resigned. then late this afternoon we learn that the ceo of here is
stepping down. can murdoch stop the scandal from completing overwhelming his empire. and finally cue mar and in harold and cue mar leaving the white house for a reoccurring role in "how i met your mother." that's in the side show. tonight's question, who's holding up the agreement? congressman chris van hollen is a democratic from maryland. he joins me now. he's in on the biden talks when those were the center of the debt ceiling negotiations. congressman, we know at this point how this is going on the end. some sort of raise to the debt ceiling, some sort of cuts, but not the grand bargain. do you feel as if your party is politically in a better position today than a week ago when these talks began? >> chuck, i don't know what the end game is going to be. could take another turn. i'm not sure exactly where all
the dynamics between the house and the senate are right now. what i do know is that the president said today that he still held out hope to try to get a grand bargain. speaker boehner said the same thing of course in the next breath, speaker boehner said he wasn't willing to close any of his corporate tax loopholes which have been an obstacle to get the deal done. again, i think there's a growing consensus that something will be pulled together, but i think there's a whole lot of -- there are a lot of hurdles along the way to go. >> president in the press conference finally put some detail os the speculation on what it is exactly he put on the table when it comes to entitlements. here's what he said about medicare means testing. >> we've said that we are willing to look at all those approaches. i've laid out some criteria in terms of what would be acceptable. so, for example, i've said very
clearly that we should make sure that current beneficiaries as much as possible are not affected. but we should look at what can we do in the out years so that over time some of these programs are more sustainable. i've said that means testing on medicare meaning people like myself if, i'm going to be turning 50 in a week, so i'm starting to think a little bit more about medicare eligibility. i'm going to get my aarp card soon and the discounts. >> congressman, medicare means testing, president's for it, are you? >> no. but let me say this, chuck. medicare there's been a lot of misunderstanding about this. part b your physician reimbursements and part d, which are prescription drugs are already means tested.
the higher income the more co-insurance that you put in. >> sure. >> that's current law. so if the president is saying as part of a big deal he can look at some of those things, that's one thing, but what happened was that the, you know, the republicans in the house totally pulled the rug out from under speaker boehner when he said we're going to get the president to make some changes possibly in medicare maybe some other areas. but we've got to close corporate tax loopholes and his caucus said no way. as of today if you go to their website, their current position is that unless enact a republican plan which passed the house a while ago, slashes medicaid, unless you do that, we're going to allow the united states to default on its debt obligations. they're right back in the corner. no compromise, which is where they started. >> you're saying you would have accepted medicare mean testing
as part of a grand bargain if it meant some sort of reform in the tax code that meant the wealthier might be paying more to help pay down the deficit? >> what i'm saying is chuck, in the context of a very large agreement we were willing to give the president some running room to see what he could negotiate. i've now seen the specifics. certain portions of medicare. i would not agree to that with respect to, you know, part a, which are the hospital reimburse jmts. i'm not saying i would agree with it with respect to other things either. the difference between republicans and the democrats is we said we may not like these things, mr. president, but at least talk about them, bring them to us. we will not from the beginning say as the republicans say, we're not going to agree to it because you guys won't close the corporate jet loophole.
