Transcript for Roundtable II: Assessing the Election
I have order to vietnam forces which raise our fighting strength to 125,000 men almost immediately. People got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. We did not, repeat, did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages. Nor will we. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, miss lewinsky. Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job, the fema director is working 4/7. Every second terms get one -- the greatest hits of the second term. Right there. President obama avoid the second term -- but first, let's talk about the election. Katrina vanden heuvel, first, from "the nation," a lot of polling showed that the president was going to win, i think a lot of people were surprised of how sweeping the victory was in the battleground states, in the electoral college. I think you saw the coalition, the rising electorate of latinos, african-americans, woman, and you also saw an element, george, of fairness. Two visions competing. You're on your own jack, mr. Romney, the walking talking 1% put out there. And president obama who said, we're in this together. You saw in ohio, the most important state, president obama, sherrod brown returns to office, speaking to issues about fairness, the role of government, these are important issues, and then on the other side, you had a republican party, a discreded brand with a shrinking base out of touch with the values. So, when you talk about this senate coalition -- let me bring to paul gigot, was this a race that mitt romney could have won? Of course, he could have won. He only lost by 100,000 votes in ohio. He lost by less than in florida, 70,000 in florida. Lot closer than katrina suggest it was. 100 million unanswered ads can do to an alternative candidate. Mitt romney ran as a biographer candidate. But what the obama campaign did was they systemically destroy that biography. He never recovered from the summer in the exit polls, romney still had a net unfavorable rating. In the exit polls, it actually was a net-unfavorable. This was more about a flawed messenger than a flawed message. There are brobs the immigration position of the republican party. But fundamentally, mitt romney never made the sale. One other thing is stunning, you looked at the economy and the exit polls, still blame george w. Bush for the economic problems. 53%. Romney never separated himself from george bush. I wanted to get greta. You talked about that period from april to august where mitt romney was outspent in all of the battleground states. Some second-guessing going on. Should he have reached into his own pocket and spent his own money? If they wanted to win, clearly they needed to respond somehow, they didn't. And that was a strategic mistake by the campaign. He got beaten. He completely ignored the hispanic vote. Never seemed to have any effort to bring the hispanic vote into the tent. That was a huge mistake. He's feeling it. It wasn't such a huge margin. Electorally it was a huge margin. Over 100 votes in the electoral college. Oh, no, that's huge. But if you look at the popular vote across the country it wasn't that bi the presidenclearly won. House got extra. Senate got extra. The democratic party won. But it wasn't such a huge resounding -- we have a lot of problems facing this country. The fiscal cliff being one of them that's descending upon us, the president won, governor romney's campaign didn't do a od job and they certainly didn't do anything about the hispanic vote. Another thing that the president's team did, congresswoman edwards, was this organization throughout the battleground states, they made sure they made the most out of every single voter out there. They did. They had a huge get out to vote operation. They were really going after low propensity voters. You could pull together that coalition of women the president won, the latinos won. The president actually won middle class. I think it was a decisive electoral college vote. And frankly, theopular vote as well. When you look at florida, the difference between a bush win in florida, 537,000 votes, and obama win in florida, 74,000 it was a pretty decisive victory for democrats across the board. House and senate. Even in the house, we picked up seven seats and, you know, that's not enough to take the majority. But it's really pretty clear that the public got the president's message. He got it across. Congressman schock, there are young people under 30, also went heavily toward president obama, what lesson does your party have to take away from all of this? We have to do a better job with young people and women. But the group that we really have to zero in on, I believe, is the latino community a group that should be voting for republicans. We take a leadership role on the issue of immigration. I think it makes sense for republicans to get out in front on immigration, because it's a broke government program. It shouldn't take eight years on the average to figure out whether or not you qualify to be an american citizen. I think george w. Bush was trying to do that pre-september 11th. I think it's unfortunate that our party when we controlled the entire process didn't do more on the issue. I'm disappointed in the president in his first four years, didn't put forward a comprehensive immigration proposal. And I think the mandate that came out of this election, after $2 billion being spent, we get the status quo is to work together. I don't think -- this was not a status quo election. This was a decisive win for a different set of values. Both the social values, the issues of immigration, fairness and dignity, but also of rebuilding a middle class that has been really hit hard in these last 30, 40 years, so that is not a status quo election. If thic issue were the only issue -- but it wasn't. The social issue as well. The president has a tough argument to brag on the economy. He had a real