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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  November 13, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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week on "your money." we're here every saturday and sundays at 3:00 p.m. eastern. stay connected to us 24/7 on twitter. have a great weekend. hello, everyone. thank you for joining us. i'm fredricka whitfield. we're going to look at the 2012 presidential contenders in this political hour. but first, an update on some of today's top stories. occupy portland protesters appear to be clearing out today. though many demonstrators initially defide a midnight deadline to leave two city parks. they started drifting away as the day wore on. portland officials say they will build fences around the parks to block demonstrators from returning. and the president of italy has nominated an economist to be
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the next prime minister. mario monti is a former european union commissioner. if approved by parliament, he'll replace silvio berlusconi who resigned lafrt nig eed last nig italy's debt crisis. for first time since the tsunami last march, we can take you inside the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. a team of journalists was allowed within the last 24 hours. there are still levels of radiation around the plant, but the reading is within safe levels. the tsunami fired a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, 15,000 people lost their lives. boxer manny pacquiao defended his title in a nail biter. he beat manuel marquez in las vegas last night. they went toe to toe for all 12 rounds. after the decision, marquez left the ring apparently upset. his fans were upset as well. they, in fact, launched bottles
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and cans into the ring in response to the ruling. we're about seven weeks now from the first presidential contest. talking about the iowa caucuses. so either the republican hope l hopefuls or all of them in fact are trying to kick it into high gear, explaining what they would do if elected. at last night's debate in south carolina, here is how the top three contenders said they would handle iran's nuclear threat. >> so i do believe they have a nuclear weapons program and they're closer to having nuclear weapons, stopping them, the only way to stop them is through economic means. and there is one other thing we can do. we can deploy our ballistic missile defense capable aegis warships strategically in that part of the world. we have the biggest fleet of those war ships in the world and we can use them strategically in
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the event that they were able to fire a ballistic missile. >> the president should build credible threat of military action and made it very clear that the united states of america is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep iran from having a nuclear weapon. look, one thing you can know, and that is if we re-elect barack obama, iran will have a nuclear weapon. and if we elect mitt romney, if you elect me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon. >> maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the iranian program, including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable. second, maximum coordination with the israelis in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in iran. >> eight republican candidates on stage there. a cnn political producer shauna shepherd was at that debate. she's joining us now from columbia, south carolina. shauna, the candidates are really pushing their platforms
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and ideas pretty hard. it didn't seem, however, like the kind of debate where the candidates had gloves on fighting each other on foreign policy and national security. so was it jon huntsman, perhaps, the one with the most foreign policy experience as the ambassador who made the biggest impression? >> reporter: governor huntsman did well, but he didn't get called on as often as the other candidates. what stood out for me is how well prepared all the candidates were for this first debate, focused solely on foreign policy. all eyes were on texas governor rick perry, who after his embarrassing mental lapse at the last debate, perry held his own, discussing nuclear weapons, terrorism, and foreign aid. >> the foreign aid budget in my administration for every country is going to start at zero dollars. zero dollars. and then we'll have a conversation. then we'll have a conversation in this country about whether or not a penny of our taxpayer
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dollars needs to go into those countries. >> reporter: zeroing out foreign aid to pakistan, which receives billions of dollars from the u.s. in foreign aid, is popular among the tea party fiscal conservatives that make up the most active slice of conservative republicans in south carolina. now, several of the candidates seem to agree with governor perry, even former massachusetts governor mitt romney said that aid to pakistan should be re-evaluated. and so not only did perry escape spartanburg without another debate gaffe, he also helped drive news in the debate. fredricka? >> shauna, herman cain, he had been rising in the polls for quite the distance, for quite a while, but he doesn't have a whole lot of foreign policy experience. so how well did he have command of the topics last night? >> reporter: you're right, he does have very little foreign policy experience as a business executive, as a former pizza
