tv John King USA CNN October 18, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
rning to his daughter. >> i got, i got a designated driver. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> and that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." don't go anywhere. coverage leading up to the republican presidential debate here in las vegas continues with john king right now. john? >> thanks, wolf. good evening. as wolf noted, we're live in las vegas. showdown time for the republicans who would be president as we count down to tonight's big debate. two big questions, one, can herman cain withstand all of the scrutiny that comes with his immedia immediate yoric rise in the polls? >> to be tied for the front you have a big bull's-eye on your back and the bull's-eye keeps getting bigger. >> and question number two, will the texas governor, rick perry, finally show up? but the surprising cain factor first. ron paul promises to take aim at
cain's catchy 9-9-9 tax reform plan. >> what 9-9-9 does, is he compromises in the worst way, he gives you a sales tax and a flat tax, and opens up the door to a value added tax. i think it's very, very dangerous. >> and even the front-runner, mitt romney, now gently taking aim, warning republicans who might like mr. cain's lack of political experience to think again. >> you know we have a guy who's president we didn't know very well as a country when he got elected and wondered what would happen if we elected someone who had no experience. now we know. >> now the perry challenge, to me, just as critical. tonight maybe even more so. his debate performances have been weak and views on immigration and other issues are giving some conservatives pause. a strong night for governor perry is mandatory if he's to stop a stunning slide from atop the pack to the crowded middle.
>> i'm looking in that camera talking to the young man or the lady out there without a job, somebody that's hanging their hopes on someone who gets it from the standpoint of how we created an environment where job creators can risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on investment. >> this state, nevada, has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. so talking jobs will get people here listening. but governor perry says, this state and the country, well, you're going to need to wait a little bit longer for more specifics. >> between eight to ten days you will get to see in detail what my tax plan is. i'm laying out an economic plan if you will, over a period of time, this last week we laid out jobs and energy side of it. >> so what else is at stake? a big night in las vegas. the eighth debate of the republican nominating contest,
amy tarkanian is the chairman woman, deep experience naviga navigating the debates and politics. madam chairwoman, let's me start with you, herman cain if you judge politics by all rules, no way, and yet is he real? >> absolutely. i think people like you mentioned, they're tired of having the regular politician. he's a businessman, he's your everyday man, and i think a lot of people understand that, and they can see themselves in him. >> they see themselves in him, but he's now risen to the point where he says he gets the target on his back. the rise in the pools, guess what, harpoons start coming your way. governor romney being very gentle, me and herman, we're the business men, other guys don't get it now governor romney's starting to turn his attention a little bit. our new poll, which gop candidate most likely to get the economy moving? herman cain. 33% of republicans say herman
cain, above governor romney and governor perry. if you're mitt romney, that's the first big flashing warning sign, isn't it? >> no the flashing warning sign for mitt romney is he ain't gotten above 23% despiting in the race for five years, despite living in new hampshire, despite being the best debater, despite raising all of the money, consolidating the establishment. he can't get above that mark. herman cain and perry, who i do not write off yet, still have 75% of the electorate not going for mitt romney. if he gets it, they'll be wildly enthusiastic about it but the warning sign was way back when for mitt romney. >> but you know, john, there is a survey out that has rick perry versus mitt romney and romney gets 54% in that one to perry's 39. republicans are willing to go there, but i think we're so concerned about, a, the economy, and, b, about losing to obama, that we're looking for a candidate who's equal to our fears and that's superman, and