tough argument this time. It hasn't been vibrant or robust. That's what governor romney ran on. Obviously, the voters weren't particularly impressed -- but one of the things that might have been happening at the end, you had consumer confidence going up, good job numbers. But let's not forget the inner-city, in very tough times for a lot of people. If you look at the numbers that just came out on food stamps, the most recent number is august, went up about 421,000 people in the month of august for food stamps. But greta, the president did not lose the inner city. I'm saying that, the economy in those areas, we have -- everyone has completely ignored it. In the second term, I think there will be a commitment out of this white house to pay attention to those issues. But, you know, it didn't help that the republican party called the president a food stamp president. More anti-poverty funding since -- I want to pick up on something -- hold on a second. I want to pick up on something that congressman schock was just talking about, immigration. You heard paul gigot, house speaker john boehner, sean hannity has evolved on the issue of immigration. You have point on me? Two questions, will it happen now and is that enough for the republican party? It's not the only thing they need to do. It's an important threshold issue for an awful lot of -- not just for hispanic voters but for asian voters. It has shrunk to 33% in 2004. 26% this time. Why in the world should chinese americans vote so much less for republicans than eight years ago? What is the answer? I think the answer is they're getting a message, you're really not welcome. Part of that is the threshold question of immigration. And republicans need to address that. Look, if the iceberg breaks up on immigration, this sort of the conservative part of the republican coalition, there's been an unwillingness to consider immigration reform. It's just been closed off. Mitt romney hasn't been willing to address that. He used words like self-deportation. I don't think though that the democrats have done a terrific amount in that area either. I went to the president obama's speech gave at american university about what he was going to don oim grags. Greta, don't forget it took the organization, the organizing of the dreamers to push president obama to do what he did with executive action. I think you'll see more of that and the republican party has just been closed off to any of those voices. When democrats were in charge of the house, we in fact passed the dream act out of the house and could not break a filibuster in the senate to make sure we could move it to the president's desk. Wait a second, it was the republicans that stood in the way of that. Immigration is about a core set of values that believes in building the middle class. Strengthening our protections. And opportunities for education. Hispanics care about those things, too. We talked about immigration. But the big immediate challenge facing both democrats and republicans in washington, the president as well, this fiscal cliff coming up on december 31st. And also gets into the whole question, what the mandate of the election was? Let's hear from both the speaker and the president on that. If there's a mandate in yesterday's results it's a mandate for us to find a way to work together on the solutions to the challenges that we all face as a nation. On tuesday night, we found out that the majority of americans agree with my approach. And that includes democrats, independents and a lot of republicans across the country. President there with some tougher talk. Than perhaps we have seen before. Congressman schock, you were echoing the words of the speaker. Lot of reporting that the speaker was very firm with members of your conference this time around. He wants to make sure they fall in line behind his leadership. In getting a deal. What does that mean is this time around? Is your conference ready to come forward with some revenues to make a deal work? As you saw in the bob woodward book, the evidence is out there. John boehner extended a hand of revenue the last time and the president walked away from the table with 8$800 billion, wanting over $1 trillion. What we really need from the president is leadership. We need from the president the other side of the ledger. campaign about a balanced approach. He talked about raising taxes on filers over $250,000. But, the fact is, tax increase on people over $250,000, that's $80 billion we're running a trillion-dollar deficit. Where the president needs to lead is, put forward a budget and a plan that deals with the major drivers of our debt. If he doesn't liome of our reforms that's fine. But we can't negotiate with ourselves and at this point the house is the only that's led on these issues. The presie of those ideas that he brought to the speaker, but will the democratic caucus follow him on that? One of the things president said and we heard this last week, he really does want a balanced approach to this. He has put on table $1 trillion over ten years removing the tax cuts for filers over $250,000. He ran on this. Not like the american people didn't hear what he said during the election. The president seems pretty determined and he had jay carney came out on friday, he would veto anything that extends tax rates for anyone over 250,000. The chances of america going off the cliff are at least 30%? I agree. The president made no concessions at all. The problem that he has, above all, we're talking like accountants here, what he needs above all is economic growth. 