Mitchell Reports | June 18, 2012
>>> the supreme court is expected to rule any day, no ruling today, on the president's health care law . so everyone in washington is of course trying to read the tea leaves , trying to guess which way it might go. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg spoke on friday about what some are calling the term of the century.
>> i think many of you know it is now flood season at the court. many of the most controversial cases remain pending so it is likely that the sharp disagreement rate will go up next week and the week after. at the supreme court , those who know, don't talk and those who talk, don't know.
>> tom daschle is the former senate majority leader, key player on health care , senior policy advisor at the piper law firm . great to see you again. we are now reduced to checking the possible travel schedules of supreme court justices . no one knows when anyone can leave town because we hear that it is today, no major rulings. thursday could be, next monday, could be next wednesday or thursday, but we all think they're going to get out of town by the 29th of june, and of course, all the tea leaves so far have been that the oral arguments went very badly. do you think there is still a chance the president might win a 6-3 victory and actually have health care sustained or do you think that this could be a divided court with some kept and perhaps the individual mandate thrown out?
>> well, andrea, after hearing justice ginsburg 's admonition, i will talk and don't know. but even though you don't know doesn't mean you don't talk. i think the bottom line is that everybody understands this is at best 50/50. no one, even the optimists can't predict the court is going to rule unanimously in favor of this decision. i think the conventional wisdom right now is that they won't. but we really won't know for at least now another week, so it's unclear. what we have to do is prepare for whatever option may be likely to unfold and there are four or five of those options available to us. so we've got to plan for each one of them, implement them as we get to know more.
>> what can the president do politically, because if this is knocked out, you know already republicans are saying this was the greatest achievement that he had heralded and doesn't it make him look as though he has wasted time, put the country through a ringer and some democrats would even argue that the tea party would not have been born in that august debate if health care had not been the focus of his attention.
>> well, this is going to be a political issue over the next six months, regardless. i don't think you're going to see any action by congress. there won't be a consensus. but you're going to see a tremendous amount of rhetoric, depending on who wins and who loses. you're certainly going to see a good deal of attention given the issue. i think the real question is what do we do now. i think what the american people want is some consensus, some ability to be confident that we can go forward, and therein lies at least some possibility for common ground. republicans and democrats like a lot of what the aca has already implemented, the elimination of annual limits, the elimination of the legal lifetime limits, the doughnut hole closing, that is the end of the requirement that seniors pay for drug coverage. all of those things are very popular and many more, so i think the president is going to say look, let's keep those things that we know have already worked and let's build on building a greater consensus after that.
>> senator, i wanted to point out something else, because peter hart highly respected democratic pollster, did one of his focus groups in denver, and this is the scene of the president's acceptance speech, the success of that convention, and he talked to 12 undecided voters , ten of whom had supported president obama before. his headline out of this is obama is in trouble. he says voters sense that this is all a show, there is no road map , no program, no conviction of where the president wants to lead the country. participants say obama reminds them of their hometown baseball team , the colorado rockies . lots of promise but not a pennant. tim tebow says all the right things but when it comes down to it, he can't perform and the unkindest cut of all, billy mays , the infomercial pitchman, too showy, putting on a snazzy sales routine. that from the analysis from denver from a recent focus group . is the president in trouble? the campaign in trouble?
>> you know, i just really, i have a great deal of respect for peter and for many others who have made similar projections. i have to say it seems like every first term president, i remember what they said about clinton in 1996 and what they said about george w. bush in 2004 . you had a lot of predictions that --
>> they didn't have 8.2% or 8% unemployment.
>> well, they didn't, but you know, the president can point to a lot of achievement, a lot of accomplishment, and you are going to see him do that. you also saw another indication just yesterday of mitt romney 's incompetence as a candidate and his, you know, there isn't a lot of enthusiasm for mr. romney so far, and i think you've got to look at who the opposition is and just how this debate's going to play out over the long term. we haven't seen the end of the economic news yet. we could still see some real economic progress before the election. it is almost six months away. so i think when you look at all the prospects, i still think this president's going to be the winner in november. it's going to be a struggle and it will be close, but i think at the end he's going to pull it out.
>> tom daschle , thanks very much. good to see you.
>> my pleasure.