he doesn't really exist. >> we'll learn a lot about herman cain. he's risen to the top of the polls. peel will see whether he can take it, whether he's a president. you heard governor romney questioning his experience. ron paul will go after him on the 9-9-9 plan, saying instituting a sales tax would be devastating bad for the country. paul says don't believe herman cain when he says he's an outsider, part of the dole/kemp campaign, ran for senate, ran for president before, this is where ron paul goes off the reservation, a member of the federal reserve board out in kansas city. >> not bad. >> listen to congressman paul here saying he's no outsider. >> they haven't invited me to become part of the federal reserve system. >> no, i don't think so. >> he's part of the banking establishment, no wonder, he defended the bailouts and t.a.r.p. and all of this. he's part of that system. >> so everybody's fighting for their niche. ron paul saying this guy's not an outsider. smart strategy, right? >> oh, absolutely. ron paul's very much against the federal reserve, and we all know
that, and that's a very, very hot spot, hot subject for his followers. so if herman cain is one of the outsiders, as he says, obviously he's going to lose votes with his constituents. >> what's -- if you were advising herman cain and you're in the green room tonight and he's getting ready to head out on the stage, and you've been there for candidates in the past, what's the last word of advice you would give him? >> really, in this time, given that it's his strength, be authentic, continue to be a happy warrior. just get serious. he's had -- he's entered the field in an advantageous position. when you enter front run, it's very hard. when you get up to the front-runner, he's had time to flush these things out. if you saw the interview earlier with wolf, he got -- he wanted three questions deep, i'm sure if he seems to be a fast learner in the political business, he needs to do more of what he did on wolf and flush out 9-9-9 and flush out all of the rest of his positions.
>> now that -- that likable, happy warrior, if you look at our polling out today, people saying he's by far the most likable republican, why does that matter in picking a president? >> we put this on survey years ago, which campaign's having the most fun? what we learned was, it's the one winning. why? because the -- having a good time out there tells people you have confidence, you have strength and you're optimistic. the a mark of leadership. he has to keep being herman cain. but he's also got to take his game to a more serious level now. you can't just talk about electrified fences. >> we have three people here with hearty voices. democracy's a wonderful thing, we've got loud people around us demonstrating a little bit. that's okay. that's their right. happy to have them out here as we move forward to our debates. that's the left over american politics here talking tonight. service employees unions and others here. it's a republican debate but you see the left protesting. let's move on to governor perry. governor perry on the radio show this morning says i'm going to look into the camera and talk to the american people about jobs
tonight. but if you want the specifics, you have to wait another eight, ten days, maybe two weeks. can he wait that long? a guy that got in late, had a couple miserable debate performances. when you talk to grassroot supporters are they nervous? >> they are nervous. it would be bet for we did wait eight days so we'd have a perfect plan. i don't they if there's such a thing as a perfect plan. i'd be willing to wait for extra days to make sure it's strategically correct and ready to move forward. however we ready now, as of yesterday. las vegas and nevada is hurting. we're at the bottom of almost every list and it's going to be jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy for us. he needs to make sure that comes out. >> given that, how critical this state could be, know it's a small state in a close presidential election, nevada, new mexico, these could be the swing states. could governor perry go on the stage tonight and say, heres a rough outline but hang with me, wait a little bit?
>> you know what? in the old days, if you had a defining moment in a debate, it was great. now the debates are the defining moment. that's a completely different world. we look at the polls, some taken a number of republicans who are watching them, a sizable number of republicans are watching the debates. what republicans are doing, where it counts, not in the polls, the debates are important, but on the ground, in iowa, in south carolina, governor sanab lochlt l is for perry. he's -- i know it's boring, i know it's not sexy, but it's where people turn out to vote. >> is herman cain proving it might not matter? we say in politics you know, you have a ross perot movement. herman cain is like ross perot, send me to washington, i'll drive everybody crazy and some people like that. he's got a little bit of tea party. we wonder how much is the int internet changing our politics.
