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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  December 30, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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point out that if you missed the interview with the president, there are several opportunities to watch a rebroadcast on msnbc, that's later today at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. eastern and again tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. for highlights from the interview, be sure to follow me on twitter, @davidgregory, my handle. that's all for today. we'll be back next year. until then, have a happy new year. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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i think we all know we're running out of time. i need a dance partner. >> at this stage we're not able to make a counteroffer. we're apart on some pretty big issues. >> 30 hours to go until the country hits the fiscal cliff and still no deal. i'm melissa rayberger, and the white house has sent one of its top negotiators to capitol hill, but right now it's all centered on the senate, and as democrats dig in to protect social programs, republicans do the same on taxes. >> raising taxes to pay for new spending is not something that republicans believe this debate ought to be about. it ought to be about reducing the deficit and the debt, and what they are essentially suggesting is we want new taxes. we want higher taxes on people in this country to pay for new spending. >> so what happens next? with us nbc news capitol hill correspondent mike vic rah and nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. mike, let's get started with you. what's happening right now in the senate. i understand there's an update
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on the chained cpi. >> reporter: they say the darkest hour right before the dawn, melissa. everybody ought to hope that's true, at least if you don't want to see your taxes go up on midnight on monday and tuesday night because everything seems to be at a standstill right now. let's review the bidding. here it is from a republican source here on the republican side of capitol hill. all day yesterday they were trading proposals back and forth. by his count two democratic offers came back to republicans and four came back from republicans to democrats. the last one being at 7:00 last night, and, boom, after that, things pretty much came to a standsti standstill. no offers. republicans say they have not heard from democrats since then. mitch mcconnell, of course, the republican leader here in the senate, has said he has reached out to joe biden, the vice president, and not incidentally the president of the senate in that capacity. he has had a couple of conversations with him according to republican senators, one, just within the last hour, at least one, when mitch mcconnell left a closed door luncheon of republican senators to speak
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with joe biden by phone. we understand that joe biden, our crack white house team, put eyes on him going into the white house about 1:45 this afternoon. he was in delaware yesterday. seems unlikely at this point that biden would make the trip up to capitol hill for any face-to-face negotiations. democrats say this is simply a ruse, mitch mcconnell trying to go around harry reid, the democratic leader here and appealing to joe biden, trying to make it look in democratic estimation as if republicans are going the last mile, but, look, we're stuck. we're nowhere at this point. there was a major setback earlier. you mentioned it, the so-called chained cpi. a lot of people tweeted me and said what the heck is that? simply a revised way of adjusting cost of living increases to social security recipients that would in effect lower the growth of those payments, lower the rate of inflation, lower the cost of living increase most times. republicans have evidently put that on the table. that was what really got these negotiations to a standstill.
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they emerged from their lunch, did republicans, just a few minutes ago, and it's clear it's now off the table. it's a dead letter. unclear whether that's going to help move these along in any way, shape or form. harry reid, before his closed door luncheon, said he was still cautiously optimistic. hard to see from our perspective why he would say this because things seem pretty bleak at this point, though you never know what's going on behind closed doors. melissa. >> thank you very much. keeping an eye on that podium because senator harry reid is apparently going to come out and speak in a few minutes so we'll watch for that. let's go to the white house correspondent kristen welker. we know the senate majority leader has talked to the president. has there been any reaction from the white house today. >> reporter: the white house is not commenting on these negotiations that are going on over on the hill. they do not want to derail them by speaking out, by agitating the situation, but i tell you that there is a lot of investment here going on behind the scenes. in addition to mitch mcconnell
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speaking to vice president biden, the president sent his top negotiator, one of his top negotiators, rob nabors over to the hill. he's meeting with senate democrats as well this afternoon. a number of phone calls have been exchanged between staffers at the white house, staffers on the hill so there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes, but as for publicly right now, melis melissa, the white house is not talking. president obama is basically launching this public campaign to pressure republicans. president obama came out on friday and urged them to get behind his plans. again today he sat down with david gregory, of course, during that exclusive interview on "meet the press" and urged republicans to act saying that it appears all they are interested in is protecting taxes for wealthy americans. republicans, by the way, lashed out at those comments saying the president seems more interested in placing blame instead of actually leading, but that at this point in time seems to be
