The Circuitous Path to the Bargain

3:20 p.m. E.T.

From “Andrea Mitchell Reports”:

ANDREA MITCHELL: First, to you, Mark. What is your read of what we’ve been hearing over the last couple of days about Grover Norquist, the pledge, and how much running room the Speaker, now, really does have to negotiate a deal and how much the White House is willing to give?

MARK HALPERIN: Andrea, I did a spit-take with my Fruity Pebbles this morning, watching “Morning Joe,” because Eric Cantor’s tone was unlike anything I’d ever heard. His office is suggesting, “Oh, no, he’s still against raising marginal rates,” but it’s clear that, in the scheme of things, the biggest piece is does John Boehner have enough running room — it’s clear the White House could strike a deal with the Senate — does John Boehner have enough running room to strike a deal involving some new revenue? Now, I am still of the belief that the vote in the House, which will be a cliffhanger no matter what happens amongst the leaders and the White House, the vote in the House will be a tough vote. I still think it will probably end up being more of a Democratic build-up than a House Republican build-up. But there’s no doubt that if Eric Cantor is willing, at least, to assent to a vote on a deal that has new revenue that that is a huge paradigm shift and I think that gives us all hope, although there is still a long way to go, that there can be a deal that, as the President has said for a long time, has a balanced approach.


ANDREA MITCHELL: Mark, if the debt ceiling is not wrapped up in this deal, the President is not going for it. He does not want to face this twice.

MARK HALPERIN: It’s impossible to imagine that such a key piece for the White House, just as it was last time, to not have to have this fight again. Look, it’s going to have to be a joint whip operation in the House. I don’t see any other way to get it. There will be a period from a time there’s a deal amongst the leaders, the bicameral, bipartisan leadership and the White House, there will be a period from then until it gets passage in the House, assuming it does, that will be “Perils of Pauline.” That will look like where the vote is going to possibly come from. But if Steny Hoyer and John Boehner are willing to do a deal that they can both support, I think they can get to a majority in the House. The key, the real trick is the two-part thing, or maybe three parts, because no one is going to get everything they want in the deal during a lame-duck session. It’s just not possible. But if they can have some good faith to go forward, nothing like what Ruth laid out from the Republican side, if they can get a good faith deal to go forward, I think they can do it. As I said before, more Democratic votes in the House than Republican votes but plenty of Republican votes.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: Andrea Mitchell Reports, Barack Obama, Fiscal Cliff, John Boehner, Mark Halperin, MSNBC, Analysis, News, The Page, Video

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