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STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY
Top Political Moments of the Year
Aired December 29, 2013 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: For Auld Lang Syne, the top political moments of this year and what they tell us about the next one.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Today, ladies rule. A special edition of STATE OF THE UNION. Donna Brazile, S.E. Cupp, Ana Navarro, and Neera Tanden with their take on 2013 including politicians behaving badly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were anonymous people on the Internet.
CROWLEY: A historic year for same-sex couples.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I now declare you spouses for life.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CROWLEY: And --
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was a time when I was young and invincible. After five years in this office, people don't call me that an anymore.
CROWLEY: The president (INAUDIBLE)
This is STATE OF THE UNION.
CROWLEY (on-camera): Good morning from Washington. I'm Candy Crowley. It's a dreary day in the nation's capital. Dreary and devoid of politicians. The president is on his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii. And after a noisy year on Capitol Hill, leaders of both parties have gone silent over the holidays, some of them haven't tweeted in more than a week. That is some serious quiet.
It gave us time to think about the year that was. As inaugural years often do, 2013 started with a newly re-elected president bullied by strong approval ratings pushing a bold agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.
My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment. And we will seize it so long as we seize it together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Joining me now to sort out the 2013 moments that may have some shelf life in the 2014, a collection of gal pals. S.E. Cupp, she is a "Crossfire" host, Neera Tanden, president and CEO at the Center for American Progress, CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro and Donna Brazile. Welcome all.
One of my favorite ways to end the year is with you guys. I want to start out with something that I thought was pretty amazing. We called it the shrinking presidency. President started out with a 55 percent approval rating. And by the end of the year, he was at 41. This caught my attention. It was -- about health care. This happened in December. And, I thought it actually framed the year nicely. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There was a time when I was young and invincible.
OBAMA: After five years in this office, people don't call me that anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: He is no longer young and invincible. It happens to presidents after four years. What happens to him next year?
BRAZILE: Well, four out of the last five two term presidents have experienced some setback in their fifth year. So, President Obama's like the other presidents. He gets that fifth year itch, and clearly, he's resilient. I think he has an agenda going forward, immigration, making sure the implementation of health care, the improving economy, making sure that all Americans can feel the rebound in the economy.
So, I wouldn't call him out. I always say it was a rocky year. And low its part (ph) to end of the year with -- the health care initiative, the website glitches, but this president will come back.
CROWLEY: There were other things as well.
CUPP: Well, it was not a great year if you compare the year and what actually got done to this sweeping agenda he laid out in his inaugural address. It's really hard not to notice how little happened. Now, we could argue about who's responsible for all of that. But, you know, Donna, if you look back at other presidents in their fifth year or the first year of their first term, George Bush, for example, had terrible approval numbers and didn't bounce back.
There really is a historical president for a president with this kind of numbers bouncing back and recovering. He's going to need something pretty significant to get there.
TANDEN: Well, and I think a lot of people talk about the variety of forces. Obviously, we have a House Republican caucus that is saying no to a lot of the items on the president's agenda, from immigration to guns. And I think the fact that Washington has been said dysfunction people are taking that out on everybody.
I mean, they're taking it out on the president. They're taking it out much worse on Congressional Republicans. I do think as we go into next year, things like health care will be behind him. And, that seems to be improving. I think his numbers can improve from there.
NAVARRO: Look, what's going to happen in 2014 was your question? He can either go down or he can go up.
NAVARRO: Frankly, if Obamacare --
CROWLEY: Like gravity.
NAVARRO: Those are basically the two options on the table. You know, if Obamacare continues to be a problem, the corporate mandate goes into effect and it is as much a catalyst for anger amongst people as the individual mandate has been, then it's going to be a continued problem for him. I think The big problem is that he came in as hope and change as a uniter.
We haven't seen that. But the biggest problem the president had this year is those trustworthiness numbers that we saw that have dropped tremendously. And I'm telling you, all of us have been in relationships. We know what we're talking about. It takes a lot harder to regain trust than to establish it in the first place.
BRAZILE: But Candy, he's still a decider. And as a decider, he can still shape the agenda and he can also leave --
NAVARRO: He hasn't fired anybody. And nothing --
BRAZILE: He can decide on a number of fronts including some of the executive actions he can take, but he can also continue to make sure that we make tremendous progress at home especially on the economy.
