Well hello there and good morning and thank you for once again coming over to this part of the internet, where I type merrily along to the sounds that are coming out of my teevee as political figures and the reporters who love them get down to their Sunday morning game of touchy-feely. My name is Jason. Today we're going to hear from David Axelrod, I think, and also Herman Cain. Drink everytime you hear the word "nine" today in order to more fully enjoy the Sunday Morning Liveblog experience -- its tastes and smells, its rising sense of euphoria, followed by the cold steel kiss of regret.
Alternatively, you can join with your fellows in the comment streams, send me an email, and follow me on Twitter for more pith and vinegar throughout the week. Okay, then! Let us begin here.
THIS WEEK WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR
ABC News noticed the same thing everyone else did, apparently: Herman Cain is the new new thing in politics, mainly because he keeps repeating "9-9-9" over and over again. But Mitt Romney got endorsed by a bunch of important dudes! And Rick Perry wore a hard hat, as his wife complained that everyone was being mean to him. Also: no one can have jobs ever again. They also don't think much of Jon Huntsman's chances, but I think Dave Weigel already did what needed to be done with Huntsman with this:
Meanwhile, David Axelrod is here to explain how Americans are going to have jobs again. He says that the American Jobs Act will be "taken apart" and voted on "piece by piece" because the "American people support all of the parts of it." But, as Amanpour points out, once upon a time the order of the day was "Pass this Jobs Bill!" and not "Here, have some Dim Sum, tell me what you think?" Well, guess what? We're ordering off the a la carte menu, proudly and "sequentially."
"There's a lot of opposition," Amanpour points out. "Not among the American people," he says. He goes on to say that he doesn't think Americans look at the GOP candidates desire to roll back Wall Street regulations, such as they are. Of the Occupy Wall Street movement, he'll only say that the American people want a financial system that works, is fair, and is transparent.
Axelrod says that Obama will win the election, and there ought to be a period of "self-reflection" on the GOP side, where they consider whether obstruction is the best way they should govern.
What does he think of Mitt Romney? "I think there's some question about what his core principles are," he says, noting that every three weeks, voters seem to want to kick someone else's tired. He's only too happy to point out that Romney used to be pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and the like. (Romney's problem in this area persists, actually: this week Rush Limbaugh did him no favors when he insisted to his listeners that Romney was "not a conservative.")
"You get the feeling there's no principle too large for him to throw over in order to gain political office," Axelrod says. He'd probably not want to have to answer to his own candidate's promises to dismantle the executive power regime of his predecessor!
Axelrod says that Rick Perry shouldn't be counted out, and that he's got a history of going at his competitors hard, and he's looking at facing a frontrunner who flip-flops all the time. The translation is that David Axelrod would not mind, at all, the sight of Rick Perry launching multiple attack ads at Mitt Romney. Please go ahead!
So, time for a spot o' paneling, with George Will, Mary Matalin, Ruth Marcus, and Jonathan Karl.
Will calls 2012 the "Andy Warhol Primary" where everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, which is clever. But Romney is the clear favorite and the White House is clearly focused on "making this a campaign about the fitness of the Republican nominee," in which case Romney is vulnerable because of his historic "versatility of conviction." Matalin says that Axelrod is doing "political algebra" and that when you solve for X, Obama is a liberal, OMG! (A liberal, who, we remind you, decided to install a health care reform plan that was designed by a bunch of Republicans.)
Karl says it's "crrraaaayyyy-zy to count out Perry" because Perry's got moolah and can raise more. Marcus says that Perry is like "Monty Python's parrot." So, at last, a Monty Python reference on Sunday Morning Teevee! Besides the constant -- and unintended -- reference to the "Upper Class Twit Of The Year" sketch that is made every week just by dint of these shows existing.
Now we go to Zuccotti Park, where some guy from the New York Times says that the Occupy Wall Street movement is resistant to the idea that they are some sort of boon to the Democratic Party. Kark says that the President would probably look ridiculous embracing the protests, considered how friendly the administration has been to Wall Street, except for that one time he called them "fat cats" and this was the first time anyone at Citigroup looked up what that meant and OH MY THEIR ZOMBIE FEELINGS WERE HURT. So much so that they took the bailout money and bought some more lobbyists to go to DC and water down the Dodd-Frank bill some more!
