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JOHN KING, USA

House Democrats "Just Say No"; Democrats Revolt; "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Dies

Aired December 9, 2010 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Good evening, everyone. Wow, what a dramatic day here in the nation's capitol. An all out mutiny by House Democrats against the tax cut deal negotiated by the leader of their party, President Obama.

And more defeats for the Democrats on their top priorities for this year-end session of Congress including a failure tonight to advance legislation that would repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the United States military.

Also new developments in the Wikileaks saga tonight and we'll debate whether you are at risk in this cyber war and whether the government needs to take a more aggressive role or back off.

Let's begin with the stunning disarray in the Democratic Party. House Democrats this morning held an emotional meeting and decided in the end to defy their president, refusing to bring to a vote the tax cut compromise.

The Obama White House negotiated with Republican congressional leaders. House Democrats are livid the president agreed to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and just as mad if not more so that the deal includes generous new estate tax provisions for the White House in a moment. But first, senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash takes us inside the Democratic uprising -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT. John, the venom coming from House Democrats aimed at the fellow Democrat and the White House really is remarkable. One senior Democratic source summed up what I'm hearing from a lot of Democratic sources and saying today it is, quote, "breathtaking how the White House mishandled this" from their point of view.

Now the fact that the White House Democrats took this vote today was really a surprise. It was not expected that would they would bring this resolution not to take up the tax package until there are major changes.

But I'm told that it pass by voice vote overwhelmingly. People were heard chanting, just say no, inside this House Democratic meeting. The White House is still relying on Republicans to pass this, but, of course, the House Democrats, they still run the House.

So that is why it's important that they said they're not going to take this up. Now, will there be changes as the House Democrats are saying? Vice President Biden was with these very House Democrats just last night, saying any major changes would unravel this whole deal, especially what House Democrats are most upset about, which is that estate tax that you mentioned, which they believe is really just too generous to the wealthy.

That's the House. In the Senate, some, and I emphasize some Democrats, are warming to this tax cut deal and they are actually crafting legislation as we speak, may introduce it tonight. Where does this leave the House? One senior Democratic aide in the Senate told me, quote, "the House is on their own" -- John.

KING: Dana Bash on Capitol Hill keeping track of this one, a big drama. So what does this rebuke say about the president's standing as leader of the Democrats and what will he do to salvage the deal? CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry has that. Ed --

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, a huge dichotomy on Pennsylvania Avenue right now. If you listen to Dana's report, it sounds like it's falling apart for this president. Here at the White House, they insist -- they're sort of shrugging their shoulders.

Say, look, we're going to turn it out. In the end, we're going to win. What they keep doing is that rolling out endorsement after endorsement. This one has came into my e-mail inbox, mayor of Kokomo, Indiana, Mayor Goodnight. He's got on board. They've got the mayor of Tulsa, the mayor of Charlotte.

They just keep turning these endorsements, but they're not getting the endorsements of the people who actually have to vote on it. People like Speaker Pelosi and some those senior Democrats Dana was just talking about.

I'm starting to hear for the first time whispers from advisers of this White House about whether or not this is the first big legislative test where they miss Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff who really had his ear to the ground there on Capitol Hill.

But in the end, senior advisers to the president say they think he's going to win for two big reasons. Number one, they think on the merits, House Democrats would see that it would be a bad idea to go home without helping people who are losing unemployment benefits.

Middle class who are going to be losing those tax cuts and secondly, the politics of it. It would be extremely difficult for House Democrats to go home and let taxes for everyone increase on January 1st and a couple of days later have a new Republican House come in and cut taxes for everyone and have a Democratic president sign that into law. It would be a great narrative for Republicans and awful one for Democrats going into 2011, 2012, John.

KING: Thanks, Ed. It is a fascinating drama. We'll watch what the president does next. And as they defy the president today, you heard Dana Bash report.

House Democrats broke into chants of just say no and also no we can't. Mocking the president's campaign theme as they rejected this deal. That Mr. Obama calls critical to the economy. It is a defining moment. When I talked to two Democrats, Lloyd Doggett and Donna Edwards, their angst at the president was abundantly clear.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: There's no way to read this other than the House Democrats at war with the Democratic president of the United States. Is there not?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT, (D) TEXAS: Well, I think there's a disagreement. The administration reached a private agreement with Senate Republicans to borrow almost another trillion dollars and most of the benefits of that barring go to those at the very top of the economic ladder.

