Week In Politics: Debt Deal; GOP Presidential Hopefuls
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Today, I'm joined by Jennifer Rubin who writes the blog Right Turn for The Washington Post. I'm also joined by Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor for the Grio.com, that's an NBC News site focused on the African-American community. Welcome to you both.
JENNIFER RUBIN: Nice to be here.
JOY: Great to be here.
BLOCK: Joy-Ann Reid, do you see a lesson in those numbers about what we just saw?
REID: Well, you know, I think that the lesson in those numbers is that sometimes divided government can get in the way of common sense, and the American people can see that. I mean, I think that this debt fight was not our finest hour. We saw a group of people who were ideologically wedded to cutting government at all costs and were really, literally, willing to let the country go off a cliff for ideology that had nothing to do with economics.
BLOCK: Jennifer Rubin, a different message that you take away?
RUBIN: But I would also say that I don't agree that there was a group willing to push into default. Both Senator McConnell in the Senate and John Boehner on the House leadership side repeatedly said they didn't want default. And in fact, at the end of the day, the vast majority of Republicans voted for it, including a majority of that freshman class which is primarily the sort of new wave of Tea Party, very staunch fiscal conservatives.
BLOCK: Jennifer Rubin, should Republicans rethink? Are they out of step with where the American people are on this?
RUBIN: If you remember, this was exactly the same argument we had in December of 2010, when President Obama very eloquently said you can't raise taxes in a recession. Well, we're still there. So what's the economic justification for doing that? And I think the primary issue for the White House, for Congress, certainly for voters is, how do you create a pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda that will hopefully help dig us out of this terrible ditch we're in?
BLOCK: Joy-Ann Reid, do you think the Obama administration can make the case, or Democrats can make the case for letting those Bush-era tax cuts expire for the wealthiest sector?
REID: It's not about economics because economists are pretty unanimous - we need to inject stimulus into this economy. But all the Republicans want to talk about is tax cuts and all they want to talk about his cutting government. But the American people have seen through that. They want shared sacrifice and they want to stimulus to create jobs. But we can't get that through the House.
BLOCK: We could talk about this for whole lot longer. But I want to move on and turn to Republican presidential politics, and someone who is not yet officially in the race.
RICK PERRY: With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help. That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast, like Jesus did.
BLOCK: First, Joy-Ann Reid, do you assume Rick Perry will run for president? And if so, what do you think his chances are of being the nominee?
REID: Well, you know, I haven't had any recent conversations with God, because apparently that's who knows best what Rick Perry's plans are.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
REID: But yeah, I expect that he will be tempted to get in because the field is still so unsettled. There's still nobody that's really popular in capturing enough of the base to really be a frontrunner, except Mitt Romney, who no one seems to like but who's still ahead. So I would expect that he would get in and that it would then become really a sort of a three-person race between Romney, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.
BLOCK: And, Jennifer Rubin, Rick Perry as the nominee. What do you think?
RUBIN: Well, first of all, I don't talk to God but I do talk to the Perry folks. And they confirm that he will be getting into the race sometime in August. And they won't say that directly on the record, but clearly all the signs are pointing to that. I actually expect him to get in a day or two after Ames. What better way to step on the...
BLOCK: You're talking about the Ames straw poll coming up in an Iowa.
RUBIN: I do agree that it will sort of devolve into a three-person race. The question is whether Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry cannibalize the same base of voters.
BLOCK: Okay, thanks to you both, Jennifer Rubin and Joy-Ann Reid.
REID: Thank you.
BLOCK: Jennifer Rubin writes the blog Right Turn for The Washington Post. Joy-Ann Reid is managing editor for the Grio.com.
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