tv John King USA CNN December 15, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next. on cnn. good evening tonight from the historic theater in sioux city, iowa, seven republican presidential candidates are preparing for the final debate before iowa's kick-off presidential caucuses. the stakes are enormous. newt gingrich trying to hold his lead in iowa and nationally, amid signs of a stall. ron paul looking to prove iowa victory is within his reach. those at back of the pack desperate to earn one of the three or four tickets out of iowa. iowa votes in 19 days. here's proof, here's proof, other candidates are going to ignore the gingrich appeal today for a christmas season free of attack politics. this is a mitt romney campaign mailing that went out to iowa republicans reminding them speaker gingrich once pairs with the former democratic speaker nancy pelosi to combat climate change. it's tough. expect more to come. just earlier today, speaker gen
reiterated his pledge saying, please, republicans should all be nice. here's mr. gingrich, in his own words. >> i only have one opponent, that's barack obama. i have a number of friends running and one opponent. and i'm going to run this campaign on a positive basis because i believe the people of iowa are smart enough that they can see the difference between somebody trying to help the country and somebody who simply is running a negative campaign. >> can he stay positive is the big question because speaker gingrich make no mistake, is feeling the heat. let's bring in cnn's jim acosta. here in iowa tracking the republican candidates, jim, that is the big question. the speaker's the front-runner. he says let's be nice. describe to our viewers the kind of heat he's getting. >> reporter: well, you know, it's almost impossible to figure out a direction where he's not being attacked from right now. keep in mind he's has three other candidates in this field attack him with either web ads or paid tv ads running on the local stations in iowa. rick perry, ron paul, mitt
romney, are all doing that. you mentioned the mitt romney flyer it that is going out in mailboxes this week, hitting newt gingrich on the ad with nancy pelosi. he's take it from all sides. the governor did an interview with the associated press this afternoon and told a reporter with the a.p. he's not sure newt gingrich has discipline needed to be president. he's taking it from all sides. and you know it might be safe to say that this bug here and which has the airport code for sioux city, john, might sum up the last 24 hours for newt gingrich, it hasn't been pleasant. >> i have a sticker from the airport. i use that. i have a bad day, a look at that. >> reporter: i couldn't resist. >> you mentions the web ads, tv ads, skepticism from an establishment leader here in the state like governor brandstad. that's talk. what is evidence that the newt momentum, as they like to call it has actually stalled?
>> reporter: right. you know, i think all you have to do right now is perhaps look at the polling numbers. there's a new one out today from the folks at gallup, they've got their daily tracking poll out and it shows newt gingrich has taken a hit nationally, among republicans. we should mention this is a national poll. but it shows newt gingrich 29%, mitt romney at 24%, and ron paul there at 10%. contrast that with ten days ago the same tracking poll showed newt gingrich at 37% and mitt romney at 22%. he had a 15-point lead 10 days ago. people can talk all they want about how much they hate negative attack ads. a woman went up to newt gingrich today in iowa and said, newt gingrich don't give up, stay positive, don't fall for these attacks. and he said he wouldn't. he would stay positive. but negative attacks appear to be having an effect, john. >> that's the history of politics, voters don't like them but they tend to work. jim acosta live in sioux city.
congress and the major issues that need to be resolved before members leave for the holidays. first up, government runs out of money, yes, at midnight tomorrow night and faces a partial shutdown if funding is not put in place by then. secondly, there's that big debate over extending the payroll tax cut. democrats and republicans want to do it but cannot agree how to pay for it. a source telling cnn the democrats' original plan to put a surtax on million dollar salaries off the table. remember the republicans hated that idea. so maybe, maybe a compromise can be reached after palm a lot more discussion on that item later in the program. it's easy to get lost when talking about this in the thicket of the politics surrounding the payroll tax extension. what does it mean for you? what are the hard numbers? let's turn to cnn's christine romans. >> john, let's strip away the politics and the process and look at what the payroll tax holiday means for workers' paycheck. first, what are the payroll taxes? taken out automatically, taxes you pay on earnings for social
security and medicare. supposed to be 6.2% of your paycheck. last year the president and congress gave workers a break, we pay 4.2% of our pay, up to $106,200 of our income in our taxes. the defense is felt in our paychecks every week. and economies say that flows straight into the economy. how much money are we talking about? if the tax holiday expires a worker earning $35,000 a year would see a $700 tax increase next year. a $50,000 a year earner would pay $1,000 more in taxes. and anyone earning six figures or higher, they would see $2300 tax hike. these tax goodies are not free, as you know. they cost $200 billion. both parties want to extend the holiday but they say it must be paid for with cuts somewhere else. and that's where it gets ugly. consider how small this $200 billion fight is in relation to what congress has to fix.
