tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 19, 2012 8:00am-10:00am PST
eight. how does it impact the race? you know, governor perry was in single digits here in south carolina. he told me the other day, it would take some supernatural force to get him to quit south carolina before the primary. obviously, though, reality settled in. he's looked at all the polls in recent days. he was getting a very small, maybe 6%, 7% of the vote, some polls even less. so, he made this decision. you asked the key question, how does it impact? go back to 2008. john mccain came out of new hampshire with the win, came into south carolina. what were the others saying? he's not conservative enough for the republican party. and what happened? mike huckabee and fred thompson split the very conservative vote here, huckabee got most of it, but thompson got enough and mccain eked out a victory and went on to be the republican nominee. now you have newt gingrich and rick santorum. are they the huckabee and thompson of this campaign? can romney win with some conservative support and then the more moderate base of the republican party here? that's the big challenge tonight. it will certainly make the debate more interesting. governor perry stumbled in some of the debates, but recently, he seems to be going dead at romney
on the issue of taxes, on the issue of bain capital. so, it takes out of the debate a candidate who in the past 72 hours or so has been dead on hitting the front-runner, suzanne. >> and john, are you rejiggering any of your questions now as you move forward and look at what you've got tonight? >> those perry questions are going into the shredder, suzanne. that's just, you know. we're going to have to -- look, we want this to be about the issues. this is the candidates' debate, it's not mine or cnn's debate. but sure, you sort of plan your questions and your issues and follow the debate on the campaign trail and say how do we get an interesting conversation going? and now you have to go back and look and say, there will be four gentlemen up there tonight, not five, and so you make some adjustments. >> and our own dana bash is reporting that his supporters going to go to newt gingrich, and they're going to help out in texas with the texas delegates. gloria, how helpful is that to him? >> well, i think it's very helpful to newt gingrich. it will be interesting to watch the language that rick perry uses this morning. i was talking to a source in the perry campaign who said to me that on a staff call this
morning, it still was "a jump ball" about how exactly perry would behave towards gingrich. would he give him a full-throated endorsement, as dana bash reports? that's probably not going to be the case. but if you even nod in his direction, it's going to be taken by newt gingrich as a huge endorsement. this source also said to me that perry is what he called a very relational person and he has a relationship with newt gingrich, who wrote the introduction to his book, that he likes newt gingrich. so, it seems to me that everything would be headed in that direction. whether he actually comes out and says the words "i endorse newt gingrich" or whether it's a wink, i think the gingrich campaign will interpret it as an endorsement because they'd like rick perry's supporters. >> i want to bring in candy crowley out of washington. and candy, you've been watching this all unfold here. how do we suppose this is going
to impact mitt romney, who so far has been ahead of everybody? >> listen, i think that over the course of this week, and especially today, mitt romney has taken a number of hits. the first was his last debate, where he did not seem as sure of foot as he has in other debates. he didn't get that great of grades from the pundits following the last debate, and newt got baffoe grades. so, then what do we see sort of after that? we begin to see the polls closing. perhaps they would have closed anyway, as pollsters want to do. but nonetheless, we see the gap between gingrich and romney narrowing. now comes the doubleheader today. it turns out mitt romney did not win the iowa caucuses. and look, does it make a substantive difference as to what would happen in new hampshire? no, it doesn't. mitt romney would likely still have won new hampshire, regardless of those iowa consequences. let's remember that romney wasn't even playing in iowa until the very end, or at least overtly playing. so, you know, would it have made a difference? no, but it's a headline that
takes away a little bit of that inevitability. gee, he's on a roll, he's won two. well, no, not so much. he didn't win that first one. then comes this perry thing. whether he winks at newt or says his name favorably or full-throatedly endorses him, it hardly matters, because what it does is it says to everybody, newt's my guy, and it consolidates whatever few votes rick perry may have had. they could add to that gap that gingrich is trying to close. so, i think it really puts the pressure on romney tonight. i don't think he can have an off debate going into south carolina. they are going to be watching this debate very closely there. he just can't be off. he has to be mitt romney at his best, sort of, you know, cool, calm, assured, however people saw him in previous debates. he needs to be back to that guy and needs to push back on some of the stuff, particularly bain capital and, by the way, his tax
rate. >> sure. candy, why do you think it was rick perry, once considered the daryling of t a darlinging of the party, begging him to get involved? he skipped debates, then new hampshire and polls showed him at 7% or so in south carolina. he really was supposed to gain traction and momentum, putting all of his resources in south carolina. what did he do wrong? where did it go wrong? >> i can do that in a single word, debates. even rick perry would tell you that. remember, he did so poorly in the first couple, he came out and said, i don't know, there's too many debates. i don't think i'll do debates anymore, which he really couldn't get away with, so of course, he did every debate after that. but where they were so fundamental in shaping rick perry is not ready for primetime. and when you saw the evangelicals meeting in texas, the home state, although not all of them are from there, but the home state of rick perry, a lot of those evangelicals are totally with rick perry, born-again christian. and what did they say when they came out? rick perry is with us on all the issues, but we just don't think
he can win. that was essentially the message out of there. and i think that all goes back to those bad debates he had. >> i want to bring a new picture in here and bring back our john king as well, because they are now removing the fifth podium that was there for rick perry in the debate tonight. john, you're watching. we see that they're even -- oh, you've now got four, four of these candidates who will be taking on each other. i want to talk a little bit about, john, if you're with us, what happened in iowa, the iowa caucuses and this stunning reversal that took place here with rick santorum now declared the winner, as opposed to mitt romney. do we think that that really gives him more momentum tonight going into this debate? >> well, it certainly doesn't hurt. candy makes the fundamentally most critical point, which is would it have impacted the new hampshire results any, if on iowa night we were saying mitt romney came in second by, you know, 10, 15 are 20 votes, as opposed to what we were saying at 3:00 in the morning, took the
loaded call, remember, that he won by 8 votes? i don't think. santorum might have had a little more momentum. new hampshire is not his state. does it help him tonight come into this state? does it help with the evangelical voters that perhaps were supporting rick perry, who are undecided? sure, it helps a little bit. winning helps in politics. the interesting question is, it might matter more on sunday morning, depending on what happens here, more than it matters today, in the sense that if somebody other than mitt romney wins south carolina, if it's rick santorum, then he has two victories. if it's newt gingrich, we wake up sunday morning and we have santorum in iowa, romney in new hampshire, gingrich, or let's say ron paul in south carolina. then it's to florida with a giant question mark, a giant question mark and a wide-open race. if romney wins two in a row, new hampshire, south carolina, after coming in, essentially a tie, but now second place in new hampshire, then we're still back to the idea he has the money, he has the organization, how can you stop him? but suzanne, you now have rick santorum, who can use that iowa victory as some leverage, some
leverage. we'll see how much leverage, in the fundamental question in this race. gingrich and santorum are making the case, each saying i am the better conservative alternative to mitt romney. the question in this race is will republican voters pick one? will they decide we need to pick one guy to challenge mitt romney, or will we get a mixed message out of south carolina, like we did in 2008, that allows romney to rack up another victory? and if he does, you can't say it's his, but he's on a pretty good path. >> suzanne? >> gloria, i want to bring you in as well, talk a little bit about mitt romney and what he needs to do now that we realize that the iowa caucuses really wasn't a win for him. >> well, i think what mitt romney has going for him is this question of electability. if you look at all of our cnn polls and the polls of other news organizations, mitt romney beats the other candidates on the question of who is best able to beat barack obama. and in talking to voters in this
state and in other early states, it's very clear that what goes on before you cast your vote in a primary is that sort of gut check moment. does it matter to me so much that this candidate agrees with me on everything or shares my values? or does matter to me more that this is a candidate who can beat barack obama? that's why the debates have been important to mitt romney, because people have seen him as presidential, if you will, somebody who could go toe to toe, also for newt gingrich, because newt gingrich has performed very well in these debates. i would argue they're the single thing that has catapulted his candidacy up to the top tier. and that's what destroyed rick perry. so, these debates have, in effect, become the first primary. and i talked to somebody in the perry campaign who said to me today, the very moment that rick perry said, oops, in that debate, his campaign was over.