We have different priorities. Job creation and a fair tax system and we're speaking out after the vice president said yesterday that this was a take it or leave it deal. We're basically saying leave it if we can't do a better job of creating jobs for Americans and having tax fairness.

KING: They're supposed to be on your side down on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congresswoman, do you think the president sold you out here?

REP. DONNA EDWARDS, (D) MARYLAND: Well, what I think the president was pushed against a wall and he has spoken out very clearly that he supported middle income tax cuts, making sure that working families get the benefits of what we're doing here. And what we've said is that as Democrats, we're one accord about protecting working families. We're saying leave the deal that makes a deal for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

KING: Forgive me for interrupting, but you've heard the president of the United States when he was asked about this the other day. You're right, there are things in this deal he does not like, but he says you can't make perfect the enemy of the good and that those that take that position, he called sanctimonious.

EDWARDS: Well -- there was an overwhelming resounding message coming from the Democrats in the House of Representatives that this is really an unacceptable deal for the American people.

For us now and this economy and for future generations who would have to bear the cost of adding a trillion dollars on to the deficit without really doing the kind of job creation that we need. We've said is you know what? There's no rush to strike is deal. It's time for to go back to the drawing board.

KING: You say there's no rush to strike the deal, but Congressman Doggett, you could make this argument. I understand your position and I understand your principles, but you could make the cold political argument that if there is no deal this year, that the Republicans will control the House next year. The Republicans will have more seats in the Senate next year and the Republicans might have even more leverage in their conversations with the president. Does that worry you?

DOGGETT: Well, I think we control this Congress for the rest of this year and we need to reflect the values of the American people and those values don't include a big give away on the estate tax to the billionaires in our society and we're concerned about some omissions from this deal.

In my part of the country, green energy and green jobs are really important and totally omitted from this secret deal is any kind of incentive for wind and solar power. All those benefits are about to expire at the end of the year and we're concerned that a Republican Congress won't renew them.

So we're saying, let's do take a few additional days and get this done right. Middle class tax cuts during this time of economic downturn, no bonanza for the billionaires and do something about these green energy jobs.

KING: How much of this, Congresswoman Edwards is part of a deeper concern you get privately when you talk to those who are more liberal in the Democratic caucus? That some of them believe that this president and his political team have made a calculation that sticking it to the liberals on this and other issues is good for his re- election.

EDWARDS: Well, I'm going to tell you this. For those who are unemployed, for working families who need tax cuts, this is not about politics. It's not about idealism. It's about actually doing something that's fair to working families and to people across this country.

Let's get it straight, 59 percent of the American public believes that we should not be extending tax cuts to the wealthiest. What Republicans have done is stake out the territory for wealthy people when they're living and they've done it when they're dead. Democrats have to stand in opposition.

KING: You're watch bashing the Republicans and I get that, but it was the Democratic president who got this deal. Do you worry that he has made a calculation post-election that this is in his best interest to occasionally stand up to you?

EDWARDS: What I worry about is that we make the right calculation for the American people. The way to do that is go back to the drawing board and understand that it's Democrats in Congress representing individual congressional districts. We have an obligation to the people who sent us here to protect working families and we can say that to the president and give him a stronger hand to negotiate against Republicans.

DOGGETT: It is a strange twist on the word liberal to call those of us who are trying to control the size of this massive borrowing and don't think it's a good idea to borrow more. We believe what the president said last week with the debt commission that this is a serious problem, so why make it worse this week by adding another trillion dollars of debt when so much of the benefit goes not to create jobs, but to help billionaires?

KING: So, Congressman Doggett -

EDWARDS: We can create as many jobs at half the cost. We can take half of that cost to the things that really matter to the American people and create as many jobs. Giving tax cuts to the wealthiest, giving away an estate tax and the state give away -- does not at all create jobs in this economy and we have to be very clear about that.

KING: Congressman Doggett, Congresswoman Edwards, appreciate your time today.

EDWARDS: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, both.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Wow. So what now? Let's ask CNN contributor Ed Rollins, he's in New York and Democrat Paul Begala here in Washington. Normally, I would go to the Democrat first, but Ed, I want to go to you first.

