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tv   The Daily Rundown  MSNBC  December 31, 2012 6:00am-7:00am PST

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>> oklahoma produces straight-talking politicians. we had coburn on today, cole, speaking their minds. >> dr. sachs? >> we'll survive the cliff, but we're going to be here again talking about it next year. >> not happy. ed rendell? >> shakespeare is smart when he said sound and fury signify nothing. he was talking about the fiscal cliff. >> some of the leading voices this morning told me that, first of all, we are on fantasy island, and secondly, another leading voice said that everything that happens today is inconsequential. >> right. >> i will tell you, i don't think it is. i think it matters and i think everybody wants one thing, for washington to get it done, get a deal done! get a deal done! >> but this deal is only a precursor to the more important deal. >> yeah, well, at some point -- >> she wants you to get that one done, too. >> get it all done. >> at some point we're going to hurt ourselves very badly. we already have. well, if it's way too early, it's time for "morning joe," but now it's time for the fix. the fix is in for chuck todd and "the daily rundown."
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the ball will drop in times square tonight at the stroke of midnight, but in washington, have lawmakers already dropped the ball? with less than 15 hours to go before the fiscal cliff deadline, the new year's countdown is taking on a whole new meaning. health scare. just days before secretary of state hillary clinton was set to return to work, she suddenly is hospitalized for a blood clot stemming from that concussion she sustained recently. and in an nbc news exclusive, president obama lays out his second-term priorities, and guns didn't make the list. plus, is there new hope for chuck hagel? the president defends his possible defense secretary pick. good morning from washington. it's the last day of the year, december 31st, 2012, and this is "the daily rundown." i'm chris cillizza in for chuck todd. with sweeping tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect at midnight,
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even lawmakers are now publicly pessimistic about the ability of congress to, well, get anything done. at best, democrats and republicans will patch together a limited, short-term deal to avoid the most immediate economic impacts of the fiscal cliff. with 15 hours to go and counting, members of congress are disgusted and embarrassed. >> when the future of the country, you know, rests in the hands of 70 and 80-year-olds who have jet lag, it's probably not the best thing. >> something has done terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our american economy is our american congress. >> the senate will reconvene at 11:00 this morning, but after a day of public gamesmanship and little obvious progress behind the scenes on sunday. >> there's still significant distance between the two sides, but negotiations continue. >> i want everyone to know i'm willing to get this done, but i need a dance partner. >> mitch mcconnell called on vice president joe biden to be that dance partner.
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biden has brokered 11th-hour deals with the republican leader in the past. mcconnell's appeal came just hours after the president appeared on "meet the press" and called out republican leaders by name. >> congress has not been able to get this stuff done, not because democrats in congress don't want to go ahead and cooperate, but because i think it's been very hard for speaker boehner and republican leader mcconnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest americans should go up a little bit as part of an overall deficit reduction package. >> nbc's capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell is live on capitol hill. kelly o., i'm looking at the clock, we are now 14 hours and 58 minutes from going over the fiscal cliff. let's outline -- >> reporter: but who's counting, right, chris? >> yeah, who's counting? let's go over for people, what remains unresolved? it seems like two weeks ago they were pretty well set on the basic parameters of this thing, so let's talk about what's left
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to deal on? >> reporter: well, there are some significant differences, but there has been progress. i've been talking to sources who say that the vice president and mitch mcconnell stayed on the phone exchanging calls until around midnight last night and that staffers who are key to this process continue talking after that. as you know, there are very few people in the room, so to speak, who really have their fingerprints on whatever deal may eventually come and what has been passed between the two sides so far. about six proposals back and forth, and i'm told that the most recent proposal from democrats, which happened saturday night, was to move the income threshold to $450,000. that would mean income below that point would have rates stay where they are right now. income above that point would be taxed at a higher rate. that is a move from where the president had campaigned at $250,000 and a move from where the president had originally offered speaker boehner $400,000. now, republicans are offering