so, this evening, i think you're going to see a competition between newt gingrich and mitt romney about who can cross the presidential threshold. >> candy, i want to bring you back in, talk a little bit about mitt romney here. there's been a lot of criticism lately, the 15% tax rate. you had, of course, the super pacs going after him, bain capital. is any of this really sticking? has he become the teflon candidate here? has he been damaged in any way going into this debate? >> any time you're talking about a candidate in a negative way when the race is this close and this undecided, as it now appears, it hurts, of course. i think the question tonight is, does he have like a full-on answer for that? can he explain? look, 15%, you know, i paid taxes on a lot of this once. this is how, you know, this is the capital gains tax. this is how we get people to invest. and by the way, the average tax
that a middle class person pays is not, you know, whatever, 20-something percent. it really comes down to 10%. whatever his rationale is, he needs to have it ready for tonight, because that's not going to go away, because what has always been kind of the chink in this armor, it's been, you know what? mitt romney doesn't understand real voters. he doesn't understand real people. he lives in la la land. he thinks $300,000 in speeches isn't that much money that he earned. you know, that kind of thing is what hurts him. so, yes, i think that insofar as it is fed into that he's kind of up here but he doesn't know how it is to live as a real voter, i think that always hurts him. and that's the kind of thing where, if he has a response, and he does, you know, that he needs to kind of make it succeinctly and put it out there in a strong way. otherwise, it chips away at him. >> john, describe the mood for us, if you will. i know you're preparing for this big debate right before the south carolina primary. i remember moderating the one on the democratic side and that
epic battle between hillary clinton, barack obama and john edwards. is there a tension? is there excitement? what's going on? >> well, i think among the candidates, there's a great deal of tension and they understand the decisive moment. if you're newt gingrich, rick santorum or ron paul, you understand if romney, has a strong debate and can turn that into a victory in south carolina, he becomes very, very, very hard to stop, and they all know that. they all understand the history of this state. they all understand the depth of the romney organization, whether it's people on the ground or whether it's fund-raising. so, they understand the stakes tonight. this is a state -- we always talk about the pride, the people of iowa, new hampshire. we should include south carolina, taking their early role in the process. south carolina likes to say iowa and new hampshire, whittled the field. here's governor perry, i think, stepping up. >> thank you all for coming out, and particularly to my incredible staff that's here. i just want to say thanks to each of you for the work that
you've done and mario and rick and victoria, you all are awesome. nelson, thank you. and it's just been a real privilege to be able to learn and to grow under your work. and as i've stated numerous times during the campaign, this campaign's never been about the candidates. you know, i ran for president because i love america. i love our people. i love our freedom. and as a matter of fact, this mission is greater than any one man. as i have traveled across this great country, starting here in charleston, going to new hampshire and to iowa, california, down into florida, numerous states in between, obviously, and i discovered this tremendous purpose and resiliency of our people. they never lost hope, despite the circumstances that we find
ourselves in. they hadn't stopped believing in the promise of america. they haven't stopped believing in the american dream. americans are down, but we can never be counted out. we're too great a people for that. what's broken in america is not our people, it's our politics. and what we need in washington is a place that is humbler, with a federal government that is smaller, so that our people can live freer. i entered this campaign offering a unique perspective, a governor who had led a large state, leading the nation in job creation, an executive leader who had implemented conservative principles, a son of tenant farmers who was born with little more than a good name but who has experienced the great opportunity and freedom of this
country. but i've never believed that the cause of conservatism is embodied by one individual, our party and the conservative philosophy transcends any one individual. it's a movement full of ideas that are greater than any one of us and will live long past any of us in our lives. as a former air force pilot, i don't get confused. i know we can't lose track of the ultimate objective in carrying out our mission. and that objective is not only to defeat president obama but to replace him with a conservative leader who will bring about real change. our country's hurting. make no mistake about that. 13 million people out of work, 50 million of our citizens on food stamps, $15 trillion
national debt and growing. we need bold, conservative leadership that will take on the entrenched interests and give the american people their country back. i've always believed the mission is greater than the man. as i had contemplated the future of this campaign, i have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign. therefore, today i am suspending my campaign and endorsing newt gingrich for president of the united states. i believe newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country. we've had our differences, which campaigns will inevitably have, and newt is not perfect, but who among us is? the fact is, there is
forgiveness for those who seek god, and i believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenant of my christian faith. i have no question that newt gingrich has the heart of a conservative reformer, the ability to rally and captivate the conservative movement, the courage to tell those washington interests to take a hike, if that's what's in the best interests of our country. as a texan, i've never shied away from a fight, particularly when i considered the cause to be righteous. but as someone who's always admired a great, if not the greatest, texas governor sam houston, i know when it's time to make a strategic retreat. so, i will leave the trail, return home to texas, wind down my 2012 campaign, and i will do so with pride, knowing i gave
fully of myself, of a cause worthy of this country. as i head home, i do so with the love of my life by my side, a woman who makes every day good when she is there by me, and that's my wife, anita. i love you. honey, thank you for all you've done. she has been an incredible patriot during this process. i also want to thank my son, griffin, and his beautiful wife, meredith, sidney, who is not with us here today. but the fact is, with a good wife, with three loving children and a loving god who is in my life, things are going to be good no matter what i do. i'm proud of the policies we put
forward to the american people, and i believe that we provided the right path forward for our party and our nation. overhaul washington. providing, i think, the roadmap for that. proclaiming the 10th amendment and all the goodness of allowing the states to be more competitive and the local governments. creating energy and energy security, energy jobs and energy security. cutting spending, eliminating these unnecessary federal agenci agencies, cutting taxes to that flat and simple 20%. and i'll continue to fight for these conservative reforms because the future of our country is at stake, and the road we're traveling today. president obama's road is a very dangerous one.
i want to thank some wonderful individuals who i've come to know and admire and who have stood by my side in this state. katen dawson. thank you for the work you've done and just being the loyal supporter that you've been, a strong and a good man in the united states congress, mick mulvaney, ambassador wilkins. i talked to all of them this morning and i just want to thank my supporters, the men and women who have come across the country to be here in south carolina that were in new hampshire and iowa. god bless you for loving your country, you know, for volunteering and being here and making a difference. in particular, i want to say thanks to governor bobby jindal, who has just been a fabulous spokesperson. steve forbes, who i -- as i know him more, i admire him greatly.
what a fabulous, patriotic american. and governor sam brownback. senator jim enhoff, congresswoman candace miller, congressman sam graves. all just great americans who we have come to have such great respect for and reflect their love of country. and i want to say a really special thanks to three distinguished veterans who have joined me on the trail. medal of honor recipient mike thornton. mike spent the last two days with us as we traveled across south carolina. navy cross recipient marcus latrell. thank you, brother. i appreciate you and mel coming and being with us today. and my christian brother who is up in greenville and has traveled so many miles with me, young marine captain dan moran.