Jonathan Karl makes news! Rick Perry's attack ad against Mitt Romney "misrepresents" some of the things that Mitt Romney has done! GOOD GOD! STOP ALL PRESSES! GET IN THE STREETS! POLITICAL ATTACK ADS MAY BE DISINGENUOUS! (Actually, Karl seems more aggrieved that the Perry ad distorts the work of Tim Russert more than he's concerned it distorts the policy positions of Mitt Romney.)
"Perry will go after Romney, he will do everything in his power to destroy Romney," says Karl, setting up the premise of the sequel to the Fifth Element.
Ruth Marcus says that Bill McInturff says that Herman Cain is not the flavor of the week, but rather, the "souffle of the month." Okay! We definitely need some better metaphors up in here!
Now we have a new panel -- Will and Karl stay, we gain Bloomberg reporter Margaret Brennan, and Laura Tyson of the President's Jobs Council.
What do people inside the NYSE think about the protests? Brennan says that they have similar frustrations, but inside the Exchange, they're angry at Washington, where outside, the protesters are "attacking the symbol of money." I don't think they are "attacking the symbol of money" so much as they are assembling in the place the media shines the most favor. They're trying to make themselves visible to a media that hasn't covered their lives.
Laura Tyson says that the Jobs Act would be awesome if they'd pass it, which is surprising considering she's from the White House's Jobs Council, isn't it? Karl points out that Marc Zandi agrees that the plan will create jobs -- Tyson is quick to point out that there are other economists who agree with Zandi, we don't always have to keep mentioning Zandi, do we? Because sometimes it looks like Zandi is the only guy the White House ever talks about and it's time for a little break. From Zandi? Zandi.
Will says that one "plank" from Occupy Wall Street that could go mainstream is debt forgiveness, which Will opposes because debt forgiveness is, to his mind, just another word for inflation. He then goes on to harp about the $1 trillion in student loans outstanding, in implication being that a lot of the protesters are simply opportunists looking to have their student loan debt expunged. I'll point out that Wall Street actually still owes taxpayers $1.5 trillion in bailout money, so maybe those guys could agree to pay for everyone's college education?
Tyson says that unemployment is primarily driven by a lack of aggregate demand, first and foremost, and the "skills mismatch" in the labor force secondarily.
Brennan wonders why the Occupy Wall Street protesters won't go protest at universities. Because the media would not care about students protesting their colleges. Cameras would not follow them there. It would be easy to dismiss them. It would be a move that would only help keep middle and working class Americans invisible.
BREAKING: ABC NEWS is not sure that Herman Cain's "9-9-9 Plan" is actually all that serious! Bloomberg confirms: it may actually be very silly!
Now it's time to talk about the crazy Iranian-American used car dealer's plan to off the Saudi Ambassador at Cafe Milano using a bomb and the help of a Mexican drug cartel, which sound more like a the plot of a Tarantino movie than an actual thing that someone actually tried to do. But here we are talking to Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, and New York Times reporter David Sanger.
So, how high up does this crazy plot go? Rogers says that there is evidence that suggests the plot was known to and approved by the Quds Force. So, this means responding? Rogers says that a response is absolutely necessary, given that we're talking about an assassination on foreign soil -- so, economic sanctions for sure, the military option (whatever that is!) remains "on the table" (wherever that is!) and while it probably won't come up on this show, I guess we find some way of insisting that killing an American in Yemen with drones is somehow fundamentally different. (WE ARE THE "GOOD" PEOPLE, it will probably be mainsplained to us, AND SO WE CAN KILL PEOPLE, WHO MAKE US SAD.)
Sanger says that this plot gives the White House an opportunity to renew a focus on Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the nuclear program. (Rogers says that Iran is engaged in a "three part program," and appear to be working on "part two: weaponizing all of these enriched fissile material.)
Sanger says that the plot is odd because we think of the Quds Force as a very disciplined organization, and the people manning this plot were quite bumbling. "This is not the A-Team at work," he says. Rogers cautions that a lot of good fortune brought the authorities into this plot very early, and because of that, it's easy to be of the mind that the plot was amateurish. He says that there's sophistication in the plot that's been occluded by the fact that we got on top of it very early. So, food for thought.
Here's Jake Tapper and Representative John Lewis, touring the new MLK monument, and reflecting upon it:
THE CHRIS MATTHEWS SHOW
Today's panelists include Joe Klein, Katty Kay, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Major Garrett, who chat about Occupy Wall Street and how awesome centrism is. There are more "independents," Matthews says, confusing "independence" with "moderateness."
