From the 06.29.2011 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
Transcript of the Loesch/Gergen/Begala segment:
Right now, though, "Raw Politics" and President Obama today throwing down the gauntlet to Republicans on cutting the budget and passing legislation so America can pay its bills. The country is facing an August 2nd deadline to do the second part, raising the debt ceiling, something no Congress, Democrat or Republican has ever failed to do.At least Begala and Gergen have enough sense to tell the truth--especially on the Republicans rooting for the economy to fail so that they can attempt to win the Presidency come 2012, unlike a certain moron who hosts a radio show on KFTK. And why the hell does CNN let her on to spew blatant lies with very little challenge from either the host and/or other guests?
This time, though, Republicans say it won't happen without big spending cuts and no tax increases. Today, responding to a question from chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, the President slammed Republican leaders for not budging on taxes and for playing chicken, he believes, with that August 2nd deadline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got to get this done.
And -- and if -- if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand, we are going to, you know, start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done.
You know, they're -- they're in one week, they're out one week, and then they're -- they're saying, "Obama's got to step in." You need to be here. I have been here. I have been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis and -- you stay here. Let's get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, a moment before he said that, he compared lawmakers to slacker kids.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: You know Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. Malia is 13; Sasha's 10. It is impressive. They don't wait until the night before. They're not pulling all- nighters. They're -- they're 13 and 10. You know, Congress can do the same thing. If you know you've got to do something, just do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that drew this response from the GOP House Speaker John Boehner -- quote -- "The President's remarks today ignore legislative and economic reality and demonstrate remarkable irony. His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending. A debt limit increase can only pass the House if it includes spending cuts larger than the debt limit increase, includes reforms to hold down spending in the future, and is free from tax hikes."
Tough talk now on both sides.
Joining us now is senior political analyst David Gergen; Tea Party organizer Dana Loesch; and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.
Paul, was it really fair for the President to claim the Republican congressional leaders aren't working as hard as he is? I mean, he has been known to enjoy a golf game or two in his time.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they're certainly not making enough progress. And I guess that's kind of where I would take it.
There's reports that the -- the Democrats, the President, is willing to accept as much as $2 trillion in cuts and that the Republicans won't even accept like $400 billion in revenue. And I thought the President was exactly right. His party, my party, is going to have to agree to cuts, painful cuts in constituencies that we care about.
The Republican Party is going to have to agree to new revenue. They're just going to have to. It should be focused on the rich. He pointed out tax breaks for corporate jets and for oil companies. I mean there's some low-hanging fruit that the Republicans, for reasons I can't understand, are defending.
So, I thought that he made a very good point about the Republican intransigence here.
COOPER: Dana, the -- the -- the private jet thing, though, I mean, as Paul said, that's kind of low-hanging fruit. If the President is really serious about cutting spending, I'm not sure that's the biggest item he should be talking about.
DANA LOESCH, EDITOR, BIGJOURNALISM.COM: Yes, I think that only saves $3 billion.
And he actually continued that tax break in 2009 with the stimulus. I think that the $2 trillion, I believe, was over a 10-year period. That's a drop in the bucket over what can be cut. We really have to look at entitlement reform. And we also have to realize that history shows when government seizes capital, revenue for the government goes down. It doesn't increase. You have to have that private sector incentive, the job creation, all of that.
And tax cuts or an extension of the current tax rate is going to be the thing to do it, coupled with massive, massive cuts.
COOPER: David, it's interesting, though, because I mean, while -- while the debt ceiling talks were under way, the White House was pretty quiet about it. Does this seem to signal that they think the whole thing has fallen apart and the President is just kind of going campaign mode?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, it certainly suggests that the mode -- the tone the President set today is a -- is a tone set by someone who thinks that talks are near collapse or not going anywhere and he's trying to scold the Republicans into action. If he really were truly near an agreement, I imagine he would have dropped all those snide comments about Republicans. It would have been a much more constructive, sort of encouraging kind of press conference. Instead, what we had were these snide comments, which I think will -- and some of the arguments. I think Paul is right. Some of the arguments are going to play pretty well with the public that the President made.