they truly represent what is best about america, who give of so much of themselves. and they have been uplifting for me as a citizen, as the commander in chief of our texas forces. and again, they are truly my heroes. you know, i began this race with a sense of calling. i felt led into the arena to fight for the future of this country. and i feel no different today than i did then, knowing a calling never guarantees a particular outcome, but the journey that tests one's faith and one's character. so, now the journey leads me back to texas. neither discouraged nor disenchanted, but instead, rewarded highly by the
experience and resolute to remain in the arena and in the service of my country. our country needs bold leadership and real transformation. our country deserves that. we must rise to the occasion and elect a conservative champion to put our nation back on the right track. and this i know, i'm not done fighting for the cause of conservatism. as a matter of fact, i have just begun to fight. god bless you. god bless this great country of america. thank you for coming out and being with us today. [ applause ] >> rick perry dropping out of the race, saying the problem is not the people, but politics. with his family by his side, making that announcement. also making that critical endorsement of newt gingrich. want to bring our dana bash with us. she's on her way to mt. pleasant, south carolina. you were covering the rick
santorum event, but dana, you brought some very important, breaking news earlier today about that endorsement. how important that endorsement was. how did he come about making that decision? give us a little of the backstory. >> reporter: well, my understanding's from one source that spoke to actually both of these candidates, said that it was, as you can imagine, the process of some pretty intense negotiation and back-and-forth. a lot of our colleagues were reporting earlier that, as you can imagine, rick santorum was calling pretty quickly after he heard rick perry was going to drop out, to try to get the endorsement. but obviously, that didn't happen. now, what kind of an impact? the bottom line is rick perry was dropping out for a reason. he is in single digits here in south carolina. so, it's unclear how much he's going to actually mean to newt gingrich when it comes to actual votes, but he's definitely going to give newt gingrich something he desperately needed -- [ inaudible ]
and that's something he's already had -- >> dana, we're going to get back to you. your connection's a little bad. i want to go to soledad who's on the ground at the event with rick per aye. soledad, if you can hear us, give us a sense of the atmosphere, what is the mood? set the scene, if you will. >> reporter: you bet. we're in a small sort of conference room at the hyatt hotel and they brought the media in very slowly. and he was five or ten minutes late, but then came out and made his statement and after the statement didn't take any questions and departed. he had with him some family members and his wife by his side as well. one of the things i thought was most interesting, and you were talking sort of about the impact, because you know, rick perry has been polling in south carolina with low, single-digit numbers, and similar performance, i think it's fair to say, in iowa polls and in new hampshire polls. so, what is the implications of handing off his endorsement to newt gingrich? what he said was newt is not perfect, but who among us is? there is forgiveness for those who seek god. and to me, that seemed to be an
indication of where rick perry might be able to be helpful to newt gingrich as everyone is expecting some information from newt gingrich's ex-wife, coming out later this evening. he may be that person who's able to sort of voice in addition to giving an endorsement, voice the forgiveness angle as well. it was interesting to see mrs. perry by his side, especially when rick perry mentioned his wife, the love of his life and how much he valued her by his side. she was tearing up a little bit. clearly, it was a little bit of a tough announcement for her. and then he took a moment to thank some veterans who had been on the trail with him as well and some other folks who have supported him along the way. but the announcement was relatively quick. said that he did not leave discouraged, that he did not leave disenchanted, that he was going to leave the trail, return to texas, wind down the campaign, but do so with pride and continue the fight. suzanne? >> all right, thank you, soledad. i want to bring in jim acosta,
who is with mitt romney in his event as well. and jim, a couple questions for you. obviously, breaking news on two fronts. mitt romney did not get the endorsement of rick perry. how disappointing is that? is there any reaction from the campaign? i'm not hearing jim acosta. i don't believe we have jim acosta with us. all right, i'm going to go back -- let's go back to john king on this. got a question for you. it was something that was interesting that rick perry brought up. he talked about the fact that 15 million americans are on food stamps, very much singing from the same song sheet of newt gingrich, who has called our president the food stamp president here. what is this obsession? what is this emphasis on food stamps about when it comes to winning over republican voters? >> well, it is one of the ways these candidates try to make the case that maybe you see the unemployment rate going down, but there is still this deep economic ditch in the country,
there are still millions of americans who are unemployed or underemployed and there are millions of americans, a record number of americans, they say, who need government assistance like food stamps. some voters find that off-putting. some voters find when speaker gingrich said, they find some have complained, does it have a tinge of racial politics in there? i've known speaker gingrich for some time and he has a provocative idea of dealing with poverty. he gets himself in trouble sometimes with the forcefulness of his language. some people find it off-putting. governor perry there essential lay saying, this was more to the question, governor perry in raising those points was more to the question of who do you want to go to washington and deal with all these programs, deal with these issues? do you want mitt romney, who governor perry views as sort of a pragmatic, strategic -- i mean, tactical conservative. let's move this program here, let's do a little tinkering here, but somebody who would tink around the edges. or do you want a more strategic conservative like newt gingrich? that's what he was trying to get out. gloria and candy knows this, if you go back to the 2008 race and talk to huckabee, thompson,
giuliani, the other candidates in the race, john mccain -- they won't like me saying this publicly, but if you talk to them privatery back in those days and talk to these candidates now, they all say the same thing -- they don't like mitt romney, for some reason. so, governor perry does not have a good personal relationship with romney. he has a very good personal relationship with newt gingrich. remember, suzanne, when the gingrich staff imploded back in june and most of his staff quit, where did they go? they went to the perry campaign. so, there are bonds and ties between the two that are quite natural. so, some of this is not surprising. but there's also a little bit of a personal. if you talk quietly to the candidates in there now, mitt romney does not yuck it up. he's not a locker room guy with these guys backstage, and that sometimes matters in politics. >> i want to bring in gloria here, because there was something that struck me as well, rick perry saying that newt gingrich was the true conservative here and that he believed in redemption, that newt gingrich was not perfect but that he was a man of faith and that he was a true conservative. how important is that moving forward here? we know that there's been a huge split among republicans about
what is most important. >> yeah, there is. look, i think rick perry was specific on purpose about this. he knows that newt gingrich's values and his previous marriages have been dogging him in this campaign and that gingrich has explained it and that it has been a question mark among evangelical voters in particular. and i think what you heard rick perry say today was, very specifically, i believe in redemption, newt gingrich is not perfect, there is forgiveness for those who seek god, as soledad pointed out earlier. and i think he did that to send a signal to those voters that it's okay to vote for newt gingrich. now, let me just say this. in our cnn poll we released yesterday, rick perry, as you know, has been in the single digits, hasn't gotten a tremendous amount of support.
but he had 9% from born-again voters. and i think that that could really help newt gingrich if they get that signal. 6% from conservatives and 5% from tea party voters. but his largest support was from those evangelicals. and i think that's important to newt gingrich because that is where he could use some help. >> and candy, want to bring a quick question to you here, just to kind of put a button on this, to wrap this up a little bit. tonight's debate -- this is, what, i'm losing count here, could be debate number 17. what are voters going to be listening for? what are they going to be looking out for tonight? >> well, if you're talking about south carolina voters, we are still talking about a largely conservative, particularly when it comes to the social issues group. so, they are going to be looking for how they stand on those sorts of things. but more importantly, every time
we poll, no matter what state, what comes up is the economy. so, there's a practicality here that's at play. there is not just who, you know, do i think could best steer the economy? it's also who do i think has the best chance of winning over president obama. so, i think that still hangs heavy over these voters, regardless of their -- you know, i've talked to some evangelicals along the way who say, listen, we want someone who can beat barack obama. so, i think that's still foremost on their minds. so, they're looking for that flair in the candidate, to say i think this guy can. >> all right. candy, thank you. candy. thanks, john, gloria, soledad, everybody. we'll get back to you after the break. s king ban this team of guinea pigs to ty bo so to save some y, d inea pig: row...row. they genatectry, wch le me rf t. guinea pig: row...row.took one, 8 months to get the guin: ..row.ow...row. they genatectry, wch le me rf t. lile cbby one to yell row!
