Mitchell Reports | March 11, 2013
>>> in a change of tactics, the white house has a new charm offensive with the president going up to the hill to meet with republicans. multiple visits this week. and joining me now is amy walter, national editor for "the cook" political report and carol tumulty for the " washington post " and gridiron performer and the chief congressional correspondent, chris drake . thank you very much all. karen , first to you, can you recall the president going to the republican senate and house caucuses on the hill? i remember him going in 2009 to the house republican retreat. but i don't recall him doing these caucuses before.
>> no, i cannot recall it, either. i think there are a couple of things going on here. one is an apparent change in opinion on the part of the white house , that they have been a little neglectful in the kind of outreach they need to be doing in washington, if they actually want to get something done. i also think they have begun to realize that what is turning the public off entirely is just this idea that washington is this totally dysfunctional place where people can in the talk to each other at all. and i think they want to make sure that the public kind of throws up its hands on all of this, that they're not going to be blamed for being part of that particular problem.
>> i seem both amy and chris nodding at the table here. amy , first to you.
>> i think that karen is exactly right. that you know some of it is about perception. and look, the president has an advantage in that he has the bully pulpit . but he has overestimated the way in which the public wants to see the bully pulpit used. you know you talk to folks on the obama campaign , post election, and you say, is this really the right way the president should be going and doing sort of these things when he was using it to campaign drastically against the sequester and how damaging it was going to be and how horrible it was going to be. and they said look the election is over, we won, they lost. it's our prerogative. and now what they forgot in all of this that was, you won and it was a pretty significant victory in terms of the electoral college and the popular vote majority. but you didn't win the argument as much as the romney campaign lost so much of that argument. so there still was on the table a lot of frustration from voters and they weren't interested in seeing the president going out there and just pumping away.
>> and chris , clearly they misjudged the impact of their sequester argument. they were going to go public around the country, do this campaign deal. but people did not respond to it.
>> and you see this a little bit of the boy who cried wolf . and maybe we need to kind of back up a little bit. the white house was in a tough space, they had to decide, do we make they cuts as drastic as possible and be accused of politicizing it? or try to buffet it? they've chosen to try to buffet it a little bit. what upsets republicans on the hill is this idea that he's always out there campaigning. you have this idea that there's two different story lines. there's obama doesn't play golf. he doesn't lunch with these guys, democratic or republican on the hill. and he doesn't get to the hill. he does a couple of dinners and it's oh like look at the olive branch , it's so amazing. what i'll be watching for is obama is obama sending his staff to talk seriously with republican staffers on the leadership level about getting a deal done? is there serious substantive talks or is it jack lew or tim geithner coming up giving a plan that they laugh at to tim geithner's face. is it more of that? or do we have serious conversations going forward that will really change the dynamic between the white house and the hill?
>> i want to ask all of you, karen , first to you about ashley judd . there are lots of reports that she is seriously considering this kentucky race against mitch mcconnell even though there is video of her saying she lives in tennessee. this is an interview i did with ashley judd on the last day of democratic national convention , september 26th .
>> tell me about your political activism. you're even thinking of running for office.
>> everybody is thinking about it for me. this is not an original idea . i'm at the point where so many people have asked that i feel it is honorable to at least talk about it. when the party calls, it is responsible to say i'm not sure what you see in me about this but i'll listen.
>> so karen , is the party calling or is she putting herself out there?
>> you know, i'm always struck. i think that celebrities tend to underestimate how difficult politics really is. i think that for any democrat to have a real shot in a state like kentucky is going to be difficult. it is going to be hard for any democrat to argue that they can do more for the state than the most senior and most powerful republican in the senate. so again, i do not know who is calling her but i do think that this is a much heavier lift perhaps than hollywood stars are given to understand.
>> and we're going to have tthere. so amy , and chris frates from the national journal ,