December 13th, 2012

CNN’s Dana Bash talks with former leaders, Lott and Daschle

As fiscal cliff talks continue, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle  sat down today with CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash to discuss the deal making process and what advice they may have for current leaders during this pivotal negotiating process. Portions of this interview will air today on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. ET. Highlights from the interview are below.

Please credit use to CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash



LOTT:  But Dana, Dana, I do think they’ve reached a point where they need to quit talking to each other through the media and talking about whole parties and the President and the leaders of Congress.  Some of our most effective results came when we sat down at a conference table with – sometimes with the President or at least with the Chief of Staff or his O&B director, with our key budget people, and we really talked about alternatives and hammered it out.


DASCHLE:  This is really a reset moment.  I call this period between now and, say, the end of February a reset moment where you can create a different environment.  And this will be the test.  If we reset, it’s going to have to happen around the fiscal cliff first, because that’s the first order of business.

But there are a lot of other issues out there that could be addressed if we could really create a new climate.  And whether we do in part depends on the success of this effort right now.


BASH: And while we’re on what’s happening as we speak, do you think Republicans should just understand or admit that they’re going to have to raise rates for the wealthiest Americans to get a deal?

LOTT: There will come a moment when the Speaker is going to have to make a decision on that and the President is going to have to make a decision what he is going to do to return on the spending, but they need to do it in concert. It’s like directing the orchestra.  You’ve got to have the winds and the brass come together.

BASH: Or maybe hold hands and jump off the cliff together?



LOTT: It would be more fun on the way down if you have company.