tv The Ed Show MSNBC January 2, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
the conservatives who made this kind of campaign legal. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the ed show" with ed schultz starts right now. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" tonight from new york. first off, happy new year. hope you had a great weekend. it's down to the wire in iowa, and candidates are scrambling for support. i'm going to tell you tonight here on "the ed show" who's going to win the hawkeye state tomorrow. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. i don't think i'm going to win. i think if you look at the numbers, i think that volume of negativity's done enough damage. >> newt gingrich is conceding a day early. michele bachmann is damning the torpedos. >> are you talking about putting our missile systems on alert here? >> sure, put them on alert. >> and ron paul and mitt romney are feeling the santorum surge. >> done all 99 counties. did that a while ago. a lot of that is paying off. >> tonight, we're going to the
hawkeye state with rick green of "the des moines register" and former vermont governor howard dean. the new republican playbook to defeat the president is out. dnc communications director brad woodhaus is here to tell us how democrats will fight back. and eric cantor can't handle the truth about his idol, ronald reagan. >> he rose taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes. >> he also cut taxes. >> but he did compromises. >> well, that's not true. >> ezra klein of the "washington post" is here to set the record straight. good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching. the first votes of the republican nomination are hours away from being cast. i think we might see a big surprise in iowa tomorrow. the latest numbers from the public policy polling have ron paul on top with 20% of the vote in iowa. mitt romney and rick santorum are right behind on his heels. the comprehensive "des moines
register with t" has romney at n paul 22%. santorum in at 15%. the devil is in the details. in the first day of the poll, ron paul was on top with 29% support. four days later he was down to 16%. on the other hand, santorum polled at 10% the first couple days of the polling. on days three and four, his numbers doubled to 20%. so what does that mean? santorum has real momentum. he continues his brand of retail politics on the road in iowa. he was so popular at a pizza restaurant in boone, iowa, the owner renamed the chicken salad santorum salad in honor of the candidate. santorum is a viable alternative for conservative voters. his favorable rating is at 60% in iowa and he's gaining ground as the anti-establishment candidate. santorum played up his me versus the world mentality on right wing radio today. >> i've seen the media just
completely try to shape this race. and it's not just the liberal media. i mean, it's even fox news. you know, bill o'reilly has refused to put me on his program. i'm just not -- as far as i was concerned, i wasn't a worthy enough candidate to earn a spot to sit across from him and be on his program. >> santorum knows a large piece of iowa, that pie has not been claimed as of us. "the des moines register poll" says 41% is still undecided. those numbers give hope to candidates who are back in the pac. one is michele bachmann, still banking on a win in iowa and also says she'll put our missile systems on alert and possibly start world war iii. >> i would engage with the current dissidents we have in iran, but immediately i would send our patriot missile systems, our ballistic missile systems need to be deployed, not only here in the united states but in the middle east region. >> are you talking about putting
our missile systems on alert here? i mean -- >> sure, put them on alert but also what we need to do -- >> what level? >> what we need to do is look at a function of potentially a blockade as well of the ports in and near iran and have our missile systems capable and ready to deliver. >> just what iowa voters are concerned about. don't you think? bachmann's not the only desperate candidate in the race. last month newt gingrich was confident that he was going to win the whole thing. >> i don't have to go around and point out the inconsistencies of people who aren't going to be the nomineeny. they're going to be the nominee. >> you're going to be the nominee? >> i'm going to be the nominee. it's hard not to look at the recent polls and think the odds are very high i'm going to be the nominee. >> of course, now gingrich is telling reporters, he probably has no shot in iowa. >> i don't think i'm going to win. i think if you look at the numbers, i think that volume of negativity's done enough damage. the other hand, if "the des moines register" was right on its 41% potentially un -- who
knows what's going to happen. >> that's the most honest thing gingrich has ever said. gingrich said he's going to spend the next week attacking mitt romney hoping to put a dent in romney's new hampshire support. gingrich is the guy who said he wouldn't go negative. he's also the guy who showed a softer side of himself last week when he cried during a town hall event. >> my whole emphasis on brain science comes indirectly from dealing -- see, i'm emotional -- but from dealing with, you know, the real problems of real people in my family. and so it's not a theory. it's, in fact, you know, my mother. >> seems to use the word "real" a lot, doesn't he? i wonder if that is the real newt. i tell you the real newt. newt's crying all the way to the bank. he's the same newt gingrich who wrote a memo to his colleagues of the house telling him thousand to smear democrats.