want to go straight to an event, newt gingrich. this is in south carolina at a town hall. let's listen in. >> he understands exactly the mission of defending and expanding freedom, and he understands that every citizen has different ways to participa participate, and i am confident that he will continue to participate. he and i talked this morning. i have asked him to head up a 10th amendment enforcement project, reaching out to every governor in the country in both parties, reaching out to mayors and county commissions, reaching out to state legislators and then working with conservative legislators in washington so that we can have a very strong platform plank in tampa in august when the 10th amendment, and we can have a very strong bill that we can put in the 21st-century contract to the
americans in september and we can then pass that legislation no later than the end of the first quarter of 2013 to return power to the citizens, the communities and the states and get it out of washington, d.c. [ applause ] and governor perry agreed that he would tackle that huge project, which is something he and i have talked about for several years. and so, i'm just delighted. but i'm also burdened. and i want to share with you for a minute, before we talk about national security, because i don't come here to ask you to be for me. because if you're for me, you're going to vote, go home and say, i sure hope newt fixes it. we come here to ask you to be with us for the next eight years because we need you by our side every single day, reminding the congress, the governor, the state legislature, the city council, the county commission,
the school board. we are all going to move america back on to the right track, and we have to do it at every level of government simultaneously, and that requires citizen engagement. i also want you to be with me, because the scale of change that we're talking about is so large that we're inevitably going to make mistakes, and we have to have an open flow of communication, whether it's facebook or twitter or youtube or e-mail. we somehow have to learn from people when things aren't working. we have to learn when there are new and better ideas. we have to learn when reality is changing. 537 elected officials cannot fix this country. they're not that smart. and their staffs aren't that smart. but millions of citizens working together can, in fact, create an enormous difference. finally, if we return power back home and governor perry succeeds in this project that he and i have agreed on, and if we
succeed on getting the congress to truly transfer power back home, as we tranq washington, we have to build citizenship. so i'm asking you to be with me as a citizen taking on new and important responsibility. and in that tradition, i want to compliment captain howard who is here today, who is a ranger, a man who went through a great deal of pain for his country, a man who is committed to leading a full life and someone who has developed the independence wellness center, and he has a particular project i hope all of you will pay attention to. they have a program that garysennese helps them with, called the lieutenant dan weekend. it's in september. it's a great project. i know gary and we know that he is deeply, passionately committed to helping our wounded warrio warriors, who helping our men and women in uniform, to helping those who a those who are wounded in america.
so i hope you will reach to captain howard and i know thaz that is your goal to create a wellness center that gives veterans across the country a wonderful place to come to to enjoy the coast here in south carolina. and i thank captain howard. [ cheers and applause ] captain howard is an example of the kind of citizen who just keeps leading in whatever role he has to find himself in, and i'm very proud of him. now, colonel seal talked about the challenges we face and how to be commander in chief and what we actually -- >> newt gingrich out of what i've been told is beaufort, south carolina. that's the way they say it in south carolina there, at a town hall. he got the endorsement of rick perry, who just dropped out. one of our correspondents, joe johns, sending this e-mail about gingrich's reaction to that endorsement, according to joe johns, who says the staff, gingrich's staff said that he watched the perry announcement on the bus, said he was very
honored and humbled to have perry speak so well about endorsing him. he has been a great patriot and he also has asked him to head a 10th amendment enforcement project. governor perry agreed he would tackle the project and they have talked about that for several years. so, those comments from newt gingrich about the endorsement of rick perry. we'll have a lot more on this developing news story, lots more politics. there is a platform built for the purpose of driving innovation. one that's transforming how companies from every industry-- and of every size-- are doing business. a platform built for now. and for what's next. this...is the cisco intelligent network.
big political day here, lots of news. first of all, we had just watched rick perry, texas governor rick perry, dropping out of the race, making this dramatic announcement before tonight's debate as well as before south carolina's primary, just two days away. also very important, who he endorsed. he said it was newt gingrich. let's take a listen. >> as i have contemplated the future of this campaign, i have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign. therefore, today, i am
suspending my campaign and endorsing newt gingrich for president of the united states. >> so, rick perry putting his weight and his support, not a lot of numbers, not a lot of supporters out of south carolina, if you believe those polls, single digits, but perhaps a very critical group, evangelical christians. perhaps, he can persuade them to go to newt gingrich. another big political story today that we are following, and that was the reversal of the results out of the iowa caucuses. it was mitt romney who was believed to have won the iowa caucuses. well, now, today, iowa officials saying it was actually rick santorum. we'll see if that means he has more momentum leading into tonight's debate as well as the south carolina primary. that in two days, but the debate and cnn tonight. so, all things politics. we are also following another big story, and that, of course, that ship that went down, the italian ship. we are hearing that the crew's ship captain explaining his actions now in a transcript
obtained by an italian newspaper. the captain claims he tripped and fell into a lifeboat. he also told a judge he was navigating by sight, saying, "i was navigating by sight because i knew the depths well and i had done this maneuver three or four times. but this time i ordered the turn too late and i ended up in water that was too shallow." joining us, atlanta residents justin evans. he is a trapeze artist, and cako ges, a retired dancer and photographer. you both do extraordinary work here in atlanta. first of all, i have to say i'm so happy that both of you are okay. you were vacationing. you were celebrating your birthday. you were aboard this cruise. talk about the moment when you realize something was terribly wrong. >> well, it was about 30 minutes into the crash when we actually realized something was wrong. we were told to calm down and we were told that it was a
generator, twice. so, we tried to stay as calm as possible as this was going on. it was until they said that we needed to head to the muster station that we realized there was something seriously going wrong. >> how did you escape? i know that you're a gymnast, a dancer. how did you do this? >> well, we found ourselves in a state of calm that was unbelievable. it felt like we were in this divine bubble or something and we found passages through all these people. it seems to open up for us, and we managed to get to a lifeboat that was not being overrun. and the crew tried to keep us back, but we felt all this pressure coming from behind. >> people pushing, you mean? >> yes. >> stampeding. >> yes, stampeding, trying desperately to save their lives. >> babies crying. >> the siren was unbelievable it was so piercing that the
children and babies were screaming at the top of their lungs while everybody else was screaming to try to be heard. it was so chaotic. it was like the disaster movies. >> and how did you manage to get into the lifeboat and to safety, to land? >> well, we kind of pushed our way to the front. we thought -- of course, we didn't do the mustard station drill, so when we first attempted to go to the mustard station, we went to the wrong side and realized that we needed to immediately go to the other side because the boat was way too high for them to even release the lifeboats. so, we rushed over to the other side. we kind of saw that one side was crowded with people, so we went to the other side that didn't have the most people, pushed our way to the front, helped a couple of kids, helped a couple of old people on and we kind of got on the ship. but the ship was overloaded with people. >> that lifeboat that you're on. >> the lifeboat, yes.
>> well, how do you react to the reports now and the audio tapes of this captain, who seemingly, it appears as if he abandoned you and the other passengers? >> we were already off, i believe. but to hear about this man who left people stranded on ladders and having to get into this cold water, it was unbelievable. unbelievable. he just -- we didn't know all this until we heard it on the news. but since then, it appears to us that things were a whole lot worse and a lot of people faired far worse. we had no idea people were trapped, waiting to die. it was quite an experience. >> i mean it was a horrible experience. and also knowing that the staff -- i mean, they seemed younger than me. they did not know what to do. they got on the lifeboats and
they could not even drive the lifeboat it was someone that jumped into the water, climbed on to the lifeboat and began to maneuver it to drive off that saved us. he was a hero. because we thought we were going to die. >> do you plan on doing anything in terms of holding carnival cruises responsible or suing anybody at this point, or have you heard anything from the carnival cruise line? >> we heard from the american embassy, and they have us on a list of the americans who did survive. and i've asked for us to be included in any notification or correspondences that may pertain to us. so, at this point, we have no idea about anything. we have tremendous losses of property, but that's nothing compared to what other people lost. >> like their lives. >> their lives. >> do you know anybody who lost their life? >> no, no one. >> no. >> we hardly -- we had met two americans, and that was it. >> yeah, we were on the ship three hours before it sank.
>> all right. >> and -- >> go ahead. all right, well, i'm just so happy that you're both safe and that you're back here in atlanta. we really appreciate your time. >> thank you, suzanne. >> thank you so much, suzanne. >> thank you. there's a new winner in the iowa caucuses. that's the other story we're following. even though that final vote, the totals may never be known. we're going to talk to a reporter from "the des moines register" about all of the confusion. forty years ago, he wasn't looking for financial advice. back then he had something more important to do.