we all wonder when will all of the old rules mean nothing? >> when? right now. ask gadhafi -- by the way -- >> moammar come dof fi is not at the debate. he's not here. >> he's having a bad re-electye. barack obama last cycle went into states like north carolina and found ready-made organizations, people who organized because the structure is there now. so herman cain gets more time than you would think now, in today's world, to organize. and he can do it backwards. you don't have to do boots on the ground first. you can do media service, name i.d., then organizational. but i don't think i'm not ready yet is the slogan rick perry needs to tonight. >> mary, you made the point about governor romney having a ceiling, he's been in the race a long time. alex says maybe if you get to the shorter race, that's the question. he'll be there when we get to two or three candidates, romney will be there. now that we have seven, and
huntsman in new hampshire, having his boycott gimmick, governor romney, his staff calls him the tortoise, slow and steady, i was talking to ted romney i bumped into him into the hotel, he said we're feeling great but no candidate bats a thousand. governor romney has to have confidence coming into this, right? >> he has confidence, and he's a fine debater and maybe all of the rules are changing, but at the end of the day conservatives in an overwhelming proportion, percentage of independents want an economic plan that doesn't have a cap on cap gains, they want a earnest, serious, commitment to repealing obama care and replacing it with ryan reform. >> but they also want, mary, a candidate who can beat obama. today herman cain beats romney on who can do the most for the economy. but romney beats cain on he can beat obama. >> 70% of the people don't even
make up their minds until the final days in new hampshire and iowa, and i'm telling you -- >> 67% are open to changing their minds. we have a long way to go. your state was a test for the tea party, you had sharon angel against reid. she collapsed in the end. many say that's what happens when you get an inexperienced candidate, says things that aren't politically correct to borrow the term herman cain likes to use. how is the party changing at grassroots level that make experts like these guys and guys like me who covered a lot of elections maybe you come into a state and say i'm going to learn a new lesson because things on the ground are changing? >> sure. i appreciate the effort that the tea party puts in here in nevada. honestly, these are people that finally have a voice, and i welcome opinions and their efforts, like i said. so it definitely makes a difference here in nevada. sharon engel had a strong following and herman cain has a strong following along with ron paul. mitt romney has basically set up base here and is working very
hard, i don't know how strong his ground game is necessarily but i know ron paul and herman cain, their grassroots is pretty strong. >> you see their enthusiasm, wherever you go. who else tonight? the rest of the field. bachmann took off early on, she has stumbled. senator santorum shying to hit the social conservative base in the base. speaker gingrich has come up a little bit, most republicans think a great debater, smart man. who else in the second tier has the most at stake tonight? >> you know, newt has been, collectively, i like debates best when going against obama, not against each other. other than romney on health care, we really need to hear more against obama? and really, newt's been the best at that, he's completely rehabilitated whatever credibility he lost at the
beginning and it's not -- i don't know that he has the most to gain in this contest -- >> pick one person in the second tier who you watch is somebody who might come out, you think it's newt? >> i think so, yeah. >> if perry doesn't have a good debate tonight and he starts leaking air again, then i think mary's exactly right. he's had -- newt gingrich had several good debates, demonstrated some strength. there's a bit of a newt boom out there. but i'd keep an eye on bachmann. she's had several weeks to regroup and you're beginning to see her get her feet on the ground. that's another candidate to watch tonight. >> already. we will watch. alex, mary, madam chairwoman. appreciate your time when you're busy campaigning. enjoy the debate tonight. when we come back, las vegas. mr. las vegas, right here, wayne newton, his voice is legendary. he has an active voice in politics as well. as we go to break, look at this. watching time lapse video here of our team's amazing preparations for tonight's debate. it starts less than two hours.