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$550,000. and in talking to various members who are not directly involved, they say you can see where that would end up at $500,000. that is one piece that has been perhaps the most talked about, where would new taxes be? but there are a lot of other aspects to this that are really where the difficulty may lie, and that's where they're having so much trouble. democrats tell me that they would like to see the revenue from these new taxes go to pay for keeping the spending as it is now, meaning those spending cuts across the board that we've talked about would be delayed by a couple of years and use that new tax revenue to cover that. republicans would like to see more deficit reduction. so, they're saying if there are new taxes, spend it down on the deficit, don't use it for spending. chris? >> now, kelly, one other quick question. you've been up there probably for the last 96 hours, maybe more straight. what's the mood? i know we've got this report that mcconnell and joe biden worked late into the evening and that there seems to be a little
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bit more positivity than maybe when people like me went to bed last night, a little early. so, is the mood moving in the direction of a deal? is that what -- because it seemed like pessimism sort of toward the late afternoon yesterday. where are we right now, quickly? >> reporter: it does fluctuate. there is exasperation and frustration, especially from members here waiting to vote on something but have nothing to look at. they are wanting to see something done. the people closest to it tell us they are still working at it, that they see there isn't one particular issue that would make this all fall apart, but they're not there yet. and so, they try to remain optimistic and say if they come to an agreement, they can do things quickly, but they're just not there yet. chris? >> not there yet, story of congress. thank you, kelly. >> reporter: good to see you. >> with the hours ticking down, and as kelly said, no deal still done, the blame game, of course, is already under way. one thing is clear, the 112th congress wins the very dubious distinction of being the least
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productive congress in modern american history. i don't know if there's a ribbon of some sort for that. nbc's deputy political editor domenico montanaro is here with this morning's "first read." thank you for taking time and for crunching these numbers. let's go through the numbers that you guys in "first read," that let me put a plug in, i always read, got about bills and productivity in this congress. >> yeah, so, only 219 bills passed into law in this congress, the lowest number that we've seen. and you know, but the thing that you have to understand, i think there's a lot of republicans who don't necessarily think that that's a bad thing. they think shrinking the government, making the government do less are actually good things. >> right, i don't think there's any question about that. we know there's an element of the republican party, ron paul, rand paul being the most visible, who think the less government does, the better. now, in that vain, i've been struck. david wasserman at the "cook
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political report" crunched the numbers on this, that there are 234 house republicans. 15 of them, 15 represent districts that president obama carried in 2012. given that, and we were talking with kelly about the fact that this has to come through the house at some point, that republicans still control. is there any reason for, politically speaking -- >> absolutely, right. >> -- not good of the country speaking, but politically speaking, is there any reason for these guys to make a deal given that for 215 of them, the constituency they represent are mitt romney's? >> i think this is the problem. where most people follow a presidential election and don't realize what happens in each of the districts. what republicans have done a very good job of in the past ten years or past two driklecycles governor's races, where they've won all the governor's races, redistricted by controlling legislatures and governorships, and they have the ability now to make very safe republican districts, where as opposed to having what we had was about 40 years of democratic control in the house, you could see a
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decade, at least, of republican control, perhaps, because of the fact that they are, or at least make it tougher for democrats to take back over the house. now, we crunched the numbers as well a few weeks ago to say there's something -- there is a vast majority of these folks have won with 60% or more in those districts. >> yes, remarkable. why compromise? >> yeah, why compromise? you know, it's just funny to me, because when you think about the fact that nothing's gotten done or very few things have gotten done, aside from some government buildings and post offices, you know, the fact is, we have divided government. and if you want to be -- if you want to hold up the cog in the wheel of government and don't want to compromise and want to stick to your position, that's what you can do. it's funny. i heard the british ambassador say something like, you know, to the u.s., something like, you know, he wanted to break from tyranny, but instead you set up a government, set up a system that, you know, just doesn't work. >> now, i want to do something, because i thought this was intriguing. we've obviously, since the tragedy of sandy hook