the only candidates pay attention to him especially mitt romney. it would be bad if he lost in iowa and walked into a gingrich buzz saw in new hampshire don't you think? the polling momentum shows a chance of romney and ron paul being overtaken by rick santorum. santorum is out there convincing people he is the guy. santorum is running as the better conservative, and the right wing voters in iowa, well, they're listening to things like this. >> what president obama wants to do, his economic plan is to make more people dependent upon the government. to grow the government, to make sure we have more food stamps and more, you know, more ssi, and more medicaid. i don't want to make people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. i want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. and provide for themselves and their families. >> that is the raw meat that he throws out on the campaign trail. for most of his career, santorum has really appealed to the deepest anxieties of social
conservatives. he says he will annul all gay marriages as president. he says president obama should oppose abortion because he's black. he does not apologize for being a member of the far right wing and is very proud of it. a win for santorum, i guess you could say if he were to win in iowa, you could equate it to pat buchanan winning new hampshire in 1996. there's more to it than that. i've seen santorum on the stump. you may not like this, but he is very much like president obama. the crowd likes him. he pays attention to what the crowd says. he does a great job of retail politics. when someone in a crowd asks rick santorum a question, he looks right at that person and answers the question and doesn't give the bullet-point answers. he goes face to face with people. it's very effective. when people leave the room, they say, gosh, i have to think about this guy. the number of undecideds is very important here. and the social conservatives being split three different ways. we know bachmann is going to
fall. we don't know how far. we know rick perry doesn't have the smarts. i don't think he does. time and time again he gaffes. he has enough money to convince people that he has the chops to get the job done. the bottom line is, as i see it, santorum has worked it county by county. he's done it the old-fashioned way. he hasn't done it with o'reilly on his side. he hasn't done it being in the clubhouse with fox. he's always been the guy at the end of the debate but he's been very consistent and he also throws out the red meat in a very personable way to the folks in iowa. i think that he has been trending for more than a week and i think he is ahead of his poll numbers. i think that rick santorum is going to win iowa. if that's an upset, so be it. i've seen the guy in action. and i listen to what he says. i know what iowa is about. and the preachers were working the pulpit hard on sunday for rick santorum. if they come out in full force for him, it's going to be that portion of the electorate versus
the young people that might come out for ron paul. romney's playing it smart so far. he's acting like a winner, talking a lot about president obama, but he may not win iowa. i think it is going to be rick santorum. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question. will rick santorum win the iowa caucus tomorrow? text "a" for yes, text "b" for no to 622639. our blog is there for you at ed.msnbc.com. for your comments. of course, we'll bring you the results later on in the program. i'm joined tonight by rick green, president and editor of "the des moines register" and also howard dean, former dnc chairman and founder of democracy for america. gentlemen, i couldn't have two better people on with me tonight. i appreciate your time so much. mr. dean, let me ask you first. from your experience, what is the strategy for these candidates in the final hours? where we're not very far away. what's it going to take down the stretch, you think? >> on the democratic side it's about turnout and deal making which doesn't go on so much on
the republican side. we have a feature on our side they don't have. if you don't get to 15% you're allowed to re-caucus and vote a second time for a candidate that you may like. it's an automatic process. ed, i agree with you. i think santorum going to win tomorrow. paul coming in second. romney coming in third. that's a problem for romney. everybody knows ron paul is not going to get the nominee. santorum could be the nominee. because when they go to south carolina, santorum is a viable candidate. which he will be if he wins tomorrow. those conservatives, the 75% of the people in the republican party who just are much too far right for mitt romney are going to have somebody they can vote for it. he doesn't have a dime. he's just done this on shoe leather. it's fascinating. >> rick, what's your take on the details in your paper's poll? >> there are two things you have to remember here. first, santorum's numbers weren't moving at all the first two days of our polling last week. it was only after the initial polls came out that we started seeing a big rise from him on
