tv State of the Union CNN April 8, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
crowley starts right now. santorum says it's halftime. but for romney versus obama, game on. today -- >> women are over half this county and its workforce. >> jobs and the democrat with debbie wasserman schultz. and then what the polls tell us with democratic strategist mark penn and republican strategist linda divall. plus an easter sunday conversation with pastor emanuel cleaver. >> if you believe the president is a christian, why would that be -- you still come to the belief he's trying to destroy religion? >> republican strategist ralph reed. >> is it similarly wrong them for democrats to say that the republican party is engaged in a war on women? >> and david brody of the christian broadcasting network.
i'm candy crowley and this is "state of the union." all of that in a few minutes. first to the breaking news we are following this morning. legendary cbs anchorman mike wallace is dead at the age of 93. i'm joined on the phone by larry king. i know you were very good friends with mike wallace. give us your thoughts this morning. >> i am so sad, candy. i know it was a ripe old age, but there's no one like him. i had the pleasure of spending three, four hours with him last year at his apartment and he wound up, i know, sent to a home. he was really suffering from dementia and it was sad to see. there was no other broadcaster like him. we will never see his likes again. i had the honor of having him do a feature on me on "60 minutes" then do a second one. he has been in my home. he hosted on cnn my 70th birthday party. they didn't come any better.
he was a glorious human being, a wonderful raconteur, a great journalist, a great host, an interviewer with his own style. i grew up watching him on an old show called "nightbeat" that he did in new york. and that voice, candy, wouldn't you agree, that voice, mike wallace's voice, which never changed its timbre, he hosted the biography series, it was extraordinary. mike wallace was a guy when he is on, you can't hit the clicker. >> no, it is mesmerizing, i agree with you, a terrific voice, terrific journalist. we have talked a lot about his legacy to journalism but tell me what he brought to the viewing audience. what is his legacy to his audience? >> he brought the story. he went to the action and he gave you the story. was it objective? sometimes yes, sometimes no,
sometimes very subjective. but he got to the core of things and he enabled you -- you almost felt like you were with him when he was in the trenches or he was -- at that gas station where the guy was turning back the speedometer or he was talking to a-record, which i think was his last interview with a-rod, a-rod admitted using drugs. he brought you there. he -- he embellished it. he -- there's no way to describe him except, as i said, and you agree, you could not turn him off. when mike was on, you could not turn him off. and it was at the same at the different table. when he was talking, people listened. >> larry king. thank you so much for your reflections today. we really appreciate you taking the time. >> candy, we will never see his likes again. >> i think you're right. we have just received this statement from cbs. "all of us at cbs news and particularly at "60 minutes" owe
so much to mike. without him and his iconic style, there probably wouldn't be a "60 minutes," there simply hasn't been another broadcast journalist with that much talent. it almost didn't matter what stories you were covering, you just wanted to hear what he would ask next. around cbs, he was the same infection, funny and ferocious person he was on tv. we loved him and we will miss him very much." that statement from jeff facinger, the chairman of cbs news and executive producer of "60 minutes." mike wallace had a long and storied career. take a look. urge i'm mike wallace. you don't trust whites. you have said so. you don't trust jews. you have said so well, here i am. the butcher amin, you help and you talk about human rights? i'm simply asking a question, we're doing a profile -- >> i'm asking the question, how many more times must i answer? >> all right.