You're a Republican and I know you're enjoying this, but you used to be the White House political director for Ronald Reagan. How the hell did the Obama White House let this happen? To get not just a revolt, but a mutiny in their own party. How could they not have sold this first?

ED ROLLINS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Obviously, they're missing some element counting votes and I think to a certain extent --

KING: They lost them all.

ROLLINS: That's what I mean. It's just -- I'm being generous, you can't all your own side and own your people sanctimonious. The way you do something is you don't shock them. You don't surprise them. You basically sit down and negotiate with them.

And obviously, there were Senate Democrats involved in this decision. It wasn't only Republicans, but they are weakening this president and I think to a certain extent, maybe this is the last gasp where they want to feel relevant for a couple more weeks.

And standing up as Congressman Doggett said there and doing something they feel good about, but at the end of the day, it's not what's going to be the law. It's not what's going to end up being the activity and it's only going to damage the president in the short run.

KING: Do you agree with that? Your party is in a little circular firing squad. PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, certainly in a circular firing squad. Who knew we were this good with guns. When the president first cut the deal, I was furious, but what was worse perhaps even is the way that he described those in his own party who disagreed with him, who as my old boss said, we still believed in what the president believed in last week.

He did call them sanctimonious. He said they care more about symbolism. They wanted to have partisan fights at the expense of working people. You don't say that about your own party. I was not working for Bill Clinton when he signed that welfare bill, which upset the left.

But I talked to two of his senior aides at that time and both of them said they had orders from the president. When the left criticized him, we disagree, but we admire the principle on the left. That's what the president should be doing.

The notion (INAUDIBLE) sticking a finger in their eye, bad enough that he's cut this bad deal, but now he's insulting him saying they're the ones who are unprincipled when all they're doing is standing by the principles of the president used to believe in last week.

KING: Paul and Ed are going to stay with us. More on the tax pay and the Democratic disarray. When we come back, the effort to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" falls just short in the gay rights community said it didn't have to happen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This evening, the Senate fell three votes short of the necessary margin to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the United States military.

Tonight, President Obama issued this challenge. Try again. There could be another effort. A bipartisan group of senators plans to file new legislation calling for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but one of them, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, says it wouldn't be necessary if Majority Leader Harry Reid had given negotiators just a little bit more time before calling today's vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: There was the clear path forward to victory on this issue and to consideration of this bill and for the life of me. I cannot understand why the majority leader chose not to take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The human rights campaign also questioned Senator Reid's tactic tactics. Joe Solmonese joins us along with Paul Begala and Ed Rollins who is still with us from New York.

Joe, I want to get to that point. Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman saying gives us another day. We would have gotten you the 60 votes. Why did Harry Reid not listen. Your organization said, Senator, please let them figure this out.

JOE SOLMONESE, PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: You know, I was in a lot of those meetings and the one thing that I would say, which mirror what Senator Collins said is that there was a path forward.

There was absolutely a path forward. Now whether that path was less acceptable to the Democratic leadership or the Republicans who support the merits of repeal, we're now up to about five or six, is something they're going to argue about for long time.

The fact of the matter is that there was a path forward. I think Senator Liebermann --

KING: But did Senator Reid let you down?

SOLMONESE: I think everybody involved in this process let the community down. You know, I mean, everyone of the players in this process let the community down because the fact of the matter was there was a path forward and whether it was the White House, the Democratic leadership, the Republicans who supported this bill, I have to believe we could have found that way forward and we could have gotten it done.

KING: Ed Rollins, why is this one so tough, number one and number two, with the short time left in this lame duck session, now Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman, they're going to introduce their bill. Many thought maybe the House would go first because there's much more support. Nancy Pelosi said no, the Senate will go first because she doesn't want to go through this again where the House passes something only to see it die in the Senate. What next?

ROLLINS: Well, I think clearly, if it's three or four other Republicans who have come on board and Susan Collins is the negotiator there, you've got to listen to her.

What difference does that make? This has been a long, hard battle. If it's three or four more days or whatever, this is a controversial issue and to get it right and basically have the bipartisan support, you have to have your voice. A couple of days of the debate on this issue is probably fundamentally more important than anything else than anything else that they're doing there.

