PoliticsNation | February 07, 2013
>> president confronting republicans. an energized president obama rallied house democrats for his second term agenda today making clear he's pushing hard for big changes on immigrations and guns. and he sat he wants a big deal on the budget.
>> i am prepared, eager and anxious to do a big deal , a big package, that ends this gov governance by crisis.
>> with the rich paying their fair share .
>> they recognize that the sequester is a bad idea. but what they've suggested is that the only way to replace it right now is for us to cut social security , cut medicare, and not close a single loophole. i have to tell you, if that's an argument that they want to have before the court of public opinion , that is an argument i'm more than willing to engage in because i believe the american people understand -- i believe the american people understand that yes, we need to reduce the deficit, but it shouldn't just be on the backs of seniors. it shouldn't just be on the backs of young people trying to get a college education .
>> the president won the fairness debate in the fall. that's what the election was all about. today, the president said that argument will define the fight ahead on guns, immigration, women's rights, gay rights . the whole agenda.
>> the question i will ask myself on every item, every issue, is is this helping to make sure that everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules.
>> this president is gearing up to push for real change . and he's compared to confront the gop if they don't want to compromise. joining me now is congresswoman james shakowski who was at the democratic retreat with the president. she's part of the progressive caucus which produced his own plan this week to trim the deficit without cuts to our safety net . congresswoman, let me go to you first. the president made it clear he'll fight for what he believes is right. will republicans fold yet again?
>> well, i certainly hope they will. apparently, john boehner said we're done with taxes. the president was very clear that when meeting the economic and fiscal challenges ahead, that he wants to keep in perspective whether the cop or the receptionist was able to make it. and he did contrast it with what the republicans want. and they want to cut medicare and social security . and so he said fine, let's argue this out in the public. and he clearly felt confident that he and we would win if that bat 8 takes place.
>> now, the reason i'm asking, congresswoman, is "politico" is reporting that the economy is crumbling. let me quote.
>> if that is true and the democratic caucus stands together and the president stands firm, they will have backed down yet again.
>> exactly. you know, reverend al, that this sequester was never intended to go into effect because the cuts were so devastating. and so this, again, would be a capitulation to the democrats.
>> and i think that's the real point, joan. the sequester was put out with such unreasonable cuts, it was to make sure that we never got there. and to act as though now we may have gone there is absolutely unthinkable when it was created in the first place to never have to get into such a drastic place.
>> right, it was created to scare both sides, actually. and to overting the gesture. and the president, at least until the end of the year didn't have any partners with who he could cut a deal. i think the president has changed quite a lot. not only was it a big win -- he got big tax rate hikes on the very wealthy. not everything he wanted, but quite a lot. he won on the debt ceiling question. the they did lift it. and i don't think they'll ever do that again unless they completely lose their minds. that is no longer a hostage worth taking. and now we'll see what they do on the sequester. i look with faith to the house progressive caucus that any deal that is reached does not include bad cuts. and i think there's still a little danger ahead. but the president has a much stronger hand than he's had since the beginning of his first term.
>> congresswoman, can he use that stronger hand to push forward his agenda? americans came out all over this country. many stood in line for hours to see the country move forward. at the end of the day , will we see the agenda and the fairness and the ro greprogress that people voted for coming to be?
>> we are seeing that the issue of immigration, we're already seeing some gun support. we're seeing gun owners and nra members are with us. what i'm seeing now is an em bolding president and a caucus that's ready to roll up his sleeves and support his agenda.
>> now, joan, at a prayer breakfast today, the president talked about faith and finding common ground. but he says it needs to be something we think about every day. let me play you a part of what he said.
>> i do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about, the whole time of the prayer breakfast, seems to be forgotten. on the same day of the prayer breakfast. i mean, you'd like to think that the shelf life wouldn't be so short.
>> isn't that important? we hear all of these nice, noble things at prayer gatherings and all of this about goodwill to men and women. and before the afternoon is over, we see the gridlock, the bickering, the pettiness. again, can we hope that some level when we're seeing now the divisions in the republican party and people on the right saying we've got to get rid of extremists.
>> i'm cautiously optimistic, reverend al. he referred to the president as our president. i hope that gets a lot of currency on the right wing blogs. and i hope fox news plays that clip a lot. i think he's staking out exactly what he wants. and then we move in from there. so we may get compromise on the dream act or gun control . it doesn't get us everything that we want, but it gets us part of the way there. congresswoman, at the same time, he says he's going to come pain for members of his party. he even talked about democrats taking back the house in the 2014 election. tell me, give me a sense after watching the energy in the room and the reaction in the room at the retreat. watch this.
>> i have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary service that we've done already. as a biproduct of that, i would suspect that nancy pelosi is going to be speaker again pretty soon. all right?
>> sounded like a raucous reaction. what was the energy like in the room? and what does it mean for the president to say he's going out there and do several fundraisers for democrats. this year.
>> well, we were very excited to hear that the president is going to be with us as we head toward the 2014 elections. but we were just depending on the energy in the room. we also have a plan that was very detailed and presented to us on how we're going to get from here to there. to put the gavel in nancy pelosi 's plan, clearly the president will have a busy schedule.
>> thank you both for your time tonight.
>> thank you. coming up, the question everyone is talking about. it's tough, it's rude, but it's real. is chris christie too overweight to be president? and is that the sound of a knockout punch? karl rove is down and out. the tea party monster can't be controlled. plus, to kill or not to kill. the hot debate over drones and presidential power is a tough one. my commentary ahead.