NAVARRO: -- he decided bring in your former --
TANDEN: I mean, there's a lot of fresh blood coming in. It's not like there hasn't been any changes.
CROWLEY: New blood. I found fascinating when I asked you all for, you know, a couple of your top moments that S.E. and Neera who, let's just say you're on different ends of the --
CROWLEY: You're on different ends. Both pick the pope a couple moments of the pope.
CUPP: Yes. It was a big year for the pope. He was "Time's" person of the year or whatever currency that has. And, I think there were some iconic moments. The pope selfie was an iconic moment. The pope taking pictures with disfigured parishioners really spoke to the chasm that the pope is trying to close between the Vatican and (INAUDIBLE).
And I know liberals are real excited about what they perceive as a progressive message coming from this pope. But his goal with the church in limiting his authority is actually considerably conservative. He wants to make a smaller church, a church with a small sea. A church that is of the people. It's a really interesting year for the Vatican and interesting to see how what he does shapes Catholicism for Americans and South Americans and Catholics around the world.
CROWLEY: It's interesting to me how the pope quickly became a sort of a political figure in the U.S. And Neera, you know, one of the things that you mentioned was the pope's debunking, I guess, you could call it, of capitalism and the free market as some way of trickledown economics, that that would help the poor.
Part of what he said was this opinion, meaning trickledown economics, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the (inaudible) workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.
TANDEN: No, I think the pope has made a series of really strong statements. That's one of them. He's really talking about this issue of increasing inequality. And at the same time, he's made really powerful statements about how the Catholic Church should be open to people of different views and some of the touch stone issues. Obviously, not changing the church's position on abortion or same-sex marriage, but he definitely signaled an openness to really include people of different views in the discussion.
And I think it's this mixture of really focusing on economic inequality, focusing really debunking basis of conservative economic policy as a strategy going forward that makes a lot of people around the world, not just in the U.S., open to him.
NAVARRO: Look, the pope is not Republican. The pope is not Democrat. And I wish people in this country would stop trying to get on the bandwagon of being against somebody or with somebody. That is high profile. What the pope has done, and I remember Donna, I was in your class teaching your class the day he was selected, and he has changed the tide on the Catholic Church in the nine months that he's been in office.
He has led by example. He has led with humility. He has put the focus back on the people. But more than anything, he is an inclusive pope who has shown that the church is not about being judgmental. It's about love and inclusion. I wish he were running for president.
CROWLEY: But you don't want it to be political.
NAVARRO: I didn't say for what party.
BRAZILE: And if he decides to run for pope, I would back him.
NAVARRO: We got our vote.
BRAZILE: He has our vote. And, let me just say this, it has been a tremendous year for the Catholic Church. He's refreshing. To see someone who not just talk about what Jesus said but actually go out there and try to live as an example of what Jesus would do. Washing the feet of prisoners, being with prostitutes, can I say that? Yes, prostitutes.
He reminds us as scripture say that we're all sinners, but there's a road to salvation. And this pope is opening up the church for those who want to seek that salvation.
CROWLEY: Switching now on what we call a hard turn here, men behaving badly.
NAVARRO: Oh, boy!
TANDEN: I think it's the opposite.
NAVARRO: It's important what you just said. Men behaving badly. But begin to the first word --
CUPP: we can behave pretty badly, too.
CROWLEY: I think when you kind of look at Anthony Weiner, you had the San Diego mayor that had to quit, you had the Toronto mayor which, holy cow, and then Florida republican from -- so, It seems to me when I look at this, I thought it's funny how stringent that is, quickly we move past these things. CUPP: Thank God.
TANDEN: The truth is that in New York, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner didn't win. You know, I do think that people make devalued -- you know, it's these stories pop-up and they pop down.
NAVARRO: We saw the rise of Weiner. We saw the fall of Weiner, unintended.
CUPP: I think, you know, as fun as it was for "New York Post" headline writers to get Anthony Weiner back this year, I think he actually really did impact politics in New York.
CUPP: I believe, you could argue, we have Bill De Blasio as mayor because of Anthony Weiner. He really sucked a lot of oxygen out of Christine Quinn's race and allowed Bill De Blasio to come up.
And Bill De Blasio along with Elizabeth Warner, these progressive rock stars, bringing the party leftward. So, I think what Anthony Weiner did in that mayoral race was actually a fairly significant. And we'll see that next year.