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jim acosta is in charleston, south carolina. lots to go over here, jim. there's breaking news involving mitt romney. >> reporter: that's right. >> let's talk about the iowa caucuses first, this reversal here. what do they make of what happened there? what did he say? >> reporter: i wish i could tell you that, suzanne. we -- the press who are following mitt romney from stop to stop tried repeatedly to get mitt romney to make a comment on what happened in iowa. the campaign put out a statement earlier this morning calling what happened in iowa a virtual tie. obviously that is not what the santorum campaign is saying. they put out a release saying santorum wins iowa. i tried repeatedly, other reporters tried repeatedly to get romney to talk about the results out of the iowa caucuses and he simply refused to do so. he held an event here with three
of his top sur rrogates. rob portman, the senator from ohio who endorsed mitt romney was here, nikki haley, tim pawlenty, the former governor of minnesota was also here. it was a very small crowd considering the fire power. it was a small crowd. during his comments he did not mention the block busting news that rick perry is dropping out and endorsing newt gingrich for president. he went out of the back door of the campaign headquarters. the traveling press caught up with mitt romney just as he was about to get into his suv and get out of here where he gave just a few comments about rick perry dropping out of the race. here's what he had to say. >> governor perry is a terrific guy, conservative, we're going to miss him on the stage tonight. good guy. >> how about the results out of iowa, is it fair to call it a tie when santorum came out on top? governor, it's been a big news
day. can you just give us a choum of comments, please. >> i've got to get through. >> you can tell from that little clip there that this was all about message and you heard when he gave that media avail, just sort of dropped it out there that he's paying a 15% effective tax rate ever since then. couple that with the debate performance he had on monday night, things have been going in newt gingrich's direction and there's this new poll out from arg that shows newt gingrich in the lead with a statistically small but interesting one point margin over mitt romney. politico also shows romney with a seven-point lead. but make no mistake, the romney campaign is clamping down on the message. he's going to be there until the end of the day, suzanne. >> jim, it was pretty clear he
did not want to talk to reporters there. >> no. >> reporter: what is he going to focus on tonight at the debate? because message and staying on message is so important for him and this week has not been a good one for him. >> reporter: no. and i spoke to stee stevens, the chief strategist for the romney campaign. and i asked him about the last 24 hours and how they are feeling today and he just said, crazy day. so that's summing it up for the romney campaign. but in terms of the debate tonight, mitt romney, make no mistake, has to be on his a-game. what happened when he was hemming and hauing about whether he would release his tax returns, that was not a good moment for the romney campaign. he said wait until april for the tax return release. he's sticking to this claim that he made, this statement that
he's made that he's going to release the tax returns in april. so i would have to say, you know, this is a very important debate for mitt romney. if he led south carolina slip through his fingerprints and newt gingrich somehow wins this state, obviously this goes on in florida. the polls we're seeing in florida are meaningless because he's going to get such a boost out of south carolina, it's basically game on perhaps all the way to super tuesday. >> we're going to all be watching that debate. there's also a shakeup in the first political contest among the republicans. mitt romney was originally named the winner by just eight votes but this morning the official certified results showed rick santorum on top by 34 votes. so what is behind all of this mess? it is a hot mess. jennifer jacobs, chief political director joining us by phone, jennifer, when you think about these kinds of problems, the
debacle between george bush and al gore, the recount with the ballots there, how does this stack up to the republican race? i mean, this reversal seems like it's a big mistake. >> yeah. big difference than on caucus night we had results from every single precinct and in this particular case we're just missing results from eight precincts. so that's the big difference. i mean, i can verify that gop officials were out there trying to track down every last number that they could and we've never, in the history of the caucuses have gotten to certify all but eight precincts before. so this is unprecedented. so it's ironic to some people that there's been criticism about what a mess this is when actually probably gop officials have done a better job this cycle than they've ever done before. >> jennifer, why was it such a mess, though? why did they just get this wrong?
>> here's the deal. we don't have any sort of a recount. the gop caucuses don't have a recount procedure. so those ballots are gone. all that the republican party can do is certify the votes which means that those volunteers in charge of these little neighborhood meetings across iowa are supposed to sign an official ballot that night and then turn into headquarters. most of them turned it into. we're trying to track down what happened to the last eight. they did their best as a volunteer run system. it's just very loose, a neighborhood organization, and i think people really tried to do their best. >> jennifer, we know that someone by the name of edward reported the day after the iowa caucus he actually knew his precinct made a mistake. instead of counting two votes for romney they marked down 22 and he tried to ring the alarms
and he was largely dismissed. why didn't they take him seriously? >> he was pretty close on discovering that error and gop officials, you know, they released those exact results from that county and it showed rick santorum had the advantage the night of the caucuses and he still won that county so gop officials at the time that that gentleman came forward said, yes, there is a typo but it's not going to change the outcome of this particular county and that ended up being the case. but, granted, there were 131 incidents where there were typos or a little change that needed to be made in the certify results. that's a lot of human errors there but the party has caught them all and they have made all of those numbers public now. >> glad this is all being sorted out. jennifer jacobs, thank you so much for keeping track of all of that. edward true, the guy who was trying to ring all those alarms the day after the iowa caucuses about his own precinct
perry drops out just two days before the south carolina primary. rick perry announced that eavesdropping out of the race. he immediately endorsed one of his vif vales. >> as i've contemplated the future of this campaign, i have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign. therefore, today i am suspending my campaign and endorsing newt gingrich for president of the united states. >> perry's decision follows his poor showings in iowa and new
hampshire. polls shown in the single digits in south carolina. a new poll gives perry just 4% of the vote. our own peter hamby brooke the story. how did he come about making this decision? >> this decision came late yesterday. governor perry started to inform some senior staff and campaign supporters and financial supporters last night. we just spoke to ray sullivan, his communications director. and they said that they got a phone call from him at a wendy's last night. i asked sullivan what changed between the iowa caucuses when he finished fifth and woke up the next morning and really came to the decision after a jog i'm going to go to south carolina and go hard. what changed between then and now and he just said we came to the conclusion that there's no viable path forward and, quite frankly, no one will dispute
that. we also asked him about why speaker gingrich and not governor romney. he said, frankly, speaker gingrich and governor perry have a long-standing relationship. they do, as we know, governor perry wrote a book last year. speaker gingrich wrote forward to it. they've always had a warm relationship. others have said that rick perry doesn't believe that mitt romney is conservative. this weekend pair vee going back to austin for the weekend. that could change but that's the plan right now, suzanne. >> was it a tough decision for the governor to make, do you think? >> you know, it probably almost certainly was. he clearly jumped in with a huge head of steam back in august and september. his family was very much on board with this anita perry was pushing him hard to continue with the campaign. the family is very much on board with this decision.
again, our cnn poll, throughout the last two weeks that i've been here, republican voters do like governor perry, they just said that it's not viable in an election against barack obama. they had an impact against shaping how voters think about governor perry. he gets very big crowds but they come away from the events saying, i like the guy, i just don't think that he can win. i think they realized that so only four podiums on our debate stage tonight in charleston. >> peter, this may be reading into things here but do you think governor perry would consider a run for this at a future date? >> reporter: it's funny you mentioned that. that could be completely dismissed from a lot of people in politics because his appearances were so dismal that he ruined his brand.
