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tv   American Politics  CSPAN  November 29, 2009 9:30pm-11:00pm EST

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>> thank you, mr. speaker. whatever individual positions or afghanistan, it is very important there is clarity regarding the mission. the prime minister has said that we are in afghanistan to protect british people against terrorism, and yet almost in the same breath threatens to pull out of the country if president karzai can't clean up his corrupt government. these are contradictory messages that are sending out mixed signals. can the prime minister now square that circle? >> we are in the country because of the threat to britain, a threat that has been seen over eight years as a result of projected and actual terrorist offenses in our country, three quarters of which come from afghanistan and pakistan, and mainly the borders of pakistan. that is why we are there, to protect the streets of britain. i was asked to ask of president karzai to give us assurances about how in his second term he would tackle crungs.
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he has now announced an anti-horsepower corruption task force. i gather 12 people have been arrested. at the same time i have asked him to appoint district and regional governor ors. and he has -- governors, and he has agreed to do so. the test i have said for president karzai he has met by speeches, and now we have so see them being met in the delivery. next week, we will see the american government and the rest of nato coming to go in a strategy, so that we can create the space for a political solution in afghanistan that our streets will be safer. it is as clear as. that >> the prime minister will be aware of the warning by the top cop of the dangers -- the police commissioners. can the prime minister tell the house whether this labor
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government will ever allow the police to be politicized as the conservatives have promised. >> mr. speaker, the operational independence of chief police officers is, has been and should continue to be an important constitutional principle. it must be clear that chief officers alone are responsible for running their force. i believe that the leader of the opposition should immediately withdraw his proposal should would mean the politicalization of the chiefs. >> when in mar you tossed out my private members bill -- [inaudible] >> he said the government recognized this discrimination should end. can the prime minister confirm that he is ready to have the
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commonwealth type governments, and he is confident we can sort this out? >> mr. speaker, the act of succession is outdated. most people recognize the need for change. change can only be brought about by not just the united kingdom, but all the realms where her majesty is queen, making a decision to change. that is why it is important to discuss this with all members of the commonwealth, including countries such as australia and canada. and that is the process which will be undertaken in due course. >> thank you, mr. speaker. is my right honorable friend aware of the growing evidence existing that as a result of the recession, women are doing more of the bread-winning and men more of the caring? what further measures will his government take to support the flexible working arningse
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needed for -- arrangements needed by today's families? >> i think the people in this country have to make a choice. do we want to help families and help children through these difficult times, or do we want to cut inheritance tax for the wealtiest people in this -- wealthiest people in this country. i think i know what choice the people in this country are going to make. >> each week the house of commons is in session, we air "prime minister's questions" live on c-span 2 wednesday as at 7:00 a.m. eastern and then again on sunday night's at 9:00 eastern and pacific. >> on tuesday, president obama will address the nation,
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outlining his afghanistan strategy. we will have coverage of his speech from the u.s. military academy at west point tuesday night at 8:00 eastern live on the c-span networks. >> coming up, political strategists talk about the obama presidency and the 2010 and 2012 elections. and then it is "q & a" with naomi klein. and following that, another chance to see "prime minister's questions" with british prime minister, gordon brown. now a group of political strategists discuss the obama presidency. three republicans and three democrats took part in this discussion. from tulane university in new
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orleans, this is just over 1:10. >> before i speak, i always like to give everybody a little insight into new orleans and what is going on here. for this particular piece of insighing, i give credit to julia read -- reed, who came up with this quote. she is quoting someone writing about new orleans to friends and family in 1877. he said times are not good here. the city is crumbled in arcs. it it is buried under a flood of fraud. it's condition is so boo'd that when i write about it, as i
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intend to do soon, nobody will believe that i am telling the truth. but it is better to live here in a sack cloth and ashes than to own the entire state of ohio. [laughter] >> ply apologies to ohio, but mr. hearn sums up the resilience of the people of new orleans. they say we are not going anywhere. they are kind of stuck here. i turn it over to the panel, but i have to say a few words about charlie. charlie is a native of shreveport, louisiana, and one of the real treasures that louisiana has. it sounds redundant to the people from washington, but people here and maybe listening on c-span, he is the authority in the world on elections, and particularly congressional elections.
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he has been doing it longer than anybody. he is not only respected in the political community, his integrity is unquestioned, and he is genuinely one of the best people that we have in our community. we are proud that charlie is a proud son of our state. we relish in his successes. i hope that his prediction that we get wiped out in 2010 proves long, but i have to tell you, he has a history of being right over a long period of time. i am going to turn it over to my dear friend, charlie, and ask him to introduce -- and it is going to be difficult, because it is a distinguished panel we have here. i am going to introduce my boy. this is always a good thing, forget your boss. that's it. [laughter] >> i am on the faculty at tulane, and the provost, who is
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a really big deal is going to come up and say a few wors. i apologize, dr. better than stein, and please don't cut my pay. [laughter] >> thank you and good morning. >> let me welcome all of you to this second day of discussions on bipartisanship. it has been a real pleasure working with the bipartisan policy jr. in facilitating your visit here with us. we have been looking forward to having you, and now we are more excited that you're here. let me just take a moment to say a few words about students. now we don't see a lot of students in the room this
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morning. you understand that before noon , students really aren't around very much. but they come out as the sun gets higher in the sky. so we will see more of them later. i want to say a word about our students at tulane because i think their actions speak directly to some of the themes of this gathering. we used to hear a lot when he looked at college generations, we heard a lot about the me generation, and there was a lot of analysis and critique of the selfishness of young adults in american society. what we are witnessing here at tulane and actually at universities and colleges across the country is not the me generation any more. it's the we generation. these are a remarkable group of young people who are committed and interested in public service, community engagement and social progress. i don't care what labels you use for it, it is all about being present and engagement
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with others for social benefit. the president of the university spoke with you yesterday. tulane lass been a key part of recovery and renewal here in new orleans in the wake of katrina. but it is our students who have been the muscle that have recovery effort. they are engaged with the community. they use their studies and their learning to support a variety of activities in the community at large. we are very proud of them, but we also think that their actions speak to the very principles and ideals that this conference and this gathering are all about. one final comment in that regard just to press the point home about our students, last year we had 40,000 undergraduate applications here at tulane. out of that 40,000 applications, we put out about 9,000 or 9,500 offers of admission, and from those offers we generated a first-year class of 1,500