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ceo. but he -- he seemed to -- he had a lot to prove last night. and it became clear that he read his briefing book and he made all the right -- made all the right points, he just appeared nervous at times, wading into territory that is beyond his catchy 9-9-9 economic plan. cain said he supports the use of waterboarding as an intense enhanced interrogation technique and opposes military action to keep iran from obtaining nuclear weapons if other strategies failed. that's a position supported by newt gingrich and mitt romney. mitt romney, he survived this debate unscathed. he's yet to suffer a kind of campaign altering blunder that national televised debates like these tend to encourage. so he seems steadily on top of the pack and is showing prom nice stapromise in states like north carolina
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but others are trying to make their way to the top as well. >> shauna shepherd, thank you so much coming to us from columbia, south carolina. while they take types at president obama, the president is talking trade and jobs now. he's at the asia pacific economic cooperation summit in hawaii. and mr. obama is pushing for a new free trade agreement, the transpacific partnership. it would include the u.s. and nine other countries and cover about one-third of the global economy. president obama says it would create jobs in the u.s. >> this is where the action is going to be. if we're going to not just double our export but make sure that good jobs are created here in the united states, then we're going to have to continue to expand our trade opportunities and economic integration with the fastest growing region in the world. and that means, you know, in some cases some hard negotiations and some tough work as we went through in south
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korea. i think that was a great model of prioritizing trade with a key partner. it wasn't easy. i said at the outset that i wanted -- i had no problem with seeing hyundais and kias here in the united states, but i wanted to see some chevrolets and fords in seoul. and after a lot of work and some dedicated attention from president lee, we were able to get a deal that for the first time was endorsed not just by the business community, but also was endorsed by the united autoworkers and a number of labor unions. and that shows how we can build a bipartisan support for job creation in the united states and trade agreements that make sense. >> china is an asian powerhouse. it is the world's second biggest economy after the united states. and it was part of the focus of last night's republican debate in south carolina. gop front-runner mitt romney
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accuses china of unfair trade practices, and that drew a response from rival jon huntsman, a former u.s. ambassador to china. here is what they said. >> we need to make sure we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules. they can't hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. they can't steal from corporations. they can't take patents and designs and intellectual property and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. and they also can't manipulate their currency in such a way to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be. >> you talk about all the things that china should be doing. how do you affect that as commander in chief? how do you make china do these things? >> number one, day one, acknowledge something which everyone knows. they're a currency manipulator. on that basis, we also go before the wto and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator and that allows us to apply selectively tariffs where we believe they are
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stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers, or artificially lowering their prices and killing american jobs. we can't just sit back and let china run all over us. people say, well, you'll start a trade war. there is one going on right now, folks. they're stealing our jobs and we're going to stand up to china. >> governor huntsman. >> governor romney said we're in the middle of a war that we're not even declared or aware of and governor perry said china will end up on the ash heap of history. you've been in china. you were the ambassador for our nation there under president obama. what is your reaction? >> the reality is a little different, as it usually is when you're on the ground. i tried to figure this out for 30 years of my career. first of all, i don't think maybe you can take china to the wto on currency related issues. second, i don't know that this country needs a trade war with china. who does it hurt? our small businesses in south carolina, our exporters, our agriculture producers. we don't need that at a time when china is about to embark on
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a generational transition. what should we be doing? we should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within china. they're called the young people, they're called the internet generation. there are 500 million internet users in china. >> we're going to have to -- >> 80 million bloggers and they're bringing about change, the likes of which is going to take china down. >> we're going to have to leave it there, governor. >> we have an opportunity to go up and win back our economic manufacturing muscle. that's all i want to do as president. >> i thank you very much. >> cnn senior political analyst ron brownstein with us from new york and the national journal's editor and director. most of the republican candidates bashing president obama over his china policies, particularly on trade. you heard that exchange taking place too. is this going to be an effective fight? >> well it a fascinating argument you -- both of those clips to hear and a sweep of history here. one thing consistent in presidential campaigns, outs always accuse the in president of being insufficiently tough on