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president obama's strategy to some extent, publicly pressuring republicans to act and to move on these negotiations. so that is where this stands right now. the white house monitoring everything that's going on the hill quite closely, but i can tell you, melissa, that there is a sense of optimism that is waning here at the white house. you can sense that when you talk to the officials here. >> well, the eternal optimist. vice president joe biden apparently dropped by the white house today. do you know if he and the president have spoken? >> reporter: well, he is here at the white house so he is, of course, a big part of these negotiations going on behind the scenes, and the white house not giving us a whole lot of details about who is in communication with whom. yes, tea very likely that they are in constant communication that this is all evolving this day and it's hugely important in trying to move these negotiations forward, and as you have pointed out time is running out, and the consequences could be huge, not only would taxes go up on americans if they fail to get a deal done here, but we could see the markets really impacted by this and respond to
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this. we already saw that last week to some extent. there is deep concern that that could happen more drastically this week, that we would see the markets drop, so there is a lot of pressure on congress, on the president, the vice president, to try to get a deal here, but still at this hour, melissa, there's just no deal. >> all right. nbc's kristen welker, so can the senate strike a deal in time? let's bring in paul cain, congressional correspondent for the "washington post" and bob franken and jared bernstein, former economic policy adviser to joe biden. that's a mouthful. jared, let's start with you. you have worked with vice president biden. as you know, he's been called on by mitch mcconnell to help with these last-minute talks. what do you think his role is now with so little time left? >> well, the vice president goes way back with senator mcconnell, and i've been in the room when
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they have talked, and it doesn't sound like two partisans separated by deep ideology. it sounds like guys who know how to bang out a deal. that said, if that were up to them perhaps they could get somewhere, but there are so many other forces swirling around this right now. i'm kind of in the same camp as kristen and the other political analysts we just heard from. if we are starting to hear things getting further apart rather than closer apart at this late date, i don't know that a decades old friendship between a couple of senators -- former senator and current one are going to make that much difference at this point. >> paul, let me play for you what senator lindsey graham said this morning on "fox news sunday" about the chances of a small deal. let's listen. >> exceedingly good. i think people don't want to go over the cliff, if we can avoid it. i think what have we accomplished, political victory to the president. hats off to the president. he stood his ground and will get
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tax rate increases, maybe not at 250 but upper income americans. >> this is unlike the comments we've seen in washington with all the blaming going on. how like is it that we'll even see a small deal and can the president still come out on top of this? >> i think what happened, the reason there was optimism last night and this morning was because the issue seemed to just be focused on where to set that threshold on extending the bush tax cuts. was it 250,000 or 400,000, 500,000 and then the battle over the estate tax, sort of where to set the exemption owns tastes. that just seemed to be a pure numbers game, and those things can always be worked out, especially between mcdonnel and biden. they are old hands at sort of working out numbers, but then this whole issue seems to have spun out of control on the issue of the sequester, cutting federal budgets and also then the republicans throwing cpi in there. those became real policy fights, and that has just totally
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distracted everybody from the numbers game, and it's getting increasingly, increasingly grim here. i think the key thing you want to look for is when and if harry reid announces that he's going to push an alternative democratic bill to the floor. once he does that, you pretty much are looking at the announcement that the negotiations are over. >> you know, "the daily beast" has a great breakdown of the wish list for all the players in this fiscal cliff game. let's look at what president obama and speaker boehner want. president obama wants higher taxes on the wealthy, stimulus spending, limited cuts to entitlements, and speaker boehner wants limited tax increases and keep his job. bob, which -- where do we go from here if a deal isn't hashed out in the next few hours? >> not necessarily in that order. i think the priorities for john boehner may have been turned around. jared is an old jazz fan, as am
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i, and he knows that miles davis had a song called "so what" and i think that might be the background music right now as all the posturing is going on in public. the simple fact of the matter is that they are setting up the process for working out a deal after they have scared the daylights out of everybody, and it would seem to me that to quote another song, which is "what are you going to be doing new year's eve," i think that we'll be finding that these people are still hard at it and maybe calling congress into session tomorrow night which is a really rotten way to end the year. >> jared, explain for our viewers what it really means to go over the cliff. >> well, first of all, as a former jazz bassist i have to appreciate the citing of "so what" because that's a bass feature. look, i've got to say. going over the cliff at this point i think is better than accepting a bad deal, and i don't think that we should operate from the perspective that going over the cliff temporarily must be avoided at all costs because a short trip
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over the cliff, what you might think of as a bungee jump, is a lot better in the longer term both for the economy and for deficit reduction than crafting a deal at the very last minute that would be just some kind of an ugly frankenstein. now, the -- the worst part about going over the cliff is that a couple of million people actually lose their unemployment benefits, so i don't want to say that it's painless because it's not, but it -- it does -- there is a scenario by which you could reverse all of the -- most of the tax increases pretty quickly, and, remember, after december 31st midnight, if you're a republican voting for a new deal on the other side of the cliff, you could actually be voting for a very large tax decrease on 98% of households and, you know, that's going to resonate a lot more with a lot