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♪ walks down >> live pictures of the venetian hotel, our big debate coming up soon. the venetian, one of the new landmarks in las vegas. no one who knows the city better than wayne newton, the man who has earned the nickname, mr. las vegas. started performing in this city in 1959. watching it in the surrounding county grow for about 139,000 back then, to 2 million now. active in republican politics. he doesn't like what he's seeing in the republican feel. in his words, he would, quote, fire them all and start over. wayne newton joins us live. appreciate your time. >> good to see you, john, thank you. >> fire them all, start over, why? >> i feel like our politicians on both sides, this is nonpartisan, both sides have lost contact with the american public. they feel like the american public is working for them instead of them working for the american public. >> and so when you look at this field, seven candidates on stage
here tonight, you're a republican, if you have to vote in your caucuses, are you going to vote for one of these guys or is there somebody out there, you're calling anybody saying get in, get? >> no, i'm not calling anybody because i wish there was someone that i could call. i wish that we could reincarnate ronald reagan, for example, to step up now because he was a man who believed in what he said and acted upon it. >> so you don't view any of these guys in that mold. let me go through some of them. >> not as yet. >> herman cain's gop from nowhere, nowhere. he's a guy you might see a" b" or "d" level act. herman cain what do you see? >> i see a very intelligent man, i see a man who probably, given the right circumstances and right team around him, could be a formidable opponent.
what i see also is a man who has never held public office and i believe that that in itself could be enough to take some tarnish off of his rise. >> the man who has known presidents, does that worry you? >> yes. all we have to do is look at our current president and know what that brings us. >> we're in a state, a beautiful city here, you see nice crowds, cheering for you, but a state that has the highest unemployment rate in the country. devastating housing crisis. when you're in that room listening to these guys tonight, you're going to go to the debate what are you looking for in terms of how are you going to help with the economy? >> i'm looking for the person who has the power of his convictions, who is not looking to some very special interest group, who is not looking to the hispanic, the blacks, the whites, the reds. i'm looking for a man who is interested in the people of the united states, because in my
opinion, which i respect, that is the one place all of the politicians are missing today, including our current president. they have so -- they are so inundated with acts of the past, the way politics have been practiced in the past that all going down that same road and i believe that the american public, at least those i talk to, just want somebody to stand up and say, this is what i believe in, this is how we get it done, sure it's going to hurt, but it's going to benefit everybody. >> wayne, you talk about what you believe in, you're a republican, a conservative, yet the last election, the senate election you supported harry reid over his opponent, the republican tea party candidate, sharon engel why. what made wayne newton say i'm going out of my box and support reid? >> hair wrry reid i've known fo years, believes in what he says.
he's a man that when you go to him with a problem, less talk about for example, yucca mountain. when everybody, including george w. bush whom i have great deal of respect for, voted to send all of the nuclear waste to yucca mountain, it was harry reid who stopped it. so when it came to being nevada, he stepped up. >> that was all politics is local? >> yes, politics, and friendship, and the fact that if he says something that i disagree with philosophically, right, i have enough respect in him and his ability to articulate what he means, that it will make me rethink, is my opinion correct. and i think that's all anybody's asking for. >> for you to be successful as long as you have been, you have to be a pretty good politician, not just a good entertainer. you have to change as the audience changes, the technology
changes and everything. help these guys out. they're entertainers, too, they're on the other side of. they're trying to get votes. you're trying to get an audience and build a fan base. what would your advice be? >> wait until the plane goes. >> you know the value of microphones. we get you right over the plane. >> my advice would be to forget the last week of sitting in rooms and having people play the roles of these other candidates so that they could jump in and be cute or be smart. go out there and connect with the people. go say what you mean and mean what you say. >> so you're not -- you're not happy with this field. you're not going -- >> not yet. not yet. >> if one of these guys is against barack obama next november, any idea, any chance you'd vote democrat or hole your nose and vote for one of these guys? >> no chance i'd vote democrat for the reason i believe
president obama has been under certain restraints and constraints in the last three years, simply because he wanted another four-year term. now, considering what he's done with the bailout, considering what he's done with obama care, considering what he's done with all of those things, imagine if those constraints, restraints, didn't apply and you didn't have to worry about running again in four years. so the whole health issue is quite simple for a president, and also congress and the senate, and that is give us the same thing they have. >> so if you think you need somebody different, i'm going to give you in closing, a chance right now, wayne newton can jump into the race and i'll vens them to let you in. >> i don't think that i'm qualified, for openers. i think most everyone up there is qualified, it's whether or not they have the power of their convictions. and if they do, they'll get my
vote. >> i hope you enjoy your time in there. check in with you after see if anybody impresses you. wayne newton, thank you very much. the truth about how you'd be affected by herman cain's 9-9-9 tax plan. here's a hint. it depends on how much you like to buy second-hand items. [ male announcer ] what if we told you that cadillac borrowed technology from ferrari to develop its suspension system? or what if we told you that ferrari borrowed technology from cadillac to develop its suspension system? magnetic ride control -- pioneered by cadillac, perfected in the 556-horsepower cts-v. we don't just make luxury cars. we make cadillacs. i'm not a line item on a budget. and i'm definitely not a pushover. but i am a voter. so washington... before you even think about cutting my medicare and social security benefits...