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students. we have never had anything close to 40,000 applications before katrina. the highest before katrina was about 15,000 applications. so this says something about this generation. i of course like to think they are drawn to tulane because of me, but obviously that is not the case. it is because of what we are doing here. they are interested in being part of this recovery and of this community. we are very proud of them. as i say, i think they, in their pursuit of the we, they uphold the very principles and ideals that you're talking about and exploring here today and tomorrow. i wish you all the best. again, welcome and enjoy the conference. [applause] >> good morning, thanks for being here. i am with the bipartisan policy center. i bring you greetings from athens, ohio. i know you have been there. it is my pleasure to interior
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charlie cook. the bipartisan policy center was founded by four former senate majority leaders on the theory that people of good will, partisans on both sides, can come together, work through issues and come up with solutions to pressing challenges that we face today and will face in the future. they did it as leaders of the senate. they are helping us do it now at the bipartisan policy center, where we run projects on energy and climate, health care, transportation, national security, homeland security, on the principle that if we bring people from a diverse array of viewpoints together, provide them with the best research and analysis, a forum to discuss the pros and cons of issues, and achieve principled bipartisan compromise, that we can help congress and the administration to do their job better. now in order to get those part
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sons to sit down at the table, we need to elect them in the first place. i was talking to charlie cook last night, like a lot of folks my ange in washington, d.c., i owe my career to him. as a young pack manager back in the 80's and 90's, there weren't a lot of resources to help us make decisions about races around the country, and the cook report was the best tool we had available. that was the highlight of my career. if charlie was a book, he would have some bushes on his back from people like the "new york times". one of the best political handicappers in the nation, a news leert that both party regard as authoritative. bob schaefer, cbs news, the bible of the political community. the "washington post," programs the best non-partisan tracker
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of races. and the pataki so where that ought to be. >> i am going through my blue period now, or not. >> exactly. we have been looking forward to this throughout the two days of this conference. please put your hands together for charlie cook and his panel of experts. >> i'm actually going to go over here even though the format lends itself to being over there. the reason is i think i do a better job standing rather than seated. my wife says that standing maximizes the distance between my head and my butt. thank you for those kind words. i don't know what to think. but i think the center is doing such important work. i'm sure that from the history of mankind or as long as there has been politics or any other kind of institutions, people have felt like things used to
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be better back in the old days, and it has probably always been like that. i can say that having come to washington in 1972, started working in 1973 as an elevator operate dwror in the senate office buildings, and interning in 1973, 1974 and 1975, and going up there as a staffer in 1977, things have changed a lot. it is not what it ought to be and what the american people deserve. i think the center is going to be doing some great things, and hopefully we can nudge it back to where it ought to be as opposed to where it has been. i am very excited about the conference, and this panel is just awesome. i wish i had a hand in it, but i didn't. it looks a lot like what i would have done. what i'm going to do is run through just a brief about each of the folks, and then i'm going to sit down and start throwing some ochoa-ended
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questions out and then -- open-ended questions out. what is better than being a press secretary to the speaker of the house? there is tony blankly. i tell you what speaks to me more than anything else. as a kid in the early 1960's my favorite tv show was sky king. remember the guy with the cessna? well, this guy actually appeared as a child actor. tony blankly was in an episode of sky king, which i think is the most awesome thing on the planet. working for president reagan and for knute, that is pretty good. alex is a great story. born in havana, cuba, moving to north carolina, getting a start in american politics, probably worked with charlie black way back in the day.
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he formed -- he is known as the father of of the attack add. some of you think it is disparaging, but i had a consult anlt one time tell me that i sleep better at night knowing my clients are going negative. it is a central part, but really one of the most talented guys around. he was a central figure in the mccain campaign and the romney campaign. he coined the phrase soccer man. i don't know what a nascar dad was. to me, that was a base voter, not a swing voter. but you had soccer mom. i know that because i am married to one. a prisk consultant. stan is probably not happy with me right now because i spent three years beating the heck out of republicans in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and i have
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switched and now are beating the heck out of democrats. stan is one of the finest pollsters in america today, certainly one of the finest pollsters in the democratic party. he puts out some of the most terrific survey research anybody could ever see. and for us in the outside to see the very finest quality survey and research. for tax reasons, you have to put it all out there pretty much. so you are looking over the shoulder of some of the best political minds in the business. i guess if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. they started a republican polling think tank that started just like that. you can talk about the world leaders that stan has polled for. he was on the polling team -- or headed up the polling team that elected bill clinton to the presidency. just a terrifically talented guy.
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bill, if you were going to describe on the republican polling side -- let's say nordstroms and blooming detail -- bloomingdale's put together. whenever i call kneel, or glen or any of the partners over there, i know i am getting the straight scoop. they see so much data that we are going to see something before almost anybody else because they are polling so many places. just fabulous work. and newly married. so congratulations, bill. i can't tell my jokes any more. your former wife was terrific. don't say anything bad about her. i have known c.c. longer than i have known you. [laughter] >> i forgot this was on c-span.
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next is steve mcmahon. steve and i go back. it was way back in his infancy. he was a center figure in the dean campaign, the kennedy- again heart, and a terrific pollster and analyst. he actually teamed up with alex for purple strategy, sort of marrying together some of the best minds in the democrat and republican parties to work on non-partisan efforts. steve is an enormously talented guy and has worked campaigns in venezuela, nicaragua, greece and all over the police. >> if you have been around washington for a long time, you have known joe trippe for years and years.
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but the howard dean campaign was where he became a known figure. he is just an enormously talented guy. again, the author of the revolution will not be televised, democracy, the internet and everything overthrown. but joe is talented. we have a terrific panel. what i thought i would do is sort of throw it out one by one in a you nutshell, our topic is supposed to be looking forward to 2010-2012, and i don't want to entire fear in this too much, and so i will jump in at the tail end. let's just go down -- well, let's go in reverse order. let's start with joe -- i tell you what, let me spend one minute -- no, i'm not going to do that. >> do it, do it. >> ok. let me frame it for a second. we will start with tony and work our way down the aisle.