thursday night then an even bigger spike going into friday night. we got together on saturday morning, we saw the final numbers. his numbers just rocketed. here's something that's really important to remember, ed. his electability numbers where republicans are saying who offers the best shot at toppling the president next november are nowhere near mitt romney. gingrich despite his incredible collapse in the poll is polling in at 13%. rick santorum numbers are only 7% as it relates to electability. there are a lot of republicans -- i was going to say, i think there are still republicans looking closely at that. >> yeah. howard? >> that's a good point. let me make a point about the republicans. i don't think -- that undid me in iowa eight years ago. they felt john kerry was more electable. his numbers surged in just the way rick is describing. i don't think the republican voters in iowa care that much about electability. they're more conservative. they're deeply evangelical and principled. they really want to send a
message. that's the role of iowa in the republican side. i'm trying to remember a time when the republican winner of the caucus in iowa went on to win the nomination. i can't think of one off the top of my head. >> rick, isn't rick santorum going after the same voter that mike huckabee went after in 2008? except the pie is just split three different ways? so as i said in my commentary, we know bachmann has fallen. is she going to fall far enough where santorum is going to pick that up? and also there's a tremendous feels out there, and i picked this up when i was in iowa last week. there's a lot of discontentment about mitt romney. whereas your poll shows in a national election. the people that don't like him, they really don't like him. that's what i got. >> yeah. there's a little bit of that. i'll tell you, mitt romney played this masterfully. he's not done the complete ground game the way rick perry, i'm sorry, rick santorum, has done in terms of devoting 380
campaign appearances in all 99 counties. he's been very strategic about when he entered it. there's a sense from the size of his crowds and what my reporters are seeing on the field, there's still some general enthusiasm with mitt romney. it seems to be growing day-by-day. now, the same could be said certainly with rick santorum. santorum's done an amazing job in terms of pressing the flesh. he's kissed the babies, shaken hands. he's answered questions in direct answers. the question here is, are there enough hands to be shaken before tomorrow night? he's pushing incredibly hard. he's going to split the vote as it relates to perry and bachmann, undoubtedly. there there's enough of a split, enough supporters from perry or bachmann that jump ship over to santorum, i think it gets very, very uncomfortable for romney and paul tomorrow night. >> and howard, i have to say that i think there's a certain amount of jgenuality about rick santorum. he comes across as a genuine
guy. does that matter in iowa in your opinion? >> it does matter. he would be a horror for the general voters. his views are very, very far right and very, very, you know, frankly anti a lot of minorities in this country, especially gay people. that's made to order for the conservative republican electorate. i think he's going to find real resonance there. he obviously already has. >> rick green, howard dean, great to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your time so much. thank you. remember to answer tonight's question there at the bottom of the screen and share your thoughts on twitter @edshow. we want to know what you think. ron paul's strategy to dog the republican party right through to the convention, that's coming up next. it's quite interesting. later, the "washington post" reports on the rnc strategy to take on president obama by using his own words against him. dnc communications director brad woodhaus on how the president can counteract that gop strategy. stay with us. an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron,
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planning to grab hundreds of delegates in caucus states. joan walsh, richard wolffe, the gop race in the long run. that's next. "psycho talk" coming up next. donald trump says his ducks are in line for a presidential run. faced with facts. eric cantor and his press secretary choose to believe the fancy about ronald reagan on taxes. follow us on twitter usi using #edshow.