KING: But, Paul, there's a huge trust deficit in this town on just about anything especially and many so on the controversial stuff. In the sense that now, everyone's going to say we have to get home for Christmas. We going to renegotiate the tax cut deal, which is in disarray. Then the president wants to get S.T.A.R.T. through and many would argue START have more of a priority to him and that would upset Joe. How do they figure all this out when they're looking at a calendar say we got to go?

BEGALA: Right, by the way, they probably have to pass - absolutely have to pass this little detail of funding the government of the United States. I think Senator Collins' position is preposterous. She is on the Committee of Jurisdiction. They've had 33 subcommittee or committee hearings on this bill. She's had nine and a half months to play around with it and now, with the clock ticking, with a major nuclear arms treaty at risk, with a major tax deal, with the entire federal government at risk.

Now she's blowing up a deal because she doesn't like the way the majority leader scheduled the timing. So now, Republicans who say they're for the bill are actually voting against it. This is the old saying in politics, sometimes you have to rise above principle.

KING: Here's one that drives everybody in America crazy. Maybe they have different views in this issue, but it comes up an issue after issue after issue. Why if the Collins-Lieberman deal might have a chance standing alone, why did this morning in the middle of these negotiations, Harry Reid said, you know what? Let's break this off, here, introduce it. See if you have the 60 votes. Do it today.

SOLMONESE: I think one point to remember, Susan Collins did vote the right way. She voted yesterday. And look, let's not lose sight of the fact the principle obstructionist to overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" who should not be forgotten in this conversation is John McCain.

But at the very least, what this does, I mean, if we're looking for a path forward, it answers all of the objections, said people like Lisa Murkowski and Scott Brown and others will go if it's done after the tax vote is done. I mean, it at least gives us a path forward.

BEGALA: I have more respect for a guy like McCain who says I'm against you. I'm going to vote against you and does it than I do for Scott Brown or Lisa Murkowski or any of these Republicans who say I'm for you, Joe but I'm going to vote against you because my feelings are hurt by Harry Reid's --

SOLMONESE: I have a lot less respect for John McCain than I do for Lisa Murkowski.

ROLLINS: But, Paul, the bottom line is it's a whole new game and the 42 Republicans who basically laid out, if you want our votes, give you your 60, you've got to do these two or three things.

Basically, Collins or anybody else breaking away from the fact is breaking the discipline the Republicans need. You had discipline on your side. We're going to have discipline on our side in the future.

I think this is an important issue. I think you can get the votes. It's not easy to get Republican votes, but you can get Republican votes enough to probably get it pass if you just listen a little bit.

KING: Do you trust what the Pentagon fears? Some of the Pentagon don't want to change the policy. You know that all too well, but Secretary Gates, one of the reasons he has come around so aggressively because he sees these court decisions and he's worried about is being told to do it tomorrow as opposed to getting Congress to pass a bill that gives him six months or a year to implement it.

But do you trust if this makes its way through the courts, maybe you win at district court or appeals court in that district, do you trust the Supreme Court? If this case makes it to the Supreme Court if Congress doesn't act or is that why you say the Congress must do this now.

SOLMONESE: There's a scenario in which this comes before the Ninth Circuit in February and we win and the White House has the option to not defend this. And we wake up in February with this policy over with and then there's no implementation time. You're right. The reason Gates argued for the legislative route is because it put the implementation control into the hands he and the president.

KING: If you had a make a bet tonight, will this be done by the end of the year or will your fight continue?

SOLMONESE: After a day like today, who knows? Look, I'm optimistic because as I said, I think that it certainly clears a lot of the hurdles and objections those Republicans had moving forward.

KING: Joe Salmonese appreciate it. Paul Begala and Ed Rollins as well. A lot more to come in the program that including a close look you've been hearing about it for days now. The Wiki cyber attacks on the web. Are you at risk at home? What should be done? What's the government role? We'll break that down with two experts and then more on the democratic revolt. Refute me on taxes. They can't pass "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Other priorities going down. Democrats mad at their president. We'll break that one down as well and Pete Dominick tonight has an interesting question. If you could write your on piece of legislation, what would it be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. Let's check in with Joe Johns for the latest news you need to know right now. Hey, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, massive protests in London did not stop British lawmakers from voting to triple the top tuition rate charged by universities to the equivalent of about 14,000 U.S. dollars. The drastic move to trim the U.K.'s deficit is not final yet. Some demonstrators took their anger out on Prince Charles, breaking a window in his car and throwing paint on it. No one was hurt.

