NewsNation | November 28, 2012
>>> welcome back. in a couple of hours the president is expected to sit down once again with business leaders as part of what politico calls his outside in strategy when it comes to the fiscal cliff negotiations. instead of meeting with republicans behind closed doors the president urging the public to apply pressure on the gop. earlier today, the president met with middle class americans at the white house and urged house republicans to extend tax cuts . democrats say would benefit 98% of americans and 97% of small businesses .
>> today, i'm asking congress to listen to the people who sent us here to serve. i'm asking americans all across the country to make your voice heard. it's too important for washington to screw this up.
>> and just a few hours ago we found out the president will be hosting mitt romney for lunch at the white house tomorrow. it will be their first face to face since the last presidential debate and since governor romney accused the president of essentially buying the election. meanwhile, speaker boehner trying to keep the party's message united with taxes and pushing back against statements of gop congressman cole for republicans to fall in line with the president.
>> i told tom earlier in our conference meeting that disagreed with him. you won't grow the economy if you raise tax rates on the top two rates. it will hurt small businesses , hurt our economy.
>> so let's bring in the political panel on this topic for today. erin mcpike back with us and david goodfriend , democratic strategist and contributor. thank you for sticking around. let's bring in the element of tom cole , a republican of oklahoma. doesn't get more red than oklahoma. let's play what he said regarding support and passing the middle class tax cut .
>> in my view, we all agree we won't raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. we should take them out of this discussion right now.
>> what is the issue with that?
>> well, what congressman cole has really shown is that there's an imminent amount of good logic and sense in preserving the current tax rates for 98% of americans for a lot of reasons. one of which is the gdp dependent on consumer spending . 0% of the economy is consumer spending . if you take $2,000 on average out of pockets of consumers, it's going to hurt the economy so right away you have a low tax good economic rational behind it but there are politics here, too, of course, and that is the republican party just got she lacked in an election and learning that the only way to expand their popularity, expand their base is if they stop being perceived as the party of wealthy white people and start being perceived as more appeal and i think that congressman's statement goes to the fact that we need to separate the tax rates for the top 2% as an issue from the tax rates of everybody else. that's so-called decoupling is really important and it's something that i think the republican party increasingly sees as necessary for its own image.
>> erin , our first read team puts it this way. this is how they address it. house republicans right now don't have the upper hand in negotiations and going to have to grapple with raising rates at least in the short time and cole is actually giving them a way out of this box short term which is to do the decouple as we heard david refer to on rates and live to fight another day. why is it that more republicans at least at this point not vocalizing same things we have heard from cole , you think?
>> republicans are angry with cole up here on capitol hill because the last piece, raising the rates on the last 2% is the last bargaining chip they have and i've talked to many republicans saying privately by the end of the negotiations they may very well have to give on that but they want democrats to come to the table with entitlement reform at least on medicare and they don't want to give up rates until they get that so we're going to see a lot of hand wringing over this cole comment for a couple of days.
>> david , there's also hand wringing over what senator dick durbin said in the speech at the center for american progress and we have this, dick durbin , not what he said but didn't say and preparled remarks he said progressives should be willing to talk about ways to ensure the long-term viability of the social security , medicare and medicaid but those conversations should not be a part of a plan to avert the fiscal cliff and prepared remarks. he didn't say that in the speech. you have a lot of republicans on the -- excuse me, democrats on the left greatly concerned about what will happen to medicare and quite honestly not ready to put that conversation on the table.
>> well, i think that's correct. you're speaking about a certain percentage of democrats. i would include in that list bernie sander who is sent out an e-mail blast today saying medicare , medicare and social security should all be off the table. now, in reality, i think social security really can be and should be off the table because it's not a contributor to the federal deficit. it's well funded for decades ahead but if you look at medicare , here's what the president has to say about that. the president says look at the budget i originally submitted to congress and you will see i have put in excruciating detail cuts to the medicare program that i think we can afford so the president has put that forward. there are those in his party to his left who would like to push back on that. but what we have missing from this discussion right now i think is that same level of specificity coming from the republican side on any of the cuts that they have talked about. i mean, that the nuts and bolts of a negotiation over budget deal so, yes, you have laid out this sort of landscape of the politics and where the cuts would come from and in particular the fact that the administration put forward medicare reforms but what we don't see from the other side is specificity on revenues. the republicans say, yes, we need more revenues but they're not willing to exactly spell out what that means and that's missing from their side of the discussion.
>> let's move to the hot topic of tomorrow. mitt romney visiting the white house as i've pointed out first face to face since the final debate. also since the remarks of governor romney revealing he believes the president won essentially because he gave out what he called gifts to portions of his base. david , to be a fly on the wall , what is the point, first of all, to have mitt romney there? i get it with senator mccain , a senator at the time. mitt romney doesn't hold a position and many turned against him.
>> well, here's what i think this is about. the president believes in his heart and i can tell you this i think as a long-time supporter of his i believe this firmly. the president wants to get a deal done. he really does. he does not want to send the country over the fiscal cliff.
>> he needs mitt romney to do that?
>> he needs republicans to cooperate with him, yes. and i think if mitt romney were to come forward and say, we need a deal, we shouldn't go over the cliff, should be give and take on both sides, that would have tremendous impact because, you know, close to 50% of the country voted for guy. he does represent a large swath of the american population that voted for him and he can come forward and say, let's put politics aside. rise above as my friends at cnbc say and get a deal done.
>> erin , i think there are a lot of people that just gasped listening to david because the other side of that -- i'm going to be honest -- people believe that those who are republicans were not voting for mitt romney . they were voting against president obama . before that vote, we did not have the tape of mitt romney saying that many of the people who voted for the president just wanted gifts and that would apply to a large group of people right now worried about entitlement reform in addition to that, erin , we saw republicans turn on mitt romney in droves right after that comment. so what influence does he have if he said, come on, can't we all get along, who would listen?
>> no one really. mitt romney lost a lot of ka shay with the rest of the --
>> david --
>> that made me feel bad.
>> checked by erin . that's a spanking right there on national tv .
>> this meeting is just about making --
>> just want to make nice after a very difficult election and these debates uncomfortable for a lot of viewers. they have just engaged in a long campaign. they want to make nice.
>> should mitt romney bring a gift?
>> that's a good question. maybe so.
>> we'll see. maybe we'll pose it as a gut check tomorrow. thank you, guys, for your time. david , you can call erin and take up your issue with her. thank you.