Friday News Roundup - Hour 1

Transcript for: 
Friday News Roundup - Hour 1

MS. DIANE REHM

10:06:54
Thanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Congressional leaders from both parties agreed to step up the pace of debt reduction talks. Newt Gingrich's campaign team quit over dispute about the former speaker's commitment to a presidential run. And Congressman Weiner says he is determined to hold on to his seat in Congress despite calls to resign.

MS. DIANE REHM

10:07:23
Here in the studio for the national hour of our Friday News Roundup: David Corn of Mother Jones magazine, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, and welcoming the first time, Mark Tapscott of The Washington Examiner. Throughout the hour, we'll welcome your calls, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to drshow@wamu.org. Join us on Facebook or Twitter. Good morning to all of you.

MR. DAVID CORN

10:08:04
Good morning.

MR. MARK TAPSCOTT

10:08:04
Good morning.

MS. KAREN TUMULTY

10:08:05
Good morning.

REHM

10:08:06
Karen Tumulty, what is the status of the talks being led by Vice President Biden?

TUMULTY

10:08:15
This was, sort of, an odd week, because the House is out of town, the Senate is here. But what has happened is, essentially, they've been hit by a torrent of both bad news about the state of the economy itself and bad news about how people feel about the state of the economy itself. At The Washington Post, we had a poll with ABC News this week that suggested, by a ratio of something like 2:1, Americans really feel like the country is on the wrong track. Six out of 10 disapproved of President Obama's handling of the economy.

TUMULTY

10:08:50
They're not wild about the Republicans' handling either. They are, you know, there is some sentiment among conservatives that this debt ceiling deadline in August isn't such a big deal, but most people do seem to want these guys to come to some kind of arrangement. So they're supposed to begin meeting again at a quicker pace next week. And I really do think it's under a different kind of pressure than they were feeling before.

REHM

10:09:20
Different kind of pressure, Mark?

TAPSCOTT

10:09:23
I took away a little bit different main point from that otherwise very, very important, I think, Post-ABC polls. If you read down in the crosstabs, we found that 55 percent of the folks that -- the responder or they surveyed said that they would vote for somebody else besides their incumbent congressmen. I think that's an indication that people are fundamentally dissatisfied with both parties, the lack of progress and the lack of seriousness about addressing the kinds of problems we have.

REHM

10:09:54
David Corn.

CORN

10:09:55
Well, the issue of the debt ceiling, also there is some more potentially frightening news when you have these rating agencies coming out and saying, we're gonna lower the U.S. credit to junk bond status.

REHM

10:10:08
It's not only the credit rating agencies, it's China.

CORN

10:10:12
China then holds a trillion dollars in debt here. And I think, you know, the other day, I have a fellow who lives in my block who's an economist in town with a non-partisan group. And he saw me drive by. And he chased my car and he said, you’ve got to -- when you go on air -- he didn’t know I was doing the show -- you have to tell people that if we default on our -- on what we owe because they don't raise the credit ceiling, we will have another crash or could have another crash -- it's very likely -- like 2008, triggered by financial instability.

CORN

10:10:44
And we see people getting very nervous about this and sending signals to the negotiators. This may not be something to play politics with. Now, of course, they are politicians. And Republicans are still out there trying to get something in return for raising the debt ceiling, which has nothing to do with spending. This is money we owe anyway. You can't get rid of your credit card debt by saying I'm gonna lower my credit line. And so, it's, you know, it's gonna get very tight, I think, in the coming weeks.

TUMULTY

10:11:13
But, David, you have a lot of Republicans and especially new members who came to Washington vowing that they would not raise the debt ceiling. And they are looking at their constituents at home saying, are you not, you know, were you not serious about what you said? So what the Republicans are trying to extract and what, I think, the White House is now recognizing, they're gonna have to give something in exchange.

TUMULTY

10:11:37
The Republicans are saying that we should get, in spending cuts, at least as much as we raise the debt ceiling. And I think that's something that most people would probably agree with.

REHM

10:11:46
Mark.

TAPSCOTT

10:11:47
I suspect a lot of people outside of Washington, D.C., when they hear the, you know, $1 in spending reductions for every dollar increased in the national debt, wonder, well, why not $2 or why not $3? I think there is a fundamental dissatisfaction with the seriousness of Washington about this problem.

REHM

10:12:06
Yes.

CORN

10:12:06
But we have all this bad economic news that the recession may be heading towards another dip or not -- recovery not really taking off. And that, most standard economist will tell you, Mark Zandi and others, that now is not the time to cut down on government demand. That if you do so, you'll have a worse position, given recession and jobs and demand, and that will lead to another cycle of pain.

REHM

10:12:30
So...

TAPSCOTT

10:12:30
But, David...

CORN

10:12:31
So you want to, you know, it sounds good to cut government spending in terms of raising the debt ceiling, but it can have a terribly negative impact on people's jobs. And we talk about this, it's fine by us. We have jobs.

TAPSCOTT

10:12:41
But, David, the problem -- we're in the problem that we have now because, precisely, we followed the prescription of conventional economics for 50 years. That's why we have the problem.

