Morning Joe | February 04, 2013
>>> white house , look at this beautiful day in washington. joining us now from chicago , senior adviser to president obama , director of the university of chicago 's institute of politics, david axelrod . mark halperin , is here at the table.
>> who do you think is better at skeet shooter? david or the president?
>> david , are you a skeet shooter?
>> he got asked a question, he answered it. i am not a skeet shooter. they asked him have you ever shot a gun.
>> i just asked you a question, why are you so defensive.
>> hold on --
>> i tell you what, though, i don't understand, they should have put the picture out earlier. i don't know why they waited five days to put that out because it just rekindled the whole story.
>> how about not put it out?
>> please don't put it out.
>> you don't have to. when the white house is asked to give a picture from camp david the answer can be no, right? you guys have done that before, right?
>> it can be but you know, this thing, you know washington. you guys, this thing was cascading and conspiracy theory theori theories, guys like joe snickering and you had to do something but i just think they should have shut it down earlier. that's all.
>> i missed what he said.
>> it gets off point. was alex in your ear, he was in my ear, too.
>> did he insult me?
>> he compared you to a snickers bar .
>> he compared me to a snickers bar .
>> i have no idea what that means. so the president's talking about gun control today. as i like to say, assault weapon control. what's going on?
>> well, i think that you guys summed it up right i think in the last segment, joe . i think the background check is a 90% issue. it seems to me that has a good chance to or a chance to pass.
>> i think the magazines is a 65% issue, that has a chance but less of a chance to pass and i think assault weapons is an uphill climb but there's absolutely no reason why they don't pass or can't pass the background check . i thought wayne lapierre made an articulate case for ten years ago and that case is even more valid today.
>> that was impressive.
>> we live in chicago , and one of the reasons we have such a huge problem in this city is that all around us are areas with weak laws and with very lax background checks , and a lot of illegal guns flow into this city so it is a critical issue to get these background checks and every law enforcement official will tell you that.
>> you live in chicago . what's the difference between chicago and new york city ? we obviously have guns coming in to new york from a lot of different areas. something's going on, though, in chicago . it's not going on in manhattan.
>> i think there are several things, one is the one i just mentioned. in manhattan you're surrounded by new jersey and connecticut with very strong gun laws . you got new york state, very strong gun laws . we are surrounded by areas that don't have strong gun laws , and so there is more of an inflow of guns from straw buyers, of illegal guns in this city. that's number one. number two is, we have a gang problem here that is more pervasive than other cities. i always thought it was partly because of the nature of our city. we are a city of wards and parishes, we organize ourselves that way but there are many, many gangs in this city. i think there are 100,000 to 150,000 gang members here as opposed to 20,000 in new york which is a bigger city and most of the shootings that are taking place are gang cross-fires so the gang problem is central to this. so those are a couple of reasons for it but it's a fundamental problem that we need to attack, and we need attack it vigorously. it's heartbreaking to watch the news at night and see -- we've all seen newtown but people in chicago , we experience this on a regular basis. we lost a beautiful 15-year-old girl last week who performed at the inauguration who had everything to live for, who had all the promise in the world, simply standing there, got caught in the gang cross-fire and lost her life. that is completely unacceptable. it's outrageous and we've got to do something about it.
>> david , do you have a theory about why it is? it begs the question. the second thing you said is true, the gang problem in chicago is dramatically more severe than the gang problem in new york city or a lot of other big cities . what's the difference there? why is it the gangs flourish in chicago but don't flourish in new york ?
>> well i mean again i delved into a lot of the sociology of it. one of the things is that we organize ourselves by wards and parishes here in a way that's much more pronounced than other places, and so it lends itself to that kind of organization. beyond that, i don't know. i think it's something that is obviously central to solving this problem. one of the things that happened is, there was an effort to put away the leaders of the gangs and they put away some of these older gang leaders and then younger gang leaders came into play, and that actually exacerbated the problem because they had less control and less, i guess experience is what you'd call. so that's not to say we shouldn't go after them. we should go after them. federal government ought to go after them as well. the other problem we should talk about is, joe you talk a lot about the fiscal problems of the country, but they have really rolled downhill to local governments and so the ability to highered aquad numbers of police has been limited, and you know, this is at the end of the day , there are a lot of elements to this problem but part of it is a policing problem and you need adequate manpower in these very, very volatile neighborhoods.
>> again, though, you have new york city , which obviously faces many of the same challenges fiscally, we deal with it as a nation, we're all in the same country. it seems to me we've got to do a better job at figuring out the differences between chicago , new york , and again the reason i keep bringing that up, john hyleman or mark halperin , new york city has had a record low number of murders this past year, at the same time chicago has had record highs. there has to be something chicago can learn from mayor bloomberg .
>> one of the things they're learning, hard to implement is more cops walking the beat. more cops like they do in new york , community policing , cops on the ground in the same place, trying to get inside and stay with the sociology in local areas. david i want to switch to deficit reduction and macro economics for what seems like years because it has been. i've been telling joe the president is going to get serious about entitlement reform as deficit reduction.
>> he's been telling me that for five years.
>> is 2013 the year to do it and how serious will he be about medicare , medicaid, social security , other entitlements that need to be controlled.
>> i don't remember mitt romney running around the country last year attacking the. the for cutting medicare . the truth is when he started down the road on health reform one of the major motivations was to bend the cost curve on health care because of this inexorable rise in cost to the government as a result of medicare , so he's committed to doing that and said he'll move forward on that and been willing to negotiate on a number to move forward and it's pretty obvious to me that the ultimate solution to this fiscal jam we're in is both entitlement reform and tax reform . tax reform that produces revenue and that is the reasonable center solution to all of this. now, when you talk about entitlement reform, however, the measure shouldn't be how much pain do you inflict on people, how much do you take away from hard working people across this country. people are going to have to make some sacrifices, but the goal should be to strengthen those programs so they're there for americans when they retire.
>> and not to dismantle those programs.
>> i'm with you, david .
>> can i ask you a question on taxes? we were talking earlier about closing loopholes, deductions, et cetera , some are politically contentious, things like the mortgage interest deduction . do you think that can actually happen? that's where the big fish are.
>> well, yes. on individual tax reform that's true. i think you can means test it as it were and hit folks at the higher end on some reductions. there's corporate tax reforms that can be done and plenty of loopholes as famously brooded about a 10,000-page tax code , many of those provisions put in by lobbyists for various corporations and industries. many of them don't advantage the economy or the country, and we ought to examine all of those things as part of solving this problem.
>> okay, david axelrod , always good to see you. i still can't get used to the lip.
>> i think it looks cool. he looks incredible.
>> not coming back. get used to it. this is the way it's going to be. thank you.
>> is it the chicago institute?
>> he looks 15 years younger look at him.
>> "three dog night" in pro time.
>> see you guys.
>>> coming up, pulitzer prize winning author lawrence wright joins us for his new provocative and