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Politics In The News: Fiscal Budget For 2016


Let's bring another voice in here. Cokie Roberts joins us most Mondays. She's on the line. Good morning, Cokie.


GREENE: So Shaun Donovan just basically said that a lot of this is about the president's vision, not necessarily about getting all of these specific proposals passed. I mean, is that how we should really see this budget?

ROBERTS: Yes, that is exactly what it is. It's a set of priorities coming out of the White House. It's not something that anybody expects to actually happen. You know, it often does come on Groundhog Day, as it is today, and it's about as predictive of what the budget will be. And - but to underline his priorities, the president is going today to talk about this budget at the Department of Homeland Security. So that is making a big point right there that that's where he wants to see some resources go at a time, of course, when we're seeing all kinds of problems around the world.

But it is interesting, David, that this question of middle-class and thriving under any kind of budget is something that now you're hearing about from everybody. The Republicans are very much on the subject of income inequality, and particularly the Republicans who are running for president, which seems to be a good many Republicans.

GREENE: (Laughter) It's a pretty large field. It's hard to keep track. Well, one of the Republicans who seemed to be considering running, Mitt Romney, announced at the end of last week that he's not going to run. But he did send some pretty strong language about who he thought his party should nominate, didn't he?

ROBERTS: Yes, it was not even slightly subtle. He said, you know, it should be someone from the next generation, someone who has not yet taken his message to the American people, just getting started - i.e. not you, Jeb Bush - and ultimately, not Hillary Clinton. It's interesting what did happen in the Iowa poll after Romney withdrew. They didn't go to Bush. In fact, he's at the bottom of one poll, second-to-last in another. And there is lots of talk about fresh faces in the Republican Party. You can hear all these young Republicans talking about the 21st century, not the 20th, although they can't much tell you what that means, but it sounds good. And we do have lots of data to show that presidential elections are about the future, not the past. And, you know, these polls, although they're meaningless because, you know, it's now, it's way too early, do have some impact for the question of raising money. So when you have somebody like Scott Walker, who's now at the top of the Iowa polls, the governor of Wisconsin, that helps him. It helps him when he goes with his hat in hand and says, you know, look, I really have a real shot at being president.

GREENE: And we just have a few seconds left. I guess I just wonder on the Democratic side, I mean, Hillary Clinton seems to have a commanding lead. And there are reports now that she's going to postpone any announcement about a candidacy for a while? What's that about?

ROBERTS: It means - I don't know what it means. It means either she wants to say that she's raised a gazillion dollars before she announces or she wants to say that she's spending time with her grandbaby, but it's a mistake. She needs to be in the fray, dealing with the politics of this and explaining exactly why she wants to be president. And she does have a problem that she doesn't have a new face. And so she needs to get out there and talk about the future with voters, and she needs to talk about this 21st-century issue. I think that once she does, the thing she's likely to talk about at the beginning is what the 21st century means for women.

GREENE: All right, we were speaking to Cokie Roberts, who joins us on the program most Mondays. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cokie Roberts was one of the 'Founding Mothers' of NPR who helped make that network one of the premier sources of news and information in this country. She served as a congressional correspondent at NPR for more than 10 years and later appeared as a commentator on Morning Edition. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts was a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.
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