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the thing is, when you are looking at a midterm election, the party holding the white house almost always gets hammered. the normally is 16 seats in the house, usually a wash in the senate. about a six-seat loss in the governorships. that is absolutely normal. then you say what about the circumstances. then the greater exposure you have, the more seats up. then the more at risk you are. democrats, having picked up 54 seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections, obviously they go into this exposed. overexposed i should say with what, 48 democrats sitting in seats that were carried by john mccain, obviously there is exposure here. then you look at circumstances, and you look at party identification. democrats came off such a high after the 2008 election with a
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17-point advantage in party identification. now in the use the gallup figures, it has come down a good bit. i think it was six points for the third quarter, five points for september, and a little higher in october. but the party identification edge has waned. democrats had double-digit leads in so many polls during 2006, 2007 and 2008, now it is down into single digits in most of the polling we are seeing. most of the polls don't do likely voters, don't do registered voters, although stan's does, and so it overstates democrats by a couple of points. things have gotten tough. the final thing is the economy. friday, unemployment ticketed over 10% to 10.2%. this is the first time unemployment has been at that point since 1983, and only once in the post war era has the unemployment rate been in
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double-digits, and that was the numbers that came out in october of 1982. it looks like, and whether you look at the more optimistic or pessimistic projections of g.d.p., it looks like we are going to be seeing an unemployment rate of over 10% for 12 consecutive months. so this is an enormously challenging time, and obviously democrats are taking on some tough issues. what the question is, do the problems republicans have in terms of the damage to their brand over the last eight years, does that damage put a cap or a ceiling on how much they can capitalize on all these problems democrats have? there are some brand problems, and there are some demographic problems. there are some real challenges that the republican party is facing. and so we've got sort of two forces at work. all these forces that are pushing towards democrats having a very tough election, but at the same time very clear differences from where it was when tony, and knute beginning
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-- newt gingrich, and the republicans taking over in 1984. they had a clear leader, a clear positive messages, and they didn't have quite the demographic issues that republicans have side. it is sort of two big force it is at work over there, and the question is which one is more dominant. let's go down the line and everybody sort of say real quick what you see happening or how you see it, what do you think is important? and then we are going to bring everybody in. so thank you very much. [applause] >> let me start with a couple of general observations. i think that isaac newton's theory of motion comes into place in politics. for every action, there is an
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equal and opposite reaction. it strikes me that the agenda that the president and his party have pushed into the american public's mind now is, from i think a lots of american's points of view, a radical or a bold one, and i think there is a reaction to that. i don't know how it plays out, how that river breaks into tributaries, whether it gets dammed by things. but i think we have qullsive forces, great volatility of public mood, fear, anger, hope in some elements still on the other side, and there is room for a tremendously dramatic both election in 2010 and in 2012. i've always thought that the best chance that any opposition party has is the worst the governing party does. if the governing party does
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well, you can be clever and not accomplish a lot. i think, just briefly, comparing this to 1994, when we republicans took over the house and the senate, i think times were less qullsive, but the republican -- con vullsive. we had a doctrine we were working off of. we knew what we stood for. that doesn't exist. the represent party is a mess right now. but i think the forces are strongly potentially with us. >> well, i am a structuralist. i think the structure is clear. i look at the michigan and sunder index. we have huge historic data.
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there have been only three times in history where we drop below 65 on their scale. this is the fourth time. i went back and said ok if there were only three or times, how long did it take for consumer confidence to recover to get to the mid 80's. the answer to that question was two to four years. we are at 20 months, and we have just hit double-digit unemployment. we are in a four-year window. this is a very difficult cycle in terms of what it means for democrats. my other point about gravity. for the first time last month, the track went up again to over 50% in the nbc-"wall street journal" tracking that went up. so wronging wrong track go up
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with this kind of unemployment is the second structural problem for the democrats. the third is, as i like to say, -- quoting myself, what i say is between polling and punditry, things break out. what i mean by that is the democrats spent a fortune trying to get surge voters that voted for obama back to the polls. they shifted in an important way, which i think has real consequence for the democrats. the intensity for the republican side is through the roof. i don't want to say too much at the beginning. but as you look at it, you look at the consumer confidence, look at the length of recovery, look at wrong track going up, you look at midterms for the
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signal and the composition of the electorate, all of those things point to a a very, very difficult cycle for democrats in 2010. then my last caution is there isn't much about the republican party that is broken and needs to be fixed, and none of these forces are fixing our party for the 2012 election. just like 82 was awful and led to a huge reagan victory, nothing about 2010 is a predictor for 2012 because the president still has a lot of structural advantages. . .
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and thing the midterm elections are going to be a brake pedal
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election, we mentioned yesterday where people will be empowered not by rubberstamping what's going on but the only powerful thing that a voter can do is stand up and say slow down, stop, think, i'd like a more thoughtful approach, and interestingly a more thoughtful approach from a very thoughtful president. and so i think republicans, if we don't fix the brand problems we'll pick up under 30 seats in the house, but if we do fix brand problems and some of us think there's hope and a possibility, i think that it could be over 40. so -- and i think that in that sense, but one thing that we didn't talk about yesterday, why didn't young voters show up at the polls for barack obama, for the democrats this year, in last tuesday's election? lots of theories about that, for sure, and one is that barack obama wasn't on the balspot and they'll come after him but not for democrats without him, i'm not so sure that's the case
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because in my experience elections are not about candidates, they're about voters and voters havq this conceit, gee, we kind of think it's about us. and one of the things that obama did was empower a new generation of voters by telling them you're the change we've been waiting for, this is in your hands and you can change things, change starts from the bottom up which is a wonderful narrative it a campaign where people can get out and participate and then he got elected and the narrative turned on its head and now, by the way, the economy is really screwed and there's nothing that you can do about it, you're the victims of fate, thank heaven we're here in washington and it's this incredibly smart group of people and we'll solve all your problems. all of a sudden it's young people and voters are victim, and unless that narrative is reversed, the democrats, whether in 2010 or 2012, won't see that big flood, certainly, will see more in 2012 with yowngs
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voters -- young voters, won't see that reversal >> let me respond not as a partisan. and agree with most of what has been said even in the setup to the discussion. democrats are going to lose seats. it is impossible to not lose seats in this kind of election. we agree that there are big things going on in respect to the two parties. whatever happens in 2010 is not a prediction of 2012. it could be the opposite. i think i agree with almost all of what has been said. i would accept the point on engagement in the election.