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of republicans than what they are looking at right now. >> many thanks to paul cain, bob franken and jared bernstein. thanks to all of you. paul and bob stick around. we'll be speaking to you two coming up a little later. coming up, senator chris coons who sits on the budget committee joins me with details on a bipartisan budget deal and president obama's message to his home state on marriage equality. to the best vacation spot on earth. (all) the gulf! it doesn't matter which of our great states folks visit. mississippi, alabama, louisiana or florida, they're gonna love it. shaul, your alabama hospitality is incredible. thanks, karen. love your mississippi outdoors. i vote for your florida beaches, dawn. bill, this louisiana seafood is delicious. we're having such a great year on the gulf,
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at some point the negotiating process it appears that there are things that stop us from moving forward. i hope we're not there, but
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we're getting real close, and that's why i still hold out hope that we can get something done. >> that was senate majority leader harry reid. earlier this afternoon giving his colleagues on the senate floor a reality check. democratic senator chris coons is a member of the house budget committee, and he joins us now. thank you for that. let's listen to part of an interview that republican senator bob corker gave a short while ago. >> chain cpi, i want to let everyone know it's not part of the equation as far as this discussion goes. that's not -- i know senator reid said some things on the floor, but all of us understand that things like entitlement reform are going to be dealt with, unfortunately, during the debt ceiling debate. >> is that your understanding as well? we have an update this hour that that's now off the table. is that what you're hearing as well? >> well, there are rumors that the republican leadership has taken chain cpi back off the table, but that certainly was not the understanding during the
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conversations in the democratic caucus that just concluded a few moments ago. the understanding that we had was that the latest stage in the negotiations between a majority leader reid and the republican leader mcconnell, that senator mcconnell had been demanding that chain cpi, which would mean cuts for social security beneficiaries, was a condition for coming to any sort of an agreement. that's what i think majority leader reid was referring to on the floor in the clip that you played earlier. my hope is that they will move back off of that, that they will recognize that something that the senate democrats are not likely to endorse or support and that we'll get back to the hard and important work of reaching a balanced, bipartisan compromise that can avoid the fiscal cliff coming into effect tomorrow. >> the vice president has apparently been asked to get involved here. do you think he'll be able to make any kind of a difference in moving this along? >> well, the vice president is certainly someone who served in the senate for 36 years, has long and deep relationships here and is someone who can help in the final moments of trying to
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negotiate some sort of deal, but the reality is that if senator mcconnell is trying to end run leader reid or put pressure on leader reid by negotiating with the vice president, he'll discover soon enough that the president, vice president and leader reid are aligned very closely, communicating regularly and that the democrats in the white house and the senate share the same basic goal which is to protect the middle class and to prevent a sudden tax raise on the vast majority of americans, to extend unemployment insurance for millions of unploimd employed americans and to make the investments that we need to make our economy stronger again, and so i don't think that's sort of an end run will work if that's a really senator mcconnell's strategy. >> let's listen to what senator mitch mcconnell had to say earlier today. >> i'm concerned about the lack of urgency here. i think we all know we're running out of time. this is far too much at stake for political gamesmanship. >> how realistic do you think it is for them to come up with
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something before midnight tomorrow? >> well, if the republican minority here in the senate can come to agreement internally, if they can avoid filibustering or objecting or preventing what's called unanimous consent for us to proceed and if they give up on this demand that we make cuts to social security in order to get to some agreement, i think it is still quite possible for us to come to an agreement. the fat is has already passed by a vote of 51-49 a bill that would extend all the current tax cuts for americans on income less than $250,000. that would mean 98% of americans, 97% of small businesses, would not face an income tax hike early next week. we've already passed that, so if we'll take that back up, reconsider it and add some of the other factors that need to be in it, unemployment insurance extension, some of the end-of-year tax extenders, some things to deal with cuts for doctor reimbursement, i think we could have a deal relatively
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quickly. >> what do you think democrats have to do differently, if at all, you know, as far as the tone of all of this and working out a compromise? >> well, what i think is important is that the american people know that we're here, that we're working, that we are meeting with and listening to our republican colleagues. frankly, the senate has been much less of the problem in terms of a failure to get important bills done than the house of representatives. take one example. the farm bill. here in the senate months ago we passed a bipartisan farm bill that received support from a significant number of republicans as well as democrats, and it's been waiting for consideration and passage over in the house for months. the cost of a gallon of milk may go up to $8 or $9 next week if they can't see their way towards taking up and passing that farm bill. the refusal of house republicans to pass a bill on a bipartisan basis is one of the major reasons we haven't been able to get a responsible balanced and bipartisan deal done.
