tv State of the Union CNN April 1, 2012 6:00am-7:00am PDT
promoted posthumously to sergeant. barbara starr, cnn, the pentagon. >> thank you for watching. i hope you have a wonderful sunday. "state of the union" with candy crowley starts right now. it's april fool's day, but it feels like the fall campaign, no joke. today top republicans gather round romney. an exclusive with one who hasn't, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell. then -- >> the next president of the united states, governor mitt romney. >> the house republican idea guy, wisconsin congressman paul ryan on his state's tuesday primary and budget politics. plus -- >> it is up to iran's leaders to make the right choice. >> the policy and the politics
with house intelligence chairman mike rogers and ranking democrat. then never too late to talk vp stakes in election 2012. i'm candy crowley, and this is "state of the union." a new cnn orc poll shows president obama's job approval rating is over 50% for the first time since last june, but americans are worried about rising gas prices, and in an election year, when americans worry, politicians act. the president wants congress to end tax breaks for big oil. >> it's time they got by without more help from taxpayers, who are already having a tough enough time paying
the bills and filling up their gas tank. >> it will never get by congressional republicans. joining me from louisville, kentucky, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell. senator, i want to talk to you about gas prices. i know that you have suggested that this seems like a weird
political move for the president to be making, that you don't think it will be popular. i want to show our viewers a recent cnn/orc poll, and it's about who do you blame for these gas prices? oil companies, 55%, foreign countries 34%, the situation in iran 28%. here's what i want to ask you about. president obama's policies, 24% blame him for the rising gas prices. but 21%, just 3% fewer, blame republicans. this does not look like a clear-cut case of a political blunder. a lot of people blame republicans. >> why don't we just look at the facts, regardless of how polls reflect what people feel about the oil industry, which is not surprising. the congressional research service, which is not a polling operation, but analyzes objectively legislation, says if you raise taxes on oil production, the price of the gas
at the pump goes even higher. this is an absurd suggestion when you've got $4 gasoline. what the president ought to be doing is approving the keystone pipeline. this is this massive
private sector project that will bring energy down from our friendly neighbor, canada, to the united states. he's blocking it. what he's got to do is increase public production down here. land within the federal jurisdiction, the price is down 14%. he points, however, to increased production that he had nothing to do with. it's up 96% on state owned land and private land. the president simply is standing in the way of increasing domestic production. the american people know that it's absurd for the most energy rich country in the world to be locking up such a huge percentage of its resources. >> but, senator, just in terms of the fairness issue, which is very important to americans and to politicians, one hopes, the
oil companies are making record profits, and yet taxpayers are paying for these loopholes for oil companies, which are basically tax breaks. so just on the face of it, sir, it certainly does seem to a lot of americans that people who are making record profits shouldn't be taking taxes that we're paying on april 15th, to get their tax breaks. >> in all due respect, you're using the democratic talking points, and it's all quite interesting -- all right. let me make the point again in case anybody missed it. the issue is the price of gas at the pump. if you raise taxes on the producers of gasoline, you drive the prices even higher. does anyone think we need higher gas prices when they're already at $4 a gallon? this is not the way to lower the price of gas at the pump. this is not so much about a diversion, about discussion of
fairness. we do need to reform the whole tax code. we're in favor of that. it's been 25 years since we actually reformed the tax code. as of today, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. as of april 1st, the highest corporate tax rate in the world. some people may think, gee, that's great. all that does is make our companies uncompetitive. and even the president himself has said we need to get a corporate tax rate down. at the same time, he's trying to selectively raise taxes on some corporations, and to do that would drive the price of gas at the pump even higher. this is a terrible idea. >> let me move you to the economy in general and something you said to me at the end of january when we last spoke. >> candy, there's no mistaking, we are living in the obama economy. >> the obama economy, to an increasing number of americans, is looking pretty good -- gdp is up, gross domestic product is up, unemployment is down, the