3% to 4% growth. That's what carried reagan and clinton in their second terms. I agree with paul gigot. Americans voted decisively for fair-share taxes on the riches, protecting medicare. Americans want growth and investment. You can't get growth and investment in spending cuts. I think part of the problem we're having, george, is the fundamental assumptions overriding this entire discussion. Senator murray said that we have a big debt and deficit problem, no, we don't. We have a big public investment and jobs problem. We're not greece. Austerity, if you believe in evidence based in politics and economic, you look look at what's going on in europe, austerity, american-style in this country, has led to economic pain, has led to killing growth. Killing growth. Wait a minute. It's my turn on this. Debt and deficit. What I don't understand is, how do american people let all of these members of congress, the senate and the president off the hook? We're now going to go off the fiscal cliff. We have known about this since july of last year. All they have done is absolutely nothing. Nothing that couldn't get done. But, you know what, of course, that's the deplorable thing. We all say that's the way it is. Nothing ever gets done. I'm surprised that the american people, everybody knows about this, the government has been on stall. That's the way it is. That's the way it's always done. But now it's fiscal cliff where a lot of americans are going to get hurt. And greta, I think what the president has laid out, think he's been very reasonable. We said that we need balance. We'll make investments in infrastructure and education in research and development. Things that will make us competitive and contribute to the growth that all of us want. I think that's incumbent now for a slimmer republican majority in the house, slimmer major -- a large majority in the senate and the president to actually come together where we can. We all actually agree that we need to keep those tax cuts for people making up $250,000. Here's part of the question for you, congressman schock, i think there's some bipartisan agreement that closing loopholes would be a way to go to raise revenues, but the problem has been the math you can't get enough to actually fill the hole by simply closing loopholes. I'm glad you bring up math. Once again, we have heard about the president's plan to raise taxes on wealthy individuals as a means to deal with our debt crisis. The reality is, the math doesn't add up. We can't tax our way out of debt. That's the fact. If we have to deliver a calculator the white house in order to get a budget from him that works, I'm not willing to go along with a straight-up tax increase that the president wants. Okay? Even if he gets what he wants, it needs to be balanced. Okay, mr. President, you want to raise taxes by trillion dollars over ten years, we're running a trillion-dollar deficit every year. You don't have a lot of optimism coming out of republicans, we have been out there leading with our chin the last two years with a budget, our president has criticized us left and right on our proposals. The exit polls -- neither party is talking about waste. I mean, you're talking didn't -- no, they're not. It's part of the culture. What strikes me is, if you look at the exit polls, majority of the voters said it was about jobs and growth were their concerns. You can't cut your way to growth. You can't tax your way to growth, either. A tax cut has never built a build or helped with a deteriorating insfrfrastructure in this country. Don't you turn to the issue of issuof deficit. The president needs to go out to the country and speak to those voters who said their main priority was growth and jobs. And I think how he does this will set the tone for his second administration. I want to get to one more issue before we take a break, evolution on social issues. Three states passed referendums on gay marriage and legalizing the use of marijuana. Congressman, we still have a red/blue divide on gay marriage. Your home state of maryland. Well, that's right. My home state of maryland passed our marriage equality act. It passed by a narrow margin, but it means that we have come quite a distance. We also passed the dream act in maryland as well. So, I mean, I think what you're seeing is an evolution across the board. Americans are saying we don't need the government in the middle of our bedrooms and we need to end discrimination across the board, and so, whether you're gay or straight, in maryland,ast, you'll have the ability to get married. Is this a healthy development? I think it is. What you're doing, you're seeing very contentious cultural issues, where we are have this divide, being decided democratically, at the ballot box, through which both sides have to accept and i think letting that play out in the states as opposed to some kind of judicial from above is the way to handle this over the time. Will this make the supreme court more or less likely to take on gay marriage this term? What's so significant about this, it wasn't a legislature. It was the people of the states speaking. This is a big difference than what we have. These are the people in their states, they have made their decisions. The more interesting is the marijuana because that conflicts with federal law. And I don't know how they're going to reconcile that. The attorney general has been silent on that so far. I'm hoping that the president and the attorney general use this opportunity to ratchet down the drug war which will benefit latinos and african-americans. After all, the three last presidents of did when they were young. They didn't inhale. But I think as donna said, you're seeing an astonishing the tolerance and social values. The idea that young people don't want government in their bedrooms. One proposition that I find really interesting is the one in california showing the kind of antitax hysteria. That was an important one for the future. Good luck, california, on the economy with that one. What should the justice do now in colorado and washington? If I look at the precedence, I think they'll be overturned. It just conflicts with federal law. So with arizona and the immigration. I don't think this will hold up, at least, under current
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