The Daily Rundown | December 07, 2012
>>> from new york city . it's friday, december 7th , 2012 . this is "the daily rundown." i'm chuck todd . you should always remember this is a day that lives in infamy and if you don't know why, ask your parents or your grandparents to explain. let's get right to my first reads of the morning. as the republican party picks up the pieces and searches for the next generation of leaders, one of the conservative movements most influential icons of late and inside the senate , south carolina 's jim demint , stunned his colleagues by resigning to become a full-time political activist . in effect, the ceo of the conservative movement . just two years into his second term demint is leaving the senate to become president of the heritage foundation where he was greeted yesterday with a standing ovation.
>> this literally feels like i just walked in the front door of my own house. this organization is in a position to do more to save our country than any organization that i'm aware of.
>> before there was a tea party movement there was south carolina senator jim demint . he was a senate back bencher, a thorn in the side of his own party's leadership. then came president obama 's election in 2008 . health care reform igniting the tea party movement and then demint quickly became a leader and rehetorical flamethrower.
>> if we're able to stop obama on this, it will be his waterloo.
>> but demint had no significant legislative impact or victories regularly bucking the republican establishment, supporting senate candidates close to his own view of conservatism with, of course, mixed success.
>> i've been criticized by some of my republican colleagues for saying i'd rather have 30 republicans in the senate who believe in the principles of freedom than 60 who don't believe in anything.
>> he was an early supporter of florida senator marco rubio . now the gop star, incoming senator cruz who tells mike lee all on the demint list. while 15 won primaries just seven are united states senators today. many party leaders, in fact, blame demint for high-profile senate losses in indiana, delaware, colorado and nevada and in a statement made yesterday minority leader mitch mcconnell said this. i thank senator demint for his uncompromising service to south carolina and our country in the united states senate . service. he probably wishes he was a little less compromising. that's how you can tell the ones secretly happy he was leaving. you heard phraseology like that. demint leaves the senate a month after conservatives were set back by obama 's re-election. demint's 2010 network was $65,000. heritage current president made over $1 million in 2010 . it's also a powerful statement about where demint believes he can have the most influence as a movement conservative. outside elected office.
>> i think i'm in a more power powerful position than a single united states senator . i am looking for a place where i can make more of a difference.
>> demint summed up his frustration the last time he spoke from the floor of the united states senate .
>> this senator is ashamed of the way the senate is being run. we have had an entire congress of gag rules, limited debate, limited votes, limited amendments and the result has been no accomplishments. over the last two years the senate has become a laughing stock .
>> you saw that date there. it was september was the last time demint spoke on the floor. demint announced his decision not on the senate floor but on rush limbaugh 's radio show . and he previewed how he may become a thorn in the side of congressional leadership, maybe more than a thorn.
>> and i think it's safe to say boehner is not forcing either of you guys out, right?
>> that's true.
>> it might work the other way.
>> you heard that, might work the other way. demint's decision means that the center of politician action in 2014 will be in the state of south carolina . three marquee statewide contests down there, two senate races and the governor's race. the fighting atmosphere of the palmetto state is legendary. throw in all of the state contests, the presidential primary season that kicks off very early in that state because it's early. and you've got yourself a humdinger down there. south carolina governor nikki haley does get the job of appointing demint's replacement who will serve until 2014 when there is a special election . she said yesterday she could make that decision within a week. among the names in the mix, congressman tim scott , former congressman barrett, henry mcmaster who was a candidate for governor in 2010 , nathan ballentine and ted pitts. now many conservatives made it clear that they prefer tim scott and are bordering on strong-arming nikki haley , trying to box her into doing it after demint's announcement. look at the statement scott himself released. quote, looking forward . governor haley will now appoint a new senator and i nknow she will make the right choice for south carolina and the nation. the question is whether haley will opt to name a place holder or someone who has the credibility and resourceses to defend the seat in the election it self. one person who could not suppress his glee yesterday telling politico he fell off the couch when demint told him he was leaving, south carolina senator lindsey graham who has been watching his back expecting a conservative challenge in 2014 .
>> i met with jim demint this morning and to say i was stunned is an understatement. i think we've done a pretty good job for south carolina , at times playing the good cop/the bad cop but always trying to work together. what differences we've had have been sincere.
>> demint's decision means the conservative battle is like ly to be for his seat. by the way, as if haley does not have enough options, another palmetto state son threw his hat in the ring last night.
>> who will she pick? let's see, you want somebody young. somebody conservative. somebody from south carolina . maybe somebody who had a super p pac.
wait a second: that's right. he could have a lot of fun with this. lindsey graham up for re-election, this open senate seat and then nikki haley worried about their own primary challenges, this is quite the thr three-ring conservative circus. white house aides and john boehner 's staff have pretty much shut down public communication about the financial cliff talks. yesterday an embarrassing stunt by the senate republican leader mitch mcconnell on the floor of the senate . at boehner 's request senate leaders and representative nancy pelosi have been excluded from talks leaving it to boehner and obama to make a deal. though boehner spokesman michael steele tells us this morning if we're going to solve this problem every congressional leader and more importantly the white house have all important roles to play. the fact is we've heard this same thing. and that is that pelosi and the senate leaders are not in the room at first. they'll be brought in when boehner and the white house are close. mann while, back to the debt ceiling. the new republicans' main point of leverage n. a rare misstep, mcconnell may have taken some of that leverage away in a move that ended with mcconnell filibustering himself. the president doesn't have enough democratic support, mcconnell moved to vote to permanently give the president the rate to approve the debt ceiling. reid shocked mcconnell by calling the idea of having that vote a positive development. forcing him to reject a vote he had called for himself.
>> is there objection?
>> reserving the right to object, matters of this controversy -- what we're talking about here is a perpetual debt ceiling grant in effect for the president.
>> i guess we have a filibuster to his own bill so i object.
>> is there objection to the request?
>> objection observed. i have whiplash.
>> mcconnell was for a vote to grant power to hike the debt limit before he was against it. reid had the votes. that's why mcconnell did this. while democrats argued the failure of his stunt is proof the landscape of the debt and spending has changed, republicans remain dubious that reid actually had the votes but decided not to risk it. republicans tried to console themselves by arguing boehner is their chief negotiator and can ignore the mcconnell stunt. one more thing to report in the political theater vein. vice president biden will have lunch with a group of middle americans who can see their income taxes go up similar to the photo-op, the fiscal cliff photo-op of yesterday which was the president meeting with the middle class family. now to jobs. we have something of a surprise report. jobs turned out to be up up. the jobless rate is down and the word from the government is that sandy had no substantive effect on the data. here are the numbers. unemployment down to 7.7%. the economy added 146,000 jobs, not great but good. a third of that came from the retail sector. 53,000 jobs added. professional and business services up 43,000. leisure and hospitality up. construction, though, lost 20,000 jobs. we should note that jobs numbers were revise d downward, though, for september and october. in september it was revised from 148,000 gain to 238,000. went from 138,000 to 132,000. this month, the 7.7 is a full point lower than where we were at this time last year. so