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elementary, a lot of talk about gun control and what can be done. president obama talking about it publicly and emotionally. here's president obama with david gregory yesterday talking about guns. let's come back and we'll quickly talk about it. >> here's the bottom line. we're not going to get this done unless the american people decide it's important. and so, this is not going to be simply a matter of me spending political capital. with public opinion, there's nothing you can't do, and without public opinion, there's very little you can get done in this town. >> so, i like that because it's a recognition of the facts, which is that politicians tend to be a reactive, rather than a proactive species, even the president of the united states. so, let's talk about his public opinion point. where is public opinion? it's moved a little bit on guns, but how much has it moved? >> marginally. you saw pew had their poll out where it went from like 42% to 49% -- >> in terms of people supporting stricter -- >> right, exactly. >> yeah. >> so, it's marginal in the change, but i think coming back
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to that point of where members of congress are and what their constituents want from them, you know, republicans in the house have strong nra backing, strong gun districts. i think "the washington post" did a great job. >> the paper you work for. >> excellent. looking back at the history of gun control, that it's not just as simple as people think, to be like, well, everybody thinks it must be one way. well, it's just not the case. >> nothing is that simple, particularly the split on urban and rural on this is fascinating. domenico montanaro, thank you for joining me. while the senators go back and forth, lawmakers in the house are quiet about what comes next. but any deal that comes from harry reid and mitch mcconnell in the senate will ultimately have to make it through the republican-controlled house. now joining me is someone who knows that reality all too well, maryland democratic congressman chris van hollen, the ranking member on the house budget committee. congressman, thank you for taking the time. >> chris, great to be with you. >> absolutely. i want to talk to you first
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about sort of the mood. kelly o'donnell mentioned that this is a conversation happening between a very small number of people and house democrats largely not in that conversation. a huge moment before the holidays where john boehner was unable to bring his bill up. what is the mood in the house, both democrats and republicans? are you guys just playing wait-and-see? do you have an expectation that if the senate passes something, the house is at least going to take it up? >> well, that has to happen, as you just said, in order to get this done. the house not only would have to take up an agreement that came out of the senate, obviously, we'd need a majority vote, republicans joining with democrats to get something done, which is why as the senators and the white house negotiate this deal, they do have to keep an important eye on the house, because ultimately, you're going to have to have people come together in a bipartisan way to get this done. you're not going to be able to get an agreement passed with just republicans. and so, it's important that they
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keep in mind the coalition of democrats and republicans that will have to come together to vote for something. >> now, congressman, obviously, let's say something passes through the senate. the guess would be, or the educated guess is that it's going to then win a large majority of democratic votes, but because you still are in the minority, you would need 20, 25 -- i'm kind of back of the notebook sketching here, but somewhere around that -- of republicans. i'd assume that you've had conversations either this week, last week, weeks before, with some of these folks. do you believe there are two dozen republicans that, let's say john boehner lets this bill come up. do you believe there are two dozen republicans who vote for it? >> i do believe that there are at least two dozen who would vote for the kind of agreement that we're hearing about being put together in the senate. you know, of course, tom cole, a very conservative member from oklahoma, was urging his colleagues some time ago to get this behind them at the $250,000
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threshold. so, i certainly think that there are that number of republicans who would vote for it. the question is, if it's in that range, if we're talking about only about 25 or so republicans, would the speaker bring that bill to the floor? and i think one of the reasons the negotiations are so tough in the senate is that mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader there, is trying to calibrate it so that the speaker can get more than 25. and of course, the more they try and do that, the more democratic votes they could potentially lose. so, that's why it is important as the senate negotiates this that they keep in mind that they've got to get it done here in the house. >> now, congressman, i want to play for you -- president obama was on "meet the press" yesterday. he was asked about sort of his willingness to make a deal here. i want to talk -- let's play that clip and i want to come back and sort of talk about how he's being viewed by democrats. let's play the clip first.