he has a strategy to be a thorn in the side of the republican party establishment right through to the convention. here it is. a map put together by buzzfeed.com showing 12 states holding caucuses instead of primaries. as republicans try to choose their nominee. it gives paul a path to racking up delegates with strong organization and careful planning. this is what he's doing. in ten of these caucus states, paul could rack up more than 400 delegates out of the 2,300 needed for the gop nomination. so if he can't actually win the gop nomination, at least he could throw around as much weight as possible to the party's national convention. there will be a voice. his supporters are definitely there. today, paul made a half dozen stops through iowa with his son, senator rand paul. paul's poll numbers may be sagging a bit, but his passionate supporters, they are still with him. >> tomorrow is a very important day. small in numbers, but a very big message. so you carry a lot of weight in
this state. to send a message on which way we're going, for the status kqu. believe me, you don't have to worry about the choice if you choose another candidate, because the others represent the status quo. >> last week in newton, iowa, i didn't see him ask the way he did right there. by the way, another candidate once used caucus to his advantage. his name is president barack obama. let's turn to joan walsh, editor at large, salon.com. msnbc political analyst, richard wolffe. great to have both of you with us tonight. let me ask you first. joan, is this an effective strategy? is this his best way to shake things up? the conventional wisdom is he's not going to get the nomination. >> well, yeah. i mean, i think it's an intriguing strategy, but it's also possible to kind of overstate the comparison with barack obama, ed, because obviously barack obama, one of the best things, smartest things his campaign did was organize in those caucus states. one of the dumbest things hillary clinton's campaign did
was not take the caucuses seriously. i see why there's that comparison. on the other hand, obama had a great national organization. he had the love of the media. he had ted kennedy and mainstream figures. we don't want to go too far with that. it is a way for him to stay and be both a problem for romney, but also for the conservative wing. because if there's still hope that, say, rick santorum could really unify that conservative wing of the party, ron paul pulls from that. so it's not necessarily a terrible thing for romney. it still splits that right wing vote. >> well, the comparison i'm making with ron paul and the president is that paul is doing things in caucus states that the other candidates are not doing. >> right. >> all the way out to idaho. and basically that was a roadmap that none of the other democratic candidates had followed. that was the point i was making. >> absolutely. >> what is the end game here, richard? i mean, could he get enough to have enough people, and i've seen the paul people around him, i mean, they're passionate.
they love the guy. they want him not only to get the nomination, they want him to be president. would he be forced into maybe an independent run? >> well, that is an open question, but i think before you get to that point, he wants to have an influence on the struggle for the soul of the republican party. and he has had an influence. things that would have seemed really way outside of the mainstream of republicans may still be way outside of the main ste stream of american politics but now are center stage in the republican debate. that's really thanks to people like ron paul and rick santorum on the social conservative side. i do think you have to look at the professionalism of the ron paul campaign. you know, appearances can be deceptive. he does this whole shambling routine. maybe he's a candidate and his ideas are -- just that, shambling. but his ads have been professional. he, as well as mitt romney's super pac, have done the damage to newt gingrich. and this organizing thing is powerful. it's not going to take him to the nomination, but he can have
an influence. >> richard, let me ask you. if he gets 400 dle glelegates a more going the caucus states and gets a big speech position at the national convention, what effect would that have on the republican party? >> you're going to see things like closing down whole departments in the federal government will become mainstream. we're already seeing steve forbes' crazy idea of flat tax go mainstream. for republicans. again, not for americans, but for republicans, ron paul is having that effect right now. he can take that through to the convention. >> you know, joan, the paul supporters i met, they're all or nothing. they want him or don't want anybody else. what about that? >> they are. i think that makes it hard to imagine what he would do with his, you know, hundreds of delegates when he got to the convention, ed. you know, there's not really -- there's not a lot for him to bargain on. eliminating whole departments of government is a possibility. the others are open to that already if rick perry could remember them, he would want to
abolish a lot of them. so, you know, we see that. you know, are they going to bargain on cutting off all aid to israel? are they going to bargain on actually some of the things in his platform that are anti-war and anti-militarist, anti-militarism that really light up his supporters? none of that is negotiable. it's hard to see what the end game would be. what he would do with that influence. >> let's listen to part of paul's stump speech in iowa today. >> listen to other candidates. they're willing to start bombing iran right now. you know, the one thing for certain, this country does not need another war. i'll tell you that. >> this is a consistent theme, richard, and of course, he's referring to the remarks that were made this morning by michele bachmann. he's consistent. that's what people like about him. but the isolationism is something that the republican party would never go along with. what do you think?