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china. remember bill clinton making similar arguments in 1992 and ultimately achieving a permanent most favored nations status with china. that is on the one sense a very common line of argument that we're not doing enough to stand up to china. when you get in, you find the relationship has so many irons in the fire, it is hard to take any one aspect of it like trade and make it a breaking point. but in a broader sense, look at what you saw. barack obama who in 2008 as a candidate was talking about renegotiating nafta. now not only is free trade agreements, but is talking about a vast expansion of free trade across the atlantic while you have a republican nominee basically saying he's willing to nominate a candidate willing to risk a trade war with china to declare them a currency manipulator. we used to think of the democrats as the party most skeptical of free trade because of organized labor, but now there are a lot of blue collar voters in the republican party and you seat poll of that, the skepticism about trade reflected in romney who is probably talking a tougher line on china
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than any republican serious candidate that i can remember. >> i wonder, because it seems to be kind of a contagion on certain points of view. i wonder if that will end up being the contagion for the republican candidates making china out to be the bad guy. >> well, you know, in fact, china is a powerful symbol of something much larger. there is a broad concern if you look at polling in the public, not surprisingly given the economy we're living through, that the u.s. is facing a structural decline economically and we're being passed by rising powers like china. that is very clear in polling, much as it was the concerns about japan in the 1980s. in argument that chinia is not playing fair with its currency and in there are many serious economists who believe it is not, there is a big push in the senate to are them declared a currency manipulator that has bipartisan support. there is an audience for that argument. the administration, which is in power and as i said is dealing with all the totality of his very complex and difficult
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challenging relationship has not taken the step that romney says he would on day one. not clear that if mitt romney was elected, that the same considerations might not still his hand more than he's suggesting right now as well. >> there is a trend in polling that concerns trade protectionism and party affiliation. what is unusual here. >> right. well, like you said, i think we think of the democratic party as the party that is more skeptical of free trade because of the influence of organized labor. but when you look at polling in the last couple of years, there is a big portion of the democratic party now that is much more open and supportive of free trade. they're winning a lot more upper middle class suburban voters who have an internationalist orientation. the republican party, the center of gravity is moving toward greater skepticism of free trade because they have been doing better among those blue collar working class voters who believe in many cases correctly that the loss of jobs overseas is a big part of the economic distress they face. the center of gravity is shifting. in some polling, there is more
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protectionist sentiment now. that's a big change in politics, part of an overall class inversion in the coalition that each party really brings to bear on elections now. >> ron brownstein, thanks so much. we'll check back with you later on in this hour, several times as a matter of fact. thanks, ron. a week of gaffes and laughs from rick perry. we'll see how he handles the debate and the brain freeze. improve the health of your skin with aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. the natural oatmeal formula goes beyond 24-hour moisture. it's clinically proven to improve your skin's health in one day, with significant improvement in 2 weeks. for healthy, beautiful skin that lasts. i found a moisturizer for life. [ female announcer ] aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. and for healthy, beautiful hair, try nourish plus haircare. only from aveeno. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has
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welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders, uninterrupted, out on the
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campaign trail. candidate rick perry is still in recovery mode, think back to midweek, that debate in michigan for nearly a minute, the one-time front-runner had a bit of a brain freeze when talking about his own plan to shrink government. >> and i will tell you, it's three agencies of government when i get there that are gone. commerce, education and the -- what's the third one there? let's see. >> five. >> five, okay. so commerce, education and the -- >> epa? >> the epa. there you go. >> let's talk -- >> seriously? is the epa the one you were talking about? >> no, sir. we're talking about the agencies of government -- epa needs to be rebuilt. no doubt about that. >> but you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government i would do away with,
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education, the commerce and let's see. i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops. >> all right, the moment it happened you just knew that the comedians would have a field day with this one. take a look at how saturday night live" handled it. >> you still haven't named the third department. >> i didn't. oh, i know, it's mard. that's not a word. look, maria, can we just move on? i want to be president, but not like this. >> hey, i don't need your help, okay? all three now. commerce, oh, god, i only know one now. >> maybe you have it written down in your notes. >> good idea. i'm such a messy marvin. boy, debates are hard, right, guys? it is a department that has zoos
