International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde had this crazy idea on how to solve the cliff negotiations on CNN's State of the Union: compromise. As if no one thought of that before. "The best way out of this will be a balanced solution," she told Crowley. Lagarde advocated a solution that, "takes into account both increasing revenue... and cutting spending, as well." Continuing her streak of pointing out the obvious, Lagarde called the fiscal cliff the biggest threat to the U.S. economy right now. Lagarde also had some groundbreaking predictions as to what might happen if the country goes over the cliff:
- A lack of confidence in the U.S. economy
- A quick, plunging market reaction
Lagarde also advocated a "comprehensive" solution instead of "a quick fix." Thanks for coming out, Christine. You added a lot to that conversation.
Do you know who isn't sweating the fiscal cliff? Sen. Tom Coburn. "It doesn't really matter what happens at the end of this year because, ultimately, the numbers and the bondholders throughout the world will determine what we’ll spend and what we won’t," Coburn said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous. Coburn thinks, like Corker does, that Republicans should let the tax rates for the wealthy go up. "Will I accept a tax increase as a part of a deal to actually solve our problems? Yes, but the president is negotiating with the wrong people," Coburn said. "He needs to be negotiating with our bondholders in China. because if we don't put a creditable plan on this....ultimately, we all lose."
Rep. Bob Corker thinks Republicans should just give up trying to stop the President from raising taxes on the to top 2 percent, because he thinks they can win a second debt fight next year. "There is a growing group of folks that are looking at this and realizing that we don’t have a lot of cards on the tax issue before year end," Corker said on Fox News Sunday. "A lot of people are putting forth a theory, and I actually think it has merit, where you go ahead give the president the two percent increase that he is talking about — the rate increase on the top two percent — and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements." Bur Corker used another sticking point in the negotiations as a potential Republican weapon for the entitlement reform debate -- the ability to raise the debt ceiling. Corker thinks they can use it to get a favorable entitlement deal next year out of the President if they relent on this issue now. The President has advocated giving the power to raise the debt ceiling to his office, instead of Congress, should be included in the cliff deal so they avoid another standoff like last summer's "The shift in focus in entitlements is where we need to go," Corker said. "Republicans know they have the debt ceiling that's coming up around the corner and the leverage is going to shift as soon as we get beyond this issue—the leverage is going to shift to our side."
How to not do spin, by Rep. Michelle Blackburn. Blackburn tried to convince State of the Union host Candy Crowley the President didn't have the momentum in the fiscal cliff talks. "The president thinks he has momentum. I think he's running on adrenaline from the campaign," Blackburn said. She tried to argue that because the Republicans didn't lose the House, then that was a vote of confidence for their negotiating style. "We won the House," she noted. Crowley pointed out they lost the Presidency, lost ground in the already Democratic Senate, and lost seats in the House, too. "We did," Blackburn acknowledged. But that doesn't mean they have to change their style. "You can not be practicing escapism and not putting these issues on the table," she said.
Okay, so you know how Speaker of the House John Boehner's been facing some criticism for his fiscal cliff negotiating skills, and there are rumblings he might get the boot from his big important job? Well, he has the support of at least two Republicans who disagree on how he should approach the cliff. Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Marsha Blackburn gave Boehner votes of confidence on State of the Union. Crowley asked if tehy think he'll be back as Speaker, and Cole said, "Absolutely." Blackburn was all, duh, "He’ll be speaker." So that's that. Two people who are potentially not throwing Boehner off his special chair.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker hasn't decided whether he's going to run against Chris Christie for New Jersey Governor, or if he'll run for Senate instead. "I am absolutely considering running for governor, as well as giving other options some consideration. I'm going to be focused on that for the next week to ten days or so," Booker said on CBS's Face The Nation. Though he did assure us he'll make up his mind sometime before the new year. "It’s got to be within the next two weeks….because there's a lot of very good candidates for governor on the Democratic side," Booker said.
Newt Gingrich, and basically everyone else who appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, said that Hillary Clinton will walk into the Democratic nomination with next to no fight... if she wants it. Gingrich said it would be "virtually impossible," for any Democrat to go against her, and even said the GOP would be "incapable of competing," with her. Bloomberg News Chief White House Correspondent Julianna Goldman said she "clears the field," though she expects a few upstarts might "test the waters." "No doubt about it," MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell agreed. "The reason it's easy for you to get Democratic insiders to say she's absolutely running is because she's absolutely running." Gingrich was also visibly tickled by the prospect of a Clinton vs. Bush round 2 happening in 2016. Except instead of George Sr. vs. Bill, it would be Hillary vs. Jeb.
Also, watch this delicious exchange from This Week where George Will brings out the claws on Paul Krugman. This is some hot pundit-on-pundit action.