Mitchell Reports | February 20, 2013
>>> first " andrea mitchell reports" debut as an nbc news and msnbc political analyst , david axelrod , former senior advisory to president obama . thank you very much. great to have you with us on this team. let's talk about the sequester.
>> good to be with you.
>> i bet it's better to be with us than back in the white house right now, given what the president is facing. there's a lot of posturing from both sides. how do you see the president working his way out of this budget situation? i assume that you think he has the politics behind him.
>> well, the dilemma for him in moving forward here is i think you have a country that is kind of inured to fiscal crisis like this. they've always resolved themselves, so it's hard to raise people's sense of alarm about these things, because their assumption is this is just washington being washington . so, it may take, as chris suggests, and i think we're going to see the deadline passed, it may take actual pain for people to pay attention, say, this one is real. this is meaningful. there has to be action.
>> and, david, john kerry gave his first speech as secretary of state. he was at uva in charlottesville this morning and this is what he had to say about the impact of the budget.
>> think about it. it's hard to tell the leadership of any number of countries that they have to resolve their economic issues if we don't resolve our own. let's reach a responsible agreement that prevents these senseless cuts. let's not lose this opportunity because of politics.
>> david, he's pointing out that this is a national security issue. this is an issue of foreign policy and domestic policy merging.
>> well, there's no question about it. i think there are real consequences to the sequester. remember, it was put in place because the thought was that the cuts were so odious that no rational legislator, no rational government official , would allow it to happen, and so they are painful and they will have impact. and it is troubling. and the question is whether when congress returns next week there will be a sense of urgency about it, but i do think, as i said earlier, the problem right now is the public has sort of tuned out to all this because it's part of the washington follies at this point. and their sense is somehow it will all work out.
>> and there's also a feeling that washington leaders on both sides have been crying wolf for so long and they always somehow kick it down the road and it never crashes the markets. but you never know until it happens whether or not it's actually going to happen. i want to ask you about --
>> i also think, andrea, one other thing i believe is that there is a belief on the part of some of the republicans in congress that maybe the sequester is all right. maybe this is another way of shrinking government in a dramatic way. and i think, you know, that's a dangerous idea, but it's not uncommon in some quarters on capitol hill .
>> no doubt. i want to ask you about immigration reform , because despite what happened to john mccain at a town hall meeting last night in arizona, there is a general feeling that -- i know i've talked to chuck schumer and other democrats who are working on this -- that something may actually happen, that copy of the president's plan, perhaps, was poorly timed. the fact that a reporter got a copy of it and it did upset marco rubio and a number of the republicans, but the president's now reached out, called rubio, called lindsey graham . is this the start of a real effort by the president to try to bridge these gaps?
>> well, first of all, i think he had to make those calls. it was a mistake that that report was leaked. i think it was disseminated too widely. i know from my own experience in the white house when these reports are disseminated among agencies, inevitably, they get leaked. and this got leaked in an untimely way, so he had to call them and settle down the brew ha-ha that ensued as a result of that. i believe it will move forward for the reason david sanger suggested. i think republicans are looking at the results of the last election and there's no doubt that the president got 71% of the latino vote. it was the reason, part of the reason, that he carried states like nevada, colorado, florida. they are looking at their future. a state like texas in one or two cycles is going to be in play because of the large hispanic population there. so they are wanting to get right on the issue. in terms of the president's moves, my understanding is his staff has been meeting with the staff of the gang of eight right along two or three times a week. so there's been communication, but i think it's a very delicate dance because of what senator mccain encountered in arizona. i think the republicans are very sensitive to how this is orchestrated, and so the leak of that report was an unfortunate thing from the standpoint of trying to get something done.
>> and, finally, i don't know if you're a golfer, but the best golfer and perhaps the most famous golfer in the world, tiger woods , had this to say about the president on the course.
>> he hit the ball well. got an amazing touch. he can certainly chip and putt. if he ever spent, after these four years, if he spends more time playing the game of golf, i'm sure he can get to where he's a pretty good stick.
>> i think it's going to be a while before the president gets enough time to really work on that golf game, but that's pretty good.
>> you need a good touch to play in washington , i'll tell you that. i think tiger also showed some good political skills there and good diplomatic skills in his description of the president's game. so, maybe he has a future in politics after golf and the president has a future in golf after politics.
>> let's be more sure of the second than the first, but that's another whole story.
>> i agree with you.
>> david axelrod , thanks for having you. thank you very much. i hope this is just the beginning of a beautiful