Joe Klein says that there are people who are not in a Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street people who also want attention and wonder why the media doesn't cover them (answer: they aren't at the same cocktail parties that Joe Klein goes to).
Henderson says that the debt ceiling fight is indicative of an inability of lawmakers to listen to...somebody? The Tea Party or the "Silent Center." Or both? The Tea Party wanted there to be no raising the debt limit, because they are illiterate and don't understand what that means (it means you agree to actuall pay for the things you already bought), meanwhile, the "Center" wanted a compromise. And...nobody got what they wanted. The system sucks! What I want to know is: do we need to have a mass movement of people to remind everyone that raising the debt ceiling is a quotidian part of the legislative process that was never controversial until everyone got very stupid about it this past year?
Major Garrett says that "the operators in Washington" have become more partisan because they are "more attenuated to political parties," and that math says that there are no one who wants to be centrist anymore, despite the fact that the media is always saying how cool it is!
Joe Klein: "In 2008, Obama's elected president, 80% of the people say that they like the health care they have so what does he do? He tries to reform the health care system." Actually, 80% said they were "satisfied." Here's what that meant:
But that does not mean that most Americans necessarily oppose change. In fact, polls also show that a majority of Americans think the health-care system needs alteration.
" 'Satisfied' means they like their doctor and have insurance to go to that doctor," said Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster. "Maybe they think their policy is better than what most people have. But it doesn't mean they don't want reform."
A Kaiser poll conducted this month, for example, found that 56 percent of Americans think health-care reform is particularly important, given the state of the economy, and most say the country will be better off if reform happens. But that poll found far less agreement about what changes might mean to individual families.
The reason for the apparent paradox is that even though most people are satisfied with their insurance, they harbor deep concerns about losing their coverage or their ability to afford it and medical care if costs continue rising.
Also, people who voted for Obama definitely caught wind of the fact that he was going to try health care reform because he talked about it all the damn time on the campaign trail, so it's not like he sprung this on people.
So, ugh, shut up Joe Klein. (Also, the GOP is NOT TRYING TO REFORM MEDICARE. They want to end Medicare. This is not controversial.)
Most of Chris Matthews' friends believe that Romney has to make a rightward shift in order to survive the primary. But if he does, he can "tack back" to the center. (This is what always happens, in Presidential races.)
Joe Klein believes that Herman Cain talking about the 9-9-9 plan is the best thing since soft ice cream.
Garrett points out that as long as the not-Romney vote is getting carved up six different ways, Romney doesn't need much more to start stacking up delegates.
Ha, ha, and Chris Matthews tells the panel what Mark Penn's strategy recommendations for the Obama re-elect team are, and asks the panel if they're convincing. "Uhm, no," they all say, because we're talking about Mark Penn.
Chris Matthews, as is his wont, plays a clip from Saturday Night Live. Lots and lots of them.
"Art and real life converging," says Matthews. Yes. That's finally happening.
So, #OWS is twice as popular as the Tea Party now. Katty Kay says, "I'd always wondered what had taken Americans so long to come out and protest given the dire state of the economy." Well, to our country's credit, we did spend a lot of time looking for work. I think, though, after about the 657th time the media took a poll, saw that unemployment and household debts were the top concern of the respondents, and then acted as if what they'd actually learned is that everyone needs to focus on spending cuts and entitlement reform, something had to give. Kay is pretty favorably disposed to the #OWS, it seems, only cautioning against becoming violent.
Joe Klein is here to wear pinstripes and stick up for the meritocracy, though, saying "Newt Gingrich seems to exude disdain, but he has a point." Klein then sort of forgets to elucidate what they point was. Maybe the point is that we need to exude disdain for ordinary people? All I can say is that everyone who indulges in that better hope that Hell isn't real, yo.
Garrett seems to think that the GOP is finally going to pay a political cost for being obstructionists. That would be a pretty novel change in the political dynamic, considering they didn't pay even a penny of cost in 2010. It's important to note, always, that the media enforces norms and grants approval, and they've more or less played grim, reflexive obstruction as nothing more than one more perfectly legitimate point of view. Unless the media imposes a new norm, it won't change. (And my feeling is that if the media starts opposing "obstruction," they'll do so in a "both sides do it" way that ultimately will just send the message that the system is broken, and the prevalence of a "government doesn't work" meme favors the GOP.)