>> i think the other candidates, frankly, have been trigger happy. the way they are talking about military action against iran. the bar is so low that they think, you know, just saying boo to america when it came to the drone getting captured, that was enough to trigger military action. that's what most of the candidates said in that last debate. so for all of this wackiness, for all the isolationism and the anti-war sentiment, which won't fly with the republican elites, i think actually mainstream american opinion would say, we don't really have that much appetite for another war right now. >> joan, i can't let you go without asking you about rick santorum. what do you make of his polling in the last week? is he the real deal in iowa? >> you know, i think he is the real deal in iowa. with hindsight, ed, it's like what took them so long? he does have a lot to appeal to that conservative base. he really is one of them. on the other hand, to see him go beyond iowa, that's hard for me. he doesn't have any money. he doesn't have any organization anywhere else. he's banked his whole campaign on iowa.
if he really win s it spectacularly maybe you'll see donors open their wallets. i think it's hard to see him go much farther than this. >> if he wins iowa, if he wins iowa and goes right to south carolina, i mean, i'd take him to beat mitt romney in south carolina. as many people that feel so much discontentment about romney down south. we'll see. going to be interesting. great to have you on, joan and richard. appreciate your time tonight. thanks so much. donald trump is our first 2012 "psycho talker." just when you thought he was gone, he here comes dangling the possibility of a third party presidential run in front of our noses. actually the noses of fox and friends on the couch. later, the president's re-election strategy takes shape. attacking a do-nothing congress. we've seen that before from harry truman. will it work for this president? we're right back. [ male announcer ] capri sun has 25% less sugar
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possible, i would certainly consider it. i switched from an independent. because if i didn't do it by the first of january, i wouldn't be able to do it. i do have my ducks in line. if i wanted to do it. i'd love to see the republicans pick somebody that was going to win and take over this country. >> did you hear what he said? millions. so donald trump has his ducks in a line. but he doesn't seem to have any campaign operations in the works. so his ducks must be something else. >> i'm worth many, many billions of dollars because of my genius, okay? it's this. it's not my salesmanship. >> it's what? >> this. you know what that is? it's the brainpower. >> well, last april the only thing donald trump's brainpower had to offer was a bunch of half-baked birther conspiracy theories. remember that? we're still waiting for a report from his investigators in hawaii. for trump to say that he has his ducks in a line to run for president is nothing but self-serving here we go again
"psycho talk." the republicans have their playbook for defeating president obama. mitt romney is already using is on the campaign trail. the communications director for the democrat national committee brent woodhouse strikes back next. house majority leader, eric cantor, i tell you what, he can't stand the facts. his hero, ronald reagan, raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office and that's just tough to listen to, isn't it ericic? 8 e value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. metamucil uses super hard working psyllium fiber, which gels to remove unsexy waste and reduce cholesterol. taking psyllium fiber won't make you a model but you should feel a little more super. metamucil. down with cholesterol.
no matter which republican candidate comes out on top, the gop establishment already has their election strategy in place. relentlessly attack president obama. the "washington post" reports republican operatives have compiled a video library of everything the president has said. they plan to use his own words against him, with particular emphasis on the quote from in february 2009 where president obama talks about fixing the economy. >> if i don't have this done in three years, then there's going
to be a one-term proposition. >> today in des moines, iowa, well, it appeared mitt romney has already gotten onboard with the republican playbook. >> i've looked at some of the tapes on youtube of president obama, then-candidate obama going across iowa campaigning. and i've listened to some of the promises and i've looked at the performance. and there's a pretty big gap between what he promised and what he performed. this president's failed. he went on the "today" show shortly after being inaugurated and he said, if i can't get this economy turned around in three years, i'll be looking at a one-term proposition. i'm here to collect. >> if romney wants to get into what people said several years ago, the democrats already beat him to the punch. >> i was an independent during the time of reagan/bush. the principles that ronald reagan espoused are as true today as they were when he spoke
them. we put together an exchange. the president is copying that idea. i'm glad to hear that. obama-care is bad news. >> joining me now, brad woodhouse, communications director for the democratic national committee. brad, good to have you with us tonight. >> thanks, ed. >> that comment from president obama, could it come back to hau haunt him? 8.6% unemployment. it is true the number is trending upwards. the arrow is going in the right direction. is that going to be enough? could that comment come back to hurt him? >> well, look, ed, it was no surprise the rnc has a video archive and they're going to run a campaign against the president. i was a little surprised anyone wrote such a story. look, the president has put policies in place and begun to turn the economy around. you know the statistics. we've had 21 consecutive months of private sector job growth to the tune of 3 million private sector jobs. we were losing jobs at 750,000 a month when he took office. >> so what's the strategy to counterpunch this? i mean, if romney's going to go out there, take this 500-page