But the snide comments are really going to alienate Republicans, I think, and make it less likely they will come to the table in a compromising mood. And I think ultimately, Anderson, we're not going to get a big mega-deal. I think we're looking at some sort of patch.
COOPER: So, Paul, what is the strategy behind him doing this, do you think?
BEGALA: Well, I think David makes a point. I think David is right. It looks like the Republicans are not going to right now agree to anything.
So, the inside game has not worked -- and they have been at this for weeks -- if the inside game has not worked, well, then maybe you try the outside game.
I hate to even use phrases like game. Most of what I do and talk about is politics and its fun and there's no real harm done. People who really know the economy -- and I don't -- but people I trust say that the potential damage to the economy if America defaults after two and a quarter centuries is really serious. People use words like "cataclysmic".
I thought the President on that was pretty muted today. He said, well, it's -- it would actually be very unpredictable and it could cause a lot of damage, it could hurt jobs.
People are telling me it could be a whole lot worse than that. Can you imagine being the President knowing that we have to cut spending, knowing that we need new revenue, especially if we have to, from the rich and from big corporations -- it's an obvious deal -- and not having partners who are willing to accept the obvious?
COOPER: Dana, I think you have said, though, you have expressed doubts that it's as cataclysmic as Paul is indicating. Is that right?
LOESCH: Well, right. I mean, as -- well, as Jessica Yellin questioned the President at the press conference today, she asked him, well, there's been four dates that have already gone by and all of this apocalyptic stuff that Democrats keep saying is going to happen never actually happened. And we have gone past these dates and we have kept -- we keep having these extensions. So how do you reconcile that?
So, I don't think it is. I think there's a little bit of fear- mongering there. I don't think it's as bad. And it's definitely not as bad as what is going to happen, as what the CBO has said is going to happen, if we don't get entitlement spending under control. And if we look at Medicare, the spending for that is going to double in 25 years. We're talking about having the possibility of Medicare spending being 11 percent of our GDP. I mean, it's astronomical. It's -- there's no way we can sustain spending like this.
COOPER: David, I see you shaking your head.
GERGEN: I'm sorry. Just let's get -- factually, the administration has never set four dates and said it's -- we're going to have real consequences if we don't hit this date. They have always -- they have said for a long time --
LOESCH: Oh, yes they have.
GERGEN: -- August 2nd is the big date. That's just been very clear right from the beginning.
And secondly, listen, we're playing with fire here. Every major economist, every major financial institution -- the International Monetary Fund today issued a report saying there's going to be a severe shock to the economy nationally and internationally if we don't -- if we go into default.
Standard & Poor's has warned that they're going to cut our credit ratings. I don't know how many different kinds of warnings you have before you realize this is going to be really a very dangerous game we're playing. And both sides need to act like adults.
The President sort of accuses the Democrats, I mean, of -- I mean the President accused the Republicans of going off and loafing. He's going off to fund-raisers. He's got another one tomorrow night. He's had a series of fund-raisers.
I mean, you know, if both sides are going to get serious, let both sides stay in town.
LOESCH: Right. Right.
And can I add one quick point onto what David said -- David said? We would not even be having these Biden debt talks; we would not even be having these discussions if Democrats had produced a budget in the past two years.
COOPER: Paul, I want to give you the final thought. And then we have got to go.
BEGALA: If -- the budget the past two years doesn't have anything to do with it. We have a debt crisis. The American economy is facing default. The American government is facing default.
It has potentially really damaging consequences. And it's not an even-steven deal. The Democrats don't like the spending cuts. They hate it, but they're agreeing to it. Republicans have got to agree to ask wealthy people and big corporations and big oil companies to pay a little bit more.
And -- and until they're ready to acknowledge the obvious, then we're -- they're going to plunge this country -- I worry that maybe they're rooting for America to fail, so that Obama can be defeated. I hate to think that.
LOESCH: No, no, no.
BEGALA: But the only -- it's the only possible explanation here. Why would they -- because they don't want -- why would they want to drive our country into default?
COOPER: We have got to go.
Dana, I appreciate it. Paul, David, thank you.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'll be tweeting tonight as well.