that's the difference. >> the president talks about some of the politics that we're going to see in the next week before an eventual deal. here's what he said. >> my expectation is that you'll probably see the house vote on a couple of things just to make political statements. but if you're trying to get to $2.4 trillion without any revenue, then you are effectively gutting a whole bunch of dis -- domestic spending that is going to be too burden donsome and not going to be something that i would support. >> you know, congressman, it seems as though the eventual deal. speaker boehner today talked about let's get those votes and then we'll talk about this plan c. it's going to be some version of a commission, a binding commission about congress that harry reid's pushing for. a trillion in cuts, it looks
like. and this idea that the debt ceiling -- the burden would be put on the president. if that's the eventual deal in order to raise the debt ceiling are you going to support that? >> chuck, again, i'd be crazy to say in advance without seeing the particular language on this deal how he's going to vote. we all know that the devil's in the details. one example, of the $1.1 trillion that we were talking about with respect to discretionary spending, one of the sticking points throughout the biden talks and something that continues to be a sticking point is to create firewalls so all the cuts don't come out of education, out of research and cures for cancer. that we also say that the pentagon and some of the security agencies are going to take their fair share of the cuts. until we know what we call firewall is to make sure that there's a fair allocation of the cuts it's impossible to say. at least speaking for myself how i would -- how i would move
forward on that particular proposal. >> all right, congressman chris van hollen the ranking democrat on the house budget committee who's been involved in these talks. thanks for coming on "hardball." >> good to be with you. >> susan page is in washington bureau chief for "usa today." actions speak louder than words. watching mitch mcconnell do legislative gymnastics to come out with an escape patch is annage knowledgement that politically they were losing. and mitch mcconnell was throwing himself in front of a bullet for speaker boehner. is this political win for the president it seems short-term. can he somehow, does he build on it in any way or is the air out of the balloon because he couldn't get washington to bring this together, he couldn't bring this together. some are arguing where was he the last six months rather than the last six weeks? >> right.
he does need to have a deal happen. if for some reason this doesn't come together in some fashion in time, his political career is staked on this economy doing a little bit better. the white house has been warning us right and left if the debt ceiling gets close and not raised in time that that fragile recovery is going to have the pins kicked out from beneath it. so he needs -- i think one reason he's no longer saying he wants a clean debt ceiling we know from our polling that americans are more concerned about spending than the debt ceiling. he needs to be saying i had to spend a lot of money because of the economic crisis when i took over, but i'm trying to take steps to deal with it. >> he had a message to progressives as well. we can't have the -- he was making the case that you want a big deal and you want to try to do this after the debt ceiling if the debt is an excuse not to do something that you can't do an investment in a new education
program, or you couldn't do a special investment in a infrastructure project, is that going to resonate? >> he'll have some problems with liberal democrats who are not going to be happy with changes in social security and medicare. who will want higher taxes for the wealthy to be a big part of this. that's not at all clear that we're going to have any of those tax steps in this final deal. i think there will be some unhappiness on his left. on the other hand, democrats are likely to follow the president. we find that even the most liberal democrats still support the president and want him to be re-elected. he's not getting challenged in primaries. he's still in a pretty relatively strong position there. >> it's a big difference. the progressive elite may think one thing. you look at trank and file they're with him. susan page, bureau chief for "usa today." >> thanks, chuck. coming up, what happens politically if republicans and democrats don't reach a deal and
the u.s. does go into default? the deal's not done, done. will voters blame the president, the republicans for not making the deal, all of washington? you're watching "hardball" only you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.rapid wrinkle repair. its retinol formula smoothes wrinkles in just one week. why wait if you don't have to. neutrogena®.
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charlie cook, your column today you basically pinpointed republicans as political losers on this even regardless of whether a deal is reached. explain. >> i sort of started talking about the pnch line what's mine is mine what's yours is negotiatable. we don't know whether president obama could have made stick with democrats on capitol hill, entitlement cuts, domestic spending cuts. we don't know if they have been willing to compromise or do the right thing or not. republicans are coming across so inflexible, so playing to their base as opposed to independent voters that i think they're losing this fight and because i think this is a fight for independence because there's 95% of the people in each party vote for candidates of its party. the thing is turnout does not vary that much from year to year. it's about independents.
