Mitchell Reports | February 19, 2013
>> calizza. here now to talk about the sequester and a lot else, robert gibbs --
>> just the years of military service for this marine and for him to be side tracked as collateral damage, if you will, by the storm of controversy over the petraeus matter, which was a legitimate issue, but his were emails that had to be looked into, i suppose i by the pentagon once the issue was raised. what do you say?
>> i'm struck by two things. one that chris said, which was that oftentimes the story and the innuendo is always a lot bigger than when general allen got cleared, and, secondly, what you said about the chuck hagel hearing. you see this, again, with senators that are trying -- that are retiring, that we never expected to retire, and that is the wear of the game of this town is taking its toll on the very people you want in government at a time in which we have to address the big problems that we have in this country, and you wonder if that game sort of continues, this sort of chicken and egg , chicken -- cat and mouse kind of thing. are we really going to take the best and the brightest and steer them away from, again, solving the biggest problems that we have in this country?
>> let's stipulate late that on "meet the press" you were one of those, a democrat, and a former white house official who said that hagel's performance wasn't good to put it mildly, that he did not seem prepared, he did not know how to respond to john mccain and other critics. at the same time a lot of people are suggesting that ted cruise's attack on him and this continual, you know, lindsey graham now saying let's take a look at the rutgers speech and now they're demanding five years of back finances, not two years, which is a new standard as carl --
>> i think to be clear, i think the standard that lindsay graham and others are doing for finances for the secretary of defense is not one that their party's nominee for the white house to be commander in chief could or would have met just a few months ago when he was running for the presidency. remember, mitt romney 's big excuse on giving us more information on kaymen investments is i filled out all that is required in the financial disclosure forms. now lindsay graham wants i think every private thought that chuck hagel has ever ever had and every public word that he has ever uttered. look, i think it is shameful what he is having to go through on that side of this. they're not questions that are holding this up based on what his thoughts are on iraq or -- i'm sorry. not on iraq, but on afghanistan, but instead on stuff that's played out or in benghazi, which, quite frankly, he had nothing to do with. he was a private citizen.
>> when we get to the budget issue, the president is coming out there, and approximate showing the dire consequences of what happens with this meat clever approach, as he said. republicans -- house and sfat are on recess, so there's certainly no negotiation going on even at staff level apparently right now. now what happens? we go to the next stage, which is the automatic cuts go into effect, and they start talking about a continuing resolution , and further kicking the can down the road?
>> i do think -- i do think there will be an attempt and you saw this by the president, and you see the democrats in the senate trying to do something to at least staif off temporarily the first round of -- or the first year of those cuts. maybe give them a month or two months to try to get back into this same room and work through the sequester and the continuing resolution .
>> republicans say nothing doing.
>> well, and look, the republicans have spent the better part of the last two weeks trying to blame the president for his idea of the sequester to begin with, so i think what is shameful about this whole process is republicans are -- they're happy to be in the school yard throwing rocks. they have no desire to go into the principal's office and try to solve the problem, and i think that's going to leave us with, in all likelihood, as you mention, sequester going into effect a week from friday, and we know the devastating impacts that it can have. look, we saw in the latest gdp report what happened to defense spending and its impact on our overall economy just at the mere threat that at the end of the year we would have sec west rags. this was an idea put in place that would be so bad that everyone would do all that they could to avert it and it looks now like it won't be averted.
>> and, of course, your successor, jay carney , was asked about access from the white house and transparency. politico wrote about behind the curtain and quoted ann compton from abc who has covered every white house since gerald ford 's saying this is the least transparent. it doesn't matter how many interviews are done, but that the white house reporters do not get to question with -- they don't get to hear information about policy decisions in process that are about to be made on immigration, on guns.
>> it takes everybody to lift the veil a bit, as much as is possible on the backgrounding of how one does policy. there will always be tension between the president and the press corps regardless of who that is. in terms of transpirn si, look, i have sat in that office for two years and helped make the decision to -- for one thing had on transparency, let's lift on a month by laces the list of every person that walks in the white house . that's a big, big step, and one that seems easy now, but had never been done before we got in there, so i think the level of transparency in this white house is different, but there's no doubt there will always be tension here as long as the -- there is a republic with a president and a working press corps. i read that article, and i didn't miss my day job .
>> well, we're glad you are here as part of your day job .