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>> the offers that i've made to them have been so fair that a lot of democrats are getting mad at me. i mean, i offered to make some significant changes to our entitlement programs in order to reduce the deficit. >> lots of democrats have been mad at me. is that just president obama sort of being rhetorical or is there unhappiness from yourself or some of your colleagues with the possibility that we may be looking at going from $250,000 to $400,000 in terms of whose taxes will get raised and whose won't? do you feel like he's represented house democrats' interests enough? >> well, chris, as the president played out in that clip you played, he proposed a so-called grand bargain that would include up to $1.2 trillion in revenue combined with $1.2 trillion in additional cuts. and as he said, that would have
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required democrats to make some very, very tough decisions, some decisions that democrats probably wouldn't like to make unless they were amended. but the overall point he was making was that he put that balanced proposal on the table, and speaker boehner walked away from that because he didn't think he could sell that kind of balanced plan to his own caucus. and we know from the fact that his own plan "b" that simply asked people making more than $1 million a year to put in a little bit more, the fact that that couldn't get republican votes shows that the house republican caucus has been dominated by this tea party group and is just, they believe compromise is a dirty word. and so, that is why anything that comes out of the senate will require a significant number of democratic votes in the house in order for it to pass. and why they should be very cognizant of that fact ads they discuss the details. >> congressman chris van hollen on the delicate math that will
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happen hopefully in the next few days. thank you, congressman. >> thank you, chris. next, reaching our limit. washington's latest game of brinksmanship collides with the last big budget mess. don't forget, the debt ceiling debacle is back. could it be the gop's last bit of leverage in the cliff negotiations? former republican senator judd gregg joins us next. and developing news. we're live at the hospital where secretary of state hillary clinton is being treated after doctors discovered a potentially dangerous blood clot. but first, a look ahead at the president's schedule, wide open. i have a feeling he might be involved in the fiscal cliff talks? maybe. you're watching "the daily rundown." it's only on msnbc. the capital one cash rewards card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases, plus a 50% annual bonus. and everyone likes 50% more... [ midwestern/chicago accent ] cheddar! yeah! 50 percent more [yodeling] yodel-ay-ee-oo.
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while congress has been arguing over the fiscal cliff, the next big battle has already arrived. treasury secretary tim geithner says government borrowing hits the debt ceiling today. with me now, former new hampshire republican senator judd gregg. he's currently co-chairman of the campaign to fix the debt. senator, let's -- i want to start 50,000 feet, and we'll move down closer to ground level, but as a former member of the senate, we've now had two grand bargains, one around the debt ceiling, one around the fiscal cliff, seemingly, well, on the debt ceiling definitely, and on this one, seemingly fall apart. now that you're on the outside, are people right to be skeptical that congress can do anything? i hesitate to say big. even medium in terms of addressing our debt and spending problems? >> oh, they're absolutely correct in being skeptical, but
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congress can act. it has acted in the past. regrettably, it usually acts in crisis. for example, during the financial meltdown, when the entire banking system of our nation would have collapsed, congress did act. and we've acted in other situations such as right after 9/11. so, maybe we'll have to have a crisis to get the big things done here. remember, this comes back -- these are all symptoms, what we're dealing with right now. the essential problem is that we're running deficits that are so high, over $1 trillion a year for the next ten years as far as the eye can see fiscally, that are adding to the debt so much additional cost that we're essentially on the path to bankruptcy as a nation. and until we get these deficits under control and get this debt stabilized, we're not going to solve the problem. it's like putting a band-aid on a cut to your artery. it's simply not going to resolve the problem. >> now senator, i want to play something from a former colleague of yours, lindsey graham, what he said about the
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debt limit specifically. let's play that and come back and talk about it. >> why would i raise the debt ceiling again unless i address what put us in debt to begin with? i'm not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming greece, saving social security and medicare. >> so, what senator graham is essentially outlining is that this is sort of a bargaining chip that the republican party does have. the debt limit today, we reach it, but we can get about another two months before we truly go over. do you agree with that sort of strategy that the debt limit be used as a way to kind of leverage more on the spending side out of the white house and democrats in congress? >> personally, no. i happen to think that when your credit card comes due, you pay the bill, but i can understand the frustration of people like lindsey graham, who's an extremely responsible and very, very good senator, in my opinion, because he wants to get something done. and what we're seeing here is very little action on the