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and parades. might be that. no. start with an m or an x. is there an x in there maybe? is it trains? no, you can't cut trains. oh, man, there are so many departments. >> make it stop. somebody make it stop. >> really trying here, guys. i don't know what -- >> all his cards are blank. >> hey, no peeking. >> all so painful. so through it all, the texas governor has been a good sport about it. before the debate last night in south carolina, he and some of the other candidates had a little chuckle over it. >> yeah, so tonight if i need a lifeline, i'm going to look to you, okay? >> i'll fill in the blanks. >> saw the doctor after that
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episode. the doc leaned over and said, you know, that's happened to everybody. he said, most of us haven't done it in front of 4 million people. >> he did. >> all right, so he kept them laughing during the debate as well. take a listen to this. >> governor perry, you abdicate the elimination of the department of energy. if you eliminate the department of energy -- >> you remembered it. >> i've had some time to think about it, sir. >> me too. >> pretty good comeback there. let's bring back our senior political analyst ron brownstein in new york. ron, you know, we have heard a lot of joking about perry's memory lapse, how painful it is to see over and over again. his camp came out with a written statement right away, calling it a human moment. he was on the morning shows saying he stepped in it. is it all behind him, after
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"snl," of course. >> short answer, no. he's done as well as he could to minimize it or laugh about it, but i think he'll prove again the most dangerous thing in politics is to confirm a pre-existing story line. if mitt romney had forgotten something, he may have been tired. because rick perry was already facing doubts about the command of his brief, whether he was really someone who knew all the facts of what he was -- his agenda and was capable of carrying the fight to president obama in a general election, i think this is going to linger. if al gore had miss spelled potato, people would not have been talking about it. when dan quayle did, he could not shake it because it confirmed the pre-existing story line. this confirms the story line and leaves him in -- it will be a problem for him all the way through. >> you think this is tantamount to the whole potato moment, even though rick perry is making fun of it, he's poking fun at himself, sometimes it is very endearing. >> i think he's doing as well as he can. i think that the problem he's got is there was a big chunk of
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the republican electorate going into that moment, watching the earlier debates going i can't envision this guy carrying the banner against president obama. didn't you see how the mitt romney campaign pointed out after the debate there will be three general election debates against president obama. i think that is -- that shadow will be there. does it disqualify him? maybe not. but it will be a reinforcing and perhaps enlarging the problem he faced with republicans who are uncertain about him as a nominee, even going into that. >> maybe that's kind of underscored, even when you saw the cutaway at the debate last night. lindsey graham was laughing but demint was not. that was an awkward moment, reading the faces, should i laugh at this or not. ron, thanks so much. i'll see you again momentarily. michele bachmann, she says she didn't gain enough air time at last night's republican debate and she's now bashing cbs news, accusing it of bias. we'll hear what she has to say. [ male announcer ] cranberry juice? wake up!
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we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign. every sunday we're spending this hour of the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their visions for the future of the united states. republican michele bachmann is fighting to get out in front in many ways. she's actually accusing cbs news of bias over last night's gop
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debate in south carolina. her campaign was accidentally included in an e-mail from the network's political director saying bachmann was largely irrelevant in the polls and would not be asked many questions in the debate. >> i don't know if was sent to anyone else, but each of the candidates are invited to come here. and each of the candidates have something to say. and i have something to say about foreign policy as well and i think it is only respectful to allow the candidates to be able to speak and not intentionally ahead of time make a decision to limit the candidate's opportunity to speak to the american people. this isn't about -- this shouldn't be about media bias. clearly this was an example of media bias. this should be about an effort to get all of the information on the table. >> cbs' political director john dickerson says "bachmann is at 4% in the poll and has been for a while. other candidates are not. i sent an e-mail based on that." that statement from the cbs political director. so two days before the south
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carolina debate, protesters interrupted bachmann while she was giving a foreign policy speech in mt. pleasant, south carolina. the demonstrators were part of the occupy wall street protests and here is how it unfolded. >> the defense department is undertaking the first steps to trim $400 billion from its budget. if targeted carefully, those cuts can be made and in particular looks like they will be made over the next ten years. but however, if the pentagon will be forced to live within additional $600 billion in cuts as may happen as a result of the failure of the super committee to come to a realistic budget agreement in the next few weeks, then i believe that we will do very significant damage to our military capabilities and i stand against that action. we can make cuts, but they have to be made strategically and not randomly on a political whim.
