Mitchell Reports | April 14, 2011
>>> program, an attempt to change the social context of america. republicans say it is critical to controlling spending, and that is the subject of the cover story in the new issue of "the national journal ." we have an exclusive first look with editor in chief ron fornier. there is no escaping it. what about the whole question of taxes for the rich versus really changing medicare as we know it? do -- the white house seems to feel they've got politics on their side going into the campaign year.
>> yeah, they're feeling very confident over at pennsylvania avenue right now. and they have reason to be. i mean, the white house can credibly argue the republicans are going to destroy medicare if they get their way. the interesting thing is, republicans can credibly argue that as president obama gets his way, the deficit won't come down, he can't bend the cost curve in health care , which is threatening our future. so these are two big arguments that are really worth having a presidential election over. and is that's what ron brown 's team gets at in his piece.
>> the president's speech yesterday, we're all focused on the attack on paul ryan . at the same time, he did seem to be moving more toward the center. he defined the problem, the spending problem. very much the way a centrist might. you know, when you get passed the campaign rhetoric. is the president moving too far away from the left wing of this party and is that why you have had explosions as we have heard from behind the scenes from nancy pelosi and more on that to come?
>> it depends on what his strategy is. if he is running for re-election by appealing just to the left, yeah, he's obviously upsetting them. but he's trying to build a broader coalition here. and to do that, you do have to move to the middle. and as you know, he's kind of moving to a historical level here. he's embracing on one hand the old strain of individualism, and on the other hand, the sense of community that he talked about yesterday. he's trying to play to both of these ethics in the american psyche. and to do that, it kind of has him in the middle. now, that can be a dangerous place to be, as you say, he's got problems on his left. but the middle is generally the smartest place to be when you're running for re-election as the president.
>> the president -- this is what the president had to say about medicare last night.
>> i will not allow medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry . with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. i will not tell families with children who have disabilities they have to fend for themselves. we will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
>> it strikes me that that is going to become the theme song of this campaign.
>> it sure is going to be. do you really want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly. it's a very powerful argument that has worked for the democrats in the past. one of the many differences is, we're facing a big fiscal crisis, so the republicans have a pretty good counter, and it's going to be incredible to watch this next year to see how this plays out, and it's going to be the seminal issue of the 2012 presidential election . and the congressional elections.
>> ron fournier, huge stakes, thank