you really believe that you lived lives before? >> oh, yes, mike, there's no doubt in my mind about it. >> leave the shoes off, paul. >> that's okay. >> and start the interview please. it's a voyage of discovery as long as you live. >> you feel 77? >> no, but i hate the -- for some reason, 77 seems like it's old. you want to be at the top of your game. and the fact of the matter is for that kind of work, i was no longer at the top of my game. the -- i'm not retiring. i'm gonna be working. i'm gonna be competing with you for certain individuals that you would like to hit before i get to. >> a fella who started as a $20 a week radio announcer in grand rapids, michigan in 1939, to wind up in the television academy hall of fame with the likes of walter cronkite and
edward r. murrow. you can imagine. >> i am joined now by howard kurtz of reliable sources, i was reading background before it came on and found it amazing that mike wallace was born before most americans even had a radio in their home and now he is this storied newsman in it. v, but you don't stay in it. v that long, do those kind of interviews with so many different people without breaking some china. >> well, i tangled with mike wallace on occasion. he was an extraordinarily passionate journalist who didn't want to hang it up. he kept announcing he was retiring and then would you see him back on "60 minutes" the next week. let's not crown him, let's not make him into a saint. he was very aggressive. he really pioneered what came to be known, ambush interview, the cameras would go after some miscreant on the street. "60 minutes" moved away from that after 10 or 15 years and mike wallace distanced himself
from that. some was staged and the thing we would frown a bit upon today. there was a time when i wrote about mike wallace conducting a hidden camera interview a report here can had come she thought to fill in "60 minutes" on a story, didn't know she was being taped, didn't know it would air. cbs ended up reprimanding him for that. the next time he talked to me, call made very dirty name but in a good-natured way. >> tone mattered, doesn't it? i asked larry what his legacy to the audience was. what's his legacy to journalism, overall, conceding that we all have problems one way or the other and weaknesses? >> well, i mean, all of the aggressive tone on some news shows and some people take it too far. some people don't do it as well, you know, really flows from mike wallace and "60 minutes" as jeff fager, cbs news stayed in this statement there wouldn't have been a "60 minutes" without mike wallace. became the face of that program. nobody knew it would succeed when it was launched in 1968, a
news magazine show that would have hard news and interviews with entertainers and celebrities. wallace set an example, for all the many people that worked with him, the producer, at cbs news over the years but for those of us that just followed his career, being aggressive, demanding answers, having that edge, having that passion, being willing to take risks, there was a time when did he a controversial tobacco story that cbs didn't want to air answered criticized cbs. i mean, you -- it's hard to invent that so, i don't think it's too much to say that he really was an inspiration to a lot of people in the news business, candy. >> and real original, was there from the beginning. again, thank you so much, howard kurtz, we appreciate it. again, legendary cbs anchorman mike wallace is dead at the age of 93. thank again, howie. up next, my conversation with the chair of the democratic national committee, debbie wasserman schultz. copd makes it hard to breathe,
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here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open. and the tourists are back. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. in an election expected to center on the economy, both parties got something to chew on this week. 120,000 new jobs were added to the economy in march, but that was way off the 200,000 expected. unemployment dropped a tenth of a percent, but economists say
that's because some people quit looking for work. mitt romney called the report weak and very troubling. the president said there's a lot more work to do. joining me now from miami, florida is the chair of the democratic national committee, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. thank you, congressman, for joining us on this holiday weekend. >> you're welcome. i want to start out with the jobs report. mitt romney described it as weak. we've heard various economists describe the economy as sluggish. how would you describe the latest jobs report? >> well, because we've now had 25 straight months of private sector job growth, more than 4 million jobs created, and where actually at this point in our recovery, we've created seven times more jobs than at the same point in the recovery in 2001, i'd say we're making slow but steady progress. and like the president said, we have got a ways to go, we need to keep pushing. but what's really bothersome to
me, candy, is that it almost seems like my republican colleagues in congress and mitt romney are rooting for economic failure. i mean, they've been hyperfocused on one job, barack obama's, for really the last two years. and we all need to be pulling together to focus on moving the economy forward for the middle class and for working families. and mitt romney's plans, the republican budget take they just put out in the house, they're focused on making sure millionaires and billionaires can continue to do even better. and that's a pretty huge contrast. >> republicans would disagree that they're rooting for a bad economy and in fact they out of their way to say we welcome any progress, but this isn't fast enough. i want to read you something that reince priebus your counterpart said on friday. "over three years ago, president obama projected that the unemployment rate would be below 6% by now thanks to his stimulus. but the stimulus failed and
unemployment has been far above that level ever since." is that legitimate criticism because, in fact, that is what the president's economic folks projected with the stimulus that was passed. >> again, that's another example of where the republicans just refuse to acknowledge that we've made -- that we've made progress. we have made significant progress. >> but it was your benchmark, it was the president's benchmark. and is holding him to that fair? >> that's -- what -- what prince -- reince priebus and other republicans analysts are saying is that he's inherited the worst economy since the great depression and the recovery act, as much as republicans can repeat it over and over, it didn't fail. it created and saved more than 3 million jobs. >> but it failed to do what was promised. isn't that -- is that a legitimate criticism?
