The Cycle | February 12, 2013
>>> we're still waiting from the senate armed services to vote for defense secretary . we'll keep an eye on that and let you know the results as soon as they happen. meantime, there are less than six hours until the state of the union and i know that because of the that countdown clock right there. it's a big day .
>> helpful, helpful.
>> this calls for a big spin cycle, guys. so nbc's luke russert joins us as the honorary fifth cyclist.
>> happy to be in the brady bunch graphics. this is the ann b. davis box.
>> reserved that spot especially for you. so this is --
>> first time in the spin cycle. so we'll let you lead off with your thoughts on the state of the union . what should the president do, what do you expect?
>> reporter: i think the president is strongest in this idea of numbers, where he talks about how much things cost and what could be then purchased with them if certain legislative action goes forward. let's say the buffett rule, the one we heard him about in the campaign, assume that went forward. you get about $16.7 billion in revenue over a decade. the president should use stats like that to take it and talk about what he could get from that. infrastructure spending, grants and we know about one fourth of the bridges in the united states structurally inefficient. a lot of them unsafe to drive on. the president can harp on that. the other thing is there's a lot of worry here about some moderate democrats on the hill because nancy pelosi and steny hoyer gone down the line of the united states does not have a spending problem. the president should i've heard say we do have a problem but we can do things in a bipartisan manner, whether it's i put forward a change cpi in exchange for some closing tax loopholes and for the president to be taken seriously by the country there should be acknowledgment of a spending problem going on throughout the united states coming to the long-term future entitlement programs. lastly, president obama well served to make the point on numbers. 11 million undocumented folks in the country. what would it take to get them in line and have a negative birthrate like that in europe without this workforce here in the united states and many big business folks and republicans from texas and florida here in the capitol they want. that message probably can't go wrong on that especially for folks here on capitol hill .
>> but luke, on your spending problem point, i thought according to republicans it's the president when's behind the sequester cuts, he is mr. austerity. that's not an issue. he's too kra cone idraconian.
>> that's the thing they have been pushing forward left and right recently. sequester is a thing that originated with democrats and supported by republicans, looked forward as a way to go forward. john boehner said he got 98% 0 of what he wanted in the sequester.
>> exactly. i have something i hope the president mentions tonight. he mentioned it in the victory speech after he won and in the inaugural address which is election reform and so far cursory mentions to long lines and when you look at the totality of the system, when you look at the fact that minorities waited in line almost twice as long as white voters and ohio state university i believe studies show that 200,000 florida voters alone left and did not vote because the lines were so long. it is a disgrace the way that our system operates right now. it is discriminatory. it is inefficient. wasteful. wasting money on this basically pen and paper system. i would love to see the president get in to actual specifics and show to put some weight behind this because there's no issue more central to our democracy than being able to go and cast your ballot.
>> which is something you and i did together this year.
>> yes, we did.
>> canceling out the votes. which was fun. you know --
>> you didn't vote for obama ?
>> don't tell anybody.
>> you know, in addition to the state of the union , i'm obviously also looking forward to the response and i'll get in to the duelling responses in my rant later. right now focusing on rubio. he's such a gifted communicator. he really is. that's not spin. that's not veneer.
>> i agree with this.
>> i'm hoping tonight that he puts on a positive message. let's be honest. this is not a response to the state of the union . this is already been written. it is basically designed to present an alternative view. i love that. so i actually -- one of my new rules for the gop is to stop describing messages in terms of obama . so i hope that it's less anti- obama and more positive, optimistic, i expect him to put in a lot of personal stories about success and growing up as an immigrant and i'm really hoping for that young revitalizing optimistic message of what conservatism can do and bring for opportunity.
>> optimistic message from the republicans, that would be new. i think about --
>> it wouldn't be new. it's new of a last few years.
>> you're describing the rnc speech and had that potential to launch a career in recent years. this rebuttal, generally, only has the possibility to sink a career and the odds for rubio jindaling i think are high.
>> i don't think so. he's a pretty --
>> following the president and in the middle of the chamber, the clapping and the grandeur and having rand paul following him as a corrective is a difficult thing for rubio in that whatever he wants to say he's going to have the real republican come behind him and say, no, this is what we really want. like he is a far right guy rubio in a center left guy and increasingly center left country and how does he move to the middle with rand paul waiting to say this is what we really want? like when you go on a date and your mom's there. you're not really going to score with your mom right there.
>> well, you are right.
>> so many images in my head.
>> mothers not withstanding is a tough format.
>> no, no. expand on that analogy.
>> that is -- that is toure's department. it is not been a launching pad. that's interesting to me waiting for somebody to come along and figure --
>> how to do that.
>> what a big night the state of the union sort of has become and the big event on the political calendar, wasn't always this way. you look at the evolution of this and all the rituals that surround it. constitution basically says the president has to advise the congress from time to time about the state of the union and for the first two presidents they went in to the congress and gave speeches and then this long stretch all the way through the taft presidency where the presidents just submitted a written message to congress. wilson brought back the speech and then radio and coolidge with the first radio address and then the first tv address and then the response and that came in the lbj years. when's funny is originally while there's period there where the response was just one person looking at the camera. as bad as --
>> looking slightly not at the camera.
>> are we going to play this?
>> i'm hoping. play the parties used to produce 30-minute infomercials.
>> we were watching this before the program.
>> who is that?
>> just lost 49 states to reagan . this is a party in disarray. they first offered the role of hosting the video -- not kidding. warren beatty . they said let's go with the -- and up and comer of bill clinton . bill clinton took an enormous amount of heat of democrats after this video. this was a party flattened by reagan . on reagan 's birthday, the night before the speech and clinton began with a warm tribute and happy birthday and democrats thought it was too complimentary. the video and then every democratic office holder in the country featured for 30 minutes . just --
>> their face inside of the --
>> map of the country. there's dukakis. cut to an interview. it was just --
>> it didn't sink bill clinton 's career.
>> and then three years later, the 45-minute speech and cheered and said -- he is proved -- that is the single greatest hope for bobby jindal to be president that bill clinton could have that video on the record and that speech in 1988 and survive it all and waiting to figure out what's the master form of the response. maybe rubio showing us something different tonight. doesn't do anything for anybody.
>> that's why they call him the comeback kid , i know. did you know that off the top of your head or look any of that up?
>> i've watched that video once or twice or 23 times.
>> impressive math, by the way. did you see that map? alaska is proportional.
>> all blue.
>> the alaska is proportion to the united states . they get upset.
>> hawaii is not.
>> all blue on the american map.
>> good look for it. thank you so much for spinning with us.
>> always a pleasure. they can care.
>>> straight ahead, our dr. j puts it in perspective. the address, the response and the promises, promises. jonathan allen 's next in the guest spot.