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spending side of the ledger. let's say that leader mcconnell and vice president biden reach an agreement today, which i certainly hope they will, but that agreement clearly is just going to be on the revenue side. the majority's going to be on the revenue side, and the problem is on the spending side. it's ironic that the one proposal that leader mcconnell put forward, which was an idea that came from the white house, which was that you control the rate of growth of entitlements by changing the calculation of the cpi, something that should have been done a long time ago to get it to be more accurate, was rejected, rejected out of hand on the other side of the aisle. so, that's now off the table. that would have been a substantive step forward. it's not going to happen relative to getting spending under control. and so, i understand senator graham, lindsey graham's frustration with the failure to get action on the spending side, and he sees this as a leverage point and he feels it's the one leverage point they have that they can use effectively. >> senator, quickly, i want to get your take on another of your former colleagues, chuck hagel of nebraska widely discussed as a potential secretary of
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defense. tom coburn, the republican from oklahoma, came out yesterday, said he couldn't support chuck hagel if nominated. is chuck hagel a good or a bad pick, and if you were in the senate, is that someone you could support to be our next secretary of defense? >> well, i served with chuck for all the time that he was in the senate. i respected him as a senator. i thought he was a very substantive, thoughtful guy. i think he would be a good secretary of defense. there's no question he made, took some positions which i disagreed with relative to iran and relative to iraq and also on the issue of israel, but he is a very strong player. he's a guy who, sure, he has very strong opinions, but he's going to be working for the president. i'm sure he'll follow the president's directions. but more importantly, the defense department needs somebody who thinks outside the box. they're coming into some very difficult times here relevant to stringent containment of the amount of money they're going to get. they're going to see maybe very significant cuts, especially if the sequester goes forward. they've got to have a creative guy down there who doesn't have
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defense think, who actually can step back and think about how we restructure our defense policies in a more efficient way, get more for our dollar. and i think chuck can do that type of thing. >> senator judd gregg, thank you for joining me. that new hampshire background makes me pine for the primaries. take care. >> we're welcome to have you back as soon as you can get up here. >> yes, sir. >> we've got some good snow for skiing. secretary of state hillary clinton is hospitalized, but first it was a concussion, now a blood clot. we'll have a live report on her condition. but first, it's today's trivia question, staying in the obama cabinet. education secretary arne duncan recently suggested he was more likely to take up what profession than become secretary of state? tweet us the answe answer @dailyrundown. the first correct answer will get a follow monday from us. that answer and much more coming up on "the daily rundown."
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secretary of state hillary clinton is waking up in a new york hospital this morning where she is being treated for a blood clot discovered while doctors were checking her recovery from a concussion. robert bazell is nbc's chief science and health correspondent. he's at new york presbyterian hospital. bob, what can you tell us? >> reporter: well, chris, we can tell you that it's not exactly clear what is happening with secretary clinton's health. all we have is a statement from her office. the hospital isn't saying anything and the the hospital says that she had this blood clot that stemmed from the concussion and she's being treated with blood-thinning drugs. the problem is that usually when blood clots come from concussions, they can't be treated with blood clots. so, either it's not really related to the concussion and she's got a blood clot in her leg or something, or there's
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something else going on that we're not being told. and right now, we're just sort of seeking that clarification and hoping for the best as she's being observed, as they say, for the next couple of weeks -- excuse me, for the next couple days, to make sure she's okay. chris? >> bob bazell, thank you for the time. the opening bell just rang on wall street. despite the fiscal cliff deadline looming just hours from now, the markets are opening significantly higher. i don't know, little bit of a surprise. this comes as both the dow and s&p 500 each lost 1.9% last week after stocks fell for five straight sessions. it's the s&p's longest losing streak in three months. next, what can president obama learn from abraham lincoln? >> one of the things that you learn having now been in this office for four years is, you know, the old adage of abraham lincoln's, that with public opinion there's nothing you can't do, and without public