CORN

10:12:50
No, it's not. It's the Bush tax cuts. It's deregulation. It has nothing to do with...

REHM

10:12:53
OK. I'm not gonna get into an argument about what caused the state we're in. What I want to know, Karen, is there any wiggle room on the August 2 deadline?

TUMULTY

10:13:06
You know, there's, the Treasury secretary has all sorts of tools in his toolbox to extend things somewhat. But it -- they are saying that it is very serious that some time around August, we are going to be in a crisis.

REHM

10:13:22
And clearly, there are political risks for both parties, Mark.

TAPSCOTT

10:13:27
Certainly. Absolutely. And as I've said, I think the political risks are equally serious for both parties, and the Republicans are kidding themselves if they think they have a safe majority in the House. They can lose it just as quickly next November as they gained it last November.

REHM

10:13:42
Charlie...

TAPSCOTT

10:13:42
They have to take this seriously

REHM

10:13:43
Charlie Cook, yesterday on this program, said that the 2012 election is going to be the first truly incumbent out election across the board. And this may be the reason for it.

CORN

10:14:02
Well, it could be. I mean, I like Charlie a lot, but one lesson the last two years is that you can never really predict what's gonna happen...

REHM

10:14:08
Of course not,

CORN

10:14:09
...a year and a half from now. We've been on a real rollercoaster ride, and I think a lot will determine whether the administration and the White House can get handle on the economy and have some progress. And if not, I think we're looking at similar situation. I agree with Mark, a year from now, people may just be really fed up with everybody and voting more in an anger -- out of anger than out of anything else, and that would -- may not lead to the best possible outcome either.

REHM

10:14:34
Karen, The Senate sent a signal by refusing to delay the credit card fee imposition on the banks. Tell me about that.

TUMULTY

10:14:51
Well, this was an interesting fight. Essentially, it was the banks versus the retailers and the consumers as well. Essentially, what this would do would allow retailers to charge consumers less if they pay in cash or if they pay in credit cards that don't charge the retailer as high of a fee as other ones do.

REHM

10:15:16
And as I understand it, the fee had been 44 cents per swipe. The Senate wanted it -- and the retailers wanted it down to 12 cents per swipe. And there was a move to postpone that whole consideration, and that's what failed.

CORN

10:15:38
What was part of the Wall Street reform bill that passed last year was, you know, took an anti-bank position on this. So the banks have been mobilizing lots of money in donations, lots of lobbyist being hired and blankening the Hill. And so, one significance of this is it shows that the banks still haven't gotten back the political clout they had, you know, a couple of years ago before the 2008 crash.

TUMULTY

10:16:04
This wasn't even close, by the way. It was a vote of 64-33.

REHM

10:16:09
Right.

TUMULTY

10:16:09
And 17 republicans joined the Democrats.

REHM

10:16:12
Mark.

TAPSCOTT

10:16:12
Diane, I think this is the perfect illustration of what's wrong. When the Untied States has to depend upon the United States Senate to decide whether you and I pay 44 cents or 18 cents per swipe of our debit card, we should not be surprised that our economy is in a shambles.

REHM

10:16:29
Well, wait a minute. Why do you say that it strikes me -- and perhaps I'm wrong -- that the consumer obviously is paying for each swipe, and now, by the way, the banks are saying they're simply going to pass it on to the consumers but, at least, the Congress, the Senate stood up to the banks?

TAPSCOTT

10:16:59
When you politicize the economy, you get political decisions rather than economic decisions. And people who lose are the people who pay the taxes that the politicians spend.

REHM

10:17:12
Karen.

TUMULTY

10:17:12
But I don't know that it's such a bad thing that before people go out and spend money, they have a choice to think, well, do I wanna pay for this in cash instead of using my plastic because, by the way, that's also part of what got us into this problem, or if, you know, this might foster competition among the banks.

CORN

10:17:30
I mean, what we -- I think what we saw in 2008, I mean, we should never lose sight that the crash that happened, that why there are millions of people unemployed now was because of the financial sector and doing things in their free-market-get-government-out-of-our-way manner. And there have been debates in Washington prior to this about how far they should be regulated and all these securities, and they kept winning those arguments. So they weren't regulated. They went wild.

CORN

10:17:56
They did things that nobody could understand, except maybe seven of them in Wall Street. And now, the market is back. They still have their homes in the Hamptons, but millions of Americans got tossed out of work because of the contraction they caused.

TAPSCOTT

10:18:09
Crony capitalism. It is a partnership between big government and big business. That's why we had a financial problem, not because we have free markets. Free markets did not do the mortgage derivates.

CORN

10:18:22
Well, the crony capitalism came about because the banks were able to get politicians to give them regulatory free passes to do lots of this stuff.

REHM

10:18:30
David Corn, he's Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine. When we come back, we're going to take a look at what's happened to Newt Gingrich.

REHM

10:20:03
And welcome back to the domestic hour of our Friday News Roundup, looking at what's been happening in this country over the past week. It's not been a quiet week. It's never a quiet week. It's been a hot week here in Washington. Here in the studio: Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, Mark Tapscott of The Washington Examiner, David Corn of Mother Jones magazine. What is going on with Newt Gingrich and his campaign, Mark Tapscott?