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when you look at the polls, who is engaged and who is interested has an incredible impact on who takes an interview. who will go through a 25 minute survey. when you look at the change after conventions, there are more people supporting one of the candidates. it is not because one in 10 have switched their minds. democrats are more interested after their convention and republicans are more interested after their convention. eventually, it settles out. it correlates with what happens in elections. engagement matters. the intensity of opposition -- the unity of conservative republicans against barack obama, the fact that two-thirds or three-quarters of republicans
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are conservative, they fear that obama is a threat to the republic produces an intensity and high turnout. they will produce high turnout of republican conservatives for the 2010 elections. it is reflected in the polls. the issue will be will democrats be engaged when they get to the end of this election. there is a lot that happens. as congress passed legislation? is the congress perceive to be making progress on issues that they were elected on? is there progress on the economy? is it moving in the right direction? >you look at some of the past of years. if you look at 1998, when we had the battle over impeachment. it was a surprise election. democrats were expected to lose.
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for sure they were going to lose. conservatives were upset with president clinton's behavior. it was a reaction against the overreach of the impeachment. democrats became mobilized at the end. democrats barely lost any seats. when we look at the intensity of the conservative republicans, the nature of that divisive politics, do we get a reaction at the end where democrats defend the change they brought? i do not think we know. polls show 20 seats right now. i will leave the discussion to where we think it goes. when we polled in the battleground district's leading into 2006 and 2008, each time we showed in our polls we have 26
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seats and they picked it up in two stages. it was a great surprise to us. picking up 30 seats. it looks like you can get half back. i do not see anything that says you can do this in one shot. >> i do not know of anyone said be careful what you wish for. i will star there. democrats for a long time have wished for large majorities and the way you get there is by creating a big tent. that is big enough to accommodate different democrats. one of the challenges they face now and the estimates of where the seat count is, if the election were held to their -- today are about right. it is consistent. the big dilemma in my opinion is, do you look at the elections from last tuesday where independents -- in the
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elections in new jersey and virginia, they went for republicans. as a consultant, that is the canary in the coal mine. you are looking at that and say, we won independents and it generated a big majority. we have a canary in the coal mine situation if you look at these exit returns. another canary is the base. there were great hopes and great aspirations placed in president obama by people who were voting for somebody who represented an ideal. more than they were voting for a set of policy prescriptions. in the progressive community especially, the expectations were so high and in many respects, they remained high through this health care reform debate. you have problems with the base that you saw tuesday.
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young people and african- americans not showing up. you have on the health care reform bill that was passed, there is a revolt among progressives because of the stupak amendment on abortion. >> there is a sense of displeasure in the progressive community because they think they are being [unintelligible] on the public option. i came to washington 25 years ago to work for ted kennedy. he talked about health care all the time. he mostly talked about expanding insurance and providing health care to every american. he did not talk about the public option but that is the focal point of debate. republicans have let democrats fight among themselves.
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and the republicans are watching and progressives are staying home. independents if those things don't change it could be a very, very long evening in two years and i feel that it's filled with operatives who are good to sit in the white house and they're aware of this and they're planning for it. and what you'll see is after health care reform they'll focus on getting those independents back in the fold which they need to do to hold majorities and i think that, you know, the interesting thing is going to be whether or not the progressive community which has been disappointed, continues to be disappointed and actually there's nobody who can speak to that and knows that community better than joe. or whether they kind of fall in line and recognize that progress is better than no progress, democrats and a democratic majority is better than a
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republican majority. but they may not. and, joe, i don't know, if you want to address that, but i'd love to hear what you think. >> well, i think that the next two elections are likely to be the most disruptive for both parties that i've seen since i've been doing this, since this 1970s. i think that looking historically, looking back historically, may not matter this time and i don't -- you know, everybody says that, every two years this one isn't going to be how history has shown it in the past but i think that this is that time. for a lot of different reasons, the panels already talked about and i agree with what steve said but here's how i think this thing will play out. i think that you're going to see the intensity on the democratic side and it's going to show up in primaries. i think for the first time the party committees are not going to have the control that they
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have had historically, you're starting, you know, in pennsylvania against arlen specter, it's not a special case where there's a primary opponent to an incumbent. i think that this is going -- the progressive community right now is out looking for candidates to run against people who voted against the democrats who voted against health care. so you're seeing on the progressive side, i think you're going to see primaries against incumbents who voted -- who they believe voted the wrong way. i think that you're going to see them really intensely fight in that primary, give money, show up, work it, and by the way, this exact same thing is happening on the republican side and we saw that in new york and the way that played out with hoffman running as conservative and losing, again, in some
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instance because of that fight. had there been just a unified candidate on the right it would have -- owens would not be a member of congress right now in that district likely. so you're going to have, i think, these massive fights in primaries on both sides and the question is what emerges. do the republicans -- it base is 1to win their primaries so what comes out of this is the more progressive liberal candidates and the democratic side win out in these primaries and that coalition is energized because they've gotten out the bad wood and gotten involved and now the same thing happens on the republican side we'll have general elections that are just -- i mean, just sitting there and going -- and people voting, looking at the two
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parties and asking, what's going on here. which i think that the other thing that i think we'll see is a lot of independent candidates and other things are going to emerge and it's just -- there's too many people connected who have enough power and will get behind joe and help him take out arlen specter and vice versa and that's going to happen on both sides and i think that it's disruptive and both parties will be shocked by what happens. and because of this stan could be closer to the right number for a whole bunch of reasons and it could be 15 and the reason it's 15 is because some republican incumbent goes out the window that we didn't think were going out and this could be a very anti-incumbent and certainly democrats will be hurt because we're more incumbent and some republican incumbents will go out the door too and maybe mitigate the number in a way we're not expecting number in a way we
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are not expecting. >> we have heard from three of the brightest minds in the republican party and three of the most brilliant people in the democratic party giving their assessments of 2010. we have seven minutes before we are supposed to throw out to the audience. let me ask two different questions. for the republicans, if you were standing up in front of house republican conference, or the senate republican conference, the doors close. no press. what advice would you give them? for democrats, if you were upstairs in the family quarters with the president, would you tell him he should do for the next year? >> i wrote a column a couple weeks ago. i will quote myself.
