So I think, in the end, they're going to go this up against this deadline and crisis which I think actually has been important because most of the time Congress won't do anything unless there's a deadline, and then -- unless there's accountability. But I think, in the end, the politics of this will force something, whatever it happens to be, some small combination of cuts with raising the debt ceiling.
But politically, the president and the Congress both know they have to pass something.
MS. ROBERTS: Congressman, I'm curious though. How does it work politically to say that we won't raise taxes on billionaires as the president keeps saying?
REP. LABRADOR: Let's talk about this. The House majority, the House Republicans passed a budget that actually talked about reforming the tax system. We already agreed to that. We said that we want to make sure that we broaden the base, which means getting rid of all those loopholes, and we want to lower the rates.
The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that the president wants to get rid of all these loopholes just to increase spending. That's all he's wanting to do. Everybody gives him credit right now for being the adult at the table. This is the man who came to Congress and asked us to raise the debt ceiling without any spending cuts. This is the man who gave us a budget that didn't even get a single vote in the Senate.
And now he's saying that he's serious -- a serious deficit hawk. I think that's a joke. He has never been a deficit hawk.
MS. AMANPOUR: George, though, you think the president and the speaker have played this about as well as they can, right?
MR. WILL: Well, given their two constituencies, I mean, the tea party movement -- which I happen to think is the best thing that's happened in American politics since the Goldwater insurgency -- (laughter) -- the tea party --
MR. WILL: The problem is the tea party movement -- which doesn't understand the fundamental paradox which is that, if Washington were as easy to turn around as they seem to think it is, we wouldn't need the tea party movement which we do. The president did not get elected to cut entitlement programs, to cut anything for that matter. He has proposed -- you know what he's been specific about? $2 billion of spending cuts in 2012. That's a rounding error on the --
MR. KARL: George, what I don't understand here, the big mystery to me is why the Republicans didn't, to use the president's phrase, call his bluff. The president was talking about cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Why -- and I mean, the Republicans pulled out on taxes.
The initial reaction to the leaks on those stories were Democrats on Capitol Hill screaming bloody murder saying that they were not going to let the president and John Boehner touch Medicare. And before that fight could play out, Republicans walked away on taxes.
MR. DOWD: What I think is going on here is how broken the process here in Washington is, how badly poisoned it is and how neither side really trusts each other. And even if they were going to call each other, the lack of trust is so big that they can't even reach agreement on some small thing.
Each side, in 2010, the Republican getting elected and a Barack Obama in 2008, basically, the message was fix Washington.
MS. ROBERTS: That's right.
MR. DOWD: It's broken; fix Washington.