tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC February 21, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PST
>> this is the chris matthews show. >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> the time for change has come! >> jumping off the cliff. both the president and the republicans are hinting they may take the leap this year, but just one side cannot do alone they may do together. cut made care, medicaid, maybe even social security. but will the wingers in both parties let it happen? hey, big spender. president obama used to point to big spender george bush but after putting down his third straight trillion dollar deficit, the president is the one stuck with the big spender label. why would republicans help him lose it?
finally, playing hard to get. new jersey governor chris christie is the only republican who beat barack owe baba in the polls but he insists he's just not ready. was he born to run? hi, i'm norah o'donnell. chris matthews is off today. his msnbc special on bill clinton's post presidency airs monday night. we're all looking forward to that. welcome to today. and with us "the washington post"'s howard fineman, kelly o'donnell, constitution cynthia tucker and politico's jon harris. first up, america broke? the urgency of our debt crisis is long talked about but now is really hitting home. on the state level we seen the face-off between governors and public employees. most dramatically out in wisconsin. on the federal level, there's a growing sense of the fury that brought in the tea party might lead to a bipartisan deal on entitlements. here's a graphic that shows the urgency. lovente edge you see the current year, social security, medicare and medicaid are still below
total federal revenue. but look at what happens every year from now on. every cent of annual federal revenue will be engulped by entitlements by the year 2050. is the time right to find a fix? one of the biggest voices on the republican side is their new house budget chair, paul ryan, who said this to politico's mike allen -- >> so are you committed to doing on medicare? >> yes, we have to fix these problems. >> are you committed to doing something on medicaid? >> we think medicaid reform is a very big part of it. >> are you going to provide social security reform? >> we're going throok at all of the issues. >> the president said he's open to a conversation about the recommendations of the own dealt. >> the notion it's been shelved i think is incorrect. it still provides a framework for a conversation. you guys are pretty impatient. if something doesn't happen today, then the assumption is it's just not going to happen. >> howard, i know you're not impatient. >> no, i've seen this movie many
times before. >> the president said he's open to qualifications. there are talks with republican leaders. is this getting serious? >> nobody would, because of that chart that you showed, nobody wants to be seen as somebody who doesn't care about it, ok. so they're sort of facing outward but backing into it. i surveyed a lot of republicans on the hill. on the house side, which is where all of the tea party activists are, there are the moods saying ok, mr. president, show us. we don't believe you. you go first. the senate is a different animal and the republican leaders in the senate, especially mitch mcconnell, republican leader who had a private lunch with the president the other week, i think wants to do a deal. >> about the senate, there's now the gang of six senators who are meeting who want to put forward legislation about entitlement reform. >> and they want to do their work with less attention. you're talking about democrats and republicans. these are people who are respected for what they know. you've got a kent conrad, who was on the commission not seeking re-election. that gives him some freedom. have you a tom coburn, a
republican of oklahoma who's willing to grind the senate to a halt to get something done. they've got some credibility with their peers and they're looking at four areas from the tax code to entitlements, really killers of medicare and medicaid. those are the budget-busters and social security. but they're looking at things like triggering tax increases if congress does not hold itself to cutting back the debt. so it's a system to try to get everybody to do what they say they want to to do. on the house side john boehner saying he thinks there's a six to eight-month window to have this conversation everybody's talking about. >> that's really interesting. john, mike allen, of course, spoke with paul ryan. >> right. >> he said that in april they are going to include entitlement reform in their budget. why do they want to do that? >> they want to show credibility and particularly want to show credibility on health care costs, which they think is politically safer. if you really look at the nuances of what paul ryan said to mike allen, he definitely said yes, we will be in talking about medicare and medicaid.
when mike pressed on social security, he sort of glided past that and that reflects the republican calculation. he feels they have been burned many times in the past on social security. on the other hand they definitely feel there is consensus towards bringing health care costs under control. widespread belief particularly among independents that last week's health care was about expanding access, not really tackling costs. they're prepared to put their necks out further on health care than they are on social services. >> one reason they may not be willing to do that on social security, cynthia, our nbc/"the wall street journal" poll showed 57% oppose raising the retirement age of social security over 69 over many years. this is doing it over a long period of time. can you see the tv ads that would be run against republicans? >> norah, there is a similar reluctance from the voter to accept cuts on medicare. in fact, a recent pugh center poll shows voters don't want to cut much of anything, except foreign aid, which is about 1%
of the budget. and president obama is not wily coyote. he's not going to let the republicans roadrunner him as they have in the past. that's the reason he is hesitating. the president in fact tried to curb medicare spending through the affordable care act. what happened? republicans demagogue done it, they talked about death panels. you had these old, white-haired medicare recipients screaming in town hall meetings. so, new york city the president is not going to get out there and lead this parade. as far as republicans on health care spending, you know where they're cut? medicaid. that's health care spending for the poor. they will go after that. but they're not going to do very much on medicare. >> i think what the republicans are trying to do here by, as john says, focusing on health care costs, first of all, to avoid the social security thing because that's always the most dangerous, also force the president to defend the health care law, which is at best
controversial in the country. >> but isn't there an upside politically for the president saying, i'm willing to have a conversation about this and, by the way, let's let the republicans outline all of the cuts they want to make? >> yes, absolutely. that's what he's doing for the time being. that's why these house republicans that i talked to this week said, we don't believe him. we think we're being drawn into it and we are -- yes, we're determined to move as paul liian said -- ryan said but we have to get the president out there out front as soon as possible. >> and republicans are willing to do it in a multi-step process. if they're going to enter the dance, what they're saying is the first step needs to be not the solutions but laying out the problems. and then begin the conversations. so they sort of need the president to go along with that. an education campaign about how bad it is and then what kinds of solutions might be. >> john, don't you think there's a sense among the voters that they get it, that sort of tinkering around the edges with all of these small programs they're talk about cutting in last year's budget really doesn't address what is it two-thirds of the budget that is going to drown us in the future?