TAPSCOTT

10:20:41
(laugh) Exactly what I think an awful lot of people in this town have expected to happen for quite a long time. The thing you have to remember about the Newt Gingrich campaign is there wasn't exactly an overwhelming public demand in the Republican Party for a Newt Gingrich campaign. I think, if anything, this was more of a vanity campaign, and vanity campaigns don't go anywhere.

REHM

10:21:03
Is that how you see it, Karen?

TUMULTY

10:21:05
Not entirely because I had actually been out on the road a bit with the speaker last year during the mid -- he was getting big crowds. A lot of what he was saying really resonates maybe not with the Republican establishment, but with the Tea Party people. But his campaign launch is probably, you know, the most calamitous that anyone could remember.

REHM

10:21:29
How so?

TUMULTY

10:21:30
He made a number of unfortunate comments, including referring to the Republican budget plan, the Medicare provisions as right-wing social engineering, essentially taking all those Republicans in the House who voted for it and just, you know, cutting off the plank that they had walked to the end of. There were embarrassments over his six-figure jewelry bills at Tiffany. And it seemed like everything he did to sort of fix the...

TAPSCOTT

10:21:56
Don't forget the cruise.

TUMULTY

10:21:58
Oh, in the middle...

REHM

10:21:58
Well, the cruise just happened.

TUMULTY

10:21:59
OK. In the middle of all this, he and his wife decided to go on a vacation, on a very expensive cruise. Now, all of this -- Newt Gingrich is this remarkable story of being the man of his moment, of re-invention, a big ideas guy, but he has never been a particularly disciplined figure. And the big question about him and the question he said he understood intellectually was that he was gonna have to be a different kind of person as a presidential candidate. And he has not, thus far, shown that he's able to do that.

REHM

10:22:33
So why did these top aides walked out on him, David? Who and why?

CORN

10:22:40
Oh, I don't know. Sudden rush of sanity. I mean, what they -- what they're claiming is that they could not run the campaign, that they wanted him to campaign and do the things that candidates do. He -- and they blamed his wife, Callista, for this -- wanted to go off on this two-week cruise to Greece on a boat with Twiggy, the old fashion model, for some reason. I don't know what her connection is here.

REHM

10:23:03
Who sponsored this cruise? Do we know?

CORN

10:23:05
I think it was just a cruise. I don't know if -- it wasn't one of these cruises where he speaks and makes money.

REHM

10:23:10
OK.

CORN

10:23:10
I think this was just a, you know...

REHM

10:23:12
A vacation...

CORN

10:23:13
...vacation cruise.

REHM

10:23:13
...true vacation.

CORN

10:23:14
And, you know, my guess is that that, as these things are, that that was the last straw, the last ship out of town, and that there was -- a lot of us -- of the stuff building. They probably saw his lack of discipline. I'm sure they tried to stop it...

REHM

10:23:29
OK. So can't...

CORN

10:23:30
...and focus him. But, you know, the thing about Newt is, you know, for 30 years, he's been very consistent in his inconsistency. He has this personality where people like to say he's a big ideas and policy guy and he sits down with Hillary Clinton, talks about health care IT. And he can be very engaging. But then at the other time, he is a bomb-thrower who will say anything that comes through his head. He'll call people traitors if they don't -- if he doesn't like their political positions. And he has never been able to contain the dark side.

REHM

10:23:57
Can he recover, Matt?

TAPSCOTT

10:23:59
No. I don't see any way that he can recover.

REHM

10:24:00
No. Do you agree, Karen?

TUMULTY

10:24:03
I am very skeptical at this point.

CORN

10:24:06
"Dancing with the Stars" next season.

REHM

10:24:08
All right. Why is Mitt Romney skipping the Iowa straw poll, Karen?

TUMULTY

10:24:16
Well, it's interesting. I was in Iowa just a couple of weeks ago and it's like the whole state is in this collective identity crisis. Mitt Romney spent a lot of money there last time, and he won the straw poll. And he was so formidable with how much he spent that he essentially drove John McCain and Rudy Giuliani out of Iowa. And what happened? Mike Huckabee comes in and wins it.

TUMULTY

10:24:44
Iowa is a very quirky state. It's not a terribly representative state. It's overwhelmingly white. It's elder -- it's older than average. And I think Mitt Romney is looking at this state and recognizing he can't win there. And if he does badly in the first contest, that could cripple him. So he's putting a lot of effort into New Hampshire.

REHM

10:25:11
But he's still, as I understand it, planning to participate in the Iowa caucuses, isn't he, Matt?

TAPSCOTT

10:25:18
Well, he certainly has to. I mean, you have to participate in it, to some degree, if you're gonna be a serious candidate. I think he's made a calculation that the odds are that Michele Bachmann, for example, is gonna do very well in that. And he just wants to get past that because it'll be a temporary...

REHM

10:25:34
Well, you know, what's interesting to me is that Michele Bachmann is listed as one of the people invited to participate in a debate on Monday night. She hasn't declared her candidacy. I don't understand it.