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there's more bipartisanship here in the senate than there is frankly in the house. >> what is your feeling about the estate tax and how it fits into all of this, and how do republicans and democrats differ on the issue? >> well, typically republicans want to see thence tate tax go back up to a higher amount of estate that is excluded in a lower tax rate than many democrats, although there are some democrats here in the senate who feel strongly that they don't want to see the estate tax go back to the rates that it was at. our basic challenge is that we have a significant deficit, and every one of these tax breaks or tax extenders that we're talking about, whether it's something called the alternative minimum tax or the estate tax or extending the current bush-era income tax cuts, all of them cost money. all of them mean we have less revenue to support the operations of government, so if going forward we're going to reach a balance, where we both cut spending and raise revenue, we have to achieve the right balance of those, so if there are folks in the other party,
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the republican party, who feel strongly that we should not allow income tax breaks of the last decade to continue, that's fine. i think they simply need to be willing to balance that with some of the democratic priorities like extending unemployment insurance benefits for nearly 2 million unemployed americans who will lose them tomorrow. >> thank you senator chris coons for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, former president george h.w. bush is out of icu, and the how the oak ridge boys may have helped lift his spirits. and with less than 30 hours to go before the fiscal cliff, we're watching capitol hill for any kinds of a deal today. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. mine was earned off vietnam in 1968. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. because it offers a superior level of protection,
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welcome back. we will have the late on the fiscal cliff negotiations coming up in just a few minutes, but right now it's time to take a visit to the political playground.
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president obama may reside at the white house, but he hasn't forgotten about his home state of illinois. he is backing a bill set to be introduced in january that would legalize gay marriage in illinois. if passed that state would be the first midwestern state to approve marriage equality via a legislative vote. for now it looks like the nra and wayne lapierre have not been invited by vice president biden to talk about ways to reduce gun violence. according to the nra's president david keene there's been no contact from the white house to include them in this process. piers morgan has penned an op-ed for those who want to see him deported for his views on gun control saying although i love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, i would as a concerned parent first seriously consider deporting myself. and actor charlie sheen is at it again, but this time he has company. on saturday sheen sent out this tweet to the mayor of l.a. who
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knows how to party. tweeted a picture of sheen and the mayor of l.a. at a rooftop bar in mexico and it was only a matter of time. "fifty shades of grey" is off to college. starting in january students at american university will learn about the "fifty shades" trilogy. that should be interesting. a live look now at capitol hill. the house and senate are both in session. this sunday evening they are taking care of last-minute legislative work and trying to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff. plus, could the nhl be any closer to reaching a deal in congress? they are back at the negotiating table as well. [ male announcer ] with over 50 delicious choices of green giant vegetables it's easy to eat like a giant... ♪ and feel like a green giant. ♪ ho ho ho ♪ green giant
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share brotherly love. share one up's. mom ? mom ? the share everything plan. lets your family share a pool of data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. now get a lucid by lg, free. former president george h.w. bush is out of intensive care at houston methodist hospital and is currently in a regular
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patient room. the 88-year-old has opinion at the hospital since november 23rd. the former president got a shot in the arm from one of his favorite singing groups. after requests from former first lady barbara bush, the oak ridge boys serenaded him over the phone. they sang a verse from "amazing grace" and "elvira" and now i have that song in my head. here are some other stories that we're watching for you today. thousands of people including fire fighters, police officers and first responders paid final respects to the first of two webster fire fighters killed in an ambush on christmas eve. a second funeral is being held tomorrow. the shooter, 62-year-old william spengler, killed himself. police have also charged a woman in connection with that ambush. a san francisco high school teenager has been suspended and faces expulsion for expressing her feelings in a poem that she wrote about the newtown, connecticut shooting. the school says she violated their zero tolerance policy towards violence. and nhl lockout negotiations continue to try to save the
