Morning Joe | February 27, 2013
>>> to give you some tv advice, okay?
>> i've been in this business for 36 years, so i know a little bit about it. whenever you're on television, particularly live television where you can't edit it and do it again, you've got to tell the folks everything, everything. so when you were giving that speech, and i understand you had given a speech in spanish before that, so you obviously were bloviating and you were parched. when you want to take a drink of water, you just tell the folks, excuse me, you take your sip, you smile again, and you go, oh, that was good. now you go back.
>> that's good advice. i don't anticipate doing that again in the future, but if i get a chance, that's good advice and i'll take it.
>> welcome back to " morning joe ." stop it with the bubbles.
>> what are you doing, joe? tell the people.
>> i'm blowing bubbles to make my mind get distracted from what i just saw.
>> john heilemann. that will distract you.
>> look at all those bubbles. wow.
>> you wouldn't believe what goes on off camera when other people are talking with heilmann. it's unbelievable.
>> why are you always picking on him?
>> i do. he has refinement issues, and we're going to work on it.
>> he's an artist, man. he's an artist.
>> yes, he is. that is to say the least. along with margaret carlson in washington .
>> we love her.
>> and pulitzer prize -winning author of "the price of politics," bob woodward here on set. it's time, right, donny?
>> yes, ma'am.
>> the chairman of deutsche incorporated, donny deutsch .
>> i actually think bill o 'reilly should have a podcast every day to give us those inspiring tips on life, education, wisdom.
>> that would be fantastic. i understand your daughter also a big one direction fan.
>> i was watching the show earlier in the morning. i think we have to give into the fact that the beatles are challenged at this point.
>> oh, just stop it. just stop it.
>> these guys don't write their own music. come on. let's just stop it. one or two albums.
>> sherman writes some of their music.
>> they're going to be fat and bald in a year and a half.
>> stop it. they're sweet boys. dancing.
>> bob, you kind of got in the middle. here i am, spending my weekend with the kids listening to these one direction albums. you're like in this slugfest. it's like ali/frazier 4, man, with the white house . you guys going back and forth. they did not take kindly to the fact that the president said hey, this wasn't my idea. and you, of course, you know, found evidence that it was. what's going on with the white house ?
>> which the white house has conceded, that it was the president's idea, the sequester. you mention that word and people flee. and i think people's heads are about to explode about all of this, you know, what the hell is going on here. and it's very confusing. i'm not sure the white house understands exactly what happened in all of these negotiations at the end of 2011 with the sequester and the super committee and god knows what. because they were really on the sidelines. but i think it's possible to take one example here where president obama came out and acknowledged that we are not sending the aircraft carrier truman to the persian gulf because of this budget agreement.
>> joe, i mean, this will resonate with you, i think. can you imagine ronald reagan sitting there and saying oh, by the way, i can't do this because of some budget document or george w. bush saying, you know, i'm not going to invade iraq because i can't get the aircraft carriers i need or even bill clinton saying, you know, i'm not going to attack saddam hussein 's intelligence headquarters, as he did when clinton was president because of some budget document? under the constitution, the president is commander in chief and employs the force. and so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement, i can't do what i need to do to protect the country. that's a kind of madness that i haven't seen in a long time.
>> it is a madness. you also say here, you say the president's call for a balanced approach is reasonable. and i think we probably -- a lot of us would agree on the president's reasonable approach. and he makes a strong case of those at the top income brackets could and should pay more. but that was not the deal he made. you talk about the president moving the goalposts. what do you mean by that?
>> well, the deal in the sequester was that it was only going to be spending cuts. and they reached that deal. in my book, i go through it step by step because the president did not want to have a second step debt ceiling deal during his re- election campaign . understandably. he was absolutely desperate to get something. so he got his benefit. and now he wants to come back and say, wait a minute. let's put some taxes in here, which he had agreed in the sequester not to do. now, the white house has a point that there was always discussion about some more tax increases. but the president got a lot of tax increases a month ago. and quite frankly, i think a deal could be made here, but these people have to sit down.