housing still remains a problem, but we've seen record activity on wall street. as we move into september, does this not make it a lot more difficult for you all to run on obama-nomics or whatever you want to call it. is it difficult for you to say the economy is not working, when, in fact, it does seem to be at this point? >> i certainly hope we are seeing signs of recovery. the recovery is apparently under way. what we do have is 8.3% unemployment. what we have is an increase in the national debt of 43%. that is the size of our economy. that is not a prescription for a healthy economy long term. almost no one is predicting that we're going to get back to what most americans consider sort of normal unemployment rate of around 5.5% any time in the
foreseeable future. we're encouraging by the fact that the economy seems to be gaining some momentum. >> and we're not on the cliff anymore, correct? >> is that good enough? we're used to having a vibrant, robust economy. more and more businesses tell me this is not any longer the best place in the world. we're driving jobs overseas because of too much government, too much taxation, regulation. look, this is not an administration that's friendly to those people who create jobs and make the economy grow for all of us. so, yeah, i think the economy is still going to be an issue in the fall. we're certainly pleased there's some signs of growth. >> let me ask you what you think of mitt romney. >> i think he's going to be an
excellent candidate, and i think the chances are overwhelming that he will be our nominee. it seems to me we're in the final phases of wrapping up this nomination. most of the members of the senate republican conference are either supporting him, or they have the view that i do, that it's time to turn our attention to the fall campaign and begin to make the case against the president of the united states. >> so why not endorse him? >> look, the people of wisconsin are going to speak tuesday and the district of columbia and maryland. i felt they don't need any advice from me as to what to do, but i think it's absolutely apparent that it's in the best interests of our party at this particular point to get behind the person who is obviously going to be our nominee and to begin to make the case against the president of the united states. >> wouldn't the endorsement of the republican leader in the senate move you toward your goal, which is it's time to make our case against the president and wrap up this primary? i guess that's why i'm a little confused. >> the kentucky primary is in
late may. i'm not sure the voters of wisconsin or the district of maryland need any advice from me, but it is clear that we are moving toward having a nominee. i think he will be an outstanding nominee. i think he can win the election. >> let me ask you one final thing by playing something that congressman paul ryan had to say about the military and their budget proposal. >> we don't think the generals are giving us their true advice. we don't think the generals believe their budget is really the right budget. >> do you agree with the congressman? >> i think we have to take the generals' word as they give it to us. there has clearly been dissent within the pentagon about the administration's recommendations for steep defense cuts. i know there's been a big debate within the pentagon. we hear about it. we're aware of it. we're going to move in the direction of making sure that america still is number one in the world in defense, and the
defense sequester, which i suspect congressman ryan was referring to, is something that many of us are looking at as something that could put us in a position to no
longer be number one. >> senate republican leader mitch mcconnell, thanks for your time this morning. >> thank you. >> congressman paul ryan says his budget plan will bring down the nation's debt, but it also could give democrats ammunition in the fall. >> he sold it to all of his republican colleagues by telling them there's a new way to talk about what they're going to do without getting hurt politically. the american people, though, especially us, where we are in our lives, we're not about to be fooled. i think -- i have more faith in the american people than i think our republican colleagues do. okay, team! after age 40, we can start losing muscle --
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good morning, congressman. since you are there and you have endorsed mitt romney, what's going to happen in the primary tuesday night? >> i think he's going to win wisconsin. he's taking nothing for granted of the he's barnstorming the state. did a town hall meeting yesterday, doing town hall meetings today and the next couple of days. i feel pretty good about it. it's always a close race here in wisconsin, whether it's the general election for the primary election. >> if mitt romney beats rick santorum as primary rival right now in wisconsin, he won't have the requisite numbers of 1,144 delegates, but is it for all intents and purposes over if wisconsin goes for romney? >> i think so. i think rick would need something like 82% of the rest of the delegates. that's just not going to happen. if mitt wins wisconsin, and they also have maryland and d.c. the same day, if he gets a big delegate count, which i think he'll get, we believe as conservatives we should coalesce around our nominee and focus on the task at hand, which is the fall election, and not drag this thing out, which becomes