Henderson goes on to point out that "I have some great ideas that the GOP won't help me pass" isn't the best campaign message. Unless, of course, Obama has personally interceded to prevent Eric Cantor from stealing enough people's puppies to allow him to carry Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Klein says, "Obama does not agree with #ows, if he did, he would have never appointed Tim Geithner to be Treasury Secretary." This is true!
Garrett: "Anything that's happening in 140 cities is something you'd better pay attention to."
Kay and Henderson say that the underlying discontent in the populace is going to remain instilled in the hearts of men come Election Day 2012. Matthews says he thinks those physical encampments will also be there. Garrett says, "Personal income is down ten percent in the past decade, unemployment's at 9.1%. You turn those around, these protests will go away." HELL YES. Because if you turn those around, you give those folks what is really their one demand -- some sort of future.
Here are things Chris doesn't know: Klein says that Iranian plot may seem "like a weird crazy thing" but it really means we're "getting closer and closer to a Sunni/Shia blow-up in the Middle East, Kay says that the free trade agreement was potentially a job creator and was passed with bipartisan support, Henderson says that immigration is proving to be a thorny issue for Perry on the stump, and Garrett says that Romney's stance on Chinese currency manipulation "puts him to the left of Obama" on the issue and has "complicated the life of John Boehner."
Will Mitt Romney be "significantly hurt by his Mormon faith in November," should he end up the GOP nominee? Klein says yes, if a third party of evangelicals emerge. Kay says that it may be an impact in certain states. Henderson says...something about Herman Cain, and that "ultimately it will be fine." Garrett thinks that Romney will probably deal with it in a Kennedy-esque speech, and that ultimately it won't be a reason for Romney losing "a single state."
MEET THE PRESS
I sort of love how now, with Herman Cain's resurgence, "the 9-9-9 plan is going to get more scrutiny." It's been getting scrutiny for weeks, now! It's one of the most scrutinized fantasy-based policies ever. It's already drawn GAME OF THRONES level scrutiny.
Anyway, it looks like David Gregory is going to take on Herman Cain in what's probably the fairest fight this show will ever stage. And the undercard is Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal will pretend to be Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, respectively, and yell at each other. It's a matchup that may or may not improve upon what you'd see if you turned off your television and stared at the blank screen.
Also, Chuck Todd and Katty Kay will be doing something called "Sunday Breakdown," which I sincerely hope is literally Todd and Kay talking some poor schmuck through a psychotic break. "Polls say those colors aren't REAL, Gerald! Now put down that boning saw, for God's sake!"
So, Herman Cain is the new Rick Perry is the new Michele Bachmann is the new Donald Trump. What an astounding historical arc we see unfolding in just these past few months of election pageantry, right?
Let's make with the "9-9-9!" Gregory says that the "experts" say that Cain's plan will "stick the poor and middle class" with tax increases, and that just about every analyst who examines this plan says the same thing, with remarkable consistency. "Why do you think this is acceptable," asks Gregory. OOOOH I BET YOU ANYTHING THAT CAIN IS JUST GOING TO SAY THAT THE EXPERTS HAVE MISSED SOMETHING.
"The experts have missed an important part about the sales tax," Cain says, and goes on to explain that "on the price of goods there are invisible taxes that will go away." The baker and the deliveryman will no longer be "invisibly taxed" and the prices of good will go down. "Based on what?" Gregory asks. "Based on competition."
Gregory says that his larger point was that the poor and middle class would pay more under the plan. OOOH, I BET CAIN IS GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT "ASSUMPTIONS."
"You and others are making assumptions about what wealthy Americans will do with their money, and what the poor and middle class will do. You can't predict behavior..." says Cain, but Gregory cuts him off, saying that it's not about behavior, it's about math.
Cain says that "more people will pay less in taxes." Gregory says that it's incontrovertible. Cain says that some people will pay more taxes, but that more people will pay less taxes. So who will pay more? Cain says, "The people who purchase more new goods" will pay more. Buy used food and bandages and medicine and clothing and you'll be fine, living the life! Tax free in America! "Hey, are you going to finish that sandwich? NO?! HOT DAMN TASTE THE AMERICAN DREAM, Y'ALL!"
