The Daily Rundown | February 26, 2013
>>> another day closer to sequester, another day of public posturing and what appeared to be no serious attempts to stop the sequester or even meetings between the white house and congressional republicans to pretend that they might think about stopping the sequester. the only thing different today is the address, that's newport news, virginia , where the president takes his pr campaign to the docks.
>> we'll all be in the tide water region of virginia where workers will sit idle when they should be repairing ships and a carrier sits idle when it should be deploying to the persian gulf .
>> the president will take a tour and make reports. virginia 's largest industrial employer. according to the white house , highlight the devastating impact that the sequester will have on jobs and middle class family physical congressional families fail to compromise. virginia , a state that could be among the hardest hit by the spending cuts, of course, home for the number two house republican eric cantor . canter's message yesterday was the president is making too much of the sequester and, oh, yeah, when it comes to virginia , it might be really bad.
>> we heard the president say last week that he was going to be forced because of the se sekeseration to let criminals loose on the street. the president is off campaigning in my my state, newport news, virginia . we are concerned about the comm commonwealth, as we are on all states.
>> the president will have a surprise guest with him today. scott ridgeual. a former car dealer whose road district stands to be hurt by the pentagon furloughs. the first republican to travel on air force one since may. virginia 's republican devastating cuts telling the president and congress it's time to fix it now. mcdonnell will join us later this house.
>>> the white house admitted monday no talks or phone calls scheduled this week between the president and congressional leaders. instead yesterday for the second thyme in a row the white house press briefing featured a cabinet secretary issuing dire sequester warnings.
>> i don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester as without sequester. if you have 5,000 fewer border patrol agents, you have 5,000 fewer border patrol agents.
>> also almost gleefully confirmed that therer with no meetings that were going to happen. mcconnell's spokesman said, no, there is no active negotiation from the white house . that would get in the way of the president's campaigning. there is fingerpointing, a ton of it.
>> the only republicans in the entire country rejecting a balanced compromise are republicans in this building.
>> hope springs eternal. the president can sit down with harry reid tonight and work with senate democrats who have the majority in the senate to move a bill.
>> at some point, we've got to do some governing.
>> there are are two potential sort of last-minute solutions to the sequester that neither sides want to unite around. the final white house offer to boehner on the grand bargain included nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts over ten years. could it be as a good-will gesture the white house offers one year of those cuts, which come out to $90 billion as a replacement to the sequester this year? then there's the plan senate republicans could offer this week, they haven't decided if they're going to this week that gives the white house flexibility on how to cut spending, but even republicans aren't united on that one.
>> here's what i don't understand. we're the party of physical conservati conservatism. have we put a plan together to cut $85 billion between march and october? no. we will criticize everything he does. say, mr. president, it is now up to you to find this $85 billion in savings and we'll say to make it easier for you, but every decision he'll make we'll criticize.
>> lindsay gram, a little straight talk there admitting that strategy. the blame game leaves folks at the ship yard where the president is going to today fed up with all of washington and outsiders, aka, the republican governors, are enjoying the idea of having washington be their political punching bag.
>> i could not be more frustrated than i am right now. how many more times are the governors going to have to pick up the mess of washington , d.c.? i would challenge the president and congress and leadership in congress to sit at a table and quit talking through the media.
>> we're not speaking on behalf of republicans on the hill but republican governors. the contrast is, we're providing leadership. that's what they need to do here in washington .
>> there's a reason it's harder and harder, though, to make deals in congress, particularly the senate . the body that was supposed to break through the shirts and skins mentality of american politics is becoming more and more polarized. the polarization isn't new, but it's becoming more entrenched. national journal does these vote ratings and gold standard since they began in 1982 , sort of creating an ideological spectrum here. they confirm what was an anomaly just three years ago is now the norm. for the third year in a row, not a single senator who is an ideological crossover. in other words, no republican member of the senate had a more liberal record than any democrat and no democratic senator had a more conservative record than any republican. for decades, there always was a couple on each side, but as national journm frames it, what had only happened one time in history before 2010 is now nearly as unremarkable in the senate as naming a post office . the most conservative member of the senate , according to " national journal " someone you may not have heard of. idaho's james reich. he is joined by john corn nn, jim demint , pat toomey and ron johnson . joined by udall, ron wyden and al franken , dick durbin and patty murray . so are two of the most conservative members of the caucus. the threat of primaries in 2014 moved several republicans to the right in 2012 . 2011 lindsey graham was the senate 's 42nd most conservative member, basically one of the most moderate and john cornyn the 14th. gram leapfrogged to 42 and cornyn to 3. flagging the rankings for journalists who have written or continue to write that senator ted cruz is pushing cornyn to the right. not just republicans who are more conservative last year than the year before. north carolina kay hagan , one of the handful of red state democrats who could be in danger in 2014 . she jumped from 69th to the 52nd most conservative in 2012 .
>>> the senate odd couples are breaking up. ron johnson the 5th more conservative . and a breakup of long-time odd couple harkin and grassley innide waw and in south dakota rumors that tim johnconson could head for the exits breaking up that pairing with john thune . if it's tuesday, somebody is voting somewhere. today that is chicago. to fill jesse jackson jr .'s seat. 18 active candidates, 15 democrats on the ballot. whichever democrat wins today is all but certain to win the april 9th special election . comes down to a three-way race debb debbie halvorson , robin kelly and anthony beale . one issue on the ballot, guns. michael bloomberg poured $2 million into the race to boost kelly and knock halvorson blanketing the airwaves with tv ads.
>> gun violence is out of control. debbie halvorson will make it worse. she received an a plus rating from the nra. debbie halvorson 's record more guns in the hands of criminals. she will join on president obama to take on the nra for effective background checks and ban deadly assault weapons.
>> the group sent out mailers like these leaving halvorson unmatched.
>> this is what is wrong with super pacs. somebody can come in and spend all the money they want. in this case, one person. $1 billion from new york coming and spending all the money he wants to buy a congressional seat. it's like intimidation.
>> that is what has happened here. totally changed the dynamics of this race. easy place for bloomberg to make his point. if you want to bring attention to the gun issue and flex some muscle, chicago isn't a bad place to try it. see if he can do it in a swing district say in colorado and still he will be gloating on this one polls close at 7:00 p.m . local time .
>>> we have bob mcdonnell here in our studio and we're talking about cuts and consequences.
>>> plus, why is the republican vying to replace mcdonnell as governor coming out against his big transportation compromise. rocky road for virginia republicans .
>>> plus, just released details about what will happen once pope benedict xvi retires later this week. including how he will now be addressed and what happens to his trademark red shoes .
>>> but, first, a look ahead at today's politics planner. you know where the president is, but some other big news. senate vote on chuck hagel . speaker boehner has a big meaner today, speech that he's giving. we'll hear from him. john mccain and lindsey graham go to the white house to talk immigration. looking for