>> we're not talking about an increase in rates, per se .
>> let's look at these new nbc news/" wall street journal " polls. it has more tough numbers for the republican party . when asked about their feelings about the gop, just 29% of people had a positive view. 46% were negative. a difference of 17 percentage points. by comparison, democrats enjoyed a net positive outlook, 41% positive over 36% negative. when it comes to handling key issues including entitlements, gun control , even taxes and the economy, democrats were seen as doing a better job. the only issues where the gop holds the advantage in the survey are on reducing the deficit. controlling government spending and defense. still president obama has seen his public support suffer. his disapproval has risen four points since november. and the number of people who think the country is headed in the wrong direction has increased to 59%. all the rancor over budget negotiations hasn't helped. 51% say they are less confident about the economy. just 16% say budget wrangling has made them more confident.
>> okay. so donny deutsch , you do brands all the time. and let's say you take off your cop as left-wing extremist.
>> zealot extremist and put on your cap as advertising guru, marketing guru. we've talked about this for some time. the republican party 's brand is in the 20s. that's george w. bush territory. that's harry truman territory before he left office. what do they do? and don't say change.
>> i'll tell you exactly what i'd do. i'd search for a spokesperson -- oh, wait, chris christie . and i see somebody -- you pointed out earlier in the show -- that has a 70 something approval rating . being rejected by a group that has a 20 something approval rating , and i say the road map is already there. the holy cows that i have to bow to the nra, that i have to go to c- pac , you don't anymore. and we are seeing it in action now. we are seeing what the republican party will look like. what it looks like in a blue state . and so the answer is already there. you don't have to test it. you see what happens when somebody breaks rank, embraces the president, is basically still, to your point earlier, is a conservative with a capital "c."
>> goes after the public unions. tells them what they're going to have to do to save the retirement programs. he actually has a budget that spends less money in actual dollars this year than the 2008 budget . man, what we would do in washington , d.c., to have that. he is the only pro-life governor of the state of new jersey since roe v. wade was passed. he's got a gender gap with women. that is one of his biggest problems. he's plus 20. let me say that again. chris christie is plus 20 with women in a liberal blue state that hasn't voted for a republican presidential candidate since george h.w. bush ran the first time in 1988 . they are shunning him because some people are upset what he said about house republicans who, if you look, this is feelings towards the republican party . actually, the house republican numbers are even more upside down than that.
>> so the answer is you actually snub what was institutionally unviable to do. he's giving you the road map of what to do. and i think this week is the perfect example with this whole c- pac thing. oh, you have to go to c- pac . no, i don't. and that's the answer. it's a memetaphor. it's a small slice of what republicans need to do, not the road traveled. you have the road map . you have the spokesperson. that's the answer.
>> what are the odds at the c- pac convention that the national republican party will follow the logic train, the comeback trail that they ought to follow in the minds, i think, of many people, democrat and republican. and it is you tie income inequality , which is stretched out over the last 15 to 20 years to tax reform and talk about that rather than these crazy, off-the-charts stuff that they get into.
>> you talk about getting people back to work, margaret carlson , at the end of the day -- and i say it all the time -- there was a shopkeeper's daughter in england that figured out how to turn the british economy around and connect the dots between conservatism to the needs of working-class brits. and she got elected and started a revolution because of it.
>> yeah. in margaret thatcher and ronald reagan both had that gift of populism. that made them identify with a class that they weren't in, at least they weren't in it anymore by the time they came to office. i mean, what you need to know about c- pac is that sarah palin is keynoting there.
>> that's really all you need to know . that's it.
