Morning Joe | February 18, 2013
>>> good morning. it is monday, february 18th . welcome to " morning joe ," everybody. did you know it's president's day?
>> oh, my --
>> the kids are home. yes, they are. with us onset, msnbc and "time" magazine senior political analysis mark halprin and john heilman . hi, willie.
>> hi, is this holiday casual? shoutout to millard filmore .
>> he wore that to the second state of the union .
>> that's fantastic. your favorite president is? can you say it?
>> kind of a big g.w. guy.
>> george washington .
>> number one.
>> what about you, john? growing up, who was your hero?
>> i liked lincoln.
>> i was a fan of teddy roosevelt the man. i don't know if he's the best president who ever lived, but the man.
>> you liked the mustache a lot.
>> among other things.
>> i might go with calvin coolidge .
>> i was a big harry truman and ronald reagan fan. one started the cold war , one ended it. i thought harry truman was to fascinating because he was so unpopular when he left office. everything he did from '45 to '50 shaped our world. and a regular guy. my mom, for them, it was all fdr , fdr fdr was king. i think i liked this guy, this common guy stepping in from independence.
>> what did you think i was going to say? you were worried, weren't you?
>> i had no idea. carter?
>> no. okay.
>> more current, perhaps.
>> you were worried. i saw a flash of fear in your eyes.
>> no, you get all --
>> oh, please.
>> eyes start twinkling whenever you mention his name. your heart flutters.
>> are we still being simulcast on the history channel ?
>> how is the book going? give us a deep tease. this thing comes out in like five years.
>> it's going well. it's coming out soon.
>> when is it coming out?
>> it's coming out soon. you'll enjoy it.
>> i'm going to actually talk about something that's actually happening. in less than two weeks --
>> well, the book is happening.
>> doesn't sound like it. in less than two weeks, $85 billion in automatic budget cuts are set to kick in. while lawmakers scramble to figure out how to stop the so-called sequester, the blame game is already under way. at issue, whose idea were the cuts in the first place?
>> in 2011 , congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about $1 trillion worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. democrats, republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said these cuts, known here in washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea.
>> it's the president who proposed the sequester. it's the president who designed the sequester. it's the house republicans who twice passed legislation replacing the sequester with smarter cuts in other areas of government. the senate has panted a bill to replace the sequester. the president gave a speech showing he'd like to replace it, but he hasn't put any details out there. that's why i conclude i believe it's going to take place. there's no leadership on the other side of the aisle and therefore no agreement.
>> bob is the man who literally wrote the book about the budget battle. put this to rest. whose idea was the sequester, and did you ever think we'd actually get to this point?
>> first, it was the white house . it was obama and jack lew and rob neighbors who went to the democratic leader in the senate, harry reid , and said this is the solution.
>> all right. meanwhile, senator lindsay graham is suggesting one potential --
>> i'm sorry, could i interrupt? i had a munchkin in my mouth.
>> no, you can't have those. you're supposed to have your greek yogurt .
>> i'm trying to make a point with a visual aid. this is like defense spending . done. gone.
>> before the day has even started, you've just -- give those to me.
>> i'm not homer simpson . what do you make of what woodward said?
>> the president's in charge. he's got to figure out a way to stop the sequester. i think the symbolism of the last couple weeks haven't been great. he's not really out there leading a new path towards figuring out how to avoid something he says is a bad idea and promised as a candidate wouldn't happen.
>> okay. john, joe's mouth is full. what do you think?
>> i'm hap think the sequester would be a bad thing.
>> everyone says that. who's going to take the blame? who should?
>> if it ends up going into effect, i think they're all going to take a lot of blame and they should. it's fair enough to say, if bob's reporting is right, that the idea originated in the white house . but it did get agreed to by congress, both sides of the aisle. they all voted for it. at that point, it becomes a bipartisan thing. that was the whole point of it. there would be pain on both sides. everyone signed up to this deal. now everyone has to suffer the consequences.
>> willie, doesn't this show how clueless both sides in washington are? they're both going, it's their fault. woodward says it's the white house 's idea but everybody's fingerprints are on it. everybody's going to take the blame and everybody's a loser at the end of the day .
>> and there doesn't seem to be a lot of urgency. congress is out for nine days. president is in florida playing golf with tiger woods . there aren't two parties who are desperate to solve this problem.
>> if you had a choice of saving the pentagon or playing golf with tiger, what would you do?
>> i'd play golf with tiger. but that's two guys talking here. i don't begrudge the president two days off. he's earned that.
>> he needs it.
>> and the congress isn't there for nine days either. my point s neither side seems to view this as urgently as the american public.
>> oh, no. i wasn't doing that as a subtle dig. i would golf with tiger and figure out a way to save the pentagon.
>> maybe while you're golfing with tiger. maybe tiger had some ideas. i don't know.
>> long time between holes on that course.
>> good things happen when presidents are golfing with famous people. back in 1997 bill clinton got a phone call while he was golfing with michael jordan in vegas. he got the horrible news that -- true stroory. i get to say this because i'm a former politician. he got the news that if he did nothing, the budget was going to balance itself alone without any of his help. so he quit, rushed to the airport and came back saying, we have to do something fast so i can take credit for it. and we did. so there you go. i think it's a fascinating story. i did that for