what republicans are doing is playing a losing hand toward independent voters. >> michael, the president almost cloaked himself today in polling numbers. here's what he said for instance about the fact that a grand bargain that the american public was already for it, they didn't understand why republicans weren't. >> the notion that somehow the american people aren't sold is not the problem. the problem is members of congress are dug in idea logically. this is not a matter of the american people knowing what the right thing to do is. this is a matter of congress doing the right thing and reflecting the will of the american people. >> michael, i'm sure there is a political reality here though for speaker boehner, for a lot of these republicans in that they primaried and they would lose if they cut sort of grand bargain. >> they're sort of stuck. i agree with charlie. they sort of positioned themselves in a way that they probably are looking at more of
the blame as this thing goes forward. the president was clearly today looking behind -- beyond the next couple of weeks and looking to 2012 and looking to start that conversation about what was responsible. i will say this, i think the original question you ask which is what if no deal would be reached and we would go into default, perhaps the republicans still get blamed initially. ultimately if the secretary of the treasury is right and the calamity happens that he suggests would, i don't see how anybody, any politician in office escapes the blame, especially the president who would be the one presiding over the country at a time of 10%, 11% unemployment if all of these terrible things happened. that's got to be bad for him. >> we know the american public has a short attention span. they've been angry for three straight elections. they fired the republicans. then the public was mad at the democrats fired them from
control of congress. if washington's not working right now, at what point does the public though up their hands fire both of them and look a third way? not since perot 1992 has there been a vacuum that somebody from the outside could fill and yet there's no obvious outsider. >> i think presidential elections it's hard enough to find a viable, credible third party independent candidate. but you know -- it virtually never happens. i don't think it's a legitimate possibility. >> when does the angry turn is my question? >> i think they're going to start throwing out incumbents in both parties. you could see if they're angry and they throw out republicans in two elections, democrats in the next election and if things seem just as dysfunctional or more so, i think they start throwing a bunch of bodies out
of windows and some are red and some are blue. but it's people who weren't seen as responsive. i think these guys are on very, very thin ice here because i think people look at washington and they see this dysfunction and they throw the in party out. right now in the house of representatives the in party is republicans. >> at what point do voters say where's all this focus on jobs that at first republicans were promising then democrats instead it's all been debt talk. >> i think -- i don't think that, i think they've lost faith in government. and government's ability to turn an economy to create jobs. so i think that's kind of off the table. it's just no longer a rational -- incentive for voters i don't think they think these people have a whole lot to do with creating jobs. >> let me just say, chuck, that
i think that was one of the things that appealed to the president about the grand bargain was the idea if the markets and everybody else many this town were surprised that they had managed to come up with this massive plan, that might kick start the economy in a way that nothing else that he could do would. >> i think that's what appealed to him about that idea of the grand bargain is that might have done things that he couldn't have done otherwise. >> as always, thank you both. up next, the actor who famously played kumar is leaving the white house for a role on "how i met your mother." that's ahead on the side show.
back ta "hardball." the reason i love seventh, it's time for the side show. it's not just the deal ceiling negotiations sparking intense partisan politics. yesterday marked the 50th congressional baseball game at national's park. the final score 8-2 democrats over the republicans. the democrats had a bit of a ringer. freshman representative cedric richmond of louisiana happens to be a former college baseball pitcher. he struck out 13. carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and even though they did not play in the came eric cantor and nancy employeessy did stop by. members of congress aren't the only ones taking a break from politics. cal penn an associate director at the white house will be leaving his post to pursue his alternate career as an actor. penn is best known for his roles
in "the harold and kumar" series. this time penn is heading out for a reoccurring role in the hit series "how i met your mother." starring neil patrick harris, neil patrick harris got his career restarted thanks to cal penn and those harold and kumar movies. next up, the crew on the space shuttle "atlantis" got a vip call from the president this afternoon, but before turning serious matters, president could not hold back from having a little fun with the crew members. let's listen. >> hello, this is the international space station? >> this is president obama, who am i talking to? >> you're talking to the increment 289 crew and the crew of the space shuttle "atlantis." >> that's funny, i was just dialing out for pizza. i didn't expect to end up in space. >> well, the old pizza joke.
why not. the president thanked both crew for the their hard work and dedication to the mission. both the international space station and of course the shuttle crew. that's "hardball" for now. coming up next "your business" coming up next "your business" with j.j. ramberg.ar insurance. ♪ geico, saving people money on more than just car insurance. didn't taste so vegetably? well, v8 v-fusion juice gives you a full serving of vegetables, plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. and try our deliciously refreshing v8 v-fusion + tea.