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the republican party needs to embrace the passion and energy at its heart, standing up against it is madness. it has a finesse and a style and engagement such that it does not antagonize the senate. the idea that we're not going to be embracing all of the passion and still writing that passion to victory is beyond my 45 years in politics. that is -- do not walk away from that passion because you will not win without that and try to manage how that passion refracts to the more moderate vote. >> >> there is tactical things. we need to have a surge of recruitment to broaden the playing field.
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the huge difference today is even in the worst cycles, 92% of incumbents of the troubled party still win. we won 20 plus seats. the thing about doing that tactical stuff is important. the american people are clear. they are concerned about their jobs. i read a federal reserve estimates that we could have five years of this knid of -- of this kind of unemployment. that is unprecedented. we have a coherent view of that. what would it mean to try to create a new generation of jobs? we had better be out there saying that every day. let me be slightly mean. i say obamaism is not going
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to work. if it did we would be celebrating the economic miracle of europe. i say to republicans, come up with something besides a tax cut in terms of explaining how you will do it. i would tell them as i did, i was very impressed with bob mcdonald, the republican candidate for governor. president obama was coming to campaign against him. he said the president is always welcome at the commonwealth of virginia. there has to be a personal grace note that the republican caucus has lost. he is the president. he is a figure that has -- demands our respect and he is well-liked and we need to do a better job as a party to separate -- and separate the differences of opinion about policy compared to how we speak
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to hiabout him as a person. there are people in our caucus who do not -- are not able to bridge that note. >> we spent time thinking about this but we will try to be concise. i would say to the republican caucus that i know lee atwater said when your opponent is busy destroying himself, do not interfere. do not think that your opponents failures and weaknesses are your success. if everyone took a step back in line you somehow step forward. believing that is a prescription for permanent minority status. people want a society that works. people want solutions and leaders to a better -- and lead us to a better place. i would say to republicans, it
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is jobs and economic growth, it is all that. you do not have to compromise your principles to win the middle. we just saw that in virginia and other places where a conservative candidate did not abandon his conservative beliefs. he said, this is how we will create a better world. we talk about it in a different language. we call it to new republican. new democrats, where the new republicans? that is a brand we should developm. we want to grow the economy but we have a better way to do it. how about bottom up instead of top-down? we will have spending not by smart guys, we will let you invest in your hopes and dreams bottom-up. we will have an open education system where parents can choose
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the best schools for their kids. not top down, these clothes artificial industrial systems that treats your kids like numbers. healthcare, will have a natural health care system. more organic where doctors and patients make decisions and we put those price control mechanisms down with you. with patients and doctors and not above the top with those people in washington who do not know you. there is a new republican party that will be born from this. if we do that, we will get the 40 seats. we will provide some legitimate opposition. right now, we have a ways to go. >> am i speaking to the caucus or the president? >> one-on-one upstairs, no staff. >> i would start with -- the
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president gets this. nothing is more important than success. the congress passing things and doing stuff, a sense of progress. the country will not vote for a dysfunctional democrat. we do not have time for this but our coalition is not so broad. everyone has to understand when bill clinton passed his economic plan which was tax increases and deficit reduction, it was big tax increases, his approval went up. it went up when he passed nafta. they were coming together and passing things, it looked like they were effective in governing. they're not split in the same way that republicans are. unity and success is critical. the president's -- language on
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the economy, every leader have worked for, when the talks with the economy, they get it wrong. bill clinton in 1994, we look in 1996 when the economy was growing and there was a narrative that talked about growth. when he tried to talk about economic success, voters said he was out of touch. you have been seeing how we saved us from the brink of economic disaster. people do not want to hear that. in their lives it is not happening. they have to have a focus on jobs. his focus has to be on jobs. the have to show credibly that they take the deficit seriously. they're concerned about spending. they have to do real sustainable
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things that show they are dealing with deficit. >> i would say what i said yesterday. mr. president, you have to remind people that you inherited. they know you have to remind them. people have gotten the message that we are spending a lot of money. you can see it in the election returns. everyone is getting the message that washington is taking a bigger role in the economy. some people do not like it and some people think they got they did. everyone gets those things. what they're not getting necessarily is, he did the things to bail out wall street because he had to. we spent that money because we had to. we spend the money on health care reform and health care reform should pass the democrats and we need to take credit for it. we spent money on health care reform because we needed to end
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it is the right thing to do. it will make things better for people who do not have insurance and improve things for people who do. it is the most important thing because 85% of the folks who have health insurance are happy with what they have. we will focus full-time on improving the economy and getting spending under control and reducing the deficit. health care reform will bring the deficit down $100 billion. the administration needs to say it more because it is a fiscally responsible thing they're doing that is being portrayed in another way. they may have already lost that conversation but they need to engage. the president has to find some areas where he can take a stand that progressives will applaud him for. there have been too many things where that progressive community feels like they have been sold out or ignored or not listen to too. -- or not listened to.
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most people in this country are pro-choice, most people believe that health insurance plan should be available to a woman that provide abortion services. i think that's the house of representatives may have made a tactical decision to get health care reform passed. it will be a good idea to stand up on this one or a series of things like it to let them know he is still here and someone cares about them. if they do not show up in 2010, weber democrats will lose will double. -- whatever democrats will lose will double. >> jobs and the deficit. i' would get off this other stuff. it is tony's idea.