>> no, i don't think it's a legitimate criticism. in fact, it succeeded in jump-starting this economy. it was the purpose of infusing that $787 billion. we needed to give the economy a shock to the heart. we needed to make sure that we didn't lose millions of teachers jobs and first responders like firefighters and police officers. we needed to invest in our infrastructure because we have crumbling roads and bridges. people just jam packed on roads teeming with traffic. that's what the recovery act did. and it helped jump-start us to the point where we've had 25 straight months of job growth in the private sector. remember, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month when the president took office thanks to the failed policies he inherited from the bush administration. we have made a good amount of progress, we just know we have a good ways to go. >> let me ask but gas prices, now over $4 a gallon on average. we all know when gas prices go up, consumers spend less and companies tend to hire fewer people simply because their
overhead has gone up. do you worry that these gas prices, should they stay here, will inflict some damage on what i think you still admit is a fairly weak recovery? >> as a representative of my constituents, i worry any time there is an impact on their wallet and on their bottom line. and, obviously, higher gas prices does that. but that's why i'm really glad to see president obama focused on an all-of-the-above energy strategy because previously under the bush administration, and what the republicans now under mitt romney want to continue is a drill, baby, drill strategy, which is not a strategy, it's a bumper sticker. and it's also sticking our heads in the sand that we'll be able to continue to rely on our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels for eternity when we know those are finite.
we have the most domestic production ever. we need on focus on investing in biofuels and alternative energy sources like wind and solar. so for my children and my constituents' children, we can have an abundant source of energy that's renewable for years to come. and, in fact, gas prices over the long term. >> let me turn you to one of the democrats' favorite subject these days and that is what they call the republican war on women. again, from the republican national committee, a spokesman said, "it is down right pathetic, they," meaning democrats, "would use a term like war when there are millions of americans actually have engaged in a real war. to use a term like that borders on unpatriotic." the war on women, i understand that you disagree with a lot of the policies that have come out either at the state level or things that have been said on the floor. but do you think war on women actually helps the dialogue? is it a little overstretched? >> i think we need to look at what republicans are saying about the policies towards women
themselves. is look at what senator lisa murkowski of alaska just said in her state the other day. if republicans don't think that our policies are an attack on women, they need to go home and talk to their wives and daughters. because the policies that have come out of the republican partying saying we should have to have a debate again over contraception and whether we should have access to it and whether it should be affordable, saying that like governor scott walker in wisconsin, you know, he tried to quietly repeal the equal pay act. women aren't going to stand for that. governor walker just signed a bill that repeals the equal pay law that they had in wisconsin for years. you have republicans that have engaged themselves on trying to redefine rape as only being forceful rape.
defunding planned parenthood and family planning programs. the lilly ledbetter act that put teeth behind the notion that women deserve equal pay for equal work. that was the first bill president obama signed in to law. the overwhelming majority of republicans voted against it. so the focus of the republican party on turning back the clock for women really is something that's unacceptable and shows how callus and insensitive they are towards women's priorities. >> congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, of course, heads the democratic national committee, always too short of time. please come back. >> always. thanks. swing voters. latinos and women. are key to winning the white house and you can bet the presidential candidates are looking at the polls for answers even though they might not admit it. >> you don't need a poll to know that it wasn't a sure thing. >> there's one poll that's ridiculous. >> we started off 15 points down. now we're leading. thanks, you guys. secure and reliable energy to the united states.
divall, republican strategist and president and ceo of american viewpoint public opinion firm. thank you both for joining us. i want to show our viewers, this is independent votes in swing states. obama 48, romney 39. so how did romney lose the independent vote? >> well, i think will this is a significant reversal. i think romney through the primaries has been beaten up by the others, seen as removed from kind of the middle class, average voter. has trouble with women now, with latinos. boy, i think he's entering the general election now kind of a totally beaten up candidate and this poll is a reflection of that. >> and he's not the first to arrive beat up. the very nature of the swing voter is that they swing. so is there anything in this that gives you hope that he can get them back, that romney could get back some of these swing voters? >> certainly. number one, it's early april. number two, when you look at with registered voters, the margin becomes much closer.
