The Daily Rundown | December 12, 2012
>> get right to my first read of the morning. one step forward , two steps back. that's probably the best way to describe the fiscal talks between president obama and house speaker john boehner . with christmas less than two weeks away, the white house is faced with the same key question. can boehner deliver the votes for whatever deal they agree on?
>> i remain optimistic and i'm pretty confident that republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to try to protect tax cuts for high income individuals.
>> but with time running out, neither side seems to have budged very far from the original proposal. the only good news about what happened in the past 24 hours , they are not publicly trashing each other's proposals. on monday the white house sent boehner a counteroffer which at beast can be incremental movement. almost on the details of the offer are under wraps. the $1.6 trillion in tax revenue the president was demanding can come down to slightly under 1.4 trillion. it's still $600 billion higher than the republican position. in a signal to the president in his conference, basically said the president's counteroffer was uncut.
>> where are the president's spending cuts? the longer the white house slow walks this process, the slowser our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.
>> that slow walk comment specifically was in response to that counteroffer. here's what the white house press secretary responded to boehner .
>> it's not a mystery. we have seen this before. this is the document that contains the specific spending cuts. the speaker of the house sent us a proposal that was two pages long.
>> yesterday afternoon after all of that back and forth, republicans delivered a formal counteroffer. it was virtually identical to the proposal the president rejected a week ago, but with more detail. the congressional liaison met with boehner 's top aide and last night he called boehner himself all to make sure they didn't start trashing each other's proposal. the white house is on the cautiously optimistic side. the house republicans are on the cautiously pessimistic side. they will get a deal and boehner 's strong statement on the house floor was for effect for his own problem. they didn't want to make major concessions or counteroffers until boehner admits publicly that the tax rates are going up. this is a little bit of a game of chicken. so far that has not happened. mitch mcconnell seemed to acknowledge when it comes to rates, the president holds all the cards.
>> what are the president is trying to achieve on the top two tax rates , he can do another. the law is certainly stacked in his favor.
>> interesting way mcconnell worded that. both mcconnell and harry reid acknowledge if a deal is going to get done, they have to put together the pieces of the framework very soon.
>> this is the week we are going to find out whether the president is serious about cutting any spending at all. we are running out of time .
>> until we hear from the republicans, there is nothing to draft. we can get things done quickly. i think it's going to be extremely difficult to get it done before christmas , but it could be done.
>> we shall see. sunday is basically the deadline, if you will, unofficially if they want to get something done before christmas . moving on to the labor fight in michigan , over 12,000 union workers and supporters rallied yesterday. look at the pictures. protesting the so-called right to work law that will make it illegal to require an employee to pay union dues as a condition of their employment. it was not enough to stop the legislation that rick snyder signed into law. despite the long history, the state is controlled by a republican-dominated house and senate.
>> there 58 aye votes and 52 nay votes.
>> therefore the bill is passed.
>> michigan becomes the nation's 24th right to work state which schneider said opponents will have to get used to.
>> worker choice is important and this will lead to more and better jobs. the bill signed and they can finish up and they can go home.
>> michigan has the fifth highest percentage of unionized workers at 17%, its history is well-known. it's a blue state that obama won by points last month. they lost these fights just about everywhere else. democrats in right to work states have moved on. democrats in the state legislature have threatened further action.
>> good ideas get debate and bad ones get rammed through with police protection in a legislature. i will say this. this fight is not over.
>> it's unclear exactly what democrats and labor can do. critics say it could overturn the law that would require getting 258,000 signatures on the ballot. labor may be looking at 2014 for retribution.
>> we are reawakening and going to build a powerful movement. make it crystal clear that schneider can't get away with this.
>> this is the first round of a battle that will divide the state. we will have a civil war in this state.
>> there you heard it. think about it this way. labor is likely to make schneider a big 2014 target. the mid-western republican governors are aiming to take down john casic and scott walker and of course schneider throws in florida's rick scott although florida has been a right to work state for a long time. in a statement, we consider 2014 to be absolutely crucial. if you wanted to somewhat arbitrarily say which region will see the most action, it's going to be in the midwest. schneider responded to that threat.
>> i am prepared and it's unfortunate that people are using the term retribution. there were comments made that i didn't think appropriate in terms of violence. again, this is not about someone against someone else .
>> the irony to all this. when you go back to the michigan republican primary in 2010 , it was democrats. rick snyder appealing to moderate democrats that got him over the finish line . michigan is an open primary state and he was able to beat back more conservative opponents and now he is in the cross hairs of the democratic party and those who were skeptical in 2010 will fully embrace it. in a diplomatic shift, the u.s. will recognize the syrian council. president obama announced the move in an interview with barbara walters .
>> we made a decision that the syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the syrian people in opposition to the assad regime.
>> it is designed to put further pressure on the president to step down. the international community is condemning north korea 's launch of a long range rocket this morning. the question is, is this of north korea 's games? this is our man at the pentagon. mick, so many times when it comes to north korea , they do these things and i said it's not the fourth of july and noting this and christmas . usually they wait to a holiday. this one seems more serious.
>> it is. the u.s. military and intelligence officials actually expected the launch to occur december 17th which would be the one-year anniversary of the death of kim jung il , the father of the current leader kim jung un. not only were they taken by surprise and shocked like the rest of the world , when they called me and gave me the news, they said you won't believe this. it looks like they actually put something into orbit. this rocket is a three-stage ballistic missile actually that was launched from the west coast of korea and this time unlike for previous launches which were total disasters, it worked perfectly. each stage dropped off when it should. the object, whatever it was, whether it was a satellite that north koreans claim, whatever it was separated from the nose cone and went into space. military officials are saying it may take a day or two to determine whether it went into orbit or went into space. that's really immaterial. it's a huge symbolic victory in the short-term for kim jung un.
>> when it comes to who is helping them, there is mixed reports. the assumption is china does, but did iran?
>> there is all sorts of speculation of who is helping who. north korea has been a big proliferator, but they haven't been successful in producing their own long range rocket. let's make no mistake for officials who said this had nothing to do with launching a weather satellite . they consider this a test of a long range ballistic missile that would ultimately have the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead to the west coast of the united states . u.s. sources tell us that north korea is sitting on dozens and dozens of nuclear weapons . the big question is, have they been able to miniaturize them to fit on a rocket yet. that is still unclear.
>> thank you, sir. next, how democrats are trying to pressure republicans by a little politics in the fiscal cliff talks. check this out.
>> i think ultimately the federal government shall set forth a uniform pattern of registration in voting so that no citizen will have a problem at this point.
>> we are opening up the nbc archives as "meet the press" celebrates 65 years of history-making interviews. coming up next. first a look at the president's schedule. it's another one of these quiet days. no fiscal cliff photo opes today. the fewer supposedly the better news when it comes to the republicans and the president cutting a deal. we will see if they are right. you are watching t"the daily rundown" only on msnbc. [