Alex Witt   |  May 25, 2013

Joy-Ann Reid's advice for how Pres. Obama should handle controversies

In this week’s "Office Politics," MSNBC’s Alex Witt sits down with Managing Editor of The Grio, Joy-Ann Reid. She talks about never-ending political campaigns as rationale for scrupulous pursuit of scandals. Joy discusses the controversial issues facing President Obama and whether or not it will negatively impact his second-term agenda. She recommends structural reform of the tax-code as a way to engage Republicans and move policy forward.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in this week's office politics we talk about the managing editor of the grio joy ann reed . we discuss about the issues facing the president will negative impact his agenda but i began by asking her, what's in a name?

>> so basically my name is joy ann that is my name on my birth certificate but throughout my life joy ann has gotten shortened to joann. it's almost like a tech. if i tell people it's joy ann it will become joann. it becomes like a stumbling block . there were some that were easy with the joy ann . but others it was kind of a stumbling block . people were like what is your name again? i said call me joy.

>> what do you want me to call you?

>> well, see you started calling me joy ann so that's kind of like a term of endearment. i don't want to let it go.

>> let's begin with the president. there's a new poll that suggests the public believes the irs and benghazi controversies are going to make it harder for the president to get his agenda done. what's your take on that?

>> that presumes that it was not going to be impossible for the president to get his agenda done. i think we're in this point now where politics is 24/7, and it's a campaign. the campaign kind of never ends. you know, barack obama said something during a recent fund-raiser in new york last week that i thought was entirely not true. he said you know what? we figured if we just beat them again it would break the fever in 2012 . i think that presumes that this is a fever that can be broken. we are in the age of four-year campaigns. so that when an election is over, it's not over for the losing party. they just keep fighting the campaign. so i think the president was going to have a really hard time getting anything through the congress, particularly the house of representatives anyway. now that republicans have seized on these issues, and the media, this is what we're going to be doing at least through the summer. we're just going to be doing the scandal hunt.

>> in terms of the scandal hunt it seems to me like the irs scandal is the one that's turned the most weight right now.

>> it's difficult. because we wanted the irs and the white house to be completely separate since the nixon days because of those abuses where you have a white house sort of sic'ing the irs on their political opponent. since there's no evidence that this situation went into the white house or came from the white house which would be truly scandalous if it was directed by the white house , without any evidence of that we basically just have president obama was in office when it happened but the irs commissioner at the time the was a george w. bush appointee. i think people are always sort of afraid of the irs . it is a boogeyman for everyone. ofry taxpayer worries about being audited. it feeds into a pre-existing negative feeling about the irs . people can relate to the idea of the irs harassing you. if you just read on a cursory level it's something that could hurt, you know, i guess the administration because people will associate it with barack obama . but i think the people who care most about this issue, which would be conservatives, republicans and the tea party , they're already mad at the president. they were already looking for reasons.

>> if you were able to advise him how to handle this matter what does he do?

>> i think this would be a good time to go back and look at structural reform of the tax code . ironically enough one of the issues that got put on the back burner because of sequester and other issue was looking at the tax code . i think what the president could do is appoint a commission and say we want to go through and thoroughly look at the tax code . look at whether the 501 c 4 situation makes sense. he should say let's have a national conversation about the tax code and see if republicans bite.