it will take $4 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years just to stabilize our national debt. that's 20 times greater than the amount that has paralyzed congress now. there's a lot of work to do. if the payroll tax holiday is any indication, john, they haven't even begun. >> christine romans breaking down the numbers there. stunning presentation. after nine long bloody years the war in iraq is officially over. a quiet ceremony attended by leon panetta, u.s. troops lowered the flag of command that flew over baghdad. virtually all american forces will be out of iraq by the end of the month. as of this week 5,500 u.s. troops inside the country. nearly 4,500 americans were killed in iraq, more than 30,000 wounded. long war cost the united states more than $800 billion. stunning new developments in the saga of the downed u.s. spy drone that ended up in iranian hands. a new report how the iranians got it. we know more about its true
mission. the top republican on the senate arms services committee is demanding information about the downed drone. >> i think it's a very legitimate question, why was the drone placed in such a situation where our highest level of technology could be compromised? and somebody ought to answer for that. and i think we need to know, at least congress needs to know. we've heard nothing obviously from the executive branch, but the media reports are that our highest level of technology is now compromised. >> let's get the latest from cnn pentagon correspondent chris lawrence. chris, let's start with the information you have on exactly what was this drone up to across the iranian border. >> well, john, in a word, spying. two u.s. military officials now confirmed to cnn that the drone was on a surveillance mission looking at suspected nuclear faciliti
facilities and sites inside iran. that's an abrupt about-face from what some u.s. officials were telling us when the drone crashed. first they were saying this was only being conducted on the afghanistan side of the border. it was strictly looking for insurgents, nothing to do with spying. now these u.s. officials are saying, no, it definitely was spying. but as to something john mccain just mentioned, i've spoken to several former military officials and aviation experts, they say, yes, this drone is probably one of the most sophisticated drones out there but it's not the most advanced stealth technology and they say the u.s. has some new technology coming online in the next year or so that will probably make this outdated. >> and, chris, what about these reports that iran essentially used technology to hijack the drone? >> yeah, the "christian science monitor" spoke with an iranian engineer who says iran hacked into the gps signal and guided the drone down, basically
tricked the drone into landing in iran when it thought it was landing at its landing site in afghanistan. now the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers, has said that's just not true. he says this was a technical problem which echoes what some u.s. officials have said. but i spoke to a couple of aviation experts who say they do believe that iran may have that technology to hack into a gps n signal and perhaps bring it down. >> fascinating. still a lot of questions. every day it seems more questions. in three minutes here, here's a question, is the air rash spring spreading? senator mccain on his warning to putin. coming up at 6:40, christian bale roughed up in china and cnn was right there. stay with us. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil
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russia's parliamentary elections. >> translator: mr. mccain is known to have fought in vietnam. i think he has enough blood of innocent civilians on his hands and probably can no longer live without these horrible, disgusting scenes when television screens across the world show how gadhafi is being killed, all covers with blood. is that democracy? >> senator mccain was quick to respond, again, using a tweet. dear vlad, is it something i said? senator mccain joins us from capitol hill. what's the point of this exercise? are you having a little mono a mono with putin or do you think, a, you want him to change something and, b, the united states in terms of our policy to do something? >> well, john, first of all, later on, after that you didn't include, he said that i was, quote, nuts. but in a way, it is a bit amusing. but it's also very serious. and i think the reason why prime
minister putin reacted the way that he did is because of the arab spring that's taking place, because of the demonstrations which, frankly, surprised him a great deal. it will be very interesting to see what happens on december 24th. but my point was that i have told you and i have discussed other times on this program, arab spring is spreading around the world to china, russia, every country where there is an oppressive or repress everybody government and people want their freedom and they want their democracy. and i think that december 24th will be a very interesting day when the demonstrations say -- demonstrators say they're going to continue. so it's a little bit, you know, i try to make light of it in some respects, but obviously the seriousness with which he takes it is warranted. >> i want to speak to you again about the history of this day. you and i have had many discussions over the years about troop levels in iraq, when this day would come.
