Martin Bashir | November 07, 2012
>>> runway and about to take off en route back from chicago to the white house . nbc's mike is at the white house awaiting their return and historian michael beshlaf joins us from chicago. i imagine the white house is preparing for the triumphant return of the president and his family.
>> reporter: staffers heard out here on pennsylvania avenue , on lafayette park , they are building the inaugural stands. they started doing that last week, actually. i came by last night. thousands of people, rushing in from george washington university and other universities, really from all directions around northwest washington, gathering in lafayette park . it was quite a scene. that's when the celebration started here in washington. those staffers working in the west wing could hear them. we're doing something today that we're ordinarily not allowed to do. we're going to see the president arrive live on the south lawn . he is, of course, with the first lady and their two daughters. we're told there are going to be a lot of staffers out there to greet them as they come back here. a triumphant return. they're going to be living in this building, apparently, for another four years.
>> and you'll be covering them. michael, take it in the context of history and demographic dominance enjoyed by the president last night. is the country really divided or is that wishful thinking on the part of those who lost last night?
>> well, i think it's divided but perhaps not evenly divided. that should allow barack obama to say, i sure did get a mandate and congress should be aware of that. if there was a republican leader today who said he didn't have a mandate, that's so against american tradition. you know, one thing, martin, as long as we're talking about history, it was so much easier for a president to get along with congress and get congress to sometimes make sacrifices during world war ii and the cold war . the second that was over, bill clinton was the first to suffer from this. member of congress are much less likely to do what they did, especially during the cold war .
>> the celebrations are likely to be short-lived because there's plenty of issues for this president to address, which, of course, there's the fiscal cliff. i mean, do you -- i mean, what do you, mike, expect him to begin tackling in his second term? what do you think the list of priorities will be?
>> so much for a honeymoon. one thing is clear, that's that we'll see something on i grand scale in terms of a grand bargain along the lines of simpson/bowles. that might not be big enough for some people. they were talking about some $4 trillion in deficit reduction. i think that's what's on the table. when you hear what the president said in the weeks leading up to it and immediately after, he already called the congressional leader. you heard the nuanced statement from speaker boehner putting things on the table in a very conciliatory message. he wasn't for raising taxes but tax revenues . he cited reagan and tip o'neill economics back in the '80s, maybe the speaker needed to be reminded, taxes were raised.
>> how would you characterize this president's second presidential victory?
>> i think it was decisive. he had almost the exact same margin that john kennedy did in electoral votes over nixon in the '60s. you know, mike was mentioning the word honeymoon. it worries me, breaks my heart to think the word is antique. it was a newly elected president would get 90, 100 days in which president and the congress would try to get along. on election night '92, bill clinton won, bob dole went on tv and said, i'm representing 57% of americans who did not vote for bill clinton . you know, that's the kind of tradition it would be nice to avoid.
>> it would be, indeed. thank