The Daily Rundown | November 29, 2012
>> i think this is a minority position.
>> i think this is a false choice.
>> i think the majority of congress disagrees with it. we shouldn't be talking about raising tacks right now. we should be talking about where we're going to cut spending.
>>> congressman tom cole signaled republicans should accept the president's tax offer. many members of his conference are not on board. tom cole joins me, former chair of the nrcc. you're a guy that actually used to do political polling . you're one of the few politicians that knows how to read a poll. congressman --
>> i can read an election, too.
>> explain why you believe your way is the best way for republicans to get a better deal long term?
>> first of all, we agree on where we want to go. i couldn't agree more with the speaker. raising tax rates is a terrible idea, bad for the economy, it will cost jobs, slow things down. frankly the president, if we're going to have a deal, has got to get finally more specific about spending cuts and entitlement reform. having said that, there is a point we agree. the president says he wants to make 80% of the bush tax cuts permanent for 98% of the american people and take them out of the discussion. i think we should do that. now, that advice was given in private, but you guys have a way of figuring out what was said in private. somebody leaked it out.
>> you didn't intend for this to go public.
>> no, no. but again, it is what i said. it's not an inaccurate report. and again, i don't think it changes where we're going. our chief negotiator is the speaker. he can deliver the republican votes for a deal that he thinks is the right one. i always supported him in that. i'm sure i would again. again, if we can give the american people an early christmas present, if they can listen to the debate instead of being worried that their own taxes are going to go up, i think that actually strengthens our hand. our leverage here is not tax rates . that's actually the democrats' leverage. our leverage are spending cuts. the democrats don't want domestic spending cuts. they're going to happen if there's not a deal. the president is the commander in chief. it's a dangerous world. i have to believe, the secretary of defense wasn't want anymore defense cuts either.
>> you do believe now coming out essentially to boehner's left you have helped the speaker be -- sort of keep the republican conference semi unified or does it hurt? i've heard some republicans say what leaked out was a real public relations setback.
>> oh, i don't think so. look. first of all, these things blow over pretty fast. but second, i think in the end of the day , having the ability to have an honest discussion is a good thing, not a bad thing. the speaker is very direct, very honest, very open. so am i. they asked my opinion for what i thought. i told them. i slnt changed my mind. i'm not going to come out here and be disingenuous to people. i think it would be a step in the right direction. at the end of the day , this is a debate over tactics. the real question is political theology and we don't disagree on that.
>> how many republicans quietly have come up to xrou and said, you know what, you're right? this is the right strategy?
>> there's certainly a division of opinion, variety of opinion inside the republican congress . i'll let other members speak for themselves and just leave it at all.
>> grover norquist -- you were talking about leverage and you believe republicans could get more leverage if they got this out of the way, called the white house 's bluff, if you will and said, okay, fine, we'll give you this and have the larger debate. he believes the debt ceiling should be used as leverage. is that responsible governing?
>> i think the speaker did, in our conference did the right thing last time. we were willing to raise the debt ceiling. that's a tough vote for republicans, but only if it was accompanied by reforms and long-term spending cuts. i actually think that's a good thing and should be institutionized. we should not continue on a course of piling up debt and not try to correct things. i think the speaker did the right thing, pushed for that, and we got it. as a result, we're going to have $2 trillion less in long-term debt thanks to what john mccain did.
>> by the way, should there be a debt ceiling? is this sort of a ridiculous thing?
>> i don't think it's ridiculous. i think it forces us to confront reality. we can't pile up debt without thought of where we're going. i think making congress put their fingerprints on this, making the administration actually put something forward is a very good thing. i would not be forgetting to the debt ceiling.
>> i'm curious what you thought of stuart stevens diagnosis about mitt romney . basically he says the reason they lost was the president was a charismatic african- american president , a billion dollars and a media that felt morally conflicted about being --
>> i haven't spent a lot of time. to be fair i haven't had a chance to read stuart's piece. i don't want to micromanage it. the incumbents are hard to beat, he got re-elected by less votes than he got the last time. we held the house of representatives . he's in a weaker position than he was in the first term. let's not prematurely panic. if i were picking something, i would have said a better job of defining mitt romney over the summer early was probably the biggest drawback. once people got to know him after that first debate, it's amazing how quickly they transformed things. i think they did real and lasting damage. i give the obama campaign credit. they picked exactly the right moment when they had a financial advantage between june and august, before general election . they defined him and did a good job. people in the romney campaign don't have anything to be ashamed of. they ran a tough race.
>> tom cole , member of congress,