msnbc | January 05, 2013
>>> republicans may not be so firm on other issues. in fact, they could be considering a shift of sorts. those issues could play out as soon as the party prepares for its annual winter meeting in north carolina later this month. a formerful troising press secretary for the 2012 obama campaign upon. jane, good to see you.
>> good to see you, too.
>> matt, deputy assistant to george w. bush . good saturday afternoon toeth bo of you.
>> same to you.
>> let me start with you, matt. the republican party , of course, suffered from the lack of latino support and president obama took more than 71% latino vote. where the white house continues to push ahead on immigration reform . where should they continue to push on immigration reform ? the gop is taking hardliner issues like path to citizen for illegal immigrants in the country. if the party wants to gain latino support will they have to shift positions on immigration reform ?
>> really think it needs to. i think our party has been marked tested and the market rejected a lot of what they had been trying to do. this is not everyone in my party , but there certainly have been some louder voices that have taken some delight in talking about how we want to build a wall and send folks home and have not talked about this amazing contribution that hispanics have made to our economy, and i think many in my party understand that that rhetoric has to stop and sub substantial immigration. there are many that are republicans and conservative and they're small business people that are great allies of the party and we ought to get about courting them.
>> jim, should the white house introduce bold piece of legislation with regard to legislation or should they define the contours of a plan and let congress fill in the blanks?
>> this issue is very close to the president's heart. so my bet and my money would be on a bold proposal of the white house . of course, there are negotiations and that's part of the process , and if you peel off what matt was saying and if one of the more interesting statistics was the fact that 65% of people who were polled in this election felt that undocumented workers should have a path to citizenship. so this is an issue where the will of the american people will be behind a reform package and in the president's heart he would like to do something big.
>> you will see the president out there pushing this thing using those campaign-style events that he's become such a fan of. let's move to gun control now. i want to continue to talk about this because one of the things that continues to happen is something tragic happens and after a month or two we all move on to something else, now in regard to this, in the wake of the tragic shootings in newtown, we've seen republican lawmakers saying they're willing to re-evaluate the nation's gun laws and they include marco rubio , chuck grassley , as well, but most republicans and democrats they've still been pretty quiet on this issue. is going to control going to be an issue that the party has to deal with in 2014 and perhaps even 2016 , as well?
>> both parties have to deal with this issue. i mean, let's face it. the semiautomatic assault ban that many people are talking about re-visiting was allowed to expire under the presidency of george w. bush . with democrats in congress being mostly silent. the issue of gun control has become a very unpopular issue both for republicans and many democrats and the nra, the national rifle association has an approval rating of 54% in this country. they had a 60% approval rating when the semiautomatic ban was allowed to expire.
>> we should note that approval rating and that's the approval rating that was taken using polls after the shootings in connecticut.
>> yeah, but my point is this, this is a group that stands up for the second amendment. this is not a republican group and it is not a republican initiative, there are a lot of democrats which have been very careful and if you think deppes should be more supportive of bringing up these bans.
>> have you been at all disappointed with democrats on the issue of gun control ?
>> one thing that has changed is that in the wake of the tragedy in newtown, the public polling on the willingness and openness of the american people to support gun control legislation has increased. so that is a fact.
>> but it's increased until you start asking them about specifics and that's, you know --
>> two of the biggest challenges here are the short timeline and the axe tension span of the people and the attention span of the media and that we need to move forward in the next couple of weeks and the second is there are a lot of well-meaning groups out there who support gun control legislation who are running in many, many different directions and there needs to be a focused and unified front that supports legislation in order to really be effective from that side and we'll see if that happens because there's no question the nra has a strong backing, has a very effective lobbying operation and it will need to be a very strong and unified front from the other side to get it done.
>> on both immigration and on gun control , president obama has been the president for more than four years. he's done nothing on either. it's interesting now on both of these issues he's talking as if it's at the top of his agenda. where was he four years ago?
>> gun con troel wasn't an issue on top of any legislative list until newdown, connecticut. that was not an issue that was at the top of mine. for a lot of folks like chicago or detroit --
>> he took a dodge and would come out with any particular gun control initiative he would support.
>> it's a little silly and we're trying to have a civil conversation here. the fact is there's more question and there's more of a will to get gun control legislation done in congress and with the support of the american people than there was just a few months ago. on imimmigration, you need a partner in congress and republicans willing to have a conversation about real reform to get it done. it's not just a one-sided affair. the president would have loved to have the dream act through and you need partners to do that and hopefully with the changing demographics and there will be some willing partners.
>> let's talk about a guy that stole the show this week. chris christie , new jersey's governor, blasting party leaders for saming that sandy relief bill. politico's maggie hagram, and some del graphed the clear sentiment that christie's straight-talking truth teller act had worn on them. did christie damage his future? are we looking at the next charlie crist ?
>> sometimes what works in new jersey doesn't work in america, and i think what chris christie has done is really e grash yated himself with the voters in new jersey. i think he's in a strong position to wen re-election, but there has been a time or two when the rest of the country has looked at the way he says things and have scratched their head. he's doing a good job of rising in the ranks of republican presidential hopefuls. right now i would say probably not.
>> jim, what do you think. you can't argue the fact that he wasn't effective this week. the bill was taken up after his tired a.
>> sure. no question. he did what needed to be done around that storm and his approval rating went up in new jersey as a result, but i completely agree with mat. the question is can he rise to the next level and will he be the candidate in living rooms in iowa and south carolinas that republicans want to hear from and i think that remains to be seen.
>> it certainly would be nice to watch and cover.
>> always a pleasure. thanks to you both.
>> all a pleasure.
>> thanks, craig.
>>> we could be days away from the latest shift in the department of defense . coming up, what should we expect?