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we can accomplish significant reductions in spending by cutting wasteful federal spending. yes, there is some, even in the defense department, including unnecessary pentagon programs and an often dysfunctional procurement system. they need to be called out. one major reform in the procurement system we can make immediately is to change from a cost plus contracting to fixed price contracting. let me talk about that. american consumers, for instance -- >> this will only take a minute. >> this will only take a minute. >> we have a message for miss bachmann. >> we have a message for miss bachmann. >> sit down! >> -- people that agree with you. >> blaming people that anyone that agrees with you -- >> unpatriotic -- >> unpatriotic. >> sit down!
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>> thank you, everyone, for your patience. don't you love the first amendment? we have a great country and i want to thank you, all, for your understanding. god bless you. thank you for that. we are here because we love this country. and we want it to be better. and we love our military men in service. we respect them. we admire them. and we're here to talk about how our military can be stronger and better in the future, aren't we? that's why i'm here. so thank you. thank you for standing fro inin. i appreciate it. >> straight ahead, racing toward the front of the pack, newt gingrich.
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welcome back to this special hour of "the cnn newsroom." we're focusing on politics allowing you to hear from the 2012 presidential contenders. one candidate who is rising in the polls is newt gingrich. he's been gaining support following each debate, mostly because of his strong debate performances. here he is, last night, speaking about enemy combatants. >> if you engage in war against
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the united states, you are an enemy combatant. you have none of the civil liberties of the united states. you cannot go to court. now -- [ applause ] let me be very clear about this. there is a huge gap here that frankly far too many people get confused over. civil defense, criminal defense is a function of being within the american law. waging war on the united states is outside criminal law and is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war. and the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you. >> let's bring back a senior political analyst and national journal editor director ron brownstein. so is it debate performance that is behind gingrich's surge? >> largely and also the fact that this moving finger keeps moving on. if you look at the tea party side of the party, in the polling, the people who are
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sympathetic to that movement, they do not want mitt romney. he's running poorly with them in every state. and at various points this year, fredricka, the voters have lighted on mick huckabee, donald trump, sarah palin, rick perry and more recently herman cain. and if you look, gingrich is getting a look from them. he's a sharp debater. he has been an intellectual and political force in the republican party in five different decades. we started the race, we were assuming that was going to make it very difficult for him because the republicans would be looking for a fresher face. he still has lots of hurdles and really consolidating this to become a serious challenge and a romney, he's just beginning to organize a ground game in iowa and south carolina. there is the reality there is a big chunk of the party, the more conservative, the more evangelical side of the party that does not want mitt romney and has not been able to settle on an alternative. gingrich is getting his day in the sun. >> he's a benefactor of all this, but it is not necessarily because he's changed his strategy or message. >> mm-hmm.
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no, i think -- look, i think he has been a consistent performer. he has an interesting strategy in the debate. he's been a defender of the republican field against the news media and kind of rally that anti-mainstream media segment of the republican party. the more conservative side that would respond to an argument like that. he's been very consistent all the way through. so he has kind of stood out that way. i don't think we have heard enough yet about his agenda and his domestic agenda. he hasn't really come through in the debates. he is starting to make an argument, though he chose not to repeat it last night to my colleague, national journal colleague major garrett, that romney is a change agent. i think the biggest problem gingrich faces, he comes across to voters more as an intellectual provocateur. the way you run for president, as we talked about before, is changing. the debates are overwhelming
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many of the traditional things we thought you needed. an organization by county, a local presence, and he's clearly getting his moment to be looked at by that portion of the party that is very lee rhreluctant toe on mitt romney. >> he's also benefitting from cain's handling of the allegations and perry's most recent slip. >> yep, absolutely. i mean, that -- just imagine this, the more conservative voter in the republican primary, the tea party supporter, evangelical christian, people who are conservative, overlapping circles, they must feel as though they're looking at a slow motion nightmare here. they probably are a majority of them that at this point do not want to nominate mitt romney. if they can't settle on one candidate, he can win anyway. so each one has kind of -- each potential alternative has gotten a moment in the spotlight through the summer. michele bachmann, rick perry, herman cain. none of them have been able to hold on to the mantle or justify that level of support. so those voters have continued to move on and as i say, if you
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look at the polling, a lot of what is happening for gingrich now is you see tea party supporters being behind it. one thing that is worth noting, gingrich has more potential to cross over into the more moderate secular part of the party supporting romney than cain or perry does. he can be credible to a broad e range of voters in the coalition than any of those. that could be a risk but a lot of hurdles. >> interesting too, he's not taken the opportunity to really criticize his fellow republican contenders on stage. instead, when he's been on the attack, he has made sure he's been focusing on the white house, the sitting president. ron brownstein, thank you so much. >> and the media. >> and the media, of course. we're bad, bad, bad, bad. i'll talk to you again momentarily. a huge vote in ohio sending a strong message to mitt romney and other republican leaders. ron is back to talk about this in this special hour of "the cnn newsroom."
