State of the Union: Political Capital (01/24)

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Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) –- This week on “Political Capital,” Tom Daschle and Tom Davis preview President Obama’s State of the Union Address with host Al Hunt. Also, Bloomberg’s Indira Lakshmanan talks about conflicts in Syria and Iran and Bloomberg View Columnists Margaret Carlson and Lanhee Chen debate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. (Source: Bloomberg)

This week on "political capital", they preview president obama's state of the union address.

More about conflicts in syria and iran.

And the debate with chris christie.

We begin the program with former senate majority leader tom daschle.

Thank you for being your.

Obama with relatively low ratings.

What does he have to do to turn things around?

He has to show energy.

He has to show passion or the things he wants to do in the second term.

There is a feeling of lethargy.

He has had some setbacks.

He needs to reading gauge and re-energize.

And i think he will do that.

The focus, we are told, will be on income inequality, which is very real.

The critics say that it is derisive and that obama offers no solutions.

Whether he offer solutions or not, you cannot ignore it.

There are too many studies about it.

There's been a lot of intention -- attention internationally.

I think it would be bad to ignore it.

We have to adjust that.

We have got conservatives and liberals talking about it.

They have different ways of addressing it.

But clearly, there is a universal recognition.

Could there be a consensus?

I think there is always a chance.

At that is always the question.

How close can he get to finding common ground?

Let me get the common ground, in just a moment.

First, let me ask about health care.

Do you think it is over its worst troubles?

Do you think were going to have anywhere close to 7 million people sign up why late spring.

Will health care premiums soar?

We have surpassed 7 million, if you think about three categories.

Will there be more glitches?

Of course.

This is not easy.

We are creating a whole new paradigm of health in this country.

That is a challenge.

I think he has gone through the toughest part.

Obviously, the rollout was a disaster.

Everybody recognizes that.

They are doing much better.

And premiums, i think, all being considered, i think will be stable, maybe even down from what they were in the past.

The reason why, of course, is because we are reducing cost.

It is the lowest it has been for over 30 years.

That is amazing.

A lot of it has to do with aca and the number of actions that the administration is taking outside of the aca to control costs.

You and trent lott wrote a op ed, saying that both sides have taken too unyielding positions.

Where the democrats been culpable?

The most consequential if the opportunity that republicans would like to have to offer amendments.

We all do that, as majority leader.

I did it.

There is a tendency to want to direct the debate and keep the debate as contained as you can.

Harry reid to start yielding on that?

I don't know if i would say yield.

But cooperate.

You also say there ought to be periodic sessions between republicans and democrats, like there used to be.

Usage is holding the victim david.

President obama, unlike other presidents, has rarely used the presidential retreat to talk to lawmakers and others.

Has this been a mistake in making the change?

I think the president has always felt that there has to be cooperation on both sides.

He does not feel like there's been adequate cooperation.

Might the areas you cannot give up.

You've got to keep frying.

You've got to find ways to go outside of the normal venues.

Break out of those venues.

Find ways to personalize the relationship more than you have.

Will use can be bid?

-- camp david?

I don't think so.

He has used it some.

It is not his nature.

He is not used that as much as i would like to see.

He said the obama white house is the most insular since the nixon white house.

Is that a fair assessment?

I cannot speak historically.

I would doubt that it is the most insular.

Too insular, yes.

I have not made it any secret that i think the more engaged, the more creatively involved they are, that the members of congress, the members of the media, and members of all stripes in washington, serves them well.

You have got to being gauged.

The more you are engaged, the more likely you will have the relationship that you will need to move legislation.

Do you see any encouraging signs that this is changing?

I have to say the chief of staff who used to work with me is phenomenal.

He is on the hill a lot.

He gets great remarks from members of both parties.

I think he has done what i would like to see more of.

Let me ask you, as a political analyst, how much do you think chris christie's aspirations have been hurt by his controversy?

I think it is unfortunate.

I do not think it is irreparable eeriness but it is going to be tough.

He is a lot of work to do to repair it here in -- repair it.