counterproductive. >> this is now the time we all join in our favorite parlor game and talk about the number two on a romney ticket should he, in fact, clinch this down the line. i know you said, of course, you would listen to an offer or any kind of discussion about it, but let me ask you more generally. usually, the number two on the ticket helps balance out the number one. it sort of fills in the gaps. what kind of number two do you think mitt romney needs? what does he need balancing out for? or of. >> whatever he thinks helps him win the fall and helps him govern afterwards. >> what do you think helps him win the fall? >> honestly, i don't know if it's the geography thing. there are a lot of conventional wisdom. what i think matters is, is he putting together the right kind of team to take the right kind of referenda to the country, to offer the country the choice of two futures, and is he getting somebody who's ready for the job and can help him govern and deliver upon the reforms he's
going to campaign on this fall? i have no clue who that's going to be, who that person is and where they come from. i don't see the point of speculating on all of that. we have jobs to do where we are. i have jobs to do as a budget chairperson. i'm focused on that. let's get this primary taking care of. then everybody can worry and speculate on the rest of this. >> would you for instance -- let me try one more time. would you for instance go for someone who is seen as a little more working class. we know that, when president obama was a candidate and he was selecting a number two, they felt there was a certain kind of -- he seemed a bit removed from people. they wanted someone who really spoke to blue collar workers. does mitt romney need that as well on the number two. >> i'm really not the political pundit type, candy. i'm very much of a policy person. i'm focused on doing my job. it's just not my forte to get in that speculation. i'm busy trying to do my job. right now my job is congressman for the first congressional district in wisconsin and his
budget chairperson trying to prevent a debt crisis from seeking the economy and destroying the future. that's what i'm focused on. i'm really not the right guy to ask about those things. >> let me talk to you about something you are an expert on, and that is the budget process and the budget. you unveiled -- republicans unveiled this budget. i want to speak to you about something that congressman steven osarette, i know you know him, he's a republican from ohio. here's what he said about the budget process. i'm tired of passing bills in the house, watching them die in the senate, and pretending that counts as success. americans want us to work together like adults, pass a budget with bipartisan support in both houses, and have is signed into law. a partisan budget is not the way to go." a partisan budget would be your budget, as he describes it. why did you put out a budget that surely you knew would only pass with republican voters in the house and would never pass muster in the senate? >> it's not going to pass much in the senate because the senate is not going to budget.
harry reid already announced, before we brought our budget out, he's not going to do a budget this year like he hasn't done the last two years. he hasn't passed a budget in 1,000 days even though the budget law says we have to do it every year. >> but why not put something out that democrats can grab onto? >> we put things in here we thought they could grab on to. the medicare reforms grabs the bipartisan consensus that democrats in the past have gravitated toward. what we're showing in the budget is we believe the seeds of a bipartisan compromise are there in this budget. the problem we have, candy, are the democratic leaders -- senator reid, president obama -- they're not part of this consensus. they're out in left field, not being part of this dialogue, which is occurring between republicans and democrats. my point is we need new leadership. new leadership in the senate and in the white house to realize this emerging bipartisan consensus and how best to preempt a debt crisis which will sink our economy and destroy our children's future. so we're advancing these ideas.
and the other point is we think we should lead with solutions. we think we should say, if there's a problem coming like a debt crisis, what is our specific plan for addressing this debt crisis? and dealing with the drivers of our debt. i love steve latourette, i'm a big fan of erskine bowles and elliott simpson, about that budget didn't deal with our d t debt. it didn't deal with medicare and medicaid, and as a result, we still have a debt crisis. >> you also, in the middle of the unveiling of the budget, criticized the military, essentially accused them of lying about what they really needed. you wanted to put more money into the military than what they said they needed. i want to read what the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said in "the wall street journal," general martin dempsey. "there's a difference between having someone say they don't believe what you said versus calling us collectively liars. my response is i stand by my testimony.