TANDEN: But it's not clear to me why he took votes from Christine Quinn versus Bill De Blasio --
TANDEN: He took --
TANDEN: Yes. He took momentum, but he took momentum from everybody. So, I don't think he had a political effect. I think he just took a huge amount of attention and then it moved away. I think Bill De Blasio won --
CUPP: -- Anthony Weiner hadn't gotten in.
BRAZILE: I still believe that the public service is a noble calling. And,these politicians behave badly. And, clearly, in the case of Bob Filner, I mean --
CROWLEY: The mayor of San Diego.
BRAZILE: Eighteen women? I mean, it's like at one point I'm like, dude, move on. Move away. We don't want to pay for your therapy. But they get a sense of entitlement, the arrogance of power somehow impact, I think, male politicians more than female politicians.
CUPP: And you may go to rehab for sexual harassment? Does that work? Is there rehab for sexual harassment? (CROSSTALK)
TANDEN: Apparently not. 2014, I do think there are a lot of women candidates running who can take advantage of the interest in having kind of a clean sweep and a new kind of voice. I mean, there's great candidates in Georgia, Michelle Nunn, Allison Grimes in Kentucky who really are embracing a, you know, time to kind of have a new voice in Washington.
CROWLEY: Closing out this one. Are there -- I remember when Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer decided to run. We -- it's New York. They don't care about all these things, and it turns out they actually --
BRAZILE: Probably looked at Mark Sanford in South Carolina and said, you know, maybe we can go on the Appalachian trail and come back from whatever.
TANDEN: But they couldn't.
NAVARRO: I couldn't believe Mark Sanford got re-elected, but -- I mean, there was a difference in his case and he was running against a terrible Democratic candidate.
BRAZILE: So then Bill De Blasio, we got a real leader who will tackle unemployment up in New York and the growing economy --
NAVARRO: I hope so, because he looked like (INAUDIBLE) to me.
CROWLEY: -- basically.
CUPP: Hopefully. Oh, hopefully. I don't think anyone wants to see Anthony Weiner mount a comeback. I think we're all happy to have him part of history.
BRAZILE: For the record, Candy, we just talked about the pope. I believe in second chances.
CROWLEY: There you go.
NAVARRO: For Weiner, it would be a third. That's --
CROWLEY: OK. We are saying goodbye to 2013, but there were a lot of moments in 2013 that made us think of 2016 and some possible presidential picks. And Ana is going to reveal one of her top picks next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: I am back with our girl power panel. We're taking a look at some of the political moments, the top ones in 2013. Next up, the 2014 Republican breakout. How far is this going to go? It was interesting to me at the end of the year, John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, did what his moderates have been begging him to do all year which is slam the conservatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: They push us into this fight to defund Obamacare and to shut down the government. The day before the government reopened, one of the people -- one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. Are you kidding me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: I got to love that. So, any Republicans here, republican leading people offended by that?
CUPP: No. It seems like John Boehner had been waiting a very long time to do that. And he could do that with very minimal blowback. He didn't need those people to get that budget deal passed. So, it was sort of a win-win for him. I think the other interesting Republican breakup this year, though, looking ahead was Rand Paul and Chris Christie.
Chris Christie gave a speech at the RNC in Boston, basically scolding Rand Paul saying, we're not a debating society. We've got to win elections. I think that crystallizes the GOP fight of the year. Do we win elections or stand on principles?
TANDEN: Well, so, I think this is a big question going in 2014, right, because not like John Boehner was listening to conservatives because he just wanted to, House Republicans and Senate Republicans have been really worried about primary fights. Look at Mitch McConnell dancing this whole year around energizing conservatives, opposing conservatives.
So, I think the big question going that is unanswered is, are Republicans -- are these conservative Tea Party activists going to have the power to knock out more and more moderates? And as, you know, democrats might enjoy that, right, because they'll help in the 2014 elections, but it will move the Republican Party farther to the right.
NAVARRO: That's a question that's going to get answered through the primaries starting in March and going into the summer. And I think one of the things that's going to come out of this election in 2014 is that we're going to see the traditional, the more mainstream Republicans, people like McConnell, like John Cornyn.
NAVARRO: Can you imagine, I'm calling John Cornyn traditional --
NAVARRO: He can't be considered a conservative. I don't know where --
NAVARRO: I think you're going to see them win their primaries because they've taken it seriously. They're campaigning hard. They're raising their money and they're doing what they have to do. They're not about to get Richard Lugar. You know, Republican --
CROWLEY: They see it coming now.