>> that would be great if there was that sense but the same poll cynthia just cited does suggest that their continues to be a belief you can tackle the spending program and still stay away from the things that voters like. >> but if you got rid of the waste, can you save these other programs. >> that's what politicians have been telling them for years. cut waste, fraud and abuse. and waste, fraud and abuse doesn't come close. >> there has to be a tax part of this. that's the thing that the gang of six is working on. ok, no taxes right now but if we don't behave, then there will be. that's how they're going to try to draw republicans in. i would also watch the gas tax thing. there's a lot of money in that and it goes to the president's idea of energy independence and so forth. it's a tough one. >> there are plenty of republicans who are willing to go first. 87 new house republicans are more than willing to go first. it's their leadership, they're basically with obama saying, let's let this conversation play out and they're trying to hold back the leadership is trying to
hold back their own team from getting too far out with a position that's politically unsustainable. >> no doubt as a political bottom line we ask our regulars including howard, kelly and me if, and that's a big if, there's a bipartisan debt deal, which side does it help next year in the presidential elections? barack obama or the republicans? well, it's unanimous. all 12 say a big deal would help the president in the election, not his opponent. kelly, why? >> it was a secret ballot, for all i know. because independents want to see cooperation and that is where the president really needs to make his biggest gains in 2012. those are the people who don't like fighting, who don't have those strong party ties and they like when people get along. so the president would certainly benefit if he's seen as being cooperative and working with republicans, where as republicans sometimes want to see more of the wearing the team colors than working with the other side. >> you agree, cynthia? >> no need to worry about it because there won't be. on entitlements because of what
howard said earlierthere, has to be a tax component before the white house agrees and republicans are quite unlikely to sign off on that. >> you think that's true, john, no deal? >> i think it will be a small deal on budget issues but not a big deal on the long-term entitlement crisis of the country. >> and wonder how the vice president would describe it if it's a big deal or not? >> and i wond are, howard, why the republicans given that would want to deal? given it would be politically unhelpful to their ranks? >> that's a good question. but i do think -- and maybe i'm naive, but i do think some of the republicans in the senate are willing to do dial -- a deal. i think mitch mcconnell is a key figure. and i think mitch mcconnell for his purposes would like to be seen as willing to craft a deal. >> before we break, we're going to look back at another big budget fight. 1995, newt gingrich was in his first year as speaker and he and bill clinton were both determined to prevail, even if
it took a government shutdown. gingrich made a huge miscalculation at a critical point in the negotiations. right then israeli prime minister, its ack rabin, was assassinated and gingrich traveled on air force one with the official dell congratulation. gingrich was joined by senate republican leader bob dole but it was gingrich who whined publicly about how he was treated on the plane. here was the cover of "the new york daily news." remember that? gingrich was ridiculed for complaining about the flight and publicly linking it to his decision to force a government shutdown. president clinton loved it but played it straight. >> if it would get the government open, i would be glad to tell him i'm sorry. >> press secretary mike mccurry had some fun. >> maybe we can send them some of those little m & m's with the presidential seal on it. >> and no surprise "saturday night live" loved it. >> you know, bob, i simply can't believe he made us sit back here. you know, i just can't believe it.