this was very much a strategy driven process to which we mapped the budget." the military is a little offended by your words. >> i really misspoke, to be candid, candy. i didn't mean to make that kind of impression. i was clumsy in describing the point i was trying to make. the point i was trying to make -- and general dempsey and i spoke after that. i wanted to give that point to him, which is that's not what i was attempting to say. what i was attempting to say is president obama put out his budget number for the pentagon first, $500 million cut, and then they began the preview to meet that number. we think it should be the other way around, what is the best strategy for our military, so we have a strategy driven budget? our review was we should cut $300 billion from the budget over the next ten years instead of the $500 billion. the difference is getting savings and efficiency out of the pentagon versus hollowing out our military, short changing our navy and air force, stretching out the guard and reserves too fast. we believe what we got from the white house is a budget driven
strategy, not a strategy driven budget. i did not mean to impugn the u.s. military, and i apologized on that front. >> you have apologized to him? >> yeah, i called him to tell him that. >> and just as to state business. your governor scott walker is up for a recall because of some of the ideas that he put in in budgeting for the state of wisconsin. if he loses that recall, it will look very much, and certainly it will be translated as a repudiation of conservatism and efforts to cut the budget. would you buy into that analysis? >> i do. i think it's a momentum causing event one way or the other. i don't think scott's going to lose the recall, by the way, but it will cause the momentum here in wisconsin. what will happen is politicians will no longer be courageous if this is what happens to them. they will no longer take on the drivers of their debt, the root cause of state or federal problems if this is what you get. what scott did is i'm going to reform the budget in structural ways if he got elected, then he
got elected, then he did it. i talked to a school district superintendent the other day who saved $1.6 million just by allowing open bidding on health insurance instead of having the union plan, which was required, a monopoly plan in collective bargaining. she put new reforms in her school district that gets people in the classroom and reforms education systems. i think, as people in wisconsin realize these reforms are working vewor working really well, he's going to be vindicated. >> we'll talk to you again in june after the recall vote. congressman ryan, appreciate your time. secretary of state hillary clinton is in turkey in search of support for the obama team's policy in syria, but voices on the right want more than words. >> for the greatest power in the world for good to be indifferent, leading from behind, is not our finest moment. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now.
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he asked castro to make good friday a holiday. they responded they would grant the pope's request. president obama will hold talks with the leaders of the u.s. and canada tomorrow. the talks are expected to focus on the violence in america's drug war and will be the last for mexican president felipe calderon, who is not seeking re-election. rebels in mali say they've seized control in the northern part of the country. demonstrations were held to protest the rebels. their seizure of the town is considered a major blow to rival coup leaders who oust eed mali' president last month. secretary of state hillary clinton says it's an urgent moment for syria. she's in turkey for a friends of syria conference. clinton warned syria will face serious consequence ifs it doesn't stop killing civilians.
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joining me now, congressman doug rogers, ranking republican on the intelligence committee. i want to read you something on hillary clinton's soon to be delivered remarks from the friends of syrian people. she said today, "our message must be clear to those who give the orders and those who carry them out. stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences. your countrymen will not forget, and neither will be the international community." this war has been going on for a solid year. is the syrian government even moved by remarks like this? it sounds pretty much like what we've said all along. >> i don't think they are. i think we've got two things you didn't see other places like tunisia and egypt. you have external forces supporting them significantly. >> iran? >> iran and russia. both have stepped up to the plate and can't afford, in their
minds, can't afford to lose syria as their toe hold. in iran's case, it's a proxy for them as well. >> isn't the truth that we don't want to get involved in something like this? it would be like lighting a match in the middle east at this point. we don't want to get involved in this. >> the united states can't be sheriff for the whole world. we can work together. i think the formula that was used with libya, where nato came together, where you had the arab league. i think what's happening with assad is he is using the same formula that was used in iran. he's playing hardball with his people and killing his people. right now the opposition isn't as strong as opposition in other areas such as tunisia. >> is arming the rebels a good idea for the u.s. to get involved in? >> i think we both agree that's probably a bad idea, mainly because we don't know who they are. we think that there are other things that we can do that we haven't quite engaged in yet that probably need to happen