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whatever you think of the man or his politics, herman cain is living the american dream. born into poverty, now a wealthy former ceo and republican presidential contender. a tenacious survivor of stage iv cancer and a condition when has a gift for marketing who leaves his audience wowed with his story and his passion. >> i have achieved all of my american dreams and then some because of the great nation, the united states of america! >> but, here's tonight's truth. mr. cain's own defense of his signature 9-9-9 tax plan, well, it's a bitter pill for those hoping to follow in his rags to riches footsteps to claim the american dream. listen as mr. cain explains how a working class family could
avoid a big tax hit under the 9-9-9 approach. >> here is a fact. it would depend upon what that family spent their money on. when you get to that third nine, that national sales tax, it depends upon whether or not they buy used goods or whether on they buy new goods. >> let's listen to that explanation one more time. you did concede some people would pay more, by your calculations, who would pay more, mr. cain? >> the people that would pay more are the people who would buy mostly new goods. >> now, i grew up on hand-me-downs and my dad could nerve, never afford hi new car. in the painful recession and in its wake, millions of american families are buying used, or many not buying at all and most, well, they're not complaining but they sure hope things get better for them and for everyone. when they do, you bet they would like, no, they would love to buy
a new car or new washing machine. even if you accept mr. cain's logic, well, those people at the bottom, they can't buy used food. look at this. the poorest american households spend more than half of their income on housing. and they spend nearly 40% of their income on food. the cain plan, 9-9-9, would levy a 9% sales tax on that food. so to those with the least, that have suffered the most in recent years, this, frankly, just sounds cold. >> it depends upon whether or not they buy used goods or whether or not they buy new goods. >> now the value of an extended campaign and so many debates that is we learn not just what the candidates propose, we also get to see up close who they are. >> so i can't comment on so when you make the statement, is it fair, well, how do you define fairness? >> well, defining fairness is up to individual voters, up to you at home.
it's not up to me. but it's a the plain truth, asking the little guy to buy used not new, mr. cain, that's a very, very tough sell. up next, the hour's top headlines including the reason behind today's celebrations in israel and gaza. tonight's number, well it could be the key to winning nevada in presidential politics and perhaps the key to winning your state as well. we're america's natural gas and here's what we did today: supported nearly 3 million steady jobs across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists... ... adding nearly 400 billion dollars to our economy... we're at work providing power to almost a quarter of our homes and businesses... ... and giving us cleaner rides to work and school...