A new report by the surgeon general warns that occasional smoking, even second hand smoke, every puff can cause serious illness. That raised new questions about whether President Obama has kicked the habit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not something that he's proud of. He knows it's not good for him. He knows that it's doesn't like it -- doesn't like children to know about it obviously, including his. I think he has -- I think he has worked extremely hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: So this report really reinforced a lot of stuff that I think we already know, but I mean, when you read no evidence that light and low tar cigarettes are any better than regular cigarettes, 7,000 chemicals in cigarettes smoke.

KING: Good for the president for pushing them away as Robert Gibbs said today. Mr. President, keep pushing them away. Joe, you mentioned some of those statistics. Let's take a closer look. This is stunning when you look at it.

I think cigarette smoking is horrible and I think nobody - nobody should think about it. Look at this, 443,000 Americans killed by tobacco each year, one in five deaths, 85 percent from lung cancer. Look at this. You look at the deaths in America every year.

Look at the percentage from lung cancer there, heart disease, 126,000, pulmonary disease. It's just stunning. There is no reason to smoke. What's in a cigarette, Joe just told you right there, 7,000 chemicals and compounds in a cigarette, 70 carcinogens, some can damage after just one cigarette.

Here's your body right here. A red dot means smoking can cause cancer. It destroys you, period. Look at that right up there. So where do you go from there, the financial impact, this is stunning when you look at these numbers. Let's bring this up, $193 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity that can be traced back to cigarette smoking.

That's a frightening number right there now. If you're sitting at home saying, I shouldn't give up my cigarettes. Let me clear that one and bring this one up. What's the difference, why should I quit, you're wrong. The new study says after just one day if you quit after one day, your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels begin to normalize. Your heart attack risk starts going down.

After a year, you're breathing better, your circulation is better, your heart disease risk even lower. Five years after you quit, your risk of stroke reduces to that of a non-smoker. Ten years later, your lung cancer rate cut in half, risk of multiple cancers drops and at 15 years after you quit, heart disease risk drops to the level of a non-smoker.

So, Joe, anyone out there, family, friends, whatever, I have people in my family, I do not get it. Quit tonight, quit tomorrow, quit now.

JOHNS: It's not healthy.

KING: Amen to that. When we come back, you've heard about Wikileaks and attacks on web sites, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal even Sarah Palin. What's all these about on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: New targets tonight for the hackers who are going after groups they believe are enemies of WikiLeaks. The loose knit group calling itself "anonymous" tried to attack PayPal today. The company says its online payment service has not been significantly impacted. The hackers also tried and failed to take down Amazon.com.

They had more success causing MasterCard and Visa site to crash. Now, a teenager in the Netherlands has been arrested in connection with some of those cyber attacks. We have quick pic here, peek at how some of this works.

"Wikileaks web woes, alleged denial of service." Amazon quit hosting the site. PayPal blocked donations. MasterCard and Visa blocked donations. That's why they think they have been targeted.

Bring this up here, a lot of others attacked as well. Senator Joseph Lieberman, his website, former governor Sarah Palin, lawyers for Julian Assange's accusers, including the Swedish prosecutor, they've been attacked. That's why people think these are by friends of WikiLeaks.

How does this work? Every IP address, go to CNN.com, everybody has a numeric code. That's how you find it. Then what the anonymous people are doing is getting their friends to make their computers available to them and all the computers using a program attack the server. All the attacks come in, too many attacks, it overwhelms the server.

How does this work? Let's talk it over with Jeff Jarvis from Buzzmachine.com, and the founder and the CEO of 3Crowd, Barrett Lyon. Gentleman, first I want to get to your basic opinion on this. Should the government, Mr. Jarvis, be doing more here to stop this, or is part of the reason this is happening is because the government's getting too involved in the WikiLeaks case?

JEFF JARVIS, BUZZMACHINE.COM: I think that's the case. The guardian has an editorial up tomorrow that calls this civil disobedience or cyber disobedience. WikiLeaks only crime was to speak truth to power. This is really about the freedom of internet. If this were done to the "New York Times," I would hope we would have more of a protest. Our government is too secret. It's default secrecy. Default should be transparency and secrecy by necessity. That's not the case here.

