Morning Joe | February 18, 2013
>> is suggesting one potential --
>> wait, wait, wait. can i just ask a question?
>> because he needs cameras and likes to be on tv and has a lot to say.
>> let's be honest, guys. john, you're not looking at me. you're reading.
>> what is wrong with you?
>> i'm reading about immigration.
>> we're talking about lindsay. we poke at lindsay a lot. it's not personal. should we have an intervention? should we give him a call, or should we call somebody in the senate ?
>> i think we're the last people to intervene, actually.
>> no, i know him. we go way back. we went after newt together.
>> what would you say?
>> i think there need to be a series of countdown clocks. i'm not sure counting down to what. maybe joe lieberman 's absence from the senate has undermined his sense of equal librium. he's just saying everything.
>> just blah. here is lindsay graham saying where he thinks the government could recoup some funds.
>> here's my belief. let's take obama care and put it on the table. you can make $86,000 a year in income and still get a government subsidy under obamacare. obamacare is destroying health care in this country. people are leaving the private sector because their companies can't afford to offer obamacare. if you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, let's look at obamacare. let's don't destroy the military and just cut blindly across the board.
>> okay. could i ask a quick question? you know i don't really follow politics.
>> well, and you eat munchkins.
>> ooi'm looking at this quote here. i'm against obamacare. i was really upset when it passed. i didn't say as everybody republican did freedom died tonight. freedom can only die so many times.
>> and it didn't.
>> lindsey says obamacare is destroying america. doesn't that not get implemented until 2014 ? i'm just curious.
>> most of it.
>> a lot of it.
>> is this a prequal?
>> he has a premonition.
>> so it's a premonition.
>> okay. fair enough. go ahead.
>> in other news, chuck hagel is still days away from a senate vote --
>> because really, how can a bill destroy america when it's not even in effect?
>> are we going to hear from lindsey again on the hagel story? god bless .
>> is it really only one republican in washington , d.c. that can do sunday shows? john mccain would be good.
>> yeah, he's 234not going to vote for him. at the earliest, it won't happen until lawmakers return to washington next week after a ten-day recess. senator john mccain , one of hagel 's most outspoken critics, pushed back against suggestions that his opposition was meant to settle old scores.
>> is it payback time for chuck hagel ? that's what this process has amounted to?
>> of course not. 99% of it is to do with the positions that senator hagel has taken. the positions he's taken on various issues has frankly been not only out of the mainstream but far to the left. we will have a vote when we get back, and i'm confident that senator hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as the secretary of defense. we have an obligation of advice and consent. i don't intend to give those up when other senators continue to have reasonable questions. i mean reasonable.
>> but you're not a yes vote for your old friend?
>> no, i don't believe he's qualified, but i don't believe that we should hold up his nomination any further.
>> all right. what do you think of what the senator had to say? fair?
>> i think all of it was very fair. there are a lot of democrats right now that are asking the question. they've said it to us, that they're not sure if chuck hagel is qualified to be secretary of defense after his performance in the senate . there are a lot of questions. so what john mccain said is very qualified. you put that on top of the fact that chuck hagel has said things over the past five, six, seven years that does place him outside the mainstream of american political thought when it comes to foreign policy . i think that's fair too. so i think that's what the senate is supposed to do. they're supposed to advise and consent. i think john mccain is doing it exactly like he should do it. he has problems with it, but he's going to let the president put his person in charge. i thought mccain was very fair there. mark? you take some of the things he said in the past, they're pretty bad, but he circled back. he's talked to lindsey . he's assured some other people that those are not his positions today.
>> senator hagel has really big shoes to fill. the president's first two defense secretaries, fantastic. worked well with the hill, worked well with the pentagon. i think senator mccain , unlike some of the other critics that chuck hagel , has focused on the things where there really are questions.
>> and by the way, again, i support chuck hagel . but they're very legitimate questions. we have to sort out some of the hyperbolic attacks, which are just shameful, versus responsible concerns. john mccain , i felt, was really responsible yesterday, took a great tone, and i'll just say it e selfishly, i think that's good for the republican party , when you have someone like john mccain coming out saying that in a reasoned, responsible way. that's why i'm going on about it.
>> and for a long time, he wanted to use this moment as lemplg leverage on benghazi. i think he's realized he's not going to fully get what he wants from the white house . they did send him one piece of paper. he's ready to move on.
>> mika, i think new republican senators should look at the clip of john mccain on "meet the press" yesterday and follow suit.
>> exactly. i think he hit just the right tone. here's what frank rooney says. the gop's nasty newcomer, i don't know if you saw this, when a vesuvius like john mccain tells you that you belch too much, smoke, and spew too much fire, you know you have a problem. and ted cruz , a republican freshman in the senator who has been front and center in his party's effort to squash chuck hagel 's nomination has a problem. he's an ornery, swaggering piece of work. he's already known for his na naysaying. courtesy isn't cruz's metier. grand standing and browbeating are.
