Morning Joe | December 13, 2012
>>> harold ford again as we look at the white house .
>> it was taken by my wife.
>> i think if you had the " morning joe " photographer, you would have won.
>> there's still time .
>> there's going to be another time. we're all in political rehab, harold. ask harold strasen. you keep running. with us now from washington , d.c., nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director and host of "the daily rundown" and the protector of nbc news/" wall street journal 's" reputation on the line and on twitter, much like last night --
>> i know, i'm on fire today.
>> -- at the end of " indiana jones and the last crusade ," he's like that old knight.
>> i'll be that guy, you're right.
>> he chose wisely.
>> choose wisely.
>> i'm actually reading some of these tweets, this fight you're having with these people. i don't know exactly where they're getting their facts from --
>> i don't either.
>> -- because you guys were dead right. nbc news/" wall street journal " poll, dead right. ppc, automated polling outfit, didtastic job.
>> they did.
>> cbs/"new york times," not quite as good, but they were up there. nbc news poll along with one one were the gold standards .
>> they should be. we spent a lot of money.
>> gallup , for the record, was a little behind coming in at 47.
>> just a little bit outside.
>> which begs the question, you know, i've always followed gallup , and i've alleged loves gallup , but this is just sort of a branding thing. i see gallup putting the president's approval rating at a certain number, i might as well be getting it from my 4-year-old, jack.
>> they have a real challenge in front of them to fix their brand. you know what's been a problem for gallup is that for 20 years, professional pollsters, and you've heard this, joe , have whispered to us, be careful at gallup . this or that, and they never seemed to be that off, but they had a pretty bad year.
>> take us through these poll numbers, shall we, chuck? big takeaway.
>> our big takeaway has to do with the fact that the blame is now sort of evenly divided between both sides. much different than the abc poll of a couple of days ago. what's your big takeaway from this poll?
>> by the way, what's different is that we offered the both part of this.
>> oh, okay.
>> abc did not.
>> there you go.
>> how you word a question and what you offer, that stuff does matter. we believe in offering that because we think that there are a lot of people that look at it that way. not everything is "a" versus "b." some people say that's all of washington . and you have to account for those guys in washington . they don't know what they're doing. and people do throw away their partisan hat when it comes to judging that. and i think that that's -- that, to me, is the real -- that's the real unknown factor in this. i talked to a republican yesterday who said you can't go any lower. we don't have a lot to lose politically. and i said, but you do have a lot to gain. right? you come up with a deal, you cut a deal, there will be this because the public has no expect -- what's interesting about our poll, they're not naive. they follow this. they realize these guys are not going to get along for a while. they have really low expectations. so they actually got a deal. the public would be surprised and would reward them.
>> yeah. so that, i think, is that, joe , in the gop? is a deal something that would give them political gain, or would they look like they caved and disappoint their base and the cycle of sort of --
>> man, i'll be honest with you.
>> -- quite frankly dysfunction continues.
>> i'm curious, chuck, what your take is. i'm putting myself back in the position i was in four times, running as a republican congressman, a conservative congressman. unless i get a lot of cuts on the other side, politically there's absolutely no up side for me individually in my district.
>> so what is there to gain?
>> to support a compromise unless i can go back to my people and say, look. we've saved medicare for another 30 years. we've saved social security for another generation.
>> we've stopped medicaid from bankrupting our state. unless that's there, there's just no incentive. and guess what? they don't care what any of us say. they care about what the voters say in their districts.
>> actually, they don't want to hear that you've cut medicare even if you're saying you're saving it. by the way, they're against that, too. that's the political problem here for what, you know, what republicans say they want is not politically popular even among their republican base voters. but you go to a point, that's the disconnect here. right? it could be a national polling and a large majority are on one side of this. but in these individual districts, they're not going to get rewarded for compromise. they're going to get punished for compromise. and that is the problem that is facing the white house when trying to come up with a way to negotiate with boehner and what boehner 's got to try to figure out.
>> joe , let me ask you a question, though. imagine you get not just a fkz deal but a bigger deal in 2013 . and just say the economy grows 2.5%, 3% going into the midterm elections.
>> it's going to.
>> it's going to. how much does that, then, give people protection?
>> here's the irony of it all. my buddy, tom coburn , said it a year and a half ago. the bigger this deal, the more cover we all have. if this is a comprehensive deal, fine. the higher the number is -- if they come -- if boehner says raise taxes $1 but he's only cutting $2 trillion over the next ten years when we're going to increase the debt by $5 trillion, i'm not voting for it. but if they come at you with a $4 trillion deal, a $5 trillion deal that's more comprehensive, at that point, the bigger the deal is, the harder it is to turn your back on it.
>> also, again, if the u.s. economy responds favorably, doesn't that give everybody a lot of cushion, if suddenly you're running with tailwinds rather than headwinds? big difference running for re-election when you've got a 2.5% or 3% growth.
>> i ran against clinton tax increases in 1993 . and i kept running against them every two years. and i kept winning by larger margins. i said it was the cuts that made the economy grow, and i believed that. obviously bill clinton made some really tough choices that i will now, 15 years later, salute him for. chuck.
>> i am statesmanlike. give me a decade or so, chuck, and i've become statesmanlike.
>> oh, my lord.
>> 14 years ago, i just remember -- i remember when we first saw you on tv. one of my favorite lines, actually, joe , when i was at "hotline," i love the hotline except i can't let my kids read it anymore during the impeach impeachment thing because it got racy.
>> it was a little racy.
>> the split in the republican party , though, is going to be between folks like you, joe , back in the day who are worried about their districts. and then you do have what -- if you've noticed, the republican governors that want to run for president, the senators that want to run for president, anybody that's got to run statewide frankly anywhere are the ones talking about oh, just cut the deal on taxes already and get this over with. and then let's have another conversation.
>> yeah. you know, chuck, though, also, there was this poll out yesterday that said democrats believe in santa claus more than republicans. i can tell you republicans believe more in santa claus than they believe that you're going to get cuts from a congress in the future. so it's not just that my voters supported me for holding a hard line on taxes. it's what i believe. i never believe, democrats or republicans equally, will ever make tough decisions and stick to them. i mean, so i trust the verify right now. you know what i'm saying?
>> well, that's why you're going to get these extra cliffs because everything -- that's going to be the verification. and even whatever the deal, it's got to be so fragile that we'll fill in this cliff, dig two more trenches down the road and force this again because of this lack of trust that you just talked about.
>> chuck, really quickly, we've got to go. alex is screaming in my ear.
>> i know he is. he yelled in my ear. stop talking. what am i supposed to do? joe keeps talking to me.
>> you're going to love this last question. look into your crystal ball . is nick saban going to cleveland ?
>> why would he? if he leaves, he's going to dallas or nowhere. that's what i've always believed. why would you go -- i love cleveland , and i feel bad for cleveland fans. they deserve a winner, but why would he go to cleveland unless they're going to give him ownership of the team?
>> yeah. if it's a lombardi-type deal, it makes sense.
>> other than that, you don't leave unless you go to a glamour job. it would have to be --
>> it would be a step down otherwise.
>> new york, dallas. i mean, he already left miami, and that was a better job than cleveland .
>> alex is tired. he's edgy.
>> i know.
>> did you hear that?
>> he just said we're screwed. i don't know what that means. that was alex in our ear saying that. thank you, chuck todd .
>> thank you. we'll see you after " morning joe " on "the daily rundown."
>>> coming up, steve rattner looks at the possible impact of budget cuts and what they could have on future retirees. he breaks out the charts next on " morning joe ."
>> it's sort of like a