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welcome back. here's the latest news you need to know right now. a day of joyous homecomings in israel and the palestinian territories. israeli soldier, gilad shalit returned home after spending five years in prison. freeing 1,000 prisoners, one-sixth of the plns they've jailed for national security offenses. secretary hillary clinton in libya, the first cabinet official to visit since gadhafi's out ter. bank of america, no longer the largest bank in terms of
total assets. the new number one, j.p. today's number for us specific to the state of nevada, but numbers like it, are very important in every state. the number tonight, 26.5. here in nevada, 26.5% of the population is hispanic, and that number is growing which makes this state a key testing ground. here in nevada, 76% of latinos voted for barack obama in 20008, 22% for john mccain. nevada is key, but hardly the only state where latinos are critical. here in the west, the growing latino vote can swing elections in new mexico, colorado, back east, florida, virginia, potentially north carolina, as battleground states where, if things are close, latino voters could make the difference. we'll keep an eye on that. erin burnett "out front" coming up. i usually need to toss t you in
new york. >> here we are, develop vegas. >> we actually -- the guy, this resort, the venetian, which is one of the biggest in the world, is a real epicenter of all of the problems happening in the economy and how you've been seeing so much difficulty. one of the richest men in the america and the world we sat down and spoke with him. we'll talk to grover norquist, we deep dive into the tax plans is it nine plus nine plus nine, is it 9-9-9, we'll talk about that. >> i made you a promise, when you came to vegas i'd have something for you. i'm a man of my word. >> something cold and wet. >> there you go. there you go. >> look at this. >> i was told once this could be career ending. but you know what? >> so what. >> it's all right. >> all right. >> what happens in vegas, stays in vegas, right? >> ah. >> yeah. >> pretty nice. we can do this before the show, right? >> no. just a sip. they're real, trust me.
all right. i'm going to let erin sneak away with hers. the republican candidates in one word, and it's not margarita. so if i didn't know better i'd say you're having some sort of big tire sale. yes we are. yeah. how many tires does ford buy every year? over 3 million. you say you can beat any advertised price on tires? correct. anywhere? yes. like this price? yes. riously? yes what about this one? i'll beat it. this one? s we will. right, i only have one more question for you...this one? (laughing) yeah. get $100 rebate when you buy four tires. 100 bucks! only at your ford dealer. 3 million tires. 11 major brands, fiona's kind-of-nice. i don't know why you're not here.
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her husband mark is there. you see congresswoman bachmann making her way in, escorted by our staff. the conditions getting prepared now. these debates are a big chance for the conditions to create or reinforce a brand and many are forming strong impressions. the pew research center asked americans for a one-word response and then read the names of gopt contenders. for herman cain, 9-9-9. no shock there, i guess. for mitt romney, mormon was the top response. and texas is the top one word tag for rick perry. what do they have the other conditions need to prove, and sell in tonight's debate? joining us here, in las vegas, cnn contributor, mary matalin, ed rollins, and in st. louis, dana lash. dana lash, i'm going to start with you. sense we went through cain and romney and perry, what is your one-word for michele bachmann? >> grassroots. she's been very involved with the grassroots. you know what? grassroots and i only get one
word, but obama care because she says that quite a lot. it's obama care. it happens simultaneously. >> okay. >> it did, i swear. i think that's the one word association. >> mary? mary matalin, one word, michele bachmann? >> i think she's persistent. she's a fighter. she's not a whiner. people like her. she gets back up on the saddle when she gets knocked down. people want to fight her and she is that. >> ed rowlands one word, you worked for michele bachmann and things haven't been great sense you left. >> true believer. >> true believer. that's two words. >> believer. >> all right. let's move -- believer's good. i want to focus a bit -- we'll spend most of our time talking about the republicans but i want you to listen to something. barack obama is on a bus tour. two state his put in the democratic column, surprising so, back in 2008. he did an interview with abc
news, jake tapper, we have been trying to figure out where is the occupy wall street movement going. listen to this comparison from president obama. >> i understand the frustrations that are being expressed in those protests. in some ways they're not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the tea party. you know, both on the left and the right. i think people feel separated from their government. they feel that their institutions aren't looking out for them. >> dana lash, somebody who was involved with and associated with the tea party movement, is what we're seeing on wall street and other cities, is it the same thing? >> yes and no. it's the same thing in that i think that some groups, some began as little grassroot factions, but they've been -- they've been hijacked by other groups. in st. louis we had an acorn offshoot which ran the original