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opinion, there's very little you can get done in this town. atchee worked for us. we don't argue much. we really don't. meg usually just gets her way, and i go along with it. i think it worked for matt because i did it for him. when i'm the one cooking, i'm the one calculating the points. i can microwave things. you get to eat real food. we still get to go out. we're just so much smarter about it. we can keep each other in check. going, "okay, i see you." we've lost about 110 pounds together. it helped our love life. happy wife, happy life, right? right. [ jennifer ] weight watchers online. the power of weight watchers completely online. join for free today. the red cross was down here all the time. [ man ] they've given us a lot of heart. in times of need, they're there. ♪ [ kerry ] my dad was watching his house burn. he turned around, and all of a sudden, there was this guy standing there from the red cross. at a point where i had just lost everything, the idea that there was someone there... that's an amazing thing. ♪
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he's obama's favorite president, and now, thanks to steven spielberg, a part of the national conversation. abraham lincoln was an outsider who became a famous political operator. the great emancipator who wrestled with his own views on race, and in the end, held the country together amid civil war. chuck sat down with "time" editor at large david vondreli, one of the best political writers in the country, to talk about his book about the 60th president's most difficult year in office. >> when 1862 began, the u.s. was broke, the banks had lost faith in the fiscal system, secession threatened to split the country apart for good, and president abraham lincoln, the standard bearer for a 7-year-old political party that had never governed before, was elected with less than 40% of the popular vote, was increasingly seen as a feckless and inadequate leader in washington.
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people gossiped that a military dictatorship might replace the president. a year later, lincoln had signed the emancipation proclamation and the unschooled frontier lawyer had emerged as a towering figure. as author david van drahle writes, "it was a year where the civil war became a cataclysm, the federal government, and david is joining us now. >> hi, chuck. >> it's interesting, there are so many ways people want to tackle lincoln. i love how you did it, which is basically look at his weakest year. explain why you thought that was the best way to tell the story of lincoln. >> i think to understand what lincoln achieved, you have to really understand what a deep hole he was climbing out of to realize that, in fact, the united states came within a
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hair's breadth of ceasing to exist. we often think that had the south been successful, there would be two countries, the north and the south, but really, what people expected was that if secession worked, that then the country would continue to split up. california and the west would go off on their own. the midwest would split off from new england. new york might set up as an independent free port. in other words, north america would turn into another europe, if you will. to understand that that's what the stakes were and to see this man who, as you say, led a party that had never governed before, who had no military experience, and yet had to create an army of a million men out of raw volunteers, to see him make that work and fight his way through it i think really brings to life this transition to greatness
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that lincoln was able to make. >> and you write in here, you know, it's not as if he didn't know the situation he was in. and you write in here about how lincoln was aware more than anyone of this, and he always liked to refer at the time to somebody that was popular, tight rope walker jean-francois grabolet, who had performed stunts over nigagara falls, pushing a wheel barrow, cooking an omelet and all these sorts of things. he knew he was sort of on this tight rope that one wrong move and it all goes wrong. >> you can see over and over again during this year, 1862, how lincoln literally was one false step away from disaster. many people know about his ongoing battle that year with george mcclellan for control of the military. and people would ask, why don't you fire mcclellan?
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and lincoln would say because i'm a minority president. you mentioned he had won with less than 40% of the vote. mcclellan, he said, is a majority general. he had the public's support. and so, lincoln understood until he got stronger, he had to work with mcclellan. same thing with the slavery issue. why didn't he move quicker on slavery? well, he had to hold together a broad coalition of very different opinions on slavery and he had to show people that he was working through these issues in a reasonable way. he had to bring them along, and it was step by step by step, as if crossing a tight rope over niagara falls. >> and you know, one of the things i want to bring this to sort of where we are right now in our politics. and you know, there's a lot of folks saying, geez, if obama could just be like lincoln in the movie. but one of the big differences between now and then, it's just simply on patronage.