NAVARRO: What we saw with John Boehner is, look, the far conservatives, they try to force his hands. And in the process, the forcing his hand and the shutdown, they strengthen (ph) his hand, because there is this consensus of being fed-up and wanting to get something done within the Republican Party.
BRAZILE: You know, I get e-mails from tea party. Maybe Donna Brazile is a Republican in some other lifetime.
BRAZILE: You know, I read the e-mails out of respect to their point of view. And they're angry with many of the so-called RINOs, those Republicans in Name Only.
NAVARRO: I thought Republicans who are inclusive, not obstructionists.
BRAZILE: Well, they're angry. I'm speaking as a Tea Party. I got on this deep dark --
NAVARRO: What is your favorite flavor of tea?
BRAZILE: Black, of course.
BRAZILE: Because when I add cream, it comes out brown just like me.
BRAZILE: But, there's no --
BRAZILE: There's no question the Tea Party is angry with the Republican establishment. They're much more energized. And if they are able to raise the money, the last e-mail I received, they want to raise money to take on the so-called mainstream establishment Republicans. We have not heard the end of the tea party.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. But we should also add before I move on to the next one that business has now gotten involved, business interests, and they're going to put some money into some of these moderate Republican candidates.
TANDEN: But they don't have the same grassroots --
CROWLEY: Right. right. Moving -- they do have more money.
CROWLEY: But moving along to our next one, and that is what does 2013 have to do with 2016? Lots of moment that showed us really some candidacies that were on the rise. We had, you know, one Democrat and a number of Republicans that we've seen. I want to just kind of give you a refresher course here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the one president laid out tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will speak until I can no longer speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like the Sam I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune in their TVs right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was is it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
CROWLEY: So, you know, lots of -- Ana, you picked the water sip moment which actually was Rubio was picked. Marco Rubio from Florida, Republican, was picked to respond to the president's state of the union and he's sipping the water periodically got some attention. NAVARRO: What can I tell you? I think the man learned to get hydrated after a while, you know?
NAVARRO: It was a water shed moment. It's something we talk about for a lot, but he learned how to turn water into money because they ended up using it to raise funds and raised a couple hundred thousand dollars.
BRAZILE: -- water mark, because --
BRAZILE: Because we really haven't heard a lot from Marco Rubio.
NAVARRO: Well, he's underwater --
CROWLEY: Which had a lot to do with immigration. That's when he went under water --
TANDEN: I think what's interesting about that montage is that a lot of these Republicans just like what happened in the primary -- a lot of Republicans kind of rose and then fell, rose and then fell, rose and then fell. And I think that the big issue going 2014 and I'm a personal believer and actually having this conversation in 2015 and 2016 is who's going to speak for the Republican party?
I think S.E. is right. There's a big fight between the kind of libertarian wing and the more mainstream wing between Chris Christie and the Rand Pauls. And I think that's -- who's going to own? Who's going to be the voice of Republican Party will be and --
NAVARRO: We want to have somebody that owns the voice of the Republican Party really until we have a nominee. So, we're going to have to --
CROWLEY: We'll have more moments next year to talk about. Let me ask you something. I want to talk about Hillary Clinton and ask you -- let me start with Donna and have you chime in (ph), S.E., and that is, that moment, what difference does it make? What are the chances if she runs we're going to see that in a campaign commercial from Republicans?
BRAZILE: Look, Republicans are probably going to go back and get the best of Hillary tapes, and that will be one of them. But here's what people should know about her. She's a history maker. And if she remains contemporary, she's going to come out with a book next year. We're talking about her history. The things that she's been able to accomplish and, you know, the policy that -- the policies she hopes one day to enact when she's president of the United States.
So, we'll be looking at that video and a lot of other video, but I tell you that will not be the defining moment for Hillary Clinton.
CUPP: I thought it was a really interesting year for Hillary. We saw two Hillaries. And this is what makes her such a canny political operative. On the one hand, you saw her really respond to the Elizabeth Warren/Bill de Blasio push left. She talked about progressive politics a lot. On the other, we saw the Hillary of the 1990s. She met with Goldman Sach's bankers to tell her, I'm not going to banker bash this year.
It's going to be interesting to see which Hillary she carves out, because I don't think she can be both for much longer.
TANDEN: Look, I work for Hillary. But, you know, Hillary has been a person who is talked about economic inequality, rising middle class, a fair shot for middle class. She did that in 2008. She's done that her entire career. This is not going to be a new conversation for her. And she'll be one of the strongest people talking about it. As Donna said, she has a long history on these issues.
NAVARRO: Well, we know that she told us we're getting a decision out of her this year. So, we'll know --
CROWLEY: We'll talk about that moment next year. As we count down the best political moments on 2013, when we return, the Supreme Court makes some bold decisions and the Senate makes a controversial one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I now declare you spouses for life.
CROWLEY: Same-sex wedding ceremony in California. Moving on now to the Supreme Court. Gay rights. Just a fundamental shift in the subject, it seems to me, not just as at the Supreme Court but elsewhere.
CUPP: So fundamental in fact that you saw a number of Republicans come out this year in favor of gay marriage. It's -- evolving on that issue. It really has been a watershed year for that issue. I think it's interesting that in 2016, you'll have Democrats who for the first time have to run as being in favor of gay marriage. That wasn't true in the last election. It's interesting.
TANDEN: I think what's amazing will be exactly as you're saying, they'll be -- this will be a wedge issue on the Republican side. I mean 10 years ago, we had Republicans pushing a federal marriage amendment in the Senate to ban gay marriage. Now it's become an issue. 40 percent of the country is going to be in states that are tolerant of gay marriage or at least civil unions. And that number is only going to grow. So I think it's absolutely OK. Every Democrat, I believe, will be for same-sex marriage. The question will be the libertarian brand of the Republican Party support this form of equality really, which will be a question I think in the Republican Party.
NAVARRO: This is the most rapidly changing social issue of certainly our lifetime. And so I think God knows where it's going to be by 2016. By the end of this year already there are 18 states plus the District of Columbia including states like Utah that are -- that now have legal gay marriage. So it may be much less of an issue than it is today just in another 12 months, frankly. The courts continue acting and acting decisively.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this was a big move for equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court once again reaffirmed that there is no such thing as second class citizenship in the United States. So it was a major victory. But you know Candy, speaking of the Supreme Court, they got it right on this issue but hey got it wrong on the Voting Rights Act. The provision in the Voting Rights Act that sets the formula for preclearance to ensure that we never go back to the days when, you know, we had hurdles for people, ordinary citizens who want to register and participate in a political process. They removed that formula. I don't know if Congress will be able to reinstate it. But for right now, a key provision on the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court decision this year. And Shelby versus Holder. So I hope we can get that right.
TANDEN: And the truth as we've seen across the states conservatives acting to limit voting rights. And I think it just really proves how wrong the Supreme Court was.
NAVARRO: Actually what I saw this year is the opposite, because I saw the backlash since that happened in my state of Florida in 2008 because of what happened there with the voting, the long lines and the limitations. And so the legislature has acted to restore some of the hours, to restore some of the more permissive voting conditions.
CROWLEY: Let me move you on to the next --
BRAZILE: Did you mention something about Florida and voting in the same sentence?
NAVARRO: That's a pretty big change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would have nothing to talk about -
CROWLEY: Next up, ladies. We'll continue that elsewhere. I'll let Harry Reid, the head of the Senate, introduce this next one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Is Senate working now? Can anyone say the Senate is working now? I don't think so. Today Democrats and independents are saying, enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: I call this the most boring big moment that happened this year because they changed the filibuster rules. Democrats said, no longer any filibusters on presidential nominees except for the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court you still need 60 votes to get to the vote. That fundamentally changes the way that the Senate works.
CUPP: It does. But look, any time a party changes rules that benefit that party, they later come to regret it when the next party is in power. And I have to say, this moment I think is -- it is sort of illustrative of why folks are so uninspired by congress. Because process politics is uninspiring in stuff. This really doesn't include --
NAVARRO: This might be the only thing all four of us can soundly agree on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
NAVARRO: Is the Senate working?
TANDEN: No. It's not working because it's ground to a halt from filibusters. I mean, we have huge abuse of filibuster. So you know, I think this is an issue you should come back next year and say, are things working better because people can actually get through a process and we can have a functioning government because (INAUDIBLE) can actually have cabinet secretaries instead of people just - there's no one home at these agencies because we have crazy use of filibusters.
BRAZILE: All the president wanted and what Harry Reid and the Democrats agreed to do is get his appointees through the process.
TANDEN: Up or down vote.
BRAZILE: Vote against them, but to just hold on and say, not now, when you have so many vacancies on the district court level. So many cabinet, subcabinet positions that went vacant. Come on. You can't -
CUPP: Harry Reid has not been a very effective -
NAVARRO: (INAUDIBLE) a party in the senate that's different than the party in the White House, this happens. Whether it's Republicans in the Senate or Democrats in the Senate. And I agree with S.E., I'm a traditionalist. I think this comes back to haunt Democrats. I think it's not a good thing for the Senate.
CROWLEY: And also I must say, it has embittered Republicans to the point that they -- they're still holding up stuff using their 30 hours of- (CROSSTALK)
TANDEN: Here's the thing, we shouldn't be - we shouldn't be saying, you know, great job for abusing the filibuster and now you're angry that the rules actually went back to what they were for hundreds of years.
NAVARRO: All right. We'll just remind you of...
NAVARRO: -- remind you not to be angry.
CROWLEY: When we return, we're going to continue with our list of top political moments. The president's agenda, what happened to it on Capitol Hill. The issues that never made it to 2013. The unmoments, one of Donna's choices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we've forgotten.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Welcome back. We are counting down the big political moments of 2013. As we watch 2013 fade away with our girl power panel. Next, congressional gridlock. These were the unmoments, Donna.
BRAZILE: Yes. Well, this was a moment because of political posturing, partisan differences, the bicameral differences between the House and the Senate.
CROWLEY: One is run by the Republicans and the other by the Democrats.
BRAZILE: Divided government. The Republicans control one half of one branch of government. For all these reasons, I mean, we couldn't get a farm bill out. Although it has a provision that would in many ways reduce the deficit. It would help farmers right away. Help the agriculture. Help people on food stamps. We didn't get the farm bill. We didn't get the energy. We didn't get anything done on energy this year. We were set to pass immigration reform. That didn't happen. So we have plenty of reasons to blame the process. But you know in the end, it's leadership. It's what John Boehner said, you know, in his last press conference. Essentially we can get things done but people need to move out of the way.
NAVARRO: I'll tell you something, before we get people way too depressed starting 2014 we should remember that at the end of the year we saw a glimmer of hope when it comes to bipartisanship and actually getting things done. We saw it from Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. And the way they did it is without the posturing. They negotiated quietly. And they did what has become an anomaly in this town which is you give a little, you take a little. You sit around the table. You negotiate. You compromise. You realize you're not going to get everything you want and you realize you're not going to give everything they want. You know, kudos to them.
CROWLEY: It was so minimalist. It was -- I mean --
TANDEN: It is like a glass half full half empty thing, right? They didn't pass a budget in a long time. It was important to come together. I mean I don't think we actually need a grand bargain in the deficit. It is falling. So it is important for us to get something. I think the big question will be the test of whether this is, you know, a trend is will the House take up immigration reform next year? And I think the conversation we had about primaries is the big conversation. If the leadership decides they aren't going to be worried about a primary going -- primaries forward, then they will pass immigration reform bill because it will be good for them politically in the long run.
CUPP: Well I think is that the president came into 2012 with a lot of momentum. He saw 2012 as a mandate for a progressive agenda and he laid out that agenda. And because his new term started so soon after Newtown, he went right for gun control. I think he burned a lot of capital there and sort of -- threw the agenda off course. I think the immigration would have had a much better chance had that not been a hiccup right after he was re-elected.
TANDEN: The Senate passed immigration reform.
NAVARRO: What was interesting, both about immigration reform and the budget process is that it didn't involve the president. It didn't involve minimal engagement from President Obama. It was Congress actually taking legislation into their own hands as we well should. And I hope they continue to do that in 2014. I am optimistic. I do think we're going to see the House move something on immigration reform. If we haven't seen it by early summer, I will then be pessimistic and drinking heavily. But until then, we may --
BRAZILE: Look, 23 initiatives on guns. OK. The president has tried to lead on that issue. The fact that Congress won't move unless the NRA says, move, that's Congress and the leadership. But look this president led on immigration. He's leading on raising the minimum wage. And you know what? It may not happen on Capitol Hill, but all throughout this country, states are taking the initiative and taking on some of the issues. So perhaps --
TANDEN: California -
TANDEN: ... minimum wage and I think Democrats are going to campaign on minimum wage this year. It will be a deciding issue. (CROSSTALK)
CROWLEY: Campaign on the minimum wage.