today's the day the united states officially brought down the flag and concluded its mission in iraq. i want you to listen to yourself here a bit because you took the opportunity just before this day to essentially tweak the commander in chief, saying you mighting ending this war but remember you're getting to do it because of the success of a policy you vehemently opposed. listen. >> all i will say is that, for three years the president has been harvesting the successes of the very strategy that he consistently dismissed as a failure. i imagine this irony was not lost on a few of our troops at ft. bragg today, most of whom deployed and fought as part of the surge. >> i remember senator, an interview we conducted on one of saddam hussein's palace balco balconi balconies, what now? i know you wanted more u.s. troops left, residual force left
behind. are you convinced now that all of the troops can come home and iraq will remain stable? >> by no means clear to me that iraq can remain stable. general keen, as you know, one of the architects of the surge said we won the war and now we risk losing the peace. and i think it's important to point out that even though the bush administration made the agreement, condoleezza rice, former secretary of state, said, we had always envisioned a residual force, i always envisioned a residual force because of the areas of intelligence, the area of protect of airspace, the contested areas in northern iraq and iraq/kurdistan border. there was every military commander, everyone, recommended we have 20,000 troops remain behind in order to help with the stability and the security of iraq. and the president campaigned
saying he was going to withdraw all of the troops. he did that. and i think it places the whole situation in great risk of a disintegrating situation, and i hope and pray that i am wrong. >> senator, i'm in sioux city tonight to watch something unfold that you have a great bit of experience at, a debate between the republican presidential candidates. iowa votes in 19 days. a consequential debate, last one before iowa votes. one of the men who ran against you last time, you vanquished him, rudy giuliani, he looks at the race now, he sees newt gingrich and mitt romney at top, he thinks speaker gingrich is the better candidate. let's listen. >> maybe that newt is appealing to something that mitt isn't appealing to. there's something wrong when you've will running as long as mitt has and you're at 25% and you don't go much above or below. 75% of the other republicans are telling you about him.
>> rudy have a point there, senator, when you look at gingrich, romney, who do you think's the stronger general election candidate? >> john, in all due respect, as you know, i've stayed out of this and i haven't been critiquing the flavor of the month and who's up and who's down. >> i thought this might be the night to get in. >> thanks for trying, john. >> what's it like, give me this, don't pick candidates, what it's like to be in the room, it's the last debate before a big vote? >> i think they've had too many debates. i think it's now who makes a mistake rather than who articulates his or her vision for the future of the country. i think it's, you know, i think a certain sense of relief that it's finally coming to the first real voting part of the campaign. there's a certain relief there because all of these candidates have been really at it for well over a year, some of them a lot longer than that. so a bit of relief. but also, you know, one mistake
and kraur you're in serious tro the way it works now. not enough town hall meetings. not enough discussion about your vision for the future, in my view. and that's just my impression. remember, it takes three days of your week, the day to prepare, the day of it, the day after. and so i think there's a lot more to campaigns than just debates. >> senator john mccain of arizona action appreciate your time tonight, sir. >> thanks, john. up next -- tonight's truth answers this question -- will speaker newt gingrich get his christmas wish? w.
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tonight's debate may test his revolve but at the moment newt gingrich may prefer you and anyone running against him think positive. >> we have an ad that will come up next week, wishing people merry christmas. we're talking in a positive way. i just think these guys keep this kind of negative junk, it is so discord ent with the spirit of christmas. >> we wait for that new spot, the current gingrich tv ad laments the new tone of the gop campaign. >> we want and deserve solutions. others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward. that's up to them. >> it is up to them. and and here's tonight's truth. the attacks won't stop because history, including very recent history, proves they work.
