TODAY | February 06, 2013
>>> good morning to you.
>> good morning, savannah.
>> we have known for a while the u.s. government has authorized strikes against american citizens believed to be al qaeda leaders. what we learn in this memo is the legal justification for that. some are concerned about how expansive the power is that the administration gives to itself. how much of a political problem is this for the president?
>> you put these potential political problems in two buckets. there's public opinion and there's a problem he's going to have with congress. on the public opinion front, we saw this during the bush administration , when there was a lot of angst in congress about the detainee and torture policy. the public didn't seem to look the other way. they didn't see it as a political problem. the public simply wants to see the bad guys gotten. and there's probably the same political reaction when it comes publicly to the president. but he will, i think, have a problem in congress, especially democrats. democratic senator ron widen, on the senate intelligence committee . savannah, it is all about congress wanting to know why isn't it more in the loop? they have this expansive authority of executive power . if you think about it in the old days of learning how government works, there's three branches of government. in this case, just one branch of government as oversight over this policy. congress would like to have more oversight and the ability to know exactly the justification, when and how the president makes these decisions.
>> let's talk domestic politics, the sequester, automatic spending cuts set to go in effect in a few weeks. for a while both sides seemed to fear them equally, that was supposed to push them to the bargaining table. now you hear republicans say maybe these defense cuts, we can live with. is that a tactic or will that possibly happen when it goes into effect?
>> the republicans are kind of divide. old guard republicans have been around washington for a while, they do not want to see these cuts go through at all. think of the divide as the senate republicans versus the house republicans . you have a lot of newer members, tea party conservatives, those folks who have come to washington the last four years who simply say, hey, if this is the only way president obama is going to cut spend iing, then why not? maybe we're not happy it's on the defense. why not? so if republicans go in that direction, i don't see how it is stopped. i don't see how house republicans decide to let them go. not sure where the president has leverage here. but we'll see, as march 1st comes. they may be more motivated to do something.
>> before i let you go, i have to ask you about hillary clinton 's new website, her campaign website now links to a new page. is this potentially a sign of 2016 ambitions, or is sometimes a website is just a website, chuck?
>> i want to say a website is just a website. if you click on the contact button, look at all the information they want from you, e-mail, way to get back to you. contact information. something tells me that data is not just going to go away and they're going to throw it out. you could look at it as it's the very beginnings of how the structure would be put in place, should she decide to do it.
>> keeping her options open for sure. chuck todd , thanks so much. appreciate it.