short of arming the rebels. remember giving a whole series of weapons to people we don't know who they are -- and there are some bad actors there as well, probably doesn't bode well for us in the long run. >> syria is probably a lot more sticked as far as their weaponry is concerned. >> than libya? >> and other areas of the middle east. also, they have a cadre of weapons that are very dangerous. we are concerned, just like we are in libya. these weapons of mass destruction, if the chemical or biological weapons get in the hands of terrorists or other groups, that could be very detrimental to the middle east but also the national security of the united states. >> so it's better not to arm this group than to allow him to crush the opposition? which is likely going to happen if there's no -- i mean, he already is. >> i don't think we're saying that. i think there's other ways and some other thingss that we can do. let me give you an example. through the arab league. i think the arab league is willing and ready to step up, to
take more aggressive action against assad in syria. we should be part of that in a support role that i think is much better for the united states in the long run, and then we can do some other things, from the united states' perspective, to put pressure on the assad regime so that you do it in concert with each other without sending in arms and hoping for the best. i think that has not worked well for us in the past. i think, in this particular case, it wouldn't work well for us either. >> is there any sign -- one of the things i know we looked for in libya, there are signs the inner circle was crumbling. any signs of that with bashar al assad? >> i think from the beginning most of the leadership is loyal to assad. assad makes sure, the way he runs his government, he has people around him, including his representative to the united nations, including his ambassador to the united states, they are always focused on their plan, and that plan is to keep dominance over their people. it's unfortunate so many people have been killed there. it's wrong. but at this point, there's so many hot spots, that we need to
have the whole region come together. we just can't have the united states come there by themselves. >> and we should add, there's absolutely zero american support for such a thing. >> i would think so at this point. >> we don't really see assad's inner circle crumbling. remember, they're having a lot of victory supported by external forces like iran, like russia. so in their minds, this is all a zero sum game for them. they realize that, if they defect -- >> the end of their world is coming. >> they really believe it's not. >> they're getting support from iran. iran does not want syria to fold at all. hezbollah is very close to this area, and russia has been supporting them also. they do have their allies. >> let me move you to iran, since they're in the region and obviously involved in that, and something that secretary of state hillary clinton said saturday. >> what is certain, however, is that iran's window to seek and
obtain a peaceful resolution will not remain open forever. >> also sounds like something we've been saying now for three or four or five or six years. when does it just look like bluster? this comes off, we should say, the president has tightened up sanctions, is trying to move the world towards cutting off oil profits to iran and further squeeze them. when is the line? when is the time? that there is action other than sanctions? >> i will tell you this. one of the problems with this -- and we both agree we needed to move sanctions forward. i applaud the president for moving up a july date to going after petroleum, huge, that's very important. continue that pressure. but as long as iran does not believe that they are serious when they say all options are on the table, the window is closing, thair going to continue to do what they do. and so i think we need to increase the sanctions -- and this is an important step. there's more to do.
>> as the president has done. >> yes, at the request of congress. and then clearly demonstrate that the military option is on the table. not that we should use it, but they need to understand that we're serious. >> how do you do that? >> i would argue you could do exercises. you could predeploy certain weapons systems. >> sabre rattle? >> walk softly and carry a big stick. if they don't believe the big stick part, that's something we can put together. >> they're having an effect on iran's economy like we've never had before. there's an important meeting that's going to occur april 4th and 5th regarding iran. united states of america is the strongest country in the world. iran knows this. i think, when they threatened to close the straits of hormuz, we sent in our aircraft carrier, and they backed down. they have to have the leverage. the formula we use in libya is what we need to do to make sure
we don't get nuclear weapons. president obama basically said that containment is not an issue. containment meaning get the nuclear weapons and then we'll contain. that's off the table. >> not going to happen. >> we have to be strong and let them know we mean business. >> finally, let me ask you, the president this week was caught in a microphone in a meeting with the president of russia where he sort of leaned over and said, hey, would you deliver a message to me to putin, incoming president, and tell him on this whole missile defense thing, i can't do much now. i've got more flexibility after the election. were you at all bothered think that, congressman ruppersberger. >> to begin with, whatever you're saying off the record, who knows what the meaning is? i have confidence the president is making the right decisions in the middle east and everywhere else. also with respect to russia, putin, as we know, is a strong leader. he was former kgb. we have to work our relationship with them. politics, a lot of things happen
in politics. people are trying to get elected. i'm not going to make a judgment what he said. i have confidence in the president and that he is going to do the right thing to protect our country 100%. >> i've got to leave it there. we've run out of time. >> i disgre. >> we finally disagree. >> you were uncomfortable with the remark? >> i'm very uncomfortable and what it means for the united states and our missile defense posture and our allies' reaction to it. all very troubling. >> congressman rogers, congressman ruppersberger, thank you very much. he has not locked up the republican nomination, but romney is already thinking about a running mate. could two of his rivals make the short list? >> he's the weakest front-runner in modern times. [ kyle ] my bad.