thirdly, this is not a typical nominee that tends to go down. >> we want to talk about women. in this same poll, again, this is swing states, and this is the women vote. obama 54%, romney 36%. is he being tainted from some things fellow republicans have done or is it something about romney? >> i think when you look at it, it's mostly about the republican party, but romney has failed to distinguish himself from the pack. i think when you had the dust up about contraception, i think women said, whoa, wait a minute here. this party, this republican party and whoever is the nominee, will be driven by an agenda that is socially way too conservative for me in these times. and i think that shifted a lot of voters. >> and the contraception argument for republican, they wanted to be seen as a separation of church and state issue and instead, the democrats have framed very well this sort of war on women. and looks as though it's hurt him.
>> i don't think it's just how the democrats framed it, it's the inept handling of the republican party on the issue. if you look at what happened in 2010, republicans were very competitive and in fact won the vote with women voters. so i think there's an important lesson here. when we get the focus back on the economy and the president's record, things change very dramatically with the women's vote. >> we've had soccer moms, security moms, waitress moms. what's the target voter here? >> as you well know, there is no monolithic group that describes the female vote. i would probably look at two or three. one are what i would call medicare grandmas who are more concerned about the fate of their children and their grandchildren in terms of the jobs that they will get and their ability to pursue the american dream, as i talked about earlier. second, there are what i would call wall street blues women. those who are very worried, they work a job, their husband works, they're worried about their benefits being cut back, they're worried about their retirement security and their 401(k) losing steam. the ability to save money and
provide for the future is being take answer way from them as they pay for additional college for their kids. dealing with the day to day stress of living and always lurking around the corner is a concern that a benefit will be cut or one or the two of them will lose their job. >> i would expand i think there are four key groups in this election we should look at. record numbers of independents. record numbers of latino voters probably break 10%. record number of voters making over $100,000, a new college-educated professional class that obama did very well with and needs to do well with again. and finally, the over 60 electorate will for the first time be probably five points bigger than the youth electorate. >> baby boomers keep getting older, don't we? >> and they keep voting. >> let me move to latino voters. i want to put up from our exit polls from 2000 on forward from republicans. george w. bush got 35% of the
latino vote in 2000. followed by george w. bush, 44%. john mccain dropping down to 30%. and i want to show you what the most recent pew center poll shows between president obama and mitt romney. 68% of latino vote, barack obama. 23%, mitt romney. that's the biggest growing demographic you've got. that's a huge problem. what has caused this big drop? >> well, again, you have perceptions of the republican party on the immigration issue that are very much hurting the republican party here. it doesn't take a genius to figure out those numbers will not provide you pathway to a winning coalition. so it is incumbent upon the republican party to do a better job of embracing the hispanic/latino vote. they're very entrepreneurial oriented. they're very family oriented. they place a high emphasis on education.
there's no reason why the republican party and it candidates do a better job of appealing to them. you also have to look at key senate races. new mexico, nevada, arizona. those three states will be very important for the presidential coalition, but also very important in terms of control of the senate and republicans must do a better job with the hispanic vote. >> probably more in the latino vote than any other vote i can see, that's where a down ballot really begins to be affected in states. you can run a race nothing to do with the top of the ticket, but the latino vote maybe the real exception here. >> what happened here is that romney, who has found himself with moderate positions on a lot of issues, took rather harsh and conservative positions on immigration. and so i think quite the opposite from where president george bush was, where his immigration precision seems more moderate, romney has put himself in the more isolated component of that and i think along with his romney/ryan budget are two biggest errors giving him problem going forward. >> one last question about the number two pick.
