President Barack Obama said in a taped interview with “Morning Joe” anchors Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough that he believed an election win over Republican Mitt Romney would be a mandate for a lame-duck session debt reduction plan of spending cuts and tax increases on higher-income earners.Obama, who taped the “Morning Joe” interview this weekend at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, said that he believed such a deal could get done in the lame-duck session of Congress or in the early months of next year.
Here’s the transcript:
BRZEZINSKI: So let’s talk about the next four yeas and try and get as specific as possible. What is, how would you define your mandate for the next four years? And what is – I’d like to know the sacrifice that will not be asked of just the one per cent but of the 99 per cent as well.
OBAMA: Well, there’s no doubt that our first order of business is going to be to get our deficits and debt under control. And the good thing is that there’s a forcing mechanism. The Bush tax cuts end at the end of the year. We know that we’ve got the sequester looming. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do things; that’s taking a machete to something as opposed to a scalpel.
And after the election, I think that both Democrats and Republicans have to step back and say, you know what, this is something the country wants to solve. If I’ve won then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way. We’ve already made a trillion dollar worth of cuts. We can do some more cuts. We can look at how deal with the healthcare costs in particular on the Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way. But we are also going to need some revenue.
If we get that piece done, and we kind of settle on the big question, “How much government are we going to have and how are we going to pay for it?” Then a lot of the other stuff falls into place.
Scarborough proceeded to ask Obama what would be different in a second term, noting that the makeup of Congress would likely remain the same — a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a Democrat-controlled Senate.
Obama maintained that solving that “big question” of debt reduction would “clear away a lot of the ideological underbrush” separating Republicans and Democrats.
“And then now we can start looking at a whole bunch of other issues that, as I said, historically have not been that ideological,” Obama said.
“Let’s take an example. Republicans say I’ve over-regulated. … I’ve said that I want to consolidate a whole bunch of government agencies. We should have one Secretary of Business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like giving loans to SBA or helping companies with exports. There should be a one-stop shop. Now the reason we haven’t done that is not because of some big ideological difference; it has to do with Congress talking a good game about wanting to streamline government but being very protective about not giving up their jurisdiction over various pieces of government.
“So there are going to be a whole bunch of things I think we can work on. The first thing, though, is let’s go ahead and get settled: how big a government? How do we pay for it? If we solve that problem, and I think we can solve it and we have to solve it, then I think we’ll be in a position to make some progress.”
Here’s the video of Obama’s full appearance, in which he also discusses his administration’s response to the Libya attacks and his feelings of nostalgia in the last few days of his final campaign:
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