Jansing and Co | March 08, 2013
>>> good morning. i'm chris jansing . stunning new numbers on the economy. february numbers blew projections out of the water. 236,000 jobs were added last month, the best since november. the experts were predicting only of 60,000 more.
>>> the unemployment rate is the lowest in four years. wall street has been shattering records for three days in a now, now surging into new territory. all this comes as the president is working on a self-imposed deadline to try to craft a deficit agreement. he thinks this grand bargain that not too long ago seemed unreachable could happen. yesterday he started his charm offensive, as it's being called with having lunch with paul ryan and chris van hollen .
>> a good change exchange of views, a comfortable setting, ways we might be able to bridge the differences.
>> let met bring some "the washington post " nia malika henderson and susan feruccio. good to see both of you. if the president thinks he can put together a grand bargain, does he have the wind at his back when you see what wall street is doing?
>> i think he has the wind at his back. economists have predicted probably about 12 million jobs created over these next four years, about 250,000 of this last month. also i think the reality is if you talk to those senators who were at that dinner a couple nights ago, they are tired of the gridlock, tired of going from crisis to crisis. some of those men will not run for reelection ever again, so the sort of risks in terms of what reaching a grand bargain would mean to their reelection just isn't a factor. so i think he's doing himself some good by reaching out. republicans have criticized him for not reaching out. democrats have criticized for the same thing. this is a flashback to july 2011 , where there did see some movement around a grand bargain. the takeaway from the sequester is as much as the president ran around the country, it looks like it got us to the point where people are finally optimistic that some sort of grand deal around entitlements and spending cuts might be reached.
>> it is a pretty aggressive goal. but given the optimistic tone coming out of the meetings with the president and the republicans, is it doable? do you think the white house will feel a bit empowered by the recent economic news?
>> i think they'll be empowered, but also sort of chastened by what happened last week with the big fight over the sequester. that's pushing the white house to negotiate this time and not just say it's going to be our way or the high way. i'm getting the sense that his attitude has sited from the previous stance of recent years. he's saying, look, he's listening to what their ideas are, and they're talking about ways they can all agree and ways they're not going to agree, too. i think they have come to the conclusion that no one will give way on the revenue.
>> so how do you get to a grand bargain?
>> that's the thing, i don't think everyone is intractable. some of the people at that table, at that dinner, had actually agreed in the past to spending increases or tax increases, even something liable lindsay graham agreed to, you know, some fixes around the tax code that would lead to some revenue.
>> paul ryan was obviously in that lunch of he said, i thank president obama for hosting a frank discussion about washington's budget challenges. everyone needs to be part of this conversation, we need an open debate about how to best balance the budget and expand opportunity. i look forward to having that debate next week with specific proposals. as both of you now paul ryan and patty murray will roll out the competing proposals to taming the national debt . it's one thing to talk about debate, another thing all together, i think, susan, to talk about agreement or compromise. you don't see compromise in the mix?
>> i do, actually. i think here's the way forward you've already heard them hint if and only if the president were willing to make big changes to medicare to bring the cost down. i know they broached that subject at the dinner. from my understanding talking to republicans, that may well be the way forward . keep your eye on entitlement rem and how that may affect bringing in new revenue to the treasury. i think that's the path forward at this point.
>> i wonder if the other thing is does a grand bargain get more complicated if it becomes summer and congressional races are coming more clearly into focus?
>> well, i think that's certainly possible. you have a lot of senators eyeing 2014 , but you also have some senators like levin, who is not going to seek reelection. i think again there is this sense that there are enough republicans, enough democrats who want to put some skin in the game, who have in the past agreed to entitlement reforms, agreed to a fiddling with the tax code . i think you have enough. i think the sort of template is not only 2011 , but also the fiscal cliff. you had some republicans break from party orthodoxy there, because they had a lot of pressure from the business community to raise taxes. so they did that. so i don't want to be too optimistic, but i think we're moving in the right direction in terms of people once again talking about this grand bargain. you've already seen the president put social security on the table, talking about chain cpi, and also fixes on medicare.