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also do it visibly. you could have some kind of guaranteed investment program for the gulf coast where you literally guaranteed some kind of -- guarantee investment in ideas down here and creating jobs and rebuilding. it is a public-private thing. everybody in the country sees them doing something. the same kind of thing in michigan. we have big unemployment. what can you do? there are pockets of the country where you can create a public- private partnership. you can invested here and that would be a great place to put it. i would pick to replaces like that and i would make sure the country understands i am serious
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about the deficit. we did a lot of spending. here are the steps will take because we know we have to go the other way. @@@@@@@ @ @ and so the first question is over here and there's a microphone. >> heidi haynes. you are talking jobs, jobs, jobs and everyone is repeating it and -and the grain jobs industry is the fastest growing industry in the country so why aren't we hearing more about that? why aren't we hearing subsidies to these companies? right now it's the cheapest -- we've got the best tax return
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rebate in louisiana for solar energy so we're on the forefront of this but nobody can afford it, to begin with, but if we had more jt these companies and more competition we could afford it and there would be more jobs. >> ok, all right, someone tackle that. >> i think that joe's idea is a great one because that's an area where democrats and republicans could come together. green jobs, creating any kind of job is something that anyone wants to do right now and it does something for independent voters and it's a public/private partnership and it's much better than creating construction jobs which are project jobs that go away when the project is over and so if the obama administration did that it would be good for them on a lot of levels. tony jobs that go way. it would be good for them on a lot of different levels. >> it might be good politics. spain carried out a green jobs subsidy program similar to the
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one the president has proposed. they have done university studies on them and found the lost jobs. it was more expensive to lose kilowatts through the alternative subsidized energies then, and energy. it may be great politics and for the people who get the subsidies, it is great. but net to the economy in spain, it proved to be a negative. >> [inaudible] in the nation right now. for every single job in oil, there are 18 in the green industry. >> a question for bill, stan, and charlie. i tear out my hear when air wher
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someone say independent. independents need to break this way. it drives me nuts. how do you define independent when you use the term? >> we do not come in the country with letters in our heads. politically we do a seven. scale and with that independents -- a seven point scale. hard independents, they are 20% of the electorate. they tend to be politically down. one segment is downscale and more likely to be women. they did not get a lot of
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political information. they have no stable ideological moorings. the kind of jump from position to position in ways that would strike as as being inconsistent. they have a high distaste for both political parties. what they share in common is an anger towards both political parties. they are radically unstable. . .
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and they have 60 seats in the senate. and people will judge in four years, did it work is this and if it's perceived to not work, boom, we'll move on. stan? >> first of all we use the same scale, you know, that he does, so it's a self-identification but, i mean, there is and it goes to joe's point earlier, and we saw the independent voting that took place in the new york 23 elections and i think it's tremendous potential for third and fourth party candr"ates to emerge and, you know, ross perot, and i think that perot has gone away. and ross perot announced, you know, hadn't accused the president of a conspiracy to disrupt his daughter's wedding, he still got 19% with that, but, you know, ross perot, a credible presidential elections, i think the 20% range is more than possible for an independent candidate, very much part of --
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and that perot tendency, you know, tends to be a bit more male, tends to be white and more blue collar and the reason they're not republicans, they're much more secular and they're individualistic and secular and so they're a little uncomfortable and more evangelical republican party but they're libertarian and, in fact, they don't like government and spending very much and they are still out there and it's a good part of the pullback amongst independents from democrats and from the president. voters, bill clinton lost them. that's why it was possible for george bush and the republicans to become competitive again. i think those voters are very much in play in part of the history that will play out. >> i think the three words i would say, would be disengaged and mistrustful and distrustful and transient. the disengage, you know, most independents i believe don't follow. they don't love politician. they don't follow it that
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closely. if they cared deeply, they would be democrats or republicans or liberals or conservatives. if they cared that much, they would have gravitated to one side or the other. there's fundamental things they mistrust about each party, which keeps them from jumping in bed with one side or the other. and the gravitation pulls the tides. here completely floating around. and with iraq and they shifted over towards democrats. they did the same thing this 2008 and then, now they're starting to sort of kind of switch back the other way. but they're just floating around in a -- it doesn't take much for them to all start moving one way or the other. i watch joe and am lex and tony on this. what is a bigger danger? a third party challenging taking off from the democrats or the more aggressive party, or a bigger danger with a liberal and conservative party, that we saw
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in new york 23rd, through 2010 and 2012? who should be more nervous about a splitter group taking off in -- in something like this? the democrats or the republicans? joe, let's go this way. >> i think both parties need to be worried about this. if you look at the republican brand being around 0 now or at its low point because of the damage tone to the brand over eight years, and then -- you kind of fast forward that over the next 18 months. i mean, what we have seen in the past -- what i mean by that is the economy goes to -- to unemployment, 12% or something, and really bad stuff. and so the democratic brand again. we got the whole thing. it is ours. we got both houses. the presidency and -- and the brand is damaged quickly from all of the hope and everything to where it is. and i think there are going to be a whole lot more than 20% thinking i can't stand the parties. it is not like i'm going to go
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back to those guy that is had the trashy brand 12 months ago or 18 months ago. i think there's a shot here that economic deficit, i mean, just a bunch of. you start to see people, this group that can't stand -- or questions both parties doesn't think either one of them perform well. that's where we're at. otherwise, i think it is the republicans, because -- in your own words if the economy sort of strengthening up, i think there could be an independent that on the deficit and on some of the -- the bread and butter sort of conservative money issues that emerge because the republicans fail -- have sort of failed on that message, and that can really -- you could almost see the republican party have a problem in terms of just even existing as a stong enough -- sort of what hoffman pulled off up in 23. >> and i think joe -- i think joe is right. both bearts have a lot to worry about in that respect because the progressives are upset with the people that voted against