look here, the numbers don't lie. what the gingrich campaign likes to call newt mentum is stalling. eye and new hampshire shows gingrich drop, just in recent days. take a look, down 5 in iowa. down six in new hampshire. that very same period, gingrich has faced tough attacks in debates, on the web, and on tv from several of his rivals. >> newt gingrich was a career politician. selling access here in washington, d.c. >> if enough of us demand action from our leaders -- >> together we can do this. >> now voters always lament negative ads and negative campaigning, and front-runners always plead, keep things positive. a brand-new rick perry tv ad to prove the candidates trailing gingrich will ignore his be nice christmas wish. >> the problem, political insiders. newt gingrich support increasing the federal debt ceiling $1
trillion and billions in new ear mashes. >> to be clear, gingrich is no stranger to attack politics, hardly. >> let's be candid. the only reason you didn't become a career politician you lost to teddy kennedy in 1994. >> now, wait a second. wait a second. >> newly positive gingrich, think of that attack? >> he set up too good an opportunity but i shouldn't have done it. >> now the former speaker's rivals are certain, trust me, certain to continue their attacks. and because of that, truth is, gingrich may well have to reconsider his civility pledge if he wants to halt his reason slide and keep his place atop the pack. let's discuss the truth with a familiar face and local legend, giving gingrich advice. the former actor and former congressman, fred grant did who endorsed speaker gingrich. >> i love the local legend
thing. it's good. >> you knew -- >> feel like an indian chief. >> you know how think works, run your own campaigns, veteran of the caucuses here. gingrich is leading, everyone be nice. they're not going to be nice. >> they're going to be naughty. there's going to be ashes and soot in the speaker's stocking and everybody knows that. >> does he have a chance? we see the momentum stalling, he's plateaued if not starting to drop a bit. can he stay nice or does he have to fire back? >> give plea a definition of nice i thought did i thought the clip that you just ran about teddy kennedy was a fair comeback to somebody that had been on the speaker's case about being a career politician. >> unfortunately he's on camera saying he wishes he hadn't done it. now if he does anything, anything he does that's contrast, you're going to bring that up. >> i suspect, because he's the front-runn front-runner, long knives would come out for him and i expect him to defend himself.
we've never had a cycle of debates that's run this long. this is essentially a television series. based on the experience i've had in television series, people begin to look for the person behind the persona. and gingrich, i think, is emerging as a warmer, deliberative, almost i would say wise human being that kind of belies the notion that a lot of people have. >> and as you say, you know some of your friends, former colleagues in washington have a different opinion. what you told the sioux city journal when you decided to make your endorsement. he's the target of the week, not for the national press, but fellow republicans that somehow think he's the darth vader of the republican party. he's closer to obi-wan kenobi as far as i'm concerned. you're convinced the newt gingrich you know, at times combustible the right general election candidate against president obama. >> i absolutely think he's the man for the moment because beneath -- and the reason i went to obi-wan there's a wisdom in
the guy that i think belies the narrative that you frequently see particularly in the media and certainly in the punditcracy. clearly they're smart, both of them. but gingrich has i think, demonstrated some wisdom in the course of these debates, the longer narrative of the debates that i think has surprised a lot of people who were predisposed not to like him. the reason i got into this, the reason i'm supporting him, is because i remember his record. i had left congress but i was working at goodwill industries when he managed to pass welfare to work. that put a lot of women who were deemed unemployable into the workplace. it was the greatest, i think, successful social experiment since the great depression. that's what i remember about the guy. and i think you cannot minimize those accomplishments. that, plus a kind of, i don't
want to say kinder and gentler, but -- >> kinder and gentler newt. >> -- but a more deliberative newt is coming across. >> congressman, good to see you. >> take care. >> more often than not, iowa doesn't pick a nominee but instead the first cut of who won't be the nominee. win, place, or show here, you get a ticket to new hampshire. a strong fourth place finisher also can sometimes get a bit of a boost. sometimes. finishing at the bottom the pack often means it's time to pack it in in fund-raising dries up. support down the road seems to evapora evaporate. senator santorum struggling for survival, just launching a tv ad. had to hold his money because it's so scarce. >> we agree obama's reckless jane must be stopped. who is the true conservative you must trust? rick santorum. fought for conservative values his life. father, husband, champion for
life, visionary that saw and understands the threat of radical islam. >> let's dig deeper in the stakes tonight and over the next 19 days with ann and jennifer. this is one candidate, maybe two, their last debate, right? >> for a lot of candidates, this is the last debate. but it's the last very important time that gingrich and romney will be able to make a case to iowa voters. >> and new hampshire voters, right? nothing on the schedule between iowa and new hampshire either, right? >> possibly. so, i mean, look, all of these debates have been consequential. we think this is likely to be consequential because of the fluidity of the race, because romney has stepped it up in the last few days to go after gingrich because gingrich will need to respond but knows he has to be careful in how he responses. >> i've been here, here last month and i saw you. i've been back four days now. we've traveled the state.