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i think it's interesting that as you point out, lincoln was very aware that you could buy people off. that is something that is harder to do today. >> it is. lincoln was the consummate politician and that's one of the things i really try to bring out, is that his success first and foremost derived from his political acumen. he spent dozens and dozens of hours, even in the middle of this crisis of the war, attending to issues like patronage, like people's, you know, egos, feeding their egos, and he didn't let his own ego get involved in it. >> you tell me, and i just assume maybe i'm oversimplifying, but one thing the presidency destroyed, did it destroy his personal life? >> it was extremely painful. this year really begins, in a sense, with the death of his beloved son, willie, who was 11
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years old and died in february of 1862. that sent his wife, mary, off the deep end. she had a nervous breakdown. she sat in her room wailing and sobbing for over a month without coming out. he was, in fact, one of the first people in the country to understand just how personal the pain of the civil war was going to be. his genius was that he could explain to the public why this war needed to be won by sketching the vision of what the united states could be if they could only save the union. >> all right, the book is "rise to greatness," david von drehle, you profile the year of 1862, where the country was truly on the brink and the year that lincoln was able to become, well, lincoln. that's probably the best way to put it. anyway, david, thanks for doing this and congratulations on the book. >> thank you, chuck. bringing in biden. is the white house playing good cop or bad cop?
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art gaggle will be here next. but first, no soup for you at the white house! yes that was my favorite part of the show. the mess is closed today for the new year's holiday. we'll be right back. [ rosa ] i'm rosa and i quit smoking with chantix. when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok... little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these stop taking chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems,
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moscow. the russians gathering outside the fortress of the kremlin to ponder a new century and a new president with the resignation of boris yeltsin. >> daily "flashback" to this day in 1999, when on the eve of the millennium, russian president boris yeltsin stunned the world, announcing he was resigning effective immediately. yeltsin named then prime minister vladimir putin -- sound familiar? as acting president. there is only a small window of opportunity to get things done in a president's second term. and with the white house and congress focused exclusively on the fiscal cliff, what does it
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all mean for president obama's second term agenda? the president laid out some of his goals on sunday on "meet the press." >> there are a couple of things that we need to get done. i've said that fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority. the second thing that we've got to do is to stabilize the economy and make sure it's growing. number three, you know, we've get a huge opportunity around energy. we are producing more energy and america can become an energy exporter. but the most immediate thing i've got to do, starting on january 1st, if congress doesn't act before the end of the year, is make sure that taxes are not going up on middle class families. >> joining me now, former spokesman for the democratic congressional campaign committee, doug thornel, republican media consultant kim, and my colleague at "the washington post" and white house reporter david knanakamura. doug, i want to start with you. the president's first-term agenda really was health care, and then he had to deal with the economy. >> right. >> so, health care, yes, but the
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rest was kind of set for him. how long does his second term really last before we bad political reporters start talking about 2016, and what are the one or two things you think are possible to get done or he should get done as a guy who's really looking to burnish his legacy as much as get re-elected? >> i think as much as up to midterm. >> it will last. >> yeah. i think immigration reform is huge. i think there's an opening with republicans to do that, and that's obviously going to be a huge accomplishment if he can get that done. he talks about energy. obviously, that's something that he wants to tackle. he obviously wants to -- he's going to have to deal with the sandy hook tragedy. it will be interesting to see how he navigates those political waters. and corporate tax reform. i mean, i think there's a real opportunity there on reforming the overall code, but dealing with corporate taxes and dealing -- you know, he started to reach out to business leaders over the course of this conversation on the fiscal cliff. i think that's going to be another thing he looks at. >> now, a couple of things you mentioned in there.