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tonight i know you're excited, the republican presidential candidates held a debate in michigan. yeah. just what michigan needs, 12 more people looking for a job.
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actually it was the ninth gop debate. this is the ninth. the election is still a year away. >> i know. >> it is the ninth. i think they're running out of things to debate. tonight they just argued over who was the best lead singer for van halen. yeah. and they said sammy hager. >> all right, so conan joking about the ninth republican presidential debate on wednesday. so it is hard to believe that last night was the tenth debate of this political season. our wolf blitzer talks about the need for such debates in this week's blitzer's blog. >> it is pretty amazing how significant the republican presidential debates have proven to be this year. they have clearly shaped out attitudes in rather dramatic way. presidential historians may write that this was the year of the debate. there already were so many memorable moments, many that the candidates would almost certainly like to forget. the other night in michigan, for example, may have been the most memorable, most awkward debate moment ever.
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that was when rick perry had a brain freeze for nearly 60 seconds and forgot the third agency of the u.s. government he would like to eliminate, even though he had routinely cited those three agencies in his campaign stump speech over the years. >> i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops. >> the education, by the way, commerce and energy. but there have been several other moments, including that nasty exchange at the cnn debate in las vegas between perry and mitt romney over illegal immigrants working on romney's lawn. >> i'm speaking. i'm speaking. would you please wait? are you just going to keep talking? are you going to let me finish? >> the moment in tampa when some audience members applauded and shouted yeah when i asked ron paul if we should let an uninsured 30-year-old die. >> are you saying society should just let him die? >> yeah! >> all of which underscores how important these debates have proven to be. millions of people watch the
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actual debate, but tens of millions of people wind up watching those one-minute highlight clips. perry entered the race for the republican nomination nearly three months ago with incredibly high expectations. but his poll numbers have collapsed, largely, largely because of his weak debate performances. >> yeah, i stepped in it, man. yeah, it was embarrassing. of course it was. >> in contrast, romney's front-runner status has been steady in part because of his impressive debate performances. and newt gingrich's recent slow but solid climb has certainly been helped by his debate performances. >> it is a wide open race. >> the bottom line in all of this, if you want to be president of the united states, you better be prepared to debate. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room in washington.
