Hardball | December 06, 2012
>>> just to be clear, i'm not going to sign any package that somehow prevents the top rate from going up for folks at the top 2%, but i do remain optimistic that we can get something done that is good for families like this one and that is good for the american economy .
>> welcome back to "hardball." today president obama took his fiscal pitch outside the beltway visiting a middle class family in virginia suburbs. the president's message is resonating with people across america. a new quinnipiac poll proves it. 53% trust president obama and the dgets more to handle the fiscal cliff negotiations. only 36% trust the "r"s in congress. joining me is nbc chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown," anything else you control around here?
>> that's enough.
>> and "the washington post 's" chris cillizza . i think you've been reupped. year all over the place. you're the greatest. the absolute best there is in this --
>> let's be careful talking about the president outside the beltway.
>> this is why i want you and chris on. what is the president hoping to get done? what's his time frame? does he believe in the cliff or does he think it's a bungee jump?
>> no, he truly believes in the cliff. he has been getting -- and he's getting economic warnings from his own team that say, don't believe the congressional budget office which is kind of rosy about this who says it would be a tough 2013 if we went over the cliff but things would get better. he is getting updates saying, no, no, no we will go into recession.
>> therefore, let's go to the therefore now, can he arrange a credible, reasonably progressive deal before christmas , before the 21st?
>> here is where we're at. i think now we know what the book ends are at this point. the book end -- the worst good deal he's going to get and i think -- that's right now the most likely if they can't get it, republicans go ahead and pass what he's been asking for, the middle class tax rate extension that allow the top rates to go up either all the way or maybe to 37% and that's it. and that could be it. maybe republicans -- and they may say he won't negotiate on anything else --
>> what about the deals he's already accepted? what about the entitlement adjustments --
>> they may wait on entitlements and punt. this is the version of punt i think is starting to coming to.
>> he said yesterday he would reject that kind of deal.
>> he's not going to be able to reject the tax rate deal --
>> you're suggesting we would have another fight like this --
>> we had have another fight when debt limit came on everything else potentially.
>> he might accept that?
>> he he has said he's willing to have the larger debate later if congress will simply pass the middle class tax rate extension. if congress ends up doing that and you can see that's coming together, that's going to happen no matter what.
>> cracks are forming on the republican resistance to raising tack rights in the top. a report says many gop centrists and some conservatives are calling on speaker boehner to concede on rates right now while he still has leverage to demand something in return. even ann coulter of the far right sees the writing on the wall . here she is last night with hannity who doesn't seem to have any brains on this subject. listen.
>> wait a minute, i want to make sure i understand. are you saying then forp r purposes, that they should give in to obama on the tax rate .
>> no exactly -- well, yeah, i guess i am.
>> you're saying capitulate to obama -- we don't have a revenue problem, ann.
>> we lost the election, sean.
>> well, the fact is, sean, we do have a revenue problem. 15% of gdp going to revenue. republicans on the right should at least pay for what they spend on. at least pay for the guns and ammo. the louisiana governor bobby jindal wants to make -- he's not blind to reality. he writes in today's politico, any reading of the headlines over the past week indicates that republicans are fighting to protect the rich and cut benefits for seniors. it may be possible to have worse political positioning than that, but i'm not so sure how. your thoughts, chris . do you conform to the thinking here of our smartest possible colleague here, chuck, that this is something that the president realizes is a true cliff, you don't want to go over it, and he will recognize a good deal if he see it is before christmas and take it?
>> sure. yes, i do agree with chuck. i would say two things. one, with the cliff and the president acknowledging it's a real thing, not sort of a made-up deal, is that the uncertainty factor, chris . that's what you can't overestimate. all of these limits of what would happen, no one really know what is would happen. i think the president is cognizant of sort of throwing the country into uncertainty after, you know, this long a struggle with the economy. so i think --
>> i agree.
>> that's part one. part two, you know, with the cutting a deal, it's fascinating because with debt ceiling and even with the budget, the extension of the bus tax cuts in the past, republicans always sort of gained some leverage by waiting until the last minute. i think there is an argument to be made here that the closer we get to december 31st , the less leverage republicans have because everything that is true today politically speaking will almost certainly be true on december 31st . i think boehner understands that. it's an issue if he can convince his conference.
>> if the deal is middle class people get their tax cut continued, 2% of people don't get it. is that a good deal for the president or is that a tricky deal by the republicans ?
>> no --
>> puts off the fight over spending.
>> he decouples tax rates which is what he's tried -- frankly, democrats have been trying to do this for eight years. this is an eight-year-long campaign to decouple the tax rates for the rich. so yes, i talked to a high-level aide today that said -- i said, if you don't get the big deal -- because right now we're basically that small deal, which would not be a small thing, doing that, but you might not get the large grand bargain that you hope for --
>> why wouldn't the republicans take cuts in entitlements, take cuts in general government spending as pa rt of a deal.
>> they don't think -- the president hasn't outlined the cuts in entitlements. this is where the political gamesmanship goes on their side. they sit there and say we're taking all the heat on taxes, we're eating our own in the base on taxes. you should have to eat your own in the base --
>> the president said he didn't want another fight, he wouldn't have another fight. he said he doesn't want another fight come february when we have to deal with the debt ceiling. what does it mean? doesn't it mean anything when he says i'm not going to do that?
>> in an ideal world for what he views as the role in government and his second term in legacy building, i think he wanted a grand bargain --
>> i think he does, too, to he can move on to the progressive stuff he wants to do.
>> second terms don't last four years.
>> right, right.
>> no second term in the modern era has lasted four years.
>> i know.
>> it ends somewhere before two years.
>> then you move into foreign policy .
>> very quickly, chuck is right. if they get the tax rate increase on the wealthy, they declare victory and move on. we can argue debate that --
>> you're both educating me tonight. it's about taxes. the president can win this one before christmas . thank you chuck todd and chris cillizza .
>>> up next, the story no one is talking about at notre dame . some people are charging cover-up. this is going to be a hot one and not very pleasant for me. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ man