On the possibility that Congress would maneuver around sequestration should the Supercommittee fail to reach a deal:
These cuts, especially the defense cuts, will only kick in, in 2013. So the president [Obama] may be a bystander at no point. And I think there is no way, even if he were in office, that the Congress will not reject that huge cut in defense spending.
You’ve got a Democratic secretary of defense saying it’s irresponsible, would destroy the military. And of course Republicans oppose it as well. So a way will be ultimately found that will undo it [the Defense sequestration].
And that is one of the reasons why the pressure is off. The triggers, everybody understands, are not real. Congress can do whatever it wants. It can unlock the padlock. It can disarm this pistol aimed at itself.
I think, however, I would not be as even-handed in a portioning the blame here. We heard from Toomey and Portman, two conservative senators on the Republican side. They’re willing to increase net revenues, which is what the Democrats have demanded, but not tax rates. They want to broaden the base, eliminate the loopholes, then you can lower the rates or keep them the same.
And what you get is Democrats refusing to take yes for an answer — as we saw in what Kerry said. All he cares about is the argument that Republicans are protecting the rich because they won’t raise tax rates.
This isn’t about rates. It’s about revenue. What we are trying to get is revenue to decrease the deficit, and you do it by tax reform. You lower the rates, you eliminate the loopholes, which essentially the rich are paying for [by forfeiting the deductions] — you get tax reform, lower rates, higher revenues.
On Newt Gingrich’s resurgence in Iowa polls:
I have seen a report that if you study attacks of candidates on each other in debates — all of them sustained a lot of attacks — Gingrich has had none directed at him, I think because of the bad start he had — people had assumed that he wasn’t going to be a factor.
Now it starts . . . stories about his business activities. . .stories about his ideological inconsistencies over time. And we’ll see when these hit. . . whether it has any impact at all . . .