KING: Barrett Lyon, I want to talk more about how this works, but to that point, I agree there should be more transparency, but should you have a Web site that obtains information that has been stolen, should they be free from any prosecution because they've decided, well, I didn't steal it, but it was handed to me, so I can spread it?

JARVIS: What do you think of the Pentagon papers? Scoops that reporters get all the time, including on CNN? Stealing is one matter and spreading is another matter. In the end, these are the actions of our government, and I don't necessarily endorse everything that's out. I do think we need secrets and matters for security and crime and citizen's privacy and diplomacy.

However, far, far too much is being kept from us and the truth about the WikiLeaks so far is that the rule has not fallen apart. Sunlight has not hurt.

KING: So who are these people who decide, they get an e-mail notaries public it says to them, you don't have to do anything except send me an e-mail saying I can use your computer. Is this like sitting down on a college campus, like marching on the mall? Is this a new form of political protest?

BARRETT LYON, FOUNDER AND CEO, 3CROWD: What you have to understand is Anonymous isn't necessarily a group of very specific people. Yesterday, it was a group of 5,000 people. Today, it looks like it's a group that's grown to about 10,000 people.

And it's basically a very loose knit group of people that have decided that they want to you know, basically impose their will on people that have gone against WikiLeaks. And they've made it very easy to join their cause. You go to their chat channels and there's set up instructions, says download this program. When you put it on our computer, you are part of our attack and your computer will be attacking our current target is.

You can opt in or out anytime you'd like, but it's appealing to a lot of younger people, and it seems there's thousands and thousands of teenagers that are effectively breaking the law by attacks sites like visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

And it's kind of unfortunate, because I feel like in one aspect their entire goal is to support this WikiLeaks thing. However -- and they're trying to support freedom of speech on the Internet. They're supporting freedom of speech by shutting down websites. The opposite approach they should be taking.

KING: Mr. Jarvis, you make the case there should be no harm done. Let's focus on what happens on the web. They're attacking Visa, PayPal. Maybe go after Palin or Lieberman. What if they decided to go after the electric grid of the United States? Are there security measurements from place to protect infrastructure?

JARVIS: We can play that what if game over and over and I don't think it really gets us anywhere. Joe Lieberman went after WikiLeaks with Amazon and now, customers are going after Amazon themselves. I can use MasterCard and Visa to give a contribution to the Ku Klux Klan, but I can't support free speech of WikiLeaks.

When did speech harm us as a country? Do we believe in nothing else in America but freedom of speech? So I agree that shutting down speech is not the best reaction, but it's really no different than a picket line, and it's a modern form of picket line.

LYON: It is a little different. For example, what happens when they start attacking political candidates' websites and their web pages during the political election? If Anonymous as a group of 10,000 people grows to 50,000 people, they become a silencing power. And I don't necessarily think that is good. It's quite bad and supporting the opposite of freedom of speech. If they want to use their time or energy and write software to do good things, for instance, to make it very difficult to take the WikiLeaks website down or to improve the ability to send documents anonymously to WikiLeaks, then I think they've got something worthwhile and worth something that people can do.

JARVIS: Indeed last night 1,040 sites as of last night had put up mirrors of WikiLeaks all across the Internet. That's exactly how the Internet going to work.

And Wikileaks is kind of a side show to something bigger that's happening in this country and society, which is we have a movement toward transparency because it's easier, more possible to do that. And I think in general, that's a good thing.

Let's not forget that WikiLeaks was attacked by Dos attacks. It was a victim in that sense. It's had governments take it down and companies, and again, we're just talking about speech.

KING: Appreciate your time. This is a brave new world. I'll bring you both back because we're going to be having this conversation for a few weeks, a few months.

When we come back, we'll dig deeper into Democratic disarray. Why this mutiny over the tax cut deal?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: House Democrats rebuke the president. Their president on tax cuts. Senate Democrats can't get enough votes for most of their top priorities in this lame duck session of Congress. And the president, well he's suggests his critics for being sanctimonious.

Let's ask national political correspondent Jessica Yellin and senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and our senior Congressional correspondent Dana Bash. What happened to the party of hope and change?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It changed.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: It lost. It lost and the Democrats came back to this new reality, and some of them don't recognize it quite honestly. And the president decided he had to compromise, and he did not consult with them.

BASH: That's a huge part.

BORGER: That's the problem. Maybe they would have gotten a long more.