TANDEN: We're going to push a bill. There will be a bill in the Senate. I think this issue will pass -
CROWLEY: Will it pass Congress? Will it get to (ph) the president's desk?
TANDEN: It will pass the Senate and then it will be an important issue in the elections.
CROWLEY: That is the description of election years. Put it on the floor, have it defeated, you just use it as a talking point. I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands but you can just nod or shake your heads. Grand bargain on the budget, going to happen next year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shouldn't happen.
CROWLEY: Immigration going to happen next year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to be.
CROWLEY: Any form of major -- any major form of gun control going to happen next year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
BRAZILE: She's going to personally stop it and I'll have to personally leave her home.
NAVARRO: And the funny thing is they both (INAUDIBLE)
CROWLEY: Right. Any big changes in energy policy?
BRAZILE: We need to have some initiative. I don't see it happening. But you know what? Max Baucus is moving on to become the next ambassador to China. And Senator Mary Landrieu, who is a strong proponent of energy production in this country, I don't think there's an opportunity for us to move forward.
TANDEN: And there is a lot the president can do on energy in--
TANDEN: He can take executive action.
CROWLEY: We talked about jobs in the final press conference of the year. The president said we're going to continue to focus on the economy. Big major economic bill? More jobs? Stimulus? That going to happen? TANDEN: Minimum wage is a job stimulus bill, actually. It stimulates demand. You know, this is an issue. 75 percent of Republicans (INAUDIBLE) minimum wage. So I'd say let's -
CUPP: Tapering off. So I think you're going to see less stimulus, not more.
NAVARRO: The American economy and the American people are so exceptional that despite Washington, the economy is slightly improving.
CROWLEY: OK. We're getting on to my top moments because as anchor I get to pick the last two. Our top picks of the political moments of 2013 are next. Not surprisingly they will probably end up as campaign issues next year.
CROWLEY: Welcome back. As we countdown the political moments of 2013, my last two both happened in October. I thought they could both be number one. So we're going to do this chronologically. The next one. Shutdown.
The government was shutdown. The American public took a look at it. And all of the closed signs from Washington monument, et cetera, and blamed Republicans. It immediately was grabbed onto by Democrats as the talking point. These people will obstruct anything. But then in the same month came Obamacare.
It seems to me in these final two, they just teed up the 2014 elections which will be a shutdown versus a meltdown.
CUPP: Absolutely. This will be the story next year. Which is worst for what party? Was the Obamacare rollout and it's continuing to be more harmful for Democrats than the shutdown was for Republicans. And if we try to shutdown the government again, I mean, you know, you could see that replay. So I think 2014 November really hinges on how those two stories evolve over the year.
TANDEN: And I think what's important is the health care rollout story has already shifted. I mean there were huge problems. Everyone was angry about them. We have new numbers. We have a million people from the ACA getting coverage.
CROWLEY: -- nine million in the next three months.
TANDEN: Neither one of these are true actually. We have a seven million target. If it goes on the same trajectory as Massachusetts, we'll hit those numbers. Most importantly is who are signing up, and it is young people. California is 25 percent young people. That's a good sign.
NAVARRO: That was an unpaid political advertisement for Barack Obama. We have not seen --
NAVARRO: We have not seen Obamacare shift yet because I think we need to see how the corporate mandate -- assuming they don't put another and another and another extension because I've lost track of how many extensions and delays the White House has given on Obamacare. I mean I don't even think Republicans should focus on repealing it because this White House is going to repeal it itself.
CUPP: It's going to (INAUDIBLE). You're right.
NAVARRO: But it's going to be important to see how the implementation rolls out, how it affects people and how it plays out politically. We really don't know the answer yet.
CROWLEY: We don't because very month that goes by a little something else happens. It depends on what is the dominant theme. Is it that, oh my gosh, here's another problem for Obamacare. Or is it, look, this entire family got something they couldn't get before.
BRAZILE: You know, Candy, we have focused so much time and energy on the process of how to sign up. For millions of Americans who -- without health insurance, they are finding for the first time that they can truly have affordable health care. It has stabilized premiums. It has given a lifeline to millions. So I'm not going to do the politics as much as I want to believe that it's helping millions of Americans.