Oh, and the elderly won't pay more taxes because the capital gains tax will go away and you know that's awesome because to a man, the elderly are all rich day traders with robust stock portfolios! I mean, if they weren't, we'd have to have "nursing homes" and "hospice care" or something!
Gregory keeps on reading newspapers to Herman Cain, though! He will not rest until every newspaper has been read aloud to Herman Cain until he is a broken man!
"Don't combine it with state taxes," says Cain, of the 9-9-9 Plan, and that's smart because the first thing that cash-starved states will have to do is raise taxes, because of the 9-9-9 Plan!
"That is muddying the water," Cain says, both hands frantically churning at the river's edge.
With the current structure, you have state taxes, right? So with this new structure, you're still going to have state taxes. That is muddying the water.
Because today, under the current tax code, state taxes are there if they have it. If they don't have state taxes, they don't have it. It has nothing to do with this replacement structure or the federal tax code.
But that doesn't make any sense to me. If I'm already paying state taxes, and I have a new Cain administration national sales tax, I got more state taxes.
No, you don't.
How so? You're not--
--saying they're going away.
David, your state taxes are the same. Your federal taxes, in most cases, are going to go down. That's muddying--
The Wall Street Journal--
"BUT THE WALL STREET JOURNAL!"
"OH YEAH, WELL WATER METAPHOR!"
This is truly a great moment in American political debate.
How will Herman Cain PASS HIS BILL? He says:
1) First we throw out the existing tax code.
(Okay, but, wait, how are we going to...)
2) "The American people are embracing it."
(Okay, well, that's important, in civics, but still there's a mechanism by which policy becomes law and David Gregory is trying to ask you about how--)
3) "The American people are going to demand it!"
Huh? I mean, you know how good Congress has gotten at ignoring the demands of the American people, right?
"There is a huge amount of public support for 9-9-9! Just talk to anybody!"
That's not really convincing.
Cain says that if more people "do the math on their individual situations, they'll see it's advantageous."
Herman Cain is unhappy with the Occupy Wall Street protesters for not protesting the White House (they were in DC protesting, though), and he believes that "liberals" want to "destroy" America "economically" and that's "their mission." Also, "stupid people are ruining America." WHY ISN'T EVERYONE LISTENING TO RICH LOWRIE, THIS DUDE I MET IN CLEVELAND.
I sort of love how to Herman Cain's mind, "stupid people are ruining America" and yet the appeal of the "9-9-9 Plan" is that it's simple enough for stupid people to grasp. HERMAN CAIN WILL SELL YOU A MONORAIL, AMERICA!
Foreign policy time. Was that crazy plot to off the Saudi Ambassador "an act of war?" Cain will make a determination once he's seen all of the intelligence community's findings. "I'm not going to say it's an act of war." Hmmm! Herman Cain has maybe seen IN THE LOOP:
Or, maybe it's a convenient excuse to just get away with not having opinions on things. One or the other.
Herman Cain isn't sure what a "neo-conservative" is, he just happens to like their booky-wooks ever so much!
I've looked at the writings of people like Ambassador John Bolton, I've looked at the writings of Dr. Henry Kissinger, KT McFarland, someone who I respect. So--
Would you describe yourself as a neoconservative then?
I'm not sure what you mean by "neoconservative." I am a conservative, yes. "Neoconservative"-- labels sometimes will put you in a box. I'm very conservative, but--
But you're familiar with the neoconservative movement?
I'm not familiar with the neoconservative movement. I'm familiar with the conservative movement. And let me define what I mean by the conservative movement: Less government, less taxes, more individual responsibility.
Herman Cain will consult with only the best bumperstickers to get an idea of what "conservatism" is all about!
Herman Cain doesn't think the war in Iraq was a mistake because "there were a lot of other reasons we needed to go to Iraq, and there have been a lot of benefits that have come out of Iraq." My next question would be, "Oh yeah, name one!"
CAIN: "Now, that being said, I don't agree with the president's approach to draw down 40,000 troops and basically leave that country open to attacks by Iran."
Ha, yes. Almost as if out invasion of Iraq had the UTTERLY PREDICTABLE EFFECT OF GIVING IRAN A BIG GEO-POLITICAL ADVANTAGE OR SOMETHING.