playbook and all the comments that president obama made and the promises. is he just going to blame it on the congress? is that it? >> well, look, the congress has been an impediment, ed, as you know, over the course of the past year. i mean, republicans in congress, especially in the house, set out on a strategy of tanking the economy, if that meant they could win an election. so we can't let them get away with that. i would say in terms of strategy, i would say three things. i'd say, one, the president is going to build a campaign person by person. that's what we've done in iowa. 4,000 one-on-one meetings. 350,000 calls. 1,200 house meetings or trainings. we're going to talk about the president's records. we're going to talk about the opponent. and mitt romney's case, he's here talking about the president's record. as you indicated, we're perfectly ready to talk about his as he emerges. >> does it matter to the obama campaign what happens tomorrow in iowa? what do you want to see happen ? >> on our side, a good
organizing opportunity. we're having caucuses around the state. we're not trying to turn out a lot of people. what we're trying to do is get our voters motivated. the most important thing coming out of the iowa caucuses for us is that we are staying in iowa when these candidates leave. >> but, brad, isn't a surprise winner good for the obama campaign? because they're going to keep going back and forth at one another. it's going to give you an opportunity to trip up mitt romney again, who many people think is going to get this thing. but it would seem to me a surprise winner would be good for your campaign. >> oh, sure. look, i mean, we've made no secret the fact we think the longer this republican contest goes, the better. the polling shows that. the approval ratings, for example, favorability ratings for mitt romney has declined across the board in all the battleground states the longer he's been a candidate. he's just been kind of stuck at 20%, 25%. other candidates in the field have seen their favorability drop the longer they're in the race. we'd like for this thing to go on for a while. >> are you going to answer the
outlandish things the candidates have said? i was in the room when rick santorum said the obama administration is against abstinence when it comes to birth control. >> look, we're certainly not going to respond to the most outlandish charges. what we're going to try to focus on, i mean, we'll respond when necessary. we want to focus on issues about the economy and the middle class. we fundamentally think this race is about security for the middle class. republicans don't have a clue what that means. they want to go back to the same failed policies that nearly tanked the economy. you have mitt romney, corporate buyout specialist. we had randy johnston, on your show, talking about the impact of those types of policies and what mitt romney stud in the private sector. you know, that's largely what we're going to talk about. who's better for the middle class. president obama will win every time. >> brad woodhouse. pleasure to you with us. thank you. president obama versus a do-nothing congress. is it a good strategy to win
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up next, president obama takes on a do-nothing congress. jonathan alter and joy-ann reid on whether that's a winning strategy. later, eric cantor and his press secretary refuse to believe president reagan rose taxes. ezra klein has the facts. don't forget to tweet us using #edshow. it's the only calcium supplement that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. and it showed me the pressure points on my feet and exactly where i needed more support. then, i got my number. my tired, achy feet affected my whole life. until i found my number. i tried the free dr. scholl's foot mapping center. in two minutes, i got my foot map and custom number. i'm a 440. that matched up to the dr. scholl's custom fit orthotic inserts with the right support and cushioning i need. i am a believer. i'm a believer!
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president obama's re-election strategy is taking shape. as the "the new york times" reports, after three years in office, mr. obama is gambling on a go-it-alone approach. the president will pit himself against an unpopular do-nothing congress, a strategy that worked for harry truman in 1948. but can it work in 2012? the president's poll numbers, well, they're on the rise. while the congress has hit a new low. the latest polling from the right wing firm rasmussen shows only 5% of likely voters approve of the job congress is doing.
"the times" reports the president will spend less time fighting congressional republicans and focus on economic justice for ordinary americans instead. white house deputy press secretary josh earnest confirms, "in terms of the president's relationship with quocongress i 2012, the president is no longer tied to washington, d.c." what does that mean? the only legislation on the white house's must-do list is a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut. according to "the times" the president will showcase measures he is taking on his own to revive the economy. "associated press" reports he will unveil at least two or three directives per week. the president will continue to take the populist tone he adopted late last year. gosh, that was just a few days ago. in his weekly address, president obama tapped into middle class frustrations over the payroll tax fight and income inequality.
