NOW with Alex Wagner | November 30, 2012
>> at the manufacturing facility in hatfield, pennsylvania. melissa harris-perry i think sasha and malia will get kinex roller coasters . could the president push those more than the tax cuts . i'm likening this to when dillon went electric. we are seeing obama play a hard ball that the democrats have not played with this current sort of republican party and it's most modern manifestation. what do you make of the messaging now, the fact he is going hard with one message only, which is about middle class tax cuts , he has dispatched his ambassadors to the hill with a plan that republicans found shall we say off putting?
>> look, the fact is that nothing structurally changed in terms of the amount of power that this president has to cope with this congress except that he won re-election, right? but it's the same players, everybody's in the same seat, it's the same lame duck congress. there's no inside bargaining that is itself essentially different than it was a few weeks ago. the one thing he has and keep claiming is the public mandate around the election and go back and make sure the narrative is written that the people voted for him for re-election for this purpose and the only way to do that is to make the appeal directly to the american people .
>> and he is underscoring his reasonableness. i feel like this is a reasonableness towards having romney to the white house , meeting with ceos who donated to romney going out there as michael crowley pointed out, we were chit chatting over the president, full disclosure, the president using a fair and balanced to describe his approach which is a republican line.
>> never heard the phrase.
>> but, you know, the question is, does that at some point backfire for him? the republicans seem to be pushing back saying this is extreme, insane, we can't believe this is --
>> i think the best contrast for what's happening is the stimulus bill that happened in 2009 . it was the first thing he did after being elected in 2008 and did a dramatically different than what he did now. he structured the bill with the tax cuts in it and told republicans okay, come on board, you have about a third of the tax cuts in the package, that's what you wanted and he didn't give them an incentive to buy into the enterprise. he didn't allow them to claim ownership of the change to the legislation and did an inside game what melissa was talking about. he went to the senate and tried to get republicans to come on board. zero luck in the house, some luck in the senate. now he's going out and trying to put the public pressure on congress to move and allowing them an option to buy in. he starts with this legislative proposal, very much a list of priorities which he's going to move off of. no one on this set well think he's going to stand there.
>> yeah. he almost should have just asked for his face to be carved on to mount rushmore .
>> that's done already.
>> but the idea here is that at some point, the republicans will say to their base, we got this, we got that. we preserved the estate tax , the tax on -- the low tax rates on dividends. look at the things we got off this proposal. you should back this.
>> do you think he's even giving them cover on this because it's so extreme?
>> i think he wants boehner to go back to his caucus and say this is where the president started. look at the hardball negotiating i did to get the president down from $1.6 trillion on tax hikes to $1 trillion on tax hikes. i saved $600 billion in tax hikes and that's probably the most effective if not the only way he can negotiate this bill.
>> how do the republicans -- what is their next move. chuck schumer saying if house republicans consider the president's budget a new offer we await their counteroffer. the ball is in their court to state on what they would do on entitlements and taxes. they have given no specifics so far.
>> that's a tough question for them. by the way, you said this reminds you of dillon going electric. i think of the scene in the god father michael corleoneny, my offer is nothing, not even the fee for the contract which i expect you to pay for the pocket. michael was prepared to follow through on that demand. sam is right on the president's flexibility here. republicans more than democrats have to figure out what they're willing to swallow and they have more of a problem of their unity and messaging. some senior and some rank and file members coming out saying, you know, we should just basically get what we can on the tax cuts and extend the middle-class tax cuts and live to fight another day on the rest of it. and they also have to figure out what exactly is their message on medicare right now.
>> you know, the romney campaign has been the remnants or the echos or what's left of the romney campaign staff is boasting that they sort of won the debate on medicare or fought the president to a draw, but because they attacked cuts to medicare in obama care, i don't think that romney ever really sold to the public significant cuts, significant changes to the medicare program. so republicans in the abstract want this. i feel like they haven't spelled out the painful cuts they're putting on the table and part of what obama is trying to do is force them to do that.
>> yes. because he himself has not made any mention of it and, you know, david gregory this morning on " morning joe " saying it's going to be painful for both sides. the president trying to outsource that, pardon the use of a loaded term , to the gop, joy.
>> nobody wants to talk about what they want to cut. that's the thing in washington. why you don't see the budget shrink. talking about cuts means school lunches or cut medicare . when romney andline talked about cutting medicare they had this carve out for people over 55. they said don't worry, you won't have to feel any pain. that's not even on the table. they lost with that proposition and republicans are saying look we've got to go back and admit to our wealthy donors we lost on the issue of upper income tax cuts they don't also want to own medicare cuts. everybody is right, the president's position, opposite of what he did before. let me give you everything you could vote for and let the public watch you say no. that was the way their strategy worked before the election. we put this grand bargain on the table, you should be able to support this. a lot used to be your ideas. let the public see you say no. it's the reverse where he's saying i'm not bargaining with you anymore. here's nothing.
>> the corleone tactic.
>> it would help republican in the sense once they bargain to something that is $1 trillion in tax cuts at least they can say they got something.
>> we have to take a break. coming up we are expecting to hear john boehner 's response to the president later this hour. we'll bring the speaker's remarks just ahead. time