PoliticsNation | November 27, 2012
>>> i've got one mandate. i've got a mandate to help middle class families and families that are working hard to try to get in the middle class . that's my mandate. that's what the american people said. they said, work really hard to help us.
>> that is the president's plan date. whether boehner and company like it or not. and today at the white house , the president continued to build his case. he met with small business owners to keep the focus on letting the bush tax cuts expire for the rich. it's all part of a campaign to get a fair deal done. tomorrow he'll meet with a group of middle class americans who will explain how they'd be affected if republicans let their tax rates increase. he'll also have another meeting with ceos. on friday, the president's heading back on the road. he'll visit a pennsylvania toy manufacturer that depends on middle class shoppers, especially during the holiday season . this president knows how to make the case for the middle class . but will he be able to convince the rest of washington to get on board? joining me now is victoria day fran ce francessco society toe and dadana milbank. thank you for coming on the show. victoria , how important is this new campaign?
>> it's incredibly important. we've seen the president and his team have learned from their mistake. the mistake of 2010 of not capitalizing on the mobile outreach they developed with the 2008 campaign and instead they ended up with a shellacking. the last was wasting time and energy early on in his negotiation. and trying to negotiate with republicans when there was a stalemate. having learned from these mistakes the president has bypassed the stalemated congress and taken it to the people. here he was relying on his electoral connection. we saw a hint of this in his election night speech where he said the role of citizens in a democracy does not end with voting. that you have to stay active in pushing on the policies you need. so, we saw the hint, so we shouldn't be surprised he's taking the show on the road.
>> when we look at the fact american people support his proposals, 72% say the gop should compromise, 67% on a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, 56% say we should raise tax on the wealthy. him going on the road is, what, to energize this and not leave it in washington like what was done before? is he learning from his mistakes of last time around?
>> yeah, i think that's right. this is about learning. and this is -- he's basically undoing what he did wrong in the selling of obama care. he merely assumed that the policy would sell itself, leaving it up to congress to negotiate. and the republicans in many respects ate his lunch on that and really won the debate here. this is the way george w. bush ran his presidency. whether you liked or didn't like george w. bush , he was always out there being a salesman. it's the reality that we live in a entire campaign. it is strictly the only way to do this business.
>> now, it would seem also, victoria , that the president is in a better position to really make his case. his approval rating is 52%. congress's approval rating is only 18%. so with him on the road with that kind of gap in who has the higher approval numbers, which is no comparison, that's got to put some pressure on members of congress.
>> absolutely. and, again, he's coming off the wave of the outreach wave of the 2012 campaign. it is really important he sells this policy, even though people indicate they support it, because at the same time, even though republicans are complaining that he's going on the road, republicans themselves right now are organizing themselves, house republicans , to take their own show on the road. so, the president is going to have pressure and competition from republican house members. it cannot sell itself, as dana said, and especially with the pushback of republicans in congress.
>> now, dana , when you look at the data out today, it shows the economy heading in the right direction. consumer confidence at a four-year high. home prices increased for six straight months. then when you hear some of the small business owners who met with the president today, they were very vocal in their support of what he's doing. let me show some of what was said after the meeting by some of the small business owners.
>> i was very encouraged by the meeting. i felt the president, you know, he really delivered a message of confidence.
>> i'm real enthusiastic about president obama and what he's done.
>> saying that tax breaks for the rich drive consumers lower down to spend is like saying you can jumpstart -- you can start your car by pouring gasoline on the hood.
>> now, soon behind those speakers they'll be negotiating in the west wing . does this work? will this help the president at the negotiating table with the opposition, the republican leadership?
>> the opposition responds only to strengths. so to the extent it boosts his numbers for his policy in the polls, it will help them. but i think so there's something else going on here. that is a bit of the blame game in advance. there's more pessimism now that they'll be able to work something out by the deadline. if we go off the fiscal cliff and all those good economic numbers turn south, the question is who's going to be blamed for this. a lot of what the president's doing now is making sure that he's not the one who's going to be blamed, that it will be the republicans . that, in turn, puts him in a better bargaining position.
>> now, victoria , in 2004 president obama , after his re-election, said he earned political capital . but he wasn't able to accomplish some of his biggest second-term goals. let me show you what mr. bush had to say at that point.
>> i earned capital in the campaign, political capital . now i intend to spend it. it is my style. that's what happened in -- after the 2000 election. i earned some capital. i've earned capital in this election and i'm going to spend it.
>> but he spent it but he didn't get a lot of what he was trying to push done. is the president, by continuing to go out, continuing a campaign after election day , sort of learning also, not only from what he might not have done before, but what george bush and other incumbent presidents may not have done in their second term around thinks they wanted to achieve by continuing to campaign and energizing the american people around the policies that he wants to implement?
>> reverend, it's good to earn from your own mistakes but even better to learn from the mistakes of others. i definitely think that the president and his team, in looking at how to keep the pressure on and selling this message, is learning from george w. bush 's mistakes. george w. bush said, i got elected, this is it, i can go out a little bit but it's a fullcourt press. that is needed. because republicans are going to be recalcitrant. they say, why do we have to negotiate? we have room to get beaten up. the president knows this and this is why the pressure is on.
>> also, i think the difference, dana , what the president is pushing here, as i said earlier, showed the poll numbers, the american public wants to see happen, they're supportive. george bush did go out pushing on social security but it was unpopular. it wasn't what the american people wanted.
>> well, not only was it unpopular but sort of an elective thing. it wasn't something that needed to be taken care of urgently. obama is focusing on the economy now to the extent he didn't focus immediately on the economy in his first term. he is focusing on the central issue and the key issue what will be the key issue of his presidency. so, he's in much stronger ground to defend his turf here than bush was in privatizing social security .
>> defrancesco soto and dana milbank , thank you.
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