>> it was food to see congress do the right thing for millions of working americans but it was only possible because you added your voices to the debate. as i said before, we're at a make or break moment for the middle class. as president, i promise to do everything i can to make america a place where hard work and responsibility are rewarded. one where everyone has a fair shot and everyone does their fair share. >> for more, let's turn to jonathan alter, msnbc political analyst, and "bloomberg view" columnist and msnbc contributor joy-ann reid and managing editor of the grio. great to have both of you with us tonight. >> hi, ed. >> joy-ann, is this a winning strategy? >> it's hard to come across as an outsidoutsider. president obama has done it, particularly with the house of representatives. his calm demeanor. he's managed to make himself look like he's in washington but he's still not a part of the club. think it's a smart strategy. they couldn't get more unpopular, right. you may as well run against them. >> jonathan, is this a no
brainer for a strategy? his poll numbers are going up. the economy is better. unemployment is going down, 8.6%. more job numbers coming out later this week. congress, not only in this polls, but numerous polls they've stunk the joint out. is this a no brainer? >> well, it's necessary but not sufficient. so they have to do it, but it's not enough. he's also going to need a big, bold second-term agenda. to lay out a vision later this month in his state of the union address about where he would take the country if he was re-elected. it's just not enough to bash the congress. he has to be very careful that he always put that word "republican" before congress. because a lot of the democrats on the senate side, remember, they control the senate still. they don't want him just attacking the do-nothing congress. they always want that word, "do nothing republican congress" in there. they get real hely annoyed at t
white house when the president doesn't attach that word to congress. >> will that attract independent voters? >> that's the big question. and obama still wants independents and even some republicans who voted for him the last time. and he's very leery of being too partisan in his tone. so he's going to have to both be partisan in order to execute this strategy, but not take it so far that he alienates the independents he needs to win the election. >> does the middle class card work? i mean, saying he's a fighter for the middle class, income inequality. does that work? >> well, i think it does. i think in a way the best thing that could have happened to barack obama in terms of his re-election chances is 2010. i mean, 2010, that tea party wave really showed americans, middle class americans, some of whom were voting republicans, reagan/democrat types just what it means to let the people govern the country. when people think about the do-nothing congress, they don't think about the senate. nobody thinks about the senate. people think about the house where the fisticuffs are
happening. when the president sets himself against them and says, look, i'm fighting for the middle class, these guys are saying we're not going to allow rich people to get a dime for tax increases. it's a stark contrast amplified by things like the movement and polls that show people want to raise taxes on the rich. he's on the right side of the issues. >> instead of battling congress, the president will take executive action. why didn't he do that earlier? >> well, i think before the president really did believe -- i think, coming in, i'm one of those who thinks he did think he could forge con ssensus in washington. that's a mindset of a senator. he found out that's not going to happen. no legislation is going to pass. he doesn't want to look like the presidency is weak. it's important to show there's a possibility of executive action. >> is it going to have to be a dimpb different song -- let's say the democrats get the house back. and it's going to be a tough lift for them to -- >> very heavy lift. >> very heavy lift to keep the senate. do you think president obama has to say, look, i've dealt with these guys for four years. record number of filibusters.
obstruction galore. i'm not going through this again. you put me in the white house, we get our team back, this is where we're going. is that too much of a heavy hand. >> well, i do think he needs to lay out in the state of the union and throughout this year what he would do differently in his second term. would he have a different attitude toward the filibuster, for instance? would he seek changes in the rules of the senate? will he use what they call recess appointments to get some of his people in there? they're not confirming anybody. they had a guy they put up to be head of the printing office. totally uncontroversial. republicans are blocking it. why? because it's a barack obama appointment. and they're blocking the head of the consumer protection bureau who's a very well-credentialed guy. >> does he sell that on the road? >> he's got to go into more of a confrontational mode and say, you know what, if you don't like it, lump it. and just take it right to them. >> confrontational. that's a big word for this
president. >> it's a big challenge for him because it's not in his nature to act that way. part of 2012, ed, is going to be whether barack obama wants to get re-elected enough that he can do some political things that don't come naturally to him. >> joy-ann reid, jonathan alter, great to have you with us. thanks so much. you have to see what happens when eric cantor is confronted with the truth about ronald reagan. that's next. stay with us. i had enough of feeling embarrassed about my skin.