Now, the government shutdown, that was a wake-up call for the Republicans. You see I want to shift real quick.
That was a huge wake-up call. The Republicans figured out they could not run in 2014 with the politics of the Tea Party. The Tea Party that really put them in a majority in the House, they cannot run with that kind of politics. So I think the Republicans are going to continue to pivot away from the Tea Party Republicans and Democrats are going to continue to make sure that we implement this in the correct way. Hopefully we can get the states to continue to implement and expand Medicaid. This is a positive issue a year from now.
NAVARRO: I think the shutdown was a wake-up moment for Republicans. I hope that it taught some lessons to my party. And I hope that it will affect how we, you know, what we do in 2014 and how we campaign in 2014.
TANDEN: This is an open question, right? Because there are a lot of Republicans already talking about threatening a default on the debt ceiling.
CROWLEY: On the debt ceiling, exactly.
TANDEN: And I think that's going to be a very big question whether Boehner and the leadership can push against this. When you have Paul Ryan saying vote for this budget because we'll (ph) threaten a whole host of activity around a debt limit default. I think that also raises questions about which -- who speaks for the party going forward.
CROWLEY: And here's the problem. You did have Paul Ryan say, Yes. It's OK. We have the debt ceiling. We can make progress there. President like, by the way I am not negotiating over the debt ceiling. Isn't that another recipe for --
CUPP: Potentially. Yes, potentially. I mean here's the problem. This worked out well for Paul Ryan whose numbers were up. People are crediting him with sort of moving this ball forward. But if you're Ted Cruz you look back at 2012 and you think, I got elected and Mitt Romney didn't so my politics must be doing something right. So there's -- you're going to have this division, these two sides of the party having the same fight for the next three years. Because they get validation everywhere they go. And it will really come down to which direction they want to move in.
CROWLEY: So the question is do you think -- I cannot imagine the Republicans thinking -- dealing over the -- not raising the debt ceiling will be a great idea.
BRAZILE: They are thinking about it. The other day at a press conference --
CROWLEY: They're threatening about it.
BRAZILE: They're threatening but, Candy, you know when you say, what do you want in exchange for paying the bills that you already accrued? They don't know. So they're threatening it but it's going to hurt them.
CUPP: The president says I will not negotiate, that doesn't poll well either. (CROSSTALK)
NAVARRO: Both things are true. And I don't think it's the right thing to do. If I were advising Obama and of course I don't deny he's not going to listen to me, I would say to him, you know what? Call their bluff. Sit with them. Let's negotiate. Because he's saying, I'm ready to talk to them and see what they want afterwards. What's the difference between afterwards? There's nothing wrong with negotiation.
TANDEN: Yes there is actually. There is something wrong.
TANDEN: You know what creates uncertainty? You know conservatives have been talking about uncertainty in the markets forever. You know what creates uncertainty? The idea we're going to spend a lot of time negotiating over the debt limits. If you care about economic growth, let's stop having these games around it and just pass the bill.
CROWLEY: I got a minute. I want to ask you a kind of end of year question, which you have to tell the truth. Is it peace and harmony next year or is it open warfare?
TANDEN: It would be in the middle.
CROWLEY: No. Of course you can.
CUPP: I think it's going to be a pretty divisive year.
TANDEN: If I had to choose, I would think it wouldn't be divisive. But I think, you know, we'll see if Republicans and Democrats can make progress on a few little issues.
NAVARRO: Well they're going to be smoking pot in Colorado, maybe it will be peace and harmony there. In Washington, I'm not sure.
BRAZILE: You know they'll be chilled out. But for the 1.3 million Americans who are going to lose their unemployment insurance, let's hope that we have a Congress that's fair and will tackle these big issues including extending unemployment benefits.
CROWLEY: Donna Brazile, happy new year. Thank you. Ana Navarro --
NAVARRO: Feliz ano (ph) Nuevo.
CROWLEY: What she said. Neera Tanden, thank you for coming to do this. S.E. to you as well, happy new year. Thank you all. Thank you for watching STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. Head to CNN.com/SOTU for analysis and extras. If you missed any part of today's show, find us on iTunes. Just search STATE OF THE UNION. And from all of us here at STATE OF THE UNION a very happy new year to you and yours. Fareed Zakaria, GPS, is next for our viewers here in the United States.