TUMULTY

10:25:54
Oh, I was -- I also saw her when I was in Iowa a week ago. She says she will declare her candidacy in June -- she will declare whether she's running in June, but she made it very clear that she is all but in the race. She keeps pointing out that she is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, which is where she will announce this decision.

CORN

10:26:14
Yeah. You don't tend to travel to Iowa to not announce...

TAPSCOTT

10:26:19
No.

CORN

10:26:19
...and she says she is gonna be there. She also hired Ed Rollins to be her campaign manager when she gets up...

REHM

10:26:24
Right. But doesn't that mean she's got to announce before Monday...

CORN

10:26:30
No.

REHM

10:26:30
...to participate in the debate?

CORN

10:26:32
Well, then maybe that is the issue, actually.

REHM

10:26:35
I don't...

CORN

10:26:35
They have a fair amount of latitude. The interesting thing about -- you know, she hired Ed Rollins. And just a couple of weeks ago, he was saying, as a pundit, she had no chance of winning. And after the State of the Union speech, when she gave her Tea Party response, remember, competing with Congressman Ryan, he got up and he said, she's not a serious player. Now he thinks she should be the next president of the United States. You should, you know, you should get Ed on the show.

REHM

10:27:00
Karen?

TUMULTY

10:27:01
I think the rules of who's in and out of debates are not necessarily -- for one thing, the parties can kinda make the rules. They will set up some threshold in the polls...

REHM

10:27:10
I see. I see.

TUMULTY

10:27:11
...or something like that. And the fact is, she's a factor, and it's a better debate if she's there.

REHM

10:27:17
OK. Let me go back for a minute to Mitt Romney and his statement regarding global warming, Mark. He has said he believes there is -- that the planet is getting warmer and that humans are contributing to that pattern. Rush Limbaugh has slammed global warming. And, you know, where do we go with this?

TAPSCOTT

10:27:49
The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein pointed this very problem out in a column last week that people have focused, heretofore, on his RomneyCare problem. That's not his biggest problem. His biggest problem is these kinds of issues -- some of which include flip-flops by him in the past -- that raised questions about whether or not he can be trusted, if he's elected, to do the things that he promised to do. And that's exactly the problem that so many people have with so many politicians in both parties these days. They don't believe them.

CORN

10:28:22
But in this instance, he hasn't flip-flopped. He's not yet. And, you know...

REHM

10:28:26
He was consistent on the global warming issue.

CORN

10:28:29
And his problem is, you know -- gosh, darn it -- he believes what most scientists believe. He believes what most heads of state believe. He believes what a lot of Republicans believe before the Tea Party came in. He believes what John McCain believed in 2008, that global warming has a man -- or human-, you know, made component, and that we need to do something about it.

REHM

10:28:50
Karen...

CORN

10:28:50
And for that, he's gonna have to pay a price because Rush Limbaugh thinks that he knows better than most scientists.

TUMULTY

10:28:55
Look, if this Republican primary is going to be a test of ideological purity, Mitt Romney is not going to win it. So Mitt Romney's strategy to win this thing is to portray himself as the guy who is best capable of dealing with the economy, who has the best experience for dealing with the economy and, by the way, who has the best chance of beating Barack Obama in November of 2011. Those arguments either sell or they don't. But I just don't think that this is gonna affect whether or not he gets the nomination.

TAPSCOTT

10:29:26
It's -- it is wrong to frame this issue as purity test. That's -- that is a very obsolete way of looking at it. It's not ideology now. It's whether or not we have a candidate who can be trusted. Professional politicians in both parties are the problems. And whoever among the Republican field most persuades Republican primary voters, that they can be believed and they can be depended upon to do what they say they will do, that's who will be the nominee.

REHM

10:30:00
Mark Tapscott, he is editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner. Do join us, 800-433-8850. Karen, there is a growing chorus of Democrats calling for Congressman Weiner to resign. Is he likely to, or is his wife's pregnancy likely to mitigate those calls?

TUMULTY

10:30:33
I am still very skeptical that he can survive this. I'm gonna be very interested, for instance, to hear what Speaker Nancy -- former speaker, now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has to say later today. She has a public appearance in San Francisco at a Medicare event with Kathleen Sebelius. But Anthony Weiner returns. The House has been out of session this week.

TUMULTY

10:30:55
That has been a blessing for him. He returns Monday to this whole firestorm just being reignited when Congress gets back into town. The Democratic caucus is gonna be a very hostile place for him to be.

REHM

10:31:11
I wonder whether it's even worse because we're in such hard economic times, Mark.

TAPSCOTT

10:31:22
That certainly does not help any politician who's got an ethical problem right now, because, you know, people have an expectation that we elected you to do serious work on serious problems, and you're not doing that. But then, you have the poll that came out yesterday that shows that, I think, 56 percent of those that they surveyed in New York City say, well, he ought to stick around.

REHM

10:31:44
David Corn.

CORN

10:31:44
Well, because I think they've looked at what he's done professionally and they agree with it, you know? And, you know, any time sex enters the public discourse, hypocrisy is about a nanosecond away. So Democrats who stood by Bill Clinton, who you could argue did something worse -- And I'll leave it to the people to come up with their own judgments here -- you know, are now calling for Weiner to leave.

