The Cycle | January 08, 2013
>>> cycle" today. take two. no question of defeating republicans . he has. can he work with them?
>>> i'm toure and making you an offer you can't refuse. a look inside the president's so-called senate mafia.
>>> i'm krystal ball. we have a diamond in the rough today. an anthropologist searching for answers and now cycling back here to share the incredible experiences.
>>> i'm steve kornacki, finding out who gave me the flu. really. it's a sick new app.
>>> all that plus what kids, kesha and congress have common. we're all about making connections here on "the cycle." all right. it's just 13 days to the inauguration and if you thought president obama 's first term was polarizing, just wait for the second. for instance, his first term was polarizing despite obama 's efforts. his second could be polarizing because of them. need proof? already the president's putting up his dukes nominating chuck hagel to run the pentagon. he slammed the door on debt ceiling negotiations demanding congress raise it without drama and says he's ready to be tough on gun control but remember the president doesn't have to worry about re-election ever again. so expect his second term agenda to look a lot like this. full of overtures to the base which criticized him over the last four years for caving to republicans . to help decipher what to expect in the next four years, we start with nbc's peter alexander outside of the white house and "the washington post " david nakamura. peter, look, you could describe the first term and the first few months since being re-elected as a confident obama . making bold cabinet picks. laying out a very ambitious agenda, adding gun legislation to the docket or you could describe it as almost confident. you know, he backed away from the susan rice pick. he gave in on taxing the top income earners at the rate he wanted. and so far he's really just tiptoed kind of cautiously around gun control . so this a confident obama based on the agenda you're seeing or a caution one?
>> reporter: focusing on foreign policy , i think you'd have to say this is a confident president obama right now. just consider the selections of chuck hagel , john kerry , even though it's not susan rice , but also john brennan compared to four years ago. jim jones did not work out. there was secretary gates at defense that was brought over from the bush administration before him. and so i think in many ways this sort of demonstrates that the president feels he'll put his imprint on foreign policy going forward from him. hillary clinton a choice that some may have viewed as a concession of secretary of state and worked out well for both sides.
>> david , you know, chuck hagel has gotten some opposition from the left and the right. do you expect in a second term now elected and safe obama might get some more opposition from the left, from democrats? i'm thinking maybe on drones or extra judicial killing or some of the things that maybe some liberals had been quieter on waiting for obama to get re-elected?
>> i think that's definitely a big issue. you know, looking at the picks that the president announced yesterday for national security team, i think what you are seeing is obama administration sort of trying to reshape how they think about things and drawing down the war in iraq , u.s. troop presence there, i got off a white house conference call. you're looking at now a pentagon and a white house that's sort of thinking about conflict s differently. using drones and lethal force in that way rather than full scale war, escalating in a country and a war and that will continue the criticism that the white house is secretive about the drone program. they don't talk about it and almost don't acknowledge it and clear that the president is committed to this and an issue from the left.
>> david , as s.e. said, i think the left did not for most or all of president obama 's first term really hold him accountable on drones the way maybe you would have expected them to do or tried to with the national security policies under george w. bush . it seem there is's a natural opportunity at least maybe to pursue some of the answers to ask some of questions that weren't asked the last four years in the hearings of john brennan as the cia director . is that something you expect will happen at all?
>> i do.
>> will there be some aggression of the left there?
>> i think there will be. brennan is involved in the program and some of the stories today you are seeing looking and as people start to scour the records. regardless of whether he's confirmed or not, it's part of the discussion. however, i think like i said that obama is committed to john brennan . as his sort of adviser, the president close a relationship with him and committed as you saw with the pick yesterday.
>> peter, as we look forward to what is on the agenda, immigration, gun control , tax reform , maybe some election reform , big, controversial issues, when's the white house strategy for actually getting those things passed? a lot of people have thought that the coalition of the 85 or so republicans obviously not exactly the same since we have a new congress but those 85 or so republicans who voted for the fiscal cliff deal plus the majority of the democratic caucus that that is going to be the sort of magic coalition that actually gets things accomplished in this term. is that the white house strategy?
>> reporter: i think you have to consider that fiscal cliff hanger as an anomaly. people view it as such because the consequences so great. john boehner allowed a vote on that. he doesn't have to do that necessarily going forward so the strategy for the white house on those other issues, speaking specifically to gun control as we noted, vice president is going to meet this week with the nra that made news just being noted a matter of hours ago. it's to try to create more of that pressure. the president has made it very clear that not only did he win this election but said that the republicans obviously have a struggling brand, this wlous is communicated so perhaps more campaign-style events where the president was in michigan, he was in pennsylvania, he was just across the river in virginia, here as well. perhaps gabby giffords by his side or some of the survivors from newtowe of the ways they believe to add pressure to bring across the republicans to not be an obstruction to him being able to accomplish some of those policies specifically on gun control and also trying to use some of those democrats like a-rated democrats from the nra, joe manchin , obviously, bob casey of pennsylvania, both may be able to add to that pressure specifically as it speaks to the issue of gun control .
>> david , i want to talk to you about women and not in a brent musberger sort of way but a real way. you write about the durt of women in the cabinet and susan rice and fell apart and that's not been replaced by anybody and looking at three women for 15 cabinet posts. not the diversity we would expect from obama that we would hope for from obama and it seems or a little late in the game to make up for that. so is he just going to be behind the eight ball now?
>> well, you know, it is interesting because women's issues as you know is a big issue in the campaign. the president made it an issue and as did the republicans and the president trying to drive a wedge and won 55% of the women's vote and i think he made the point, you know, he wanted women's health issues and equality in pay and same time with the departure of hillary clinton , you are looking at a national security cabinet all men and there is concern. the president to be fair to him, was in favor of susan rice it looked like. didn't work out. now you have a treasury secretary announced soon, probably jack lu and replaced by a male candidate, as well. i have heard and did write about this today. there is some frustration and this is dogged obama since the beginning of his first term when there was some friction inside the white house , you know, rumbling of senior level female staffers and the president talking about it, reassure them to have a voice with hillary clinton leaving, the question is, is he going to have that input that a lot of people think would be valuable? the president talked about other cabinet positions to fill and keeping an eye on that.
>> okay. peter alexander and david nakamura, thank you.
>>> what could be the biggest fight of the president's second term? find out as "the cycle" rolls on for tuesday,