NOW with Alex Wagner | November 05, 2012
>>> we've run into a situation here where compromise is not part of what we do around here anymore. my friend senator mcconnell the single most important thing we want to chief is for president obama to be a one-term president.
>> compromise is difficult. my 47 members of the senate have very different views from harry and his colleagues about how much government we ought to have, how much taxation we ought to have, how much regulation we ought to have, it is not easy to reach agreement when you have very different views, steve, of the direction the country ought to take.
>> that was senate majority leader harry reid and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell failing to instill any confidence that democrats and republicans might possibly work together. so is the country december tinned for another four years of debilitating gridlock. joining us from oakland is democratic senator from california barbara boxer . senator boxer, pleasure to have you on the show.
>> nice to be on your show.
>> senator, you know, we've talked about the makeup of the next senate and some early prognosticators are saying, the actual power shift in terms of seats held won't change that much, but you may end up seeing a more liberal democratic caucus in the upper chamber just by virtue of who the folks coming in are and believe. i call -- the race between joe donnelly and richard mourdock , mourdock was supposed to have this butnd up. the seat may go to donnelly. chris murphy replacing joe lieberman and tammy baldwin may replace herb in wisconsin. what does that mean in terms of the caucus and animating policies of the democratic caucus and the upper chamber ?
>> i think this focus on liberal and conservative misses the entire point. the question is, are we going to come together, meet each other half way and make sure this economic recovery continues? these are the big issues facing us in this election and the people you talked about are very mainstream people. joe donnelly , you can't get more mainstream. he's more like richard lugar . but some of these republicans are so off the wall, that, you know, they don't believe there ought to be a government at all. except maybe for the military maybe. let me just give a little point of view here for -- as a chairman of a committee that is responsible for rebuilding our infrastructure, the environment and public works committee . we have these two responsibilities environment, it's been very difficult to find a compromise there with the republicans. they've changed. when i went into politics originally, the environment was something everybody embraced. now it's become political. on the infrastructure side, senator imhoff and i who do not see eye to eye came together and passed an important bill that saved 2 million construction jobs and created another million. we can do it, but i want to pick up on something that harry reid said. you know, he -- harry reid is not very fancy speaker but he speaks the truth. when mitch mcconnell came to the senate floor and said his highest priority was making president obama a one-term president, i gasped audibly because whether you're a democrat or republican or independent, that's not our job.
>> yeah. and so if that was his intent, that explains why they launched over 200 filibusters and yes, we made a -- some progress but not enough. it's got to stop and we have to meet each other halfway.
>> it does. it's worth noting harry reid said mitt romney 's fantasy that senate democrats will work with limb to pass his severely conservative agenda is laughable, certainly there's more discussion to be had on this. we have to cut away. governor mitt romney is at his second of five campaigns of the day. let's take a listen.
>> measured in achievement. look at his record, four years ago, candidate obama promised he would do so very much but he fell so very short. he promised to be a post-partisan president, but he's not the most partisan, blaming, attacking, dividing. not only republicans he refused to listen to, it's independents. and by the way, he was going to focus on creating jobs. instead he focused on creating obama care and that kills jobs. he said he was going to cut the federal deficit in half, he doubled it. he said unemployment by now would be at 5.2%. we learned on friday it's 7.9%. those percents may not be real meaningful to you unless you think about the people behind them because that's 9 million american jobs short of what he promised. unemployment today is higher than when barack obama took office. now he promised he would also have a proposal for us by now to save medicare and social security from insolvency. he hasn't. he raided medicare $760 billion to pay for obama care. he said he was going to lower health insurance premiums for the average american family by $2,500 a year. any of you got that new reduced rate? didn't think so. actually it's gone up by $3,000 a family. you think about that. with the median income and a family at $50,000 a year about, that's a $5,000 plus dollar difference. it's huge. and then, of course, the cost of gasoline. it's gone up $2,000 per family. since the president has been in office. by the way, he said he would walk across the aisle, work with republicans on the most important issues of the day. do you know that he is not met on the economy or on the budget sequester or on jobs with either republican leader of the house or senate since july. think of that. instead of bridging the divide between the parties had he's made it wider. so many of you look at the debates we have in this country not as a republican or democrat but as an american. you watched what has happened over this --
>> that was governor mitt romney in lynchburg, virginia. now back to senator barbara boxer joining us from oakland, california. senator boxer, perfect segue here. mitt romney talking about how he's going to work across the aisle with members of the house and the senate to get things passed. do you think that's possible as i said right before we started listening to governor romney harry reid says it's laughable to think senate democrats would work with the governor to pass his severely conservative agenda.
>> let me first say, i don't know where the governor's been for the last four years. but the way he portrays our president is outrageous. absolutely outrageous. i was there, i saw this man present a big and very important budget deal to john boehner , a $4 trillion deficit reduction and boehner said yes, and then at the last minute after he checked with his tea party he walked away. i served with barack obama in the senate . he has friends across the aisle, he reaches across the aisle, but when you have a majority leader named mitch mcconnell who said his highest priority is seeing this man become a one-term president, i don't know what they expect barack obama to do. he cannot wave a magic wand if that's the attitude. and the other thing is, mitt romney doesn't tell people which i'm going to tell them with your permission, that --
>> please go ahead.
>> thank you. there were more private sector jobs created under barack obama in the last three months new private sector jobs than george w. bush over eight years. we were bleeding 800,000 jobs a month when our president took the oath. the deficits were soaring and he had two wars on the credit card , osama bin laden was running loose, detroit was about to go under. mitt romney said let detroit go bankrupt. he didn't think it was a big deal to focus attention on osama bin laden . he wouldn't have gone into pakistan to get him. i mean, when you listen to mitt romney , it's fantasy land. and now -- and i want to get to your question, yes, we're not going to pass a conservative agenda because the american people are mainstream. that's what we hear all the time. we're a mainstream country . do you think we're going to go back to the days when women were criminals if they exercised their right to choose when being a woman was a preexisting condition and we had to pay so much more than a man for health insurance policy? we're not going to go back to those days. mitt romney says he doesn't even know if he would have voted for the equal pay act . so no, we're not going to go there. what we will do regardless of who is president is to meet people half way and yes, we will do that. i've done it myself. we've cut a trillion dollars from this deficit. that wasn't easy for us. but we did it. and we also cut a lot of taxes by the way. which mitt romney never happens to mention for small business . all he wants to do is do the tax breaks for the people making over a million and a billion dollars a year, wants to cut it 20% and we will add trillions to the deficit.
>> senator boxer.
>> i have to ask you, the one thing the president has said, we talked about the scenario in which mitt romney is president and how that shakes out with democratic held senate , but in terms of the president being re-elected there is certainly going to be a lot of naval gazing in the republican party and no certain -- no uncertain amount of vitriol. do you think the vice president and president are correct in their assessment the fever may break among the rest of house republican caucus and they will be willing to work across the aisle with the president to get things done?
>> i served in the house for ten years, i know how it works. the leadership calls the shots. if the leadership over there decides that what's most important to them is fixing the problems, we'll be fine. we'll be fine. but if they stick to that tea party line which is, you know, let's just fold our hands and say no because government shouldn't do this and they shouldn't do that, and i think one of the issues that brought it home to people was that hurricane. i mean what i'm saying isn't any news to people but it really made people stop and think. you know, who do they really want at their back if something like that happens and the answer is, president obama and the democrats because we understand we are all in this together.
>> thank you so much to senator barbara boxer spending time with us on election eve. thanks for your time.
>> thank you.
>> coming up, slow and steady wins the race or does it? obama pacman bill burton explains going tough and early when he joins the panel here at democracy plaza. [