you see in the polling numbers the newtmentum has stopped why? >> the negative advertising. he talked about that in des moines, he realizes that that negative advertising is probably sinking in. but he told us he thinks he can talk his way past it. he's confident that he said the sheer evidence, the sheer weight of the evidence can beat any 30-second attack ad. >> but is there any evidence to support that? we see the glossy, first direct mail piece from mitt romney today. rick perry's new tv ad up. front-runners love to say, i'm going to stay big, i'm going to stay above it. but we've been through a lot of these rodeos and attacks work. >> they do work. generally when they begin to work the candidate being attacked fires back. and we'll have to see whether the former speaker is good to his word that he'll resist that. but it's generally not been a successful approach to politics to simply let people attack you and not really come back at them. >> iowa feels different. i'm not sure what it will be like between this debate and the vote. maybe go back to traditional
retail politics. you to touch every of the 99 counties. a quinnipiac poll out, important, 64 psh%, not importa 33%, as the iowan covering your state, do people feel cheated the debates have become bigger than the traditional iowa campaigning? >> a little bit. a lot have seen the candidates in person and polling indicates they don't want to see all in person. they feel like they're getting satisfied. >> i don't want to end this without talking about ron paul. when you travel, some think he might be able to win iowa. if we thin win, place, show get tickets out, maybe a fourth place finisher, if it's a surprise and come up big, yes ron paul? >> the party's moved in his direction. he was sounding the fiscal alarm before. the second is he's dug deep in this state. he's put together, tried to put
together a very good organization. you never know until caucus night who really has a good organization. but by all accounts, he has been quite dill gent in doing the traditional organizing that pays off in eye. >> do you see a surprise candidate? santorum, bachmann, perry trying to get his legs back however? we saw the huckabee mvmeovement the numbers. >> you think perry, bachmann, santorum, not going to survive iowa. tonight could be the last time for one or a couple on the debate stage. >> two of the three could go, if not more. appreciate your time. thank you so much. next, nfl player's under arrest, accused of attempting to set up a cocaine distribution network. brad, where we going? just a second. just, just one second.
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welcome back. if you're just joining us, the latest news you need to know right now. today the senate, passed a $662 billion bill that funds the nation's defense. it goes to the president for his signature. we have a satellite image, look at this, of what appears to be china's first aircraft carrier conducting drills in the yellow sea. speculation of naval intengs. a wide receiver for the chicago bears under arrest now and charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine. federal officials say hurd was take noon custody following a five-month investigation. herman cain, remember him, wasn't long ago he was the
republican presidential front-runner. he's suspended his campaign. cain along with his wife gloria released a christmas video. >> for unto you is born this day in the city of david a savior. which is christ the lord. >> peace be with you. >> merry christmas. and a happy holiday season from our family to yours. >> and is this anyway to treat a celebrity? watch here. actor christian bale being, shall we say, greeted by chinese security when he attempted to meet a blind human rights activist. here's the car chase chauffeuring them away. >> i mean, i -- half of the time i'm doing this, smacking me, smacking me. >> they are still right on our
tail. >> cnn correspondent stan grant was with christian bale. he joins us beijing. looked look a rough going out there. what happened? >> reporter: yeah, it is. this has been going on for more than a year now, ever since he was released from prison. this is a blind human rights activist whose campaigned for the rights of villagers in china, campaigns against forced abortion he spent four years in prison. he's being locked down in his house ever since. whenever anyone, human rights activists for journalists tried to approach him, this is what has happened. there's a permanent cord. they're not afraid to throw punches and reject people. christian bale approached them, they wanted to meet him, he's been inspired by the story. they immediately came after us, punches tloep at us, tried to
damage our camera. our camera is shot right now. they also came after christian bale's camera, and as you saw there, they chased us away. about a 30 to 40-minute car chase down through the village around winding streets, up dirt lanes and so on. until we were able to finally shake them off and get out of the province. it does show the brittleness here in china. we talk about client na being a superpower, emerging as potential rival to the united states and heres this country, with all of the economic might concerned about one man, a blind activist, going to these lengths to try to stop people to get close to him. john? >> and let's listen, stan to what christian bale said after going through this exercise. >> i think that had we been locals we would have been roughed up very severely. as it was being foreigners, they tried to take the cameras and