Also, Herman Cain, I'll point out that the "president's plan to drawdown troops" is precisely what is called for in the Status of Forces Agreement that America has been bound to since the Bush adminitstration. We can only leave those troops if the Iraqi government says it's okay to do so.
Cain says that he would leave troops there, in abrogation of the agreement and against the will of the Iraqi people, to prevent an attack from Iran, that's not going to happen because Iraq is now a client state of Iran as a result of the invasion.
Cain says that his foreign policy is based on a bumpersticker that reads "Peace through strength and clarity." And extra cheese, all the way to the edge of the crust.
CAIN: I don't recall saying that I would not use wise men and wise women.
DAVID GREGORY: You wrote that in your book. "I won't lead on so-called wise men, as other commanders in chief have done."
HERMAN CAIN: Well, let me explain what that means.
Yeah, it means that the book was probably ghostwritten by Rich Lowrie between his shifts at Wells Fargo.
A few more, just some quick ones here. On immigration, you said at an event in Tennessee that you would build an electrified fence on the border that could kill people if they try to cross illegally.
That's a joke, david.
t's a joke? So that was--
It's a joke. That's a joke.
That's not a serious plan?
That's not a serious plan, no, it's not.
You got a big laugh out of that--
That's a joke.
--but that's not what you would do?
That's a joke. I've also said America needs to get a sense of humor. That was a joke, okay?
HA, HA, HA, DEAD MEXICAN CHILDREN AT THE BORDER HA, HA, HILARIOUS. Am I "lightening up" enough for you, Herman?
But seriously, what is you plan, on immigration:
HERMAN CAIN: Here's my approach to illegal immigration. Here again, this is what's resonating with people, how I would solve the problem. It's not as simple as, "Would you deport?" We must secure the border. Now, it'll be a combination of a physical fence, technology, and in some terrible areas, we might have to put troops there. We must secure the border.
Secondly, we must promote the path to citizenship that's already there. We need to clean up the bureaucracy. Third, enforce the laws that are already there. Now, the way you do that is number four, which is a bold idea: Empower the states to do what the federal government can't do and won't do as far as dealing with the illegals that are in the United States today.
Yes, empower the states! Brilliant. And naturally, this is going to stay consistent somehow with your view of taxes, right? That the states can assume all this new responsibility without having to increase taxes.
Cain says he'd let the states make up their minds on gay marriage, but not on abortion. He also thinks that abortion in the case of rape or incest is wrong, because there are so few pregnancies the result from rape and incest. But there are some, right? He also says that "the family should decide whether or not to get an abortion is the mother's life is endangered." But what if the "family decides" to have an abortion and the "policy and the law" says, "Oh yeah, we don't allow for that."
Here's the big question:
Can you chart a path to this nomination with the amount of money you have? You raised in the third quarter $2.6 million. Is that enough to go the distance?
It's not enough to go to distance, but money is coming in. Here's what I've learned, David, and the polls show it: Message is more powerful than money. The $2.8 million that we reported, what the report didn't say yet, it's in the report, no debt. And we have $1.3 million on hand as of the end of September. But, within the last two weeks, this is another thing that we put out there, we've raised $2 million. So in other words, our fund-raising is now beginning to pick up.
I still think money is pretty important.
Okay, let's have a Breakdown on Sunday with Chuck Todd and Katty Kay.
RICK PERRY IS RAISING A LOT OF MONEY! RON PAUL IS DOING OKAY BUT HE WON'T MENTION THAT!
Chuck Todd says that Herman Cain can earn a million dollars a week, he'll be a "top-tier campaign." Kay says that "if people are giving Rick Perry money, they obviously want him to get elected." Or maybe they are just huge, huge fans of debate incompetence!
HOW CAN HERMAN CAIN WIN?
Todd says he needs to "have an organization" and keep "his elevator pitch" and defend his "9-9-9 plan" somehow, which is going to be interesting, because it seems like a mess. Kay says, yes, that 9-9-9 plan is a mess (she notes the same state tax discrepancies that I was harping on). But more importantly, he has to avoid being a "flavor of the month."
AND HOW CAN MITT ROMNEY WIN?
Todd says that Mitt had "the support of people who aren't paying attention." So he needs to get some support from some people who are paying attention. (Or, you know, just win by default and force the people who are paying attention to learn to live with him.)
AND RICK PERRY, SAME QUESTION?