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health care reform and they're looking for primary challenge. but the conservative, as a result in new york 23 have been emboldened in many ways and theory going to be as active on the right as the progressives on the left and probably the people that have the most to fear are the incumbents, because it is -- you know, it is a democrat district, there's a progressive off shoot and that's dangerous and more likely in a democratic district, there being a third party republican candidate. because there are more democrats defending seats and you're looking at a mid term where your average is you lose 16 seats, democrats are more vulnerable. over the long time, republicans are more vulnerable. >> i don't see this as equal measure. i think -- and i think bill hinted at this. when you look at the independents there's two pieces to this. there's kind of a more affluent, more suburban and more women, and -- that are out there, they
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have tended democratic over about a decade. each election they become or democratic but they're in the strong partisans. and they're more upscale, their whole range of other issues. then you have more blue collar independent and more male and angrier anti-elitists, those are different kinds of independents. and there are anti-incumbent in their -- in their -- i think the republicans would be gravely endangered by having a second independent party and split the anti-incumbent vote. they're more dangerous and the democrats face dingers in primaries. they face challenges if primaries. if you talk to people who are democrats, the view of their party is very positive. you ask republicans their view of their party, it is very nexted -- mixed. very skeptical and making it in a general election more open, i think, to a third party challenge. in the spirit of love and bipartisan here, i am i think a
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lot of what my democratic brethren have said is right but the good news is half of it is amazingly remarkably wrong. that is that the -- you va never seen the republican party more united than it is right now. and it is united on one issue, really, it is deficits and spending. so all of this division, that we're seeing, is -- is i think wishful thinking. i hope you continue it. because, this is what we used to do. our failures -- you know, the otherifies' failures would be our success. that's not must have to build a party on but if that's the hope and dream for the democrats the next election and the republicans will march off the cliff again. >> you tell carrly crist that the party is unified? >> absolutely. because he's the one guy, really who stepped out of the republican mainstream, when every other republican was united against spending and deficits, one, just when republicans are coming together,
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he steps out of the mainstream. it is not rubio in florida who is dividing the party, it is this other guy who basically, imagine if barack obama got up in the morning today and said, i got a great idea, george bush's tax cuts are terrific, we need more of those. what would happen to the democratic party. that's what a crist did, but -- that's the big story, that's by the way, what just won the middle, in tuesday's elections. and there's been a road test. and -- and i think if an -- in addition to that republicans can actually demonstrate a little more positive vision it'll work real well. but i think the biggest danger, we're -- republicans aren't split right now at all. >> quev had this bizarre conversation and haven't mentioned afghanistan. the -- let me tell you a sad story. a sad story. we did a small american outpost
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and that outpostwas out gunned and we lost eight soldiers in one encounter. i was doing tracking after the health care speech and we this that enormously sad video of dead american soldiers being dragged through the streets and the president's approval rating dropped 12 point the in one night. the president, what i like and admire, he didn't release the photos, he's not pressed prosecution on the torture. those are things that are are unpopular. and he's a president of the united states being told by the military, mr. president, we can't defend those outposts and we need more people to do a countersurge insurgency. and i guess it these are correct and they puts 43,000 troops in, imagine the progressiveness, with the troops, if you don't advance health care. i think he'll find 10,000 and train the army because he's politically unsustainable with
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his base, if he puts in 43,000 troops and prosecutes afghanistan during a water with afghanistan as president, i think he'll have a democrat primary and that we'll have a substantial split mountain democrat party, if that's what he does. and i would argue this -- for our party, and the tensions between our kind of economic votes and our religious conservatives, the fact that the energy in republican party is about spending and deficit, if we're so inept we can't take these people and make them part of a new coalition, they we oughting to nothinged. the -- this are 24% of the people in this country who say they would likely vote for a third party and they're not strong republicans or democrats. we have 13% of the country who dislike both political parties and guess what they share in common? 90% said hes government. if we can't take a radicalized
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section of our country and say, by the way, there's a difference between us and the democrats, and who just bought general motors and chrysler and spent trls to bail out big companies and vote republican, that would be a colossal failure. will will lose an incumbent now and then, but guess what in a two person race, the strongest candidate usually wins. and in 2010 we'll be stronger as a function of the intensity out there and yes, we'll lose perhaps one or two people we don't expect today but in general we'll be stronger in the ballot box because of the movement that is taking place around here. >> and let me have a quick add on. foreign polls usually doesn't matter too much to american voters. and i think that -- that the administration is likely to experience a string of conspicuous foreign policy failures on the arab -- on a palestinian israeli peace, which
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is a conversation that won't happen with iran, which by 2012, will either conspicuously have a nuclear weapon or an israeli attack on them. either, one, a mess for the administration. and -- on ukranian and georgia and the whole front with russia, russia is going to blatantly and ugly prove they have a atmosphere of -- sphere of influence which we have given up, which is the path the administration is going on or it confronts which will be at real challenge. if everywhere you look the foreign policy is going to be a failure, enough is conspicuous, afghanistan, where he loses either way. he'll alienate either the proprogressives or the center of the country. and so, i think that -- that could collectively reduce the admiration for his masterfulness. and as katrina did for the previous president. that could have an effect, it would be negative for the party. >> all right. i think we have gone into overtime. so, i did want to thank the
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bipartisan policy center and -- tule lane university for hosting this. and this has been the spirit of friendship and civility on the panel. we hope it'll be pervasive through the rest of the political process. thank you so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captions performed by the national captioning institute] nng >> now a look at how the politics of health care are playing out in arkansas. this is about five minutes. >> joining us on the phone is max brantly, the editor of "the arkansas times," how are you?