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season. the lockout has been on now for more than 100 days. the league has already cancelled games through january 14th, and an offer is currently on the table for a 48-game season. after passing through the house and now the senate, a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff still seems to be going nowhere. without a deal, tax hikes and massive spending cuts are in effect on january 1st. so here's what senate leader harry reid had to say earlier. >> this morning we've been trying to come up with some counteroffer to my friends' proposal. we've been unable to do that. i've had a number of conversations with the president, and at this stage we're not able to make a counteroffer. >> nbc news deputy political editor dominic a montenaro join us. >> hope is not a plan, and, you know, i think both sides are
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still far apart. i think they, you know, say they will continue negotiating. you saw the chain cpi now game off the table but a lot of this is posturing. republicans were outraged that harry reid went to the floor today to say that chain cpi is a deal-breaker because they didn't think, you know, that that was the line in the sand for them and they were saying that harry reid is trying to, you know, just play a political -- do a political maneuver here to signal that -- that they are not going to negotiate on chain cpi when, you know, that to them, it wasn't even a deal-breaker. they didn't say there was a line in the sand and hadn't even heard from reid since 7:00 last night, and, you know, that just shows you how far apart those sides are on this right now, melissa. >> let's take a listen to something that president obama said on "meet the press" today. >> if all else fails, if republicans do in fact decide to block it so that taxes on middle class families do in, fact, go
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up on january 1st, then we'll come back with a new congress on january 4th, and the first bill that will be introduced on the floor will be to cut taxes on middle class families, and, you know, i don't think the average person is going to say, gosh, you know, that's a -- that's a really partisan agenda on the part of either the president or democrats in congress. i think people will say that makes sense because that's what the economy needs right now. one way or another we'll get through this. >> it kind of sounds like the president is prepared for this to go into next year, and if it does, who do you think gets the blame? >> well, call it instead of democrats plan "b" call it plan "c" for cliff because i think democrats for a while have held the upper hand on these fiscal cliff negotiations because what is it all mean? this is about taxes for democrats, and the bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, and, look, they are saying republicans are going to come
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back and say we don't want taxes to go up for those, you know, making less than $250,000 a year or more, so they will come back at the beginning of the year and propose something that can get done. you heard chuck schumer who happens to be reid's top lieutenant say the same thing on "meet the press" last week, so i think that that's what democrats see as their leverage and their fallback. now, republicans see the debt ceiling as their leverage which is a tricky game. >> we're hearing that vice president joe biden has been linked to the negotiations. what do you think his role is in all of this, and why do you think he's being called in now? >> well, mitch mcconnell, a top republican aide told me, picked up the phone and called joe biden because they felt like these talks were going nowhere, that they hadn't heard back from harry reid and decided that they wanted to get together with biden to say, you know, to get things straight with what the white house wanted and then to
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be able to bring him in because mcconnell and boyden go back a long way. biden, had he been in the senate, would be probably the most senior member of the senate right now. so i think the two of them feel like they could get something done, but, i mean, time is ticking here. >> thank you very much and happy new year. >> hey, same to you, melissa. >> for more on the fiscal cliff negotiations i am joined now by democratic strategist richard goodstein and republican strategist terry holt. thank you both for being here. >> sure. >> hi, melissa. >> terry, let's start with you. what do you think is going on behind closed doors right now on capitol hill? >> i think i'm still talking about the "meet the press" interview by the president this morning. you know, the american people elected president obama to lead, but he spent most of the morning today playing the blame game, and i say let's get the blame game over with and start talking about solutions for the american
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people because, you know, every -- every dollar you take, you can take every dollar from every rich person in america and still not balance this nation's budget. until we start talking about real spending cuts and structural reform to the entitlement programs, we're going to go broke. we'll go the way of greece, and the president hasn't moved off that. he's still playing politics with these issues, and frankly i think most of us now don't care who gets the blame. we're concerned about our economy and about our paychecks. >> richard, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell took to the senate floor this afternoon and said despite the setback all is not loss. >> there's no situation that remains an impossible sticking point. the sticking point appears to be a willingness and interest or frankly the courage to close the deal. i want everyone to know i'm willing to get this done. but i need a dance partner. >> you know, so richard, here we are talking about this blame game, and everybody is pointing