Todd says the "Republican Party looks like him," so it's weird that he's not winning. (It's because the GOP is not happy about giving free education to illegal immigrants, I think, Chuck?)
Anyway, the Democrats really want to prolong the nomination process and keep Romney from locking it up so quickly, so Todd thinks they'll start "helping" Rick Perry, in ways that we won't be able to perceive. (Actually, it seems to me like they've kind of accepted the fact that Romney is going to win the nomination.)
There was nothing said in this "Sunday Breakdown" that couldn't have been said on the last two Sundays or won't be applicable on the next two Sundays.
Now, if around 11:11am you got the incredible sensation that something fundamentally bonerkilling had been broadcast on national television, stirring a profound malaise in everyone who watched, it's because Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal were on the teevee. This is like watching two Muppets that didn't make the cut audition for some bargain basement puppetry act.
Anyway, Tim Pawlenty says he does not regret getting out of the race and no one in America regrets it either. "Who again?" says America, adding, "Oh. That guy. Heh. *eyeroll*"
Bobby Jindal supports Rick Perry because of jobs and stuff. But "whoever's the nominee I'm going to support versus President Obama."
The big question to ask Pawlenty about, of course, is the fact that once upon a time, he was one to criticize Mitt Romney's health care plan, on the grounds that it spawned the Affordable Care Act.
Your criticism of the man you now endorse is borne out in our poll: 43 percent of those surveyed, of conservatives, say that the health care law is a big liability for them, in their minds, about Governor Romney.
That's not a majority of conservatives, by the way.
FORMER GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY:
Well, you started this line of question, David, about consistency. And David Axelrod comes on and talks about consistency. You know, no, President Obama gets before the country and says he's going to cut the deficit in half and then doesn't and has a whole list of broken promises, so we'll be happy to debate that with him at the appropriate time.
But as to Governor Romney and health care, I've spent a lot of time with Governor Romney and looked him eyeball to eyeball, we know each other, and I trust him. And he's told me unequivocally, as he has the nation, he is 100 percent committed to repealing Obamacare and will take the first steps in that regard on his very first day in office.
THIS COMMITMENT IS IN ROMNEY'S EYEBALLS. The eyes, as it turns out, are a window to the robotic subroutines.
Here are some of the things David Gregory is saying, during this segment:
"One of the big issues is about health care."
[To Jindal] "Let's talk about Governor Perry. You've endorsed him."
"Your guys want to win the nomination here."
I wonder if David Gregory says these things for his own benefit, or just regards these two as that simpleminded that they need to be reminded of some basic things.
Bobby Jindal says that Rick Perry is his hero because of the executive experience that led him to send the Texas Air National Guard to help Louisiana. Tim Pawlenty admires Mitt Romney for his steadiness. He has been steadily running for President for years.
We go back and forth. Bobby Jindal likes Rick Perry. Tim Pawlenty likes Mitt Romney.
What about Rick Perry's dingbat preacher friend putting down Mormons? Pawlenty says that "it's disappointing that Governor Perry and others didn't denounce those comments more directly," and that Mitt is a good guy with a nice family and Pawlenty is happy to stand behind. Jindal says that judging people by their religious views, and that he's been attacked for his faith, too.
And is that it?
No, Pawlenty and Jindal are going to stick around through the show's trend tracker. Herman Cain is trending! Also, immigration! Will that be a liability for Rick Perry? The surrogate for Mitt Romney says yes.
Okay, I guess there's nothing for Pawlenty and Jindal to do now but get back on the boat and sail onward to England, all the while ignorant of the fact that Hamlet has re-written the letter they are carrying so that it requests the King to put them to death as soon as they arrive.
And there's nothing for the rest of us to do but get on with our lives. In my case, it will involve watching the Philadelphia Eagles crush my hopes into dust. Hopefully the day will go better for the rest of you, obviously. Thanks for coming by today, and please have a great week!
[There will be more Sunday Morning Liveblog shortly, we promise. Just relax and hit refresh in about fifteen minutes or so. While you wait, here's some interesting Occupy Wall Street reading. Logan Sachon, skeptic of mass protests, talks to a veteran of organized political demonstrations, Sam Brody, in a broad discussion on how movements begin and evolve. Then, move from a critical distance to Ground Zero -- literally -- to meet Ray Wasnieski, whose got feet in two different worlds as the protests in New York City continue.]