however, governor romney showed in this cycle and governor mccain in the last cycle, running twice is a good way to win the republican nomination. there are a couple perry advisers who i know who say, hey, he's been in this race for the last couple of weeks knowing that he would not win and is honing his ability and he's been better in his debates, reading his briefing books. he's still a young governor of an enormous state with a huge economy. he would have to overcome the demons of this race. certainly i would not rule it out completely, suzanne. >> peter, we'll see how it goes. thanks again. again, congratulations for two big breaking news stories that you broke recently, including today. great job, peter. thanks. turns out mitt romney did not win the iowa caucus after all. so check off iowa as win for santorum on the cnn election
board but results from eight i precincts are still missing, can't be counted. so officials say the official numbers may never be known. and now to talk to edward true, thanks for being with us here. one of our producers flagged your story the day after the kaukdss saying, we've got to pay attention to this guy because it looks like everything is not really going well. when did you first know that there was a problem in your precinct? >> i went online and i believe it was around 1:00 or 2:00 wednesday afternoon is when i first noticed it. >> and what did you notice? >> when i looked at it and i seen the breakdown by precinct, i seen that the total vote count, 79 was reported. i thought that was odd because i
knew there wasn't 80 people there but then i looked and checked down the numbers that i had written down versus what reported and romney had 22 instead of the 2. >> when you discovered this typo, what did you do? who did you alert? >> i first spoke with some people from watch the vote 2012 and then i spoke with the county chairperson and made a comment to the state gop. >> why didn't they listen to you? why didn't they say, we'll check this out, we'll look at this. >> >> i don't know. i understand what the 1400 precincts that were there, there's a lot to check. it took me an hour's worth of time to contact the people that i did and have three other people to verify that there was a mistake. >> you were very dogged in your determination to have this fix.
how many hours did you spend to raise your hand and get these officials' attention? >> i spent a lot of free team. there was stuff that i posted through facebook to try to spread my story and get the attention that i felt that it needed. >> edward, do you think there's a lesson in any of this when you look at the iowa kaukds, people see counteding these pieces of paper and throwing them into a bucket here, what do we take away from this? >> i think it's a model of how the rest of the nation should be. with the accountability and transparency of iowa, there's the ability for people such as myself to come in and check things on our own and within hours say, hey, there's a mistake here. i found it. let's correct it. checks and balances system is what we need in our system. >> checks and balances from the guy who started it in the first place. checking and making sure that the system was working and now it's been corrected in the iowa caucuses.
edward true, it's a great name. true. appreciate your attention. >> thank you. >> thanks. all right. so it's been quite a day for gingrich. former jimmy carter accuses him of using words reflecting racist. is he a race-baiter or a hard truth teller. carroll costello is joining us from washington. this is extremely controversial and we heard now through rick perry making the case that 50 million americans are on food stamps. clearly their message is parallel now. they are going to be hitting home with that argument. tell us why. >> well, they are. 50i78 going to do my best, suzanne. newt gingrich is surging in south carolina. a politico survey shows him just seven points behind mitt romney. why? they say gingrich is tough talk
the campaign is capitalizing on it. >> only newt gingrich can beat obama. >> more people have been foot on food stamps than any person in history. >> they call mr. obama the food stamp president which might delight some south carolina voters but enflames african-americans, like april, an upper-class married mother of two. >> we've heard stuff like this. we get it and it does fire me up to get this man re-elected back into office so that americans can really see who is the bad person in this. >> you heard she can't wait to cast another vote for obama. former president jimmy carter isn't saying all he'll vote but he agrees with her about gingrich. >> he knows the words that you
use, like welfare mama and so part that have been appealing in the past. in the days when we cherished segregation of the race. i don't think it will pay off in the long run. >> gingrich is not apologizing. here he is on the "today" show. >> conservatives suggested that the poor would rather have a paycheck than a food stamp, the very liberals who have failed them at places like the "new york times" promptly scream racism because they have no defense for the failure of liberal institutions which have trapped poor children in bad schools, trapped them in bad neighborhoods, liberal solutions have failed. >> so the talk back question for you today is gingrich a race baiter? i'll read your answers this hour. >> thank you, carol. a huge opportunity to tip the scales in south carolina
with rick perry dipping out of the race. watch the cnn debate tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern. here's a countdown to the stories we're talking about this hour. rick santorum comes on top of the iowa caucus. what it means for his future and presidential bid. hear what south carolina voters have to say about the candidates two days before the primary. then we're learning more about what happened in the doomed cruise ship, "costa concordia" as searchers continue to look for survivors. also, kareem abdul-jabar at the white house. and later -- >> i wanted to openly gay woman to win a california beauty pageant is speaking out about why she wanted the crown.
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president obama making a high-profile visit to disney world today. that's right. not just to meet the mouse. it's part of a new push to increase tourism to the united states. today the president signed an executive order to speed up visa processing for chinese and brazilian tourists. another glimmer of hope. that's right. in the economy. first time jobless claims at their lowest levels in almost four years. 250,000 people filed for unemployment for the first time last week. italian authorities are carrying out toxicology tests on a hair sample taken from the captain of the doomed cruise ship. plus, a decision now being made on when to call off the search for survivors.
rescuers resumed their search of the "costa concordia" today in a race to find almost two dozen still missing. rescuers plan to blow more holes into the side of the ship to try to gain access into the inside. chilling new video from inside those air pockets of this ship give us an idea of the dangers that they are facing. and we also heard from a member of the rescue team. >> floating furniture and glass doors that can fall down and so it can be very dangerous. >> port authority transcripts reveal a time line of this disaster and it's really quite disturbing because it shows the italian port authority first notified of the accident roughly 25 minutes after the impact. the information didn't come from officers aboard the ship but
from police who actually received a call from a relative of one of the passengers. so here's the timeline. 10:06 p.m., police on land are made aware of what they say are problems. 10:14, concordia officers tell the coast guard it's only a power outage. 10:26, the ship's captain says there's an open hole in the ship. 10:48, the coast guard is told an evacuation is under evaluation. and then finally at 10:58, almost an hour after police were first made aware of these problems, the evacuation begins. people in seattle and tacoma are living under an ice storm warning. right now seattle schools remain close along with two of the three runways at the airport. yesterday, almost seven inches of snow fell at the airport. that is double the record set 60 years ago. >> i said, oh, my gosh. we've got that much snow? i just couldn't believe it. that's my neighbor clearing off
the driveway. >> rick santorum tried to get rick perry's endorsement. dana bash is where santorum is about to hold an event. essentially, dana, you do the backstory of how this story went down. tell us what happened. >> reporter: well, what happened was that rick perry decided, we understand from sources that he was going to in fact drop out of the race and we understand from people involved in the conversation with newt gingrich that he actually decided last night that he was going to back newt gingrich and in fact he actually spoke with the former speaker and made it clear that he was going to give a full on endorsement. now, i am here at the rick santorum event which is about to start. this, suzanne, was great for rick santorum because, guess
what, he won iowa. he came in second just eight votes shy and found out today that he actually was the winner by 34 votes over mitt romney. they were hoping inside the santorum campaign that it was going to be the headline of the day and give him momentum where, according to many polls that came out, they have been struggling but that hasn't happened because of the perry announcement and certainly so far has said that he's hoping he's going to come here, rick santorum with tony perkins, he's with the family research council and part of the group of conservatives who threw their weight behind rick santorum. he is hoping that that kind of push is going to help him again. >> so it's good news for santorum with the iowa caucuses when -- are they disappointed that they didn't get the endorsement from rick perry? that that went to newt instead? >> oh, sure. sure. there's no question about it.