>> so mark, you knew this guy before. other people who knew him before he came to the senate actually like him a lot. say he's an intelligent guy , very likable.
>> they had hope in him.
>> and he's not this persona he seems to have taken on since he came to washington . but you know, using innuendo, as he did against hagel , during the hearings. even offended republicans on that panel. bill nelson , democrat from florida, spoke out against it too. some of the things he said about the president, saying that he used the death of these children politically in newtown when the president was breaking down crying, as a lot of us did who have children that age. he's really -- it seems like he's bent over backwards offends republicans as well as democrats.
>> he's surprising me. today in the senate , you can get away with acting like that as long as the people back home support you. texas is a pretty conservative state, so i don't think he worries about losing his seat there. you know, you look at other senators like mike lee , like jim demint , who have been independent actors. cruz is taking it so far as a freshman, in his first weeks in the senate , to a different level. i think he's underestimating the extent to which operating like this will affect him.
>> mike lee is a great example. very conservative. this isn't about being conservative. it's about going out of your way acting like you're, you know, a carnival barker at a local republican event. i mean, mike lee is a great example of a guy who's really conservative, and i'm glad he is, but he knows how to carry himself. i just don't understand a guy as smart as ted cruz , and again, a guy who i've heard good things about personally. i don't understand what's going on here.
>> well, i think there's two different things to say. one is, you know, the senate has -- everybody else says now the senate has changed a lot over the course of the last 20, 30 years. this would have been unimaginable 20, 30 years ago given the way the decorum and the comedy have normally prevailed in the senate . this independent actor thing, people doing these -- taking these kinds of tones and not caring about seniority. that's something that's been going on for a long time, and it's getting worse and worse if you like the old senate . i can't help but think about this in the context of republicans and where the party is going and what it's going to look like in 2014 . if you're a hispanic republican right now who has a national platform, your mind is immediately spinning towards thinking about 2016 .
>> so you think that's what this is about?
>> i think ted cruz is trying to stake out ground as a certain kind of -- getting a lot of loyalty among a more fractious, more populous part of the republican party . you see a guy like marco rubio , who's a simile, has great potential as a hispanic republican senator, going a different direction. rubio still has to care about the tea party , but he's also trying to make his way into a different place. i think they're all jockeying for a place on the national stage.
>> so you think he's trying to go hard right?
>> well, whether it's 2014 or 2020 , you're staking out ground. all these guys are not just your average freshman senator. if your a freshman senator guy like that with a harvard pedigree from one of the biggest states in the country and you're hispanic , you're going to get more attention than most other freshman senators ever do, so you have an opportunity.
>> too bad he wasted it.
>> by the way, if he's thinking 2016 , he wants to make sure, willie, that nobody in the 2016 or 2020 primary is -- and i know people are shocked that we're talking about it, but that's what he must be thinking. it's the only way to explain why a guy would change personality this radically. i guess he's afraid to be attacked as being a harvard guy. so he's -- anyway, i don't know.
>> i think his approach has pleased a lot of conservatives who said stick it to them, go to congress, don't play ball, be your own man. marco rubio over the weekend tweeted out support along those lines this weekend for ted cruz . it strikes me as shortsighted. if you're going to be in the united states senate for a long time, or a short time, you're going to need all these people, many of whom you're alienating, to get done anything you want to do through the kcongress.
>> he didn't expect to be there, to he's a little unshackled.
>> i don't care about seniority system in the senate . turn over the tables in the temple, man. that's fine with me. i'm worried about a republican national party that is losing in swing districts badly. anyway --
>> all right. still ahead on " morning joe ," former senior adviser to president obama , david axelrod , will join us. also, cnbc's andrew ross sorkin. it's president's day. kids are off. up next, mike allen with the politico playbook. first, here's bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill?
>> hey, everyone. this weekend we just got clipped in new england by another huge winter storm . this one was just as powerful as the blizzard before, but it was a little further off the coast. it actually was bad enough down in the carolinas it snowed in charlotte and raleigh, even myrtle beach getting snow. that storm is now located up here in the canadian maritime . hopefully it won't be as windy this morning. look at this image. this line you see here, this center point, that's actually like the eye of the winter storm . a very amazing image just off the coast of new england last night. this was literally strong enough to be considered a category 3 hurricane. that's how low the pressure was. winds are still a little gusty in maine this morning and southern new england but not as bad as yesterday. a lot of people don't have to go to school or work, so that's nice. if you have to head out, it's full winter gear. maybe long johns. forecast for today, at least it'll be sunny as the winds die off. temperatures recovering this week. all the warm air is now in the middle of the country. that'll push to the east coast tomorrow. just a little light rain for president's day chicago, st. louis. this week it looks like thursday and friday will be a big storm in the middle of the country, possibly severe storms , and also heavy snow. the east coast gets a break after our two big winter storms over the last couple days. taking a look at washington , d.c. look at that. the sunrise starting to get a little earlier every day. you're watching " morning joe ," brewed by starbucks.