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early to play a game of veep-stakes. virginia governor bob mcdonnell, a popular media savvy guy from the south, which has not been fertile territory for romney. and virginia is a swing state, which swung obama-biden in 2008. but even with virginia on the ticket, romney at this point would lose to the democratic ticket by seven points. new jersey governor chris christie. if mitt romney has an authenticity deficit, christie oozes it. republicans love his in your face attitude, but part of an authentic christie is a temper. christie may also have a geographic problem. an all northeast ticket might be a hard sell west of the mississippi. cue wisconsin congressman paul ryan, the brainy budget star of the house. but he's the face of medicare reform, and that's not a huge plus in an election year. sometimes mentioned, new mexico susanna martinez, who has a trifecta of political assets, female, hispanic, and a swing
state governor. debits untested and unknown on the national scene. always mentioned, marco rubio. he's a tea party favorite, the rising star senator from the swing state of florida and a cuban-american, which could help build an inroad to the politically pivotal hispanic community. >> my answer hasn't changed. >> still under no circumstances? >> i'm not going to be the vice president. >> they almost always say things like that. i have one requisite question. vice president? >> no. no. i promise, no. >> until they say yes. more campaign politics with cnn's political correspondent dana bash and "the new york times" jeff sellny.
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. joining me now is cnn political correspondent dana bash and jeff sellny of "the new york times." we love this game. we never know who they're going to pick until the final moments. what does mitt romney need to do? how does he balance the ticket, or does he need to? >> i think he needs to balance the ticket in some respects. the question is how. does he try to find a social conservative and bring those
folks along with him? does he try to find a working class republican and bring those folks with him? a latino republican to bring those voters with him. my guess is he will look at all of those things. at the end of the day, i think he will take a lesson from 2008 and pick someone who can do the job, where questions of their experience are not front and center. >> whatever, i'm guessing vetting is starting like now, based on what happened in 2008 with the five-day vet of sarah palin. but, look, i think you're right. i also think, with somebody like mitt romney, i am guessing, maybe an informed guess, you have to find somebody that doesn't make him look more uncomfortable than he already does. that is so important. if he picks somebody that is overly charismatic, certainly, that could help him, but it could also diminish him. it could exacerbate some of the problems he has. i think we learned from some of the successful teams, clinton-gore, for example. you have to be comfortable. you covered edwards-kerry.
look at that. the two of them didn't like each other. you felt it. it was palpable. >> the optics are completely ruined. basically, mitt romney needs a socially conservative, experienced, southern, female, latina -- >> who knows about national security. >> and has a lot of experience. >> if there's someone out there who existed with all those things, we'd know about it now. this is a shorter list than it seems. we always think, oh, it's a huge list. at the end of the day, it was one of president obama's -- senator obama at the time, surprises that there were only a few people who actually make it down to this cut. i think the same thing will be true for mitt romney. a lot of people we're talking about now will be on this list. at the end of the day, i still think it's experience and who can do the job, not just a contorted this person could maybe win florida. it's not the way mitt romney has run things. i think he will do this in a very ceo kind of way, if he gets
the nomination. >> and we'll get to that in a moment. just quickly, gingrich, santorum, nonstarters? >> i can't imagine. and then santorum's aides -- in fact, i was talking to one yesterday -- just cannot even imagine that happening, and certainly not newt gingrich. >> i think santorum, depending on how he ends this, if he does not become the nominee, i think may be discussed only because -- >> in the way that hillary clinton was discussed? >> right. but at the end of the day, i'd be a little surprised. >> let me move on to mitt romney and wisconsin. now seeming like -- every state is like the most important one. and he had this to say about winning wisconsin. >> i've got a good boost from the folks in illinois, and if i can get that boost also from wisconsin, i think we'll be on a path that will get me the nomination well before the convention. sure hope so. >> right? wrong? >> he does hope so, and it is true. we have had state after state the most important. the reason wisconsin actually is, because there's a three-week break now after the wisconsin