i was e-mailing with the senior source inside the santorum campaign who said, we are already getting phone calls from big money people who want to come on to the santorum campaign and today they are going to buy ad time in florida. the translation there is, we are not giving up, not even close. any kind of endorsement of someone like rick perry who obviously wasn't doing well in the polls but he is somebody respected by social conservatives, that would be helped. and in terms of the perception of momentum, again, if rick santorum was hoping to get that with surprise iowa win today and now it looks like it's going to newt gingrich, which is disappointing because rick santorum in several polls came out yesterday -- he's actually down in single digits while newt gingrich seems to be catapulting, nipping at mitt romney's heels. >> dana bash, thank you so much. at this hour, our own wolf
blitzer is interviewing rick santorum. we hopefully will bring wolf on to get a sense of how the candidate is feeling today going into the debate this evening, what he thinks about the iowa caucuses' win and the presidential race. we'll have that for you shortly as soon as wolf is done with that interview. mitt romney has one less rival in the presidential race but he also learned that he did not win the iowa caucus after all. jim acosta is at a stop in charleston, south carolina. jim, first of all, his reaction to the iowa caucuses and that reversal? >> reporter: i got to tell you, suzanne, he had no reaction to the iowa caucuses and it was not for a lack of trying from the media that trailed him from campaign stop to campaign stop. he was peppered with questions from various reporters outside of his office in charleston about what his take was on the
iowa caucus results and he did not answer those questions, quite frankly. he did stop for just a few moments to answer some questions about what rick perry had to do this morning, which was basically drop out of this race, and -- but very brief remarks from governor romney. here's what he had to say. >> we're going to miss him on the stage tonight. >> how about governor, is it fair to call it a tie when rick santorum came out on top? governor, it's been a big news day. can you just give us a couple of comments, sir? >> reporter: okay. so those were not the full remarks from governor romney on rick perry but i can basically paraphrase what he said. it was just before that moment where we were trying to ask him about iowa. basically what mitt romney said was, you know, rick perry's been a great governor, a great conservative, he's been great out on the campaign trail and we're going to miss him and
tonight's debate and it's interesting to see the clamping down on the message here at the event earlier today. he had three of his top campaign sur row gates here. nikki haley, rob portman, and tim pawlenty. despite having all of the gop fire power, it was a very sparse crowd outside of his offices here in charleston. it was striking to see that he made only brief remarks. he worked in a dig on newt gingrich right out of the romney play book and we heard this over the last couple of days when we heard that obama was down in disney world. he said that's fitting because he's been living in fantasy land and he may run into the speaker because newt gingrich does not understand how the economy
works. washington does not create jobs. jobs are created in spite of washington, is what mitt romney had to say. he's going after newt gingrich. that's the message they want everybody to take from today. the other stuff, they are just not going there, suzanne. >> we'll see if they address any of that on the debate. what do you think is going to be the focus, romney's focus that he hopes to convey at the podium tonight? >>. >> reporter: i think the focus tonight is do no harm. if you look at what happened on monday night he gave an evasive answer on whether he should release his tax returns. it was rick perry of all all people who said we don't want a nominee that we find out about in september. the candidates putting that pressure on him i think resulted in mitt romney coming out the next day saying, maybe we'll do it in april. as a matter of fact, there was a
protester who pressed him further that said april. but it's really going to be do no harm tonight for mitt romney. he has to come out of this debate looking strong, sounding strong. he can't be perceived as giving two different answers to the same question or else it's going to be very difficult for him to win south carolina. newt gingrich is right on his heels. the arg poll with a one-point margin for newt gingrich. you have to think that that is creating worries z we'll be watching. thanks a lot, jim. >> there's a reversal in the iowa caucus. turns out that rick santorum is now the winner instead of rit mom knee. we're going to talk to wolf blitzer about what it means for santorum's campaign. flexpen is pre-filled with your mealtime insulin. dial the exact dose, inject by pushing a button.
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we're less than eight hours away from the primary in south carolina. what's on the minds of voters? we ask them to give us our thoughts on faith and politics. take a listen. >> unless america turns back to god, our economy repairs will be wasted. >> i think faith and politics is something that used to be huge but it's not anymore. some schools are taking the pledge of allegiance out, taking the word "god" out. i think religion should be a big thing but it's not anymore. >> a person's belief in god is
not an issue for me as far as who i support. >> faith is an important part of my life but when voting, it's not i kind of lean more towards moderate candidates or people willing to work with the democratic party. >> now, i am a faithful person. my mom raised me right. but a lot of times faith and it gets kicked to the curb. it does not play a huge role in politics for me. faith doesn't. i just go with my gut. >> so you might have thought that mitt romney was the winner at the iowa caucuses. that's what we all thought. not the case anymore. now the state says that rick santorum is the winner. i'm going to talk to wolf
blitzer about why the reversal and how much it might help the personal candidate. he's talking to rick santorum. you always have homework, okay? i don't have homework today. it's what's right here is what is most important to me. it's beautiful. ♪ ♪ a living, breathing intelligence that is helping business rethink how to do business. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ in here, machines have a voice... ♪ [ male announcer ] in here, medical history follows you... even when you're away from home. it's the at&t network -- a network of possibilities, creating and integrating solutions, helping business, and the world...work. rethink possible.
so it turns out that mitt romney did not win after all. rick santorum was put ahead of romney by 34 votes. wolf blitzer just completed an interview with santorum. that is the big question, how does he react about his win out of iowa? >> he was very happy. he got a call around 4:00 a.m. from republican officials in iowa notifying him that he was the winner. there were a couple other votes
that potentially could give him a bigger lead when all of the political dust settles in iowa but he was pretty happy about it, thought it would give him momentum. he now says he won in iowa. he also did tell me, suzanne, he's going ahead with the first purchases from the santorum campaign of commercials, television commercials in florida. he's going to florida. he says no matter what happens saturday, i hear in south carolina he's going to florida, started buying commercials. so he thinks he is going to emerge as the conservative alternative to mitt romney. he doesn't think that ron paul really has the credibility, if you have, or the wherewithal to actually win the republican presidential nomination but he thinks he will have an opportunity to beat newt beginning ric gingrich. he beat newt gingrich in iowa and new hampshire and thinks whatever happens here on saturday in south carolina, he's in it in florida as well. he was pretty encouraged about what was going on as well.
he was disappointed and he says he's ready to fight. >> is he frustrated at all that this news out of iowa caucuses, this win that it's just coming now that he wasn't able to take advantage of the momentum that could have come out of that win right after it happened? i mean, the contest weeks ago? >> he thinks he would have gotten a little bit momentum coming out of iowa if he would have formally been declared the winner going into new hampshire. he thinks it would have been obviously a lot better. even though eight votes there, 30 votes there doesn't seem like a lot, just the words -- the winner of the iowa caucuses, that certainly helps mitt romney and he thinks it would have helped him. he's willing to take it even two weeks late going into this contest in south carolina and
then january 31st in florida. so he says he's going to fight on. he's frustrated but he's determined. i think that's a fair characterization. >> this is a little inside baseball. was there anybody inside the campaign when they saw that narrow loss, the eight votes there, that thought maybe we should take a second look or third vote at the iowa caucuses to make sure that the results are really accurate? >> yeah. there were people i remember even at the time, some of his aides were saying to me, there are some votes out there, the process among the republican party in iowa is that they were going to go through the ballots and have a final authorized number decision within two weeks. they said it would take two weeks and they wouldn't release any of the information in between. that's the process they have. you do the best you can. there were some of his aides wondering, eight votes, sure everything was counted? >> right. >> all of those were paper
ballots and you can transpose a number if somebody calls in to headquarters and says six instead of 60. you know what happens. >> right. >> so there can be mistakes and clearly there were a few mistakes. >> all right. but it sounds like from your interview, wolf, that he is looking forward and moving forward. this is an exclusive interview. the interview can be seen on "the situation room." it's 4:00 eastern right here on cnn. so all of the drama in this presidential race comes down two days before the south carolina primary and don lemon has been talking to voters in south carolina. he joins us in charleston. don, the reaction, i imagine, is all about rick perry in the race and what that means for south carolina. what do folks think about that? >> yeah, you're right. and then also to just sort of keep it real, so to speak, among the people watching for our viewers, people are talking about it. they are like, what happened? what's up with the process that
