The Daily Rundown | December 13, 2012
>>> the clock keeps ticking on the fiscal cliff talks, plenty of pessimism a deal can get done before christmas . we bring in our gaggle. alfonso agular. blanche, i want to start with you. do the jet fumes of national mean anything anymore? i was confident that a post-election lame duck would sort of make it a lot easier for a deal to be cut but i am -- i'm pretty pessimistic this morning.
>> well, i think they know, unfortunately, that there's probably a two-week cushion after the new year of some degree. but i also think that a lot of members got told that, you know, it doesn't look like anybody's going to work hard enough before christmas -- the christmas break so you're going to be here the week between christmas and new years. so there's a lot of scurrying going on up there.
>> and members, they're prepared to stay?
>> i think so.
>> if they're prepared to stay, the incentive to cut the deal -- you take away a big incentive and that sometimes is helpful in negotiations. it's not just the cliff, you throw in another aspect, which is you assume families say, guys, come home, please. i haven't seen you for two years.
>> i'm actually encouraged. for the past weeks they were debating this through the media. now they're finally talking face to face and while speaker boehner said they're still far apart, they're talking to each other. negotiations are ongoing. so i think this is great. i'm a little bit optimistic today. but it's just today.
>> i was where you were two days ago but, liz, it seems the way they traded proposals, what was fascinating about the whole kabuki theater , the republican leadership thousand the white house proposal was insulted. and the white house didn't know they were insulted. was like, wow, are you misreading this already? nobody wants to own the entitlement cuts. the president isn't going to be the, quote, brave one and neither does speaker boehner want to be the, quote, brave one on this.
>> to get home isn't the only pressure they're facing. compromise. republicans and democrats widely favor compromise. stalemate is a political loser pore both side for both sides. each side is going to have to give something up.
>> what if the republicans come to the conclusion that, yes, it's a loser but we're already in the hole, it's a bigger loser for the democrats and the president and we can just shut down his second term?
>> i don't think they can reach that conclusion. every poll shows republicans will be blamed so they have to get out of the hole. i think at some point some republicans are starting to accept some increase in tax rates . the question is what that increase would look like. perhaps they could come forward and say, well, let's increase the tax rates for millionaires, not for people making over 250. i don't know.
>> and the white house calculation is simply, blanche, that they don't want to negotiate with themselves. they're sitting there going no, no, no, you give on rates, say uncle on that and we'll talk about everything else. and boehner is saying i'm not saying uncle yet on that.
>> compromise has got to be a part of it for both of them in terms of image, in terms of results. there's no way that they can get to where they need to be without compromise.
>> do you think there's a point, though, that the president has to say they're not going to be grownups so i have to do it, or either side says it about the other. boehner says it for the uncle, he won't say it so fine, here are my entitlement cuts?
>> i think the meetings that you're seeing, it's very promising. i know they say to the press often times but they're still meeting and their staffs are still meeting and that's really critical.
>> i also had a pessimist say to me we're always going to say we're meeting because we're not going to have the blame game of who ended talks first.
>> both sides are doing the same thing. they're sides are doing the sale thing. they're saying one thing in public to, you know, put pressure on the other but frankly, we don't know what they're saying in private. we really don't. there are five people that that room making decisions, discussions.
>> i think it's less than that.
>> all right. but the point being, each of them are playing on two different tracks, right? they're playing the public game because they have to for the external politics for their base but they still are, from what i'm told, trying to reach --
>> i know, it's not as good in private as we think, guys. that's where i got depressed over the last