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their fingers at one another as we've been hearing all afternoon. what do you think that republicans are looking for here? >> i heard the same "meet the press" interview that terry did. i didn't hear the president casting blame. what i heard was the president talking the ways in which he's gone more than halfway to the republicans' position on taxes, on spending. i think what the republicans, frankly, are looking for now is a way to walk the following line. allow their members to observe the grover norquist pledge and not raise taxes, which means they can't vote before midnight tomorrow to raise taxes. they could easily do that when the calendar turns into the next year. they could do that at any point, be consistent with their pledge and kind of walk away with their chins high. again, presumably observing some sort of line that the president supports about tax increases or in that case not having tax cuts for a few of the upper
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percentage taxpayers. that's something, again, that doesn't violate any republican pledge, so i think as a practical matter, and we heard this when plan "b" was pulled by speaker boehner, the perception is they can't allow themselves to vote for a tax increase. they don't want to get primaried, but come the new year they have an out which allows them to actually cut a deal. mitch mcconnell i think heinz what he says that he wants to get something done because they don't want to see the economy go into a tailspin. they read the same polls that you and i read which is that the president comes out way ahead these days relative to the republicans over who is looking out for the middle class interests. >> terry, a few moments ago democratic senator claire mccaskill told cnn the feet lies at the hard line republicans. let's listen. >> you have a group of people in the house of representatives that basically slapped around their own leader and said we won't even consider a tax increase for millionaires, multi-millionaires, billionaires. >> what do you think about that
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comment? >> democrats have talked for weeks that it was in the best political interest to go over the cliff and perhaps take the republicans with them. for the senator to talk about what republicans are thinking and doing to me is disingenuous. their plan from the very beginning has been to take the nation over the cliff so that they could get the policies they want, and now we're hearing that they are going to do some stop gap measure to do all of the easy things, to do tax relief for a certain group of special americans, to do some amt and doc fix reforms. these are programs that spend more money. the fact of the matter is that this country is going broke. the republicans have taken a pretty unpopular line, i admit it. it's not fun to talk about spending. it's not fun to talk about entitlement reform, but until we get to those basic issues and we -- we quit talking about who is going to win and who is going to lose, the whole country loses. >> richard, what's your response? >> the president has put on the
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table a proposal that now has more in the way of spending cuts than it has tax increases on the wealthy. look, it is a talking point. i don't fault terry for using it, that you hear out of the republican party that the president is somehow unwilling to bargain. again, i think -- >> but that's then reported. that's true fact. he said from the beginning that he wasn't willing to discuss entitlement reform. in fact, today when david gregory asked the president what his first priority was he didn't say spending cuts. he didn't say reform of entitlement. >> terry, i didn't interrupt you. >> he talked about immigration reform. you didn't pay attention. >> hey, bud, i didn't interrupt you. hey, look, he has put $435 billion in spending cut proposals on the table. >> a drop in the bucket. a drop in the bucket. >> i didn't interrupt you. >> indiana is seer. >> whoa, whoa, whoa, and the fact is he's brought down his ask on tax increases on the wealthy. he's brought down his request for stimulus spending.
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remember, simpson/bowles said we need short-term stimulus and long-term tax cuts. everybody thinks simpson/bowles is the cat's pajamas. i think the president has clean hands on this. >> have to leave it there, as much as i could watch you two fight all day. >> happy new year to everybody. >> oh, to you, too. take care and thanks for being on. >> democratic central arteryist richard goodstein and republican strategist terry holt. last minute talks in the final hours of the fiscal cliff talks. we'll follow all of it, msnbc, the place for politics. ♪ [ male announcer ] every time you say no to a cigarette, you celebrate a little win. nicoderm cq, the patch with time release smart control technology that acts fast and helps control cravings all day long.
