Mitchell Reports | February 15, 2013
>>> the president has been expressing increasing frustration this week over the gridlock that is already dominating his second term. with two key cabinet positions now being held up. joining us is nbc news presidential historian meeblg beshloss. michael, well, we thought it was all going to go off swimmingly. no, we didn't.
>> that was an awfully long time ago.
>> that was an awfully long time ago. two cabinet positions, and it's pretty muddy up there on the hill. there's some progress on immigration. a leading congress said the ice is beginning to break on immigration at least. but not so much on guns yet. and certainly not on the budget.
>> i think that's right. that's pretty much in line with history. f.d.r. won -- or 1936 won this huge landslide. republicans worked hard to cut them down to size and try to reduce his mandate by doing things like this in early 1937 . democrats did the same thing to nixon in 1973 with a similar landslide even before watergate.
>> so how much to leverage by simply going outside, building pressure, and running against congress. we've seen that before. how much does he use this window to try to work with congress, knowing that they really can block it?
>> i think it's certainly always helped for a president to speak on things like gun control .
>> he has been much more passionate than some might have predicted?
>> absolutely. you know the number of districts at this point in time -- the voters are the people who represent them. the result is that that's pretty limited, and he has a very limited window, i think. this year probably six to eight months is the only time that he will be able to get things that involve any big controversy on the hill, so he has to act fast.
>> i have been told that democrats involved in the negotiations on immigration have said to the president give us this window, this time. don't send legislation up. we think we can work something out, and that the president has said something to the effect of, okay, but here's your deadline, a couple of months out, whatever it progress by then, i am sending legislation up. immigration could be the real victory of the second term.
>> i think that's right and even that only because of a confluence of factors that overcomes the second term thing. if republicans see it in their interest to change their minds on immigration, that's something they could do to more advance their own political cause than help the president.
>> you have lindsay graham , john mccain and marco rubio , someone who tried in fact last year, couldn't get mitt romney to sign off on a plan and then the president came in with the dream act and trumped all of them. so there is some momentum now on the republican side on that. what about guns?
>> guns, that's the sticking point. you look at that through -- even in the early 1970s , richard nixon said privately if it were up to him i would outlaw, he said, every pistol in the country. he was strongly for gun control , though he didn't do much about that in public.
>> michael beschloss , it's always great to have your perspective.