throughout history, i think we'd look and say the lbj pick for jack kennedy maybe brought him texas. do you think that it matters -- certainly if you get a bad vice presidential candidate, people might vote against you, but does it matter one way or the other if a presidential nominee picks someone who fills in his geographic weakness or picks someone who fills in his perceived policy weaknesses? >> i think the number one criteria for any presidential candidate picking a vice presidential choice is can that person step in and do the job of president from day one should that circumstance arise. and one thing that happened in 2008 is that increasingly, as you got closer to election day, there are many people that doubt that sarah palin could do that job. so, first and foremost, is that person ready to be president of the united states?
and second is probably do no harm. >> yeah, because i you might vote against someone who has a bad number two, but would you vote for someone because they had a great number two? >> typically, number twos don't make a big difference. could make a difference in a state. could make a difference for a particular group. a lot of people have talked about rubio. but there's one thing we definitely agree on here. sarah palin was one of the most disastrous vp picks in history. she turned off a lot of college-educated voters who might have considered voting for the republican party. and that's why democrats got and barack obama got an unprecedentedly high vote among college-educated over-100,000 voters. >> we'll see if he can keep them this time around. thank you both so much for coming. my thanks again to mark penn and linda divall. ahead, president obama says he's confident the supreme court will uphold the health care law, but his comments about the justices are drawing some heat. >> i think what we have here was a direct effort by the president to intimidate the court during a time when they're making a decision a one on of the most important cases in the history of the country.
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bush and clinton administrations. and here in washington, neal katyal, former acting solicitor general for the obama administration. thank you so much for taking your time today. i want on play for you something obama said earlier when he was talking specifically about the health care ruling. we heard the arguments. we expect a ruling maybe in june. and i want to play for both of you what he had to say about the supreme court. >> ultimately, i'm confident that the supreme court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress. and i just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. >> what do you think of that same?
>> well, i think what the president was saying was something that i think a lot of us feel, which is for example i went to law school in 1992 and the great idea that conservatives had at that time was this idea that the unelected judges shouldn't be making a judgment on policy unless it's clearly unconstitutional. otherwise it should be left to the political branches. and i think it's surprising that now we see the new conservative movement really resorting to the courts to do what they haven't done at the legislative ballot box. >> ken, do you agree with that assessment? there was a huge outcry when the president said this and people said, well, wait a minute, that's why we have the balance of powers. >> the president should be mindful of the fact that a number of federal judges including at least one whom he appointed to the federal bench, voted to strike down the law as an invasion of the powers of the
states in the sense of congress having exceeded its powers to regulate interstate commerce. it's a serious issue. reasonable minds can differ about the issue. and i think it's unfortunate for the president of the united states to be politicizing the process especially when the case is under consideration by the court. i think it's an injudicious comment. >> let me ask you about the court in terms of outside influences. there's -- speaking specifically on the arizona immigration law, the question in this poll was how should the supreme court rule on arizona immigration law? and it will hear the case coming up at the end of this month. 61% of americans said they should uphold it, 31% the court should overturn it, and 8%, i'm not sure. so when you look at this stuff,
neal, does any of this touch the supreme court? we end to think of them as these nine people clotured somewhere that don't know about public opinion polls. but they do. >> i think they do know about these things, but these are nine extraordinarily smart, competent people who know what they think. >> ken, do they listen to any of this, does it influence them? >> i think it would surprise you who insulated the judges and the justices are. certainly can be. that's the whole idea of the judges having life tenure to serve as article 3 of our constitution provides, during good behavior. john paul stevens stepped down after a very distinguished career at the age of 90. and that's not that unusual. justices in their 70s right now. so they have that wonderful, glorious virtue called independence. and so at their best, they will just give their best independent judgment as to what it is that the law provides or the constitution means. do they sometimes succumb to
political pressure? perhaps. but at their best, they're independent. that was the design of the founding of the american republic. >> let me move you, neal, on to this immigration case. this is specifically the arizona law, portions of which have been -- there's been an injunction against them going into effect. one of those provisions allows law enforcement to question someone about their legal status in the country. another of those provisions says you have to carry your immigration papers with you all the time. is this a small case or is this a case where it really could affect all of these other immigration laws? it seems the question right how is one of law enforcement, but the larger question is is this any of the state's business.