There are several major stories this weekend about the clinton republican classes.

That would be a hillary.

Is there a danger that it is too washington heavy.

Too we are going to corner, rather than capture the nomination, assuming that she runs?

Some of it is outside of their immediate realm.

It has all been done, offensively, without her a consent -- consent or opposition.

We have a long way to go.

We still have another midterm election.

You have to be a little concerned about the level of visibility and perception that you are trying to lock out others who might otherwise participate.

There is a danger in that.

Most people think she is likely to run.

What steps should she taken this very long process to alleviate some of this?

I don't know that she needs any advice for me.

I think probably the most important thing is for her to be seen as a normal human being for a while.

You know not have to be on the stage -- you do not have to be seen on the stage or in official capacities all the time.

Writing a book is a good thing.

The clinton global initiative that would be a good thing.

The less political she looks today, the more politically advantage she is.

You don't have any doubt that she was ron, william -- will run, do you?

No.

i don't know when the last time was that someone was able to get this kind of support is early for an open seat.

You have followed it, as i have.

This is really remarkable.

Tom daschle, thank you for being with us.

More on what to expect in the state of the union.

Welcome back.

With me now is tom davis.

Thank you for being with us.

Obama with comparatively low ratings before the state of the union.

What does he have to do to turn it around?

He has to stand a positive note.

He has to avoid divisive issues.

Half of the country likes him.

Have of the country does not like him at all.

Are there issues that will work for that?

I think he can talk about the budget.

I think he can talk about a lot of things.

I don't think inequality works for him.

I do not think it is a winner for the democrats.

It is for the progressive group.

But romney did a couple points better in some areas.

People in wealthy suburbs are going to dissipate on them.

What should be the tone of the republican response?

It should be respectful.

You should draw the line on where you're going to work with the president.

Call attention to the issues.

Foreign policy.

Obamacare, in terms of how is this working.

That is the whole area of the campaign.

Talk about the budget.

I think that is a republican unifying theme.

How do you think the november elections are going to shake out?

As of now what does it look like to you?

Historically, the out party picks up seats in the house and the senate.

If you look at the last generation, the out party picked up six senate seats.

Reasons for that, you get the itch on a president.

Some got swept in in 2008 on obama posco tales.

Now they are sitting by themselves.

-- coat tails.

Now they are sitting by themselves.

Isn't the message going to be the those tea party conservatives, they're going to be emboldened, and rather than change or moderate, they will say let's boldin down -- hunker down?

You on a fiasco when they shut the government down.

Then you get the republican cycle.

Even if the publicans pick up the senate, two years from now it will be jeopardized.

For the republicans, what changes would you like to see in the party?

You have 18 states plus the district of columbia.

240 electoral votes voted democrat.

You got to bring that up.

How do you do that?

What changes have to be made?

That is what you have to do, but how do you do it?

How does the substance, how does the tone, how does the message out to be different?

The 2012 election was a repeat of two dozen eight.

It was a couple point swing.

There was parliamentary voting behavior.

They have to see, what part of the democratic coalition company picked off.

Young people come to mind.

People talk about aesthetics, at least, improving your standing with them.

-- hispanics, at least, improving your standing with them.

You have to show some progress, absolutely.

Let me ask you to put on that superb analyst cap.

How have chris christie's chances been harmed?

They have been harmed.

His whole appeal is, i am the winner.

He is never going to be the darling of the party again.

It is all based on the fact that he can win in a blue state.

When his numbers go down, and if he turns upside down, downstate, that takes the heat off of him, and he becomes more vulnerable.

Some can't do anything now.

They are locked in a reelection battle.

But they can move forward.

There is the non-right wing of the party.

Is the alternative jeb bush?

You look at scott walker, if he can win reelection, he is in a swing state.

Jeb bush is strong not because he is a bush, but for other reasons.

What about some of the other former model -- formidable candidates?

It depends who can consolidate early on.

There are a lot of contenders.

Ted cruz.

He it would be hard to squeeze any daylight between yourself and the daily.

He is an instant darling.