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we continue to dive into the issues on the presidential campaign. every sunday we're spending this hour of the cnn newsroom to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their visions for the future of america. republican front-runner mitt romney's rivals have accused him of flip-flopping on some very big issues. one of them, a republican-backed
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law in ohio that rolled back union rights for public workers. ohio voters, however, repealed that law tuesday. during a stop in ohio, ahead of the vote, romney distanced himself from the measure. here's what he said then. >> i'm not speaking about the particular ballot issues. those are under the people of ohio. i certainly support the effort of the governor. i'm not terribly familiar with it, the two ballot initiatives, but i'm supportive of the republican party's effort here. >> and then this is what romney said the next day, after he left ohio. >> with regards to question two, which is the collective bargaining question, i am 110% behind governor kasich and in support of that question. >> cnn senior political analyst ron brownstein with us again from new york. also the editorial director of the national journal. ron, you called the ohio repeal vote a warning for republicans
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in washington. fill us in on what you mean. >> well, first of all, mitt romney, that's getting hit by a swinging door on both sides. first got accused of flip-flopping and now he's associated with an initiative that was -- a law that was repealed by a ballot initiative with 60% of the state voting to repeal. what caught the eye of democrats, you can only go so far in analogizing from any ballot initiative to any other election. what caught the eye of democrats is that many of the groups that have really moved sharply toward the republicans in recent years, in particular blue collar working class white voters and older white voters, both at the core of the republican surge in 2010, they voted in big numbers according to an election day poll for the repeal of this initiative. the argument that was made against the initiative really is somewhat similar to the argument that president obama is likely to make against the republicans in 2012. the argument that governor kasich was rolling back benefits and pensions and wages while
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trying to cut taxes for corporations. that's the kind of argument, class conscious argument that many democrats want to seat president making. in this one case in ohio, it did have some resonance and helped them win back voters who have been essential to the republican gains in recent years and especially in 2010. >> so for romney in particular, he is a -- the republican nominee, president must win ohio, right? there is a lot of pressure to appeal to the people in ohio. would he be in trouble just because in large part because of his position on that vote? >> well, i think ohio at this point in our history, a great separate conversation, used to be indispensable for both states. i think it is now more important for republicans than democrats. probably obama can find another way to 270. i think the way for mitt romney this is kind of an early warning of the kind of campaign democrats will try to run if he is the nominee. one thing about romney is, he is a strong competitor for those upper middle class voters who are socially moderate,
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economically right of center who moved democratic since 1992 and bill clinton. you look at the polling out this week, in pennsylvania, ohio, and florida, he does better than any other republican with those upper middle class voters. the potential vulnerability, though, is as someone who kind of embodied wall street potentially can be made to embody wall street capitalism, you saw the front page article in the new york times about the impact some of the main company buyouts in the '80s and '90s. if you make that case against romney, maybe you bring back blue collar voters who have been so important to the republican gains and were persuaded by the arguments in this ballot initiative in ohio. there have not been a lot of things on any ballot that democrats have been for that you've seen white, blue collar voters vote for in the kind of numbers we saw in ohio this week. just to qualify that, they also voted to reject the individual -- health care. it is a sign of some arguments. >> that was a pretty big, big blow. thanks so much, ron brownstein,
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always appreciate your insight. thank you for hanging out with me this hour. when given the opportunity to evaluate mitt romney, newt gingrich chose not to. how he handled it next. ♪ we're centurylink... a new kind of broadband company committed to improving lives with honest, personal service, 5-year price lock guarantees and consistently fast speeds. ♪
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welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're talking about the 2012 presidential race. the next republican debate is nine days away. it will be the 11th debate. with each one there are candidates who shine and those who are criticized. our chief political correspondent candy crowley has more. >> the thing about the primary season is there is always another debate, which is handy if you messed up a previous one. >> governor perry, you abdicate the elimination of the department of energy. if you eliminate the department of energy -- >> glad you remembered it. >> i've had some time to think about it, sir. >> me too. >> following wednesday's brain freeze heard around the world, rick perry went into comic crisis control. if you step in it, joke about it. >> number four -- >> yeah, i had a five-hour
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energy drink six hours before the debate. >> oh, no. >> perry's gaffe may be gingrich's gain. the former speaker's numbers are up, up enough to suggest he may be the next anybody but romney candidate. and if gingrich falls short of the gold, what about silver? this kind of caught our ear. >> based on the ark of the campaign and perhaps what you heard tonight, would you care to evaluate good afternooner romgo ability to think outside of the box? >> no. no. >> you said so last night. >> we're here tonight talking to the american people about why every single one of us is better than barack obama, and that's the topic i'd rather talk about. >> newt had the opportunity to take a swing at mitt and passed. vice president gingrich, anyone? >> our thanks to candy crowley. iowa is the place to be this coming week. that's where the candidates are going. we'll be back in a moment. "hey wrinkle face!"
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