>> i can't believe he serves us damn nuts. damn outrage. nothing but nuts. look at this. >> has any other speaker of the house ever been subjected to this kind of total lack of respect? >> sit down, gingrich. we'll fix his wagon when we get back to d.c. >> excuse me, ma'am, ma'am, those doughnuts are looking very, very tasty. if i can have one of those. >> iams, these scones are for the president. when i come back, i will try to scronching something up for you and the senator. >> that's wonderful. bob dole's been serving his country 50 years. he has to beg for a biscuit. >> you cranky today, senator? retighten your seat belts, ok? thanks. >> in a moment we'll begin our complimentary beverage service in the presidential cabin. and in the rear cabin, you folks back there can purchase your beverages for $3.50. >> $3.50 for a drink, they're taking us to the cleaners. >> bob, bob, just relax. he will pay for this when we get back to washington.
we'll shut down the whole damn government if we have to. >> good. >> all right. when we come back, republicans are searching for their best candidate, the one who does best in the polls is new jersey governor chris christy. only one catch -- he won't run. but baby was he born to run? plcoops and predictions out of the notebooks of these top reporters. [ "sweet company" plays ] >> ♪ i've got a good thing goin' ♪ ♪ yes, makes me happy knowin' ♪ i'm around my sweet company ♪ ooh, what a state i'm in ♪ one big permanent grin when ♪ i'm around my sweet company
♪ too many nights ♪ waitin' by the window for a light ♪ ♪ but a new day's dawnin' ♪ and you just happened to be ♪ sweet company >> ♪ sweet, sweet company, yeah ♪ ♪ sweet, sweet company, yeah yeah ♪ ♪ sweet, sweet, sweet company, >> i can't believe this is the final show of the season! >> i know! the season flew by! >> and what a blast we had. >> literally. we flew in rocket ships. >> which you crashed, ariel. >> [ shouts indistinctly ] >> oh, no! >> aah! >> i went skydiving. >> and you crashed, too, eli. >> look out, ariel and --
[ glass shatters ] >> most important, we met great people and spent time with you. >> well, we thought it would be fun to share with you some of our favorite moments of the show. what a season this has been. we celebrated america... from the golden gate bridge to new york harbor. >> from the grand canyon to tahquamenon falls. >> from disney world to disneyland! >> ...and those who serve. cream as a conditioner. >> hi, steve. >> ♪ 'cause it's one thing or another ♪ ♪ i don't even know why i bother ♪ >> ♪ one thing just tears her down ♪ ♪ 'cause it's one thing or
another ♪ ♪ i don't even know why i bother ♪ >> ♪ hail to the victors valiant ♪ ♪ hail to the conqu'ring heroes ♪ ♪ hail, hail to michigan ♪ the champions of the west >> ♪ 1, 2... >> sometimes we joined in. >> ♪ ...you know what to do hey! [ drumming ] >> i would say listen to your >> [ playing rockabilly solo ] you are ♪ ♪ you are always sleeping, you are ♪ >> all: ♪ you are always sleeping ♪ >> ♪ you are >> all: ♪ you are always sleeping ♪ >> ♪ you are >> all: ♪ you are always sleeping ♪ ♪ you are always sleeping
>> we teleported. 2, 1. >> all: stuck the landing! stuck the landing! >> begin teleportation in 3... 2... hike! >> where'd they go? >> what? >> what happened? >> ♪ ...michigan ♪ the leaders and best ♪ with pride, we hail to the victors valiant ♪ ♪ hail to the conqu'ring heroes ♪ >> we ate. >> we had fun. >> we spent time with you. >> ♪ there'll be no need to plan ♪ >> ♪ if you do, you'll both understand ♪ >> ♪ if you do, take her by the hand ♪
>> welcome back. all right, howard, tell me something i don't know. >> the democratic governors are coming to town next week and they're going to go meet the president and they're going to tell the president not everything he wants to hear. they're going to see we need money. we need jobs and we need money because we're going broke so we want help from the federal government. that's not going to be something the president wantto hear. >> kelly? >> just talked to people in gabriel giffords' office, and they said while she's recovering their office has seen a more than 20% spike in requests from constituents for help. everything from parents getting an adult daughter out of egypt to people who want a purple heart restored never got and they're really surprised because they have fewer staffers with the death of gabe zimmerman and two people out recovering and yet surge of requests they're trying to meet. >> cynthia? >> norah, you already know that the house democrats believe that republicans' decision to reopen
the abortion wars is a great gift for them. it's also a great gift for the previously embattled leader of the caucus, nancy pelosi. i talked to her friday morning after a marathon battle over a bill to defund planned parenthood. she's re-energized and the caucus is fully behind her. there's very little talk these days about disaffected blug dog democrats. >> jim webb decided not to seek re-election in virginia so all eyes are on tim cane. with all eyes on the president and his friend tim cane, the president did not break his elbow trying to get him in that race. it was very much a soft sell. at the moment it's less likely cain will run. >> he's too busy organizing people out in wisconsin. >> exactly. and that is for the senate in virginia. when we come back, the big question of the week, when the history of bill clinton is written, will his post-presidency be more important than his impeachment? be right back. the internet on a plane! are you from the future?
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and, then, don't forget, we're a great lake state. so that's one. and don't forget the upper peninsula. our upper peninsula has a very diverse landscape for movies. and, then, secondly, i believe producers are drawn to our state because we have such an incredible array of talent, talent both on the camera -- like my good friends ariel, zoey, and eli, too -- and we also have people who are wonderfully talented at behind-the-scenes role -- the technical people, such as the technical people that are on your show who make it all work and make it all come together. [ son ] my parents always lived in the states,
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