TAPSCOTT

10:32:07
And Republicans, who had no problem with David Vitter staying in the Senate, and Larry Craig and John Ensign wasn't forced to resign by the Republican in the Senate, are now saying that Weiner has to leave. So, I mean, it's all about political calculation. The political calculation at the moment of the Democrats is they thought they had the Republicans on the run with the Ryan budget and Medicare, and now they feel like they're talking about Anthony Weiner's Twitter pics, and they don't want that.

TUMULTY

10:32:36
There's another contrast here, though, that I think is really quite damaging to the Democrats, and that is of Congressman Chris Lee, the Republican from New York, who did something sort of less egregious. He put out a picture of himself shirtless on Craigslist, looking, apparently, for a date. He was gone. And the Republicans are gonna point out that contrast.

REHM

10:32:58
Karen Tumulty, national political reporter for The Washington Post. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." David Corn, did Leon Panetta, during his confirmation hearings this week, give any indication about how he plans to rein in defense spending?

CORN

10:33:23
No. I mean, this is -- the president has tried to make this an issue. And, you know, a lot of folks say that, you know, that it's been a modest effort at best from this administration. And, you know, Gates has gone after a few weapons program, and there're been this fight between some Republicans and the administration over certain big-ticket items.

CORN

10:33:44
But certainly, Leon Panetta did not put on -- is not advocating, before he enters the building, severe or, you know, change-the-roles-type of cuts. And a lot of the question, too, a lot of the money now also depends on Afghanistan.

REHM

10:34:00
Exactly. And did he give any indication about whether he plans to pull out more troops that outgoing Secretary Gates would?

TUMULTY

10:34:12
I was interested by Sen. Susan Collins, saying, you know, what does the end look like here?

REHM

10:34:17
Right.

TUMULTY

10:34:18
Essentially, he gave a lot of signals that there would be a bigger drawdown, but he said, ultimately, that's a decision for the commanders and for the president to make and that he will implement that decision.

REHM

10:34:30
All right. We're going to open the phones now, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to drshow@wamu.org. Join us on Facebook or Twitter. Let's go first to Richard who's in Cincinnati, Ohio. Good morning. You're on the air.

RICHARD

10:34:55
Good morning. My congressman, Congressman Chabot, had a town hall meeting at which he really didn't take any open questions. But I wanted to ask him this or say this to him. It's about the -- raising the deficit ceiling.

RICHARD

10:35:11
Some people think that a congressman who voted to authorize a war but who failed to insist that any provision be made to pay for that war, who helped to ensure that for the first time in the history of our republic we're waging a war without having taken any actions or raise money to pay for that war, who before the start of the war voted to reduce revenues then voted two months after the war started to reduce revenues again, a decision that guaranteed the ballooning of the national debt, some people think that such a man should be taken under his word when he calls himself a responsible fiscal conservative or a budget hawk. But I disagree respectfully.

REHM

10:35:51
All right, sir. Thanks for calling. Mark Tapscott.

TAPSCOTT

10:35:55
Was that a question or a speech?

REHM

10:35:57
Well, it was, in terms of paying for the Afghanistan war and yet refusing to raise the debt limit.

TAPSCOTT

10:36:07
Absolutely. I, you know, I think that is the kind of question that is fundamentally leading to the kind of re-examination that clearly is going on in the government today about whether or not we should be in Afghanistan to begin with. I think there is a search for a way out, and they're gonna find one.

TUMULTY

10:36:29
You hear the same argument, by the way, being made about the fact that the Republicans put through a massive Medicare prescription drug program as well and didn't pay for it. What they say is, look, that was the past. We regret those mistakes, and let's talk about the future.

CORN

10:36:46
Yeah. But I do think the caller hits on this rank hypocrisy in the center of a lot of this because, you know, we need -- we have trillions of dollars in debt, not because of what we've done in the last six months or the year. It's over what's happened over the past 10 years. And there's a chart -- you know, I'll put it on my Twitter feed later if people wanna look at it -- that explains this very easily.

CORN

10:37:11
If you look at the causes of the debt for now and the 10 years ahead, more than Afghanistan, more that the Iraq war, more than the Medicare drug bill that was passed, it is the Bush tax cuts that sucked out the revenue and caused this problem.

REHM

10:37:25
And David Corn is clearly not only Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine but making application to be chief economist to the world. We'll take a short break here and be right back.

REHM

10:40:03
And welcome back. We'll go right to the phones. First, to Tulsa, Okla. Good morning, John. You're on the air.

JOHN

10:40:14
Well, good morning. Thanks a lot. Hey, I'll be brief, but I wanted just to talk about the trust factor. You were just talking about trust with your panelists and how important that would be, and then we went to Weiner. And then somehow, we depart from that idea of trust because sex isn't, suddenly isn't a trust issue.

JOHN

10:40:31
But I take exception with that. I'm married. And in my most basic relationships and being faithful on the small things would be how I am to my family. How can I divorce myself from trust with my most basic relationships from who I am in my public life? Community starts -- whom we raise our children, our families and how we relate to our spouses.

CORN

10:40:53
You know...

REHM

10:40:54
Great statement...