grassroots founder of occupy st. louis movement out of the movement indoorly. but at the same time it's not because one of the thens that the tea party stood for is less government not more government. you can't have debt forgiveness and some demands regarding a living wage regardless whether or not an individual is working. you can only have some of those things when you have big government. and the tea party's stood against big government. also the tea party recognizes, too, you can go out and vote for the same individuals who are in bed with the very people you're protesting. this president is the wall street president. he's received more money hands down from goldman sachs than anybody else and it's an important distinction. >> so mary matalin, why is it in the president's interest, or is it in your view, to try to cozy up is the wrong word but affiliate with himself, express support for occupy wall street? >> well i think it's in his interest to associate himself with any support in the jake tapper reported that the difference between the crowds that showed up in the last cycle
and the ones that are showing up now are matching the polls. obama's lost support even among democrats. he lost independents two years ago. but this is a short-term strategy, long term, not a good thing. these wall street children, anti- capitcapitalists are goin cop to show the nation what independents don't like, whether they might have overlapping concerns with tea party people, systemic failures in the system, they're anti-capitalists and this country is not. this is not a good strategy for him. >> ed, you're there in new york city, which has been the scene of the largest occupy wall street protest. when we saw the tea party protests early on, they're across the country, my memory is they were bigger, most were, than what we've seen from occupy wall street. how would it impact, would it matter at the polls is now we know the tea party was a huge force in 2010. do you see any evidence on the streets of new york city of the beginning of the movement that will have that kind of punch come 2012?
>> i think it's a movement. i don't know it's going to have anywhere near what the tea party is. this president cannot do what a traditional president does in re-election, which is runs on his record, here what happens i've done for you, here is why america's a better place than when i took office. he has to run against things. he has to talk, create bogeymen, he has to say banks are unfair, corn rate wall street is unfair, you're not basically have jobs because of those people. the republicans in the congress want to do x, y, and z that's bad for you. it's all about you think i'm bad, they're worse. and that's kind of the campaign that unfortunately he's going to have to run. >> i want to spend most of our time, the next block, talking about the big republican debate tonight. ed, i want to ask you this. we shows pictures of congresswoman bachmann earlier on. you have been in a back and forth since you left the campaign. she said this to t"the new york times" when it comes to personnel issuize act respectful
of performer employees. i assume it's a two-way street. i guess i should have done that google search. she's trying to say in criticizing you that when you're in a -- involved in a campaign you end up in these little wars, shall we call them. >> only two -- there how do you respond? >> two campaigns that i've criticized that i've been involved in. one was ross perot, the day that he fired his professional staff and the other one katharine harris that fired everybody in her campaign. so the bottom line is i've got a lot of candidates who like me. i like michele bachmann. my issue is she has to win iowa, that was the strategy when i took her on. that's the strategy that she still has. i have great affection for her. i want her to do well. but she's only going to do well if she stays in iowa. doing immigration issues in arizona are not going to win iowa for her. 2% of the country cares about immigration issues. people care about the economy and she needs to be doing retail politics in iowa.
that's my only differential with her in the campaign. >> ed rollins, mary mat len, dana lash, stand by. the big question, what's the biggest question, who has the most at stake in our big cnn republican presidential debate. you're looking right now as we go to break live inside the hall. look at that, seven republican kands for president getting ready. debate now a little more than an hour away. stay with us.gh righ t heren america. yeah, over 100 years worth. okay, so you mean you just ignore the environment. actually, it's cleaner. and, it provides jobs. and it helps our economy. okay, i'm listening. [announcer] at conoco phillips we're helping power america's economy with cleaner affordable natural gas... more jobs, less emissions, a good answer for everyone. so, by reducing the impact of production... and protecting our land and water... i might get a job once we graduate. [ inner voice ] establish connection. give me voice control. applications up. check my email and text messages.