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who loses? let's bring in bob frank en syndicated columnist. thanks for being back. if we go over the fiscal cliff works comes out on top? >> it sounds like the president does, after all, he's the won the election. the polls show that the american people for the most part favor some sort of tax increase for the wealthy, but quite frankly the losers are just about everybody. certainly those who are in the position to need unemployment insurance, federal workers, those who are beholden to the government, that type of thing, and i think that also the political system in the united states is a loser. i really do believe that the polls bear this out, that people are really getting disgusted with all the players in this game, and they want to see it stopped. >> let bring in paul cain, congressional correspondent for the "washington post." you know, to what bob was just saying americans are shaking their heads at all of this, just watching this blame game and wondering where are we going with this. >> you know, melissa, the other
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night mark begich, freshman senator from alaska when he was walking out friday night, he called it political schizophrenia. he said it's just -- he's getting whiplash back and forth, optimism, pessimism. actually i -- i'm told that we're actually about to head back towards optimism, that i think in the next 20 or 30 minutes senator reid might go to the floor and say talks are back on. now, is that 100%? it's so back and forth right now. every five minutes you get something new, a different rumor, and i think that just really -- the public just wants it done. they want it finished. they don't want to have to deal with this whiplash, the schizophrenia as senator begich calls it. >> so much talk has been made that republicans will bear the blame if we go over the cliff. michael tomasky wrote never have the priorities for survival and success of a major party's
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washington politicians within so at odd with the requirements for the country's survival and success. the washington republicans represent the one-third of the country that hates government, despises obama and considers obstruction a victory. paul, do you think that's true? >> that's probably overstated a touch, but, you know, the republicans, particularly house republicans, are in a very difficult position because they did something really, really well in 2011-2012, and that was drawing their lines, their district, their map lines really well to look very sort of homogenous and very republican. therefore, their biggest fear, most of them, is a primary challenge from a conservative. 204 out of the 234 house republicans who won back in november, 204 of them got at least 55% of the vote. they won by ten or more points. >> i need to cut you off because let's go to the senate floor where senator harry reid is
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speaking on this subject. let's listen in. >> i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to debate only with senators able to speak for ten minutes each. >> without objection, so ordered. >> mr. president, we're coming in at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and we'll have further announcements perhaps at 11:00 in the morning. i certainly hope so. >> the senior senator from connecticut is recognized. >> i thank the chair. mr. president, i guess the good news is that i'm rising today not to speak about the fiscal cliff, but what i'm speaking about is not good news because it deals with the tragic events that occurred in benghazi, libya, on september 11th when -- >> we are watching senator joe lieberman of that's joe lieberman talking about the fiscal cliff issue. let's go to luke russert, who is in washington following all of this as it somewhat progresses,
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or not. what is the latest that you're hearing? >> well, if i was not mistaken, harry reid said they would meet tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., which leads me to believe that doing anything tonight is probably not a possibility. obviously we'll have to check that. but talking to folks around the building, there are a few things that have come up. i spoke to senator conrad of north dakota. he was very adamant saying the republicans wanted to much in regard to the estate tax. democrats want to extend that, up to 35% of an estate. the most interesting thing i found out, i talked to one high ranks republican member and they said we're preparing our members that we're going to lose this
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fight on revenue. the president is going to get tax cuts for those making $250,000 no matter what. but what you guys need to know now is that we've held our ground on this fight, and we're going to come back and go with the president during the debt limit. we're going to go with the president during government funding fight and we're going go with the president regarding the sequester, these automatic defense cuts. so there's this idea now amongst republicans that's formulating in the house, all right, we might lose this one and get embarrassed. but you know what? we're going to be just as strong as we need to be in the next 8 to 12 weeks, because there are a lot more battles where we can engage the president and get him to make cuts to entitlements that we want to see. it's an interesting mindset, one that's being implemented and house republicans are saying let's not shed too much blood on this fight anymore, because it's not one we're likely to win.
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but it's setting the table for a very interesting very few next months. this could be the first real fight to the end of many. >> luke russert, thank you. coming up, a down-to-the wire negotiations on the fiscal cliff.
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republicans have taken their demand for social security benefits off the table. truth is, they should have never been on the table to begin with. there's still significant difference between the two sides but negotiations continue. there's still time left to reach an agreement. i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed with debate only. >> without objection, so ordered. >> harry reid on capitol hill just moments ago talking about
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the progress in the fiscal cliff negotiations. let's bring back paul cane from "the washington post." what are your thoughts of that that they'll reconvene tomorrow? >> that's senate speak for progress. that was a very, very good moment there. you know, earlier today, this afternoon, reid essentially said he didn't have another offer to give and best of luck, joe biden and mr. mcconnell in your talks. my sources have said that those talks went very well and they've restarted the talks now between reid and mcconnell. now, it's going to go probably late tonight, late tonight. we'll have to see. >> okay. we're going to have to leave it there. that wraps things up for me. we continue to wait for a deal to be reached on capitol hill to avoid the fiscal cliff. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. better.
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