primary on tuesday. so if rick santorum does not win wisconsin, he knows there is very little oxygen to take him forward into pennsylvania. so i think that we just can feel it in the party. the republican leaders and voters are losing a bit of patient, i think, with this. >> absolutely. with wisconsin, i think, what mitt romney can get with the win is something he's not been able to get all along, which is consistent momentum. it's been like this. he's going to be able to get that. not just that. like jeff said, there's a break. the next is going to be pennsylvania and several other northeast states, which probably will go for romney. pennsylvania also is going to be a huge, huge potential problem for rick santorum because it's his home state. he was doing so well. now it's neck and neck. it's one thing for santorum to lose by 18 points in a general election in a bad year for republicans. it's another thing if he loses his home state in a republican primary. >> you have to make that
political calculation. is it worth having my career, at least insofar as this year is concerned, end with a defeat in my home state. >> exactly. >> which is where it began. that's a whole other story. i want to read you something from the "milwaukee journal-sentinel," which i found really interesting. it actually is an endorsement of romney. here's how it read. romney's finger to the wind tacking across the political sea leaveses us to wonder if he is anchored anywhere -- remember this is an endorsement -- but it also gives us hope that he can cast adrift the worst impulses of the political right once the nomination is his. >> i think this editorial board hit on the romney strategy, and it's a key worry of the obama campaign. you talk to a lot of democrats, and they say, romney might not be so bad. he doesn't scare me that much if he became the nominee. specifically because of that, the obama campaign is going to try and not let anyone forget these positions and these statements that mitt romney has made during the republican primary.
>> in all seriousness, that's why romney's top adviser, eric fernstrom said it was the etch-a-sketch strategy, he was speaking the truth. >> wrong metaphor but the truth. >> for everyone, by the way, not just mitt romney. >> 45 seconds left. let me ask you, right now, those head to heads with president obama and mitt romney look very good for the president. where's the pitfall for the president? >> i know it's cliche, but jobs, jobs, jobs. people are starting to feel better. if you look at the data, if it doesn't keep going that direction, that's a pitfall. >> and the high gas prices. the central thing is what happens to the anti-bush vote? president obama was swept into the white house with a lot of people voting and tired of president bush. it's going to be a tight election, no doubt about that. >> thanks very much. come back. >> we'll be here. >> with words like liar, lightweight, and the worst, how will the republican field ever get along? the art of the political
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sometime around the turn of the 20th century, a chicago post editorial writer penned himself into campaign immortality. politics, he wrote, ain't beanbag. true that. >> pick any other republican in the country. he is the worst republican in the country to put up against barack obama. >> i don't think you're going to replace an economic light weight with another economic light weight. >> would you characterize mitt romney as a liar. >> no, i was asked did i think he was a liar. i said yes. >> hard to imagine they are in the same party. hard to imagine they could talk civilly to each other, but, in fact, this week we found out they already have. >> if santorum is the nominee, i will support him. if romney is the nominee, i will support them. if i end up being the nominee, they will both support me. >> which is to say when they put down the brick bats, they will join in the time-honored
political tradition of the walkback. >> let me just give you a difference that i have with governor reagan on taxes. it is what i call a voodoo economic policy. >> turns out ronald reagan won in 1980 and put bush on the ticket and there, bush finding himself as vice president, defending reaganomics, aka voodoo economics. >> the only memorable thing i have ever said, and i've regretted saying it. >> flash forward eight years. 19 8 then vice president george bush called rifle bob dole, senator straddle. dole said bush should stop lying about his record. the bush campaign called dole a mean-spirited candidate with a record of kronyism. everybody thought it was ugly. >> i think we ought to put our honesty and integrity on the line. i don't think the american people relish anything like this. >> bush won the nomination. that is, bob dole happily at the side of the president-elect.
not so long ago the presidential campaign of barack obama distributed a memo attacking his main opponent. the headline? hillary clinton dpunjab, personal and political ties to india. that was an insta-walkback. within days obama called the quote a mistake. the obama and clinton camps sited with animosity for much of the two-year campaign. there were whispers of sexism from her supporters. obama fans came close to calling her tactics racist. >> i have known hillary clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and a tough campaign opponent. she possesses an extraordinary intelligence and a remarkable work ethic. i am proud that she will be our next secretary of state. >> the rest is history. some of these relationships actually ended in real friendships, but all of them began as bottom line politics. >> we're going to make sure that however this thing comes out in the end, that the republican nominee defeats barack obama, and i think that is the essence