KING: Is that it? Do they have a communication problem or message in a sense that all he had to do was better explain this deal or is this a fundamental policy divide, they just think the president's wrong?

BASH: It's both. Obviously, they don't agree and the policy. But the process, on so my levels along the way, they felt they were shut out. One Democratic leader told me that he was on a conference call where he thought the deal was x, y and z. And all of a sudden, there was a president on television announcing a deal without knowing about it.

That's the kind of thing that historically House Democrats had always felt the White House took them for granted. It's breaking point.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The other piece of this, the White House thinks it will pass in the end so in a sense, so this sturm and drang doesn't matter. The question is, what does this say about the future -- that has the White House so enraged the Democrats right now that come the new year, when they're the minority party, they're going to fight not just the Republicans in the house, but even the White House, they're going to have a very aggressive minority leader Pelosi who is going to be outspoken in criticizing President Obama.

BORGER: When you talk to Democrats, is this the new Barack Obama who doesn't really care about us or what we think, the man who calls us sanctimonious. When you talk to people at the White House, they say the Democrats are protesting too much here because they could have passed this before the election. If they had really wanted to make a fight, they did. So why are they yelling at us.

KING: Let's listen to the president today. They had a sense the House Democrats were really mad and they don't think they quite knew yet they were going to refuse to bring his plan to the floor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every economist that I've talked to or that I've read over the last couple of days acknowledges this agreement would boost economic growth in the coming years and has the potential to create millions of jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's usually around 1.5 million. Some economists will disagree, but I talked to a Democratic pollster who said forget about D or R, the president should worry about one thing, the economy. He says voters are very upset and they need to see him every day talking jobs. I think that's what this is. The president's saying, that where I'm going.

BORGER: Right, and also appealing to those independent voters who are upset at the way things are going, who deserted Barack Obama and the Democrats and if they see a president trying to get things done, create jobs -- let's face it. This is a stimulus package. This is the stimulus two we were talking about and they never passed accept now they have. And Republicans are openly come police it in this spending, which I think in the long-term helps the president when he's trying to get some kind of deficit reduction.

YELLIN: That's the big question. Can he turn this into a deficit argument that I'm trying to splash spending and bring down the long-term deficit? They tied our hands, but we're going to fight back.

BASH: It's hard to make the deficit argument when this is $900 billion. To be fair to the White House, it's not just all complete anger. What Senate Democrats actually are seeming, or at least some are warming to this and the reason is because they have gotten briefings from independent economic analysts saying that they believe over all this package might not be that bad economically for the middle class.

KING: Quick time out, and when we come back, it's not just Democrats who don't like the deal. Some on the right don't like it, too. They're just not getting as much attention because of the Democratic family feud. That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Remember the word "triangulation" after the 1994 elections, Bill Clinton's relationship with his party and the Republican Congress? You're going to be hearing a lot of it tomorrow because during the break, the White House released the president's schedule tomorrow, and 3:00 p.m., a meeting with former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

BORGER: I want to be there.

KING: It's closed press. Sorry, you're not invited.

BORGER: How did you do that, Bill Clinton? Or NAFTA, exactly.

BASH: But it will be interesting to see if at all president Obama kind of appeals to president Clinton in the kind of how did you do this way, because Bill Clinton really angered a lot of his fellow Democrats. NAFTA was a big problem for him.

KING: Bill Clinton sulked for a few months. I covered Bill Clinton for a long time. Everyone thinks he woke up and bang, moved to the center. He was a sore loser and sulked for a long time.

I want to get back to Capitol Hill, because the Democrats in the Senate, the Democrats have a lot they want to get done in the lame duck. The 9/11 health care compensation, the DREAM Act, maybe that will come back. That was an immigration bill. That one is coming down. Emergency senior citizens act, no cost of living increase for Social Security. Let's give them $250. Losing, losing, losing.

Every time they lose, Harry Reid puts out a statement saying, Republicans care more about rich millionaire CEOs than the subject of the bill. If these bills were so important to Harry Reid, why didn't they vote before the election? Many of his members didn't want to cast the votes before the election.

BASH: Some of them, they did try. They are re-bringing them back up in the lame duck because the interest groups are pressing so hard to do it. He has got a point. The Republicans are blocking these. Guess what? That's the way the Senate works. Republicans have the votes to do it. And that's why it is bad now for Democrats. It is going to be a whole lot worse when Republicans have more seats come January.