forced us away. >> stan, is this standard operating procedure all the time, or is there more sensitivity on behalf of the chinese government because of what they see in the arab spring, for example, and pro-democracy movements around the world? >> reporter: you know, that has been a factor. over the past year we've seen a big crackdown on the media. we've been very much limited in what we are able to do. there's a concern here. there's a lot of pent-up anger, frustration, the gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider here. you're seeing a lot of this played out in the rural areas. also a leadership change coming in 2012. they want to batten down the hatches ahead of that. and what christian bale was really hoping to do here was to shine a light into that. interesting story, john, he had been in china for a premiere of a film that he hot sheer. the film had been shot with the backing and the cooperation of the chinese government. he then said, look, i'm here, i'm working here, i want to also do more. i want to look into a story
about injustice and i want to be able to challenge that the communist party, i want to challenge the impact on ordinary chinese that they are having to go through here. that was his aim here today. john? >> good for christian bale. stan, great reporting, being there to take that into account. fascinating story. good to see you, stan. tonight's number, 160 million. that's the number of americans who will benefit if congress passes an extension of the payroll tax cut. notice the key ghord that sentence was if. congress has not yet passes an extension. next, what's the holdup? can congress reach a compromise or will 160 working americans get a tax hike in the new year?
we've been blessed to be welcomed into some of iowa's historical and cultural landmarks and tonight's an extra special treat. broadcasting like from the orpheum theater, built in 1927. decades late, fell into disrepair and for a while, was split into a two-screen movie theater. a major restoration project launched in the 1990s, completed after the turn of the century. what you see is the orpheum fully restores from the remarkable grand chandeliers to the magnificent main theater. it's not often you get your name up in the lights in a historic marquee. look at that. we're grateful for the
hospitality. "erin burnett outfront" coming up at the top of the hour. want to rush out to sioux city, a marquee of your own. what do you think? >> i would like it. i'm looking forward to coming out there. you know, one thing we're going to be talking about tonight, john, something that's a big issue in the election. immigration, right? and whether it should be easy or hard for people to come into this country. we had a chance for the first time ever to take cameras inside google's new york headquarters, which by the way, john, was a pretty neat place to see. they have free food every 150 feet, cold and hot, by the way if you are keeping track. a chance to talk about all sorts of things. among them this issue of trying to get people from china and india come to this country for education to stay. eric schmitt spent a couple of hours with me. i believe you should take a diploma staple a visa, hand it to you and leave. one of the biggest threats we educate people they go home to
home countries and found companies that end up competing with and often succeeding against american companies when they could be working here. we talk about other things as well. it was interesting how he called part of our immigration plan and strategy utter madness. so that exclusive conversation part of the show top of the hour. >> looking forward to the conversation. a glimpse of the food either 150 feet or so. i know eric schmitt, a toxic political issue. we'll see erin in a few minutes. also in washington, the clock's ticking for congress to extend the payroll tax cut. if there's no extension 160 million working americans will begin paying higher taxes january 1, 2012. today president obama turned up the heat. >> every economist indicates it's important for us to extend the payroll tax cut, make sure unemployment insurance is extended. this congress cannot, and should
not leave, for vacation until that -- until they have made sure that that tax increase done happen. >> the holdup at the moment is in the senate where democrats had proposed paying for the payroll tax cut extension with a so-called millionaire's tax. remember republicans flat-out said no way. democratic source telling cnn tonight, that provision is off the table. essentially the democrats blinked. that's not sitting well with the president's base. take a look at this posting from a progressive blogger. i never knew the amount of depression and self loathing involved in becoming a democrat. i honestly think i hate democrats more now that i am one than i did when i was a republican. ouch! the republican house speaker john boehner has a different take. >> i think the white house and democrat leaders realized that they never did have the votes to pass their so-called millionaire's tax. as a matter of fact, they didn't have it when they had 60 votes
in the senate, didn't have enough votes to pass it. so they're dropping it. they were dropping something they never had. >> let's discuss this in more detail. joined by jason chafitts, david gergen and paul begala. democra millionaire's tax off the table. that was the biggest republican objective. is there a path now in sight to strike a compromise to find a way to pay for this so that the 160 million americans know their taxes aren't going to go up come january? >> well, i hope so. the house republicans and some democrats actually passed this bill. so as you pointed out, it is in the senate. they maybe ought to cancel bingo night and do something in the united states senate. it's up to them. >> it's really up to them. i didn't know they were having a bingo night. >> i don't know what they do over there.
