Mitchell Reports | March 01, 2013
>>> certainly enough blame to go around as the white house and congress fail, again, to meet a deadline on a major fiscal deal. meet the second verse, same as the first. joining me now to talk about the fallout from sequestration and michael steele the chairman of the national committee which is also an msnbc analyst. i was struck, president obama was asked at the press conference today if he beared any blame for it and he said, no, he had put a deal forward and then follow-up question, shouldn't you have brought the two groups together? should you have sat down in a meaningful way and tried to hash out their differences? he, again, seemed to deflect. shouldn't he have sat down and brought mitch mcconnell and john boehner in the day before the sequester was said to hit? this is a fisca l process we have gone through before. he tried the closed door notions with republican leaders in congress over the past couple of years and even if the leadership agreed with the president to make certain changes they couldn't then deliver the conference and taking a different tack this time around. and the truth is, he put this issue on the ballot in november. balanced approach to reducing the deficit that includes revenue. this was a referendum in november. the american people voted for it and apparently there's republicans in congress ignoring the results of the election.
>> chairman steele, do you agree? is that the 2012 election was about? was this a referendum on the approach to reducing debt and deficit in this country?
>> no, it wasn't. because the same voters re-elected a significant majority of those republicans in the house that -- who also feel they have an agenda or mandate, if you will, from the people that re-elected them. the fact of the matter is --
>> 2 million fewer americans voted for them.
>> oh, okay. so i have one more vote than the other guy. that means i won. i'm in. so it doesn't matter how i got there. you know, you want to quibble over the number of votes i got, that's fine but the fact of the matter is you have a house of representatives that united states senate and an executive branch , the white house , that are like children on a school yard right now and nobody's taken responsibility. the president talking about the sky's falling and the world's going to turn dark. you know, the senate and the house have gone home. god bless my senator. she is there on her post as she said ready to do some work so the reality, you know, chris, as you know, nobody's serious about this right now and won't be until we get to the last tick of the tock to get it done and actually going to sit down in a room and say, how much, how much will you give up?
>> you know, ben, i do want to ask about the president, you mentioned he's taken a different tack and it seems very clear and he's acknowledged this to play an outside game and he did today saying that the public needs to tell their representatives. my guess is chairman steele would agree with this. if the public wants more of president obama 's approach, they need to tell their representatives. but doesn't he have to acknowledge that part of getting things passed is playing the inside game, too? that it is the sort of -- the sausage making for lack of a better word, trying to nail down the deals and can't just play the outside game?
>> well, there's a conversation during the campaign that the president was criticized for at the time but it's something that he believes which is you can't change washington from the inside. i think that's why groups like organizing for action is formed because you have americans now organizing against these cuts. the issue that we have had is, you have some republicans in congress who are more concerned about primary challenges than public opinion because the fact is the public agrees with the president's approach to deficit reduction. if you don't think the election results demonstrate that, take a look at the polling you've seen over the past couple of months and once these cuts hit, you see those lines of airplanes stacked up at o'hare, the furlough noticed go out, there's no doubt that these members of congress are going to be hearing from their constituents.
>> ben labolt, michael steele , you didn't solve this in the time we gave you. we'll