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"the ed show" survey tonight i asked, will rick santorum win the iowa caucus tomorrow? 44% of you agree with me. 56% of you say no. coming up, not only are republicans trying to raise taxes, they also won't believe that president reagan did. ezra klein joins me. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you.
welcome back to "the ed show." let's get right to it. this is what happens when house majority leader eric cantor is confronted with the truth. >> but, you know, your idol, as i've read, anyway, was ronald reagan and he compromised. >> he never compromised his principles. >> well, he raised taxes and it was one of his principles not to raise taxes. >> well, he also cut taxes. >> but he did compromise. >> that's not true. and i don't want to let that stand. >> and at that point, cantor's press secretary interrupted yelling from off camera that
what i was saying wasn't true. >> eric cantor's press secretary steps in when cantor is confronted with facts about ronald reagan. the guy actually interrupted the interview? of course, reagan is praised by republicans for his tax cut, but reagan also raised taxes 12 times during his eight years in office include a three-year $100 billion tax hike, the largest since world war ii. reagan even agreed to tax hikes during the 1982 recession. in 1986, he signed the largest corporate tax increase in u.s. history. we're joined tonight by ezra klein, msnbc policy analyst, and columnist for the "washington post." how come we don't hear this enough? what do you -- let's set the record straight. reagan didn't just cut taxes, he often raised them. >> he raised them a number of times, in fact. as you said, about a dozen. i'm actually surprised cantor's press secretary went in to interrupt that. it's a fairly well-known fact reagan did this. look, it's exactly the situation we're in now.
reagan passed a very large tax cut in 1981. that led to large deficits in 1982. progressively over the next decade, he agreed to packages that raised taxes. we had the bush tax cuts passed in 2001. we have large deficits now. the argument is republicans should agree to among other things tax increases that don't quite roll back the entire bush tax cut but begin to take care of the deficit some. they have a much more dogmatic stance on taxation than ronald reagan did. >> why aren't the democrats saying ronald reagan, your hero, not yours, but the republicans' hero, raised taxes on the job creators? >> i think they actually largely are. there was a "new york times" article earlier this year, that barack obama had a sudden obsession onuoting ronald reagan. you're hearing that and hearing it particularly from the president. but the myth on ronald reagan is often stronger than the reality. >> i mean, the myth, you know, myth making about ronald reagan
by today's republican party has gotten so out of whack that cantor's press secretary actually interrupts an interview with a major network, arguably one of the most watched shows of news on all of television. and he sits there and didn't say, hey, just hold off, back off here. i find that amazing. >> it was surprising i think, too, that cantor didn't have a stronger answer to that. let's talk about the myth making, right? the head of the reagan legacy project, the folks basically trying to name a schoolyard or post office or a tree or whatever in every county in america after ronald reagan is grover norquist. it is the republican party's chief anti-tax enforcer. there is sort of an interesting coalition of interest here around making ronald reagan into a paradigm of anti-tax doctrine. the very same people pushing the doctrine, they conscripted ronald reagan in that as the chief icon for them if their pursuit. >> was he trying, eric cantor, trying to file off a few edges in this interview?
>> you know, i can't say because i haven't seen the rest of the interview. >> well, it sure seemed to me like he was. this was a new image that he was trying to portray. is he going after john boehner's job? >> i don't know if he is yet. john boehner looks a bit weaker. over the last four months or so, republicans from mitch mcconnell to john boehner to eric cantor have been trying to put forward a more conciliatory tone because the ratings for congress are incredibly low now. gallup said congress ended the year with the lowest ratings ever, 11%. lower than the democrats in 2010 before they lost 60-some seats. eric cantor and john boehner more so worried about jockeying for one another's jobs. the betting markets gives them a 35% chance of losing the house to nancy pelosi and the democrats in 2012. >> ezra klein, always a pleasure. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. listen to me on sirius xm satellite radio 127. that's the channel. monday through friday