PoliticsNation | February 26, 2013
>>> the gop war against chris christie just got worse. in a major budget address before a joint session of the new jersey legislature today, christie announced that he's supporting the president's medicaid expansion. he's now the eighth republican governor to do so. given christie 's 74% approval rating , you'd think the gop would be taking notes from this guy. praising him, right? wrong. conservatives have decided not to invite the most popular republican in the country to their big annual conference . his invitation seems to be lost in the mail. gee, i wonder why?
>> the president is great. i spoke to him three times yesterday. he deserves great credit. the president has been outstanding in this. and so have the folks at fema. i cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state.
>> and if that didn't do it, then this one probably did.
>> there's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims. the house majority and their speaker john boehner . they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. shame on you. shame on congress.
>> shame on you. but surely republicans aren't that petty. they'd never start a war with christie just because he worked with the president to rebuild his state from the destruction of a hurricane, hurricane sandy, right?
>> that wasn't just sort of an accident, i don't think.
>> no. when you look at all the people that were there and you say where a chris christie , it's probably not an accident. the anger of the former presidential candidate and the certain amount of the house leadership.
>> maybe that explains why the gop just can't seem to turn their brand around. a brand new nbc poll shows 46% of the country still views the gop negatively. and just 29% think of the republican party positively. so the latest rebranding move is to start a war with chris christie ? what could possibly go wrong? joining me now is abi huntsman and victoria defrancesco soto. thank you both for coming on.
>> thanks for having us.
>> abi, let me start with you. the party is at war with chris christie . does that make any sense to you at all?
>> this is a perfect example of why republicans lost this time around. i mean, they're too insulate. if you don't fit in this box, they want nothing to do with you. the exact reason is that he befriended the president two weeks before the election. that just shows how small minded this group is. in fact, i would take it as a compliment if i was christie .
>> they actually said this while you were in the room?
>> no, i talked to people in the room. the reason they made this decision was because of the fact that you stated before. simply because he befriended the president. he snubbed romney during hurricane sandy. two weeks before the election. that's the main reason they said don't come speak. that's how small minded this group is. but you have to remember the c-pac is different than the republican party . when you look at the folks speaking this time, there are a lot of personalities from yesterday. they are the agenda from yesterday.
>> you have a whole list of people that are speaking and clearly when you look at the speakers list, you see rick perry , mitt romney , sarah palin , ron paul , allen west with, wayne lapierre . i don't see chris christie and i don't see your dad.
>> certainly no forward thinkers in that group you showed. that's unnerving to see people like this. that's not the future of the gop .
>> when you look at the fact, victor victoria , joe scarborough who hosts " morning joe " here, he and i don't agree on much. but he even talked about it. take a listen to this.
>> underlines how out of touch the movements are. it underlines just how little they care about actual electoral victorie victories. they have a coalition that cares about talk radio ratings. they understand you have to say extreme things to get those ratings. it's about resentment and hating democrats and hating -- of course that's not how you win. apparently these days being a republican is not about winning.
>> so, i mean, what is happening to this party? how can they survive when you even have people to the right like joe scarborough saying it's not about winning. tell me how we can deal with this party? i'm looking at the bigger picture of what is going on with this party that it seems that it can't get back on track.
>> in nature we noel fants are mostly blind. so it's interesting to see the same with c-pac elephants. that they are blind to the issue. and chris christie speaks to the blindness not just of alienating modern republicans , but really of alienating republicans . because chris christie is emblematic of the voter. a poll came out last week that shows 40% of americans identify as independents . so for most folks it's not about being republican or democrat, it's about being a middle of the road independent. in 2009 for his gubernatorial race, 60% of independents in new jersey voted for chris christie . this is the guy that can get independents vote for him. just as barack obama had independents vote for him in 2008 . that the republican party wants to remain competitive and quite frankly survive at the national level, they need to bring in independents . we're never going to get democrats to vote for republicans , but we need those middle of the road folks is the strategy they should be thinking about.
>> now, and i think that's a very important point. because when you see how extreme they are and how they're really chasing independents away, i mean, let's face it, abby. chris christie is still a very conservative person. when you look at his record, he's anti-choice, vetoed equal pay legislation, vetoed minimum wage increase. yet approved a record $1.6 billion in corporate tax breaks. also vetoed same-sex marriage and praised the ryan budget. this is not a progressive at all. and they shun him. how do they ever expect to appeal to independents ?
>> i would argue my dad was the same sort of situation. he was actually very conservative on a lot of issues. but they tend to ignore that. if you step out of this box they want you to fit in, then they just want to shoe you away. i think some great points have been made. republican parties not going to win unless you a i peel to independents . christie can bring a lot of people into the tent. he's exactly what the republican party needs right now, so to shoe someone like that away, republicans are not going --
>> who is still basically conservative. and your dad -- i was reading the front page of something.
>> "new york times."
>> i thought it was the national review . and your dad came out on a very strong stand in terms of same-sex marriage.
>> but he made a conservative argument for gay marriage . not only the fact we have to evolve but saying look, as republicans we have long talked about long-term relationships. about a strong family unit. we should be leading the charge on gay marriage . we're not doing that today. i'm proud of my dad for doing that.
>> you don't want big government other than on what you want big government for. and a new nbc poll out, i want to rush this in before i run out of time. it says that americans are backing democrats on the issues on who they trust to look out for middle class . democrats hold a 22% advantage. they lead by 18 points on medicare, 16 points on health care , 15 points on gun violence, 14 on social security . brand new poll is not good for the republicans in terms of the issues they stand for.
>> because what we see is the democratic party is talking about the more tangible issues. the day-to-day issues. yes, for example, gay marriage is a big ideological issue that we see the party dividing itself upon. you care about the medical coverage you're going to get and whether or not your state is going to be covered by medicaid. for example, with new jersey, chris christie making that decision for coverage is going to effect people day-to-day. that's why people support him and why people support the democratic party .
>> abby huntsman and victoria defrancesco soto, thanks for your time this evening.
>> thank you.
>>> coming up, one year ago tonight a young man by the name of trayvon martin was shot and killed. trayvon's parents join me ahead on their struggle and fighting for