CORN

10:40:55
...the great thing is, that people get to render their own judgment. During the Clinton scandal, I said, people thought that he shouldn't be behaving that way in office. They were entitled to believe that. They thought it disqualified him. They're entitled to make that case. I think the same thing is true with any of these politicians.

CORN

10:41:13
And if Anthony Weiner thinks he can make it to Election Day and put himself before the judgment of people like the caller who's not in his district, then we'll see what people think. But this -- it's a legitimate debate and discussion for us to have.

REHM

10:41:25
Thanks for calling, John. Let's go to Cincinnati, Ohio. Good morning, Mike.

MIKE

10:41:34
Hi.

REHM

10:41:34
Hi.

MIKE

10:41:35
Hi. I just wanted to comment on your -- what you'd said earlier about the possibility than in the next election there will be an anti-incumbent movement.

REHM

10:41:44
Yeah.

MIKE

10:41:45
And I think that that's absolutely the case. And I think we'll also see people selecting independents and maybe even letting in candidates because they just they just want a clean House. I also feel that, you know, the whole idea of the left-right paradigm, people are just beyond that and they're thinking in terms of are you for the special interest in the corporations or you're for the people.

REHM

10:42:09
Mark.

TAPSCOTT

10:42:10
I have done a great deal of work, you know, over the last few years with the good folks at the Sunlight Foundation, which is not exactly a conservative group. And I've done that because I agree with the caller very much. I think there is a trans-partisan yearning in this country for solutions, for people who will not serve the interest of the special interest in this town, rather recognize that people outside of Washington have lives to live, and government, too often, gets in the way of doing that.

REHM

10:42:39
All right. To Raleigh, N.C.. Good morning, Bill.

BILL

10:42:43
Good morning, Diane. And listen, to that last caller and both of your news people there, I totally disagree. North Carolina is hosting the Democratic Convention in Charlotte next year, A. B, the Republican legislature here has passed a law that's gonna make it tougher for people to vote. C, the polls still show Obama and the Democrats are ahead.

BILL

10:43:16
And, D, that caller and the respondent on your panel who said, oh, yes, people were anxious to get in right hand and do other things, baloney. The people are gonna vote the two-party system. And if Obama doesn't have any major, major disasters, he's gonna be re-elected.

REHM

10:43:25
Karen.

TUMULTY

10:43:26
Well, Bill, especially calling from North Carolina, I would suggest that, you know, over the next year and a half, you are gonna hear -- your caller ID is gonna be jammed, your mailbox is gonna be jammed. I mean, North Carolina really does look like it could be, you know...

REHM

10:43:43
A very decisive state.

TUMULTY

10:43:43
...the bellwether of bellwether states.

REHM

10:43:46
I'm glad you called, Bill. Thanks. To Haverhill, Mass., good morning, Richard.

RICHARD

10:43:53
Good morning, Diane. I know Jon Huntsman has not yet announced his candidacy. But if he should catch on and after he announces, and ever get the nomination, he'll be toughest candidate for Barack Obama to beat. He's a moderate Republican -- and I consider Barack Obama a moderate Republican. There's not much philosophical difference between him about the role of government. But what -- if he got the nomination, that would just transfer him the whole Republican Party.

RICHARD

10:44:25
The people on the right would be mad, obviously, but I think also we he could get more done than Barack Obama because the Democrats, basically, in the Congress wouldn't be trying to block everything that Huntsman would try to get through.

REHM

10:44:42
That's interesting. I have a dear friend from Oklahoma who has been watching Jon Huntsman ever since Barack Obama was elected. And Obama sent Huntsman to China. What do you think about Jon Huntsman?

TUMULTY

10:45:01
You know, I really -- I've seen him speak a few times. I really don't know enough -- I know what his record is, but I don't know enough about how he's gonna present himself in this campaign, what kind of niche he's gonna find in the Republican field, and, quite frankly, what his path to victory in a Republican primary would be. He's saying Florida is gonna be his big state. That was also Rudy Giuliani's playbook four years ago, and he was gone before he could get to Florida. So I'm just, you know, he's a fascinating character, but I still need to learn to a lot more.

CORN

10:45:38
You know, there's a thinking that one thing he's gonna try to do is run a campaign based on the theme of new civility. And if that doesn't put him out of -- put most Republican primary voters, I don't know what will. I mean, I'm just going off with what Mark said earlier too. He doesn't tap into the anger. You know, he worked for Barack Obama. He praised Barack Obama. He doesn't, you know, whether there is an ideological litmus test or not, he certainly doesn't pass it. And the thing, too, is he's untested on the national stage. And performance counts a lot. If you can perform as...

REHM

10:46:11
But he currently did a great job in China. Mark, what do you think?

CORN

10:46:15
Well, maybe ambassadors...

TAPSCOTT

10:46:17
He also did, according to number of folks, he also did a very credible job as governor of Utah. And that provides him some credibility with the Republican conservative base. But I think Karen is exactly right. He's trying to figure out, how am I gonna run? What is Jon Huntsman gonna need in the campaign? And that remains to be seen.

REHM

10:46:38
All right. To Joe in Detroit, Mich. Good morning. You're on the air.