And you have rand paul.

He is in the conservative strain.

Let me ask you about bob mcdonnell and his wife, in your own state.

Are there any lessons that we can take from this tragedy?

I think so.

I think -- look, it in virginia, as in anything, you can take anything.

People need to understand, this appeared way out of bounds.

But in virginia lost, you can use any amount.

The question was, was there a quid pro quo, which is hard to prove?

I don't know this is been enforced in the last 38 years -- 30 years.

I think for collected officials, at large, i think it is a warning shot at this point.

You are in office.

If you want to make money, leave office.

You have hot button issues that are polarized the state for a long time that are still there.

What you need to do is find out where he can no long with the republican legislator?

In terms of summit of -- some of his cabinet picks, you can look at that.

When we come back, chris christie.

Welcome back.

We will go to margaret carlson in a moment.

First, our reporter has the latest on the conflict in syria and iran's nuclear negotiations.

It is hard to imagine getting off to a worse start.

Is there any prospect of success?

This is a conference that was doomed before it began.

Remember the geneva one conference happened a year ago.

They were trying to get both sides to the table.

It has taken more than nine months for john kerry and his russian counterpart.

At this point, what they euphemistically call, in reconcilable differences.

Assad will stay?

I think that will stay.

They can't even agree on what the goal is.

Whether it is to get rid of him or negotiate.

Does it make sense to exclude allies from the conference?

This is how the week started out with a bizarre surprise invitation, which was then resented the very next day because iran did not agree to the precondition about creating a transition government.

You saw the president talking about how we believe there should be free elections decided by the syrian people.

There was a very angry response.

They were saying, where do you think these elections will take place?

In the refugee camps, or in the graveyards of the people who died, more than 130,000? they love a rainy and moderates, don't they?

The speech went over well.

-- iranian moderates, don't they?

The speech went over well.

There was so surprise of stories that wrote it up and gushing terms about turning a new page in iranian and u.s. relations.

The whole idea of business flocking to iran is exaggerated.

There are still sanctions.

Right now the clock is taking on the nuclear deal.

What we look for, quickly?

Of final solution to the iranian nuclear problem.

The idea of a permanent deal to prevent them from heaven and nuclear weapons is going to be a hard road.

It is going to be hard to get a final deal.

Thank you.

Chris christie, the controversy deepened this week.

And then there was the discussion about a supposedly quid pro quo.

Is chris christie's going to become a criminal issue?

They are looking into it.

It is not going to be a she said, they said, that being christie's staff.

Some said that she was threatened with not getting sandy funds unless she went for real estate deal.

Real estate in new jersey is important.

It is a big deal.

It is a big deal.

It will be sorted out.

I think a version of it certainly did happen.

It is a christy behavior.

How serious is this?

This will all get sorted out, but the reality is that this is an opportunity for chris christie's political opponents to bring up crazy accusations.

I think the reality is that chris christie has been pretty clear about what his involvement was and was not in the whole thing.

The investigation will show more.

This is more of a witchhunt from chris christie's opponents than anything else.

Even if that is the case, and even if it is benign, it is created such a fuss.

Should he, for the sake of the party, resigned?

I do not think so.

The rga is a fundraising organization.

They have no better fundraiser than chris christie.

If you look at the gathering of donors that he put together in florida not too long ago, there is a lot of support in the donor community for chris christie.

For them to say chris christie should step aside is the idea of, no good deed goes unpunished.

They raised about $8 million inn.

The main job is fundraising if you are the chair.

Then you want no distractions.

You want clean fundraising.

Just as a big fundraiser said, chris christie needs a better team around him.

We don't need these kind of mistakes being made.

Senator lindsey graham said please don't come to south carolina.

It is too much of a distraction.

I leave it to those republicans to decide whether this is a positive or negative on the fundraising.

He certainly hasn't hurt by this.

Tom davis was on this program.

He is an awfully smart guy.

He has been hurt by this.

Thank you.

Thank you all.

We will see you again this week.

? "political capital" is a production of bloomberg television.

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