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immigration reform, maybe corporate tax reform. what we saw in the first term, largely, was sort of intractability, that the president proposed things, health care, economic stimulus got three republican votes, one of whom, arlen specter, was no longer -- became a democrat by the time the election happened. are these things post-election things that republicans can get behind? because we just had an election and here we are, you know, a month and a half later, and we're at the same place with the fiscal cliff that i feel like we were six months ago! >> yeah, well, we've been here, done this, but i think it is possible, i think immigration reform, because it's good for everybody politically as well as for the country. but you know, the frustration i think is this all -- the republicans should have captured this message day one of obama's presidency. they should have said, no, not health care, jobs. they should have said, no, not health care, let's get the debt and deficit down. i mean, we sort of ceded this
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fight to the point of where we are now, and instead of capturing issues for our party, we could have been doing things by now. which now we're in this sort of standoff -- >> and your reaction -- >> and our brand is so tarnished from all the fighting that, you know, we've got to recapture our brand before we can even figure a way to compromise and be a part of the process. >> now, doug talked about sandy hook. now, the president, when he listed his priorities and what we played didn't mention guns, but he did -- gun control -- but he did in the interview. let's play a little bit from that, dave, and then we'll come back and talk about it. >> the question then becomes, you know, whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away. it certainly won't feel like that to me. this is something that, you know, that was the worst day of my presidency, and it's not
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something that i want to see repeated. >> it hit close to home. >> absolutely. >> now, he was very emotional after sandy hook, powerfully so, i thought. but this is when political reality around guns and gun control hits, you know, with the we all want to do something. david, have you picked up -- he's got a lot on his plate. have you picked up that the president has genuine urgency? and he said -- well, i'm not going to -- this is not about political capital, this is about public opinion. well, public opinion is somewhat divided on this. >> it is divided. >> so, he needs to be -- if the teeter-totter is going to sort of tip in this direction, he needs to be standing on one side. is he ready for that. >> i think he might be ready for this, chris. he did call it the first day of his presidency there, has pledged to talk about it in his state of the union address coming up -- >> which will be telling, putting it versus immigration versus other priorities. and even though public opinion is still split and polls show a lot of people resistant to
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stronger gun laws i think this time was different for both him and a lot of people in congress. he said people asked him where were you on gun control the past four years. he said i wasn't on vacation. i had a lot to deal with. now he seems to be out there saying he is going to do something. >> it is fascinating. you made a good point. people forget this has to go through congress. >> right. >> the president doesn't just decide these things. >> there are a lot of nra endorsed members of congress. >> right. democrats and republicans. >> right. >> we'll be back. trivia time. we asked education secretary arne duncan recently suggested he was more likely to take up what profession than becoming secretary of state? the answer was stripping. that is right. stripping. if you have a political trivia question, it won't be better than that one, but e-mail us at daily and we will be right back.
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let's bring back our gaggle. okay. we're doing lightning round. david, deal or no deal. we are now 14ish hours away from the cliff. do we get a deal or not? >> put on your parachute. i think we're going over the cliff. they're just too far apart on too many issues and time is running out. maybe in the next few days after that we could see something but i think we're going over tonight. >> you are assuming i don't wear a parachute. >> yes, no, who knows? i think yes but not tonight. i think in the next couple days. >> a deal but not before the deadline. >> no. i think the 3rd, by the 3rd. by the time we have the new -- >> kim will go on record, january 3rd. are you listening, mitch mcconnell? >> briefly. i think 24 hours, 48 hours and there is a small deal. >> how many of you think that is the takeaway? >> yeah. >> nothing big. the idea of a grand bargain, we failed on the debt ceiling. >> that might happen a little later. >> i'm going snake formation
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like nfl draft famously football style. doug, shameless plug. >> yes! nfc east champions. 13 years i've been waiting to say this. >> the past is the past. kim? >> i want to say for your new baby. good for you. >> thank you. >> i want to plug tom cole. i think he has been smart on this. congressman tom cole. weeks and weeks ago he had this done and he needed, you know -- >> we may wind up basically where he -- >> and he is deeply conservative. it is not like he is a moderate member. he is a deeply conservative member. >> uplifting news, go skins. >> where is my foam finger? i have my own shameless plug. if you liked this hour of television and let's be honest, you probably did, i hope. i will be on for andrea mitchell at 1:00 p.m.
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that is as shameless as it gets. tune in. right now that's it for this edition of "the daily rundown." we'll see you next year. that's right. i got to close out the year. have a safe and happy new year coming up next on msnbc it is chris jansing & company. lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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