>> chris christie won't be there at all. you'd think they'd want to embrace chris. when i see the 20 points with women, women, if you aren't inflicting an ultrasound probe on them, they're pragmatists. christie's good for new jersey, he's good for women, and he's found a way to weave programs that win in new jersey, and the republican party doesn't want to embrace that? in fact, they want to shun him? it's just preposterous.
>> a pro-life governor in the state of new jersey is plus 20 with women. john heilemann.
>> well, you know, i slightly reject -- i mean, look, christie's doing a great job and he's obviously really popular in new jersey, and c- pac should have him come speak, but the republican party not has just a brand issue or they need a new spokesman. the " wall street journal " poll shows that on almost every issue right now on policy, the country is more with the democrats than it is with republicans. republicans are out of steph on almost every issue with the majority of opinion. and this is not just on these crazy social issues. it's on a lot of these core economic issues. there was a poll yesterday that pew and " usa today " put out on the central issue that we're talking about right now in terms of the sequester. 76% of the people in this poll said that they think the tax increases should be -- should not be off the table. only 19% said you should not have any discussion of revenues.
>> but john, you know as well as i do, the medium is the message. i mean, if dennis kucinich were carrying barack obama 's message, the numbers may be different.
>> i think it's -- absolutely there's an interplay between image and branding.
>> i'll put it another way.
>> and substance, but it's foolish to overlook the substance right now.
>> john, it's very hard for people, not issues. the whole point if they were voting on issues --
>> we're not talking about a presidential election . we're talking about what the party needs to do to redefine itself, which is it has to change on substance.
>> no, it has to have the right human beings delivering the message. the point is you don't. the point is you don't. the point is, if you have the right human beings --
>> i just don't think -- i think it's a foolish binary here. politics is an interplay between personalities, style and actual substance. people do have views about what the actual public policies are that these parties represent. in this case, there are many issues on which the democrats are in the better place right now than the republican party is. it's just a fact.
>> they do overlap, those three elements in politics, bob woodward . but just look at what's happening in virginia right now. you have a sitting republican governor who shares probably 99% of the views of the attorney general that wants to replace him. and the attorney general goes out of his way to offend, wherever he can, cuchinelli, is pragmatic when it comes to his focus. he's focused on jobs. we always say bob's for jobs. you look what's happened in that state over the past four years, and he proved he got things done. he wasn't an ideologue. that's, i think, what the republican party 's missing. but you've been around d.c. long enough, you tell us. what's going on here?
>> well, first of all, there's a quality that overshadows all of this and really is roman numeral one, and that is leadership. somebody stepping up and saying, this is what we've got to do. in the office of the presidency, there's something called moral authority. where the leader gets up and says, we're doing this. we are in the moment of these budget shenanigans now, which are just awful. and you them. you know, no one side is really good on it. but how do you fix it? and leaders have to fix things. and the president -- and i suspect even before we reach friday -- is going to call all the congressional leadership down to the white house . there's going to be some meeting to try to fix this. but, you know, we could sit around for an hour. i've said this before. and come up with a solution to the budget problems. then once you set that aside, we can go to the issues that you have been talking about like gun control , 92% of the people supporting some sort of background checks. that's obama's position. he could lead on that. republicans are going to get behind that. the immigration issues and so forth. you know, in a way, having written two becomes about obama, i'm not sure he understands the power he has as president and the nature of the necessity of asserting moral authority.
>> well, i was going to ask you, you say the president has moral authority. do you believe, bob woodward , the president has shown moral authority in these budget talks?
>> not enough. and everyone on the left, on the right, everyone, you know, the editorial page of my newspaper, rightly said, why isn't he leading on some sort of entitlement reform? he could do that. he's talked about it. but, you know, where's the action? where are the numbers? where is the let's get it done?
>> all right. "the washington post 's" bob woodward , thank you. margaret carlson , thank you as well.
>>> still ahead, senators mark warner and pat toomey will be with us. and up next, tom brokaw joins the set along with chuck todd from washington . you're watching " morning joe " brewed by starbucks. many cereals