Amy Walter and Tamara Keith on impeachment public opinion, 2020 Iowa poll numbers

JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we turn to Politics
Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s “Politics
With Amy Walter,” and Tamara Keith from NPR. She also co-hosts “The NPR Politics Podcast.” Hello to both of you. It is Politics Monday. So, Tamara, you were listening to Senator
Sanders. What did you think? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Senator
Sanders did what many of the Democratic candidates have done, pretty much all of them, which
is criticize the president’s decisions, criticize the way President Trump handled Syria and
the relationship with the Kurds, but didn’t really offer a much clearer view of how he
would fix the problem. And that’s essentially been what all of the
Democratic candidates have been doing, because it’s much easier to criticize the president
than to get into the nitty-gritty details of how you solve the morass that is Syria. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Right,
and the fact most Democrats, like Bernie Sanders, argued, shouldn’t have gone into Iraq in the
first place, want to bring troops out of the Middle East. Elizabeth Warren in the debate the other night
said, I want to get all the troops out of the Middle East. So, to answer your question of well,, what
do you do now about Syria, well, that gets a little complicated. JUDY WOODRUFF: It is. AMY WALTER: It is, which is what being president
is about. It’s complicated. JUDY WOODRUFF: And he went on to say — I
was trying to ask him, Tam, to elaborate on what the differences are between him and Elizabeth
Warren, both the most progressive candidates in the race. And he’s been reluctant to talk about it. But this — and this time he stressed he wants
a revolution; she would do it through Capitol Hill. TAMARA KEITH: Well, and that does seem to
be the distinction between them, is that Bernie Sanders has always talked about a revolution,
and she talks about big structural change, but it’s all within the structures that exist. Like, she wants to keep the house, but tear
down the guts, and he kind of wants to blow the thing up and try something different. And that is sort of how they have approached
the campaign. That said, he has been very cautious about
really trying to attack her in any way. He has been very cautious about that, I think,
in part, because he knows that she is the candidate in this ray race other than him
that is most likely to go toward his vision. AMY WALTER: Well, plus, he doesn’t necessarily
have to go after her. Every other candidate is doing that for him,
which we saw in the debate last week, right? There was a big target on top of her head,
and all the candidates were coming at Elizabeth Warren, most specifically, as you mentioned
in this interview with Bernie Sanders, about how she pays for her Medicare for all plan,
which she said this weekend that she’s going to have more details, finally, very soon,
and they’re working out all the details. JUDY WOODRUFF: In coming days. So, how — do we agree on how much of a threat
she is to him right now? TAMARA KEITH: She is absolutely a threat to
him. She is also absolutely a threat to Vice President
Joe Biden. And you can sort of see how much of a threat
she is in this race, how she has gained in the polls, by looking at what the Democrats
on stage did with her. They were going after her. And it wasn’t just that they were going after
Elizabeth Warren. They were — many of the moderate candidates
were, in a way, trying to show themselves as, well, you know, if this Biden thing doesn’t
work out, if he slips a little bit, hey, look, I’m auditioning to be the moderate alternative. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: And they have done that, and
they have continued to try to play off of that, haven’t they? AMY WALTER: Well, and that’s what you have
seen this weekend, Pete Buttigieg getting a lot of media attention. New poll coming out this — I guess it was
this morning — from Iowa showing Buttigieg now moving into third place in Iowa. So, he has been trying — we have been talking
about this for a while now — to be this bridge candidate between Biden and Sanders/Warren,
saying he may be — he’s a little bit too old, too establishment, this idea of returning
to normalcy is just passe, it’s not going to work. These guys over here, too far to the left. I can be that nice — I’m going to be more
progressive, but not as far to the left here. But you’re seeing now Amy Klobuchar, who also,
for the first time, really came out and sort of stood her ground as the moderate in the
race. What we don’t know yet is if there’s enough
room for all of those folks in this race. Joe Biden has really sucked up that lane all
to himself. He really will need, as Tam pointed out, to
slip in order for one of those other counties to move in and potentially dominate that piece
of the debate. JUDY WOODRUFF: And particularly striking,
Tam, as Amy says, that Buttigieg took over third place, beating out and knocking Bernie
Sanders back to fourth in Iowa, which has to have the Sanders folks worry. TAMARA KEITH: Right. Well, and, also, Pete Buttigieg has a lot
of money. If you — we got all these campaign finance
reports out over the last week, and Buttigieg has more cash on hand than Vice President
Joe Biden. In fact, a lot of people have more cash on
hand than Vice President Joe Biden. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s talk about the president,
Amy. Rough few days, as we were talking with Yamiche
earlier, impeachment, Syria, the continuing blowback over that, now the discussion that
hasn’t gone away about his being willing to use his own hotel to host world leaders, and
they pulled it back, but it’s still out there. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is this another blip, another
quick storm moving through, or is this the last… (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Waiting to see if there’s a lasting
set of problems. And, again, this president’s approval ratings
just do not budge, good times and bad. And if you look at the average where he is
right now, it’s somewhere around 41 percent or 42 percent, which is where it’s been for
the past four, five, six months. What we really don’t know as we’re moving
along, seems to me, is where we are in impeachment and how — if anything new is going to change
that will change the way Americans in which view this. Is there going to be some amount of information
that could blow this open one way or the other, either the majority of Americans saying let’s
not impeach or the majority of Americans saying overwhelmingly that impeachment should happen? I just don’t see that happening right now,
which means we have an impeachment vote, the Senate doesn’t vote to convict. And for the very first time in American history,
we have a first-term president impeached running for reelection. JUDY WOODRUFF: But it drags on, Tam. It’s going to last for weeks and weeks. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. There are the mile markers that people talk
about of Christmas and New Year’s and whether it slips past that or whether it wrecks everybody’s
holidays. You know, it is — right now, it’s all happening
behind closed doors. All of these various interviews are happening. There are going to be transcripts maybe that
will be released, but it’s not happening out in public. There aren’t these big splashy public hearings. And as a result, it’s hard for this kind of
thing to move public opinion. It’s getting — this story started out very
simple. It is getting increasingly more complicated. You need more lines and circles and things
on your chart to try to understand who all the players are and what all the characters
are in this growing drama. JUDY WOODRUFF: Although Speaker Pelosi is
trying to keep this focused on the Ukraine transaction. TAMARA KEITH: But even the Ukraine transaction
has gotten much more complicated. AMY WALTER: Has gotten very complicated. JUDY WOODRUFF: A lot of players. But it looks as if there’s a — I mean, there
is a deliberate effort on the part of the Democratic leadership in the House to keep
this as focused on that as possible, and not let it… AMY WALTER: Yes, and to keep this as — keep
it as focused on the issue and to keep the timeline as narrow as possible. I think the longer this drags out, and if
we get into 2020, the conversation about impeaching a president during an election year, that
becomes tougher for Democrats to defend. Thus far, they have the benefit of, at least
on the process argument, the majority of Americans are with them on this idea of having an inquiry. But as — again, if this drags, drags, drags
out and we’re five or six months away from an election, are Americans still going to
be approving of this inquiry? JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, it is Politics Monday,
so much going on. AMY WALTER: Always. JUDY WOODRUFF: Always. Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank you. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

Maurice Vega

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