Mitchell Reports | February 04, 2013
>> our daily fix, chuck todd , msnbc news chief, political director, and host of "the daily rundown" and "new york times" chief washington correspondent david sang ar. first to you, chuck, on guns. the president in minnesota. the white house making a very big push. the question as to why they had to react to the conspiracy they'rists who questioned his -- the white house comment about his skeet shooting at camp david zoosh well, they've always been what i would call overly reactive to they call it the beast, feeding the beast, and they mean sort of social media , the sort of advocacy media, when it's talk radio , whatever you want to call it, and this was just mother one of those instances where they felt that they saw a couple of articles that they thought were getting traction, and they thought, well, let's put out this photo, but, of course, even as david axlerod, they put it out four or five days later, and then it was, well, then why are you doing that? if you think it's slil to be doing it, why feed the beast? the whole incident is a total side show when you consider what's really going on here, which is this -- he is trying to build mrekt support for at least something on guns. it does look like washington is moving around this background checks .
>> an assault weapon ban is "unrealistic," is the democratic leader is not --
>> he support going to. my understand issing there is a movement. let it get a vote on the floor as an amendment to whatever comes out of the judiciary committee because people like max baucus who is up in 2014 , maybe people like michael bennett -- i don't want to put, but some of the red or purple state senators from pro-gun states want the opportunity. think mark warner in virginia. to vote against a gun control measure. so that they have some credibility in their eyes to tell voters i'm pro-gun. i'm just for the background check .
>> cafeteria options.
>> on foreign policy , we have a new secretary of state taking over today just as veep biden in his meetings with french president hollande in paris talk about the possibility of one-on-one bilateral talks with iran . let's take a look at what joe biden had to say.
>> when and if the supreme leader and the iranians are prepared to discuss the essence of what is at the core of these embargoes, we're prepared to discuss. we're prepared to meet with them individually.
>> iran , of course, a big topic in the chuck hagel confirmation hearings. a big source of dispute and wig conversations and negotiation with israel. john kerry over the weekend talked to simon peres and talked to abbas and also met hue. where do we stand now, and what is the timeline aring the different red lines with israel and with the possibility of one-on-one talks with iran ?
>> well, aun drae, i thought that the most important statement that the vice president biden made was when and if. they haven't really had conversations even with the totally of the european powers , but -- and iran since june. many thought that there would be talks as soon as the election -- the presidential election was over, but we're obviously nearly three months out from that, and nothing has happened. there's discussion something might happen by the end of february. now, they're up against a couple of different deadlines here. one of them is the question of when iran will have enough of its sort of medium enriched uranium that it could race for a bomb. remember when prime minister net hur came to the u.n., he had that big sort of cartoonish version of a bomb, and the red line that he drew you would think the iranians would probably reach by the end of the spring or early summer, but the other big deadline here is that in june the iranians have their own elections, and i think many in the administration are concerned that if they can't strike a deal fairly quickly and there's no indication that they would be able to, that it would get stuck in the election politics there where no one in iran would want to be looking like they're making any concessions to the west.
>> at the same time we're all watching -- all eyes are on north korea getting ready to, we believe, do another nuclear test , an underground nuclear test . there are a lot of challenges facing john kerry as he takes over the state department . what about chuck hagel ? chuck, you had leon panetta on "meet the press" this weekend, and martin dempsey , the chairman of the joint chiefs . let me ask both of you what kind of power that chuck hagel would have, assuming he gets confirmed? how does he move into this period where he has to really fight for resources from congress and also deal within the cabinet, deal with the white house ? snoo that seems to be the real question now. it's not if he is going to get confirmed. the political votes are there. another republican came on board over the weekend. roy blunt will vote no, but not filibuster. the votes are there to confirm him. that is not the question. the question is he going to have the political swagger, if you will, that secretary of defense immediate to both operate inside the pentagon, and that's -- you heard robert gibbs , former press secretary yesterday say it was a little disconcerting watching him give those answers. they made a strategic decision not to have a debate with those republican senators. trying to not start fights, but was he too passive?
>> there was a way to push back. david sanger , he could have said i disagree with you about the surge. senator mccain , you're my great friend, but let's talk about what's really going on. we have 66,000 troops at afghanistan right now. he didn't pivot. he didn't push back. he didn't fight. david brooks , your columnist in "the "new york times"" suggested to chuck this weekend that he should even go so far as saying to the president, mr. president, do you have second thoughts? should i withdraw? that's rather more than i would have expected at this point.
>> you know, i think there were two remarkable elements to the testimony that former senator hagel gave. he seemed unprepared on basic issues. we were discussing iran before. he had a difficult time even articulating the president's policy that iran could not cane that you need to stop iran from getting a weapon. he tripped on that two different times even after being passed a note, but theb the second issue was why he didn't come back with senator mccain by saying yes, perhaps i was wrong on the surge. you may remember that senator hagel opposed the surge in iraq, but he could have said but while the surge worked, what it did was extract the united states from a war that senator hagel believes the u.s. never should have been in, so he didn't sort of have that kind of strong push back. i think that truck made a very good point about what kind of sway he is going to have in congress. you know, the calculation of having a republican defense secretary as it was when bob gates remained as defense secretary for the first two years of the obama administration was to have someone there with the credibility to say, you know, this old cold war system can die. we don't need it. we can cut the budget here and put the money in cyber or put the money in some other activity that the united states considers relevant pursuing terrorists. right now it's not clear that he has enough juice with his own party that any of those arguments would necessarily work. i think that the white house has to be wondering did they buy the kind of authority from him and the kind of bipart sfwlan approach that they had hoped for?
>> david , thank you very much.