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mr. brantly, when we hear about the senator we hear about the context here in washington, d.c., what's happening as far as the health care debate in your home state? caller: well, it's been the debate of the hour and there's advertising on groups on both sides and blanche linkon is widely perceived to be in difficult circumstances, both because of generally low poll numbers to start with but made worse by being in the middle of the health debate and the kind of uncertain position. host: your paper today has a story, basically the headline says "health care debate has linkon in the hotseat," talk about what happens when she goes home from your reporters that follow her and what are they saying about her position to advance the debate? caller: well, in my +iew she made a politically poor decision by putting herself in the position of being seen
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nationally as the deciding vote on whether debate would open on the health care bill in the senate. in the past opening debate has been a generally routine thing with the opponents are going to stretch out the process as long as they can and she's the deciding vote and she did so in a speech where she said while i'm doing this now doesn't mean i'll vote in the end and i'll fillfilibuster the bill, and ths makes people mad on both sides of the issue, people who want a public option were mad at her for her continued intransigence and those who don't want health form to pass were mad, and so she managed to not only not help herself, i think that she gave her poll numbers another small knock. numbers another small not.e television, are they mainly from outside groups or any within the state? caller: they're mostly from
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outside groups, there's an enormous amount of money spent by major lobbies and i think that the biggest spender here is a group funded primarily by the pharmaceutical industry and it's been unmerciful and you can't turn on the tv during the holiday break and not see an ad criticizing her or nick snyder. host: who is the largest critic, those on the ground there? caller: well, the republican party sees an opportunity next year and there's as many as nine republicans who announced as potential opponents of hers next year and they've already cast her vote to have it as a vote for the government health insurance program which stated that way tests pretty unpopular among poll takers in arkansas. host: as far as, sir, running next year, what are her numbers looking like right now? caller: well, the numbers at this point show her trailing anybody who runs against her, including republicans that
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nobody has heard from, and it's a measure of anti-incumbent sentiment and she's not really began campaigning and her number is in the low 30% and she'll have more and will be able to raise money and the most interesting question in arkansas at the moment is whether a progressive candidate might emerge to challenge her in the democratic primary, that has not yet happened but there's still some talk about it. host: are those then within that field of progressives that might emerge in your opinion? caller: well, i couldn't predict if they will, lieutenant-governor bill halter is fairly to be called a progressive democrat and he was the driving force behind adoption of a state lottery last year which has proved to be wildly popular and he associated himself with a highly publicized free clinic in little rjti and while it was said to be nonpartisan in nature it was held to be an illustration of the great need for better health
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services in the united states. i think that it's correct to say that people are talking about halter behind the scenes to see if they can encourage him to make this race. certainly, the news that he's thinking about the race in any context, at least it's hoped to move blanche lincoln in a more progressive direction in her own vote. host: have there been townhalls during the thanksgiving break? caller: no, not during the thanksgiving break and it was interesting that she was not publicly visible during the period, she has a family, of course and she had family to tend to. and i think that there's some people in arkansas on the democratic side who would like to see her re-elected who don't think that she's watered her roots enough in arkansas, that she's not spent enough time at home. host: max brantley is the arkansas times editor and he joins us on the phone and you can go to the website for that publication to read stories about senator lincoln and other
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things. thank you for your time, mr. brantley. caller: sure, happy to do it. >> the senate begins debate on the health bill tomorrow. we talked to a capitol hill reporter. as the senate begins general deliberations on health care, what can we expect to see as this debate gets underway? >> there's a continuing quest to get the 60 votes in the senate over and over and over again and every time that democrats gt the 60 votes they're going to have to restart that process as the bill changes slightly and they make some modifications on controversial provisions around abortion and the public plan to try to get 60 senators to support the bill and keep it moving forward. >> now before the thanksgiving break a number of democratic senators said they'd approve the
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vote to keep the debate alive but they may not vote for the health care bill itself. what will it take to get the support? >> over the next several weeks we'll look at compromises in a and those of the republican and those of the republican there and keep the handful of senators onboard. the biggest area and where they stand to lose the most votes out of the democratic caucus comes from the public plan, that of government run insurance option that has attracted so much controversy over the last several months since this has been debated and a handful of senators, ben nelson from nebraska and joe lieberman from connecticut and a few others have issues with this and there needs to be changes before that bill is going to be able to go forward. >> are any compromise on -- compromises on those issues emerging? >> yeah, i think that there's a few ways that this could go. you know, on one end is taking out the public plan entirely and that doesn't seem likely because liberal senators would have an
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issue with that and you might have the same problem on the left that they have in the center right now and a more likely idea is finding a way to scale back what's already in the bill and right now we have an opt out provision where states can choose to not be part of the public plan if they want to. and we might go to a trigger proposal, which some senators have been pushing for to allow states to have the public plan if the a set of economic indicas triggered it. and that's one way. and the other idea is an opt in public plan instead of opt out, allowing states to choose to participate in the public plan if they wanted to instead of choosing to exempt themselves. >> you mentioned senator snow from maine, are there any moderate republicans that might step forward to support this bill? >> the only small possibility is probably the other senator from maine, senator collins, and i
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think that you'll see senator snow join the bill before you will see senator collins do so. they have worked together and joined together on issues like this in the past, especially because of their moderate politicapolitics and their intee often closely aligned but other than that that the list is too long and not getting any bigger. >> should we look for republicans to offer health care alternative during this debate? >> i think that you'll see a lot of points of debate but a lot of it is in disagreement or objection. so far, you know, one of the biggest priorities for republicans has been trying to do something about medical malpractice, and the problem is that even with a lot of the changes that republicans might want to get in this bill, it doesn't necessarily mean that they'd support it, you'd have to see and an entirely different product from what we have right now before there was any republican support and they have urged start over, rewrite this
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bill and throw the whole thing out and let's do this again. i don't really see any way that the republicans are going to end up supporting this thing. >> will the majority leader reid be able to wrangle the votes to get this bill passed? >> i think so eventually, but i think that it depends on what the bill looks like by the time he gets to do that. again, it comes back to this continuing, and, you know, multifaceted quest to find 60 votes and you'll have to do it over and over and over again every time the bill changes. when the margin is this small, one senator's opinion matters immensely. it's one vote and it's over and you have to keep 60 people happy and so every little single@ change has the potential to upset one of them or fail to win their support. so i think that you need to look at this as not just, you know, one type -- one case of getting the 60 votes but getting the 60 votes over and over and over again and you're starting fresh each time. >> drew armstrong of c.q., thank you for your time. >> happy to be on.
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>> on this vote the ayes are 60 and the nmp ays are 39, and three-fifths of the senators duly chosen having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. >> with that vote the senate moves its health care bill to the floor, starting monday and through december follow the debate and how the bill would affect access to medical care, the public option and taxes, abortion and medicare, live on our companion network c-span 2, the only network that brings you the senate gavel-to-gavel. >> tuesday, the u.s. gavel is in for legislative business at 2:00 p.m. eastern with suspension bill votes at 6:30. and later, work on an estate bill, see the $ouse live here on c-span. >> up next it's "q & a" with


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