PoliticsNation | December 04, 2012
>>> today in his first interview since winning re-election, president obama talked about the fiscal cliff standoff. he put his foot down on what is negotiable and what is not.
>> we have to say the rates on the top 2% go up. and we're not going to get a deal without it. understand the reason for that. it's not me being stubborn. it's not me being partisan. it's just a matter of math. i'm happy to entertain other ideas the republicans may present, but we are not going to cut our way to prosperity or cut our way out of the deficit problem we have.
>> so, are we on the verge of something big, something that could really change our politics? joining me now, senator barbara boxer , democrat from california and whip of the senate. thank you for being on the show.
>> i love being on your show. thank you.
>> if the gop agrees to tax increases, how important might that be in terms of showing they actually are capable of working with the president?
>> you know, the way they raised the question, if they agree to tax increases, they claim they're willing to do these loop-hole closers but the difference here is the tax rates . here's the issue. as you know, the bush tax cuts , which resulted in rates being lower for 100% of americans, they all expire at the end of the year. democrats have said to republicans , we know you want to extend them for everybody, even if they make $5 billion, $7 billion, $2 million, we'll extend them to the first $250,000 of income. and then the top 2% would have to pay a little bit more. so in my mind and in the president's mind, i think we look at this, and i think it's common sense and say to the republicans , we agree with you on 98% of what you want to do. you want to extend the tax cuts to 100%. we're saying 98%. so, i think that's the common ground . for some reason, except for tom cole and a few individuals, we don't see where the republicans understand. we can all be winners. can you imagine looking out at the country before the holiday and saying 98% of you are not going to have one more penny to pay on your taxes? that's a big deal . and for some reason they're offering up all this other soup. it's an unpleasant soup that actually is an assault on the middle class . so i think they're in serious trouble with the american people right now.
>> now, do you get any sense, because what you're saying just seems so sensible and and logical, do you think they're moving that way?
>> reverend al f i could tell you yes, i'd be so happy. i'm a very optimistic person. in july the senate passed that bill. all they have to do is take it up and pass it. they could have taken it up in july, august, september, october. november, we're at december, they haven't taken it up. now democratic leader pelosi has said it's a situation where there's a discharge situation at the desk meaning if 218 people signed that bill, it would come up for a vote and the republicans have said, even tom cole and others with us on this, they won't do it. as i stand here and i through the magic of television see you, i don't see the movement in that direction. but here's what i think. the the american people get it. it's simple. they're going to the floor and we're going to be there every day until they take up that bill and pass it. they ought to do what tip o'neill did, go to democrats, go to the republicans , find that sweet spot . that's 218. you know, john boehner has to act like he's speaker of the house , not speaker of the republicans .
>> well, we can only watch and pray, but --
>> -- let me turn the page and ask you --
>> well, you're good at praying, reverend, so i think it's good.
>> well, i'll definitely be doing that for the middle class and for all americans. let me ask you, the year of of the woman where we are now, 1993 when you first took your seat, there were six women in the u.s. senate . 20 years later, there will be 21 in the senate, the most in u.s. history . how does that make you feel?
>> i feel good. i feel very good with it. when i ran with senator feinstein, there were only two women , nancy kassabom and we went to six, now, we cannot rest until we're about 50 because truly, look, women are more than 50% of the population. when these issues are discussed, whether it's war and peace , whether it's education, whether it's the hard issues, the soft issues, we belong in the room. so i do feel good --
>> but --
>> yes, i feel good and i'm excited to welcome all those women . remember, i went on your show, it kind of made you crazy and said, please have me on and talk about the fact that 2012 could be the year of the women . you let me do that. we had win with women and you let me publicly size that and i'm very grateful --
>> and you came through. but before we go, we still have had probably some of the most restrictive and in my opinion, the most reactionary movement against women 's right. for example, mississippi's only abortion clinic could be forced to close in january because of restricted regulations that force doctors to secure hospital privileges. now, let me ask you this, the attacks on women 's rights, which has been unprecedented, as i said. after the election and the defeat of many of those extreme voices, has the attacks lessened and are you still very concerned about women 's rights being taken for granted? or being taken away?
>> yeah, i do not see the progress that we should see. this example in mississippi, what does it mean? it means that particularly the poor women and the middle class women who don't have a lot of money to spend, they could be forced into desperate situations. and i remember those years all too well. so, the attack goes on. look at the house now. they're still sitting on not only the middle class tax cut , they're sitting on the violence against women act . our version in the senate is so good and important, it pulls all the women in. their version would leave out 30 million people. so, it still goes on, reverend. we'll have to keep on talking about this in the days ahead.
>> all right. we shall. senator barbara boxer , thanks for your time.
>>> coming up, why is paul ryan talking about a new