it wasn't accurate and that was two weeks ago? but the interesting thing, suzanne, is that for the people who are here, what's most important is what's closest to them. they say iowa. that state is away, weeks ago. so that's kind of over with for them. and as you know, most people are concerned that what's in their own state, what's in their own backyards? and i don't think that that is going to play what happened in iowa, what happened to rick santorum. but when you talk about rick perry, same thing. rick perry didn't play really high here so they don't think it's going to have much of an impact when you think about him dropping out. if it was -- if he was number two where newt gingrich is, may have more of an impact. but they think so far he's number three and a distant number three, that it's not going to have that much impact. they are focusing on the two
guys who are in the number one and the number two positions here. and that is mitt romney and newt gingrich. >> and what do you think they want to hear from those guys tonight at the debate? >>. >> what are they going to hear? >> reporter: there's an airplane going over. it's hard to hear. what do they want to hear? they want to hear what these guys are going to do for the economy and to boil it down, they want options. the american people want options. if you don't have option, if you cannot sell your house, if you cannot get a job or you can't change from -- to a better job if you don't like your job, if you don't have options, then it doesn't matter. they want a better economy and they want jobs and that's the bottom line. social issues, as i heard in the segment you did just before the break, social issues don't really matter that much. it's important to a lot of people. this is a very conservative part of the country. this primary involves a lot of
conservative voters. people want to be able to take care of their families. i tell you what they are tired of, suzanne, that's the in-fighting and also what you see when you turn on the television and turn on the radio you cannot go ten seconds without a negative ad when it comes to the commercials. and here's what people have to say about it. it's very interesting, their reaction. take a listen. >> i am so tired of them. >> i am pretty tired of it. i just don't like to see it. >> i've seen so much down here, i've tuned them out. >> it's a paying contest. that's what it is. this person did this wrong back then, this one's doing this right. you know, no one's perfect. that's why we are all human, you know. >> i know that this is politics. i know that this is part of the game. but do we really need to bash the members of our own party? >> no matter who you listen to, if you listen to all of them, they are going to tell you that everybody is bad and all of them are awful. >> it makes me not want to vote
for anybody because that's not what it's all about. >> reporter: yeah. and suzanne, you've been out here covering this. sometimes in these campaigns there's a lot of enthusiasm about one or two candidates. people are just like, those are my choices. that's what i'm going to go with. and one guy, a 70-year-old retired guy i spoke to yesterday, he predicted the rick perry thing. he said, listen, i'm supporting rick perry but i don't think he's going to get it. i think he's going to drop out and some other guy is going to come in and the person that came in, he didn't believe that that person could beat barack obama. a 70-year-old told me that in the barber shop just yesterday. he's considered one of the best basketball players of all time when he champions at every level. what do you do for an encore? now kareen abdul-jabbar is an ambassador. first, we feature rising
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president obama speaking at disney world. he just told a joke where he was excited to be in a place where someone has bigger ears than he does. let's listen in. >> i'm glad we're here today to tell the world that america is opened for business. we want to welcome you and to take concrete steps to boost america's tourism industry so that we can keep growing our economy and creating more jobs.
here in florida and all across the country. now here's the good news. we've got the best product to sell. we look at where we are. we've got the most entertaining destinations in the world. this is the land of extraordinary natural wonders from the rocky mountains to the grand canyon, from yellowstone to yosemite. this is the land where we do big things and so have incredit bld landmarks like the golden gate bridge and hoover dam, the gateway arch. this is the land of iconic cities. and all their sites from independence hall and philadelphia to nathaniel boss and space needle to the skyline of my home town in chicago. it's a nice skyline for those of
you that have never been there. all right. a couple of chicagouans. but i'm here today because i want more tourists here tomorrow. i want america to be the top tourist destination in the world. the top tourist destination in the world. [ applause ] and this is something that we've been focused on for a long time. two years ago i signed into law the travel promotion act. it had broad support of republicans and democrats and as you know, that doesn't always happen. it set up a new nonprofit organization called brand usa. its job is to pitch america as a travel destination for the rest of the world to come to visit. you guys see advertising for other destinations here in the
united states, right? well, we've got to do the same thing so that when people are thinking about where they want to travel, where they want to spend their vacation, we want them to come here. and so that's already in place but we've got to do more. so today i directed my administration to send me a new national tourism strategy focused on creating jobs. and some of america's most successful business leaders, some who are here today, have signed up to help. we're going to see how we can make it easier for foreign tourists to find basic information about visiting america. and we're going to see how we can attract more tourists to our national parks. we want people visiting not just epcot senator but -- >> that's president obama in disney world promoting american tourism. into well, he's considered one of the best basketball players of all time winning championships at every level. what do you do for an encore?
perfected the unstoppable sky hook. he's also the global cultural ambassador for the state department. he met with secretary of state hillary clinton just yesterday and was appointed this position. he now joins us from new york. my brothers are going to be so jealous that i got a chance to talk to you directly. i've been watching you since i was a kid. so tell us, how did you get this new position, global cultural ambassador? what do you do? >> basically, someone recommended me to mrs. clinton and they gave us some thought and they decided that i might be a good choice. >> and what's your job? i understand you travel around the world, first stop is brazil? >> basically, it's personal diplomacy, engage with people
from other countries and other cultures and explain what america is all about and let them know what we think -- what the average american really thinks about what is going on. there's so much going on now internationally that we need people out there to explain what is happening from the view point of the average american. so being able to get those interactions going and have some clear communication really helps our country and i'll be in a position to do that. >> that's great. i understand that you're going to play a little bit of basketball, listening to some music. you're hardly an average american to send over as an ambassador. i want to take you back to 2008. i interviewed a former laker teammate magic johnson. he was a big hillary clinton fan, 66. you were a barack obama fan. you saw hillary clinton yesterday. did you make nice? >> i don't think there was any ill feelings about it. i've had a good relationship with the clinton family for a
long time. 1996 i was at a jazz event at the white house. i met the clintons. they are wonderful people. i've maintained those relationships ever since then. >> i noticed that you presented her with a gift that was a jersey and a children's book that you recently wrote. >> yes. >> and then there was this kind of funny moment that you guys had. i want to play this for our viewers. >> here's a copy of my latest book. >> oh, i heard about that. thank you. >> for when you start to your grandchildren. >> let's just hope from your lips to god's ears right? >> well, i won't say a word and i'm sure my friends won't either. >> that was pretty funny there. you suggested to give it to a grandchild. >> i wasn't trying to put any
pressure on chelsea, honest. in the natural course of events that that was going to happen. >> yeah, something we don't know. you know something? >>. >> no, i don't know anything. i'm just an observer here. >> what do you think is the most important thing for folks to know about americans as the ambassador? what do you sthi something that people get wrong about americans that you really want to set the record straight? >> well, i think just like president obama was trying to get people to understand that america is a friendly place and would welcome visitors, your previous piece, i think that people that are living in other countries really don't understand what's going on here. all they see is what is on the news and that's very distorted. to have someone explain in real
terms that they can make sense out of it, that's important. hopefully i'll get a chance to do that in a way that makes sense and wins us experience. >> having such an aspiring figure abroad, thank you very much for joining us. >> nice talking with you. >> nice to see you. newt gingrich defending his food stamp cards while jimmy carter accuses him of using language that appeals to racist. which brings us to our talk back question. recommending ton says, the old divide and conquer. somehow it works on weak minds. more of your responses up ahead. s could see what i see. s that over time, having high cholesterol, plus diabetes or high blood pressure or family history of early heart disease, can put them at increased risk for plaque buildup. and they'd see that it's more important to get their cholesterol where their doctor wants. and why for these patients, when
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newt gingrich turned a lot of heads angering some, getting support from others after calling president obama the food stamp president, the south carolina debate that happened this week. >> the fact is, that more people have been put on food stamps by barack obama than any president in american history. it's not the first time that gingrich has made this claim. he also said the same thing during a speech last year in georgia, his home state. >> president obama is the most successful food stamp president in american history. more people are on food stamps today than at any point in the american history and he's proud
of it. >> so we took a look at the claim. it's true that a record one out of seven americans is on food stamps right now. that is 44.7 million people. 11 million of those on food stamps join the program on president obama's watch. but the same number, 11 million, also signed up during the last bush administration and while it's true, those 11 million signed up more than under president obama and it took place mostly on obama's watch. by the way, anyone's who monthly income falls below the poverty line, $18,000 for a family of three, are eligible to get food stamps. is newt gingrich a race baiter or a hard truth teller? carol costello has your responses.