>> and the federal government is saying it's not just arizona. every individual state could create their own individual law. >> they didn't create law, they created enforcement, correct? >> exactly. so what the federal government government is saying, if you can give any state or locality the power to enforce laws, federal laws that really does interfere with the federal government system. >> is this about federal government reach or state's rights? what do you think the immigration case is about, ken? >> i think it's about parallel enforcement. very frequently in our law, congress will contemplate that states will have their own enforcement system that is supplementing or supporting parallel law. i think parts of the arizona law are exactly that. the law enforcement provisions, checking for identification and the like, i think are likely to be held to be appropriate parallel enforcement.
it's very clear from the immigration law that congress contemplates a role for the states in enforcing federal law. and that's not unusual. there are parts of the law, though, that i believe are quite problematic. and in particular, the provision with respect to individuals who are undocumented seeking work. congress saw fit not to make that a crime. to have employer sanctions, but not employee sanctions. and i feel that's problematic. >> do you in general agree with that? >> i certainly agree. i think judge starr has nailed it on the head when he said those provisions that make certainly things criminal are really likely to go down. i think those are very hard to defend. >> and let me just as a wrap up question to you both, who would you like to next see on the supreme court? >> i think that the democratic field has a number of really interesting people including
merritt garland on the d.c. circuit. this is a man who i think is respected by both parties. and someone who i think deserves a very serious look. >> i would say look at governors. look at those who served in the cabinet and the like. i think bringing a different array of experiences, including a united states senator. there was great historical precedent for that. but i'll leave it to others naming the candidates because they're just so many very imminently qualified people. but beyond the federal bench is the federal courts of appeals judiciary is. >> i think there's a number of really good people, but one thing that the current supreme court is lacking is political experience and there are on the democratic side, two senators who would be worth a look by the president. >> it would sure be interested to get someone not on the bench at the moment. thank you both so much for your attention on this weekend. >> thank you.
up next, religion in politics. is it a bad mix? >> i think there is in this country a war on religion. i think there is a desire to establish a religion in america known as secularism. automatically filter just the right amount of light. so you see everything the way it's meant to be seen. maybe, even a little better. experience life well lit, ask for transitions adaptive lenses. visit your local jcp optical today to learn more about authentic transitions brand lenses that fit your life and start seeing what you've been missing. i like helping people save. time, hassle, and the big one -- money. hundreds, in fact, if you're a progressive customer, like me. next hundred cars, they're on the messenger. release the savings, my friend!
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joining us from atlanta is ralph reed, founder and chairman of the faith and freedom coalition. in kansas city, democratic congressman emanuel cleaver, united methodist church pastor. and here in washington, david brody from the christian broadcasting network. gentlemen, thank you for joining us on a religious holiday for any number of religions this weekend, which is why we wanted to have this conversation. we were struck by, first of all, a poll. this is a pew research center poll. and the question was to americans do you think there has been too much, too little or just about the right amount of faith and prayer expressed openly by politicians. and as of 2012, 38%, plurality said too much religious faith and prayer expressed by politicians. too little, 30%, right amount, 25%.