JOE

10:46:45
Love your show, listening to it on my SiriusXM Radio (unintelligible).

REHM

10:46:48
Thank you.

JOE

10:46:48
Yes. I'm calling in regard to your panel's earlier discussion of Republican candidates. And why -- speaking of the endless wars that never end, and this reckless creasing of the world and the destruction of the dollar with the printing of the money, why we haven't talked about Dr. Ron Paul? (unintelligible).

REHM

10:47:04
He was on this program, you know? He was on this program several weeks ago. How serious are you, Joe, about Ron Paul?

JOE

10:47:16
I think he resonates with the voice of American people that the wars and overseas spending need to stop before we cut domestic spending. That we just can't afford the policing of the world anymore, and that the printing of the money is just ruining our middle class by the...

REHM

10:47:30
All right.

TAPSCOTT

10:47:30
Yeah.

REHM

10:47:30
Thanks for calling. Karen?

TUMULTY

10:47:32
He's -- well, he is -- Congressman Paul is now running for the third time. He always draws a very enthusiastic...

CORN

10:47:41
Yes.

TUMULTY

10:47:41
...following, but not a particularly large one. And all of the debates, it's always the Paul people who were shouting the loudest in the hall. The question is whether the Republican Party would nominate as it nominee someone who, for -- who opposed the Afghan war and who, for instance, favors legalizing drugs.

CORN

10:48:01
You know, the interesting thing about the Paul supporters -- and, you know, and you have to like there enthusiasm and passion to a certain degree -- is that they really do believe that he's the -- that Ron Paul speaks for 98 percent of America. And somehow, when they get -- when it comes to Election Day, they can't fully explain what went wrong. They...

REHM

10:48:20
I wouldn't laugh if I were you, David Corn. You never know.

CORN

10:48:26
Well, that's why I would say about Huntsman too and Ron Paul. I mean, but Ron Paul, as a libertarian, as an arch-libertarian, he is out of step with some very hardcore Republican principles.

REHM

10:48:36
All right. To Missoula, Mo., good morning, John.

JOHN

10:48:41
Hey, good morning. Great show.

REHM

10:48:42
Thanks.

JOHN

10:48:42
You know, the question I ask with regard to this, it seems like what we're talking about or what I'm hearing is the same thing I hear constantly regarding our election and political cycles is, you know, we talk about speculation. We talk about, you know, the hypocrisy. But it's the same issues over and over and over.

JOHN

10:49:02
What is gonna draw out and what are some potential solutions to get people more involved to actually create change because what's happening is the same thing over and over again. And I just am curious of how we're gonna change -- how we're really gonna substantively change 'cause it's getting old?

REHM

10:49:17
Good question. Mark Tapscott.

TAPSCOTT

10:49:20
I think the fundamental prerequisite for having any kind of real change, any lasting change is a new cast of characters in this town, people who are not prisoners of conventional wisdom about what government can and should be doing. The issue is whether or not, as the previous caller suggested, we're going to have an election next November where, fundamental, anti-incumbent result produces a new cast of characters here. I personally think that we will.

REHM

10:49:54
Karen.

TUMULTY

10:49:56
Well, first of all, I think John was calling in from beautiful Missoula, Mont. to torment us on this dreadful Washington day. But he gets to something here. Because if you look at the last three elections that, you know, 2012 would suggest, I mean, in 2010, a party got kicked out of office. In 2008, a party got kicked out of the White House. In 2006 -- the voters are -- they don't have much patience. They give these people a little bit of time to come in and do the job and then they are ready to just, sort of, hand them their hats.

REHM

10:50:30
And surely, that's part of what the technological changes have brought.

TAPSCOTT

10:50:35
Absolutely, absolutely.

CORN

10:50:35
But that -- that may be part of it too, but a lot of these issues we face, what's wrong with the economy is not just the crash, but there's that some fundamental restructuring that needs to go on. It may not be minimal to repair in a one election cycle.

REHM

10:50:49
And...

CORN

10:50:50
And then the other thing is I think a lot of independents, particularly, they want -- they -- one reason they voted for President Obama, they want someone to come to Washington and change things, but not fight about it. But how can you not fight over these things when there's some very serious divides? And the public has to make some decisions in terms of which side and which approaches they want to see implemented.

REHM

10:51:10
Karen, tell me about the efforts on the part of the Obama administration to get the economy moving.

TUMULTY

10:51:19
Well, they, you know, they keep pointing to the things that they have done, and they, you know, their argument seems to be, you know, that we'd be in even a worse of a position than we are now. But the president is going out around the country, he's going to a lot of swing states and talking about things like initiatives in education and things like that that would open up more opportunities, create more jobs for people. He talks about green jobs.

TUMULTY

10:51:47
But these are all -- I think the sense is that they don't add up. There are a lot of things that all sound good, but they don't add up to what feels like an economic strategy.

REHM

10:51:56
And Mark, I understand the White House is considering a payroll tax break for employers. What does that mean?

TAPSCOTT

10:52:06
Basically, it means they're out of ideas. You know, a payroll tax we had -- a temporary payroll tax cut...

REHM

10:52:13
For employees...

TAPSCOTT

10:52:14
For employees, right.