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the texas governor rick perry arriving for tonight's debate. it's just over an hour away and boy, if anyone has a lot at stake tonight it is rick perry. he came into the race and skyrocketed to the top of the polls and he's gone to 30% to the mid-teens. herman kain any mitt romney at the top of of the pack. we're here with mary matlin. as we watch him go into the final preparations, how important is this night to the men who many thought was the conservative alternative to mitt romney. at this moment a lot of conservatives are saying can he survive? >> well, they're not saying that without looking on the ground. i'll say what i said earlier. what he's managing to do on the ground where actual votes are cast, where it takes organization to do it, put out his energy plan which translates into job which is a sweet spot. he's doing the building blocks in a way that can bring him back to where he needs to be.
tonight he needs to flush out and talk about the energy plan that he put out, telegraph what's going to be in the upcoming things that he's going scope out and just stay chill on it. he doesn't need to respond to everything that he's been attacked on. >> dana, you were harshly critical after the last debate. what is it that governor perry needs to do to get you to say i'm going to take another look? i'll look again. >> want to see him be incredibly aggressive and he needs to be incredibly aggressive in this debate. he let mitt romney skate by. he had him right where he wanted him and he released him and let him go. he needs to go after mitt romney and herman kain although that may be a double-edged sword. rick perry's initial strategy is he ostracized, michele balkman and pushed her to the edge of the periphery and that made everyone look at this as a
two-man race and he needs to do that with herman cain. >> that's why tonight is so great. because of the complicated chess, everyone thought it was romney-kerry and herman cain comes out of nowhere and when you look at rick perry, he's had his own aides quoted he needs more sleep and we've had a tired puppy. what is the biggest challenge? worry about rick perry or the other guys? >> i think rick perry will connect with voters. he's a great retail politician. over 25 years he's never been beat and he's been governor for ten years and he basically needs to kick it up. i agree with mary. he's got a great organization. he's got a lot of smart people around him and he's got money. it is a two-way race. herman cain is a good salesman who has filled a void. he isn't going to be our nominee. one of these two guys will be our nominee unless someone can upset perry in iowa and then
they have another shot at it, but today he needs to basically sell himself. >> but by all of the rules, ed, and all of the campaigns, you've had a few more than i have, you're absolutely right. i don't know if the rules matter anymore if herman cain can pull this off in a post-perot candidate. o mary, on that poll, who is most likely to win the nomination? mitt romney at 51%. they may not like mitt romney and, and then you say who is the most likable? herman cai, n and i guess my question is you know ed and you respect his political views and respect him as a strategist. are you sure he's right about herman cain? >> yes. i not only respect ed, i -- i'm telling you, and you know this because you've been there, to get -- everybody underestimates
iowa. they discount it for various reasons. unless there is a candidate in the race a la harkin in 1992, or whenever the race was, whoever wins in iowa gets a whole bevy of media and to get to win in iowa you have to drag people out of their houses for four hours in the dead of night. it's freezing. the last time i was there there was an ice storm. you can't do that without an organization. that's why ed was right about michele in iowa. and that's why they're pulling together former romney people and former paulenty people and even those that would run the krift christie campaign. he has an equally strong team. it's a completely different race. ed rollins and i are saying the same thing. it's a two-man race and the field for the second main is advantaged on the ground of perry's race. >> dana, last, someone newer to
the process than mary and ed. are you sure they're right about herman cain? he's not raising enough money and he's not not raised enough infrastructure. acres summe they're right, but are you sure? >> well, i kind of agree with them because he doesn't have the fund-raising apparatus in place to really go for the long haul and to be the second man in this, to be the the non-romney. he just doesn't have -- he just doesn't have that -- that group and organization in place and doesn't have the funding. perry is leading in funding. he outraised romney by $3 million or $4 million. that's the kind of money herman cain would need to raise in order to stay viable. a lot of people have this misconception about fund-raising. when you can raise funds, you can raise votes. it's a little similar in that and i just don't know if cain can do it. i don't know if he can go the long haul. >> dana lash, ed