UYGUR: But let`s go to the next question. What`s the debt got to do with it? Republicans manage to turn everything, including talk on creating jobs into a lecture on the country`s debt. What House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said today after meeting with Vice President Biden? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: We believe that much of the problem surrounding the lack of job creation and growth in this country has to do with the fact that there isn`t a credible plan to manage down the debt deficit in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UYGUR: All right. OK. Heidi, do people really believe this? I mean, do Republicans really believe this? That if we cut spending, it will somehow magically jobs will grow?
HARRIS: Well, we have to cut spending because people won`t hire anyone if they`re not — know what the future is going to be for the country. That`s the problem. The biggest problem is confidence. It`s not that all these companies in America don`t have any money. They are just scared to death to spend it just like a lot of average American citizens like me are not spending money that we`re not sure we need to spend. Because we don`t know what`s coming around the corner. So, I think he`s right about that.
PRESS: All of us recognize, we have a serious debt problem, we`ve got a serious deficit problem. But there is a serious plan out there which is the president`s budget plan. And there is a crazy plan which is the Paul Ryan plan. I think the — here is where they are failing. They are making the big mistake, number one, thinking Americans think this is the number one issue. It`s not. Jobs and the economy are the number one issue. And two, they talk fiscal responsibility but they don`t want to get rid of subsidies, for the oil companies, the tax cuts for the wealthy, they don`t want to cut the Pentagon, they don`t want to do anything about the war in Afghanistan. They are hypocrites on this issue.
HARRIS: Oh, come on.
UYGUR: Hold on. I want Christina in here. Christina, is it credible — is it credible Christina to say, hey, if we cut spending somehow that will create jobs? Especially between now and the election, which is, you know, next year and a half. Is that even feasible? How would that work?
BELLANTONI: I am not an economist. I will point out that we have cut spending. And that is a question that I think the Obama White House is tossing back at the majority leader of looking at, you know, we have made a lot of significant changes and we are working on the economy. But I think it`s also important to throw this question back to Cantor of, look at some of the people in your caucus are saying that it would be OK to default on the nation`s debt if they don`t increase the debt ceiling. I mean, that is a bigger question and that certainly would not create much certainty for businesses who are going to be hiring. So, there is a lot of rhetoric that`s going around. I mean, it`s all politics. And everyone is worried about keeping their own job in the next election.
UYGUR: Now, one more thing about this. You know, when you look at the polls, about half the country trusts President Obama on Medicare. Only 35 percent for the Republicans, but now we are looking at the White House putting Medicare apparently on the table. Bill, is that a terrible idea? Why go down that road with the Republicans?
PRESS: You know, look, it came up today at the briefing, Cenk. And let`s be careful, the president is not putting Medicare on the table to kill it the way Paul Ryan is, the way the Republicans who adopted the Paul Ryan plan are. What the president is saying is there is significant savings and how you deliver Medicare over the next ten years that can save money. And that is reform it, don`t kill it. There is a big difference there. And the American people understand it.
HARRIS: Here`s the problem though.
PRESS: Heidi, let me finish. I think the Republicans committed political suicide by adopting the Ryan plan. They voted for it. It`s their baby.
HARRIS: Yes. But the problem is your version of saving Medicare, reforming Medicare is to pay doctors less money. I`ve got news for you buddy, a lot of doctors are not going to take Medicare patients. Do you know that doctors don`t have to — doctors don`t have to take Medicare patients?
PRESS: Heidi, that is not part of the plan. You`re behind the curve there, Heidi. You don`t know your facts. That`s behind the curve.
UYGUR: Heidi, let me ask you a different question. If the White House comes in and says, look, we cut Medicare but are not calling it “Cutting it” we`re calling it “reforming it,” does that let you guys off the hook? Do you feel like, hey, oh thank God, man, we were getting killed on this issue? Now, here comes the Democrats and the rest.
HARRIS: I don`t think we are getting killed on the issue on the right.
HARRIS: People on the right don`t want to kill grandma. We want grandma to have Medicare. Here is the difference. The Democrats who say that Medicare is not in trouble are lying to you. And if you want to believe their lies, you can. I want grandma to have that. I don`t want grandma to die.
PRESS: Heidi, I got two words for you.
PRESS: New York 26. You tried that argument in the most conservative district in New York State and you lost your shirt on it.
BELLANTONI: That is one special election.
UYGUR: Christina, put aside whether you agree or disagree on the Medicare cuts, et cetera. It does seem objectively that Republicans are not in good shape on it. Poll numbers, 26th district, et cetera. Am I seeing that wrong?
BELLANTONI: That was one special election I think it`s not a predictor of what will happen in 2012. And there`s going to a million factors that go into that election including the presidential race. But it is also important to really look at the fact that Republicans are campaigning on this, as well. So, they are looking at certain polling. They are looking at the American people. And they think that this is a winning issue for them. So, it`s not a real clear-cut one person wins and one person loses.
PRESS: All right. I think it is. I really disagree.
UYGUR: Go ahead.
PRESS: I think on this issue, I think this issue Republicans have put the House of Representatives in play on this one issue.
UYGUR: Well, then Bill, OK, if they have, I mean, no matter how you spin it and you say, it`s reform or not reform, if the White House says, yes, we`ll going to help them cut it a little bit, don`t you lose at least the rhetorical advantage much less the policy which I don`t necessarily agree with?
PRESS: No, I think if you look at the president`s plan. You see what the reality is, Cenk. I mean, the president is not going to go out and say, we are just not going to touch Medicare because it`s peachy keen, it`s rosy. There are some problems with Medicare and with Social Security and with the whole…
UYGUR: They would not have acknowledged if the Republicans didn`t force them to, Bill. You know that`s true.
PRESS: But again, the answer is not to kill them. And that`s what the Republicans.
HARRIS: Oh, yes, the answer is to kick it down the road six more years. I know. It always is. Four more years to kick it down the road.
UYGUR: All right. So, Christian, one last thing. Christina, look, you know, there is a conflicting things here. In Washington, they say you`ve got to show people you`re serious. On the other hand, the Democrats seem to be winning on the Medicare issue. So, politically, how does that split? How does that work? Is the White House convinced, well, even though we are winning on Medicare, and I think they are, convinced that they are doing that, we`ve still got to bite the bullet because the deficit issue is what? More important to the country? More important to Washington? How does the play out?
BELLANTONI: I mean, I think they recognize the deficit is important. That`s why the president has said that that`s what he wants to focus on this year. But consider what Obama has done in many cases. He`s compromised on tax breaks for the wealthy, which he said, he campaigns about taking those away. And he signed a plan that continued extending them. That`s because he is working with the Republicans. And I think that he is under a little bit of pressure. If they come to him with some legitimate plan that can cut this, he`s going to have to take a serious look at that, in part because of his re-election hopes. But in part because people do want to actually get something done in Washington. He`ll have to face that question if it`s just politics or if he wants to get something done.
HARRIS: That`s absolutely right. He only has to deal with the right because he is forced to now. Remember, he didn`t talk to the right, until he lost the House.
PRESS: Obama is not that dumb.
UYGUR: I will get things done in a different way. But I hear you guys. All right. We`ll going to leave it right there. Bill Press, Heidi Harris, Christina Bellantoni, thank you so much, all of you.
PRESS: Thanks, Cenk.
Transcribed by the Barefoot Accountant of Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC
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