that is up by nine points from just two years ago. what has happened to kind of, if i can extrapolate a little, turn people off to the amount of public discussion we're having about religion? congressman, let's start with you. >> well, it's becoming a political issue every two years and then for sure every four years, we try to put god on the ballot. and i think the american public is tiring of it. look, the sixth amendment to the constitution declares there shall be no religious test. so god did not burden the united states with diversity, but blessed us with it. e pluribus unum, out of many, one. and i think we are a nation that does not have a national religion. in fact the bill of rights says that we cannot even establish one. so i think the american public for all those reasons are saying
we're tired of it. >> ralph, would you agree? i know you work with a lot of groups to get out the vote efforts and getting people to register. and what is it that's turning folks off right about now? >> well, i think what the poll indicates, candy, is something that's not new in american history. and that is a for lack of a better term, a sort of historic antipathy for clericalism. that is to say a sense in which church and state would be intertwined. and that politicians would try to use religion for partisan or political purposes. that's what they don't want to see. but there's a huge difference between that and the engagement of people of faith as effective citizens, you know, exercising the same god-given rights of citizenship as everybody else, to be registered to vote, to become involved in the political
party of their choice, to turn out to the polls, to try to influence legislation. >> david, i think -- if i can extrapolate from both of them, the question here is not one of voting your beliefs. people clearly vote their beliefs, when they be religious or sectarian, whatever they happen to be. you're going to vote what you believe and for the person you think will best protect those beliefs or promote them. but what we don't want is for religion to be used for political ends. i think that may be what we're seeing there. >> and that's some of the skepticism. let's take rick santorum and michele bachmann, for example, just a couple in the presidential sweepstakes here. with these two candidates, you cannot separate their faith from politics. it is who they are. when you see him show up at a
church on sunday morning that's where he would be anyhow. >> at the national prayer breakfast in early february, president obama took heat for this particular remark. let me just play it. >> if i'm willing to give something up, as somebody who has been extraordinarily blessed, give up some of the tax breaks that i enjoy, i actually think that will make economic sense. but for me as a christian, it also coincides with jesus' teaching that from to whom much is given much shall be required. >> congressman, what did you make of that remark? is that using religion for political purposes or is that applying your religious beliefs to your politics? >> well, keep in mind that was the national prayer breakfast. i didn't see anything wrong with it in that environment. i think the trouble comes when we try to use it to separate us from others. in other words, religion becomes ethnocentric.
we want to say that we are okay. and all of us are still under construction, which means that we're not infallible. and the president's never said that. i think we've gone way too far with all of this, the president's declared war on religion. that is absurd. the chinese have declared war on religion. the iranians have declared war on religion. and when we exaggerates things like that, it further polarizing the country and creates the thought that maybe we need to be similar in our theologies and i think that's doing damage to the constitution. >> let me, ralph, ask you about the statement because certainly the republicans ever since the whole problem with contraception and churches and whether church facilities should be forced to provide contraception in health care insurance, republicans have
been fast and loose with the words war on religion. do you honestly think barack obama or the obama administration in general has declared war on religion? >> the question here isn't obama's faith. the issue here are his policies. and when you by the way go before federal courts and say that the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional, when you're required to defend the laws of the congress of the united states, which the president has signed in to law, in other words, it's your obligation to defend federal law. on case after case, religious churches, charity, educational institutions, this administration has shown either a total insensitivity too. they have's just been hostile to the first amendment's right to practice religious faith free from government restriction. >> some democrats called governor walker of wisconsin hitler. they likened him to hitler and held up posters. i'm a democrat. i condemned that. hitler killed 8 million people.
governor walker is trying to kill a union. there is no comparison. and so that was wrong. we've got to quit exaggerating our political differences. if you believe that the president is a christian, why would you still come to the belief that he's trying to destroy religion in this country? we have to stop it. that is not doing this country any good at all. and the truth of the matter is we know better. we know better. >> so is it -- congressman, is it similarly wrong then for democrats to say that the republican party is engaging in a war on women?
>> yes, that is wrong. and i've never said it, not one time. >> then perhaps we could -- >> mr. reed, what we need -- what we need is for you and me, and i'm willing to do it, i don't think you would, but when that happens, do what i do. i condemn it. if it's a democrat, if it's my cousin, it's wrong. and i think we need to stop that. it is damaging the body politic and it's further separating the people in this country. >> what i've said is the administration has shown an insensitivity if not outright hostility. i'm certainly glad to hear what you're saying this morning, but the president's own senior advisers are saying the republican party is engaged in a war on women and he's the head of the party. so i think, you know, there's a little bit of selective outrage here. >> ralph reed, david brody and congressman cleaver, we'll congressman cleaver, we'll thank you very much. thankses for watching "state of the union."
i'm candy crowley in washington. look for exclusives at sotu on cnn. stay with cnn on newsman mike wallace dead at the age of 93. for our viewers here in the united states, fareed zakaria gps start 'tis top of the hour. ♪ bloom ♪ wow... ♪ [ female announcer ] sometimes, all you need is the smooth, creamy taste of werther's original caramel to remind you that you're someone very special. ♪ werther's original caramels.
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