>> well, as the congressman said, it's up to the senate. democrats do have a lot of frustration with the pace of action in the senate. you just heard me read that blog posting and i'm sure you've heard similar and read similar. this is the president of the united states telling the american people time and time and time again how important it is to raise taxes on millionaires. >> a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of you. millions of middle class families. that's the height of unfairness. the time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in 50 years, the most fortunate among us should pay more. we should end the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans because people like me don't need another tax cut. >> there are a lot of democrats, paul, who think the president just won't take this fight to the finish line, won't just say
no, i'm not budging. fair? >> well, you know, i think that it all depends on how the congress goes. the crazy rules in the senate, it's the one thing that unites republicans and democrats in the house, they all hate the senate. but the republicans can block anything. i will note that the president also said, and i think it's a direct quote, it's crazy for millionaires to pay a lower tax rate than a bus driver. that was president ronald reagan, by the way. there used to be a bipartisan consensus in american. ronald reagan, barack obama, bill clinton, every -- most americans believe if you have more, you should pay more. we need the money because of the deficit and we got to get the economy going again. that's what ronald reagan believed in and i'm surprised that today's republicans don't.
>> so david gergen, senator paul coburn said it's all going to get passed eventually but the political maneuvering is sickening. we know approval rates for congress is way down. is there a reset button? on every big issue, this is where we seem to end up. >> it's true, john. but the good news is they are going to pass payroll tax extension. they are going to pass payroll -- the benefits for the unemployed and get an omnibus bill so they don't shut down the government. this has been sort of a mini crisis compared to some of the ones in the past. but the fact is, i'm going to go back to paul begala's point. it's true that ronald reagan, after steep tax cuts, agreed to a number of tax cuts, i think 11 all together, during the course of his presidency. but one of the differences is, reagan always fought for what he
believed in. i do think a lot of democrats think that barack obama puts things out there but he doesn't fight for them. so there is no struggle. there is no -- so we get to this disappointment on the one hand by the democratic base. but i think the country is better served by getting something passed. so that's good news for about 160 million people. >> we'll watch as this plays out. david gergen, paul begala, congressman, if you make it over to bingo night and win some money, you have to share it with the rest of us on the program tonight. up next, we'll hear from the people who aren't just plugged in the most to iowa politics and the most at stake here. voters. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation,
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. once we decided to spend a week in iowa, we reached out to i-reporters asking them what issues should be front and center. >> more coverage of agriculture and farmers. different epa regulations removed. >> at this point in time, there is not a single candidate that has sort of risen that makes me
get too excited. >> my main concern has to do with small business legislation, primarily things like tax cuts. >> one of the things i enjoy most when i come to iowa is spending time with local activists. we both know the history of the caucuses. when you're here in sioux city, that means saying hello to ray haufman. he's torn at the moment when romney and gingrich. do you see gingrich as a viable general election candidate given his past, given his try, given his sometimes combustibility? >> as far as politics concerned, i believe he's one of the smartest men in this country. if i could be president of the united states, he would be my vice president, i guaranty that. >> what happens in the last 2 1/2 weeks once we get past the last debate? >> rht
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