KING: As we have all this time on the democratic objection. The house mutiny is a big deal, I think Joe Biden would call it a BFD. A lot of conservatives are saying that.

YELLIN: We spoke to tea party patriots. They are against it. They say this is a sign Republicans have broken their pledge not to raise taxes. So there are some conservative groups upset about it but not because they say this raises the deficit overall because of the tax cut but because they are upset about the estate tax and these other peripheral pieces.

Mitch McConnell has an interest and John Boehner has an interest in getting this done.

BORGER: They are going to -- the old adage, be careful what you wish for, because John Boehner has all these 63 new members. Half of them have never served in political office before. Mitch McConnell has people like Rand Paul coming in. And they are going to be problems for them if they try to get things done, which is another reason Mitch McConnell I think would like to get this done.

YELLIN: One thing I point out, some of these tea party groups that were so clear line in the election, we will tolerate no diversion from our view are now saying. The Tea Party express said to me today, this isn't a bill we like but we will take a small piece of the victory rather than the whole victory.

KING: A compromise under the Chris Christmas tree.

You mentioned John Boehner. He will be the speaker of the house. He gave an interview for "60 Minutes" and CBS has released a portion of it. This is a down payment, very chump change and I don't mean that's a criticism. Listen to the symbolic move he is making here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH) INCOMING HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I am going to cut my leadership budget five percent. I am going to cut all the leadership budget by five percent, every committee's budget by five percent. Every member is going to see a five percent reduction in their allowance ans. That's $25 million, $30 million. That likely would be one of the first votes we cast.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER: The president cut the salaries of his staff too. BASH: But it is symbolic. Look, they are trying so hard, the Republican transition team, they are bending over backwards to show the Tea Partiers and other Republicans that learned them that they were concerned that they didn't learn their lesson.

My favorite change is that John Boehner is putting a female bathroom for the first time near the house floor, and as a dig to Nancy Pelosi. The first female speaker didn't do it, the Republican had to do it.

BORGER: But she can use it.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Thanks for coming in. If the speaker is watching, maybe you saw that report earlier about smoking.

The DREAM Act may have stalled in the Senate. Our reporter, Pete Dominick, wants to know, what would your DREAM legislation act be? Find out, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A big piece of legislation here in Washington called the DREAM Act, it deals with immigration. But just hearing the name got over and over again got our friend, Pete Dominick, thinking, if you could write the legislation of your dreams, what would it be? Hey, Pete.

PETE DOMINICK, "JOHN KING, USA'S" OFFICIAL REPORTER: Hey, John King. This is the greatest acronym. I went out to ask people what their DREAM piece of legislation would be if they could author it. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOMINICK: If you could have a DREAM law, what would it be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To return to natural food sources.

DOMINICK: Yet, you are wearing a rabbit as a hat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought this a few years ago.

DOMINICK: If you could pass any law, would it be that the cowboys would win every year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America's team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep rent stabilized ever where.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My DREAM act is for you to run for Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should be able to smoke in public, as in marijuana. We should be able to drink in public.

DOMINICK: She wants it to be legal to smoke crack in public.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't say that.

DOMINICK: OK. What's your DREAM act?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My DREAM act is to be a little warmer than today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My DREAM law is to stop people from bothering you as you get off the train on the corner. My DREAM law.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOMINICK: There you go, John King, some people had some pretty interesting pieces of DREAM legislation out there today.

KING: What would your DREAM act be if you were Senator Pete Dominick?

DOMINICK: I knew you would ask me that. I was trying to think of something funny. But I really think my DREAM act would have to be some kind of public campaign finance reform, John King.

KING: Pete, I've got to fix you something here. If god is a Jets' fan, how in the world does that explain Monday night?

DOMINICK: Even god has to sleep for a few hours, John King.

KING: No. God is a Patriots fan.

DOMINICK: Somebody has to pray more on some side. I think he was just taking a nap on Monday.

KING: You know my favorite thing all day today. I read in the "New York Times" and it has this story about the Yankees pursuing Carl Crawford. Carl Crawford had already signed with the Red Sox by then. See you.

DOMINICK: $100 million, right?

KING: Money well spent. We'll see you tomorrow, Pete.

That's all for us. "PARKER SPITZER" right now.