REHM

10:52:14
...but now it's for employers.

TAPSCOTT

10:52:17
The problem is that that does not address the fundamental problem that is keeping our economy from growing, and that is the conviction among people with capital that now is not the time to invest in economic growth because they have no certainty about what government policy is going to be a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now.

CORN

10:52:39
You know, Paul Krugman calls this the confidence fairy. Any time in any past and to the Bush years, you could say, we don't know what tax policy is gonna be a year now because it's always up for grabs. It's always for change. The problem with the economy is not because of government regulation or government decisions. It's what Wall Street did that triggered this collapse.

REHM

10:52:58
David Corn of Mother Jones magazine, and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Karen.

TUMULTY

10:53:06
Well, as long as we're talking about revenues, I think we should be keeping our eyes in some other areas as well. For instance, the White House, in these negotiations, is talking about possibly, you know, it -- getting rid of some tax breaks for oil companies.

TUMULTY

10:53:19
I think that, politically speaking, at a time when we're all essentially paying as much as to fill our cars as we are on our mortgages -- I'm exaggerating, of course -- but when you're, you know, it takes 60, 70, $80 to fill up your tank, it's gonna be politically hard, I think, for the Republicans to argue against, you know, getting rid of some of these oil companies.

CORN

10:53:38
But they are resisting.

TAPSCOTT

10:53:39
Here's he problem that Washington doesn't understand. Anytime Washington politicians say, we're going to invest or we're gonna have an infrastructure program, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, people outside of Washington hear they're going to spend more. A tax increase is not going -- they don't take it seriously because people do not believe that Washington politicians will spend the extra revenue on deficit reduction. They think they'll spend it on helping their political allies.

REHM

10:54:05
But, you know, Bill Clinton made a speech couple of weeks ago and said very plainly, straightforwardly, something has to give on both sides. You cannot...

CORN

10:54:21
But that is true, but we can't rely on sort of rhetoric and camp. People like spending on Medicare. They like environmental regulations. They don't like stuffing their food that shouldn't be there. That costs money to do.

REHM

10:54:34
Of course, it does. But there...

CORN

10:54:34
They like -- and they like having good roads.

REHM

10:54:37
All right.

CORN

10:54:37
They like having parks.

REHM

10:54:38
David, there has to be...

CORN

10:54:41
Well, if they...

REHM

10:54:41
...some give on both sides. That's all there is to it.

CORN

10:54:45
Well, that may well be. But...

REHM

10:54:47
And there has to be some cuts.

CORN

10:54:47
But right now -- but if you come into the conversation saying, government spending is bad, period, tax revenue is bad, period, then you're not offering any gives.

TAPSCOTT

10:54:57
That's not what I said, David.

CORN

10:54:57
You're saying...

TAPSCOTT

10:54:57
What I said was...

CORN

10:54:58
I'm saying it's what Republicans are saying.

REHM

10:54:59
Hold on.

CORN

10:54:59
That's what republicans are saying.

REHM

10:54:59
Hold on.

TAPSCOTT

10:55:00
Let me clarify. I did not say that tax revenue is bad. What I said is people outside of Washington do not believe politicians in either party will take the revenue that would come from a tax increase, whatever the kind of tax increase, and use it for deficit reduction. They believe they will use it to benefit their political allies, whether that's big labor...

CORN

10:55:21
They also...

TAPSCOTT

10:55:22
...big banks and so forth. But the problem is credibility.

CORN

10:55:23
But they also weren't spending -- but they weren't spending for these other issues. And we can argue...

TAPSCOTT

10:55:27
That's...

CORN

10:55:28
I mean, and if they don't...

TAPSCOTT

10:55:29
That's up to debate.

CORN

10:55:29
...but if they don't understand, I mean, this -- the conventional view is that the stimulus did save and preserve two to $3 million -- two to 3 million jobs. Now, the Republicans come out and say that's not true at all, so they are tainting the debate by putting out a false set of facts.

REHM

10:55:47
All right. Karen, I'm gonna give you the last word.

TUMULTY

10:55:50
Well, I'm just sitting here, trying to dodge...

TAPSCOTT

10:55:52
Sorry, Karen.

TUMULTY

10:55:53
...the fire.

REHM

10:55:54
I know it.

TAPSCOTT

10:55:54
Nothing is flying. Nothing is flying.

REHM

10:55:55
I know it. I know it. I got a last caller here in Timonium, Md., who's been waiting. Charles, quick question, please.

CHARLES

10:56:05
No crisis is really hard. I'm 86-year-old World War II combat infantry vet in Belgium and Germany. This is idiotic to have the jerk Rush Limbaugh set the pace of this country of ours. Have some competent, scientific people on our side, and those who switch go on with global warming, and have his people debate the issue. He's a jerk. He's full of hot air. Bye.

REHM

10:56:27
All right.

REHM

10:56:30
And Charles got the last word this morning. He's from Timonium, Md. David Corn of Mother Jones magazine, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post, Mark Tapscott at The Washington Examiner. And I want to apologize to our listeners this morning for the talking over and the argumentation. It was less than civil today, but we'll try to do better next hour. Thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.

ANNOUNCER

10:57:07
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